Pauls Note: Friday, May 29, 2020

 
Paul’s Note
Friday, May 29, 2020
 
Paul’s Note
Pet of the Week                 
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
City-Wide Events
Did You Know?
 
Paul’s Note
 
We have an abbreviated e-newsletter for you today given the shortened holiday week. I am very pleased to share a special story highlighting how different Ward 3 neighborhoods are finding new ways to connect in light of CDC recommendations relating to physical distancing. I also have an important budget, reopening and the strategic plan for equitable investment of CARES Act dollars.
 
But first, I want to take a moment and acknowledge the hurt and anger that many are feeling right now following the killing of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. I typically do not weigh in on matters that are not directly before Mayor & Council and have not previously spoken about the harms experienced by our African American and Mexican American communities caused by deep-seated racism. I do, however, wish to echo and amplify the following statement from my colleague regarding the death of George Floyd.
 
My heart is heavy after learning of the atrocious events that led to the killing of George Floyd. I'm outraged that another unarmed black human being has lost their life to an incomprehensible and disgusting act of violence. We must demand accountability & justice.
 
    - Mayor Regina Romero
 
What Neighboring Looks Like in Ward 3
 
It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our lives in profound ways. Maybe forever. While many of the changes we are undergoing are difficult and even hurtful, I believe if we look around us we will find some positive changes. And we don’t have to look far. Just look outside in your neighborhood. 
 
You are likely to find more people walking, running, riding bicycles on your street or around the corner. And if you have been out on your residential street, you might have run into neighbors whom you have not seen in some time or met and talked to new neighbors. 
 
This is what I believe to be one of the promising aspects of the pandemic in Ward 3. Residents are closer, made connections and have communicated more with each other. Feldman’s Neighborhood has held corner concerts for two weeks and plans another one Saturday, May 30. In Keeling, neighbors created a mutual aid group to collect and distribute food to other neighbors in need. 
 
Recently I walked a portion of North 4th Avenue to view Slow Streets project and I found numerous people using the street. So I asked some of my Ward 3 neighbors to share with us their experiences. 
 
Carla McPherson from the Grant-Campbell neighborhood wrote: 
 
“On Fridays, we’ve done a ‘four corners’ happy hour,” for neighbors living on the four corners of Water & Olsen. Neighbors bring their chairs and drinks to their respective corner and enjoyed each other from a distance. “We never met socially like this on a regular basis before the pandemic” and other neighbors walked by or joined the gathering. 
 
And to give emphasis, Carla drew a universal rainbow symbol on the sidewalk in front of her home and invited neighbors to sign in. “We’re in this together,” she wrote. 
 
 
In Sugar Hill, Samantha Hauserman wrote that she has found community in different ways. She has met new neighbors, at a safe distance, over the fence. She has had time to participate in mutual aid efforts, and different local and regional organizations. With her community garden group, “we've painted signs to introduce ourselves by plot, shared seeds, traded fresh eggs and produce and fed some of our houseless neighbors.” And through Zoom, Samantha has “attended” neighborhood association meetings and City of Tucson town halls. And her highlight was to enjoy North 4th Avenue Slow Streets pilot project which connected and enhanced three neighborhoods. "There's a sense of hope and pride, seeing the grassroots grow,” she wrote. 
 
And her mother, Cindy Hauserman, who recently moved into Sugar Hill during the middle of the shutdown, wrote me that soon after arriving, she joined the community garden. 
 
“In what could have been a rather traumatic experience, I found peace, beauty, wildlife and a welcoming community, sharing seeds, food, houseplants and even jigsaw puzzles. Everyone has been so respectful of our safety measures and yet have made me feel totally embraced by my new friends. Having a garden to tend to during these trying times has helped me maintain a peaceful mind, while making sure I stay productive. The community garden at Mansfield Park is a life-saver for me,” she wrote. 
 
Friends, as the summer is upon us, the end of the pandemic cannot be seen. But now is the time, more than ever, to venture outside. Meet your neighbors. Share stories. Create a wider and more vibrant community. And just maybe we can make this change permanent. 
 
Governing During COVID-19
 
As usual, here are the most pressing items before Mayor and Council right now in light of the pandemic. You’ll find some updates on the reopening, testing and the CARES Act Strategic Plan for equitable investment.
 
Reopening
 
The City of Tucson is working on our processes to ensure a safe reopening of City facilities and services. Beginning on June 9 some City facilities will be reopened to the public. In many cases, however, teleworking will continue for many employees. Our own Ward 3 Council office will have to go through some adaptions to prepare for reopening, as will be the case for all City facilities. As part of this effort, I also led to ensure that each ward office and the Mayor’s office have masks available to provide to the most vulnerable community members. My office will have masks available and mask wearing will be mandatory for City employees in public areas in our facilities as well as visitors to the Ward 3 office.
 
We are also working to get pools open. This is challenging because of how late in the season we are beginning to hire life-guards. As a consequence, we may be limited to opening only 9 pools in June. I know this will be hard for many Ward 3 constituents who depend on our pools for exercise and relaxation. My office is following this closely and will work to make sure that the open pools are reasonably geographically disbursed.
 
