Steve K's Newsletter 06/10/19

Topics in this issue...

Be Kind/ Local First 

There are numerous groups who stepped up over the past week to help with the overflow/capacity issues related to the refugee’s we are receiving from Border Patrol and ICE. Those include Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, and Lutheran churches, Jewish groups, non-sectarian and non-religiously affiliated groups. We have over 400 volunteers helping with the issue. They are all Tucson. That is why this whole Be Kind section this week is also the Local Tucson section.

Over the past several days, we have had our community room in operation as a makeshift center. As long as the conditions are what they are in Central America, we have no reason to expect the flow of asylum seekers to diminish. The Be Kind is to all of the groups and individuals who have continued to step towards the vast needs we are seeing.

Donations may be brought to the Ward 6 office – food, clothing, bedding, personal hygiene items and some things you may not intuitively think of such as the little stretchy things girls use to tie back their hair, children’s books written in Spanish, Rosaries, belts, sunscreen and lip balm.

Speaking of Rosaries, Cassandra from La Paloma spent her Saturday running around getting the 257 Rosaries she donated blessed by a priest. Then she arrived in 100-degree heat, about eight months pregnant and delivered the box to me at Ward 6. She is clearly pretty committed to the cause.

We are grateful to all of you who are involved.

Two more refugee-related Be Kind items –

Caroline Ragano put that graphic together. It is a promo for the fund raising event we will be sharing together over at the monastery on Friday, June 28th. I am going to pluck around on the guitar for a while starting at 6 PM, then Caroline will play. Partners Miguel Molina and Debra Podjed will join her. At the conclusion of the music, the goal is to have invited some of the refugees up to share their own music.

Enter through the front doors on Country Club. Donations may be any of the items I have listed above, anything you would pack for a three-day bus trip with a couple of little kids, or cash. All of it will stay at the monastery for their use. This event was Caroline’s brainchild. It is based on her own volunteer work at the shelter where she shares music with the guests. Through that, she has learned they are willing and able to ‘play along.’

Valarie is another of the volunteers who is bringing a special skill set. She is running the art program portion of the monastery work. This is a photo of some of the children participating in the art program.

The families stay with us for two to three days before boarding a bus and heading off to wherever their sponsor lives. During the stay, Val invites the kids up to the ‘art room’ and encourages their creative juices to flow. The instruction is to color or paint something you love. On July 12th, here at the Ward Office, we will be featuring the art that is being produced by the children at the Benedictine. In fact, it will be up through the month of July. However, on the 12th, Val will be describing the program and sharing some interpretations of the art we are seeing from the children. Our event on the 12th will start at 6 PM. Come and see this piece of what is happening upstairs at the monastery, all thanks to Val and her work.

Immigration and Chief Magnus

In the past week, I have said on two TV stations and two radio shows that as long as we have a federal delegation that spends their time talking about walls and tariffs, and eliminating aid to the Central American countries the migrants are coming from, the problem will persist. Addressing the root causes – poverty, violence, extortion, exploitation – in those countries will give people a reason to stay home.

Chief Magnus took part in the Major Cities Police Chief meeting in DC last week with the Department of Homeland Security. One take-away is that nine of those chiefs will be representing the larger group in an upcoming, more focused meeting on the issue with DHS. Chief Magnus was selected to be among that group. The other chiefs represent NY, LA, Seattle, Miami, San Jose, Phoenix, Houston and San Diego. As I understand it, the focus will be on interactions between the feds and local police agencies. Issues such as ‘Sanctuary City’ status, how local jurisdictions deal with ICE ‘detainer’ policies, and communication issues between local police and ICE will be discussed. While all of that is important for inter-agency relationships, none of it gets to the root causes that are placing so many lives at risk, and that are placing so many strains on our local communities. It is a step, and I wish Chief Magnus well. We will keep doing our thing locally in touching the lives of the people who end up on our doorstep.

