Topics in This Issue...
- Be Kind
- Mass Shootings
- Joint Terrorism Task Force
- Casa Alitas Welcome Center
- I-11 Support List
- Complete Streets Coordinating Council
- Broadway Bungalows
- Final Transportation Add
- Recycling Update
- More Environment – Sustainable Tucson
- Local First
- Events and Entertainment
A few weeks ago, I shared a piece about Gil the Wonder Pup. He is the little guy who was shot by some jerk, point blank range in the spine. He survived, but had to use a ‘walker’ for his hind legs. His foster family had to give him up, and thanks to some great outreach, Gil is moving to his new forever home with a family in Colorado.
The Be Kind is both for the new family, and to the Tucson extended family who calls themselves “Team Gil”. They held a going away bash last Saturday night and collected pet food to help replenish the supply at Cody’s Friends Charity. They are a local pet food pantry that serves over 40 human service organizations helping low income people with pets.
If you missed the going-away party but would still like to support Gil and his Team, please bring pet food supplies to us at the Ward 6 office and we will get them to Cody’s for you. If you would like to check out the great work Cody’s folks do, go to https://codysfriends.org.
This Be Kind is for our friends at the Community Food Bank. The work they do touches thousands of lives in and around Tucson. Right now is the time for you to form your Hunger Walk 2019 team and get registered. That is one of their most important annual events – this being their 10th annual Walk. Use this link to register:
If you register before September 2nd, you may win tickets to the Albuquerque balloon festival. The Walk is at 8am on Saturday, September 14th. If you go to www.communityfoodbank.org you can learn other ways to support the CFB and their work.
My office has been working to help find a 75-year young lady (Lily Rose) who’s on disability a new Section 8 apartment. There is a lot to the story, and the whole Section 8 program is going to get a close look in the coming weeks. This Be Kind is for a lady named Bonnie who works in our Housing department. She called and showed a real human concern for Lily Rose and together we are going to make sure her story ends well. The Bonnies of the world too often don’t get noticed. This one did.
Last week, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Japan all placed the U.S. on a travel warning list for their own residents. The recent gun massacres earned us that distinction. In 2017, we averaged 109 gun deaths per day. That included over 14,000 murders and over 23,000 suicides.
I used to open newsletters with a half-staff section in which I would share some multiple-fatality shooting incidents that I’d pick at random from the prior week. The point was to show the constancy of gun deaths in this country, and to honor those who had lost their lives in the shootings. We drop flags to half-staff when somebody who is noteworthy dies. The half-staff section was a way to show that the loss of any life is deserving of recognition, and it represents significant pain for friends and family.
You know what happened in the past couple of weeks in Dayton, El Paso and at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. Combined, there were 34 people murdered and 66 wounded. That is unique to American culture.
In the aftermath of these most recent mass killings, I have read several articles that tried to pinpoint why it is us, and not other countries who suffer this sickness of gun violence. The most commonly held belief is very simply the huge number of guns we allow into circulation. This graph makes the point:
We are nearly at 300 million guns in circulation in the U.S. We are less than 5% of the global population, but we own 42% of the world’s guns.
Other factors articles considered? Mental health was one. Data do not show that Americans have more mental health problems than do people who live in other countries that have far fewer mass shootings. Video games? We are no more likely to get involved with violent video games than are people in other developed countries. Racial diversity and social cohesion? European countries show very little association between immigration and rates of gun murders or mass killings. Very simply, American crime is just more lethal than it is in other countries. A person who lives in New York is equally likely as a Londoner to be robbed. But the New Yorker is 54 times more likely to be killed in the process. That is a function of gun ownership.
We will continue to hear the empty expressions of concern from politicians who have been purchased by the NRA and other gun groups. There is an election coming this fall in Tucson. There is another next year in Arizona, and nationwide. If you are tired of seeing the images of candle light vigils in the aftermath of mass murders, check candidate positions on gun control.
As I opened with last week – there is not a legitimate civilian use for an AK47, AR15 or similar semi-automatic weapon. What hunter needs such a weapon? What hunter needs a magazine that holds over 10 rounds of ammunition? Gun control does not “poll” as one of peoples’ highly important voting issues, but weeks like the past couple should result in that fact changing. At least make it one of several issues you consider when placing your vote.
Join me this Sunday evening, along with Mom’s Demand Action and others who will speak to, and rally about gun control. We will meet on Hippie Hill in Himmel Park to urge some political courage and ethical action on the part of our elected officials. Come and be a part of change – or just wait by the evening news for the next inevitable incident. I know Jonathan, Raul and I will be addressing the crowd. Genna’s mom Toni will be on hand as well. You will also hear from other survivors of gun violence. Yes, security will be on hand at this event. It would be great to fill the Hill and send a Tucson message to elected that we’ve had enough.
