Topics in this issue...
- Be Kind
- Raices Taller 222 – and the Tucson Art Community
- Local First
- Southwest Key
- Border Patrol Meeting
- Sunshine Mile
- Integrated Weed Management
- Rainwater Harvesting Opportunities
- Water Contamination Standards
- Reid Park Zoo
- Parks Summer Jobs
- Transportation Museum
- End of Life Options
- Events & Entertainment
Friday, Crystal and Melissa joined me at the Emerge Mother of the Year luncheon. The work Emerge does on behalf of domestic violence victims in this city is immense. This annual gathering to honor one special mom is something that touches my heart.
Congratulations to Tiffany for being named this year’s Emerge Mother of the Year. She overcame multiple abusive relationships, protected her children throughout, and is now working, supporting them as an LPN here in Tucson. She has turned the trauma into triumph. She is a living testament to what you can achieve with hard work, and with a support system such as what Emerge provides. Anyone can donate to the important work Emerge does through their website at www.emergecenter.org.
We had about a dozen Parks employees working at the El Pueblo center while it was used as an overflow site for migrants. They worked wherever there was need – cooking, cleaning, translating, and any other function that popped up. I think all of the city workers who took part in that operation came away surprised at how difficult it really is – and therefore with a greater appreciation for the hard work our city residents have been doing at the Benedictine. This Be Kind is specifically for those parks employees who stepped up and took on whatever we threw at them for the week or so we had the center open. They served with a smile, and a tender heart.
Saturday I went by the chapel at the monastery to check on the Lend a Hand Senior Assistance ‘yard sale.’ This is the one where all the proceeds go to helping seniors stay in their own homes. Find them to support their work at www.lahseniorhelp.org. As I entered, I noticed blankets that were neatly folded, and left on the backs of pews. It turns out that the Central American migrants had wanted to ‘give back’ to this community. They took some of the nicer blankets that were donated to them and ‘regifted’ them to our seniors. They are serving, and they are being served. That deserves a Be Kind.
Lastly, while I was walking out I bumped into a former UA swimming coach. He was carrying a few large bags full of Red Cross blankets. Coach told me he has been working at the monastery for a little over three weeks now. This is a man who has coached Olympic swimmers. Now he is carrying laundry around over at the Benedictine. That, along with the neighborhood yard sale and you can see once again the heart of Tucson. It rounds out this weeks Be Kind section.
The Mujeres, Mujeres, Mujeres opening took place last Saturday. Raices Taller was filled to the brim with people out to see the 80 different art exhibits. I enjoyed stopping and chatting with the many people I bumped into during the evening.
Having my mom’s work there is an honor. The wonderful folks at Raices suggested using one of mom’s old paint carts to use as the display. It has her paint drippings all over it, so there is a cool connection to her work. And seeing all of the other artists’ work is humbling. I have like zero artistic talent. Drop by Raices at 218 E. 6th any Friday or Saturday from 1pm until 5pm through the month of May and see the show. They can also meet you off hours on request. Being all volunteer driven, they can certainly use any support the community brings their way. The show is well worth the trip.
Still on the art theme: this sculpture is called Flight of Time. It is the creation of Susan Wink. You can see it at the 3rd Street/University streetcar stop. You can see public art at all of the streetcar stops. Public art and its conservation is the topic of this week’s local Tucson.
The Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona is hosting a forum called “Making Public Art Conservation Real: City of Tucson’s Public Art Collection.” The featured speaker will be Rosa Lowinger. She is the Principal at RLA Conservation.
RLA works on art conservation. They have projects all over the world. Their own studios are located in both L.A. and in Miami. Rosa will be here to talk about Tucson’s public art collection, and the process that goes into conserving art in a desert climate.
The presentation is free – and the seating is limited. It will be at the College of Fine Arts on the UA campus (1017 N. Olive.) The event begins at 5:30 on Monday, May 6th. They would like you to do this: RSVP requested.
We have over 100 pieces of public art in varying locations around the City. This should be an interesting discussion if art conservation is up your alley.
