Friday, May 22, 2020
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
Did You Know?
As my team and I prepare for the Memorial Day weekend, we are reminded of the importance of service. I want to thank all of you who serve your country and your neighbors with courage.
Today’s note will provide you with updates on a number of important policy concerns including access to child care, future relief packages and the City’s plans to build greater capacity for testing and contact tracing to City of Tucson employees and all Tucsonans. I also have an important update on the implementation of the HUD Choice Neighborhoods grant, or Thrive in the ’05, that the City of Tucson received. This is an important effort aimed at reversing the stigma and hardships faced in the 85705 zip code following the development of I-10 and subsequent disinvestment from the area. You will also learn about a recent Arizona Illustrated episode featuring one of Ward 3’s neighborhoods—you’ll have to keep reading to learn which one.
Thrive in the ‘05
I realize that for the past two-plus months it seems that we have heard and have read only about the pandemic. For good reason. The virus is serious and life threatening. But I have been insistent on bringing to Ward 3 information and stories that have nothing to do with the pandemic. Here’s another one of those.
The Thrive in the ‘05 continues to forge ahead in creating more resilient and empowered communities in the 85705 zip code of Ward 3. Many of you know that I have been working with the initiative which is a collaboration with Tucson’s Housing and Community Development and Economic Initiative offices, Pima Community College and Arizona State University’s School of Social Work. This effort has multiple prongs and I want to bring you up to date on those efforts to focus on the Tucson House, the city’s largest public housing facility, and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The Thrive project is coming close to selecting several public projects that will enhance, beautify and create job opportunities in and around the Tucson House, along Miracle Mile, Oracle Road and Drachman Street, and in Old Pascua and Barrio Blue Moon. Eleven proposals have been submitted for consideration. They include murals and sculptures. A store front façade proposal is in the mix and Miracle Mile markers. There are ideas for a community garden in Sugar Hill, shade trees and water harvesting along North 15th Avenue, and a dog park and other improvements at Esquer Park in Barrio Blue Moon.
The 11 proposals will be evaluated and scored. The Thrive in the ‘05 Steering Committee, made up of residents, Pima Community College, ASU, other community stakeholders and various departments representing the City of Tucson, will make its recommendations to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development which provided the funding for Thrive in the ‘05. HUD will make the final decision. The deadline, at this point, is uncertain due to delays in the timetable created by the pandemic.
But it’s coming. What is here and present is another call to action for Ward 3 residents and businesses. The Tucson House residents continue to need your support and kindness.
The Reach AZ helpline has been created to help older, isolated Tucson House residents and anyone else in Pima County feel connected. The number to call is 1-833-REACHAZ (732-2429), Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers can talk to someone about their present situation and get information about services and help. Volunteers, especially Spanish-speaking volunteers, are needed and will be trained.
Another effort to help residents is called Helping Hands Care Boxes. Household and personal hygiene products, especially masks, are being collected and distributed. Donations and volunteers are needed.
Resources for Guardians
Live Theatre Workshop
Live Theatre Workshop is a great non-profit located in Ward 3 that focuses on theatre and theatre education in Tucson that entertains, educates, and enlightens children, adults, and families. During the summer LTW is offering classes online for people of all ages. Please click
here if you are interested in learning more.
La Frontera has been offering Tips of the Day for guardians and their children. I thought I would share a few.
Amphi Public Schools Food Service
The Amphi Food Service Department is continuing summer meals through June 30, 2020. They are transitioning to a two-day-per-week serving schedule. All sites will remain open, but now serving Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 to 12 noon. Even though they are only serving two days, children will be receiving multiple meals per day. On Tuesdays, the children will receive three breakfasts and lunches, and Thursdays the kids will receive four breakfasts and lunches for a total of seven days of meals. Children are not required to be present. Meals are available to anyone 18 and younger.
Sun Tran introduced its first electric bus into service on Sunday, May 17. The electric bus is powered only by battery and produces zero-emissions, contributing to cleaner and healthier air in Tucson, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced fuel and maintenance costs. Utilizing advanced technology, the electric bus provides a quieter and comfortable ride for passengers.
This is the first electric bus to be deployed in Sun Tran’s fleet, and will be leased for the next year as part of a pilot program. Sun Tran has purchased and expects to receive five additional electric buses later this year, paid for with funding awarded by the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Low-No Emission Grant program.
Sun Tran and the City of Tucson recognize the advantages of incorporating an all-electric bus program, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, lowering fuel and maintenance costs and offering quality service to passengers.
