Steve K's Newsletter 08/03/20

Topics in this Issue:

 

 

 

Last week I opened with a blue light note of thanks to the Pima County health people who have been working hard on the testing services offered at the Kino Sports Complex. They have now added the northwest site I wrote about last week, and are ready to get an east side site going. This blue light recognition is for the UA’s involvement in the testing effort. 

The State has provided over $3M for antibody testing that is available, right now, at dozens of sites around the State. These are the tests that show whether you’ve had COVID and therefore have some presumed level of immunity due to having antibodies in your system. Originally those tests were limited to health care workers and first responders. That list has now been expanded. In addition to those groups, the UA is now offering these free tests to the following list of groups: 

  • Public Safety Officer 
  • Firefighter 
  • EMT 
  • Arizona Department of Corrections Officer 
  • Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections Officer 
  • Arizona Department of Child Safety Employee 
  • Education Workers (pre-K – grade 20 teachers, faculty, adjunct faculty, cooperative extension specialists, graduate teaching assistants, administration, staff, and any other employees of an educational institution) 
  • Food Service Workers (grocery stores, agriculture, food preparation and service) 
  • Hospitality Workers (hotel, etc.) 
  • Public and Other Transportation Services (bus, taxi, Uber/Lyft, etc.) 
  • Solid Waste Collection Workers 
  • Warehouse and Delivery Workers 
  • Utilities (energy, water, waste water) 
  • Government and Community-Based Services 
  • Childcare Workers 
  • Group Homes, Day Programs, Disability Programs 
  • Information Technology Professionals 
  • Environmental Services, Facilities Management Workers 
  • Frontline Financial Workers (bank tellers, etc.) 
  • Journalists 
  • National Guard 

Remember, these tests won’t tell you if you’re currently infected. For that kind of test you need to connect with the County. But if you would like to see if you’ve had COVID and therefore may have some immunity built up – or may perhaps be a candidate for donating plasma – you should register for the test by going to https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/  

County Testing Sites 

There are multiple regional sites you can visit in order to be tested for COVID, each the handiwork of County Health staff. Some of them are doing antibody tests (to show if you’ve ever been infected), and some are doing the PCR test (to show if you have the virus now,) and some of the sites are doing both. 

This map shows where each of the sites is located. The green crosses are for antibody tests, the yellow ones are for the diagnostic tests, and the red crosses are locations where you can get both kinds of tests administered.  

I don’t expect you to be able to track an exact location from this map, but wanted to share it with you so you can get a general idea of what parts of town they’re located in, and perhaps target one that’s near to you. With that, you can reach out to Pima County health to get information about how to sign up for the test and the hours a particular site is open. 

To get ahold of the health department people check at this site: www.pima.gov/covid19testing.   

Contact Tracing Update 

On the heels of testing, comes tracing. A couple of weeks ago I included some contact information for Maximus Health Services for people to sign on for being contact tracers. They’ve done an initial round of hiring 130 tracers, supervisors and case investigators. Now that the new hires have received some training, they’ve begun making the calls. 

If you were tested, and your results came back positive for COVID-19, you should receive a call from one of the tracers. Please watch for unfamiliar phone numbers so you’re sure to pick up when they call. The calls will be coming from either 833.771.xxxx or 520.724.xxxx. Your caller ID will say Pima Health Dept

Others who may receive a call are people who are listed as a contact for a person who tested positive. You’ll be asked about your symptoms, when they began, and where you’ve been since 2 days before the symptoms started. They’ll remind you about isolation practices and ask whether you’ll need assistance during that isolation. 

Without an effective contact tracing process, the tests are only worth something for the individual who gets the results. Since the beginning of this we’ve been advised that a part of the CDC guidelines are the data trends, masking up, staying home if you’re sick, and testing/tracing. It’s all a part of the whole package we need to embrace if we’re going to get COVID in the rear view mirror.  

Finally, be aware of scams. Nobody involved with this process will ever ask you for your social security number, or for any insurance information. If a caller asks, hang up. They’re not legit

You can learn more about how to get involved with Maximus by going to the Pima County health site at  
http://www.pima.gov/cov and click on “Contact Tracing Info & Jobs” for information. 

Governor’s Thursday COVID Update 

I’ll get into more detail on the COVID numbers later in the newsletter, but wanted to first address the notion of a positive trend we’re told is happening. Some of the data points seem to indicate a slowing of transmission. But the numbers still show that in the month of July, we had more coronavirus cases reported than in the previous 3 months combined. That includes June, right after Ducey ended the Stay at Home, and the numbers began to spike. 

