Steve K's Newsletter 06/03/19

Topics in this issue...


Be Kind

When neighbors are going through personal challenges within their household, it is great to see friends step up and lend a hand. I know of a family in Feldman’s who is right now wrestling with some health concerns, and I am aware that neighbors from the immediate area have been assisting in ways to ease the burden. That shows the Kind heart of Tucson. If we hosted a civic pride contest, these are the people who would fill the in-box.

Last Friday we hosted the Memorial Service for Dick Tomey in McKale Arena. The day before, and the day of the ceremony, I was seeing people who had flown in from all over the country just to pay their respects. People I hadn’t seen in 15 years ago, or longer. I know it meant a lot to Dick’s family to see the outpouring of sentiment.

I toured a young family through the monastery last week, wanting to share the full story of how this community is taking care of those in need, and doing so in ways you simply cannot appreciate from just reading what I write in these newsletters. The next day there were 4 bags full of stuffed animals in our lobby that had been collected and dropped off by the young girl who went on the tour. That sort of Kindness does not just fall out of the Skye. It does not go unnoticed by the kids who receive the gifts. More on the needs below.  

I want to thank Ambur Wilkerson for running this piece last week in Arizona Local Media. Ambur is a Graduate student in the UA College of Journalism. I share the piece here both to brag on my mom a little, and to encourage you to support the Watercolor Guild scholarship program. You will read about how you can do that in Ambur’s piece, below


Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik watched his mother Marian make a lot of sacrifices. A single mom, she toiled away in a nursing job to ensure Steve and his brother Pete had what they needed as kids.

So when she retired from her nursing job, the brothers decided to treat her to a first-class arts education.

“Her first love was always art,” Kozachik said. “When she retired, my brother and I put her through art school at NYU and sent her to Venice so she could get her masters in fine arts, and she got that at the age of 68.”

Marian passed away on Jan. 22, 2019. As he was settling her affairs, Kozachik discovered a collection of his mother’s paintings that are now on display at the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild Art Gallery at Williams Center. The exhibit, titled “Marian Kozachik,” highlights her elaborate paintings of birds and her love of wide open spaces. 

“She was involved with the Audubon,” Kozachik said. “She traveled to Central America and hiked Panama, Costa Rica, Sabino Canyon, Madera Canyon. She loved outdoors, loved nature.”

Having Marian’s work hung at the Art Gallery was a collaborative effort between Steve and her next-door neighbor Judith Billings, who was close to Marian.

“They hiked together, they did art together, and Judith is a member of the Art Gallery,” Kozachik said. “And Judith suggested that we hang her stuff there.”

Kozachik didn’t want to sell the paintings for his own gain, so Billings offered a charitable alternative: The paintings are being sold from $50 to $150, with the proceeds going to the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild’s scholarship fund.

Marian’s nature-inspired work was somewhat of a mystery to Kozachik until he came across her paintings in a shed after her passing. 

“It wasn’t until I got into that shed and started pulling the things out and actually taking a second to look at ’em that I realized, you know, what talent she really had,” Kozachik said. “So that’s my fault, not hers. And to the extent that I can share that piece of her with people now is really important to me. And I just wish she was here that I could show her how much people are appreciating her work.”

Kozachik said whatever he and his brother did for his mom’s arts education was a pittance, compared to what she gave them.

“How do you give enough back to your mom?” Kozachik says. “How do you give enough back to the person that literally sacrificed her entire life for us? I mean that’s just not an equation that you can say, ‘Well, OK. We’re even.’ You’re never gonna be even.”

The Marian Kozachik exhibit is open through Oct. 6 at the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild Art Gallery, 5420 E. Broadway Blvd. The gallery is open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 


2020 Census

I could have included this item in the Be Kind section – thanking the several volunteers who are taking part in our Complete Count Census Committee work. They are starting out on a tremendously important task – getting as complete a census count as we can. In addition to our Congressional representation, there are tens of millions of dollars at stake, the bulk of which go to helping the most needy among us in our community. There are 55 different federal agencies involved in that funding flow of dollars. In FY ‘16 they contributed over $20B into Arizona agencies. It could have been significantly more had the 2010 census been a more accurate count. We are going to do better in 2020, and this is an unashamed effort to recruit you into that process.