This short You Tube is from a recent Mom’s rally. It is what I hope you will join us for on the 18th:
Last Saturday morning I spoke to the Tanque Verde Democrats on the issue of the Sanctuary Initiative. They are a thoughtful and engaged group who wanted to hear both sides on the proposal. As I stated in several different ways, the question people need to ask is not whether Tucson is welcoming to immigrants. Of course we are. Look at the 20,000+ guests we have helped move through our City in collaboration with the Casa Alitas work at the Benedictine and other locations. The question is whether the Sanctuary Initiative is good policy for us to adopt.
The Initiative contains this language: “No officer shall participate in a joint law enforcement task force, joint enforcement operation, or similar endeavor with a federal officer unless the city has in place a memorandum of understanding with the United States agency employing the federal officer which includes the following provisions:”
Then it goes on to list four different areas in which the federal agencies who are supposed to sign that MOU limit their authority within the City limits to carry out “federal civil immigration law.” I was asked whether or not I expected any federal agency to sign onto such an MOU. Will the FBI, DEA, BATF, U.S. Marshals, or U.S. Secret Service consider signing that agreement? What do you think?
Should we have asked the FBI to sign such an MOU before inviting them to assist us with the Isabel Celis murder investigation? Would they have signed?
Should we require BATF to sign such an agreement before they join us in doing ballistics analysis, in essence saying that if they track a bullet to a gun used in a crime, that they will limit their interest in the immigration status of the person who is implicated in the crime? Do you think they would sign?
Should we have required the DEA to sign such an MOU before inviting them to help us with the Spice bust we worked with them on in Tucson last year? Should the immigration status of the people busted be ignored? Do you think they would have signed?
Should we have asked the U.S. Marshals to sign that MOU when we asked for their help in tracking down the serial rapist they finally caught in Kentucky? Do you think they would have signed?
If they do not sign, per the terms of the Initiative we don’t get their cooperation in those investigations.
What does that have to do with Joint Terrorism Task Force work? In July, Chief Magnus joined several other major City police chiefs at a forum in D.C. One part of that was discussing with the DHS Secretary the recent mass shootings that have occurred throughout the nation. The JTTF is a multi-agency group that assists local police agencies improve how they share relevant intelligence on terrorism and active shooter information. In answer to the question about whether a federal agency would sign the MOU required by the Initiative, I shared with the TV Dems the Chief’s thought; that is “It’s worth noting TPD’s participation in our regional JTTF would likely be ended if Prop 205 passes in November.”
Read the Initiative and decide whether it reflects good policy for our City.
The monastery is now back to being a large vacant building waiting for a new tenant. That rezoning process is in play. I expect the final zoning examiners report to arrive sometime this week. Following that, we will see if it’s scheduled for a M&C public hearing, likely in September.
The move out to the new County facility is nearly complete. Ann and I toured the space again on Sunday to see their progress. Here are a few pictures. It is still a work in progress, and will be for a while.
When they first walk in the guests are greeted with a tent filled with new shoes, clothes and goodies for the kids. It is all still donated, so yes, please continue keeping this need in mind.
They were able to get some church pews from Craig’s List, so the intake dorm still has that ‘churchy’ feel to it. The supplies in the back are for initial intake, and the room off from the turquoise wall is the medical center.
Each of the living quarters has both a curtain, and a door (no locks). You can see boxes still being unpacked, but the tables are up for meals. The County (and thank you In-n-Out Burger for stepping up and helping on Friday night) is handling the food for now. Volunteers are still doing laundry, but that is happening on-site, not in peoples’ homes as was largely the case at the Benedictine. Tile mosaics are hung – plumbing is back indoors – kids are happy and the guests feel safe and valued.
It is like moving into any new building – you figure out some of the operational needs as you go along, but the guests appreciate the tender care they’re being shown by the CCS staff and all of the volunteers. That is the most important part of what is happening out there.
We will continue being a donation site. The needs have not changed – whatever you would pack if you were getting on a bus for a 3 day trip with a couple of little kids. The community has been, and continues to be great at stepping up and taking care of these families. We at the Ward 6 office are so very appreciative of your generosity.