R. Buckminster Fuller was an architect who did his work in the early-to-middle part of the 1900’s. One of his notable quotes is “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” That is what we must do with our immigration system. Specifically how we are detaining kids. That reality became even clearer to me as I visited the Southwest Key facility last week.
First, thanks to Councilmember Durham for inviting me to participate in the tour. I have been there before, but now that we are seeing a surge in the number of migrants from Central America, I wanted to see it again with a fresh set of eyes. It is important to be clear; the staff that run the place – the local staff – appears to have a tender heart for the ‘kido’s.’ They are administering a system that they have been handed. I believe they care about the youth in their control; however, the youth are indeed in their control. Returning them to parents or other family members has to be the focus. If we had statutory authority to avoid the separation to begin with, that would be even better. This is the ‘new model.’
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) staffer who gave the opening pitch on their work at SW Key, they have over 12,000 kids in their care across the country. Of that number, the average length of stay in one of their facilities is 62 days. In the Tucson facility, they say it is closer to 12 days. How they arrive in their care is one of the parts of the system that is bothersome to me.
When migrants arrive at the border, kids under the age of 18 are allowed to stay with parents. We are seeing that group at the monastery. Parents are called a Category 1 relation. Any other ‘Category’ requires separation. When I called it that (separation) the ORR person took exception. “Legally” if the kid is with say a grandparent or a sibling who is over the age of 18, the kid is called an “unaccompanied alien child.” It is only Category 1 relationships that count when using the descriptor ‘separation.’ If a kid shows up with grandma, the youth is detained apart from her – that is not a ‘separation’ in their eyes. Think George Orwell.
The SW Key staff takes on the job of finding next of kin or some sponsor to receive the child. That is what is occurring during their stay in the facility. The recipient of the child may indeed be a Category 2 relation – it may be exactly the person from whom the kid was separated. None of the staff I asked found it troubling that that was an irony of the system. They seemed to feel that if a person ‘claimed’ to be grandma, that statement could not be trusted until later, after the separation took place, and ‘grandma’ was contacted and asked pertinent questions about their relationship. They do not conduct any biometric testing to confirm that relationship. Just as is true at the border, the claim is based on an honor system when the SW Key staff finally makes the connection and prepares to release the kid to the sponsor.
To be fair, while in their care at SW Key, they appear to do their best to care for the kids in a humane way. Nevertheless, they are separated from the person with whom they made the journey from Guatemala, or Honduras, or from wherever. There is a portion who arrives totally unaccompanied – that is Category 4. That is sad. It is not the majority.
When we arrived we were greeted by a roomful of staffers, along with six young kids, all dressed in nice suits. Four of the girls were from Guatemala. One was from Honduras. There was a young lad who was from Mexico – described as an orphan. He had been at SW Key for nine months. I know of the conditions that exist in Guatemala and Honduras. We hear the stories of horribly brutal conditions. When I asked one of the staff if the kids they receive ever show signs of that trauma, her reply floored me. Of course they do not show signs of trauma. I must understand that when a person never knows anything different, gunshots going off in the neighborhood are the norm. Robberies are the norm. Therefore, there is nothing to be traumatized about. Seriously. I suppose the same is true of gang rape. If it is happening to all the girls, where is the trauma? The psychological care these kids receive cannot be nearly adequate if the prevailing attitude is that if your surrounding conditions are brutal, that is the norm and therefore no signs of inner trauma should be expected.
SW Key staff told us that their occupancy rate is “97%” of their beds are full. That is actually not true because they also said they have 146 kids on site. They have a capacity for 300. They’re basing the 97% on the State mandated 150 person cap that is now in place due to certification problems they had last year when allegations of mismanagement hit the news. They still have not been recertified at the 300-occupant level, but I suppose 146 out of ½ of what you can really hold is close to 97%, depending on how you ‘do the math.’