Last week we hosted our first Complete Count Committee (CCC) meeting. It was led by two of our Census partners here at the W6 office, but the real work will be done by the committee members. Those are made up of citizens – like you – each of whom will work within their respective contact areas to help reach people who might otherwise not be counted. 

Census offices are being opened right now. The count takes place next year. For the first time they will have 3 different ways you can take part. On-line, by phone, and by mail. The CCC will be working to identify hard to count groups, helping to educate the community about why answering the census is important, and putting in place a work plan for doing the actual counts. The committee has met just once. We need more members.

Last week’s group included representatives from several midtown neighborhood associations, the Pan-Asian Community, PCOA, KXCI and my staff. We have feelers out for more involvement. If that is you, please drop me an email and we will make sure you are connected for our next meeting. We will get you the material that was passed out last week so you’re current when we do meet.

Included in the $20B program obligations that came from the 2010 census are things such as crime victim assistance, Federal Pell Grants, various medical assistance programs, very low-mod housing assistance, foster care, Head Start, and small business and industry loans. And plenty more. This is important stuff and if we do another undercount, it will only cost us the ability to provide those types of services out in the community.

Our phone number at the W6 office is 791.4601. Call us to get involved, or send an email to me at We get one shot at this and then we live with the results for the next decade.


Gun Control

You might have noticed that yet another mass shooting took place in Virginia over the weekend. Shootings are no longer the lead story on local news. Another dozen people were murdered in a workplace shooting. The stories have become routine.

Sometimes we dance around that issue and call out the need for ‘gun safety’ or some other less possibly provocative phrase. The bottom line is that we’re killing kids in schools, theater-goers, worshippers, and people in deli’s on street corners. Many of us are simply tired of candlelight vigils. The theme of our June 9th Wear Orange event is action. No ‘thoughts and prayers,’ but focusing on legislative changes so guns are kept from the hands of those who simply should not have them, and so people who deserve mental health treatment receive it.

Mom’s Demand Action is sponsoring the event. The movie we will see is based on the Parkland, Florida school shooting. It will contain actual video from inside the school while the shooting was taking place. Interviews will evoke some very real emotions. We will talk through all of that during the evening. 

I am opening with some music at 5:30. The movie will follow, and our discussion and call to action will occur after that. Please join us at St. Marks on Sunday, June 9th. Ours is one of hundreds of these sorts of gatherings that will take place throughout the country on Sunday. 


Mayoral Candidate Forums

The first election during which you will have an opportunity to express your ‘gun sense’ vote is this November. There are four people running for mayor (3 Dems, and 1 Independent), plus four people in Ward 1, two in Ward 2 and two in Ward 4. Per our election process, you may only vote in the primary election for council seats in the ward in which you live. Ward 1 is the only one that has a contested primary. 

Mayoral candidates run in a city-wide primary. There have been a few candidate forums, and another is coming this week. I don’t think they’re getting enough advance publicity, so I’m going to try to let you know when I hear of them. Here is the flyer on this week’s forum:

Contact the Metro Chamber if you also want to attend. You should be able to learn about these events by connecting with one of the candidate teams. There is a lot at stake this November. Please do your part in educating yourself on the qualifications and positions each of the candidates brings to the table. Voting based on ‘name recognition’ is lazy.


Water Security

The drought contingency plan (DCP) was finally adopted by the lower basin States (Arizona, Nevada, and California), passed by the State legislature and signed by Ducey. The pitch was that the DCP keeps us from a shortage being declared on Lake Mead for the near term. Not forever, but for a couple of years at least. The DCP did not come without costs. Both in terms of money and water.

