Topics in this issue...
- Be Kind/ Half-Staff
- Opioid Litigation
- 3M Litigation
- Pancho Villa
- Cell Towers
- Federal Shutdown
- Historic Train Museum
- Local First Arizona : Maynards to the Moon
- Events & Entertainment
I am going to mix this week's Be Kind and the half-staff section. Going forward, plan on a change in my format for the newsletter. I will explain.
The past nine days, I have been with my mom in TMC's Peppi's House hospice care. It was quite a journey. I know at least three friends who have passed through the place. While I was there, the dad of a city staffer also came through. Over the course of the nine days with my mom, rooms filled and emptied, families arrived and then disappeared; each moving on with their own lives, each dealing with the new gap in their life in their own individual ways. It is a sad place; it is a compassionate place.
This week's Be Kind is for all of the staff and volunteers who keep the place going. They work long hours and do their work with the quiet understanding that everyone in the place they are serving is in a vulnerable condition, the patients and the families.
As you enter Peppi's, there is a framed poster behind the counter. It speaks to the work the nurses do. I will share it here. They do the heavy lifting, not only at Peppi's, but throughout our health care system. I have seen it my whole life. Mom was an RN, so I saw it firsthand.
You will never be bored
You will always be frustrated
You will be surprised by challenges
You will carry immense responsibility and very little authority
So much to do, and so little time.
You will step into people's lives and will make a difference
Some will bless you and some will curse you
You will see people at their worst, and at their best
You will never cease to be amazed at people's capacity for love, courage
You will see life begin and end
You will see resounding triumphs and devastating failures
You will cry a lot
You will laugh a lot
You will know what it is to be human, and to be humane
So, many thanks to the folks at Peppi's. Their work touches lives in ways they cannot know.
I ran across this poem at Peppi's. It spoke to me. I hope it speaks kindly to you, as well.
With our last breath, soul slips out of our worn and tired body, and is
gently guided through the veil, into the light and unconditional love of
the heavenly worlds.
The change in format of the newsletter is with respect to the half-staff section. Each week for well over a year, I have included a half-staff section in which I honored lives lost to gun violence. I have intentionally chosen losses of people who would otherwise not 'merit' flags being lowered to half-staff because they were not famous. Their losses still matter, and the cause of gun safety will continue to be one of my prime focuses.
We lose loved ones daily from causes too varied to list. This half-staff will honor all of those. You might want to take a moment to reflect on a loved one you have had to say goodbye to. This half-staff is for him or her, and it is for my mom.
I will not have this section in the newsletter any longer. It will be retired in respect of our cumulative loved ones who have moved on without that public notice, but we all have individually noticed, deeply, our personal losses.
Gun violence will continue, and lives will be lost through our national unwillingness to stand up to the lobby groups who compel politicians - who buy politicians - to run from adopting common sense gun control measures in any meaningful way. If you feel like checking in on the hundreds of deaths that occur every week through gun violence in this country, check www.gunviolencearchive.org. I will still work the issue hard. I look forward to joining with the majority of you in doing so.
Sadly, and predictably, there will be plenty to stay on top of when it comes to gun violence. In Tennessee, a libertarian group named Atlas Arms is raising money to help fund home-based 3D printers that will churn out 9mm armor-piercing ammunition. It is aimed at circumventing a law prohibiting the sale of that level of ammo to civilians. In Pittsburgh, a county prosecutor advised their city council that they are pre-empted by state law from adopting a "Red Flag" ordinance. That is the law giving police and family members the ability to petition a court for the temporary removal of guns from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. Do Red Flag laws work? In Maryland last year, the court issued 302 petitions that resulted in the seizure of 148 weapons. In four of those instances the person was found to be a danger to schools in the area. Couple that reality with the fact that we have seen at least five police officers shot and killed in the U.S. recently and it is clear the combined work of these gun-centric groups is undeniably causing death.
In Arizona there appears to be some receptivity among Democrats and the Governor to pass a Red Flag law. It is getting resistance from the usual suspects. Now's the time to let those who support the law know you are behind them.
