Council Member Durham with St. Elizabeth staff Carmen Noriega, Mauricette Montredon, Anne Hoffmann and Mark Schildt
Paul's Note: Friday, January 11th, 2019
Monday, January 11th, 2019
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Events
Did You Know?
St Elizabeth’s Health Clinic
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with the team at St. Elizabeth’s Health Center. The work that they do continues to impress me and the care and compassion with which they do it is exemplary. St. Elizabeth’s CEO, Mauricette Montredon, and her leadership team (pictured above) very graciously toured me around the clinic located on Speedway Boulevard in the Ocotillo Oracle neighborhood in Ward 3.
Established in 1961, St. Elizabeth’s serves 7,000 patients a year with a broad-range of affordable services for those who are uninsured and underinsured. In addition to robust family medicine services (e.g., breast cancer screening and treatment, lab services, prescription assistance, OB and prenatal care, etc.), St. Elizabeth’s offers extensive dental care, behavioral health and nutrition offerings for their patients.
The clinic works with volunteer medical, dental, behavioral health care providers and administrative service volunteers all of which allow patients to receive reduced costs (at times on a sliding scale) without reducing the level of care. Likewise, this approach allows St. Elizabeth to draw from the existing knowledge and resources in the Tucson community. For instance, expectant moms receive pre-natal care at the St. Elizabeth’s clinic through a partnership with the University of Arizona’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and are then able to keep their existing doctor for a delivery at Banner University Medical Center.
The clinic’s innovative approach to providing medical services is worthy of applause. The fact that the City of Tucson is working to bring a second St. Elizabeth clinic site located on the ground floor of the Tucson House (and open to the general public) further demonstrates how Mauricette and her team continue to adapt and stretch to meet the needs of Tucsonans. You will hear more from me as the new clinic space opens—stay tuned. In the meantime, be sure your neighbors know about the great work St. Elizabeth’s is doing. You never know, they may want to volunteer or pop in for a long overdue dental cleaning.
Dockless Electric Scooters
At the Council meeting this week, we discussed a potential dockless electric scooter pilot program. I was happy to hear the feedback provided by my colleagues on the issue. As a bit of background, dockless electric scooter companies are fairly new and have had reputation of invading cities before they can enact regulations, leaving cities in a reactionary position. Only the cities that have enacted a ban followed by a pilot program have avoided major problems.
A few months ago, we learned that one electric scooter company had started hiring in Tucson. City staff and the Council reacted quickly to impose a ban with the intent of developing a pilot program. We enacted the ban a few months ago and are now working on the pilot program.
We put together a working group staffed by folks from the bicycle and pedestrian office at TDOT, the City Attorney’s office and the City Manager’s office. The working group and I have studied what other cities have done to ensure that the potential problems with electric scooters are minimized and safety and benefits are maximized.
And there are a few potential problems. Often, riders of the scooters park them where they create a hazard for pedestrians. So we built into the pilot program a requirement that the operating company move any scooters parked inappropriately within two hours of being notified. The scooters normally travel at speeds up to 15 miles per hour, but in congested areas, this speed may not be appropriate, so Council directed staff to consider geofencing to enforce slower speeds in congested areas like Fourth Avenue. The other concerns of the Council were the number of scooters and companies permitted under the draft pilot program considered by the Council, ways to encourage the use of helmets, and options so that competing proposals from scooter operators can be ranked so that we select only the ones that are best for Tucson.
But dockless electric scooters also have advantages. They can displace cars for short trips and they can address what’s called the “first-mile/last-mile” issue for a transit system. Let’s say you live a mile or so from a streetcar or bus stop. Especially in the summer, you probably don’t feel like walking even a half-mile to the stop. Without a scooter option, you might decide to drive your car to work or to run an errand instead. Electric scooters can address this problem, making it more likely that you will take SunTran or Sunlink. In the draft pilot program, operators were encouraged to deploy scooters near transit stops but there was no financial incentive to do that. I suggested that the pilot program was a good opportunity to study whether an additional incentive would better address the first-mile/last-mile issue.
I support increasing the transportation options available in Tucson as we continue to provide alternatives to cars to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. But it’s important that we explore additional transportation options carefully to get it right the first time. That’s why this week’s Council meeting was helpful—by getting the sometimes differing perspectives of the entire Council, we stand a better chance to get it right the first time, and by doing a pilot program we retain the ability to make any needed adjustments.
Neighborhood Block Parties
The City has begun a process to make it easier for neighborhoods to have block parties and community gatherings by reducing the regulatory hassles and simplifying the special event application process. This past summer, a Ward 3 neighborhood encountered too many City-imposed barriers, red tape and fees just trying to hold a neighborhood get-together in a neighborhood park. I campaigned on the need to build community in a neighborhood, reasoning that when people know and communicate with their neighbors, quality of life improves. What better way to meet your neighbors and build community than a neighborhood get-together? I strongly support this effort and met with City staff this week to give them input on a draft plan.
Fees for parks and streets closures will be waived and the City can provide cones and traffic control devices. The finishing touches are being put onto the program, but as we approach the spring season I wanted to let you know. You can reach out to the special event office at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/business/special-events or contact our office if you are interested in using the City’s new approach to plan something in your neighborhood.
