Friday, July 17, 2020
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
Did You Know?
This week, as I anxiously await more monsoon rains, I continue to be impressed with the dedication and care our City of Tucson employees and residents demonstrate on a daily basis. Even with all the focus on people refusing to wear masks or socially distance, the reality is that the majority of our neighbors are doing the best they can to keep themselves, their families and their neighbors safe and healthy during this time.
In an effort to further support your efforts to foster public health, I hope you will join me and Mayor Romero this Saturday for a mask giveaway at the Donna Liggins Center.
Please come by and say hello and pick up masks for your household. Pedestrians and cyclists are welcome. We will be strictly observing CDC recommendations so that you can feel confident in safely attending this event.
Immediately following the event at the Donna Liggins Center, we will be heading over to the Tucson House, our largest public housing building serving seniors and those living with disabilities. Mayor Romero and I will provide masks to the Tucson House Resident Council Members for safe distribution within the building. It’s worth noting as well that Tucson House is exemplary of how when congregate settings effectively implement public health best practices that exposure and spread of COVID-19 can be controlled and managed. In addition to intense sanitizing and social distancing in common areas, partnerships with El Rio for testing and Pima Council on Aging (PCOA) for meal deliveries have been critical in this effort. And we know, that supporting residents to wear masks at all points in the building until they cross their threshold is so very important to limit exposure in this 407-unit apartment building. I’m pleased that Mayor Romero and I can assist in this effort.
In this week’s newsletter, you will find a great story highlighting new homeowners in a Ward 3 Habitat for Humanity development. I also provide updates on our public health infrastructure, school reopening plans for the three districts that serve Ward 3 students and I offer some preliminary thoughts on the budget adoption before Mayor and Council on Tuesday. Finally, don’t miss the pet of week, events and other important news updates.
Keep reading and, as always, feel free to contact me and my team at Ward3@tucsonaz.gov if you have comments or questions.
Habitat for Humanity
When Sherry was growing up, she didn’t have a home. After her parents died, when she was very young, she and her siblings lived with various relatives and later in foster homes. Her younger siblings were adopted but Sherry and a sister were not. Moving from one place to another was her normal.
“I never really had a home,” Sherry said.
Even as an adult, her housing situation remained difficult. Up until recently, she and her daughter lived in an apartment that was full of problems.
“My apartment was falling apart and had been overrun by cockroaches. It was terrible,” she said.
But all that has changed. Sherry and her young adult daughter are now living a newly built home which has filled her with relief, gratitude and peace.
“I’m so thrilled to be in a home,” she said. “I feel a lot better, a lot safer.”
Sherry and her daughter found their home through Habitat for Humanity, the non-profit organization that helps families establish their own independence and a basis for stability. Habitat is a national organization which has had a place in Tucson for 40 years. Its Tucson office is located on North Mountain Avenue in Ward 3. And Sherry’s new home is also in Ward 3 near Stone Avenue and Prince Road.
Sherry’s house did not spring up over night. It took about two years, from start to finish, to plan and build the home — the help of many people.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” she said.
She and her daughter invested their “sweat equity” into building their new home, which they moved into at the end of May. They were helped by volunteers, some of whom were affiliated with Women Build, which has helped build 19 Habitat homes. As Pete Morgan, president of Habitat’s board of directors said in a video celebrating Sherry’s new home, a Habitat home has “a lot of fingerprints on it.”
While owning one’s own home is part of the fabled American Dream, in reality home ownership in the United States remains elusive for about 35 percent of Americans. And homeownership for single women, like Sherry, and young Americans and people of color remains a daunting challenge.
Homeownership is critical for Ward 3 families because it creates wealth, is protects homeowners from unexpected rental hikes and homes can be passed on to younger generations and homeownership creates stability and gives homeowners a sense of belonging.
And for Sherry and her daughter, the new home also gives them a backyard where they can grow plants and let their dog play.
I applaud Sherry and her daughter’s persistence to find a better and secure place, and I congratulate our Ward 3 partner Habit for Humanity for a job well done. Habitat welcomes your support. Contact them here.