I shared above that we are losing loved ones from causes that extend beyond gun violence. One is the over-prescription of addictive opioids. Last week we joined others across the nation in a lawsuit against the product manufacturers of the drugs. In this lawsuit, our brief sounds eerily similar to that which we filed against 3M and PFC manufacturers to protect our water supply. The claims we make are clear evidence that the public was placed at risk by companies whose profit motive overtook any sense of ethics they may have had. Here are a few excerpts from the Opioid brief we filed:
The defendants in the case include several drug manufacturers as well as some distributors. The ones involved are
Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma,Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. N/K/A Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. N/K/A Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Allergan PLC F/K/A Actavis PLC; Allergan Finance LLC (F/K/A Actavis, Inc.); Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. N/K/A Actavis, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; Actavis LLC; Actavis Pharma, Inc. F/K/A Watson Pharma, Inc.; Insys Therapeutics, Inc.; Mallinckrodt, LLC; McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; Amerisourcebergen Corporation; H.D. Smith, LLC; and Anda Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Throughout the brief, we cite the public health and safety consequences of the drug manufacturer’s actions. To that point, this comment appears in the brief:
The brief gives the history of how we arrived at today’s addiction epidemic. This statement lays that groundwork:
Followed later by these claims:
They used Doctors and Front Groups to help spread the misinformation about the risks and benefits of the drugs, falsely trivializing the risk of addiction, while grossly overstating the benefits. All this being done, targeting vulnerable patient populations, and all to gain inordinate profit. One example, among many:
Some of these companies have already paid claims. Cardinal Health has paid over $94M combined to the U.S. government and the State of West Virginia, McKesson has paid over $150M, and AmerisourceBergen paid $16M to the State of West Virginia. They have demonstrably profited from their deceit if they can afford those settlements.
We will move forward with the litigation. I’ll keep you up to speed on how it progresses. Between this and the water contamination product liability lawsuits, we are doing our best to hold corporations accountable to you for the claims they make (or fail to make) about their products.
And speaking of the 3M suit, last week I asked for an update on how our actions are proceeding. It is moving along, but slowly.
Over 80 cases have been filed against the product manufacturers nationwide. When multiple lawsuits are filed against one or a small group of companies, it is common for defendants to try to get them consolidated. Recently, the PFC manufacturers filed to do just that.
Remember that one of the primary products involved in this litigation is the film forming foam (AFFF) used on military bases for firefighting. Manufacturers of AFFF filed a motion to consolidate in front of a single Federal court, which was accepted. The cases will be heard in the District of South Carolina, and is called Multi District Litigation (MDL.)
The court will hold its first status conference on February 25th. During that meeting, the sides will agree on things like how and how often motions will be submitted, what rules of discovery will be used, and choosing counsel. These are sorts of things that will allow the case to get started.
I was hopeful that our case could stand on its own and we would not be placed in the hopper with everyone else. As long as we have similar sets of facts, and this action gets some legs, we'll be fine doing it this way. There will be more to come after the 25th. In the meantime, we're continuing to work with DM on well-testing around the base to ensure the contamination is contained and that our groundwater is being protected.
As a sidebar, the Judicial Watch group who tried to get Pancho Villa's statue removed from Viente de Agosto park is back at it again. It is unclear how they are going to try to continue creating a controversy where there is none. Remember that they went before our public art commission and asked to have the statue removed. The commission voted unanimously to reject their request. Given our established procedures for making such requests that should be the end of it.
If nothing else, they are persistent. We will see where they pop up (city manager's office, parks director?) but as we enter yet another campaign season, the opportunity to manufacture an issue may prove too much for them to resist. I let them know that I opposed the removal of the statue the first time, and have now done so again. I will keep you posted. For now, Pancho remains in place.
In the past couple of weeks, we have received several inquiries about cell towers going up in and around our residential areas. The very short message is, that as a result of some pretty successful lobbying by cell distributors, the City’s voice is significantly limited.
I read through a lengthy Declaratory Ruling that was issued by the Federal Communications Commission last September. It really demonstrates the focus of the regulatory agencies as it relates to local control and involvement in the process of site location for the new small, 5G cell towers. The FCC considers getting them established throughout locales to be their mission. This statement from the report makes that pretty clear:
The report describes the limitations in local decision making that needs to be in place so cell companies can establish their networks without interference from us. Some of the areas they cite are aesthetics, spacing, undergrounding, and the length of time we have to review project site proposals. For example:
This comment that was included in the appendix of the report that was made by one of the FCC Commissioners:
We are not totally without input, but depending on the circumstances and location, we generally have 60-90 days to approve a site, or we can be sued.
These rules primarily apply to the small cell deployment. There are still height restrictions we can review on the larger towers. But in new legislation that passed through the Arizona State Legislature, this statement appears: “An applicant’s business decisions regarding the type and location of wireless facilities, wireless support structures or utility poles or the technology to be used are presumed to be reasonable.” (P8, Ln 45, HB2365)
I have asked to be notified when our planning staff receives permit applications. At the least, I’ll try to give a head’s up to residents so when they see construction happening so that you may at least know what to expect, even if your level of input is limited.
As we watch our inert Congress and President drag out this government shutdown, assistance opportunities continue to pop up around the community. Each one speaks to the heart of Tucson. One is specifically aimed at helping people who own pets to get some food – pet food is not free, so the shutdown is affecting peoples’ ability to even care for their furry family members.
Coming this Saturday, there are two locations you can try if you need some help in that area. I am grateful to both Cody’s Friends, and to the Hermitage for taking part in this work.