When ADOT came down to a recent study session and presented the “Recommended” I-11 alignment, their representative said they had received plenty of supportive comments. At the time I asked him for a list of those who had sent in that support so we could reach out to them and educate their agencies on why the Avra Valley alignment was a terrible idea. He said he would get me the list. By way of reminder, this graphic shows what they are proposing to build out west of the Tucson mountains:
A couple of weeks passed and I reminded our staff that we were still owed that list. Finally, last week ADOT responded. Not with what they had promised, but simply with a list of agencies that had participated in putting the alignment together and in doing public outreach. Here’s a portion of what they sent back:
Included on other slides from what they provided were listings of the Cities and Counties that are participating in the discussion, Federal, State and local agencies as well as utilities that are providing input. I had asked for the “list of supporters.” What we got is a list of ‘cooperating and participating agencies.’ Here’s the email the guy sent (exactly as it arrived – I choose not to correct his spelling or grammar):
Please find a list of Cooperating and Participating Agencies that have joined ADOT and FHWA in the cooperative development of the I-11 Tier 1 EIS Study. Your post asks for those who support an AV alinement (sic). That information along with all public comments made during the Draft EIS public comment period (along with those pro, con, and/or indifferent to an AV alinement (sic)) will be provided in the Final EIS (with names and contact information redacted).
If ADOT does not provide a list of “pro” groups until the final environmental study is released, we will have no chance to reach out and educate them on the downsides of the Avra Valley alignment. Even at that late date, having names redacted will eliminate any chance of interacting with them.
The proposed Avra Valley I-11 alignment will cut through hundreds of acres of Sonoran wilderness, chop up habitat out in the Saguaro National Monument West, ruin open space with a new freeway and associated commercial development, and will place our water supply at significant risk. As I have said to numerous people who wrote or called opposing the recommended alignment, do not assume your one comment submitted in opposition is sufficient. Stay engaged in this. ADOT needs to understand that this region will fight hard against clear-cutting our monuments and cutting Tucson off from international commerce.
On a more positive transportation note, we adopted the first step in the Complete Streets process. The citizen-comprised Coordinating Council is now being formed. If you’re interested, there’s a pretty straightforward process you’ll need to go through in order to get your name into consideration. We will have 17 voting members on the CSCC so I am expecting many more applicants than slots.
The CSCC will review future transportation projects to ensure their design proposals meet the standards that they will also help frame into our Complete Streets policy manual.
The first step is for you to go on-line and apply. You can find the application at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/tdot/complete-streets-tucson. Our TDOT people will be sending this invitation out to multiple community groups. As indicated in the Ordinance, we are looking for a very diverse range of interest areas to be represented on that Council.
The applications will close on August 23rd. TDOT will send an applicant list out to each Mayor and Council office, the City Manager, and to each of the BCCs who have a seat on the Council. We will each have until September 13th to recommend our appointments. TDOT will look at the interest-areas reflected in those appointments and they will add 4 more members with the specific intent of making sure all the areas we have outlined in the Ordinance are represented. The kick-off meeting for the CSCC will then be held in October of this year.
This is not limited to people who have computer access. I have printed out a hard copy application that you can come to the Ward office and fill out here. We can get them submitted for you – but do not come on the afternoon of the deadline. We will help, but we cannot shift due dates around for you.
The hard copy applications will be available in other locations, too. To get all of your questions answered on applying, contact the Complete Streets coordinator Patrick Hartley at 837.6840, or at Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The work on Broadway is about to begin. The first thing you will see is utility work. That is moving the utility lines back, away from what will be the newly widened roadway. Many of us feel that widening was unnecessary, but it took more than my lone vote in opposition to get that redirected, so here we go.
One of the wins we have been able to achieve, even with the widening is to have Rio Nuevo step up and take part in creating residential scale commercial nodes along the Sunshine Mile. Preserving some of the assets that are in place is going to be a part of that. One example is the row of historic bungalows located just south of Rincon Heights neighborhood, between Cherry and Warren. Right now, they are in the path of the eventual roadway. They are going to be moved.
Here is what is now in place:
Rio and the Project for Public Spaces have taken note of the unique character of the site. In one of their early renderings of what may be possible, this image was presented:
That is looking east on Broadway. It is also just an early architectural rendering, not at all the ‘finished product.’ You will see work that’ll advance us towards something like that ‘product’ in the upcoming days.
There were 14 work permits pulled for just this section. That is 2 for each of the 7 bungalow sites. One is a ‘demolition permit.’ Don’t be alarmed. The historic houses will not be demolished. The demo is for non-contributing site elements (sidewalks, site walls, landscape, etc) that need to be removed so the houses can be relocated. What will happen is in a couple of weeks that demo will start. The houses will then be moved back away from the planned roadway expansion. Their existing foundations will be demolished and new ones will be constructed in what will be their new location. That will be about 21’ north of where they are now sitting. When the road work is done, they’ll be moved back onto the new foundations – each will retain its current orientation to both the street, and to the other structures. Rio has been working with PPS on public outreach. That will continue as the local architectural firm, Swaim and Associates further refine the site plan.