Brush and Bulky
Dear Ward 3 neighbors who live east of Campbell to Alvernon, and from Grant north to the city’s edge. Brush & Bulky is coming your way starting Monday! If you haven’t gathered your debris and junk, you have this weekend to create your pile at the curb in front of your homes.
The neighborhoods of Rillito Bend, Richland Heights East, Campbell-Grant, La Madera, Cabrini, North Dodge, Doolen-Fruitvale, Dodge Flower and County Glenn are scheduled for the week of July 20.
Brush & Bulky is one of Tucson’s most welcomed city services, offered through the Department of Environmental Services. The program allows residents to get rid of garden debris and stuff that has been accumulating in garages, storage rooms and yards. The city crews will collect about almost everything but there are some limitations to what will be collected and how much. Read here what you can and cannot leave on your curb.
The service comes to neighborhoods twice a year. It is a valuable service. It keeps debris and junk from piling up. It keeps our homes safe from unwanted items. It is a service that I look forward to. Here’s a short video for some tips.
For other Ward 3 neighborhoods, you can find when Brush & Bulky is coming next to your home. Go to this site, enter your address and look for the dropdown link for 2020 dates. Voila! You’ll know when to start collecting. But please don’t collect too soon before your scheduled pickup. Please place your throwaway items no more than a week before your pickup week.
Take advantage of this great City of Tucson service. Help keep your neighborhoods look their best.
Governing During COVID-19
I’ve been tracking public health data with concern. Locally, we are making in-roads around access to testing but the lag in test results in a major impediment to control exposure. This is an issue that I continue to follow closely and advocate, along with my colleagues, for further investment into all aspects of our public health infrastructure.
This will be critical if we want to successfully respond to the spread of COVID-19. Here’s what the data looks like currently.
And here’s what the data looks like if we only look at new cases in Pima County by each month.
You’ll recall that Governor Ducey lifted his stay at home order on May 15.
I know you are likely sick of living in a pandemic hot spot—I know I am. The only way we are going to get through this is if we build up the ability to both administer and process tests, trace contacts and provide access to individuals to quarantine away from their families while they await results or recovery. All of these approaches, coupled with recommendations to maintain distance, wear masks when that is not possible and avoid indoor gatherings of groups larger than ten people will be part of our lives until we have an effective vaccine.
The more quickly we can get all of these elements on-line and working, the more quickly we will be able to control the virus and protect public health and more safely allow people to work and study in very different environments than they had previously.
Obviously, there’s been a lot of concern around how to safely reconvene schooling. I want to share with you my understanding of TUSD, Amphi, and Flowing Wells’ plans to for the fall. Amphi will start school on August 10 and online instruction will continue indefinitely. Flowing Wells plans to have three models to choose from, including an in-classroom learning option beginning August 17. TUSD will have on-line and in school instruction, although the teachers will be remote beginning August 17.
Learn more at:
Thoughts on the Budget
As regular readers know, I joined with Mayor Romero and Council Member Fimbres to have our budget adoption process slowed down this year. We did so to ensure we were able to hear from the community and the many voices that began weighing in following the death of George Floyd. The City Manager was then further asked by Mayor and Council to provide additional budget educational tools that would allow residents to actually allocate dollars as a pseudo-participatory budgeting process.
With that additional feedback, including numerous public hearings, I’ve had the ability to hear from many Tucsonans. While I’ve specifically heard comments all over the map on what TPD’s budget should look like, all of the concerns that I’ve heard are based out of concerns to see a community that can thrive. Many are asking the City of Tucson to focus on building up our social service responses so as to limit the need for an armed officer to respond and, ideally, prevent crises. Others are asking for us to divest from enforcement by actually taking dollars away from TPD and investing those in behavioral health supports, education, etc. Still others perceive the former as nerve-wracking because of a perception that weakening an already relatively small number of patrol officers and are concerned that when they really need to be able to call 911 for an officer to respond that their ability to do so will be weakened.