Water Security

If you read this newsletter much, you are familiar with our lawsuit against 3M and other manufacturers of PFC. As you know, the feds have not adopted serious regulatory standards that reflect the health threat they cause, and you know we have had to shut down water wells around town because they are tainted with PFOS and PFOA. That is the background.

Last week, yet another series of articles came out talking about the national reaction to this emerging family of contaminants. They are not new, and the EPA has danced around regulating them forever. However, with the publicity now gaining some steam, some of our federal legislators may finally be feeling some pressure to admit there is a problem, and to do something about it.

Much of this I would place in the category of ‘too little, too late,’ but the moves reflect steps in the right direction. A measure now being discussed in the House Armed Services Committee would force military bases to stop using AFFF – that’s the toxic firefighting foam that was very likely the cause of the contamination we see out by Davis Monthan. They have stopped using it here, and at a couple of hundred bases around the country. Congress is playing catch-up with this, but at least they are talking about it as if they care.

The part of it that is a bad joke is that they are giving military bases ten years to remove the stuff from their operations. This inaction is another reason I wanted the City to push the litigation against the product manufacturers. The feds must not have families that drink the same water that we do or we might see different pieces of legislation proposed.

One promising piece of the bill is that it would make some clean-up funding available to National Guard bases. That matters in Tucson. I have a Final Site Inspection Report that was just released for the Tucson ANG. This table shows their own on-base test results for PFC’s:

The part of that I am most focused on is the fact that every one of the groundwater test results they are showing exceeds even the EPA health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion. That is what the ANG is saying about their own test results.

So what is their game plan for addressing it? To continue to gather data and study it some more, and to try to determine the source. Anyone following the issue who does not have a dog in the fight knows it is the AFFF that ANG have been using.

The bill Congress is right now considering would allow the AFFF to continue to be used in non-emergency situations where the officials ‘made efforts to contain’ all of the chemicals; not that they are required to be successful, just that they make an effort. In addition, it would allow PFAS-laden foam to be used in emergencies until 2029.

That is the House. The Senate is giving the DOD until 2022 to stop buying the stuff, but it places no restrictions on using existing stocks. The 2018 study I have shared with you before shows the chemicals do not go away over time, and they travel through water systems.

Here is a portion of the plan for the Tucson Air National Guard unit:

…”this information could” blah, blah, blah – lead to further study.

Our litigation is moving forward. Right now, the DOD is not included as a defendant. As they continue simply to massage the issue, it becomes clear to me that we should be looking at adding them to the list. That is up to our legal team. I will work to keep you as informed as I can.

Recycling Data

We are about due for a follow up on the losses we are absorbing in our recycle program. Our first briefing last month did not really yield much that will help in the long-term goal of cutting the losses the program is suffering. Next time, I believe we need to be more specific.

We will be going to bi-weekly recycle service later this year. Nevertheless, the program continues to lose lots of money. There are several causes. One is that our recent contamination rate is just under 30%. If that is you, it means what you place in the recycle bin, expecting it to be a ‘green’ act is in fact costing the City money, and is ending up in a landfill anyway. We had to toss an entire load of recyclables last month because a dead dog was found in the material. That is not an issue of someone being ill informed, and our needing to do a better job of educating. That is intentional laziness.

Therefore, contamination is still a problem. Some data will show the other piece of the issue – a plunging market. Numbers geeks, this entire table is for you to chew on. For those who would simply like a bite-sized explanation of what it is saying, skip to below the chart.

Here are some quick numbers to make the point of the plunging market. In July of 2018, we had over $56K in revenue from those paper products shown on the top line. By April of 2019 that figure had dropped to $18K. The bottom line in the Revenues portion of the chart shows our total July 2018 revenues to be $162K. They had dropped to $106K in April 2019. Why? Because the price we are getting per ton for those same paper products has gone from $91 to $26, and the amount we are losing on trash generally has gone from $10K up to $33K per month. Those are the numbers. We will have to do something meaningful when staff brings this back to us for direction.