The electric bus will be used on various routes to test its performance in the Sun Tran system and in the desert climate. Tucson Electric Power (TEP) upgraded Sun Tran’s electrical system and installed a new bus charging system at no cost to Sun Tran. Thanks to TEP, transportation on electric buses is possible in Tucson. The 40-foot electric bus has a battery capacity of 444 kWh and features a low-floor design.
Sun Tran has a new video offering a first look at the new bus. Please view it here.
Here’s a Ward 3 history quiz: Do you know how Sugar Hill, one of our neighborhoods, got it’s name? Do you know why the neighborhood was created? Finally, do you know where Sugar Hill is located?
Many Ward 3 residents, I’m sure, have heard of Sugar Hill, which is located between Grant, Stone, First Avenue and Lee Street. It’s one of Tucson historic black neighborhoods created, sadly, through discriminatory housing practices known as “red lining” in the late 40s and early 50s.
You can hear about this and more in a recent edition of “Arizona Illustrated” on Arizona Public Media, the broadcasting arm of the University of Arizona. The 10-minute video
, called Sugar Hill, consists of a conversation between Sadie Shaw, an oral historian
and president of the Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association, and life-long neighborhood resident Jack Anderson Jr., known to his neighbors and friends as Jacki Blu.
The two talk about his family’s history and Sadie’s family history, which exemplify similar histories of most old-time residents who came to Tucson from other parts of the country, principally Texas and Louisiana.
“Nobody has been telling the Sugar Hill story right,” Jacki tells Sadie at the opening of the segment which was broadcast May 18.
But a more vibrant and accurate history of the neighborhood is being told through Sadie’s efforts in and the Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association with the support of the Ward 3 office. For the past two years, residents have worked, with my support, to reclaim Sugar Hill’s history and even its name. Earlier this year the association erected a new neighborhood sign on North 6th Avenue to replace the old signs with the misnomer [could we say “former"] name: Northwest Neighborhood.
Sugar Hill is a name given to many black neighborhoods across the country used to suggest that the area was up and coming, Sadie says in the video. Tucson’s Sugar Hill was where black middle class and professional residents moved to, largely because other neighborhoods were off limits to black people. And after the families arrived, many of the heads of households could not get good-paying jobs in Tucson because they faced discriminatory hiring practices.
But like neighborhoods in Tucson and across the country, strong social forces, principally drug-related crime, tore away Sugar Hill’s close-knit fabric. And in recent years, gentrification has altered the neighborhood’s character.
Still, the neighborhood persists and renewed focus on its past and future will help in preserving Sugar Hill’s history and role in Ward 3.
Governing During COVID-19
I’ve shared previously that my team and I developed a set of policy priorities based on needs we were anticipating so that it could help to guide us as we advocate on behalf of Ward 3 constituents through these challenging times. These include actions to reduce and manage COVID-19 exposure as well as a suite of policies and approaches that focus on access to health care, our food supply chain, child care for essential workers and supports to full-time parents and digital resources for seniors as well as efforts to reduce evictions or harms from eviction once the moratorium is lifted, securing safe places for people experiencing homelessness, closing the digital divide for students and working toward green job creation as a means to rebuild our economy once we have successful treatments. We’ve seen progress on nearly all of these items to varying degrees. I’ll provide some brief updates on a few of these below before providing updates on the Heroes Act, the City's plan to increase testing capacity and an upcoming public heath information campaign.
Last week Governor Ducey announced that the Arizona Enrichment Centers Program will expand to cover more essential workers. Initially started to aid first responders and essential medical workers, the program will now also serve the children of grocery store employees and food bank workers. This is an important step as most essential workers continue to have limited option for child care. The program will also continue to offer prioritized care and scholarships to eligible families through the end of July. If you believe your family might be eligible, you can find the application here
We are also making some headway at the City of Tucson to investigate whether and how we might alter our KIDCO programing to better help meet the needs of City of Tucson employees and other key workers in accessing child care. On Tuesday, I asked our City Manager to start with a survey of city employees to ensure we know what their needs are. Relatedly, we will have to follow what our providers are doing to respond to the need while keeping their employees and the kids they serve safe. Accessing child care was a challenge for many households prior to the pandemic and the industry is slowly trying to figure out how to reopen safely. According to a number of child care and family advocates that I met with recently, the industry is stretching to try and meet best practices during the pandemic to reduce the staff to kids ratio to one to ten. This is very challenging in an industry that constantly has to try and cut costs to allow families to have access to child care in light of limited government investment.