I’ve tried to understand the underlying issues and think through how we, as a city, can best respond. With that in mind, here's what I, and my colleagues on Mayor and Council have done in the last two months. I voted to support an equity assessment on City of Tucson expenditures, specifically the Cares Act funds. I reallocated funds away from public safety personnel toward community investments to respond to the pandemic. I asked the City Manager to add public hearings on the budget (the last of which is to be held this Tuesday) and engage in participatory budgeting to inform the FY21 budget. I have also directed the City Manager to engage in on-going participatory budgeting processes for the entire year leading to FY22 budget that would go into effect July 1, 2021. I voted to rescind Ordinance 11746.
Most importantly, I advocated for funding for additional social workers and I support and am working with my colleagues to develop a community safety division that is a direct reflection of concerns we've heard from constituents. This is one part of a broader community safety framework that the Mayor has presented and that Mayor and Council are working together to create. Critically, this will require public feedback and co-creation and the Mayor’s Racial Justice and Equity Advisory Council will be assisting the Mayor and Council in implementing those listening sessions and providing direction as we move forward.
On Tuesday, Mayor and Council will vote to adopt or amend the budget. Our budget this year is unique because we do not have clear revenue projections because of the severe economic uncertainty stemming from the pandemic. What that means is that the proposed budget will remain even with last year’s budget while incorporating additional medical and pension costs. Each month, Mayor and Council will review the actual revenues and expenditures and adjust the budget as needed. These reviews will happen during Mayor and Council meetings and, as a consequence, will be transparent.
That said, let me return to the calls from constituents to reduce the TPD budget. Since coming into office, one of the most consistent concern I've heard from constituents all throughout Ward 3 has to do with slow response times to 911 calls. To be responsive to all of my constituents, I do not believe that any cuts on Tuesday are appropriate until we have developed alternatives to divert 911 calls where appropriate.
I am committed to figuring this out. I am confident that we can learn a lot in the next year and develop new processes that will better serve Tucson residents. All of that will depend on there being ongoing opportunities for me and my colleagues to hear from constituents who are most affected and our ability to direct resources accordingly.
Pet of the Week
Thumper is a very sweet rabbit who is quiet and laid back. He hid from the dog and cat in his previous home, but never bit, scratched, or lunged at them. He fought with his sons, but got along well with the female rabbit who lived with him. Thumper does not like to be picked up or held, but he enjoys sitting next to people and getting petted. In his previous home, he lived in his bunny cage and was sometimes allowed to roam the house. Thumper will be a great addition to any family who will pet him, allow him some alone time and feed him treats! Learn more here.
Council Member Durham and Mayor Romero Mask Giveaway
Saturday, July 18
Parking lot of the Donna Liggins Center for a drive-thru mask giveaway.
We wear our masks to protect our neighbors, #MaskUpTucson
PIMA COUNTY HOSTS FREE COVID-19 TESTING CENTER
The Pima County Health Department and Paradigm Laboratories began free COVID-19 testing July 13 at the Kino Event Center, 2805 E. Ajo Way. Testing is by appointment only. To register for a test, you can visit the link below. You can also call (800) 369-3584 to schedule an appointment. No walk-in tests will be conducted. People seeking a test do not need a doctor’s order. Free testing will be available from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Saturday until further notice. The program is funded by the County’s federal CARES Act grant.
Register for a test.
Read the news release.
Register for a test.
Read the news release.
Free Webinars on Mental Health & Coping During COVID-19
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and UArizona Department of Psychiatry are collaborating on two free Zoom events.
Human beings are social creatures and the isolation caused by sheltering-in-place can impact our mental health. The Centers for Disease Control has found that 36% of the U.S. population is experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression disorder. Other numbers include an 891% increase in calls to national crisis helplines, and a 34% increase in anti-anxiety prescriptions. To address these issues and offer some coping tools and resources, OLLI-UA (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) and UArizona Department of Psychiatry are hosting two Zoom webinars this month. Both are at 2 p.m. and feature a question and answer session afterwards. Register at www.OLLI.arizona.edu.
