Paul's Ward 3 News and Updates
Friday, December 11, 2020
News and Updates
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
City Wide Events
Did You Know?
Ward 3 News and Updates
We in the Ward 3 office are giddy. It rained yesterday! This makes for a good introduction to this week’s Ward 3 newsletter with news from Tuesday’s Mayor and Council meeting, a reminder to continue practicing pandemic protocols and to ask for your contribution to a toy drive sponsored by Ward 3 and two community partners.
But first we have an inspiring story to share with you. A story of a Tucson Police officer who overcame adversity while growing up in the ‘05 neighborhoods and who has made it her mission to serve as a model for young people to follow.
Ask Tucson Police officer Erika Muñoz where she grew up here in town and she’ll give you a surprising answer:
“Everywhere in Tucson,” she said.
She attended 9 elementary schools and two middle schools before graduating from Amphi High School. She and her three siblings lived in several foster homes and shelters, and for a time with their mother who had substance abuse problems.
“I never lived in a barrio I could call home,” she said but added, “The ‘05 is my home,” referring to the 85705 zip code that encompasses the western edge of Ward 3.
Early this week, Officer Muñoz took some time from her work to talk to us about growing up in Ward 3 and what lead her to a career with the Tucson Police Department. It’s a road that some Tucson-born police officers have taken and one that young Tucsonans could consider taking.
“It’s my calling,” she said as she stood alongside her TPD cruiser in the parking lot at Jacobs Park on North Fairview Road in the ‘05. “I don’t see myself doing anything else.”
Growing up was hard for Officer Muñoz. Her mother struggled with addictions and eventually was sentenced to jail. In the course of moving from home to home and dealing with her mother’s troubles, the young Erika came into contact with Tucson police officers. They were as much a part of her life as were the teachers and foster parents and all the other adults that interacted with Erika.
However, of all the adults that passed through her young life, the police officers made the biggest impression on her. The officers presented themselves well. She found kindness in their actions. She heard concern in their voices. She saw goodness in their faces.
They were there to help. And so were another set of adults.
As the flame of becoming a police officer flickered in her mind, Erika found another source of comfort, strength and hope at the Salvation Army Amphi Community Center on East Prince Road across the street from Amphi Middle School. To occupy her time away from high school and deal with stress at home, Erika found refuge at the center. There she found order, friendships and her surrogate parents.
“They allowed me to have the childhood I didn’t have,” she said. “I adopted them.”
What Officer Muñoz, who is 34 years old, clearly understands is that her life could have turned out differently. Being shuttled from home to home, living in an unstable world filled with anxiety, she could have found a different way to deal with her complex world.
Instead of using her hard-pressed youth as an excuse to go sideways, she used it as a reason to follow a straight road, she said. Her experience gave her reason to become a police officer. The positive role models helped her see life differently, in a positive and healthy perspective.
As she worked her way through high school and in several jobs after high school, Erika kept looking back at the caring police officers and her loving surrogate parents for inspiration. The flame they lit burned in Erika -- and brighter.
In the 12 years she has been with Tucson police, Officer Muñoz, in addition to her patrol duties, has focused on interacting with youths, especially those who are challenged by life’s difficulties. What she faced and what the young people in the ‘05 face today is almost identical, she said.
“I can tell them I understand,” she said.
Her commitment to working with youths was so strong she asked to be transferred to the ‘05 so that she could work and guide youths from the neighborhoods that adopted her. She can reach out to them, connect with them and inspire them to follow her footsteps. Maybe someday someone who attended Nash and Keeling, and who later graduated from Amphi High will be able to say something like this:
“There was a kind, caring officer who took time to talk to me when I was a troubled kid. I took her advice and now I’m going to be a police officer. I wanted to be like her.”
TOYS 4 KIDS!
2020 has been a difficult year for most of us. The holidays, even during good years, can be difficult when we are away from family or even a stable environment. In an effort to make this holiday season a little brighter, our office is working with Ward 3-based La Paloma Family Services to bring gifts to kids.
La Frontera Center and La Paloma Family Services are hosting a Holiday Toy Drive for the children of Tucson. Children are continuing to struggle during the pandemic with the loss of in-class learning, time with friends, and the elimination of extra-curricular activities.