Here’s a table that shows each month of data since March.  

The combined total of cases for April, May and June is 7,747. In July we had 7,780 cases reported. 

The trend we’re asked to follow indicates that in the last two weeks of July the number of reported cases seems to be decreasing. Both Ducey and UA President Robbins shared similar graphs to make that point. Here’s what they offered. The first graph shows Statewide cases ending on July 27th: 

This one is Pima County, also as of the 27th: 

On the 27th, Arizona had 1,813 new cases, and Pima County had 146. But time doesn’t stand still. 

On the 28th, Arizona had 2,107 new cases, and Pima County had 183. On the 29th it went to 2,339 and 309. On the 30th it was 2,525 and 283. And on July 31st, Arizona reported 3,212 new cases, and Pima County reported 283 new cases. If there was a trend headed downward between mid-July and the 27th, the end of last week saw that trend line begin to head back up again.  

I wish I could say that one reason for that is the increased number of tests being given. But comparing the data for mid-July to the end of the month shows pretty similar numbers for testing. And even if more tests were causing the reported infections to rise, that only suggests the earlier numbers were masking the real infection rate because people were simply not being tested. And that means community spread was occurring.  

I’ll circle back to the data later, but I wanted to comment on the hoped-for positive trend and put it into the perspective of the full month’s data. If COVID has shown us anything, it’s that every day we have to reassess based on the most current data we have. 

Suicide Prevention Hotline 

In two of the virtual meetings I’ve been involved with during the past week, people were expressing concerns for friends who are struggling with the whole social isolation situation we’re involved with. I’ve shared in previous newsletters that isolation is a condition that health care professionals recognize as being a contributor to a variety of different outcomes. Those include depression, up to and including suicide. 

The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that by July 16, 2022 all phone service providers add 988 as a new nationwide suicide prevention number. All 988 calls are going to be directly linked to the national suicide prevention lifeline. That’ll be the analog to the current 911 emergency line. But, it’s not in effect yet. If you know of people who are struggling during social isolation, please make sure they know there’s a 24/7 suicide prevention hotline they can call – 1.800.273.8255 / 1.800.273.TALK.) 

If you’re a veteran, or a current service member just hit 1 after you dial and your call will be connected with the Veteran’s Crisis Line. Please use this link to find the entire list of programs available. There is help available – only a phone call away. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website 

Mask Up Campaign 

I’ll get into more detail on the COVID topic below, but while I’ve got the testing and social isolation thought going I want to share that we on the City Council, as well as the Mayor are involved in a community wide campaign to continue sending out messages encouraging all of us to wear masks. The campaign is called ‘Who do you wear a mask for?’ 

Each of us chose a message to include in our personal part of this campaign. The one I chose reflects a concern for immune compromised people. I’ve got one working in my office. Ann Charles had bone marrow cancer and will forever have to be on guard. That’s generally true of cancer survivors who have been through, or who are in treatment. And it’s true of others who are suffering immune compromising conditions. 

This whole notion of rejecting mask wearing because it’s some sort of infringement on your liberty is a totally self-absorbed attitude. We’re looking at reopening the UA campus. This is a shot taken last week outside one of our downtown breweries: 

I see one mask in that group. They all appear to be college age. But we’re not alone in Tucson. This shot is from a charity event that was held last week in the Town of Southampton, New York. Remember New York – the area that was hit hard by COVID, has seemingly recovered, and is now ‘slowly’ reopening?  

This was billed as a drive-in concert. You can see how it turned out.  

New York is bragging on how they’ve led in addressing COVID. Arizona/Pima County is feeling like we may be at a plateau and headed in the right direction. Both of us are going to see those claims tested once schools reopen and people either do, or don’t adhere to the rules of the game that have been established by the virus. 

Unemployment Insurance 

During Governor Ducey’s most recent press briefing, one of the most urgent issues he was questioned about is the extension of unemployment insurance. The Feds have had a $600 supplement in place that expired last Friday. Senator McSally tried to get a 1-week extension. Other Republicans wanted to extend it, but at $200 per week. Democrats were holding out for a longer-term extension at the current $600 weekly level. And the Governor was prepared to wait for Congress to come up with something before acting at the State level.  