There are over 90,000 kids stuck in the legal system nationwide. The staff at SW Key are caught in a system that is backlogged and needs serious attention from the federal level. They need judges, and in my opinion, they need to really reassess the basis for removing kids from adults in whose care they are when initially detained. As I told one of the SW Key staffers when he cautioned me that ‘just because a guy claims to be an uncle does not make it true’ – I get the problem of trafficking. Yet, if nobody is doing biometric testing to confirm a familial relationship when the kid is eventually reintroduced to “Uncle Bud” later on, then what is the gain? It is not “opening doors to opportunity so individuals can achieve their dreams” as is stated on the cover of the brochure you are handed when you enter SW Key.
I believe SW Key local staff cares for the kids. They work for a Texas-based ‘non-profit’ that operates shelter facilities in California, Arizona and of course in Texas. That ‘non-profit’ had revenues in 2016 of nearly $250M. Largely through federal Grants. By mid-last year, they had received over $310,000,000 in federal Grants to care for the kids we saw. What other connections does the ‘non-profit’ have? It is also the sole owner of SW Key Enterprises. That’s a for-profit company made up of several small businesses that work varying parts of youth care, construction and maintenance services – job development. Our guide told us that when kids age out of their program at 18, they sometimes go to work for Job Corps. No mention was made of the SW Key Enterprises options. I am cynical enough to believe there may be an unsavory labor pipeline that was not discussed.
I also believe the system places that for-profit company in a great position to make some cash off the separations that take place at the border. We have a judicial system that works similarly in for-profit prison systems. We need a federal delegation that is going to overhaul this part of the immigration system so kids are not caught in a profit-driven process and being kept from loved ones unnecessarily.
I was pleased to be invited to a last-minute meeting called by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) last Friday, the purpose of which was to discuss the on-going migrant issue. Historically, CBP has been a pretty insular organization, not being the most outwardly engaging. Certainly less so than ICE has been. The Friday meeting was an opportunity to open some new doors.
The meeting came on the heels of our having gone through a week of adjusting to significant increases in the number of migrants we are serving. Both the City and the County had stood up migrant relief operations in community centers. This is a shot I took of just some of the outbound bus trips we were sending people on from the monastery one evening last week. You can imagine that we are working with people who do not speak English, are travelling with small children, and who have hunger and clothing needs. We are getting them established with a next of kin across the country. Logistically, it is tough.
I poached this map from a memo County Administrator Huckelberry sent out last week. It further shows where 159 asylum seekers were headed from our Tucson operations. Having the Border Patrol meeting was an important and timely gathering.
The meeting agenda produced by CBP was titled Humanitarian Crisis – Round Table Discussion. It was great to see it acknowledged up front that we were there to talk about a humanitarian issue, not a debate on law enforcement practices and policies. That debate can take place in a different forum. Our focus was how we can best take care of the situation we are facing right here in Tucson.
Our situation is similar to what they are seeing in El Paso, Phoenix, and Yuma. However, we are facing the elimination of our primary intake facility, the monastery. We need to get a long game in place.
Present at Fridays meeting were staffers from Representatives Kirkpatrick and Grijalva’s offices, and staffers representing Senators McSally and Sinema. Also in attendance were about 15 CBP officers, an ICE representative, County and City administration, TPD, TFD, the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Border Action Network, Department of Public Safety, Pima County Sheriff, Catholic Community Services and the United Methodist Church. We had a full room, and an honest and I believe helpful discussion.
The meeting was 90 minutes long. I will not try to give you a blow-by-blow, but a few general themes of agreement are worth noting. Representative Kirkpatrick made a brief set of remarks before leaving. One part of that was supporting the item on the agenda we were presented in which CBP was proposing the formation of an advisory committee. By the end of the meeting, that idea had changed to being a steering committee that will bring CBP together with ICE, non-profits and some undetermined set of public sector representatives. The goal is to keep lines of communication open and work on the varied pieces of the migrant issue together. I suspect our Police Chief will be an important part of that group. We will see who is invited to take part. The formation of that group should begin to be refined this coming week.
Two points I raised that I believe needed to be addressed include bringing local law enforcement and non-profits into the conversation CBP has about their “Daily Release Strategy.” Getting us in that conversation as it happens, not after decisions have been made, is a key to making sure the families we are seeing are treated in the most humane way we can. CBP is not going to conference call us into their daily Release meeting, but they have committed to reaching out to our police leadership and advising days – not hours – in advance of releases. That is a change. And it’ll give us time to react in a more reasoned fashion than how we were jumping through hoops on Good Friday to address large releases that we had learned were coming just hours prior.