We ask for your support to make the holidays enjoyable for the children whose families rely on La Frontera and La Paloma for support as well as those children in foster care and in group homes. Donations can be made at 870 W. Miracle Mile or 504 W. 29th St or online at www.LaPalomaKids.org.
If you have questions please contact Adrienne.Trees@Lafrontera.org.
Meals for Tucson House Residents
A big shout out to several community partners for providing prepared meals to 465 residents of the Tucson House, a City of Tucson public housing facility. On Monday teams from the Tucson Fire Department, Community Bridges Inc. and Tucson Medical Center delivered the meals prepared by El Charro Restaurants. Funds for the meals came from a grant of $20,000 from CARES Act money. Tenants also received toilet paper, paper towels and information on emergency services. The Arizona Daily Star sent a photographer along.
Julieta Scroggs, left, and Denise Snyder Lopez, with the city of Tucson, roll a cart of food from El Charro Restaurants into an elevator at the Tucson House, 1501 N Oracle Rd. Photo by Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star
COVID-19 Relief from Mayor and Council
Mayor and Council took action on Tuesday to provide additional relief to Tucsonans. Specifically, they have extended into January the ability for Tucsonans to ride transit for free, the moratorium on Tucson Water shut-offs of delinquent bills as well as the moratorium on evictions from properties owned and managed by the City of Tucson’s Housing and Community Development Department. The discussion regarding further extending these policies will continue at the January 5 meeting of Mayor and Council.
Utility Shut-offs and Assistance
The City of Tucson, Pima County and local utilities are working together to make sure residents who are behind on their utility bills know that assistance is available and that shut-offs could be on the horizon for households who do not set-up payment plans or seek assistance.
On November 17, Mayor and Council took action to provide $500,000 to each of the five local utilities to assist low-income households behind on their utility bills. Those utilities include: TEP, Southwest Gas, Tucson Water, Pima County Waste Water and Environmental Services. The intention was to assist families within the 200% AMI that have been affected by COVID and that utilities would provide a 12-month payment plan to these customers. We know that this program could positively impact up to 3,700 TEP customers, 3,500 Tucson Water/Sewer/Environmental Services customers and 1,900 Southwest Gas customers.
We also learned on Tuesday that the Arizona Corporation Commission gave direction to TEP to provide $250 to low-income households behind on their bills. This, in addition to the assistance provided by the City of Tucson, could go a long way in supporting struggling households to stay in their homes.
If you or a friend are behind on your bills, contact your utility provider now. Let them know you need help. They will be able to work with you on a payment plan and refer you to additional assistance.
To access assistance for Tucson Water, sewer or trash fees visit: www.tucsonaz.gov/utilitybillshelp. For additional information on utility assistance visit: www.pima.gov/utilitybillshelp.
On Tuesday, Mayor and Council took action to implement redistricting to maintain equal population (MPD) among the wards as required by a prior Supreme Court decision. The two redistricting options that were presented to Mayor and Council achieved that population balance as well as other requirements in the City code (see below).
Option A would have moved Precinct 37 from Ward 1 to Ward 3, Precinct 89 from Ward 3 to Ward 6 and Precinct 160 from Ward 5 to Ward 1.
This is how the population distribution would be impacted by Option A:
Option B would move Precinct 98 from Ward 5 to Ward 6, thereby uniting the split precinct.
This is how the population distribution would be impacted by Option B:
The benefit for Option A is that it helps to reduce the very high percentages of Latinx voters in Wards 1 and 5 while keeping those voters in the majority—what some refer to as “packing.” In so doing, it would allow greater influence of Latinx voters in three of the six wards. If you compare the “New Hispanic Population Precent” or “New Minority Population” columns you can see how this varies significantly between the two proposals.
The primary intention behind Option A was to address racial or ethnic “packing” into as few wards as possible, thereby limiting the power of representation at the governing body.
Ultimately, Council Member Durham supported Option B because it would be the least disruptive as we await more complete and timely data from the 2020 Census while meeting our legal requirements. Mayor and Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt Option B.