Tree Canopy

Ok, enough of the downer tone, at least for one item. Paul Cunningham and I have invited UA Professor Tanya Quist to come and drill down deeply on the importance of expanding our tree canopy. We are looking at a Complete Streets Policy that incorporates landscape elements, and we will be looking at what to do with a Green Infrastructure policy that may include fees. In advance of those conversations, reiterating the importance of the tree canopy for health, aesthetics and the environment is what Paul and I are after.

Tanya is the Director of the UA Campus Arboretum. She teaches in the Plant Sciences department. The main themes of her presentation will be these:

We all know intuitively the value of trees. However, if we are going to be making new policy decisions related to our landscape design along roadways, and possibly introducing a fee to guide the establishment and maintenance of our green infrastructure, this science-based presentation will be a good reminder.

We can reduce our energy consumption by increasing shading, blocking wind and improving the efficiency of evaporative cooling systems. All of that is related to tree canopy. Reducing the impacts of UV light on road sealers will reduce our maintenance costs. If we can get our arms around the improper tree maintenance issues I have so often griped about, the healthy canopy system will only make those statements more fully achievable.

This will be on our June 18th study session. The water security item I opened with is about science. The recycling item is about science, and both have economic and health components. The same is true of the tree canopy item, but that one has a happy ending.


This is also science. I am sharing some personal medical stuff to encourage everyone to adopt some life style changes – or at least get yourself checked out so you know whether or not that is something you should consider.

For about the last 40 years, I have run between 10-15 miles per day. The last day I missed was in January of 2018. I do not eat meat. I do eat sweets. I used to smoke, well let’s just say the things I smoked did not have filters on the ends. Put all of that together and you may or may not be surprised to hear that my cholesterol level on my last blood test was 271. That is 98 for the good stuff and 111 for the bad kind. The doc suggested a CT Scan.

Ok, no problem, I run all the time so I will go in and prove to them that those numbers are all fine. The results of the Scan showed this information:

There are some calcified deposits on a couple of my heart arteries. For men my age, only 25% have that result. They recommended an EKG and a stress test. I have scheduled both.

We have a lot of stuff floating around in our environment, and we self-inflict some impacts on our bodies. We are not much more than complex science projects. Unless you let someone peek inside of you, you have no idea what effects all of that is having.

You will continue to see me eating M&M’s and other sweets. I will be starting a Statin regime – to reduce the calcium deposits. I do not like that, because I love grapefruit, and I am told I have to stop eating that or it will counteract the Statins. Ok, until I get rid of the deposits.

Some of you are getting older. You know who you are. Do the tests and check yourself out. As my bride did, you may be pleased with the results, or you may be surprised and acting on that surprise may save your life.

Mayoral Candidate Forums

Ann and I attended the mayoral forum held at the Realtors office last week. The topics generally centered on economic development and the City’s role in facilitating it – in ways that are compatible with surrounding neighborhoods, I would add. All three Democratic candidates participated, and Independent candidate Ed Ackerley was in the audience, not having been invited to take part in the debate. He has gathered the required number of ballot signatures, so he will be included in any forums that take place after the Democratic primary.

Another candidate debate is coming on Saturday, June 22nd. It will be held in the El Rio Neighborhood Center (1390 W. Speedway), and start at 12 o’clock noon.

The three Democratic candidates each have been invited to participate. The sponsoring groups all represent neighborhoods located in Ward 1, so the four City Council candidates running for Regina’s seat will also take part. The focus of the forum is “Gentrification, the Housing Crisis, and our Neighborhoods.” Richard, Regina and I have asked for a study session discussion on this issue for June 18th, so there will be some fresh information to perhaps guide some of the forum direction.

