Friday, May 15, 2020
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Did You Know?
I know many of you are interested in learning more about the “reopening” and the stay at home order. You’ll find that in this newsletter as well as information on the 5-year consolidated plan and annual plan that the City of Tucson must submit to the Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding how we will spend those federal dollars as well as the additional Cares Act dollars that are carved out specifically for HUD programming. But before I delve into the heavy items, I want to take a moment to acknowledge a great public servant, Mike Katherina, and highlight a hopeful neighborhood Slow Streets pilot as well as a recent parade for St Luke’s Home residents.
Dear friends, as the Council Member for Ward 3, it has been my pleasure to work with many dedicated and hardworking city employees. They are the people who turn the municipal wheels. I would like to honor one city employee who recently passed away.
Michael Katherina was a Recreation Assistant at the Donna R. Liggins Recreation Center at Mansfield Park in the Sugar Hill neighborhood.
Mike, or as some people knew him as “El Gato,” was a much loved and appreciated person, Beth Lucas, the supervisor at the Donna Liggins Center, told me.
“He was always in a good mood and loved talking to people. He didn’t know any strangers,” she said.
He loved working with the children and teens, especially during the summer when they spent more time at the center, and his biggest passion was playing golf and teaching golf to the youngsters, Beth said. He connected some of the kids to Sticks for Kids, a junior golf outreach program for youths.
Mike died May 3. He was 67 years old.
Candy and Mike Katherina
According to his obituary in the Arizona Daily Star, Mike was born in Massachusetts, came to Tucson when he was 11 with his grandmother. He attended Roskruge Junior High School and he played on the streets and enjoyed sports. He attended Tucson High School but transferred to Salpointe Catholic High School in his senior year. There he met his future wife, Candy.
Mike worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs before he joined the city’s Parks and Recreation Department where he worked for 17 years. Beth said most kids called him “Mr. Mike.”
At Donna Liggins, Mike was instrumental in organizing the annual “EGGstravaganza,” a city-wide Easter egg hunt celebration held at Mansfield Park, which was cancelled this year because of the pandemic.
Beth said Mike’s infectious enthusiasm and love of work and his devotion to the kids at the Liggins center will be missed. But one thing, however, she added:
“He’ll never be forgotten.”
It was as if the front porches were extended out.
That is how Diana Alarcon, director of the City of Tucson’s Department of Transportation and Mobility, described the sensation as I walked along North 4th Avenue with Diana and neighborhood residents Monday evening. We walked several blocks observing and talking about Slow Streets, or Calles Lentas, a temporary pilot project that Diana’s department implemented for North 4th Avenue between Grant and Speedway.
Martha Retallick, Kathy Bell, Diana Alarcon, Gabriela Barillas, Council Member Durham
During our walk with residents from Sugar Hill, El Cortez Heights and Feldman’s neighborhoods, there were families and individuals walking along the street. There were people kicking around soccer balls. There were cyclists. More people were out of the homes and enjoying an evening on their “front porches.”
That is the intention of Slow Streets. It is meant to allow physical activity and recreation by creating more space during the COVID-19 pandemic. Slow Streets encouraged residents to safely keep adequate distance between themselves and others. Slow Streets have been implemented in other communities as a response to the pandemic.
Martha Retallick, vice president of the El Cortez Heights association who joined me on the walk, said the slowing down of 4th Avenue was a positive step.
"Since the Slow Streets barriers were installed, I noticed a lot less speeding. People used to come barreling through here, thinking they could make a quick turn onto 4th and keep that speed up. Not now,” she said.
And Kathy Bell, president of Feldman’s said: “Connections were made that didn't exist before, whether it was families with kids of similar age or neighbors who didn't know one another prior to the pilot.” And she added, “It brought joy to the neighborhood during this crazy time. People were happy, excited and so appreciative of the opportunity to have a large, safe space to move around in.”