I also asked CBP to eliminate from their menu of options dropping families at the bus depot. Those familiar with the situation know these families do not speak any English, are tired, hungry, need clothing, sometimes medical attention, and have no idea how to navigate our travel system. Leaving them at Greyhound is the farthest thing from being a humanitarian act. Border Patrol did not commit to eliminating that as an option, but they did commit to contacting us before making that determination and seeing whether or not we had capacity at our non-profit network. They also committed to being ready to drive some extra miles in order to reach a non-profit, even if that means driving right past the Greyhound depot while en route. Giving us an opportunity to be a part of the release location decision will be important.
These nuanced changes are consistent with the ‘flexibility’ Jonathan asked CBP to adopt. I know releasing migrants on their own recognizance runs counter to the culture that exists within CBP. I found it to be true of TPD a few years ago when we first set up the diversion program for people busted for prostitution. Law enforcement does not default first to a release protocol. Getting CBP on board with this new notification and communication process is a step forward, assuming they follow through on what they said they would do.
The County will be working on securing humanitarian assistance funding. That is loosely tied with the Stonegarden money the Board of Supervisors rejected a couple of months ago. The difference between those funds and what is now being explored is that these current dollars are specifically earmarked for providing humanitarian aid. Food, shelter, transportation – all are parts of what we are providing through the donations of community members. It would be great to have a funding source to relieve the strain the citizens of Tucson have been feeling.
That new funding is not yet here, so we are still gathering donations from the public. What’s needed right now are backpacks, underwear and socks, small and medium men’s shirts and pants, belts and hats, women’s pants and underwear, shoes and shoelaces, and the hygiene items many of you have been bringing, including lip balm and sun screen.
What we really need are people who will step up and offer their time and energy as a volunteer. To get involved that way, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will let you know where the training is taking place, and how you can participate.
We did not solve all of the relational issues that exist between CBP and many of us, but the meeting was a positive step. The steering committee meetings, along with the promise of a more fluid communication process will be positive. Until we see those were empty promises, I will cling to them as hopeful signs of a new relationship that is evolving between our local law enforcement, non-profits and CBP.
Shifting gears, the public open house related to development along Broadway is coming. Individual stakeholder groups will be meeting with Project for Public Spaces, their design team from Swaim and Associates, and Rio Nuevo on Thursday and Friday, May 16th and 17th. Following that from 9am until noon on the 18th, Rio and PPS will be inviting the public in to see the design direction in which they are headed.
The public workshop will include a presentation, but mostly discussion and gathering input from the participants. As stated in their invitation, PPS/Rio want to hear input on issues including preserving the cultural and historical character of the corridor, economic development, and creating the walkable nodes we have been talking about for literally years.
The public open house will be held at the First Assembly of God church that is located at 1749 E. Broadway.
Several months ago, Paul Durham and I began working with Toxin-Free Pima County on putting together an ‘organic-first’ approach to how we do our landscape management. Last week we finally put a pilot project into place. It will serve as a model for other jurisdictions around Arizona to follow – and for us to learn from and tweak as needed.
It is important to recognize the hard work our Parks Director Brent Dennis has invested into this project. In addition, the input we received from Gee Gee Larrington (Toxin Free Pima County) and the City of Irvine, California have been invaluable. Given our unique environmental characteristics we Tucson-ized the input, but the goals remain the same; use organic methods first, and chemicals only when necessary.
There are some very legitimate reasons we should not simply ban the use of chemical applications for weed control on public property. This photo is an example. Look at the brown areas surrounding the saguaros. That is buffelgrass. It will starve out the cactus. It also goes up in flames quite easily. On July 4th, 2017, we lost nearly 200 saguaros during a buffelgrass fire on A Mountain. Moreover, a saguaro seedling will not sprout if it is next to a mature buffelgrass plant. Maintaining our option to use a chemical treatment to save our saguaro population is a part of the balance we struck.