The new transportation system service changes went into effect over the weekend. They affect Sun Tran, Sun Express, and Sun Shuttle routes. We have new schedule booklets here at the Ward office – free, of course. As with some of our other brochures, we are keeping them inside the office area as we continue to dedicate the entry space to the Art of Asylum project.
Stop by and grab as many of the booklets as you would like. Alternatively, you can find them transit centers, inside the transit vehicles or on line at these links:
In several recent newsletters, I have been trying to share information on the issue of recycling. There is a lot happening both domestically, and internationally that impact our local situation. When we get to making decisions on what we are going to do with our recycle program, I will want to have set the table with information so as many people as possible know what is behind the eventual headline. The City of Surprise is dropping their program. We won’t be doing that, but there will be changes coming – yet to be determined.
Here is a guide they make available in Portland, Oregon. You can see that they do multiple-stream recycling where customers separate at curbside and the City picks up varying types of material, destined for varying uses.
We do single-stream where you dump everything in the blue bin and we haul it all away. The result is over 30% contamination. The fact that we are above an 18% contamination rate costs us in excess of $30K monthly. Cities with multi-stream systems get much lower contamination rates, but the system is more expensive to operate. I know our Environmental Services folks will not immediately embrace a change to even dual-stream. The up-front capital costs are considerable, and we’d have to be ready to expand routes, pick up schedules, and personnel. That does not mean it can’t be done, but it’s not happening as the immediate outcome of our current talks.
One change that is happening is going to bi-weekly recycle pick up. That will start the week of September 30th. You will see alerts in your monthly bill, and we will do some direct mailers. The City will be split into Week A, and Week B pick ups. You’ll keep your current day for pick up, but it’ll be shifted to every other week. It is a little hard to read, but this map shows how those changed routes will be implemented.
In addition, ES will host 7 public meetings where they’ll give you details on how your service will change. The dates/locations for those are:
Wednesday, September 11th – 5:30pm until 7:30pm at the Udall Center (7200 E. Tanque Verde.)
Thursday, September 12th – 5:30pm until 7:30pm at the Liggins Center (2160 N. 6th Ave.)
Saturday, September 14th – 10am until noon at the Quincie Douglas Center (1575 E. 36th St.)
Wednesday, September 18th – 5:30pm until 7:30pm at the El Pueblo Center (101 W. Irvington)
Thursday, September 19th – 5:30pm until 7:30pm at the Clements Center (8155 E. Poinciana Dr.) They’ve got two different locations scheduled out there for these presentations.
We are hosting one here at the W6 office on Monday, September 16th from 5:30pm until 7:30pm.
Going to twice-monthly recycling is not going to solve our issues. Reducing food waste, reducing the amount we throw away of whatever commodity it is, making sure we’re not placing contaminated recyclables into the bins, using all the reusables that you can, and simply getting ahold of our consumption habits is where this all needs to go. However, that will not happen in the time we need to make these decisions. We will lose over $1.6M in our program this fiscal year. That number will increase unless and until we all make changes.
Education related to what you can/should recycle is one key. These are six Public Service Announcement educational pieces you’ll soon be seeing:
Please do not thrown plastic bags into the recycle bin. It’s contamination and will end up in the landfill – and costs you money on your bill.
Milk containers with dried milk inside is contamination. Rinse them out.
Pretty clear – don’t toss food waste into the blue bins. It is contamination and will ruin your good intentions of recycling for that week.
You cannot toss your old laundry into the bins. That will all have to be sorted out at the material recovery facility.
Your take-home Styrofoam containers go into the trash, not into the blue bins. They are contamination. Better yet, didn’t mama tell you to clean your plate?
Do not throw your landscaping clippings into the blue bin. We offer Brush & Bulky for that – or your 90-gallon trash barrel.
Consumer Watchdog is a California non-profit that has been studying their recycling industry. They reported recently that 40% of all redemption centers in California have closed in the past 5 years. I write about our local contamination rate – it is bad, but nationally it’s still in excess of 25%. Tucson is not experiencing a unique set of problems when it comes to how and what people recycle.