After his press conference, I penned this Guest Piece for the Star. I’m grateful to Sarah Garrecht-Gassen for her help in running the piece. For families who will be asked to live on about 25% of what had been coming in, the timing for the advocacy was important. 

In Arizona, the Unemployment Insurance safety net to which you’re entitled is $240 per week. That is the equivalent of somebody working a 40-hour workweek at six dollars per hour. 

If the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit of an additional $600 per week is not extended, our Governor and State Legislature are effectively asking the nearly 1 million families who have received State U.I. benefits to survive on less than ½ of the current minimum wage. Without an extension by Congress, those extra dollars end on July 31st. 

Governor Ducey stated during his most recent press briefing that he is willing to wait on Congress to act. Arizona’s Unemployment Trust Fund sits with over $600 million dollars left to disburse. At the current burn rate, the Fund will be depleted by the end of October. That’s also the date the Governor’s eviction moratorium will end. Clearly, without some leadership, there’s a significant economic cliff ahead. 

To be clear, the cliff is for families. And once families are unable to pay utilities, rent or buy food, that cliff becomes an economic abyss for the State. The Governor and State Legislature cannot wait to act. 

Arizona ranks #49 nationally in the rate of unemployment benefits we pay. At $235 per week, only Mississippi pays less than we do. For comparison consider our border States; California pays $450, New Mexico pays $511, Utah pays $580 and Colorado pays $618. With the expiration of the FPUC support net, we stand with Mississippi in asking our neighbors who have lost work due to COVID to live on $6 per hour. 

The Governor is not without options. If his concern is emptying the State Unemployment Trust Fund, Ducey could very easily simply request a no-interest loan from our Congressional delegation to top-off the Fund. The pandemic will not last forever. Eventually employers will rehire workers. Once that happens, they will again be paying into the Fund. The promise of those payments constitutes the revenue stream for repaying the loan. None of us can predict the timing, but all of us can see in that equation the terms of a deal to be made. And our families and neighbors – indeed, our economy – stands to benefit. 

The loan doesn’t fix the fact that we’re offering a sub-minimum wage safety net. In the normal course of affairs, the Legislature sets the unemployment rates. If the Governor won’t show the leadership of calling them into a Special Session specifically to address that issue, he could do as he has done over 40 times since the pandemic hit in March. That is, point to the existing public health emergency and unilaterally increase the unemployment safety net by Executive Order. The State has over $500 million in unspent CARES Act money. Some of those funds could be used to kick start a new Arizona Pandemic Unemployment Fund. Pending either action by the State Legislature to increase our rates, or by Congress to extend their support, that new fund can become a temporary reprieve. 

Waiting on Congress places Arizonans on the precipice of an economic catastrophe. Even the additional $600 Federal safety net amounts to working 40 hours at $15 per hour. Waiting is not an option. Arizona must both increase our own unemployment insurance safety net so we’re not asking people to survive on $6 per hour, and Arizona must show some leadership and act to fill the gap being left by Congress until they adopt an extension of the Federal unemployment support. 

In the alternative, we can proudly stand with Mississippi in how we care for families in need. 

Some of the rhetoric about the Federal support is that we’re paying people more than they earned while working. If that's true, it’s true of people who earned less than $15 per hour. I read an article in which it was stated that 16% of people who were offered their job back had refused it because unemployment insurance was more lucrative. Ernie Tedeschi is an economist who served in the Obama Treasury Department. His analysis showed that ‘there is no relationship between job-finding or job-leaving and the generosity of unemployment insurance benefits.’ People want to work. 

Keep an eye on how this unfolds. It’s a huge issue for Arizona. If Ducey and the State Legislature – and our Congressional delegation – want to see the State economy tank and people suffer, doing nothing about U.I. support is a direct route to that end.  

Zoo Reopening Plans 

We took a little tour of the critters last week, just to make sure Sue, Nancy and the gang were taking good care of them while visitors aren’t allowed in. We came away confident that everyone’s in good hands and is doing well. This is a short video of the baby elephant with big sister by her side. It’s a sort of one-person soccer match. 

Here are a few shots of the group waiting for your return. 

  

A little squirrel monkey – this is Jason. He has a bunch of buddies scampering around the habitat. 

A trio of baby meerkats. They have 10 babies – the dad is standing guard on a rock to their left. 

 Well, it was hot the day we visited. This guy was clearly soaking up some cool relief. 

That’s Billy. He’s the Gibbon I adopted for my bride last year. He was just hanging out, also waiting for your return. 

So, when will the doors open up again? Those conversations are on-going this week. Many of us are hoping to see this happen before the end of the month. It should be a no-brainer. With limits in place for the number of people who’ll be admitted at a given time, and the large footprint the zoo sits on, all of the CDC guidelines for mask wearing and social distancing can easily be adhered to. Look for indoor spaces to be excluded from the reopening plan, but a sort of ‘walking safari’ of the animal habitats will be on the table.  

To ensure that social distancing, expect to see reminders with a ‘zoo touch’ - like these. Note that they’ll be done in both English and in Spanish: 

There are reasonable ways to reclaim some of our public open spaces, and do so while we honor the safety rules put into place by the Pima County Health authority and the CDC. The zoo is an outdoor venue with lots of space to work with. It’s an example of an easy decision that I’m looking forward to sharing with you soon. 

Regional Mobility and Accessibility Plan 

The Pima Association of Governments (PAG) is in the final stretches of receiving public input for the 2045 mobility plan. In addition to demographic data, the plan will include a listing of what the region considers some of the more important transportation and mobility projects it wants to pursue between now and 2045. Your input can be a part of the document PAG is preparing. 

A 30-day public comment period began on July 7th. It’ll run through 5pm on August 7th, so if you want to comment on the proposed plan, please keep that in mind. To see the document, and to submit your comments, please visit www.pagregion.com. You’ll see the links for that right near the top of the page.  

The RTA2 plan will soon be coming to the voters. The long-range plan may play an important role in how that proposal appears before the voters. Please take a few minutes and share your thoughts on the draft proposal. 

This Be Kind is for our partners out at the Community Food Bank. Throughout COVID, they’ve been doing their part in making sure everyone with a food scarcity need in the region had an option for getting some provisions. Until now, they’ve had the help of the National Guard in handing out those packages. That ends this week. 

The Food Bank is looking for groups to sign up for a food distribution shift. The volunteer groups will serve from 6:30am until 10:30am out at the Kino Sports Complex. They’re trying to fill needs for August 6th, 11th, 13th, 18th, 25th, and the 27th.  

All of the distribution is done outside, and all of the pallets of food are dropped at least 6’ apart. So the social distancing guidelines, including mask wearing and temperature checks are adhered to even while the food is being handed out. And since they’re giving out both produce and dairy boxes, they require the ability to lift from 25-50 lbs. It’s hot outside, so also count on the Food Bank to provide your group with snacks and water. 

If you have a group who’d like to take part, please reach out to the Food Bank volunteer Services people at www.volunteer@communityfoodbank.org. You’ll be treated to some very sincere expressions of thanks from all the people you connect with during the work. 

Paul & Caitlin Update 

These are the 2 young people who were killed in an auto crash last year. The facts are the driver who rear-ended them did not hit her brakes. She was clocked at going 53 mph. There were no skid marks prior to impact. Paul and Caitlin were pushed into the path of an on-coming truck and were killed. 

This happened in Oro Valley. To the guy who loves to write and ask me why I care about something that didn’t happen in Tucson, it’s because people deserve justice, regardless of where they live. And because the entire region now has distracted driving laws. If we’re serious about them, they need to be enforced. 

The update is that last week, the supporters of the families submitted to both the County Attorney, and to Governor Ducey a petition that has over 6,600 signatures asking that the case be tried. As of now, the driver who caused the fatalities has not been brought up on any charges related to distracted driving. 

Further facts – there is a recipient of a text from/to the driver whose phone was inspected by the police. The phone records prove the driver had indeed been on her phone within one minute of impact. She had denied having sent or received any texts. They had been deleted from her phone. That doesn’t just happen by accident. 

As with Genna’s case, I’ll follow this one. There’s an election for County Attorney coming. We’ll see how that impacts these two cases. 

Genna Update 

And very briefly, I found it odd that the shooter in Genna’s case, along with his attorney have funded the campaign of one of the County Attorney candidates. It simply raises the question in my mind of how, if she wins, can the County prosecute the case if the defendant and his attorney funded the campaign. My suspicion is that it’s a contrived effort by the defendant and his team to send this whole trial back to square 1, but in a new venue. Creating a conflict of interest within the Pima County Attorney’s office if the election goes a particular way would be the pretext for moving the case. And a new court would have to ‘learn’ the facts from the beginning. 

After having been advised that the shooter had donated to her campaign, that donation was returned by the candidate.

It’s yet another sad twist in the case that has now taken 8 years to resolve in a way that brings justice to the family. 

 

COVID and Construction Costs 

During our conversation about upgrades to the 911 center, I raised the issue of escalation in both material and labor costs. The point was that we’re reducing the scope of a project that we cannot allow to fail. We have some CARES money that can fund parts of it, but overall the importance of 911 is such that we have to keep the original scope of the project intact and find ways to fund it. Some of ‘finding ways to fund it’ will include how we design the project; what sorts of materials we build into the design. 

Cost of construction has leveled off through the first half of 2020. That was not the case last year where we saw both labor and material shortages causing cost escalation. This year the people in the industry think the COVID-related challenges are being offset by the more competitive building environment caused by lots of projects being put on hold or canceled. 

Not all building costs are level. Some are still heading in the wrong direction. For example, steel, hardwood flooring and concrete work is still costing more than last year. That’s the kind of material most large projects rely on.  

The short message for seeing a resurgence in major building projects is that everyone is sort of taking a pause and not being real aggressive until we see how COVID responds to things such as the reopening of schools. Most health experts are still saying that we’re likely early in this issue. The unknowns of how it evolves over the rest of the year, added to the other typical fall/winter flu issues makes it tough for people to feel confident in going on spending sprees. That will affect our City revenues for the foreseeable future. 

This graphic shows how building material costs are trending. If you are planning a project, this might help guide some of your design decisions to help keep costs in line. I share it here to also help our 911 project design team as they sort through the critical importance of that project, and how we might take advantage of some material-cost flattening by choosing wisely on how we plan the work. 

 

I’m tossing in a Be Kind this week in honor of the passing of Representative John Lewis. He stood as a lifelong leader in the fight for social justice. If you pay attention to the news, I’m sure you saw several statements made by his colleagues. I want to share Mr. Lewis’ own words with you. They speak to the urgency for you to participate in our voting process. This is a section I pulled from his ‘final essay.’ 

We are at the end of vote-by-mail for the primary election. Vote – and if you have not yet registered to vote in the November election (yes, it will not be moved, despite what you may have read from D.C. tweets last week) please contact the Pima County Recorder’s office and get that taken care of. The website to use is www.recorder.pima.gov.  

COVID Data 

On the same day the Governor gave his update on Arizona and COVID, so did UA President Robbins. He clarified a couple of points. One is that he is moving forward with a reopening schedule that’ll ramp on-campus attendance up over a 3-week period. Beginning on August 24th, there’ll be about 5,000 students invited to return to campus. They’ll mostly be taking classes such as performance dance, medical and research courses – classes that pretty much require some in-person attendance. The following week there’ll be another roughly 5,000 students coming onto campus, and the week following Labor Day will be the final wave of students arriving. At full count, the peak on-campus attendance being anticipated this fall will be in the 25,000-student range. That’s about ½ of the normal count. 

Also clarified is the commitment to roll things back if the COVID data goes south. The Incident Management team is looking at a variety of metrics. The number of cases is one. In addition they’ll keep an eye on hospital capacity, whether students are complying with the rules while out in the community, and the Rt figure I shared with you last week. That’s the rate of transmission graph. A month ago we were at 1.18 on that scale. The goal is to be below 1.0. Above 1 means everybody who’s carrying the virus is infecting more than one other person. Below 1 means they’re not. As of last week, the State is at .91. Here’s that graph to show you the trend.  

You can see that it has dipped up and down since March. By this one data point, we’re in an okay place right now. Up above though I shared the data we received for the last 4 days of the month – after this Rt rate was computed. It’s a fluid measure, so we’ll have to see how it moves with the new numbers. 

One point everyone is keeping an eye on is that this is normally the time of year when our hospitals are least used. It’s summer, winter visitors haven’t arrived, and UA students are not in town. And we haven’t hit the fall flu season yet. All of that is to say that the plans to reopen the UA are laid out, and the team whose job it is to advise the President will continue tracking COVID and give continual daily updates.  

The UA financial position may be helped if the Board of Regents allows them to make interest-only payments on bond debt. That’d save about $60M this year. And if Congress passes another CARES allocation, even the least lucrative one being considered would infuse another $71M to campus. That’s about ½ of the annual shortfall being projected. Much of the remainder is planned to be made up through furloughs. 

Some revenue activities are being planned. This is the announced football schedule. The game times are not yet known. Nor is the plan for fan attendance. I’ll share that with you when it’s finalized. 

I’ve been referencing the data trends. Here’s how that last week of July looked. Remember, the column after the date is Statewide coronavirus numbers, followed by Pima County numbers. You can see that immediately after the recent press announcement, our numbers headed back north again. 

Another data point to keep in mind is the fatality rate. The third column over from the right side of the graph is the Statewide COVID deaths. We’ve lost 3,694 people across Arizona since March due to the virus. And in Pima County it’s 459 (the next column.) That’s a statement about the severity of this disease. Between July 29th and July 30th, there were 172 deaths recorded. That’s the highest daily number since this all started in March. Contrary to what Trump has said, it’s more than just ‘the sniffles.’ 

We’re less than a month from the start of reopening campus – and some form of public schools. As has been true since March, we’re all learning about COVID as we go. Please encourage anyone you have any influence over to take this stuff seriously, follow CDC guidelines, wear a mask, avoid large gatherings and social distance. 

Final COVID Data Points 

We know our target for Rt (transmission rate) is below 1.0. Mid last week it was .91. The World Health Organization says the percent positive rate for testing should be below 5%. This is the current information from the Arizona Department of Health website as of last Sunday evening: 

I’ve pulled the “PCR” test data out from the figure they combine with the antibody test numbers. The PCR represents the percent of people who have the virus at the time they’re tested. Antibody testing just tells you if you’ve ever had the virus. As you can see, we’re well above the W.H.O. target. 

And each week I share the raw numbers of cases in the State, and deaths. Here’s this week’s comparison - from 2 weeks ago: 

Compared to last week: 

 

Here’s your weekly update on the Statewide COVID numbers, by County. From last week’s newsletter: 

And here are the numbers from AZDHS as of last weekend: 

To put the map into perspective it means that since March over 16,000 people in Pima County have contracted COVID-19. And in July we had more new cases than in the previous 3 months combined. 

And my weekly reminder that you can track the State data every day at www.azdhs.gov

 

This week’s Local Tucson item is our Slow Streets program. And it’s the opportunity for you to lobby for your neighborhood to take part in the next round of streets that’ll be included. What is the Slow Street program? A few newsletters back I highlighted the most recent one that we held over on Park, between Speedway and Grant. The next round of street segments will be implemented between now and the end of the calendar year. 

Slow streets are not closed to traffic. And they’re not an invitation for people to violate all of the social distancing and large gathering guidelines that are in place. A slow street is an opportunity for residents along a stretch of roadway to temporarily slow traffic, encouraging local traffic only. It puts signage up alerting drivers that they’ll be seeing an increased number of pedestrians, bikers, and joggers while they drive that area. We’ll work with the residents in the area to provide barricades, signs and traffic cones set up to provide more space for people to be outside, be active and be safe. 

Right now DTM, the Department of Transportation and Mobility, is looking for areas in which to set up the next round of slow streets. To qualify the street must be residential, it cannot be on a transit route or be along a commercial section of road. I’ve included a link to the application, below. The City received a grant from PeopleForBikes and will use those funds to help with a stipend to Block Leaders; people chosen by your neighborhood to work with our DTM folks in planning the slow street. If your neighborhood is chosen, the slow street will be in place for about a month. 

Use this link to get to the survey and application you need to fill out to get your neighborhood included in the mix for consideration: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/TucsonSlowStreets?fbclid=IwAR1Ogb63lfZUFE7QD_7nB-9G2xz6QtihMc1Ag1TSlmxOK7q5pEV1GL4NX-Y 

And by way of update, last week I shared a piece about the City working with some downtown and 4th Ave businesses on extending their footprint to provide for outdoor seating and sales. KOLD did two very nice stories on the process. I know there are now nearly 3 dozen applications for this, largely along 4th Ave. I’m working with the City Manager’s office to coordinate so as site plans are presented, they’re considered in the context of the larger picture, and not just evaluated one business at a time. I’ll keep you posted – this is a way of preserving jobs and local businesses, and a way to safely get you out of the house without getting stuck in a busy and crowded retail store setting. 

Why is this important? Because the best thing you can do to be a great employer after COVID is to be solvent. The best thing the City can do is to help make that happen. These extensions of premises can play an important role. 

Sincerely,

Steve Kozachik
Council Member, Ward 6
ward6@tucsonaz.gov

 

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