The shortage we were trying to avoid is called a Tier 1 shortage. It is when Lake Mead gets below 1,075’ in water level. What was not made public when the DCP was signed is that we are, right now, in what they’re quietly calling a Tire 0 situation. That is, the water level is less than 1,090’, but still with its chin above 1,075’.  The CAP folks put out this graphic to show the varying Tier shortages. Last week was the first time I had seen them include Tier 0. It is the tiny purple circle, signifying minimal impacts to CAP users right now. The other Tiers are where the hurt starts.

To get the DCP signed, 192,000 acre feet of water needed to be left on Lake Mead. That is water that users were taking, but are now being left on the Lake. That is just over 10% of what would normally be distributed to CAP users. I raise the issue here for a couple of reasons. One is to highlight that we didn’t just fall into the DCP ‘solution’. Pinal County agriculture is taking a hit in terms of CAP allocation, but in exchange the State legislature and the CAP are paying them close to $30M so they can drill wells and pump out groundwater to replace their ‘lost’ CAP. I write a lot about groundwater and its importance for our long term planning. Pinal ag is dipping new straws into that groundwater glass. Tier 0 means we have no excess CAP for water banking. Those impacts will result in increased CAP water rates.

In Tucson, we are drawing on very little groundwater to supply our customers. This graph shows how reliant we have become on CAP. That’s good – save the groundwater for later. In the graph, the ‘groundwater’ we are serving is captured in the green layer of the image, down at the bottom. But remember, CAP is going to become more expensive, and Pinal agriculture was just paid to pump more groundwater. The Arizona/Tucson water situation was not ‘fixed’ with the DCP. Addressing the long term issue was simply delayed. The next new ‘deadline’ for really taking on the discussions about how we balance the various claims on both CAP and groundwater is now 2026. 

If you read this newsletter at all, you also know I write a lot about the pending litigation against 3M and other manufacturers of PFCs. Last week I read that the State of New Hampshire has filed its own litigation against some of the same companies we are taking to court. Their water contamination problem is so severe that in some areas they are serving up bottled water. That is what this person is doing.


In addition to 3M, New Hampshire is suing seven other companies, each of whom is a producer of the PFCs that we are litigating over. I have shared a lot about the chemicals being used by the DOD in fire fighting foam, but PFCs are also used for coating consumer goods such as Teflon on pans, as well as pizza boxes and fast food wrappers. The toxicology studies the EPA tried to keep under wraps claim an association with increased cholesterol levels, kidney cancer, and problems in pregnancies. Back in the early days of its production, 3M was taking pregnant women off of assembly lines. They knew.

It seems like I am adding more States or Cities to this list of litigants about every week. New York State has sued six companies that made the firefighting foam. Minnesota just signed a settlement with 3M for $850M over this stuff. In response to the New Hampshire suit, 3M said it “acted responsibly in connection with products containing PFAS” and that they will “vigorously defend its environmental stewardship”. Which begs the $850M question as to why they settled in Minnesota.


Water policy has multiple moving parts. We are leaving CAP water on Lake Mead. That means we are not beholden to using our ground water, but Pinal ag is pumping groundwater. And 3M is polluting ours. We have contamination sites near our groundwater wells that need to be cleaned up and contained well ahead of when we need that water. The litigation I have asked us to pursue is intended to fund the treatment facilities we must have in the valley. 

As I shared last week, Tucson Water is successfully treating the small percentage of groundwater that we are serving to customers. We are treating it to well below the levels at which the EPA calls for a health advisory to kick in. That is, for now. For later, we have to get more treatment/containment work moving. That takes money. That is why we are suing.

I am committed to keeping this topic transparent until we have our arms around solutions. It is not going to fix itself, and encouraging agriculture to prematurely pump groundwater isn’t going to help the supply situation long term.


Operation Splash

On a slightly different water topic, we are starting this year’s Operation Splash. That is our monsoon prep where we deploy barricades to areas where dip crossings will become dangerous when the rains finally return. Starting this week, you will see some of that taking place. Thanks go out to our TDOT crews for delivering those to hundreds of locations scattered throughout the City.