Barriers with signs asked motorists to slow down 4th Avenue or better yet take another route to their destination. Several vehicles did pass us by in the hour that I was walking on the street but they did so carefully.
The pilot project began on May 5 and will move Monday from Ward 3 to other wards in Tucson. The project is a collaboration between the Department of Transportation & Mobility, Parks and Recreation, the mayor’s office, Wards 3 and 6, and the three neighborhoods.
It is considered a pilot project. But I support creating a more expansive and even permanent Slow Streets program in Tucson. Tucsonans want to walk and cycle on their residential streets feeling secure. These streets, after all, are the front porches to our homes.
If you experienced the 4th
Avenue project, please participate in this survey
. Thank you.
St. Luke’s Parade
Thursday morning, I had the honor of serving as the Grand Marshall for the St. Luke’s Home car parade in which more than 50 vehicles passed in front of the assisted care facility to give the drivers a chance to say hello to the residents and to remind them that we have not forgotten about them. It was fun!
Fifty of the home’s 53 residents sat outside St. Luke’s on East Adams Street in Feldman’s neighborhood, holding signs or waving. I waived from an open car window. St. Luke’s staff members joined in the celebration while helping some of the residents remain comfortable in their chairs.
This is the first time that I have served as a parade Grand Marshall and I was privileged to do so for the St. Luke’s community that I and the Ward 3 staff have supported. The mission of St. Luke’s is to provide quality of life for low-income elders to age with dignity. And because of the stringent restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Luke’s, which is licensed for 80 individuals, is not permitting any new residents to move in, to ensure the safety of the elders and staff.
About a dozen vehicles in the parade came from the Classic Chevy Club of Tucson. And let me tell you, there were some classy cars in the bunch. One of the elders commented to Linda Hollis, St. Luke’s chief executive officer, that a cool looking ‘57 Chevy brought back sweet memories because it reminded him of the car in which he proposed to his wife. The residents were very appreciative of the parade, which was organized by St. Luke’s volunteers and staff. They felt that were in a real car show and they felt the joy from the car-driving visitors.
Linda said the residents were grateful for “bringing the outside world to us.”
This was a small gesture that went a long way for the St. Luke’s residents.
Governing During COVID-19 – Stay at Home Order, CDC Recommendations, Reopening & HUD Dollars
Stay at Home Order
Governor Ducey took action this week to reopen pools and gyms and will allow the stay at home order to sunset on May 15. The governor will issue a new executive order to take effect Saturday, May 16 that will continue to urge physical distancing and encourage vulnerable populations
to continue to shelter at home.
Mayor Romero will issue an extension of her order limited to City of Tucson official practices. The governor strictly preempted municipalities from requiring more stringent public practices than what he has implemented. Therefore, the City of Tucson as an organization will continue to follow our physical distancing practices until June 8, at which time models suggest we will have past the likely peak in cases.
As of Tuesday, May 12 COVID-19 cases were still increasing in the State of Arizona and the mortality rate in Pima County is above the state average. I say this not to scare you but to underscore the importance of taking safety precautions seriously.
As of May 12 COVID-19 cases are increasing in Arizona.
Public health is just that. It depends on each of us to protect ourselves so that we can protect others. If those most vulnerable are asked to continue staying home, they will still require involvement with others outside their homes. Your sixty-six-year-old neighbor will still need groceries. If they go to a store and other shoppers are not wearing masks, then they will find themselves at greater risk of exposure. And, even if the stay at home order has been lifted, physical distancing continues to be necessary.
CDC Best Practices
Wash your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
Everyone should wear a cloth face cover
when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
Cover coughs and sneezes
If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
Throw used tissues in the trash.
Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect
The CDC recommendations are our best signposts for how to proceed. The CDC also issued guidelines related to when jurisdictions could begin to reduce physical distancing requirements such as stay at home orders. While Governor Ducey based his decision on the CDC guidelines
, the data from Pima County does not show us to be in compliance with CDC recommendations.