The sponsoring groups for this forum are Barrio Hollywood Neighborhood Association, Barrio Neighborhood Coalition, Casa Maria Catholic Worker House, Dunbar Spring Neighborhood Association, El Rio Coalition II, Menlo Park Neighborhood Association and Nuestro Barrio de Santa Rita Park/West Ochoa Neighborhood Association.  There is plenty of parking at El Rio, but they are committed to starting right on time, so leave yourself time to be parked and seated. They will have a good turnout.

Municipal Improvement Districts

Right now, under State Statute, any group of property owners can form what is called a Municipal Improvement District. The purpose of an MID is to upgrade some public infrastructure. That could be anything from roads to street lighting, sidewalks, landscape amenities – items that will enhance the livability and presentation of the area. The funding for the upgrades comes from the property owners agreeing to self-tax over some period, paying down the debt instrument through their property taxes and therefore not having to fund an entire project at the time it is done. This is all allowed under law. Last week we had a study session on MID in which the only real new wrinkle was what financial role, if any, should the City play when a group of neighbors want to help with public infrastructure in their area. I believe we should indeed be playing a part with neighbors who are willing to be a part of our vast infrastructure needs.

There are some pretty well defined rules in terms of how a District forms. Some of that has to do with how the City advertises and holds public hearings on the formation of an MID. Because they involve increasing somebody’s property tax, there is a formal notice and hearing process, before the M&C take a final vote on the formation. However, ahead of that there is the need for the property owners within the boundaries of a proposed District to sign a petition saying they support it.

For example – a strip mall wants to put in a sidewalk, add some lighting and landscaping. The owners of each business in that mall are presented with the costs of the project, and then are asked whether they individually support the District. The cost piece includes how much of an annual increase there would be to their property taxes. If 51% of the owners to agree based on both the number of businesses, and on their assessed value, the District can be formed and everyone who owns property within the MID pays, whether or not they said they support it; majority rules.

Similarly – a neighborhood looks at where they stand on the Prop 101 road repair list and decides that they want to accelerate the repairs in their area. A cost estimate for the repairs is presented, and each property owner in the neighborhood gets to vote on whether or not they support the increased property tax assessment. If 51% say yes, the M&C can consider forming the District.

Boundaries can be drawn to fit the improvements the group is trying to achieve, and they can be drawn to reflect where there is sufficient support. For example, if that neighborhood wanting to redo their streets has no support in a particular part of their area, they can carve out that area, not repair those streets, and also not assess those property owners. It is kind of a numbers game. Draw the lines so you get the greatest area for improvements consistent with the level of support you need.

Another way it is a numbers game is how we ensure we are not putting into place a policy that benefits some areas of the City, at the expense of others. This will not be a policy where it turns into a ‘have’s vs. have-nots.’ We will hear back from staff on how we can target various pots of available City resources (CDBG, HURF, General Fund, Impact Fees, and others) so we can honestly say there is an equitable way for all areas of the City to participate.

We say all the time that the State, Feds and other regional entities are not going to come to our rescue. Our support of the formation of MID is about as local a solution as we can imagine. We are waiting now on staff to bring us back some of the funding options that will make adopting a policy that is inclusive of all parts of the community. We hope to have that report back sometime this summer.

I-ll Bypass

We started talking about an ADOT ‘by-pass’ freeway connecting border areas with the Phoenix metro area about the same time I was first elected in 2009. Since that time the M&C have consistently given direction to our government affairs folks that we are opposed to slicing up the desert west of the Tucson Mountains, and we are opposed to funding a highway that truly does effectively ‘by-pass’ Tucson. Losing our desert and losing our position in the international commerce market are both non-starters.

ADOT is right now at the tail end of a public comment period related to the environmental impact study they are doing. I had this in an earlier newsletter, but now the deadline is on us, so I want to remind you in case you have thoughts you would like to share for the record with ADOT.

The corridor is a 280-mile long segment that runs from Nogales up to Wickenberg. It crosses through five different counties. Pima is one of them. In addition to the public, ADOT is working with over 150 other agencies and tribes as they gather input.

