Pauls Note: Friday, June 5, 2020

Paul’s Note
Friday, June 5, 2020
 
Paul’s Note
Pet of the Week                 
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
City-Wide Events
Did You Know?
 
Paul’s Note
 
This last week has been tough for all of us. Having to look squarely at the deep wounds and generational trauma experienced by communities of color in our city and nation is hard. As I shared with individual constituents who have reached out to me to experience their concerns over the murder of George Floyd and a culture of policing that permitted his death, Tucson must also take a close look at what we can and should do better.
 
Here’s a few thoughts on what that has meant recently. Mayor Romero announced today the formation of a Racial Equity and Justice Advisory Council to guide our conversations and policies around equity and justice going forward. I am hopeful that open, honest and sustained dialogue will provide us an opportunity to build greater equity throughout Tucson.
 
Recently, I voted to begin an equity audit of how the City of Tucson invests its revenues. I also voted to reallocate dollars away from public safety personnel costs and towards resources focused on responding to the needs of our most vulnerable community members stemming from the economic crisis we are now facing.
 
I would also like to share that the police policy reform platform “Campaign Zero” has an initiative called “8 can’t wait.” It consists of eight policies that studies show massively reduce police violence. Tucson is currently only one of two cities in the United States that has adopted all eight. I am not saying that we have no issues in Tucson, but I think this demonstrates a real commitment to continue to improve. Further, Tucson made these changes on our own accord as opposed to San Francisco (the only other city to have achieved all eight) who was required to implement these changes by the federal government.
 
I’m not convinced that these actions are sufficient. I do hope that Tucsonans will continue to weigh in on how, as a city, we can do better. I am committed to do my best to listen and act.
 
El Rio Health
 
Come the first quarter of 2021 we should be seeing a new medical provider in midtown. El Rio Community Health Center, the city’s largest, non-profit health care provider, is planning to open a new facility at the former Wells Fargo site at Dodge Blvd and Grant Road.
 

 
If you live or work in Ward 3, you’ve undoubtedly passed by this former Wells Fargo site. Well soon we hope to see the well-known purple logo of El Rio at this site.
 
The Center will be located in the Dodge Flower neighborhood in Ward 3. Deirdre Brosnihan, co-facilitator of the neighborhood association described the prospect of a new health care provider in the neighborhood as, “great news.”
 
El Rio has a “proven track record,” she said.
 
Nancy Johnson, chief executive officer of El Rio Health, said that creating a new, full-service health clinic will bring quality health care to an area that is underserved and in need.
 
The area has a large number of elderly and refugees. The area also has a higher infant mortality rate than most of Tucson has a high number of uninsured people and there few primary care providers, she said.
 
Johnson added that in surveys of El Rio clients who receive services at its other clinics revealed that a large number of them live in the Grant and Alvernon area. El Rio had been exploring opening its future clinic in another building in the intersection but that proved to be problematic. Then in December, the Wells Fargo building became available.
 
“It was a Christmas gift,” Johnson said.
 
The non-profit is planning to invest $8 million in upgrades to the building, which will include women’s, dental and primary care. In addition, onsite will also be a pharmacy, radiology and behavioral health services. They purchased the building for nearly $1.8 million, which measures about 30,000 square feet.
"The building has good bones," Johnson said.
 
With an annual operating budget of about $180 million, El Rio cares for more than 113,000 people, both insured and uninsured on a sliding scale, in 12 facilities across the city. El Rio is the 20th largest federally qualified health center in the country.
 
It had humble beginnings 50 years ago. The first El Rio neighborhood clinic opened in October of 1970 with a small staff offering primary medical and dental care. It opened in the old Mother Higgins juvenile detention center, on the on the frontage road, west of the freeway, near Congress Street. The pharmacy was actually in the shower room.
 
Brosnihan noted the walkers, bike riders and transit users would benefit immensely from the new services. Accessible and affordable healthcare will help the neighborhood and easy access to amenities is important to midtown residents. Walking and biking to the doctor’s office can only improve health outcomes, she said.
 
But when it is completed, the new medical facility will lack one thing that the bank had: the vault.
 
Ward 3 Shout Outs
 
 
Barbara Eiswerth (on right) with Iskashitaa volunteers
 
Barbara Eiswerth of the Iskashitaa Refugee Network received a Ben's Bell in recognition of her work with Tucson's refugees. The organization also supports a program that harvests citrus from Tucson’s backyards and in turn shares the fruit with food banks in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
 
Sadie Shaw, president of Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association
 
Fifteen nonprofit arts organizations and twenty-four individual artists were granted a total of $50,000 in funding, with the support of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. Grantees included Ward 3’s Sadie Shaw for her Sugar Hill Oral History Project!
 
Governing During COVID-19
 
Scams and Safety for Older Adults
 
I’ve shared previously that my office has been in regular dialogue with area providers for elders in our community and an ongoing concern are the number of scams. In light of the fact that June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, I though it important to make sure that you and your loved ones are aware of dominant scams that are targeting older adults in our community. Right now there are many scammers who will call older adults and pretend to be the government, especially from Social Security, and seek their individual information.
 
It’s important to know that the Social Security Administration will never tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended or tell you about crimes committed in your name. They will never offer to resolve an identify theft issue or a benefit problem in exchange for a payment. They will also never insist on secrecy or advise you to make up stories to tell your friends or family. If this has or ever does happen to you, hang up immediately and report the scam.
 
If you ever owe a payment to Social Security, the agency will send you a letter with options for payment and your appeal rights.
 
If you have elder parents or grandparents in your life, please don’t take it for granted that they know how to identify a scam. Be sure to share this information with them and ask that they share it with their peers.
 
City Budget
 
I’ve provided updates throughout the city budget process. As we reach the end of this fiscal year, Mayor and Council are close to adopting a final budget. At Tuesday’s meeting we will hold a public hearing to provide the public with the opportunity to comment on the Fiscal Year 2021 recommended budget. That same evening, we will vote to approve the tentative budget. The tentative budget merely sets the upper limits of the budget, the actual projected revenues and expenditures will be approved on June 23.
 
If you would like to participate or review the budget in full (I offer a brief summary below), please follow the instructions provided below by the City Clerk’s office.
 
You may view the public hearing at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/gov/mayor-and-council-live.
 
The public will have two options to provide comment to the Mayor and Council:
 
Members of the public may submit written comments on any items scheduled as a public hearing. To do so, send an email to cityclerk@tucsonaz.gov. The email should include the individual’s name, and the agenda item for comment. The comments will be limited to no more than 500 words.
 
Comments must be received by no later than 5:00 p.m., Monday, June 8, 2020.
 
Individuals wishing to speak during the public hearing (subject to technological availability) will join the meeting via teleconference. You must submit a written request to cityclerk@tucsonaz.gov. The email should include your name, and the phone # you will use for the teleconference. The phone # will be used to identify the individual when/if being called upon to speak. Once your request to speak has been received by the City Clerk, you will be provided instructions on how to connect to the teleconference.
 
Requests to speak must be submitted no later than 12:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 9, 2020.
 
The recommended budget memo from the city manager can be found here and the five-year budget expenditure and revenue projections can be found here. The revised five-year budget projections reflect new revenue projections as well as use of a portion of relief funds to cover operational costs dues to the pandemic ($24M) as well as maintaining public transit services ($27.7M). Because of those one-time funds, we are able to offset a $19.1 million deficit for the current fiscal year and will have $32.6 million in cash carry forward to help off-set some of the losses in revenue for Fiscal Year 2021.
 
Now the relief funds that are included in this budget are only those that are being used to off-set costs related to city functions that would normally be covered by the general fund such as additional calls to EMT and Tucson Fire, PPE for frontline workers, etc. There are an additional $71.6 million dollars from the CARES Act which Mayor and Council are using to respond to immediate needs in the community.
 
You may recall that at the last meeting we passed a strategic plan to invest those dollars in a way that will allow us to meet the immediate needs of our most vulnerable Tucsonans and increase equity within our city. That full plan and associated dollars are not reflected in the 5-year projection because they go above and beyond the typical budget items covered by our general fund.
 
Given the economic challenges that we face, I’m relieved to see a budget that will allow us to maintain the services that residents expect from us while keeping our employees safe and at work. That said, I encourage each of you to weigh in and let me and my colleagues know if you think we are on the right track. This Tuesday at the public hearing is the time to do that.
 
The Poverty and Urban Stress Report
 
Finally, one item that we will be discussing on Tuesday during the study session is the new Poverty and Urban Stress Report. I’d like to share it here with you and will plan to elaborate on it more at a later date. Those who know me well understand that I value data and strive to make data-informed decisions. I believe this tool, created by Laura Sharp in the City of Tucson’s GIS office and our team at Housing and Community Development, will be very useful as we continually try to be both responsive to the needs of our residents and work to change the underlying factors that drive inequity in Tucson.
 
Please take this for a test-run and let me know what you think. Are there ways that you foresee your organization or neighborhood utilizing this data for the greater good?