The go-to in the new program is organics. This inverted triangle shows the approach we will be taking in treating weeds on our public property.
The pilot program will include Reid Park as the primary focus. It is our ‘Central Park’ and has such a wide variety of uses that it is a perfect opportunity for us to test the organics methods in several different applications. There is a dog park, playgrounds, ramadas, plenty of adult uses and a variety of plant types. It will serve as our largest park in this pilot phase. In addition though, the Rio Vista park at Tucson Blvd and the river will continue to be organics-only, as well as all of our City playgrounds, pools and dog parks.
About 16% of the land area in the City limits is public land. In addition to our Parks, there are medians, water department land, Housing and Community Development land, and Environmental Services land – we will be implementing the inverted triangle on all public land as this pilot takes effect. As I mentioned, there will be some instances where the organics-only method will not be possible, but every department will begin at the top of the pyramid and work down towards the narrow tip when determining landscape approaches to take.
There will be a cost associated with weaning ourselves off from chemicals. We will be measuring that. However, there will also be savings as landscape matures under the organics approach and we find ourselves using less water over time. In Irvine they are finding that after three years, they are starting to see some of those savings appear in measurable amounts. We are in this for the long haul. I believe we owe it to our kids to lean towards landscape management in a less chemical intense fashion. There will be a mental culture change that will have to occur among City staffers who will now have to adapt to new methods. It is for the long term good of the community.
I think the direction we are headed with respect to landscape management goes hand in hand with the environmentally conscious work our partners at the Sonoran Environmental Research Institute (SERI) are doing. SERI is working with Tucson Water trying to extend the number of households who have rainwater-harvesting systems. We have through Tucson Water rebates for both active (cisterns) and passive (basins) systems. SERI will be coming to our office to make a presentation on what is available, and how you can access one of these systems.
The rebate is through Tucson Water. SERI brings the opportunity for added Grant or loan assistance for the systems. That part has an income-based qualifier. They will be hosting public workshops throughout the City to present the program. We will be hosting one here at the Ward 6 office on May 15th at 5:30 in the evening, and there are others, held at different times of day in different locations. Check the SERI flyer and choose the one that is most convenient for you to attend. Water is our lifeline. The partnership we have with SERI is an important testament to that reality.
If you follow my newsletter, you know that I pushed for, and fully support our litigation against PFC product manufacturers. While largely aimed at 3M, there are now others included in the lawsuit that we are now pursuing. There are also now over 70 other jurisdictions involved with that suit.
The very brief review of the topic is that we have significantly high levels of PFOS and PFAS out by DM. The rational explanation for how it got there is the way DM disposed of firefighting foam they used to use. The same scenario has played out at 400+ military bases throughout the country. While the military slow-walks their approach to remedying the problem, I thought we should do what Minnesota and other areas have done and go straight to the manufacturers. That is what we did.
PFC’s do not have a maximum contamination level (MCL) established by the EPA. Other chemicals do, but this one is still just addressed with a ‘health advisory’ level. That is an important legal distinction. With an MCL, federal funding involvement potentially kicks in. That is not true of a health advisory. The EPA could establish an MCL if it chose to. Instead, they are joining the military in slow walking the whole process of putting enforceable standards into place.
In what might otherwise appear to be a serious attempt at gathering public input on an important environmental issue, the EPA is right now asking for public input on some recommendations they are making relative to PFC levels. However, we are talking about this EPA.
In what is a classic example of how you need to understand the source when you are reading a media report, this competing set of headlines is addressing this EPA plan.
Last week, the EPA Office of Public Engagement sent out a Release announcing their effort to get your input. Here is their headline:
· EPA Takes Important Step Under PFAS Action Plan
Agency Asks for Public Input on Draft Interim Recommendations for Addressing Groundwater
Contaminated with PFOA and PFOS
While the NY Times, reporting on the very same outreach had this headline:
Ok, in fairness, I am no less biased than anyone else is. I clearly believe the EPA should have set MCL’s on PFC’s long ago. They tried to keep under wraps a toxicology study that suggests maximum levels of the stuff (PFOS/PFAS) of 18 parts per trillion. Tucson Water is using that self-imposed standard. In this Draft Interim Recommendation, the EPA is suggesting 70 parts per trillion, and only as a health advisory. Nothing with that brings any legal obligation to remedy the contamination.