This is the alignment that is right now being recommended by ADOT:

One of the major issues I have with it is where it begins to jogs to the west right at about Sahuarita. That creates a significant separation from the Tucson metro area, a separation that includes the Tucson Mountain range. It places the freeway right in the middle of the Sahuaro West National Monument area, out by the Desert Museum and Old Tucson. This carves up pristine habitat and generally places about 75 miles of the corridor in an area that might make sense to a civil engineer sitting and drawing at a desk, but makes no environmental sense, and no economic sense for the City of Tucson. Moreover, we have fundamentally important Tucson Water storage facilities out in that area. With all the water contamination issues we are already fighting, we do not need to see that part of our water security also compromised by major construction activities, not to mention the development that would inevitably come after the freeway is built that would take place immediately adjacent to, if not directly through the facilities.

On Tuesday, we have this on our agenda. We also will not have another M&C meeting until July 9th. The comment period ends on July 8th. I’ve been in touch with one council members office and we will be supporting a formal Resolution in opposition to the recommended alignment. We need to get it in and on the ADOT record while the EIS comment period is still open.

I pulled this slide from the ADOT Power Point presentation. It shows how you can also offer your thoughts:

If you would like to visit their website and see their entire presentation, you can find that at

4TH Avenue Murals

Some of the aesthetic elements that make the 4th Avenue area unique and give it its character are the many murals you will find in the area. Here are a few examples that you may be familiar with:

The truth is that I poached those from the mural and artwork survey site that is being created by the Historic Fourth Avenue Coalition (HFAC.) It is all a part of their work on behalf of driving customers to the area, while at the same time preserving the ambience that exists. The mural art is a big part of that ambience.

This could be a Local Tucson item, but as we hit summer and business typically slows down, I wanted to share this as a stand-alone item with the hopes that as you plan your date-nights, you will keep the Avenue merchants in mind. They went through some tough times during the streetcar construction and are now getting re-established. It would be great if your support were a part of that.

If you would like to see the whole survey, check it out at I am grateful to Henry Werchan from the HFAC art committee for sharing the site with me, so that I can share it with you.

Garden District Park

Heads up to the residents of Garden District! Through some great cooperation between our Parks staff, Deanna Campos (Principal at JB Wright School), some of the Wright parent leaders, and the leaders of the Garden District neighborhood, you will soon see these signs going up around school grounds.

There is not a true ‘park’ anywhere within the Garden District. The closest thing to a park was the green space that was once located at the Martha Cooper Library – until someone who was simply not thinking – placed an array of solar panels within a few feet of the ground and surrounded them with chain link fence; goodbye green space. It is in my Top 10 of the dumbest public infrastructure projects I have seen in the Tucson area.

Nevertheless, through an IGA with the City and TUSD, the grounds at the school are now available to residents for their use. When you use the facility, please abide by the rules and respect the property. It is great to have the cooperative relationship, and it is great the neighbors will have access to the space.

Film Industry and “Heartbeat” Laws

I wrote a bit a couple of weeks ago about some of the new ‘heartbeat’ laws going in around the country; the ones that say if you are a 12-year-old little girl raped by her father, the fetus as soon as an audible heartbeat has more rights than the little girl, and it must be carried to term. I pointed out that those laws are more extreme than Islamic Sharia Law.

Well, evidently some of the folks who run the movie industry have also taken note. Last week, AMC Network, the film network that is behind the popular show “The Walking Dead” says they will be pulling out of Georgia if the law stays on the books. The abortion ban will take effect next year, so this will play out over time.

Arizona was one of the last states to adopt an MLK Holiday. The reality is that if the NFL had not threatened to pull the Super Bowl from the State, it would not have passed. So using economics as a tool to change laws is not unprecedented. Unfortunately, since Arizona also does not have any meaningful film incentives, we do not stand to gain much from the shows leaving Georgia, if they do.

NBC Universal and Warner Media are also talking about pulling out of states with those kinds of laws going onto the books. Ironically, Alabama where they filmed the civil rights film “Selma” in 2014 is on the chopping block too.