What does this mean moving forward? The City of Tucson will convene a Redistricting Advisory Committee again in 2022. That committee will need to align City of Tucson precincts with any redistricting based on the 2020 Census that Pima County undertakes next year. That committee will also, as did the most recent committee, need to follow Tucson City Code.
In 1993, the City’s voters amended Tucson Charter Ch. XVI, Section 8.1 to state:
No redistricting plan shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any political party or person, nor for the purpose of diluting the voting strength of any racial or ethnic minority group. To the extent reasonably practicable, wards shall be equal in population and shall be contiguous and compact.
Later policy also sought to “maintain ethnic balance so as to not dilute the Hispanic vote.”
On Tuesday, Council Member Santa Cruz made an amendment to ensure that the City of Tucson develop a metric to “help evaluate fair representation and voter dilution, in addition to the considerations outlined by the City Charter (total population, districts must be contiguous and compact, etc.), that the City Attorney come back to Mayor and Council (within 6 months) with a proposal(s) to amend the City Code regulating redistricting to include a metric for how we can measure voter dilution and ethnic balance by incorporating the concept of rough proportionality and that all future redistricting processes have a comprehensive outreach plan coordinated through the City Clerk’s Office in consultation with the relevant Ward Offices to engage constituents that stand to be affected by redistricting proposals.”
This amendment, accepted and passed unanimously, will position the City of Tucson to seek proactive and smart redistricting in 2022. Specifically, this must include early and frequent communication with (potentially) impacted precincts.
Council Member Durham would like to acknowledge and thank all those who served on the Redistricting Advisory Committee in 2020, especially Glenn Perkins who served on behalf of Ward 3.
Mask Up, Please
You have read the headlines. You have seen the televised news reports and online stories. You’ve heard from your friends and family members. COVID-19 is real. It is not a hoax. The virus is killing about 3,000 people a day across the country. And in the coming weeks, according to medical and science experts, the number of deaths is expected to rise.
And here in Arizona and Pima County, the numbers are rising. As of December 10, Arizona had 4,928 new cases reported, up from 4,444 the day before. There have been 7,154 COVID-19 deaths in Arizona including 73 reported Thursday, and 762 of those occurred in Pima County with 16 reported on Thursday.
The Ward 3 office wants residents to be safe, to be prudent and to consider the health of others. The City of Tucson and Pima County implore you to always wear a mask in public and avoid socializing with anyone outside of your household as we head into the holiday season.
Pet of the Week
Hook is a loveable, fluffy man who gives great hugs. He has a laid-back attitude and does well with other cats. He is a diabetic cat who takes his insulin like a champ. He gets along with other kitties and has a "whatever" attitude about dogs. You want a great cat with a great purrsonality? Look no further than Hook!
Hook is currently in a foster home but is available for adoption! If you are interested in adopting him, please email PACC.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Tuesday, December 15
Zoom, email email@example.com for link
Thursday, December 17
Virtual, contact the Ward office for info
Ward 3 Events
Cookies with Santa
Wednesday, December 16
Donna Liggins Center
2160 N 6th Ave
Thrive in the 05 Neighborhoods Meeting
Wednesday, December 16
Zoom – bit.ly/thriveneighbormtg (see below for pass code)
City Wide Events
Reid Park Zoo Lights Holiday Magic
Nightly through December 31
Reid Park Zoo
3400 E Zoo Court
Did You Know?
Applications are being processed now and the application process will close on December 21, 2020. Approved candidates will be notified after December 31, 2020.
Zoning Examiner Public Hearing on Sunshine Mile District
The Zoning Examiner will hold a public hearing on Thursday, December 17 at 6pm on the proposed Sunshine Mile District, an Urban Overlay District that would cover sites along Broadway from Euclid to Country Club. Submit written comments or request to speak by emailing TucsonRezoning@tucsonaz.gov.
If approved, the optional urban overlay district could be used by property owners as an alternative to the underlying zoning. The proposed district would establish development and design standards to promote mixed-use transit-oriented development, adaptive reuse, provision of affordable housing and a more pedestrian-friendly corridor. Following the Zoning Examiner hearing and recommendation, the proposal will be reviewed by Mayor and Council.
Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMPaulDurham/
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham