Paul's Note: Friday, March 6th, 2020

Paul’s Note
Friday, March 6th, 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
 
Water
 
Tucson Water is beginning the process to request an increase in the base rate that you pay for water service. We are very early on in the process and there will be many opportunities to engage in town halls to learn more and provide feedback on what these new rates will ultimately be.
 
Tucson Water Director, Tim Thomure, believes we can raise rates at the lowest amount we have in the last ten years. Currently, Tucson Water is asking to increase the base rate at 5.5% for next year and at
4.5%, 4% and 4% for the subsequent years.
 
I believe that the path presented by the Citizen’s Water Advisory Committee and Tucson Water is smart.
It will better equip the City of Tucson and Tucson Water to continue to deliver safe, clean and reliable water. This is critical, especially as we continue to manage emerging contaminants such as PFAS. But I also want to hear from you.
 
This rate increase would focus on the base rate. The standard for utilities is to have 30% of your revenues coming from the base rate. Currently our base rate accounts for 27% of our revenues. The reason why this is significant is it allows for more certainty in projecting out both debt servicing and capital improvements.
 
Because Mayor & Council have long prioritized conservation efforts, we have driven down the use of water per household and thus reduced associated revenues. Now, that’s a good thing and the conservation incentives will continue to be in play, but our baseline revenues will remain not only constant, but would grow slightly to allow us to hit that 30% mark.
 
I am pleased that the current rate proposal would have limited impact on our low-income customers.
This is the case because we will adjust the low-income assistance program to provide multiple rate classes based on income, with a higher discount provided to the vast majority of current customers who qualify.
 
Our Citizen’s Water Advisory Committee has approved the rate increases as proposed, but the final decision has yet to be made. There will be opportunities for you to learn more and weigh in. I’ll be sure to share those events in the newsletter as they are scheduled. And finally, the decision will come before Mayor & Council for final approval.
 
Plastic
 
During the February 19th Mayor and Council meeting, two young people from the Khalsa Montessori School addressed Mayor and Council at the call to the audience. They shared the problem related to plastic waste and the need for each of us to do more to reduce, reuse, recycle and eliminate, wherever possible, the use of plastics.
 
Plastic pollution ranks right up there with climate change as a serious problem. Plastic pollution is everywhere—in the oceans, on the beaches, in the landfills, in our bodies and the bodies of land animals and ocean animals and in our parks. Everywhere! Every bit of plastic produced is still in existence because plastic doesn’t biodegrade.
 
Personally, I take paper bags at the grocery store or I use reusable bags kept in a drawer in our kitchen and both of our cars. When I forget my reusable bags, I can donate plastic bags for reuse at the Tucson Community Supported Agriculture, which my husband Philippe founded in 2004. I use a reusable insulated bicycle bottle and always decline the use of single-use plastic water bottles except when I’m desperate for a drink of water. When I need a Styrofoam cup (maybe to take in the car for a smoothie), I reuse one. When I take coffee in the car, I use a Thermos stainless steel travel cup.
 
At the office, my guests, staff and I use ceramic or glass cups in the kitchen for water, coffee or tea.
 
If all of the Ward 3 constituents would adopt similar practices, it would make a big difference. I want to invite the Ward 3 constituents and city staff to suggest other practices that they employ to eliminate single-use plastics from their lives. Just respond to the email you got announcing the newsletter to do so.
 
I’ll also extend the request made by the Khalsa Montessori students and invite you take the Plastic Conscious Pledge.
 

 
Copy and post this pledge on your social media or print it out and post it somewhere visible in your home or office as a reminder. Let’s actively work to reduce our use of disposable plastics.
 
Retreat
 
On January 28, Mayor and Council held a retreat to identify shared priorities for City services. It was a
useful process and I appreciate being able to share my perspective based on the needs of Ward 3
constituents.
 
Through the retreat we identified four overarching goals including: Climate Action and Resiliency;
Economic Opportunity; Safe Community and; Governmental Enhancements. Each has focus areas and
objectives.
 
For instance, under Climate Action and Resiliency we identify water, mobility, urban tree canopy and our
climate action plan as focus areas. As part of our objectives to meet our climate action plan, we’ve
identified adding solar and battery facilities in the Avra Valley and landfills as well as reaching NetZero in city operations by 2030. I’m pleased that these specific items were included as they include approaches that I have advocated for consistently during my time on Mayor and Council.
 
I think it is important for Tucsonans to know what we are discussing and how we are developing
priorities for the City and for our City of Tucson tax dollars. Here’s specifically what we identified as
summarized by City Manager Mike Ortega.
 
Goal 1: Climate Action and Resiliency
 
 Focus Areas
 
• Climate Action Plan – Create Climate Action Plan, Net Zero by 2030, Add Solar & Battery
Storage, Expand Watershed Investment
 
• Green Transportation and Mobility – E-buses, Improve Mobility, Expand Bus Rapid Transit, Add
Wi-Fi to Buses, Move Tucson
 
• One Million Trees Initiative – Hire Coordinator, Track through Urban Reforestation Map,
Leverage Funding
 
• Preserve and Protect Water Supply – Pursue all funding opportunities for treatment and
remediation of PFAS, Maintain Public Information
 
Goal 2: Economic Opportunities
 
 Focus Areas
 
• Homelessness and Housing Affordability – Hire Housing First Coordinator, Reach 100% Section 8
Voucher Utilization, Partner with Constables, Expand the Homeless Work Program
 
• Poverty – Revamp the Urban Stress Index, Municipal ID, Ban the Box (beyond City practice),
Second Chance, $15 Minimum Wage for City Employees
 
• Youth Opportunities and Services – Expand KIDCO/Recreational Opportunities, Support
Universal Preschool, Tucson Health Insurance Network for Kids, Free Mobility for Kids
 
• Economic Development – Small Business Navigator, International Trade Specialist,
Entrepreneurial and Start Up Support
 
Goal 3: Safe Community
 
• Public Safety - Increase Number of CSOs, Officers and Paramedics, Hire 6 Social Work Clinicians,
Reduce Response Times, Expand/Improve TC3 to Reduce Non-Emergency 911 Calls, Improve
911 Call Times and Training, Improve Public Safety Recruitment
 
• Cyber Security – Proactively Improve and Invest in IT Infrastructure
 
Mayor and Council will continue to develop these priorities in dialogue with our City Manager and Department Directors. Obviously, we have to be able to fund these priorities or find partners who can help to do so. However, these goals will need to be reflected in our budget and aligned with where we prioritize staff time.
 
I look forward to continue to develop these in dialogue with my colleagues and my constituents.  
 
Country Glenn Neighborhood Association
 
Last weekend The Country Glenn Neighborhood Association welcomed Loretta Heights back to the neighborhood. Loretta Heights a few years ago attempted to form its own neighborhood association to try and address some unique issues the neighborhood is experiencing. Now with strength in numbers the neighborhood is excited to work on new projects for the coming year.
 
E-Scooters
 
On a 6-1 vote at the Mayor and Council Meeting this week we decided to extend the e-scooter pilot program for another six months, until September 12th, 2020. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the recent survey about the program.
 

 
Council Member Durham rides an e-scooter down Grant Road.
 
I believe the program is worth completing a full year of the pilot program. The City of Tucson will continue to receive feedback and refine the program, such as preferred parking boxes in congested parts of town. I would like to see more availability and utilization in identified opportunity zones.
One of the issues the Mayor and Council also discussed is the idea of using revenues from the program to improve bicycle infrastructure in the City of Tucson, predominantly in the areas where scooters are heavily utilized. That has the potential to help all alterative mode users and increase safety for riders and cut down on sidewalk riding. Speaking of safety, our office has helmets that are free of charge. Stop by if you would like one.
 
TEP
 
At the Mayor and Council Meeting this week we received an update about Tucson Electric Power’s Kino to DeMoss-Petrie Transmission Line Project (Kino-DMP). TEP is identifying a route for the Kino-DMP 138-Kilovolt (kV) Transmission Line, which will connect the Kino Substation to the existing DeMoss-Petrie Substation. The line also will interconnect with the planned UA North Substation, which TEP expects to build north of the UA main campus. This new infrastructure will provide more consistent and reliable electrical service to the entire are and, especially, to our Level One Trauma Center at Banner Health. TEP must obtain route approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission before the line can be built.
 

 
Understandably there are many area neighbors who have expressed concerns, both about the transmission lines and the new UA North Substation. I think it is very import for TEP to consider all input offered to them from the neighbors. I also will oppose any routing that goes directly through neighborhoods. I look forward to working with TEP and the affected stakeholders to create an outcome that all parties can live with.
 
TEP is hosting two information sessions on the project: Tuesday, March 17th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Quince Douglas Center 1575 E 36th St and Wednesday, March 18th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Dunbar Pavilion 325 W. 2nd St. If you are interested, please provide your comments. TEP has also provided a website https://www.tep.com/kino-to-demoss-petrie/ to provide information.
 
Pascua Yaqui Lent Ceremonies
 
Located in Ward 3, Old Pascua is the nation's oldest Yaqui community in the Tucson area, located near the southwest corner of Oracle and Grant roads. The Pascua Yaqui tribe are well known locally for their Easter ceremonies for which the tribe is named (Pascua translates to Easter in English). Ceremonies begin in earnest on April 4, Palm Sunday.
 
The Pascua community will engage in week-long religious dance and song ceremonies culminating on Easter Sunday. The public is invited but taking photographs, video and drinking alcohol are prohibited. The hours on the schedule are all approximate.
 

- Paul Durham
 
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Pet of the Week
 
 

 
Meet Red, a beautiful 4 year old German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) mix who is at Pima Animal Care Center. Along with their daily exercise, GSPs like to be with their family. They are playful and intelligent, and are generally  good with other dogs and children. GSPs are great dogs for a family that likes to share the outdoors with their pet and also have a faithful dog around the house.
 
For more information about Red or any other animal at PACC email: PACC.Adopt@pima.gov or better yet, go down and meet her in person at 4000 N Silverbell Rd.
 
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Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
 
La Madera Neighborhood Watch Revitalization Celebration
Saturday
March 7th
11 am
La Madera Park
2700 N La Madera
 
Miracle Manor
Wednesday
March 11th
6-7 pm
Good News Church
701 W Glenn St
 
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Ward 3 Events
 
Rillito Bend Neighborhood Mural Dedication
Sunday
March 8th
2-4 pm
3635 N. Cactus Boulevard
 
It’s a block party to commemorate the completion and dedication of the spectacular 33-foot Rillito bend Neighborhood mosaic mural that will serve a s a welcoming gateway to our neighborhood. Sue Ann Breems, our talented neighbor, is the artist.
 
Festivities will include a few words from those involved in the 3-year project, followed by the unveiling of the mural in its permanent location at the corner of Prince Road and Cactus Boulevard.
 
Light refreshments will be served across the street. Friends and neighbors are encouraged to join in celebrating this unique and beautiful work of art. Please support us in achieving a Zero Waste event by bringing your reusable water bottle. (To ensure your comfort, think about bringing a chair.)
 
Thrive in the 05 Business Forum: Strategies to Attract & Retain Talent in the ‘05
Monday
March 23rd
6:00- 7:30 pm
Pima Community College
Downtown Campus
1255 N Stone Ave
Amethyst Room, CC 180
 
Come learn about the 4C’s of Talent Strategy: compensation, culture, career path development and connecting to the future of work. During this interactive business forum, learn about strategies available and determine what your business can adopt that will give you an edge in attracting and retaining talent to Thrive in the 05.
 
Habitat Tucson’s Women Build Day
 
Women Build brings community members together from all walks of life to build stronger, safer, and more equitable housing.  This coming year Habitat will be dedicating our 19th Women Build house!
 
One of the largest community-based fundraisers for Habitat Tucson, Women Build is an ideal way for community members to empower women and fight for equitable opportunities.  Your participation and support, alongside your community, allows Habitat Tucson to fulfill its mission of creating a more compassionate and just world.  Let’s come together to build homes, communities, and hope.
 
You can get involved by visiting the Habitat Tucson website. There are spots for 300 volunteers, split between two shifts.  Register to reserve your spot!
 
Free Spring Events Hosted by Watershed Management Group
 
With support from Pima County, Watershed Management Group is continuing work in the Flowing Wells Neighborhood, this time collaborating with neighbors to install rain gardens along Emerald Ave and at the intersection of Curtis and Shannon in front of the Baptist Church. We are working to create a greener, safer, more connected Flowing Wells!
 
Birds, Bath and Beyond 
Saturday
March 14th
10:30 am-12 pm
Flowing Wells Library Classroom
1730 W Wetmore Rd
 

 
This event is co-hosted by Watershed Management Group and Habitat for Humanity.
 
At this free event, we’ll be building bird houses and talking about the role of our homes in backyard ecology and innovative ways use can use the rain to benefit and beautify our backyards. You’ll also learn about Habitat’s home buyer program and other free resources available to Flowing Wells residents.
 
Shady Activities, DIY Tree Care Workshop
Saturday
March 21st
12:30-2 pm
Flowing Wells Library classroom
1730 W Wetmore Rd
 
This event is co-hosted by Watershed Management Group and Trees for Tucson.
 
Join us for some shady activity! WMG and Trees for Tucson are teaming up to bring a tree care class to Flowing Wells. Residents will learn how to make seed balls, help plant a tree for the library, and learn about free resources to help make Flowing Wells a greener, healthier neighborhood. The first 15 residents to attend will receive a free shade tree or native plant.
 
Community Clean-up 
Neighborhood Weed and Greet
Saturday
March 28th
9:30 am-1:30 pm
Meet at the corner of N Shannon Road and W. Palmyra
 
Help get Shannon gardens looking spiffy for the spring time with weeding and general maintenance. All abilities and ages welcome to join us for the native plant tour and neighbor meet and greet before we start work.
 
Any questions, please contact Nichole Casebeer | ncasebeer@watershedmg.org or 520.396.3266 x 5
 
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City Wide Events
 
Division Advisory Committee (DAC) Meeting
Wednesday
March 11th
6:00-7:30 pm
El Rio Center
1390 W Speedway Blvd
 
Meet the Commanders out of Operations Division West and learn about new developments within the Tucson Police Department.
 
This is an opportunity to ask questions, voice your concerns and share your ideas.
 
Business representatives, neighborhood leaders and anyone who wants to become more involved in their community are encouraged to attend.
 
F-35 Public Meeting
Tuesday
March 10th
5-8 pm
Tucson Convention Center
260 S Church
 
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Did You Know?
 
Purchase Recycled Paint to Benefit Beacon Group
 
Beacon Group has 5-gallon colored, recycled, latex paint for $15 available for public purchase. White paint is $35 for 5 gallons. Paint may be purchased at Beacon Paint Center, 2700 N Stone Ave, Monday-Friday, 9 am-2 pm. Used paint is collected through the City of Tucson’s Household Hazardous Waste program: http://bit.ly/2YFblbc.
 
Beacon Group workers remix and recycle the paint, which is EPA-compliant and environmentally friendly. Proceeds from sales directly benefit Beacon Group programs.
 
For more information about Beacon Group recycled paint, call (520) 373-4408.
Beacon Group: http://bit.ly/2NxN19p
 
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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 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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