Pauls Note: Friday, May 8, 2020

Paul’s Note
Friday, May 8, 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
 
I know many of you are looking for good information related to both resources and public health best practices. Lucky for you, I have a number of both in this week’s newsletter. Be sure to check out the event information for an upcoming City of Tucson Economic Review as well as a special event for businesses on how to safely reopen. I’ve also included some more upbeat items including a great update on a neighborhood mutual aid effort to reduce food insecurity, resources for guardians and an update on Ward 3 outreach to Spanish-speaking businesses. As always, if you have feedback or issues you need City assistance with, please contact the team at the Ward 3 office.
 
Providing Bilingual Services
 
Our Ward 3 community is large and diverse. During this pandemic, the Ward 3 staff and I have reached out to help residents, business owners and organizations about how to best deal with COVID-19.
 
A significant segment of Ward 3 includes Spanish-speaking residents and business owners. 
 
In previous Ward 3 newsletters and on my Facebook page, we have provided information in Spanish to our Spanish-speaking neighbors. This week I present Marisol Flores-Aguirre who has joined the City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives under the leadership of Barbra Coffee. Marisol’s task is to support the City's efforts targeting Spanish-language small business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 

Marisol Flores-Aguirre

 

She has met with my staff and staff from other council offices to better understand specific issues in each of the City’s six wards. Marisol, however, is no stranger to Tucson. She was born and raised here, graduated from the University of Arizona, holds a master’s degree from the Eller College of Management where she is a Mentor in Residence and she previously worked in the Ward 1 office. 
 
Marisol resumed her work with the City three weeks ago. And already she has created links with the City’s Office of Economic Initiatives, the YWCA’s Women’s Business Center, Vib’n, a start-up consulting firm that develops social media and online content and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She hit the road running and already Marisol and the Office of Economic Initiatives will launch beginning next week a six-part series of online conversations and training on Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. 
 
“Each week there will be a new topic,” Marisol said. Topics will range from using social media to access capital during this fast-moving, difficult-to-navigate time. 
 
“We’ve been moving really fast,” she said. 
 
For Spanish-speaking business owners, the pandemic shutdown has affected them harder than most small businesses, she said. In the pre-COVID period, these businesses owners tended to function informally, she explained. They lacked a fundamental financial foundation and some were not incorporated with the state. As a result, it is more difficult for these businesses to apply for federal relief funds likes the Paycheck Protection Program, loans provided by the Small Business Administration. 
 
“That has been devastating,” she said. 
 
Her job will be to provide information and direction to these businesses, to help them survive and if they do, guide them on re-opening protocols. That process includes a discussion about small businesses with Barbra Coffee of the Economic Initiatives office and Dr. Francisco Garcia, Pima County Assistant Administrator and former Pima County Public Health Director, Saturday, May 9, on La Caliente 92.1-FM, 7 am. And next week, on Friday May 15, Marisol will participate in an online discussion with my Council Aide, Ernesto Portillo, on the Thrive in the ‘05 Resource Café. 
 
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
 
A the COVID-19 pandemic swept our community in early March, a great number of people were left isolated and vulnerable: the elderly, people with disabilities, children and families with no income and/or transportation. The City of Tucson stepped up to address the growing needs of families in our neighborhoods. Also community non-profit groups who, despite their own needs and challenges, focused their efforts on reducing stress on families and individuals. And so have every-day people who recognized the need and organized assistance efforts in their immediate neighborhoods. 
 
I would like to share with you what one group is doing to help Ward 3 residents cope during the pandemic: The Keeling Neighborhood COVID19 Mutual Aid group. 
 
It began when Carrot Quinn, a resident of the Keeling neighborhood, asked herself: How are my neighbors going to cope? She talked to several neighbors and they created the aid group. They went to work. They created a GoFundMe internet site. They printed up fliers with information and a telephone number, and they distributed them in the neighborhood, which is bordered by Ft. Lowell, Grant, First and Stone. And the volunteers went door to door in this largely working-class neighborhood with a large number of people who rent apartments and mobile homes. 
 
“You don’t realize how desperate people are until you knock on their doors,” said Lula Torres, a Keeling resident and a mutual aid volunteer. 
 
 
As word spread about the aid group, requests began to come in. Presently the group serves 8 to 15 families a week with non-perishable items, like hygiene products, and food and produce. The Keeling group has formed a partnership with the Blacklidge Community Collective on East Ventura Street near Mansfield Park where the Keeling donations are collected, boxed and distributed. The aid group also has received food from the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, and local grocery stores. 
 