These guys are working a recycle sorting facility. That’s a conveyor belt. Some of the contaminated material is simply going to get past them. It will cause the bundled recyclables to be rejected and end up in a landfill. You can do your part curbside by not contaminating what goes into the blue barrel to begin with.
What about us just raising fees to cover the losses? Well, there may be some fee discussion. We have the 2nd lowest refuse/recycle fee in a comparison of comparable Cities. Still, that does not address the problem of contamination and excess waste being produced.
Where we offer alley service we have a more efficient operation, but we have seen excessive contamination in shared barrels. We have a legitimate ADA obligation to offer curbside for people who cannot navigate the alley. That service does not come without costs. Also, the UA composting program is not operating right now. They had funding issues. We are looking at how other jurisdictions do curbside composting on an ‘opt-in’ basis. What do they take in – how often – where does it go? That analysis is in process and will not be done before we make some intermediate decisions later this fall. I have gotten some E.S. folks and the UA athletics department together to take on some ‘zero waste’ athletic events this coming season. The City and UA should certainly partner where we can.
There are a lot of moving parts to this. The bottom line is that changes are coming, and the likelihood is that they will not solve the financial losses we are right now suffering. Some of those may end up in your bill. We will absorb some. You can help to the tune of $30K per month if you eliminate the contamination that is going into the blue barrels. Don’t pull your barrel out to the street until it’s full. This is a situation where we as consumers are in a position to certainly be a part of the solution, at least to some limited degree, but why wouldn’t we engage to the level we can?
On the issue of recycling, Sustainable Tucson is hosting a film called “No! (That Isn’t Recyclable)” Fitz will be their host. There will be a Q&A with the filmmakers after the show.
That is not the whole show. They are the hors d'oeuvres. That will be followed by a hard-hitting documentary called “Trashed”. This is a frame I clipped from the movie trailer:
Yes, the theme is that we create too much trash, and it’s not sustainable. Watch the 2-minute trailer here – and please support the event, and support Sustainable Tucson.
The event will be held at the Screening Room downtown (127 E. Congress) beginning at 6pm on Tuesday, August 13th. It will be free, but you can support the folks at the Screening Room by buying some of their goodies at the concessions stand. They’ll properly recycle what you leave behind.
My Local Tucson item this week is totally non-commercial, and yet it’s important to residents throughout the community. Chicanos Por La Causa is partnering with the International Rescue Committee in hosting a free citizenship fair. The goal is to assist people in completing their citizenship applications, and providing some free legal reviews.
The actual ‘fair’ is going to be held on August 24th, but in order to take part in that, you need to attend one of their screening sessions. Those will be held on Wednesday the 14th from 4pm until 7pm, and on Thursday the 15th from 9am until 1pm. All of this is being held at the Mexican Consulate office located at 3915 E. Broadway.
There will be bilingual assistance (English/Spanish) but if you have other language needs, let them know and they may be able to provide someone to help out. Our AmeriCorps VISTA contact for this event is Madison Olig. You can email her at Madison.email@example.com.
Council Member, Ward 6
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Full Moon Hike (Guided Hike) 6:15PM - 8:45PM, Saguaro National Park (East) 3693 S Old Spanish Rd.
Join a ranger on this 2.8 mile, 2.5 hour hike to see the full moon rise over the Rincon Mountains/Comfortable walking shoes, water and a flashlight are recommended. Registration Required 733-5153 (Park Entrance fee applies $20 per vehicle/weekly pass-both districts of the park).
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Bats in Flight 6:30PM - 8:30PM, Pima County Rillito River Park 4200 N. Campbell Ave.
Free/Discover the fascinating lives of Mexican free-tailed bats and watch as hundreds of bats emerge from their daytime roosts under the Campbell Avenue Bridge over the Rillito River. Pima County naturalists and volunteers provide information and family-friendly activities. 724-5375 (Registration Not required).
Sunday, August 18, 2019
Third Sunday Historical Tour 8:00AM - 10:00AM, Valley of the Moon, 2544 E Allen Rd.
Ever wonder about how the Valley of the Moon got started? Here is your chance to go behind the scenes and hear more historical details and stories surrounding the "Moon" Our docents are waiting for you and your friends for a docent led historical tour of Valley of the Moon! Admission is $5/Children 12 & under, Members and Teachers are Free (Includes Park Access and Historic Tour) 323-1331.
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
Main Gate Square,
Friday Night Live Summer Jazz Concert Series, Geronimo Plaza – 814 E University Blvd FREE ADMISSION, Fridays at 7:30pm, Validated parking in Tyndall Garage after 5pm | https://www.maingatesquare.com/2019-friday-night-live-jazz-concert-series/
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