Steve K's Newsletter 08/26/19

Topics in This Issue...

The owners of a Farmer’s Market in Bloomington, Indiana were accused of having some ties to a white nationalist group. It was news to them, and in response they’ve posted this sign on their Market entryway. Nice to see them reach out in Kindness to all, especially flying in the face of the ugliness that the other group represents. 

Life Rolls On is a group that was founded by world champion quadriplegic surfer Jesse Billauer. They’ve been around for a while, and have as their mission working with people who have all sorts of disabilities and getting them connected with activities they love. I saw some promos for the group and they were all related to seeing people out in the water on surfboards, or some in wheelchairs riding in skate ramps. But they also encourage people to embrace some less active, but equally personally enriching activities – like this:

  If you’d like to learn more about the kindness this group spreads, check them out at

And this 3rd Be Kind is also my Local Tucson item for the week. I’ve had the Botanical Garden’s in that place before, but this time it’s their Quilt for a Cause event coming on September 27th. The ceremony will run from 5pm until 7pm. 

The quilters have been making and selling their stuff through the TBG gift shop and at various locations around the Garden’s. The proceeds go to organizations who share the Quilt for a Cause’s mission; that is, assisting uninsured and under-insured people in detecting and treating breast cancer and other women’s health conditions. With the announcement of Planned Parenthood being under the financial gun, this sort of outreach gains importance. 

The groups who’ll be receiving support through these sales include El Rio Health Center Foundation, St. Elizabeth Health Center, Arizona Oncology Foundation, Bag It!, and Tucson Cancer Conquerors. If you’re around Alvernon and Grant, stop by the Gardens and see the work. On the 27th they’ll be distributing over $10,000 to those organizations as a major showing of Kindness.

Refugees/Central American Guests

Last week, Diana and I attended the periodically held Humanitarian Crisis Roundtable. It’s the one hosted by Pima County, and is attended by Border Patrol, ICE, Customs & Border Protection, TPD, the Sheriff’s office, some representation from 3 of our Congressional offices, and of course Catholic Community Services and some of the other faith based community groups who are serving the Central American asylum seeking guests. We received an update on the status of the move from the Benedictine over to the new Casa Alitas Welcome Center, as well as an update on the County efforts at securing some humanitarian aid financial support from DHS. The City, through TPD is also applying for financial assistance to help offset the local costs associated with this work.

A part of the meeting that I want to share more deeply on though is the ICE/BP report related to “Releases by ICE and Border Patrol in Pima County.” The agencies have compiled data for this year and indeed “the numbers” (people) are down recently; by quite a bit. 

While the agency representatives considered that to be a good message, I challenged them suggesting we’d rather be stretched to find space in the conditions we offer locally than to know people are being kept in facilities south of the border that are subpar.

The release data peaked at just under 800 people per week back in early June. In March we were also close to that number. Generally, though the levels of people who are being released in Pima County this year have been in the neighborhood of 300-500 per week. Since the start of July that number has dipped to where we saw about 100 in early August. 

While it’s true that that level of release places less of a strain on volunteers and the host sites, the other side of the story remains the true humanitarian part of this. Why are they coming here, and what are we sending them back to when we deny access to our legal system?

About 90% of the families we see are from Guatemala. This map shows the journey the Dominguez family travelled to get to their sponsor in San Francisco. Things must have been pretty dreary to cause them to pick up their lives and move all that way – by foot much of the trip.

Their story is not dissimilar to those we’ve been hearing at the monastery all year. They’re from the Jalapa region of Guatemala. It’s described as being a “cowboy culture” where men ride on horseback with pistols. The head of the college in Jalapa is quoted in a NY Times article I read as saying “violence against women is accepted.” In fact, they’ve now coined the term “femicide” to describe the crisis.

Domestic abuse is the most common crime in their culture. Local prosecutor for women’s issues in Jalapa, Dora Monson calls it their “daily bread.” Women “receive it morning, afternoon and night.” 

Back to the Dominguez family. This is Lubia. 

She’s 16 years old. She watched the murder of her mother, and her father was slashed in the head by a machete. The crime was committed by her boyfriend who objected to the family taking her to avoid his violent temper. When her dad healed, they fled. You see their route to San Francisco where they seek asylum.

Recent Trump decisions make their claim a tough sell. There’s some legal wrangling to try to get “gender” added as an asylum class. In Guatemala the homicide rate for women is 3x the global average. But the Trump push is to force young girls like Lubia back to their homes and reject asylum claims that are based on her fear of being a young woman. Currently, despite the data, that’s not a “social group” that we allow to qualify for asylum.

So we had a good meeting and got some good news about the progress CCS is making moving into the new County facility. Families are being welcomed and they’re being assisted along in their journey. At the end of that journey is an asylum hearing. I’m pulling for Lubia, and for others like her. 

And I am not happy that “the numbers” are down. That means others are not getting out of the conditions hundreds of thousands have fled – for their lives.

Sanctuary City Initiative

You may have seen that the Republican attempt to keep the Sanctuary City Initiative off the ballot was rejected by the court last week. That came as no surprise. It was a weak attempt to once again impose the State into how we conduct local elections. 

I do not support the Sanctuary Initiative, but I did support the City’s defense of it getting to the ballot. They got the needed signatures and our election process deserved to be defended.

The GOP plaintiffs made several claims. None of them held any legal water. The first was their Hail Mary. Another direct shot at the Charter:

The court cited the State Constitution – something the GOP might want to refer to before wasting their money on any more of these types of lawsuits. The Constitution says “The powers of the initiative and the referendum are hereby further reserved to the qualified electors of every incorporated city, town, and county.” It goes on to say we can “prescribe the manner of exercising said powers.” This was the summary the court offered for this challenge:

Their second challenge was that our Charter doesn’t mimic the rules the State follows for calculating how many signatures are needed to get an initiative on the ballot (Section 19-141(D).) At the State level it’s a percentage of the “whole number of votes cast for governor” at the preceding general election. Ours is a percentage of the number of votes cast for mayor. The courts conclusion was “The City Code and Charter do not violate ARS Section 19-141(D). 