Volunteers with the mutual aid group are given a small stipend for making food boxes and for delivering, Torres said. The GoFundMe account is accepting donations and Keeling residents can call or text 520-261-3817 to request help. The group is building up its capacity to collect and distribute more food and needed items. 
 
Torres said the sweet spot of the group’s effort has been how people have responded offering their time and donations. The group is more than half way to its goal of $5,000, money which is used to purchase some food and personal items to distribute. 
 
 
While the pandemic has been hard and hurtful to many Ward 3 residents, I am proud of the many residents who have volunteered to help this group and all other community groups in our neighborhoods. If you too can offer some support to the Keeling Mutual Aid group, it would go a long way as the pandemic winds its course. 
 
“We’ll be doing this as long as the pandemic lasts,” she said. Or maybe longer because of the need among Keeling residents. 
 
More Generosity
 
Examples of generosity and community spirit surface every day in Ward 3 in the time of the virus. One such act of kindness came from Joel Snyder, a senior partner with the Tucson consulting firm Opus One, when he read in the Ward 3 weekly newsletter the need for donated lap tops. Joel, who spends most of this time traveling for work helping people build larger, faster, safer and more reliable networks, realized he could do something small but which would have huge results. 
 
He contacted our office to offer two lap tops that he no longer needs. 
 
 “I have dug up two fairly old but still working well laptops,” Joel, whose office is near North Mountain Avenue and East Ft Lowell Rd in Ward 3 wrote us. “They didn't get a lot of use---we are a test lab, so they were in our lab---but they are both running.” And he added, "If someone wants a system to do basic word processing, and some web browsing on, they would work. They all have plenty of memory and disk space---so they are pretty fast.” 
 
Bingo! 
 
Our office put Joel in touch with La Paloma Family Services, a foster care facility with La Frontera Arizona on North Oracle Road. Natashia McCloud, foster care supervisor was elated. 
 
“They will work perfectly. Our families will mostly use them for internet access for virtual visits/meetings and school contact/projects,” she wrote. “Thank you for your donation it is a big help for our families.” 
 
The need for lap tops for homebound youths is real. Whether they are at home or in a foster group home. These young people need the devices to conduct their school work and in some cases hold video visiting sessions with family members. 
 
So thank you Joel for your support. And thank you Ward 3 residents for lending a hand to others during this pandemic. 
 
Resources for Guardians
 
Watch Fire Chief Chuck Ryan read "Clifford the Firehouse Dog." You can follow the City of Tucson's social media sites and Kids Corner website for more boredom busters like Zoo Cams, virtual museums, Aquarium Cams, At Home Bingo and scavenger hunt ideas. Once you’ve gone through that list there are links to hundreds of other stay-at-home activities that are right at your fingertips to keep the kids occupied.
 
 
Crime Reduction
 
The Tucson Police Department has released its crime stats for 2019. For almost every category, instances of crime have declined. TPD Chief Chris Magnus recently shared with Mayor and Council this information.
 
 
These are the final numbers for Part I Crimes that occurred during 2019 as compared to 2018 and the percentage change between the two years. There is usually a lag between the end of the year and the finalization of information due to auditing done by TPD to ensure that the information, which is provided to the FBI, is accurate. 
 
The FBI tracks information currently with Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). The UCR then breaks criminal acts into two parts, aptly named Part I and Part II. Part I crimes are the most serious and you can see each one listed in the table above.
 
I am pleased to see an overall reduction in these severe crimes, but I know there is still more progress that we can make. Our office continues to work closely with both Operations Division West and Operations Division Midtown on engaging residents to prevent and report crime. I know any episode of being victimized by crime is troubling and upsetting and I take it very seriously. I am proud of the work Ward 3 and TPD have done, both at the structural and neighborhood level, to deter crime. 
 
If you are interested in learning more, you can read about the FBI’s information on crime statistics.
 
Governing During COVID-19 – Reopening, Budget & Testing
 
Reopening
 
I’m hearing a lot of worry about Arizona reopening segments of the economy too quickly and without necessary testing and contact tracing in place. As regular readers know, Pima County and the City of Tucson are doing our best to follow the CDC guidelines for a phased reopening based on public health metrics. You can see the updated metrics here. You can also see the full CDC guidelines here.
 
Arizona has yet to meet the requirements for the first phase of physical distancing requirements. That said, Governor Ducey moved more quickly than advised by the CDC to allow retailers, restaurants and salons to reopen. This is happening within a moment where we are still working to make sure that all frontline workers have access to PPE and that testing is widely available coupled with effective contact tracing.
 