The film companies are largely located in California. They fly crews to where incentives are offered. Georgia had “The Dukes of Hazzard,” and the movie “Deliverance” a while back. Film is a big economic deal in that State. It supports over 90,000 local jobs according to the Motion Picture Association.

If the abortion laws do not change, and film crews start looking for landing places, Arizona could benefit if our State legislature crafted some job-creating incentives. Alternatively, they could push us farther away from consideration by copying Alabama and other states with something akin to the ‘heartbeat’ laws. Time will tell.


I opened by promoting some monastery events. I am closing with one, too. I want to give you time to get it on your 4th of July family event calendar.

We are taking care of refugee families at the monastery. Since the first of the year, over 10,000 people have come through the facility. They are refugees from extreme poverty, and violence-infested areas. I believe the work we are doing over there is what this country should stand for. Not walls and politicians whose solution to the migrant “problem” is to send them home to the conditions they are fleeing – a death sentence – but to do this:

On Thursday, July 4th I have invited an inter-faith, and no-faith group to come and share their thoughts on what we stand for. We will host the event inside of the chapel beginning at 5 PM.

In coming newsletters, I will give more details as to speakers and program, but for now please consider marking your calendar for early that evening. We are scheduling this so you will be able to come and share this inclusive message, and still have time to get to any fireworks activities you will also want to attend. I hope you can join us for this event, while we still have access to the monastery to deliver this kind of message.


Steve Kozachik
Council Member, Ward 6

Events & Entertainment


June 13 @ 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Etherton Gallery


Etherton Gallery‘s new exhibition highlights the use of innovative visual languages work to highlight the universal stories of modern life in painting. Featuring painting, mixed media and assemblage by Phoenix artist Matt Magee; drawings on vintage ledger paper by Tucson’s own Albert Chamillard; and story boards, 2-D narrative sculpture, by artists of the Keram River of Papua New Guinea. A Patterned Language runs through June 15. For more information contact Daphne Srinivasan at (520) 624-7370 or



June 15th @ 8:00 PM

Rialto Theatre

$20.00 - $25.00

Deconstructing The Beatles

A Multimedia Lecture Hosted by Beatleologist SCOTT FREIMAN Live!

Scott's presentation will transport you to Abbey Road Studio with tales of the Fab Four's recording sessions there. You'll experience Abbey Road like you never have before.

In Deconstructing Abbey Road, Beatleologist Scott Freiman has created one of his most in-depth “deconstructions.” Scott will take you on a track-by-track journey explaining the inspiration for the songs and their evolution in the studio.

The Beatles’ Abbey Road is a masterpiece filled with classic Beatles songs, such as Come Together, Something, and Here Comes the Sun. George Martin told the Beatles to think “symphonically,” and they responded by creating the remarkable side two song suite. 
Abbey Road was the last time that the Beatles recorded together at EMI Studios — soon-to-be-christened Abbey Road Studios after the album’s release. Despite the bittersweet atmosphere that surrounded the recording sessions, The Beatles’ outstanding songs and performances together with George Martin’s orchestrations produced an album that continues to be regarded as one of the best albums ever created.


June 20th @ 8:00 PM

191 Toole Ave.

$12.00 - $15.00

Bob Log III

When you see a man in a jumpsuit and full-face helmet rigged up with a telephone receiver come barreling down the honky-tonk stairs while beating away on a hollow-body guitar, don't get out of the way. Jump right in there with him. And as long as you live, you'll never forget what he taught you.

Bob Log III's sound is reminiscent of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion if it had to be categorised, but his music would be better described as Jerry Lee Lewis crossed with a little of Tom Waits' heavy industrial sounds. His musical skills are something to behold, his one-man-band brand of blues/Americana displays dexterity, creativity, and plenty of good old rock n' roll, and then there's his wacky persona. The show is 21 and over.


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 |