There are also additional guidelines for reopening that I know many are interested in and that I’ll review next.
There’s been so much apprehension around reopening sectors of the economy. The reality is that many small businesses have not had adequate information and supports available to be able to reopen in a way that protects their clients and their employees. In this section I want to share with you what resources do exist, identify some of the gaps that our community still needs to address and provide some insight into how I think Tucson can work to ensure our residents are safe.
Beginning a week ago establishments began reopening for business. From May 4 through today, May 15, Governor Ducey allowed businesses to reopen that were covered under his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connect” Executive Order. I know many of you, both proprietors and customers, have questions about the process of reopening and what it means. In this article I will do my best to lay out all the information and provide you with sourcing.
As a part of the governor’s order, his office provided a little guidance on the specific sectors: Retail, Cosmology and Dining. Please visit here
to learn more about the governor’s recommendations.
At his press conference on May 12 Governor Ducey was unable to answer questions about the enforceability of his recommendations. In addition, the governor’s order
outlining the opening forbids local jurisdictions from institutions protection that are stricter than the order itself.
In a recent daily update Dr. Bob England from the Pima County Health Department characterized the situation as “the Wild West.” Looking at the picture below it certainly does feel that way.
A bar in Tempe, AZ this week.
Pima County, with support from the Health Department, has created a Back to Business (B2B) steering committee to inform best practices for reopening in Metro Tucson. The B2B is co-chaired by County Administrator Huckleberry and University of Arizona President Robbins and includes local leaders from the medical, business and faith sectors as well as Tucson’s Mayor.
In addition to the B2B recommendations, the City of Tucson’s Office of Economic Initiatives is hosting a series of webinars aimed at assisting small businesses through the pandemic. Their most recent edition, Part VIII, focused on the subject of public health best practices for businesses when opening.
Public health expert, Dr. Omar Contreras, Program Director of Policy and Translational Research, University of Arizona Cancer Center offered guidance on the topic. Some of his recommendations included wellness checks and flexible leave policies for employees, alternating shifts for employees to reduce the number of people in an area, physical barriers such as sneeze guards and keeping a cleaning log. Interestingly, many of his recommendations resonate with those from the B2B steering committee. Please view the episode
to learn more.
My bottom line recommendation to you right now is this: Please continue the practices that have been in place until at least June 1. That is to say, stay home and tele-work as much as possible, wear a mask when you do go out, use take-out and delivery to purchase meals from restaurants and practice heightened personal hygiene protocols.
City of Tucson use of HUD Dollars
This coming Tuesday, Mayor and Council will hold a virtual public hearing on both the 5-year Consolidated Plan which spells out broadly how the City of Tucson anticipates using CDBG, HOME, ESG and HOPWA Consolidated Plan resources from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development over the next 5 years. We will also review the Annual Action Plan for how we will use these funds for the first year of the five-year period.
These documents are required by HUD and are not the most user-friendly. Below you can see a brief snapshot of each document that was put together by Genesis Cubillas in the mayor’s office. Please note that the infographics below do not reflect funds received via the Cares Act, but I include them as text at the end.
We have received additional CDBG, ESG, HOME and HOPWA dollars as well as Section 8 voucher program dollars (not included in the annual/5-year consolidated plans) via the Cares Act. Here are the current plans for how the City of Tucson will spend those.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funding
Under the CARES Act the City received an additional allocation of $3,295,530 in CDBG formula grants. The Housing and Community Development Department is planning on using this funding as additional support to eviction prevention, mortgage assistance, rental assistance, funding to nonprofits for administrative and flexible funds to get people into housing and acquisition of multi-family units to provide affordable housing for families affected by the pandemic. CDBG funds, coupled with the City’s additional allocation of ESG funding will help ensure housing for those struggling with the secondary impacts of this pandemic.
Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Funding
The City received an additional allocation of ESG formula funding in the amount of $1,667,776. The Housing and Community Development Department is planning on using these additional dollars to support shelter operations and outreach and rapid rehousing assistance.
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Funding
The City received additional allocation of HOPWA funds which will provide funding for administrative expenses, housing assistance payments, essential services, and relocation services. The amount received is $109,150.
Section 8 Funding
The City received an additional allocation of Section 8 formula funding in the amount of $1,079,875. The Housing and Community Development Department is planning on using these additional dollars to support landlord outreach to increase the inventory of properties in the program.
On Tuesday, Mayor and Council will host a virtual public hearing and we’ll discuss the plans. The actual implementation of these plans will be on-going. My office gets monthly updates from our Housing and Community Development Department where we have the opportunity to learn specifics related to how these dollars are being prioritized and spent.
A new tool called the Vulnerability Index was recently developed to aid the Mayor and Council as well as staff to identify areas most in need of these HUD funds. You can dig into it here
and see the City-wide map below.
As always, I welcome your feedback. You can send an email directly to my office with your thoughts on the use of these HUD dollars. Additionally, I encourage you to participate in the virtual public hearing next week.
Stay safe. Please continue to follow and model CDC best practices.
- Paul Durham
Pet of the Week
Cheeto is a 2-year-old ginger tabby. Ginger cats, or orange cats, are very popular felines, though they’re not usually acknowledged as a distinct breed. Cheeto, like most gingers, is male and is also a very even tempered cat.
To adopt Cheeto, please complete an adoption survey at www.pima.gov/adopt
and staff will contact you in the order interests are received. If you are not contacted within the next 48-72 hours, Cheeto has already been adopted but feel free to continue to look for other pets!
As most of you may know, physical distancing is a priority at this time and so to adopt or foster an animal, PACC is taking appointments.
To be contacted for an adoption or foster appointment, fill out the dog or cat survey below:
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.
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Due to COVID-19 regularly scheduled neighborhood associations in Ward 3 have been cancelled until further notice or if you hear differently from your neighborhood association.
If your neighborhood association is meeting remotely and would like to have the information provided here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
and let the Ward 3 office staff know. The same email can be used if you would like assistance in setting up a meeting remotely.
Part IX. Navigating the Impacts of COVID-19 for Small Businesses
Please join us for this free webinar Monday, May 18, from 3-4 p.m.
Hosted by the City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives, learn about the state of Tucson's dining and hospitality industry with Visit Tucson, American Eat Co., and Tucson City of Gastronomy.
Webinar Series Parts I - VIII are now available at ConnectTucson.
Did You Know?
Early Voters to Receive Notice and Make Choices
Voters not on the Permanent Early Voter List may want to vote by mail this year. To request an early ballot you can go online
or call 520-724-4330.
Starting on May 6, Pima County voters who are on the Permanent Early Voter List will receive a Notice in the mail regarding the upcoming Primary Election, August 4, 2020. Almost one third of voters receiving the Notice are “independent” or “party not designated” voters, so they have the option to choose which political party’s ballot they would like to receive for the Primary Election.
Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez explains the notice in this video
How Arizona Workers Impacted By COVID-19 Can Access Unemployment Benefits
According to the Governor’s website, the fastest and easiest way to apply for unemployment assistance is online at www.azui.com
anytime between 12:01 a.m. on Sunday through 6:00 p.m. on Friday. Individuals without Internet access should call 1 (877) 600-2722. Hard copies of applications are also available in the documents center (UB-105 Arizona Initial Claim for Unemployment Insurance) at www.azdes.gov
A step-by-step guide on the application process and what information is needed can be found here.
More information about unemployment benefits from DES can be found here. A FAQ fact sheet can be found here.
For information on job openings ARIZONA@WORK staff can provide people with no-cost job assistance to help them get back to work. More information about the services available and a list of jobs with immediate openings can be found at: www.ARIZONA@WORK.com.
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