Accordingly, I’m hearing from a number of organizations and businesses who are trying to ensure that they are able to reopen with appropriate protections for their staff and clients. Sufficed to say, many do not feel as though they’re receiving clear guidance. The City of Tucson is also trying to work through the executive orders from Governor Ducey as well as to understand how his preemptions placed on the City of Tucson prohibits our ability to require closer adherence with CDC guidelines. As an organization of approximately 4,500 employees, we are also working to ensure our staff and constituents are safe. This is taking many forms, including various public forums.
 
For instance, this past week my office hosted a virtual Q&A with the Bureau Chief of Residential Facilities Licensing at the Arizona Department of Health Services. This session was specific organized to try and provide additional guidance to residential senior care providers to ensure they are able to both keep their residents safe and respond appropriately as guidance from the state is shifting.
 
Next week there is a special conversation for businesses aimed at guiding them through how to best reopen. As many of you know, the City of Tucson’s Economic Initiatives offices has hosted seven webinars every Monday since the requirement that restaurants and bars move to take-out services only. On Monday, May 11, from 3-4 p.m. participants will hear from public health expert, Dr. Omar Contreras, who will help guide them through the reopening of our economy. Please be sure to register for the event.
 
At the next Mayor and Council meeting on May 19, we will discuss plans for reopening certain City of Tucson services. The intention with this discussion is to ensure Mayor and Council along with our Executive Leadership Team are able to have a public discussion about how we will proceed. Given that both the Governor’s and Mayor’s stay at home orders will sunset on May 16, unless they are extended, we will have a better idea at that time what Governor Ducey’s actions will be. Our meetings continue to be accessible to view live on-line and I encourage you to tune-in.
 
Making sure that every place of business, as well as individual households, knows what practices are recommended for them will be an ongoing issue. If you have specific questions, please contact my office and we will do our best to connect you with the subject matter experts.
 
Budget
 
Mayor and Council are in the process of debating the budget for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1. As regular readers know, the City is experiencing a severe loss in revenues while we are experiencing additional costs to manage the pandemic and we have also received restricted funds for responding to the pandemic. The guidance on how we can use those relief funds continues to trickle in. This has led to a very fluid, uncertain budget process.
 
It is important to me that Ward 3 constituents and stakeholders have an opportunity to weigh in on the budget process. I will host an on-line presentation with City Manager Mike Ortega and Tucson's Director of Intergovernmental Relations, Andrew Greenhill, for an important overview of the City of Tucson's proposed budget and use of Congressional relief funds. The event will be held on Tuesday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m. and will be held over Zoom (accessible by phone/computer). You are encouraged to attend and ask questions or offer feedback. Registration is required.
 
Testing
 
We know that the health of our residents and economy are dependent on the ability to quickly identify positive cases and treat appropriately to avoid clusters that spread widely. All of this depends on having adequate tests available.
 
Last week the University of Arizona began a study of an antibody/COVID-19 test. That’s right, this test can discern both if you currently have COVID-19 or if you were exposed and have developed antibodies. The University has tested 1,000 medical professionals, 1,000 first responders and 1,000 members of the public. Individual results should be coming over the next few days. This study will allow them to ensure the effectiveness of the test and make adjustments as necessary.
 
If the UA is able to move forward quickly with a dependable test, it could have great benefit. Arguably, such a test will be instrumental in allowing the UA to reopen to students fully in the fall. While it’s too soon to say for certain, I am watching with interest to see how the study progresses.
I was so intrigued by the UA’s effort that I joined the University’s Senior Director of Government & Community Relations, Julie Katsel, for the first day of testing (see below).
 
Council Member Durham and Julie Katsel
 
I want to thank Julie for giving me an update on the extraordinary work that her colleagues on the project are engaged in.
 
Stay safe and take good care of yourself and others.
 
- Paul Durham
 
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Pet of the Week
 
 
 
The staff at Pima Animal Care Center think that Luna is a Staffordshire Terrier and Mastiff blend. She is 4-years-old and the staff have this to say about her:
 
Luna is a sweet girl that has been an indoor dog most of her life, but through no fault of her own, has had several homes in the last few years. Luna has lived with kids previously, but might do best with older kids since she's a big girl and doesn't always remember that! Luna enjoys walks and car rides, is housebroken and crate trained, but also loves sleeping on the couch or in bed with her people. One of Luna’s previous owners, who had to surrender her for financial reasons, said that she’s pretty much the perfect dog. Let's find her a home that she can keep forever and ever! Luna would really like to be your one and only, and is looking for a home without cats or other dogs... or Amazon parrots...she previously showed a little too much interest in a feathery friend!
 