Live Theater Workshop
The Young Playwrights Playwriting Competition
A virtual performance of the winning author's plays is scheduled for Saturday, July 25 at 3pm. If you want to be endlessly entertained and uplifted by the amazing talent this program uncovered in Tucson, don't miss this show! Details and tickets will be available soon.
Learn more about their programing here.
Watershed Management Group Classes
You are invited to attend “How to Care for Rain Gardens” and “How to Maintain and Prolong the Life of Your Rain Tank” Field Studies Classes.
How to Care for Rain Gardens will be taught by Madeline Ryder, Project Manager, on Thursday, July 23, 2020 from 5 to 7pm. This free, virtual class focuses on the nuances of rain garden care and how to keep your water harvesting landscape happy, healthy and long-lasting.
The class will be taught online through Zoom Video Conferencing. Please register for the class through our website to receive the link to the virtual Zoom classroom.
Class details and registration information can be found here: https://watershedmg.org/event/virtual-field-studies-class-how-care-rain-gardens-0
How to Maintain and Prolong the Life of Your Rain Tank will be taught by Madeline Ryder and Lincoln Perino, Senior Green Infrastructure Specialist, on Thursday, August 27, 2020 from 5 to 7pm. Learn how to make your rainwater collection systems last.
The class will also be taught online through Zoom Video Conferencing. Class details and registration information can be found here: https://watershedmg.org/event/virtual-field-studies-class-how-maintain-and-prolong-life-your-rain-tank-0
Special thanks to the Arizona State Forestry Division and the United States Forest Service for awarding WMG a Community Challenge grant which has allowed them to offer these classes for free.
Did You Know?
Gov. Ducey Extends Eviction Moratorium
Arizonans who can't pay their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic have been granted another reprieve by Gov. Doug Ducey. In a briefing and news conference yesterday, July 16, Ducey extended his eviction moratorium executive order through Oct. 31. It originally was due to expire on July 22. Under the new order, renters will have to certify to the landlord by Aug. 22 that they are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 and that they have applied for rental assistance from one of the state, county, city, or private organizations providing help. If requested, they must also provide this information to the constable, law enforcement officer, or the court. Ducey’s order also is designed to provide financial aid to some property owners, setting aside $5 million in grants.
How to wear a mask
Red Cross Testing for COVID-19 Antibodies
The American Red Cross began testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies on Tuesday. The antibody testing is offered throughout the summer or longer based on financial donations.
This will provide donors the insight into whether they have been exposed to the coronavirus within 7-10 days after the donation by checking their Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
Antibody testing will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity.
There continues to be an urgent need for blood donations as hospitals resume surgeries and treatments that require blood products.
Donation appointments can be made by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
For questions regarding antibody testing contact Colin Williams, Regional Communications Officer (480) 243-4956 , or Courtney Slanaker, Executive Director, Southern Arizona Chapter (520) 419-1157.
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES REMINDS RESIDENTS OF BRUSH & BULKY RULES (VIDEO)
The City of Tucson's Environmental and General Services Department (EGSD) collects brush and bulky items throughout the City of Tucson. Residents who have alley service for trash and recycling, also use the alley for the City's Brush and Bulky program collections. EGSD reminds these residents to put their piles of brush and other items out at least 5 feet away from any gas meters, water meters, or any other fixed objects. Crews pick up materials with heavy equipment and when a meter is hidden, it can get knocked out along with the items and cause property damage. Each homeowner is responsible to cut back any overgrown bushes, trees, and grass from the alley. Remember, tires need to be separated out from the rest of the pile and nothing (including branches) can be longer than 5 feet.
What is allowed and what isn't allowed in the program
Find your brush and bulky dates.
Watch the video.
Find your brush and bulky dates.
Watch the video.
Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
Ward 3 has Facebook and Twitter pages so you can keep up with our Council Member and stay in touch with what's happening in Tucson and around the Ward.
Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMPaulDurham/
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham