Topics in this issue...
- Be Kind
- I-11 By-Pass
- Two Street Safety Items
- Another LSA Pop-Up
- Flashing Yellow
- Water Security
- Local First
- Monastery Updates
- Musical Fundraiser
- 4TH OF JULY EVENT
- Refugee Art
- Three Animal Events
- Reid Park Zoo Green Challenge
- No Kill Pima County S.O.S. for Pets
- Free Shots and Chips
- Palo Verde Neighborhood 4th of July Parade
- Mayoral Forum
- League of Women Voters
- Events & Entertainment
Last Saturday I got caught up in running with a Dad’s Day 5K out on the Loop. As is the case with those kinds of events, some people were ‘racing’ and others were just out for the community engagement. As I ran through the crowd, I overheard a couple of little girls chatting as they walked. They were probably about 5 or 6 years old. One said to the other ‘when grown-ups get older, kids get faster.’ Hmm… That maybe was a little cute, kind of, and a lot true, kind of, but it does not quite fit into a Be Kind – so I will just share it and let you digest the wisdom. It brought to mind my signature Penguins though:
I hope you had a great Father’s Day, regardless of your pace.
A couple of weeks ago I shared a Be Kind that involved a Border Patrol (BP) agent pulling a young kid from a river and saving his life. This week a BP agent is recognized here for seeing a young woman huddled up in a ball on the ground, covered by bees. He pulled her to safety, only to find that she was shielding her 8-year-old son. Both were treated and released from the hospital.
A Texas hiker around Mena, Texas was found last week after having been lost for a week. He wandered off-trail and became disoriented. This is on the heels of the woman in Maui who was found after having been lost for 16 days. In both cases, the Search and Rescue teams worked tirelessly to find and ultimately save the hikers. This Be Kind to those Rescue teams comes with this warning; temperatures are now over 100 degrees. If you choose to go hiking under these conditions, have good communication ability with friends and family, take more water than you think you will need, and do not stray from marked trails. Drink before you feel thirsty. The desert heat can be deadly. On Saturday afternoon last weekend, we had to call TFD to come to the Ward office and treat a woman seated on the ground across the street, unable to move. Please do not take the newly arrived heat lightly.
The Humane Society folks use Department of Corrections inmates to do things such as cleaning the pens and helping with dog walking duty. They also have another very cool program called New Beginnings. It is for dogs that show some behavioral challenges, which make them hard to adopt. Through the program, the inmates work with the dogs and help to socialize them to the point they are adoptable. They began with 60 dogs – all of whom would otherwise have been euthanized – and have so far adopted out 50 of them. This Be Kind is for both the inmates who are working with the animals, and also for Tom and Linda Grissom. They are the couple that is responsible for bringing the program to HSSA, and for funding major portions of it.
Last week I wrote in opposition to the proposed I-11 freeway that ADOT is suggesting we build west of the Tucson Mountains. It would cut through multiple sensitive riparian areas, have potentially significant adverse impacts on Tucson Water storage facilities, impose irreparable environmental damage to Saguaro National Monument West, and it would have immense negative economic impacts on Tucson as commerce would drive around, and not immediately adjacent to our City. We will be voting to take a formal position on it on Tuesday.
It was gratifying to receive a letter signed by multiple environmentally-savvy groups that are also opposed to the recommended alignment. The groups who signed onto the letter are Friends of Saguaro National Park, National Parks Conservation Association, Tucson Audubon Society, Avra Valley Coalition, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, Friends of Ironwood Forest, and related groups and individuals representing the Menlo Park Neighborhood Association, Drachman Institute, Tucson Historic Commission and a very engaged UA professor who also runs Erickson Terrascape. The group’s summary statement is:
Included in last week’s newsletter were several ways you can offer your comments on the proposed alignment. There is also a link to the ADOT website where you can look over what is proposed. There are options that exist – options other than spending what would be billions of dollars to achieve the damage previously listed. If you have not already, please take a moment to look over the map I shared in last week’s newsletter, and if you are so inclined, let ADOT know your thoughts on that as a way of moving traffic around Tucson, and through that portion of our landscape.
Thanks to the great work of our Living Streets Alliance partners and their outreach, we now have our second intersection pop-up creation. This one is on the heels of what was produced by the community over in the 6th Avenue/Exo Coffee area last year.
Over 200 people joined together, to transform the intersection by Mission View Elementary School into what you see in the photo above. The school crossing is located on a portion of the future 8th Street Bike Boulevard, and is adjacent to the El Paso Southwestern Greenway. It will serve as a wonderful connector for kids and families to commute by bike and on foot. With the flex-posts surrounding the huge traffic circle, it is both an aesthetic enhancement to the area, and a safety element on our roadway.
We are moving forward with the Complete Streets policy. A recent step was TDOT hiring Patrick Hartley as our Complete Streets Program Coordinator. We are also in the process of forming the various committees that will be involved in framing the design standards. The types of pop-up elements that LSA is rolling out should certainly serve as models for what we can do to touch both the look, and safety of our roads as the Complete Streets work progresses.
When I was advocating for protected left hand turn signals at some of our major intersections, the then TDOT staff response was to compromise by using the protected left at certain times and locations, and to put in the flashing yellow lights at others. The flashing yellow allows you to enter the intersection, and to turn as traffic permits (vehicular, bikes, and pedestrian traffic – you watch out for all of those movements). I do not think that is the safest way to manage busy intersections, and have shared as much with our staff.
Last week the Ada County, Idaho coroner’s office reported the death of a 64-year-old man who was navigating the intersection you see in the picture. It had a flashing yellow signal.
As is so often the case, the man who was killed was not ‘in the wrong’. He was making his way through the intersection when another driver turned on the blinking yellow arrow. The result was a multi-car crash, and the loss of a life.
The data is unambiguous. Protected left hand turns are the safest way to manage major intersections. They will cost you some time, not your life. It is still my hope that Complete Streets design guidelines will incorporate that as one of our traffic management tools when we vote on the actual design manual later this year.
A few weeks ago, I shared some public meeting times/locations related to what are called Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF) sites. They are areas around town where contaminants have been identified, and where we have been active in remediating the impacts. We are in a public comment period on another one now – the Broadway/Pantano WQARF site. I share it here for a couple of reasons. One is to invite your input. Another is to share what areas of the City are involved (some Ward 6 neighborhoods). And also to show you how actively the Tucson Water staff has been in addressing the issue. That is in contrast to the actions of our friends in the federal EPA, and the folks at 3M who have known about the contaminants they have been inflicting on the public since 2001, and likely before.
This is the containment system we have in place to address the Broadway/Pantano site. As you can see, the response to the site has been significant. The Community Advisory Board related to the site includes representatives from the Avondale neighborhood, Broadway Northeast, Duffy, El Ghecko, Howard Bell Wright Estates, Mitman, and Thunderbird Heights. That is many groups. Why? The map below shows the plume, and the water well testing activity we are doing to monitor and to address the contaminants. Tucson Water’s response is the polar opposite from what we see from those implicated in the PFC contamination issue.
Within that sample area are some assisted living homes, day care centers, St. Joseph’s hospital, the Easter Seals Kachina House, and some other locations with vulnerable populations. That makes TW’s thorough response to the plume even more responsible. The Community Advisory Board is working alongside our staff and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on the site treatments.
It is tough to make out on the map, but the plume boundaries are approximately Speedway to 22nd, and Pantano to Craycroft. There are a few different contaminants in that area, one of which was TCE. We have experience treating that through the Tucson Airport Remediation Project. The remediation work at this site includes combinations of wellhead treatment, pump and treat strategies, soil vapor extraction, continued sampling and the engineering work you see in the photo. The estimated cost over the next 30 years is in the $28M range. We team with the State in paying to keep the water clean and getting the site back to good health standards.
You can see the entire report for this site by going online at http://www.azdeq.gov/node/993. If you would like to submit your own comments, do so by emailing Tom Titus in the ADEQ Waste Programs Division at email@example.com. You should reference the Broadway/Pantano WQARF site project. You have got until September 9th to get your comments in.
So, with that as a lead-in, what does it have to do with 3M and our PFC lawsuit? I am drawing a stark comparison between our responses to a local water condition – all hands on deck / contain / remediate – to the decades-long slow walk 3M engages in with respect to their PFC product contamination.
From an article in The Intercept last week, there is yet more evidence that 3M has known about the concentration of PFAS in products sold to the public around the country as far back as 2001.
Rob Bilott is an attorney who is working on the litigation over PFCs and 3M. Last week he wrote to the FDA asking for information on a report sponsored by 3M in 2001. The report confirmed significant contamination in common consumer products. This is the opening statement in Bilott’s letter to the FDA:
At that time, the lowest level of PFAS they were testing for was 500 parts per trillion. The EPA has subsequently dropped the health advisory down to 70 ppt. Any test results they may have found in their 2001 study that were below 500 ppt were recorded as non-detect, but in six cities in the test, scattered throughout the country, these were the results Bilott is asking for confirmation on:
They also found contaminants in other locations that were between 500 and 600 ppt:
Who authored the study that detected these levels of contamination? Here is the cover page from the report:
I have shared with you before that Tucson Water is testing for, and treating for PFOS contamination at 18 ppt. The EPA continues to hold 70 ppt as a health advisory. You can see from the study 3M itself conducted nearly 20 years ago that they knew their toxic product was being found all over the country in levels well above 500 parts per trillion. The question Bilott is asking the FDA is what they did about it. The question I have asked the City to ask 3M in our litigation against them as the product manufacturer is what they are going to do about it for the Tucson groundwater system.
Our court date is coming this fall. We are in line with about 80 other jurisdictions as litigants. We all represent thousands of you as plaintiffs. There are multiple millions of dollars at issue in terms of treatment, containment, and remediation/replacement. I will continue writing about this so you are seeing how the issue evolves. It is not getting what I believe to be the necessary level of media coverage that it deserves. As the case unfolds, it will. At least it will in this newsletter.
If you would like to review the 2001 study I am referencing, you can find it at this link: 2001 Study.
When The Intercept asked 3M for a comment, they provided this statement:
How about some good news! Remember the parklet I was trying to get off the ground at Campbell and Grant after the Walgreen’s/Bookman’s demolition? Well, while that effort is literally still in its infancy (the dozen or so plants that were planted are finally showing some signs of greening up) the blank wall on the north side of the shuttered movie theater is now getting some TLC, thanks to the support of both Banner UMC, and Washington Federal.
That is Joe Pagac up on the scissor’s lift spraying some ocean images onto the face of the wall. He is the same artist who had the mural on the east-facing wall of the old Bookman’s. This work of art will get some great exposure, beautify the area, and will be an aesthetically pleasing placeholder while the owners of the vacant lot below it figure out what their plans are. We tried working with those owners to create an inviting space, but they decided the dirt was just fine. Thanks to Joe’s work, that dirt can now be considered the Campbell/Grant beach.
First, this reminder about the fundraiser I am involved with along with Caroline Ragano.
We continue to receive refugee guests at the Benedictine. The heat is resulting in many more issues of dehydration. If you come to the June 28th event, water, Gatorade, or other fluids will be some very welcome donations, in addition to things such as sunscreen, lip balm, and other personal hygiene items.
The event will be music – I will share some familiar sing-along tunes starting at 6:00 pm, and then Caroline and her partners Miguel Molina and Debra Podjed will play some more Central American themed chants and music. The end of the evening will very likely be refugee guests sharing their own music with guitars donated by the Dorman/Paulus family.
If you cannot make the event on the 28th, please continue bringing your donations to our Ward office. We have a good protocol in place for getting the goods from here, over to the Benedictine. We are grateful to all of you who are playing a role in showing the heart of the community.
This reminder is to set aside the 4th of July, from 5:00 pm until about 6:30 pm to come to the Benedictine and share a multi-faith perspective on what our nation’s values are, and how that is being reflected in the work people like you are doing at the monastery. I believe that work is special, the people doing it are special, and it mirrors much of what we have done from time to time for refugees throughout the 200-year history of our nation.
I have invited a variety of groups to come and share during the event. They will include a variety of Christian denominations, Jewish, Muslin, and Sikh. Teresa Cavendish from Catholic Community Services will speak to the work going on at the Benedictine, and I plan to corral a volunteer who is working there to share his or her thoughts. I am going to see if we can recruit from the refugee guests to have someone share through a translator how they are feeling about things. Sister Joan Ridley, from the Order who last lived in the monastery will be flying back to take part in the event as well.
Since the first of the year, over 10,000 refugees have come through the monastery. They have been treated with dignity and compassion. I do not at all agree with those who feel that forcing people to remain in Guatemala or surrounding countries by stepping up military control is an acceptable solution to our ‘border problem.’ That is a death sentence. We are better than that. The event on the 4th is intended to deliver that message.
Another reminder is that throughout the month of July, we will be hosting art created by the refugee children in our Community Room here at Ward 6.
If you are one of the people I have toured through the facility, you have seen the ‘art room.’ It is where Valerie James and her group work with kids, asking them to simply, ‘paint what you love.’ We will have all of that up on display during July.
On Friday, July 12th starting at 6:00 pm I have invited Val to come over and share what her program is all about. The presentation will cover what the kids (and adults) have produced, and some of the messages we are seeing expressed in the art. It is sort of an art interpretation event. This is a part of the broader Central American, border, refugee story. I hope you can join us for the event.
Now we shift from those three monastery-related events, to three that have to do with critters. If you read this newsletter much, you know they are often my favorite people in the room.
When I write about the zoo, it is not uncommon that one of the themes of their work is in animal conservation. This week, it is their work in conservation more generally. The folks at the zoo are inviting everyone in the community to join their team and take part in the national Plastic Free EcoChallenge.
The contest runs through the month of July. It’s a month-long challenge in which people will make lifestyle change commitments, each earning points towards the Tucson Zoo's ranking in the contest. There are several categories included in the contest. They include the food you eat, personal care, the kinds of community contacts you have, lifestyle changes, and how you deal with your pets and family. You choose the areas you want to take part in, and let the points add up.
When I checked last weekend, Tucson was in 10th place nationwide. That is a nice start, but we can win.
So far, 373 teams have joined. It is for a great cause, local bragging rights, and after 31 days of adopting a few lifestyle changes, you are more likely to incorporate them into your daily living for the long term. Here’s a link for you to sign on: join our team.
The link shows you the various categories that you can get involved in.
The Shelter Cocktail Lounge (4155 E. Grant) is a true partner when it comes to all things animal welfare.
You may remember that they hosted our celebration party the night Tucson Greyhound Park ran their last race.
Coming on Friday, June 21st, they’re playing host to another of the No Kill Pima County fundraisers, all in support of keeping our pets out of shelters.
The event on the 21st is a matching event; that is, the Bonnie Kay Fund is putting up a dollar for dollar match for whatever is raised during the S.O.S. Shelter Lounge event. Bonnie is a long time animal welfare advocate. This is yet another example of her kind heart.
Pets are often surrendered to shelters by people who would otherwise want to keep them in their homes, but who are struggling through some issues and feel giving up their pet is their only option. The No Kill Pima County event is aimed at supporting those families so they can keep their family member at home, and free up space in the shelters for pets who aren’t so lucky as to have a family option.
Stop by on the 21st and do what you can to support the work.
Not the kind of ‘shots and chips’ you might have in mind. You can get those at the Shelter Lounge event, although not for free.
These are vaccines and microchips. Saturday, June 22nd they will be offered by PACC out at the San Miguel High School from 8:00 am until noon, and they are free.
I have hosted these types of events at the Ward 6 office and am always glad to see people bringing their pets in to get vaccinated, and get the microchip inserted so if they stray they can be found. You do not need an appointment for this event. They will have enough supplies on hand for the first 300 pets in the door. I know how popular these events are, so if you are going to take part get there early.
One more Independence Day event for you to mark down on your calendar. We have some pretty active and engaged neighborhoods in Ward 6 – one of which is Palo Verde. They are not newcomers to being active.
Join them on the 4th of July for this year’s neighborhood parade – their 56th in a row!
The parade winds through the neighborhood in an auto-free environment. Jonathan will be there to guide them along. If you are in the Fairmont/ Richey/ Palo Verde area early in the morning on the 4th, you will see the activities. There is food/ drink/ fun – the parade begins before the heat starts – 7:30 am. They are still looking for a few good volunteers to help with set up/ clean-up/ tear down. If that is you, please email Kat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is another chance for you to see the three Democratic mayoral candidates squaring off in a candidate forum. This one is sponsored by the Pima County Democratic Party, and it will be held in the auditorium at Rincon/ UHS on Thursday, July 18th at 6:00 pm. That is a rather large room, so I doubt you will have any trouble finding a seat if you want to go and take part. If you have not yet heard their respective pitches, you should. Be an informed voter.
All of the information is shown on the flyer. Parking is free – seating is free. It is your vote that counts.
Finally, with all the election activity we are having for mayor and council candidates, this is also the time of year many neighborhood associations and HOA’s are planning their annual meetings, many of which also include Board elections. The League of Women Voters has a program in which they will help to facilitate those elections. They can do anything from producing and counting ballots, to administering the election to the extent you need their help. I know from having spoken to several groups that an outside and unbiased group is sometimes a welcomed addition to the process.
If your group is interested in connecting with the League and asking them about election options, please contact Vivian Harte at the LWV office – 327.7652. Their reputation for integrity is well known throughout the community.
Council Member, Ward 6
REVOLT! RESIST! RESTORE! THE GAL GUIDE FOR RECLAIMING HER POWER, SELF-ESTEEM & CONFIDENCE
June 22 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Dunbar Cultural Center
This class will explore how using intention + intuition to create guidelines, maintain boundaries, and repair your internal space will open the door to reclaiming your power, self-esteem and confidence as a woman. Participants will be provided with practical information and self-alignment exercise for better understanding and experiencing her/she/they natural intuition.
Hosted by Kindred.
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 22 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Celebrate surf rock with a family-friendly beach party featuring three of Arizona’s best surf bands — Surfbroads, Shrimp Chaperone, and The Furys — and a special tribute to Dick Dale!
Delicious fish tacos, ice cold beer, colorful beach balls, twangy surf rock… We may not have an ocean, but we’ll have all the fixings for a truly authentic beach surf party!
$ Fish Tacos / $4 Pacificos
FST! PRESENTS: IT"S A TUCSON THING
June 27 @ 7:00 PM
FST! is a league of hilarious, insightful women who tell their stories, make their voices heard, and raise money for local charities.
Don't miss this spectacular group of performers telling their "It's A Tucson Thing" stories at Hotel Congress! $8 cover with proceeds benefit a local nonprofit. Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm. ASL Interpreters provided.
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