Here is a snapshot of the industry that Penelope Jacks, formerly of Children’s Action Alliance, shared with me on May 7.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Service, Child Care Licensing reports that 73% of licensed childcare centers and homes are closed statewide.
Child Care Resource & Referral reports that to date 45% family childcare and 50% of child centers are closed in Tucson.
A local Tucson early education collaborative reports that out of the 26 centers involved, only 4 have received PPP or Economic Injury Disatster Loan funding.
I’m concerned that many child care centers may have a hard time managing through the pandemic. I am interested to see if more licensed home providers might be an appropriate industry adaptation to respond to the current crisis. I believe this could be a positive workforce development and small business coaching area for the City of Tucson to work on with industry experts. If you are a child care provider in Ward 3, I’d like to hear from you about what you are doing to adapt to the current needs.
Managing and Reducing COVID-19 Outbreaks
This last Tuesday, Mayor and Council took action to develop a clear testing strategy with Pima County and the University of Arizona along with key health partners such as El Rio. Ultimately, the City of Tucson is looking to build up capacity to support an additional 1,000 tests per day, starting with being available to any City employees, at any time, on a voluntary basis. It will be critical to have open conversation between these organizations as key leaders in the region as well as large employers.
According to Dr. Bob England, the goal is to increase testing and contact tracing as well as to implement isolation and quarantines based on those findings. Dr. England said that Pima County will have enough testing available when every doctor can order a test for any patient as they see fit. We also have to get to the point where we can do repeat testing in vulnerable settings—a goal Pima County and ADHS is trying to get closer to achieving. Fundamentally, we need additional resources for the foreseeable future.
The action taken by Mayor and Council will aim to explicitly coordinate with our partners and strategically invest to increase the capacity to reduce and manage COVID-19 and potential clusters or outbreaks.
Positive Peer Pressure
I think it is really important that the City of Tucson set a positive example and do what we can to remove barriers for our community to follow CDC recommendations. I took action this week directing the City of Tucson to launch a broad public messaging campaign involving all City of Tucson social media accounts as well as apps like Next Door. We must take advantage of every opportunity to communicate these recommendations. Positive peer pressure can be a valuable tool.
On Tuesday, I presented a motion to my colleagues on the Council to implement a public information campaign promoting hand-washing, social distancing, face coverings and other CDC recommendations as well as to acquire and hand out face coverings whenever possible to community members in need. The motion passed unanimously. My office will be working closely on this project and you’ll be seeing some of this messaging soon.
I received the following updates recently from Andrew Greenhill, the City of Tucson’s director of the Office for Intergovernmental Relations. As many of you know, the relief packages from Congress to date have provided needed supports for Tucsonans. To date, no approved relief packages have included critical elements such as revenue recovery for cities, towns and counties who are reeling from the loss of tax revenues. Without revenue recovery, local public services could suffer.
Last Friday, May 15, the House approved the HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act by nine votes. Here’s what is included in the Act.
• Local government Assistance: $375 billion and funds can be used for revenue replacement.
• “Heroes Fund”: $200 billion for “pandemic premium pay” for essential workers.
• Housing Assistance: $5 billion for CDBG, $11.5 billion for ESG grants for homeless assistance, $100 billion for Emergency Rental Assistance, $150 million for HOPWA.
• Nutrition Assistance: $10 billion for SNAP and $150 million for food banks.
• Utility Assistance: $1.5 billion for a new drinking water and wastewater assistance program, $1.5 billion additional for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
• COVID-19 Testing & Contact Tracing: $75 billion
• Child Care Grants: $7 billion
• Transit Operations: $15.75 billion
• Public Safety: $300 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants
• Lifeline Program: unlimited minutes and unlimited data
• USPS: $25 billion for revenue replacement, more flexible terms for the $10 billion in borrowing authority it received in the CARES Act.
• Elections: $3.6 billion for national vote-by-mail, minimum 15 days early voting.
Unfortunately, it does not look as though the Senate has any plans to take the relief package up in its current form. That will likely remain the case barring strong public support and pressure from constituents. There are, however, some other bills in the Senate that would provide for some elements of the HEROES Act to be implemented by Congress.