In addition, we are going to start making sandbags available once again. That will start on Wednesday, June 12th. The locations will be the same as last year. Every Wednesday, from 4pm until 8pm out at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds (4823 S. Sixth Avenue) TDOT will distribute free sandbags in their north parking lot. Starting on Monday, June 10th we’ll once again have the self-serve sandbag site in the east parking lot out at Hi Corbett Field in Reid Park. For that option, take your own shovel to fill the bags. We will provide both the sand and the bags – you do the filling and as in the past, we ask you to limit yourself to 10 bags per vehicle.

TDOT staff watches the weather forecasts and deploys the barricades according to National Weather Service radar warnings. Their crews are on-call 24/7. We at W6 are grateful for their work and to the City for delivering on the sandbag options available to the public.

Tucson Delivers

We are also delivering on the Prop 407 parks package. City Manager Ortega has assigned his Special Projects Manager, Ann Chanecka, to oversee the roll out of those projects, and to make sure you have an easy and current way to see how your money is being spent. Last week the online site was rolled out. It is pretty cool. And it’s both user friendly, and up to date.

You can access the site through this link: Here is the sort of thing you’ll find.

You will see this screen shot on the site. It gives you access to all of the Prop 407 projects, broken down by category. For example, if you want to see what is planned for a neighborhood park, click the arrow under “Parks” and click on Phase 1. That is the first group of parks being done. Then tab down to the park you are interested in. Tahoe Park is a small park near Campbell and Grant. Here is what pops up when you click on Tahoe:

You see what Phase the work will be done in, how much of an investment is coming, the work that is being planned, and what Ward the park is located in. If you click on ‘More Information’ the scope of the work is detailed even more fully.

You can do the same for the other Prop 407 project elements. We have a citizen’s oversight committee working with staff to ensure the City is performing according to what we said during the run-up to the election. They have met twice, and will be meeting regularly on the 3rd Monday of each month beginning at 5:30pm. Those meetings are open to the public, and they will continue to be held in the Mesquite Room at the Parks and Rec Admin building – 900 S. Randolph Way.

Special thanks to Ann Chanecka for her good work in overseeing these projects. It all falls under the category of ‘promises made, promises kept’.


FY’20 Budget

We will be hosting the final public hearing on this year’s budget this coming week. For the third year in a row, we will be approving a budget that is legitimately, structurally balanced, with no land sales or restructuring of debt to make the books balance. Our successes in economic development activity, in addition to the work everyone in the City workforce has done to make ourselves a more efficient organization have jointly resulted in this good outcome.

This first graph shows the upward trend in our sales tax collection. It is up over $50M annually since I started doing this back in ’09. That is helping to fund the public safety academies we now have in play, plus the restoration of programs we had to cut back on right after the recession. 

This graph shows what I mean by saying the organization is more efficient. When I began this work in ’09, we had over 1,000 more employees on the payroll than we do now. You will note a slight uptick this year. Some of that is police/fire; some is expanding our finance and planning staff. Those additions will help continue our positive growth.

We are projecting a positive cash carry forward of just over $8M. That does not happen by accident. In our recent presentation before the Bond Rating Agencies, we pointed to numerous business growth examples that are helping to fuel our economy. Those include:

a) Amazon Fulfillment Center – 1,500 regular positions being added in an 855K sq/ft facility @ a $600M impact

b) Amazon Distribution Center - $4.3M investment into a 24/7 operation with drivers earning between $18 and $25 p/hr

c) Imperfect Produce – 350 direct jobs over the next 5 years beginning at $15.50 p/hr, plus full benefits and stock options. $137M economic impact.

d) Axiscades – 300 direct jobs over the next 5 years, largely in mechanical and electrical engineering positions. They’re a supply chain support to Caterpillar

e) Symboticware, Inc – 20 new-hires in engineering, software development and electronics. This is an example of international commerce using Tucson as a hub.

f) Geico – 1,400 current FTE’s with 700 new hires to come. They’re a part of the build out over at the UA Tech Park at The Bridges.

g) Banner UMC – the $446M investment, with $50M in patient care and over 200 licensed beds, with nearly 100 ICU beds. They just did the ribbon cut in April.

h) AC Marriott - $24M investment serving as our first convention center hotel in the past 40 years. It’s one of the ‘singles and doubles’ I advocated for back in ’09 while speaking out against the City backstopping bonds on a silly $200M hotel idea.

i) Hilton Hotel at Cathedral Square – Dual hotel concept with 75 Hampton Inn and 123 Home2 Suites and a $4.5M investment.

j) Raytheon Expansion - $500M investment that’ll continue through 2020. They’ll add 2,000 FTE’s with an average $100K salary

k) The Flin - $42M investment that’ll have 243 housing units, 4,500 sq/ft of retail and will preserve the historic components that were originally on the La Placita site.

l) RendezVous Urban Flats – 104 new residential units with 4,200 sq/ft of retail and restaurants

m) 75 E. Broadway – a mix of retail, parking and office built into 12 stories @ 150K sq/ft. $75M investment.

And there’s the Marist on Cathedral Square, the Westerner and West Point Apartments, West End Station,  some new student housing towers over in Main Gate, the Texas Instrument expansion, TuSimple’s expansion, and still to come the Benedictine and Chroma, both going up within a couple of blocks of the Ward 6 office. That is a lot of economic activity. It helps our budget.

It should also help us upgrade public infrastructure through the use of impact fees. We are right now in the midst of what I guess I’d call an exploratory effort with staff on just how much the economic successes we’ve placed in front of the Bond Agencies is yielding for things such as police, fire, road and park impact fee funding. Impact fees are collected by our Planning folks when permits for a project are pulled. There’s a calculator you can access on the PDSD site. Just for fun, I ran this calculation for what the Benedictine project might yield. I plugged in 250 units of apartments, and this is what the calculator spit out:

We’ll be continuing the fluid discussions I’ve started with staff about how those dollars will be used – which is to say, there will be ‘impacts’ individual projects have on infrastructure around an area in which the project is built. More to come on this, but as far as the budget impacts of this economic activity are concerned, it is very positive again this year.

Speaking of the Benedictine, the travel needs for the migrant families continue. Last weekend, we were once again bulging at the seams. Whatever you feel about border politics, the needs we see at the monastery and at the satellite intake locations around town are humanitarian touches this community is making. Please bring donations to the Ward 6 office – whatever you would think of packing if you were going on a multi-day bus trip with a couple of little kids. 

One donation that deserves sharing is the two guitars Randi Dorman (Mayoral candidate), Rob Paulus (her husband / architect), and their young lady, daughter Skye, took over on Sunday. It was great standing with the migrant guests outdoors playing them, making some music to take their focus off from the very strenuous road they had been on for the past few weeks. I will be sharing some music at the monastery on the evening of June 29th, along with Caroline Ragnone (Global Chants Initiative) and Miguel Molina. That will be a fundraiser. More on that in next week’s newsletter. Now we will have some added guitars so people passing through the place will be able to join in.

This week’s Local Tucson item is another of our Parks and Rec department programs that is starting up just as summer nears. They are the track and field events, and some road races. 

The track events will each be held out at the UA Drachman Track – 501 S. Plumber. They will be held at 6pm on Tuesdays - June 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th and July 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd. Registration takes place at 5:30 on each of those dates. They’ll have long jumps (I jump neither long, nor high, so you won’t see me on this event,) shot put, some short races for kids 5 years and under, and 100 meters and longer, plus some relays for older kids and adults. 

The road races will be held at a variety of locations. 

June 6 – Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph Way

June 13 – Freedom Park, 5000 E. 29th St.

June 20 – Lakeside Park, 8201 E. Stella Road

June 27 – Kennedy Park, 3700 S. Mission Road

July 11 – Lincoln Park, 4325 S. Pantano Road

July 18 – Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph Way

July 25 – Freedom Park, 5000 E. 29th St.

These will be 1 mile, 2K, and 5K races. They also begin at 6pm, with 5:30 registration.

These are totally affordable at $3 for people under 17, and $4 for 18 years and up. I think it would be great to see all of our mayoral and council candidates out taking part in each of these events. But you’ll have to go and check them out to see if any are up to it.

Thanks to our Parks staff for their hard work on putting these events on. 


Off Track Betting Licenses

Finally, this.  Early in the spring, we were supposed to be voting on whether or not to award a betting license to Turf Paradise horse race track. The license was for off track betting to be held at Midtown Tavern. That vote got pushed back while some of the gambling ‘players’ tried to get a bill through the State legislature that carved out a little playing room for them all, not only in Pima County, but across the State. The item is back on our agenda for this week. I believe the focus on who gets what piece of the action misses the more important point. That is, should the City at any level be enabling the expansion of the gaming industry, particularly in relation to racing animals, dogs or horses? Santa Anita race track has had 23 horse fatalities this year alone. They have not agreed to making any meaningful changes to their operations that one could expect will reverse that trend. 

If this item gets to us this week – or whenever it does – my focus will not be on gambling income. It will be on the welfare of the animals that are being used for sport in the various arenas that will be shown on the OTB screens. That focus should yield a ‘no’ vote on the item.


Steve Kozachik
Council Member, Ward 6


Events and Entertainment


June 12 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Dunbar Cultural Center at 325 W. 2nd St, 85705


Hosted by Kindred.

Presented by the Wellness Council of AZ – Many foods serve as natural remedies for risk reduction and healing diseases. See what foods you can add into your diet to decrease your risk or naturally heal the seven most common chronic diseases in the US. These diseases include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, depression, and pulmonary conditions. Also learn how to prevent and naturally remedy common ailments such as headache, heartburn, nasal congestion and constipation.

Please note this program will be taking place at the Dunbar Cultural Center at 325 W. 2nd St, 85705. The best place to park is the upper parking lot, which can be accessed off of 11th Avenue. You will see an open purple gate and the building the program will be taking place in, is the historic building on your right hand side.


June 15 @ 8:30 am - 9:30 am at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library


Do you love to read and are you looking for a challenging and rewarding volunteer opportunity? The Pima County Public Library has a Books on Wheels (on bikes) program in Tucson and is looking for volunteers to help select books for homebound community members.

We invite you to attend a training session to be held at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library. At the training session you’ll hear more about the Books on Wheels program and learn the process of selecting books for participants.

Please fill out an application and bring it to the orientation. RSVP to Karen, 791-4010 or for further information.


April 27 - June 30, 265 S Church Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701

Now on display @ MOCA Tucson:

From Here to Eternity: Selections from the University of Arizona School of Art
features the work of seven 2019 BFA graduates and twelve MFA students. Selected by MOCA Tucson Executive Director and Chief Curator, the art on view represents a diversity of work created by students exploring a range of topics from the traumas of war to an exploration of self, from capitalism to religion and beyond. Featured artists include: Catherine Aguilar, Cori Cummings, Ashley Dahlke, Andrew Holt Frazier, Maxwell Lukas Mijnlieff Gay, Benjamin Hoste, Tamrin Ingram, Laura Kassman, Marisa Lewon, Claire Mandel, Dominique Martinez, Nassem Navab, Trent Pechon, Kennady Maison Schneider, Marina Shaltout, Kaitlyn Jo Smith, Alex Turner, Bella Varela, Kenzie Wells.


Arizona State Museum, 1013 E University Blvd |

Arizona Theater Company, 330 S Scott Ave |

Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S 6th Ave |

Fox Theatre, 17 W Congress St |

Hotel Congress, 311 E Congress St |

Jewish History Museum, 564 S Stone Ave |

Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway Blvd |

Meet Me at Maynards, 311 E Congress St |
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 |
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 |

Rialto Theatre, 318 E Congress St |

The Rogue Theatre, The Historic Y, 300 E University Blvd |

Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N Toole Ave |

Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N Alvernon Way |

Tucson Convention Center, 260 S Church St |

Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N Main Ave |

UA Mineral Museum, 1601 E University Blvd |

Watershed Management Group, Living Lab 1137 N. Dodge Blvd. |

Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson2130 North Alvernon Way |