I shared last week that the City of Tucson is looking into how best to support the child care needs of our employees and potentially other frontline workers. I recently learned that the State of Arizona received an additional $88M for child care through the CARES Act. The catch, however, is that these funds require legislative appropriation and the legislature is no longer in session. HB2913 was introduced right at the end of the House's session last week. It was amended and passed in the House, but the Senate adjourned without hearing any bills. We expect that this will be taken up in a Special Session focused on coronavirus-related bills, we just don’t know when. These additional funds will be critical in supporting child care centers in Arizona to reopen, stay open and adhere to best practices.
 
Additionally, Mayor and Council recently took action to support restaurants in reopening safely. Specifically, policy adjustments are being made to provide relief from banners and signs in right of way as well as seating. There are limitations, however, including the need to provide ADA accessibility and clearance for fire maintenance and access to hydrants. Making these changes would allow restaurants in the City of Tucson to more easily comply with the 6-foot distance between tables. Here’s an example of the types of changes our Planning and Development Services Department are undergoing.
 
 
We want to be sure our restaurants can achieve an environment similar to the one on Main Gate shown above. This is a still a work in progress and we are all continuing to learn how best to implement CDC recommendations. A particularly tricky issue we are still working to resolve relates to how our business operators best mitigate the issues of customers clustering in right of way while waiting for a table or waiting to enter a store in our new reduced occupancy environment.
 
Public Health Infrastructure in Tucson
 
The City of Tucson began discussions recently with Pima County, UA and health providers to identify the testing and tracing capacity needs and specifically to chart out a strategic plan to boost our public health infrastructure. Currently, we find that testing is available but, as we do more tests, the turn around time for results is getting longer. Currently most of the labs are taking between 4-7 days to get results back. That is just too long according to public health experts.
 
And the amount testing will continue to increase. Pima County, in alignment with ADHS requirements, has begun to offer testing to senior residential care facilities who serve more than 6 residents. This means an additional 11,000-16,000 residents in long term care and assist living facilities will begin being tested throughout the county.
 
Reducing the turnaround time for results from labs is, an issue the City of Tucson is hoping to resolve with our partners. This is also the case with the need for more contact tracing. Pima County currently has the equivalent of 25 full-time contact tracers. We need an additional 100-300 tracers based on our population in Pima County. I feel confident that Tucsonans will benefit by having the City of Tucson, Pima County, UA and key health providers such as El Rio working together to resolve these issues.
 
I hope to have more updates for you soon.
 
CARES Act Spending
 
On Wednesday, my colleagues and I took important steps forward in meeting the immediate needs of Tucsonans dealing with the economic hardships from the pandemic. As regular readers know, the City of Tucson has additional costs from mitigating the public health crisis as well as a loss in revenues because of the economic fallout. Specifically, the City of Tucson has already expended $31 million in COVID-19 related costs. We are looking strategically at how we both make sure that City services do not suffer because of budgetary constraints and make sure we are responding to the deepening needs of many Tucson households in a way that fosters greater equity.
 
Taking all of those considerations into account, I voted this week to approve a strategic plan to distribute the $95.7 million the City received from the federal CARES Act. The plan includes criteria to distribute funds through an equity framework to reach the most vulnerable and underserved in the community.
 
The broad categories of the plan include public-facing supports, City services and maintaining a reserve to respond to a potential resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the fall (or sooner). The plan includes a total of $22 million in community aid including forgivable grants for small business and non-profits, rental and utility assistance, funds for distance learning and wifi access, domestic violence prevention, childcare, food delivery for seniors, among other areas. Each of these areas of investment are priorities for me and my team and I will continue to work closely on child care, food delivery and rental and utility assistance.
 
In addition, the plan includes $38 million in funding for the continuity of city operations and services, including meeting the payroll needs of our first responders, as the City faces projected budget shortfalls ranging in the tens of millions of dollars. Finally, the plan sets aside $33 million in reserves for Mayor and Council to assess future needs and allocate funds accordingly. This final piece of having a reserve to respond to the virus moving forward is significant and will allow us to adapt as needed.
 
This strategic plan will be incorporated into the City Manager’s recommended budget and presented at the June 9 meeting. I’ll be sure to share more about the budget as it becomes available.
 
Be safe and take care of each other.
 
- Paul Durham
 
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Pet of the Week
 
 
 
Tucson is about 1½ -years-old and is waiting for you at Humane Society of Southern Arizona. He is super excited to come to your home and he has his very own autobiography:
 
 
Hello there friends! My name is Tucson and I am a 1.5 year old Goof Ball Mix. I came to HSSA with an unfortunate injury, but they took real good care of me and I am all healed up and ready to bring some joy to your life. I've been told that I am a goofy good boy that lives to please and put a smile on the faces of my friends. I really enjoy going for walks and running around in an open yard or field. I don't know how I feel about cats, but I do not think that I would like to live with them. I can be a bit selective with my dog friends, but once I get a feel for them then I enjoying playing! They just need to pass my criteria for friendship, so bring any canine family members with you to meet me before we can go home together. I don't have a history with children, so I should probably meet any kids aged 7 years or younger before I go home. I just want to spend my time with my best human friend, rolling on my back, eating whatever resembles food and giving many unsolicited kisses- for free! If you want a friend that will help get you through the hard times we face then I am your good boy.