For instance, Senate Bills S. 3608 and S. 3638 provide limited, additional flexibility to governments in utilizing the CARES Act dollars. A third bill, the SMART Act, would provide additional funds directly to jurisdictions to support public health infrastructure and economic stabilization. The State and Municipal Aid for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act would provide $500 billion in COVID-19 stabilization funds using the following metrics: 1) One-third to eligible entities based on population size, 2) One-third to eligible entities based upon the number of COVID-19 cases relative to the U.S. population to target the urgent public health challenge and, 3) One-third to eligible entities based upon state revenue losses relative to pre-COVID-19 projections to target the urgent economic challenge.
My colleagues and I are watching these developments closely as they could have a significant impact on how Tucson gets through the next 18 months. As always, I encourage you to contact your Member of Congress if you believe that more supports need to be available to local communities during this time.
Until next week, I wish you a safe, healthy and happy Memorial Day.
- Paul Durham
Pet of the Week
Morty is a sweet guy who just wants to be your pal. After losing his home (through no fault of his own!) his former owners had great things to say about him; Morty was housebroken in their home, and did well with the other resident smaller dog and 14 year old son. He is used to having visitors and Morty did well with everyone- adults, kids, other dogs- you name it! Morty is a very mellow guy who walks well on leash and takes treats gently. Even though he's an older guy (about 8-years-old), Morty definitely still has some get up and go! Ask about Morty today!
To adopt Morty, 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, Morty 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 email@example.com
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.
Ward 3 Events
Grab-N-Go Super Snacks ¡Comidas móviles!
Friday, 5/22-Friday, 5/29
Woods Memorial Library
3455 N 1st Ave
Free food at 10 libraries, no library card needed!
What is available:
■ Snack bags of non-perishable food like small bags of sunflower seeds, goldfish crackers, fruit, and fruit juice. These are for anyone under 18 years of age.
■ Boxes of fresh vegetables, which are available to anyone. If the box is too big we encourage sharing with neighbors!
You will have to pick your food up from a table outside the library. This is not a drive-through or curbside service. Staff cannot deliver snack bags to you in your car.
Monday through Friday from 9– 10 am through 5/29:
- Nanini Library
- Martha Cooper Library
- Valencia Library
- Mission Library
- El Rio Library
Monday through Friday from 10:30 – 11:30 am through 5/29:
- Woods Memorial Library
- Eckstrom-Columbus Library
- El Pueblo Library
- Southwest Library
- Quincie Douglas Library
Heartfelt thanks to partners who are helping us make this happen:
Amphitheater Public Schools
Arizona Department of Education
Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
Arizona Army National Guard
Santa Cruz County, Arizona
Para niños menores de 18 años.
El programa Grab-N-Go Super Snacks es una colaboración entre el Distrito Escolar Amphitheater, el Departamento de Educación de Arizona y la Biblioteca Pública del Condado Pima y se llevará a cabo de lunes a viernes hasta el 29 de mayo.
Se ha tomado la más alta precaución en la preparación y distribución de las botanas. Compañeros de la biblioteca usarán guantes, mascarillas y se asegurará que todos estén manteniendo la distancia social para así limitar el contacto entre personas. Las botanas son de larga duración (con excepción de la fruta) y están listas para llevar.
Eviction Prevention Resource Fair/Feria de Recursos de Prevencion de Desalojos
Pima County Justice Court
240 N Stone Ave
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
Did You Know?
Protect Yourself With A Mask When Out In Public
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and the Pima County Health Department are urging people to wear masks when around others in public during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not necessarily for your protection, but to keep others safe. People can spread COVID-19 before they ever show symptoms, or even if they show no symptoms at all. Masks should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be washed and dried in a machine without damaging the mask or changing the shape. For more tips on masks and other COVID-19 information, follow the link below.
Tucson Resiliency Direct Loan Program/Programa de Prestamos Directos
Virtual Student Forum
Meeting ID: 860 6332 8971
Move Tucson Virtual Town Hall
Noon Event (Spanish only)
Web link: https://bit.ly/36jT8Fj
Call in: (425) 436-6358
Access Code: 416282#
6:00pm Event (Bilingual)
Web link: https://bit.ly/2TpIcAQ
Call in: (425) 436-6358
Access Code: 416282#
Thank you to those of you who were able to join the Department of Transportation and Mobility for their first round of Move Tucson virtual town hall events last week. There was a great turn out and recordings of the events are now available on the project website at movetucson.org.
Please join DTM for two additional virtual town hall experiences in English and Spanish. These town halls are an opportunity for you to learn more about Move Tucson, hear from the project team, view the online public input map and find out how to get involved.
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