Throughout the month of February, the guys who run the Historic Train Museum have organized a lecture series. It will cover a variety of topics, each related to our transportation history in Tucson. Not coincidentally at all, they’ll all be held down at the Historic Depot.
Each of the lectures is free, and all will be held at 3pm on consecutive Sundays. I use the phrase “the guys who run” the museum advisedly. Notice that the February 10th lecture is being offered by Jennifer Davis-Paige. Her topic is The Women in Railroading.
Bring the family. Their presentations are both entertaining, and educational.
I opened a bit differently this week by combining the Be Kind and the half-staff sections. The message deserved to be first in line. The Moon Walk continues, and the goal is nearly in sight. As you can see, we are closing in on lunar landing. There is still time for you to include some miles as a way of satisfying your New Year’s Resolution to start exercising. Use this link. www.meetmeatmaynards.com.
Do it for your health.
Council Member, Ward 6
LECTURE: TWO EARLY VILLAGES OF TUMAMOC HILL
January 26 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Presented by the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum, this lecture focuses on Tumamoc Hill, a trincheras site, defined by a location on a hill and the architecture made of unshaped stone. The hill is recognized as an ancestral site of today’s O’odham people and includes remains of pit houses and a village structure. Dr. Suzy Fish, lead archaeologist at the site with her husband Dr. Paul Fish, and archaeologist Gayle Hartmann will share their discoveries made during their long careers at Tumamoc Hill.
SUPERSUCKERS’ 30TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR @ CLUB CONGRESS
January 27 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
8PM DOORS | $10/$12 | 21+
The Supersuckers’ 30th Anniversary Big Show Tour live at Club Congress
With a mini country set, songs from the new album “Suck It”, PLUS the “Smoke of Hell” and “La Mano Cornuda” albums in their entirety!
“You’ve heard our name, you’ve seen our records, our t-shirts and our stickers. We’re probably the favorite band of someone you know and yet maybe we’re still a mystery to you. Well my friend, that’s okay, you’re at the right place to get to know the greatest rock-n-roll band in the world, The Supersuckers.
And the next time you see the ‘Supersuckers’ name, whether it’s in the record store, online somewhere, or on the marquee at your local rock club, know that there’s some quality, honest, ass-kicking, hard working individuals behind it all trying to make your life a little better through the “Evil Powers Of Rock-n-Roll” (and the occasional detour into the country music, of course) and we’d love nothing better than to have you there with us as! Just remember to wear clean underwear, ‘cuz we’re gonna rock the pants right off of you!”
– Eddie Spaghetti, The Supersuckers
BREW HAHA COMEDY SHOWCASE PRESENTS: JOE TULLAR! @ BORDERLANDS BREWING CO.
January 28 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Brew Haha at Borderlands Brewery is Tucson’s longest running independent comedy showcase. It features nationally tour headliners as well as local talent.
Where: Borderlands Brewing Company (119 e. toole)
We are starting our 2019 and 4th year of doing this show off right! This special 4th MONDAY show is part of the Comedy Alliance of TucsonLOLCrawl which is showcasing Tucson Comedy all over the gosh darn place! Check out their page for a full schedule.
PLUS our fantastic headliner: Joe Tullar
Arizona State Museum, 1013 E University Blvd | www.statemuseum.arizona.edu
Arizona Theater Company, 330 S Scott Ave | www.arizonatheatre.org
Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S 6th Ave | www.childrensmuseumtucson.org
Fox Theatre, 17 W Congress St | www.FoxTucsonTheatre.org
Hotel Congress, 311 E Congress St | hotelcongress.com
Jewish History Museum, 564 S Stone Ave | www.jewishhistorymuseum.org
Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway Blvd | www.loftcinema.com
Meet Me at Maynards, 311 E Congress St | www.MeetMeatMaynards.com
A social walk/run through the Downtown area. Every Monday, rain or shine, holidays too! Check-in begins at 5:15 pm.
Mission Garden, 946 W Mission Ln | www.missiongarden.org
A living agricultural museum and ethnobotanical garden at the site of Tucson's Birthplace (the foot of "A-Mountain"). For guided tours call 520-955-5200
Rialto Theatre, 318 E Congress St | www.rialtotheatre.com
The Rogue Theatre, The Historic Y, 300 E University Blvd | www.theroguetheatre.org
Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N Toole Ave | www.tucsonhistoricdepot.org
Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N Alvernon Way | www.tucsonbotanical.org
Tucson Convention Center, 260 S Church St | tucsonconventioncenter.com
Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N Main Ave | tucsonmuseumofart.org
UA Mineral Museum, 1601 E University Blvd | www.uamineralmuseum.org
Watershed Management Group, Living Lab 1137 N. Dodge Blvd. | www.watershedmg.org
Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson, 2130 North Alvernon Way | www.yumegardens.org