The EPA Administrator – Trump appointee – Andrew Wheeler is quoted in their Release as saying, “Today, we are delivering on one of our most important commitments under the PFAS Action Plan.” However, what they are proposing far exceeds the levels recommended in the toxicology study, and it has no teeth.
In the Times article they make clear that it was under pressure from the Defense Department that the EPA significantly weakened the standards that are now proposed in their Draft. The current Draft eliminated entirely a section that would have imposed removal actions when PFC’s were found. The EPA was going to use a very liberal 400 parts per trillion as the standard. That section in the report was to address “immediate threats posed by hazardous waste sites.” It is now gone from the Draft you are being asked to comment on. The removal actions would have included things such as significant excavation of contaminated soil or even building security fencing around toxic areas. The DOD wants no part of that.
You can read through the Draft guidance, and make comments by using this link:
To view the draft guidance and to learn how to submit comments, visit: https://www.epa.gov/pfas
There is a 45-day comment window. As that meter ticks, we will continue our litigation against the product manufacturers. Even at the snail’s pace it seems our legal system moves, I expect a resolution to that well before when the feds put into place MCL’s that will help bring federal remediation dollars to the table.
When the newsletter starts to be mired in bad news, a turn to the zoo is always a way to change the tone. That is true here, too.
Our friends and partners at the Tucson Zoological Society are presenting a progress report on Phase 1 of their implementing the zoo 10-year master plan. It is what the voters approved funding for in last year’s election – the 1/10th cent allocation over 10 years.
The presentation will be on Wednesday, May 1st starting at 4:30. They will describe progress on the new flamingo habitat, a special Treetop Adventure play area for kids, the expansion of the Asia exhibit, and during this first phase, the welcome plaza will be enhanced. You can learn more about the expansion at this website link:
To RSVP for the event, go to email@example.com.
While I am on the Parks item, Tucson Parks has started reviewing applications for swimming instructors and lifeguards. They will work as seasonal workers this coming summer. The starting date is May 26th.
The Parks department offers lifeguard training. It requires more than just being able to swim some laps. You can check the activity guide for application deadlines, and training schedules. That link is http://bit.ly/2AOuWfW. Alternatively, you can call for more information at 791.4877. They will be hiring over 150 lifeguards and swimming instructors.
Another go-to for good news and family fun is the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum – the train museum hosted down at the historic depot. Coming on Saturday, May 11th they’re hosting an event called “Train Day at the Depot.” Where else?
The train guys hold these events throughout the year. They run from 10am until 2pm. This one will have kiddie train rides, arts/crafts, and a special Operation Lifesaver presentation. That presentation will be of benefit to people of all ages.
You have seen the unfortunate media stories about people who try to ‘beat the train.’ When they lose the race, it does not end well. If you have teenage drivers, or if you are around train crossings in your daily commutes, come on May 1st to see what Operation Lifesaver has to teach. They will have free food and other entertainment. It would be great to see you and your family there.
We made a very small change in our recycling program last week – not what it will take to fund the losses we are seeing, but we are covered for this upcoming fiscal year. The program is losing $3.3M annually right now. We are going to save about $1.4M by going to every-other-week pick up for the recycled materials, and filling the rest of the gap with some of our bed tax money. Otherwise, the problem still needs to be addressed.
The international recycling market has shifted. It could shift back again, but we cannot budget based on that hope. There is no market for glass. We would save $500K by eliminating that from what we pick up. The market for paper is also down. That one has a little more potential for recovery. We will watch how that develops.
By changing routes, and by focusing on alley pick up for recyclables, we can save some incremental dollars. Staff is already pushing back on the idea of alley service. They are afraid it would increase contamination rates. I think people will toss what they toss, whether that is in the front or the back of their house, so I do not accept the fear. Regardless, M&C sets policy. Staff executes it.