Modular Mining and the Main Gate
At this Tuesday’s Council meeting, we approved two strong local economic development projects. The first was for Modular Mining Systems, which was founded right here in Tucson in 1979. They’re now an international company with 800 staff, around 300 of which are based in their corporate headquarters in Tucson. They provide technology systems in the form of wireless networks, GPS and software to improve safety and efficiency in mines.
Modular Mining Systems is proposing to renovate and expand their corporate headquarters with a $6.4 million investment and to create 32 new engineering and support staff jobs with an average salary of $81,000 a year plus benefits. On Tuesday, we voted unanimously to approve their request for a Primary Jobs Incentive, which will reimburse the permit fees associated with their construction (approximately $20,000) and reimburse the construction sales tax that will be generated by the project (approximately $35,000) to be applied toward impact fees, public infrastructure nearby and/or job training for their new employees. This small investment of $55,000 in incentives will produce direct revenue over five years to the City, the County, the RTA, the school district and the State of more than $760,000 and indirect revenue of $2.7 million. The Primary Jobs Incentive Program is a great resource for growing local companies like Modular Mining Systems to continue to create high-wage STEM jobs right here in Tucson.
We also unanimously voted to approve a Site Specific Sales Tax Incentive for a new mixed use development in the Main Gate District. Many of you may be familiar with the under-utilized parking lot at the corner of Tyndall Ave and East 2nd Street, across from the University Marriot. The Marshall Foundation and other partners have proposed building a new mixed hotel/apartment complex complete with underground parking, meeting space, ground-floor retail and a new public plaza in the Main Gate District. Mayor and Council voted to give the developers a portion of the sales and bed tax generated by the property up to $350,000 a year for 10 years to cover the costs of the public plaza. Meanwhile, the project is estimated to cost $81.6 million to construct, generate $7.3 million in tax revenues to the City of Tucson in the first 10 years, $23.6 million in additional tax revenues to other jurisdictions in the same period and have a total annual economic impact of $17.4 million once completed.
This rendering shows the proposed public plaza next to the new proposed mixed-use development
These two deals are examples of smart, measured economic development measures by the City of Tucson. We’re not giving away the store or betting public money on unsure projects; we’re giving away small, targeted incentives to create jobs and economic opportunity for Tucsonans and contribute to a strong local economy.
Save the Date: Ward 3 Open House!
Finally, please mark your calendars for a Ward 3 Open House at our office at 1510 E Grant Road on Wednesday, January 30th from 5:30-7pm. We had a wonderful New Year Open House last January filled with great company and I hope to see you all there again this year.
- Paul D.
Pet of the Week
Jaime is a shepherd mix looking to bring a smile to your face. When you decide to bring her home with you she will come spayed and with all of her shots. You can come and meet her at Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
To find out more about Jaime or any other pet waiting to be adopted at HSSA please visit their website at https://www.adoptapet.com/adoption_rescue/76010-humane-society-of-southern-arizona-tucson-arizona#featured.
Ward 3 Events:
Valley of the Moon Scavenger Hunt and Community Harvest with BEYOND and Iskashitaa
11:30 am - 3:30 pm
Adventure awaits you and your children during this open house and structured enchanted scavenger hunt at Tucson’s historic fairyland: Valley of the Moon. Come explore the winding paths and delightful gardens created almost a century ago to promote kindness.
This interactive scavenger hunt includes completing tasks and discovering secret features. Find the hidden items on your treasure map and you’ll get a prize!
Admission is free, but donations are welcomed. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (520) 323-1331 for any questions or concerns.
Afterward join community members and Iskashitaa Refugee Network for an edible tree tour of Ward III neighborhoods and as we glean local fruit trees in an effort to educate the public, strengthen the local food system, reduce local food waste, and increase food security for the UN refugee families and donate to food banks.
To sign up as a community harvester, please fill out the Iskashitaa volunteer waiver form here.
Freecycle Post-Holiday Swap and Shred! Hosted by the Pima County Public Library, Ward 3 and Constable Bennett Bernal
2 - 4 pm
Woods Memorial Library
3455 N 1st Ave
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings:
Salpointe Catholic High School
1545 E Copper St
Ward 3 Community Room
1510 E Grant Rd
TreeCycle After Christmas
The City of Tucson once again is sponsoring the TreeCycle collection event. After you take down your cut Christmas tree and remove all the lights and ornaments, you can bring it to one of eight locations citywide for recycling. TreeCycle runs from December 26th through January 14th. Collection sites will be open during daylight hours unless noted otherwise. Follow the link below for a map and more information.
TPD Women in Law Enforcement Open House
Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center
10001 S Wilmot Rd
Refugee 101: Information Session
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Martha Cooper Library
1377 N. Catalina Ave
RSVP Here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfWD3Z747SsuLM9oasplnYYiNQqim-mXl4H84H0i4M7CWjZhQ/viewform
Did You Know...?
PAG is currently leading a Long-Range Regional Transit Planning effort. As part of this effort, they are conducting a public survey concerning transit choices in our region.
If you haven’t already, please take a moment to fill out the survey. I’d also request that you share the survey with any of your contacts who may be interested in providing input to the process. The links are below:
In English: PAGregion.com/TransitSurvey
En Espanol: PAGregion.com/EncuestaTransito
The survey will be available until January 18th.
Please visit the project webpage here for more information: http://pagregion.com/transit
Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
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