You can call 520 327 6088 ext.173 to schedule an appointment to meet Tucson today!

 
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
 
Sugarhill
Wednesday
June 3
6-7pm
Donna Liggins Center
2160 N. 6th Ave
 
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City-Wide Events
 
Webinar Series Part X. Navigating the Impacts of COVID-19
Monday
June 1
3-4 pm
 
 
Please join this webinar hosted by the City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives. This week, meet Hownd, a new online marketing platform we are making available to small business to help them get back to business fast!

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

 
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Did You Know?
 
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.
 
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 Transit Services Strongly Encourage Passengers to Use a Face Covering or Mask
 
Much like Mayor Romero’s request, Tucson’s transit services – Sun Tran, Sun Link, Sun Shuttle, and Sun Van – are strongly encouraging all passengers to use a face covering or mask when riding on transit vehicles to protect one another from the spread of COVID-19. Non-medical masks, cloths, bandanas, and scarves can be used. Face coverings should cover the nose and mouth. Passengers who are 2 years old and under and those who are medically unable should not wear a face covering. Riders can take additional preventive measures to stay safe, including covering coughs/sneezes and washing hands regularly, practicing 6 feet social distancing from other passengers, staying behind the yellow line after boarding a Sun Tran bus, using public transit for essential travel only, and staying home if sick. Drivers are provided with masks, gloves, and disinfectant spray. Transit fares currently remain free to reduce direct contact between passengers and drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information for anyone who wishes to make their own face coverings.
 
Tucson City Court Begins Phased Reopening June 1
 
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tucson City Court made many operational changes to ensure the court could remain open while providing a safe environment for the public and staff. This has included limiting the number of in person court appearances and increasing the number of telephonic and video hearings.  The court also opened a walkup service window for the public to conduct business without entering the building.
 
On June 1 the court will begin the process of a measured and prudent reopening process adhering to the Phase I Reopening Protocols established by the Arizona Supreme Court.
 
The reopening protocols require that all staff and public:
  • Will be temperature scanned at the building entrance by a non-invasive way by temperature scanner. Anyone that registers a temperature of 100.4 or above will have their hearing rescheduled and will be directed to seek medical care.
  • Will be required to wear a mask or face covering.
  • Will be asked to socially distance to the extent possible. This includes work areas, public lobbies, elevators, and courtrooms. Elevator use will be restricted to those who are physically unable to navigate the stairs.
  • Will be subject to courtroom access restrictions. Access to courtrooms will be limited to court staff, defendants, parties, witnesses, victims, treatment providers, ADA assistants and attorneys who wear masks or face coverings.  All others, including friends and family are excluded.
Due to updated safety and screening practices, we ask that the public arrive 30 minutes before their scheduled hearing time.
 
For further information or questions please visit www.tucsonaz.gov/courts or call (520)791-4216.
 
EL TRIBUNAL MUNICIPAL DE LA CIUDAD DE TUCSON COMIENZA LA REAPERTURA GRADUAL, CON RESTRICCIONES, 1 DE JUNIO
 
En respuesta a la pandemia de COVID-19, el Tribunal Municipal de la Ciudad de Tucson realizó muchos cambios operativos para garantizar que la corte pudiera permanecer abierta mientras que proporciona un entorno seguro para el público y el personal. Esto ha incluido limitar el número de asistencias en persona en la corte y aumentar el número de audiencias telefónicas y de video. El tribunal también abrió una ventanilla de atención al cliente sin cita previa para que el público atienda sus asuntos sin entrar al edificio.
 
El 1 de junio, la corte comenzará el proceso de reapertura medido y prudente que se adhiere a los Protocolos de Reapertura Gradual Fase I establecidos por el Tribunal Supremo de Arizona.
 
Los protocolos de reapertura requieren que todo el personal y el público:
  • Se tomará la temperatura a los concurrentes al entrar al edificio con un detector de temperatura no invasivo. Cualquier persona que registre una temperatura de 100.4 o más tendrá su audiencia reprogramada y se le pedirá que busque atención médica.
  • Se le pedirá que use una máscara o una cubierta facial.
  • Se le pedirá que se aleje socialmente en la medida de lo posible. Esto incluye áreas de trabajo, vestíbulos públicos, elevadores y salas de audiencias. El uso del elevador estará restringido a aquellos que físicamente no pueden usar las escaleras.
  • Estará sujeto a restricciones de acceso a la sala del tribunal. El acceso a las salas del tribunal estará limitado al personal del tribunal, los acusados, las partes, los testigos, las víctimas, los proveedores de tratamiento, los asistentes de la ADA y los abogados que usan cubre bocas. Todos los demás, incluidos amigos y familiares están excluidos.
Debido a las prácticas actualizadas de seguridad y detección, solicitamos que el público llegue 30 minutos antes de su hora de audiencia programada.
 
Para obtener más información o preguntas, visite aqui o llame al (520) 791-4216.
 
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 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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