We can look at increasing what we charge for the program. Our residential rates have not been increased in 10 years. If we increase residential though, commercial will need to be raised as well. We cannot ask residential customers to subsidize our commercial customers. We should also look at increasing our fees to Republic for using our landfill. Everyone should be paying a piece of the financial shortfall we are seeing.
Staff presented us with a series of options. They were all some combination of rate increases and eliminating either paper, glass, or both, and going to the semi-monthly pick up. Most of us around the table want to see some more creativity in that menu of options. We have gone ahead with the ‘every two weeks’ service, but have asked for another review of this before the end of summer. It needs to be early enough in the next fiscal year so it makes the difference in savings we are looking for, but I did not hear anyone around the table saying we should just balance our books by raising your rates.
Stay tuned. We will readdress this after staff has digested the input they received and have a new and more varied set of proposals to offer.
If you read this newsletter, you know my mom died recently. I know that either you or someone you know has gone through the same thing, whether that is recently, or recently enough that you still feel the loss. End of life decisions are tough, and they are decisions you yourself will someday face, whether you want to, or not.
A few years ago, I worked with Compassion and Choices on advocating for an end of life law that would allow terminally ill patients to work with their physicians to self-medicate in ways that accelerate the inevitable. My point here is not to go back into all of the nuances and protections built into those laws. If you want to study what some States have done (not Arizona) you can go to the Compassion and Choices website (www.compassionandchoices.org). My point today is to share with you an Advance Directive that addresses choices pre-planned by a person before dementia removes that as an option.
You cannot sign an Advance Directive that expresses end of life choices if you are not mentally competent. People who cannot understand the documents they are signing, or the terms that are being explained to them cannot make decisions about end of life, dignity and levels of care they want to receive. That must be decided while a person can still have that responsible conversation about what is coming, and what they want.
It was extremely difficult being at my mom’s bedside during her time in hospice. Those nine days were none I would want to trade, and that would be hard to relive. Add to the medical realities a level of dementia, and the trauma is even more difficult to witness. My mom had her ‘papers in order.’ I checked the boxes on the forms, knowing that I was carrying out her desires. It still tears me up, but had I only had the option of sitting and watching the medical community force extreme measures, the whole emotional experience would have been very different.
The Compassion and Choices website has a model form you can use in anticipation of an Alzheimer’s situation. I am sharing it here for people to be aware of it. This is intensely personal, so check out the website and all other medical professionals you feel led to before deciding. I only share it here so you are aware of this option. The condition has become so common that I know many of you reading this will have a frame of reference to relate to.
Council Member, Ward 6
AGAVE EXPO – AGAVE HERITAGE FESTIVAL
May 4 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Engage all things agave in this pop-up bazaar at the Hotel Congress! Visit local vendors and nurseries while enjoying live music and entertainment for agave spirit tastings and an agave plant you can take home. There will also be Arizona Sonora Desert Museum presentations and a book signing by Chasing Centuries author Ron Parker. Attend expert-led talks given by artists, historians, ethnobotanists, and makers. Enjoy refreshing treats and live music as you explore the world of agave!
2019 YOM HASHOAH COMMEMORATION
May 5 @ 2:00 pm
Tucson Jewish Community Center
CINCO DE MAYO WITH DEVOTCHKA & ORKESTA MENDOZA
May 5 @ 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Devotchka and Orkesta Mendoza in Tucson, Arizona! All day, all ages festival. Doors at 2 PM. More info and artists to be announced soon!
Hotel McCoy’s parking lot is limited to registered overnight hotel guests only. There is limited street parking on Fiandaca Boulevard or you are welcome to use the Total Ride front parking lot located on 829 West Silverlake Road however, we highly suggest on ridesharing or taking a cab. In fact, the first 25 LYFT riders to use the promo code HOTELMCOY5 on the day of the concert will receive a dollar off of their ride, courtesy of Hotel McCoy.
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
Raices Taller 222, 218 E. 6th St | Fridays and Saturdays from 1pm to 5pm | www.raicestaller222.com
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