Finally, I want you to know that because of the growing positive COVID-19 cases in Pima County, Mayor Romero is extending her proclamation that will keep the City of Tucson working as it has been to date throughout this crisis. The proclamation will be extended until June 21, 2020.

As always, be safe out there and look out for one another.
 
- Paul Durham
 
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Pet of the Week
 
 
 
Shasta is a shy but sweet girl. She came to Humane Society of Southern Arizona because someone in her previous home had developed allergies. Shasta enjoys being an indoor/outdoor cat. She has lived with kids, dogs and other cats and loved them all.  Shasta is super excited to come home with you.
 
You can call 520 327 6088 ext.173 to schedule an appointment to meet Shasta today!
 
PACC Offers Help For Pet Owners Affected By COVID19
 
Does your pet need vaccinations or mild medical care due to the struggles you’ve faced because of COVID-19? Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) is offering free vaccinations and minor medical care for non-surgery procedures, such as ear infections, urinary tract infections, allergies, etc. Dental work, cancer treatment and more serious issues are not covered as part of the program. To see if you qualify, follow the link below.
 
PACC Is Helping Struggling Pet Owners
 
Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) plans to hold drive-thru food distribution centers for pet owners affected by COVID-19. GreaterGood.org donated the food to Friends of Pima Animal Care Center, PACC’s official nonprofit partner. PACC staff and volunteers will hand out one gallon resealable zipper storage bags with pet food to people facing hardship because of COVID-19. This can be due to illness, job loss, financial insecurity or any other challenges related to the pandemic. Starting Sunday, May 10, the drive-thru line will take place in PACC's main parking lot every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 7:30-9:30 am. People will drive into the lot from the main entrance at Silverbell and Sweetwater where volunteers and staffers will be waiting with food.
 
 
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Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
 
Barrio Blue Moon
Sunday
June 7
2-3 pm
Tucson House
1501 N Oracle Rd
 
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Ward 3 Events
 
Barrio Blue Moon Esquer Park Cleanup
Sunday
June 7
Esquer Park
1415 N 14th Ave
 
City-Wide Events
 
Webinar Series Part XI. Navigating the Impacts of COVID-19
Monday
June 8
3-4 pm
 
 
Part XI. Navigating the Impacts of
COVID-19 for Small Businesses
Hosted by the City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives, learn what's happening in the retail industry and how the International Council of Shopping Centers is supporting small businesses. 
 
Featured Speakers
 
 
Jazmen Johnson
Director, Diversity & Inclusion
International Council of Shopping Centers
 
 
Adam Thocher
Vice President, Volunteer Engagement
International Council of Shopping Centers
 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. A password will be required to join.

Webinar Series Parts I - X are now available at ConnectTucson.

 
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Did You Know?
 
$50,000 awarded in emergency arts relief funding to Southern Arizona including Ward 3 recipients
 
As the community looks toward the arts for inspiration during the ongoing health crisis, Southern Arizona’s artists have had to adapt how they share their art, often at a financial burden. The Pivot Grant was created in response to this need, funding artistic projects or programming which have been adapted to alternative methods of sharing (i.e. virtual, digital, socially distant) in response to the ongoing health crisis. Distributed from a $50,000 collaborative fund hosted by the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (AFTSA) and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA), this new grant ensures the continued visibility of local art by the Southern Arizona arts community.
 
The Ward 3 nonprofit recipients include The Drawing Studio, Literacy Connects and Southwest Folklife Alliance. Also, Ward 3’s own Sadie Shaw was a recipient for the Sugar Hill Oral History Project!
 
Learn more about the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona at www.artsfoundtucson.org  
 
 
School Districts Provide Free Summer Meals for Kids
 
Local school districts and community organizations are providing free breakfasts and lunches for children Monday-Friday throughout the Tucson area as part of the federal summer meal program. Most locations are distributing free meals to all children ages 18 and under. There are no income requirements, and children do not need to be enrolled in the district or school. The Arizona Department of Education has a mapping tool to find the closest school meal site to you.
 
Avoid Crowds at Early Voting Sites
 
 
The Pima County Recorder offers Early Voting and Emergency Voting before Election Day. Early Voting begins on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at the three County Recorder offices.  Other Early Voting Sites will be open on Monday, July 27 through Friday, July 31, 2020, the week before Primary Election Day. For a list of early voting sites please visit this website.
 
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Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
 
Ward 3 has Facebook and Twitter pages so you can keep up with Paul Durham our Council Member and stay in touch with what's happening in Tucson and around the Ward.
 
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham
 
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