To adopt Luna, 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, Luna has already been adopted but feel free to continue to look for other pets!
 
As most of you may know, social distancing is a priority at this time and so PACC has a new way to adopt and foster animals at the shelter that involves making an appointment.
 
To be contacted for an adoption or foster appointment, fill out the dog or cat survey below:
CAT SURVEY
DOG SURVEY

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 a.m. 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
 
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 ward3@tucsonaz.gov 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. 
 
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Ward 3 Events
 
Invitation to Budget Discussion
Tuesday
May 12
5:30 pm
 
Council Member Durham invites you to join him, City Manager Mike Ortega, and Tucson's Director of Intergovernmental Relations, Andrew Greenhill, for an important overview of the City of Tucson's proposed budget and use of Congressional relief funds. 
Ward 3 constituents are encouraged to attend and offer feedback to Council Member Durham on the proposed budget for fiscal year 20/21 and how the City of Tucson will use relief funds.
 
The event will be held on Tuesday, May 12th at 5:30 pm and will be held over Zoom (accessible by phone/computer). Registration is required. 
 
 
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City-Wide Events
 
Part VIII. Navigating the Impacts of COVID-19 for Small Businesses
 
 
Please join us for this free webinar Monday, May 11, from 3-4 p.m.
Hosted by the City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives, hear from public health expert, Dr. Omar Contreras, who will help guide us through the reopening of our economy. 
 
 
Omar Contreras, Dr.PH, MPH, Founding Member, ConTrias Policy Associates, LLC
 
Dr. Omar A. Contreras holds a Doctorate of Public Health (Dr.PH) in health policy and management and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology from the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
 
Webinar Series Parts I - VII are now available at ConnectTucson.
 
 
Environmental and General Services Department Hosts Virtual Recycling Q&A
Tuesday
May 12th
3 pm
 
 
Do you have questions about recycling? It can be confusing and the City of Tucson's Environmental and General Services Department (EGSD) is here to help. EGSD is hosting a Virtual Recycling question and answer session on Tuesday, May 12, at 3 p.m. The event will be streamed live and will start with a short recycling presentation, and then EGSD will open it up to live questions. The Q&A applies only to City of Tucson residents who use Tucson's trash and recycling services, because the recycling guidelines are different depending on the hauler.
 
American Red Cross Partners With Food City For Blood Drives
 
Food City Tucson is excited to partner with the American Red Cross to launch the first of what they hope will be many blood drives. The American Red Cross is responsible for fulfilling the local hospitals with much needed, potentially lifesaving units of blood. Each donation collected can save up to three lives. Blood is critically needed right now, and they are asking all donors to please come out and donate during this challenging time.
 
  • Date: Wednesday, May 13th
  • Time: 8am-1pm
  • Where: Food City Parking Lot / Red Cross Blood Mobile | 2950 S. 6th Ave, 85713
  • Donors must sign-up by appointment at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive using Sponsor Code: FCTucson
  • FC Tucson staff and players will be onsite to provide signed posters and bandanas as a token of gratitude. 
The Red Cross has been making a humanitarian impact for more than 130 years, and has been collecting blood for over 70 of those years. Everyone can be part of something important when they work with the Red Cross to strengthen the blood supply and give back to our community. As a reminder, the Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation. Donating blood does not impact or weaken the immune system. At the blood drive, Red Cross employees will follow thorough safety protocols including taking all donor temperatures, wearing gloves, and personal protective gear, wiping down donor-touched areas after every collection, using sterile collection sets for every donation and arm scrubbing. These mitigation measures will help ensure blood recipient safety, as well as staff and donor safety in reducing contact with those who may potentially have this respiratory infection. 
 
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Did You Know?
 
El Rio and Pima County Health Department COVID-19 Task Force
 
El Rio is working closely with Pima County Health Department by deploying “shot shot” teams in the community to perform COVID-19 testing for vulnerable populations including senior living facilities, nursing homes, low income housing and homeless shelters--all areas where there are known positive cases. El Rio is also doing drive up testing tomorrow, Saturday, May 9 for qualified patients at-risk. Call 520-670-3909 if you would like to know more.
 
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.
 
Food Bank Has Online Map For Those In Need
 
With many people seeking food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona offers an online map of where to go for those who need help. The Food Bank has locations in Tucson, Marana, Amado, Green Valley, Nogales and a few other locations. You can find a link to the map below.
 
Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona locations: https://bit.ly/2RNmTIP 
Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona's main website: http://bit.ly/1QB3wtH 
 
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.

 
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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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