Next it was an attempt to challenge the validity of signature form circulators. The plaintiffs said circulators must include their City, State and Zip Code as a part of their “Residence Address.” The court felt otherwise and said “the court will not strike those petitions where the circulator did not include” that information. Pretty simple.

This next one was a stretch. Here’s the question the court was asked to answer:

So if you initially print your name where you’re supposed to sign, but then cross it out and sign in the correct spot, that should cause the whole form to be thrown out? Here’s the extensive legal analysis offered by the court in reply:

Next, where we calculate the number of signatures required to get on the ballot as a percentage of votes cast for mayor in the preceding election, the plaintiffs felt we should also count people who didn’t vote for mayor – the “under-vote.” That’s where you vote for say City Council, but because the mayor’s race was uncontested, you skipped it and didn’t vote. There were over 16,000 under-votes in the last mayoral election. Counting those would have significantly increased the number of signatures needed to get the Sanctuary Initiative on the ballot. The court correctly said that not voting for mayor is not the same as voting for mayor and therefore should not count.  

It’s a bit hard to believe someone actually paid an attorney to file these claims. It was your tax money that went into defending the City Charter – again.

Next was a challenge at whether the City Clerk’s office tried to verify the signatures that were turned in. Let’s review – the Charter shouldn’t count, but even if it does it’s not close enough to the State law, people corrected mistakes on the form, people who didn’t vote for mayor should be counted as having voted for mayor, and circulators should have to put their full address on the form. But even if all that doesn’t matter, did Roger try to verify enough signatures. I think the court may have been getting exhausted by having to state the obvious by this point. Here’s the response:

And so, the court concluded with this:

The GOP said they wouldn’t waste any more of your money by appealing this decision. They’ll instead focus their efforts on fighting the merits of the Initiative. I do not support the Sanctuary Initiative. But anticipating the GOP objections to it will be as lame as their challenge to the ballot signatures was, I’m hoping you ignore what they have to say and instead wait for the ballot guide, read the comments on both sides and decide based on that. This is not R’s vs. D’s. Please do your homework on this one. Many of us who share the same political party label simply disagree on the merits of the Initiative.

Another Election Distraction

Last week people were receiving this flyer in the mail.

On the inside it said they have data on you that suggests you haven’t been voting. It all looks very official, and the City Clerk’s office has received numerous calls complaining about the messaging contained in the mailer. Here’s an example of that part:

This is not coming from the City Clerk – or from any City department. It’s a national Get Out The Vote group who does this in multiple cities around the country. From what I’ve been able to learn, much of their voter information is not current, so you may have received one of the mailers and wondered why “we” thought you hadn’t been voting. 

This is not coming from the City and it does not reflect the City’s records on your voting history. You can easily check that through the Pima County Recorder’s office.

College Application Resource

Here’s something you can register for though – and it may make a big difference in how smoothly the process is for your kid applying for college. I helped push out the word on this last year – doing it again this time around.

The CAR fall event is coming on September 7th. It’ll run from 9am until 1:30pm over at Tucson High. It’s run by a local non-profit whose goal is to present to Juniors and Seniors – and their families – resources they’ll need in order to scope out colleges. 

During the ½ day seminar they’ll have break-out sessions that’ll be led by experts in areas such as financial aid, high school counseling, placement exams and the general application process. And there’ll be a general Q&A session. This is not restricted to students who are considering in-State institutions.

This is a free seminar, but you need to register. That helps them make sure they’ve got enough material for the anticipated crowd. Do that by using the link shown on the flyer. If you have other questions, contact Leah Mercer at She’s heading up the fall event and can help get you signed up.

Section 8 Housing

In the past couple of weeks there has been some good coverage by KVOA on the issue of our Section 8 housing program. I want to thank Bonnie from our Housing Department (she was a Be Kind mention last week,) for helping Lily Rose find her home. Sadly though, there are numerous Lily Rose’s who deserve to see the program reviewed and tweaked where necessary. 

To that end, I’ve asked for a meeting to which I’ve invited our City Manager, County folks, people from PCOA, my Constable, landlords, folks from the Multi-Housing sector, State Legislators, and within each of those groupings I’ve said to the person who’s being invited to bring along any others who they feel can speak to parts of the program. We face putting some of our seniors out on the street. Not one single group I’ve invited has the magic potion to prevent that. But working together, we can make a significant difference.

Within our current eviction rules, by the time the Constable shows up at your door, you may have 15 minutes to vacate the property. The “Writ of Restitution” may be translated as “pay up or leave.” Other States have intervening steps in that process – a point I hope to raise during our meeting. Communication gives time to address issues. That can only help in some cases.

Rents are rising in our community. With 6% vacancy rates, landlords won’t have any trouble filling vacancies. If we’re operating a program that places burdens on landlords, why wouldn’t they opt out of it, raise rents and simply make more money? One reason I’m hopeful we can address is simply ethics. Lily Rose is 75 years old. What landlord is going to proudly make her homeless? What programmatic changes can we make to keep that landlord in the system? That’s the conversation I hope to have.

If our payments are late in coming, we need to fix that. If our inspectors are late in showing up, we need to fix that. If rents are rising, what tools do we have to help our clients keep pace? We all have budgets – there are no bottomless pits of cash. What are our realistic options? Are we sending clients to accurate and up to date websites when they do have to find a new place to live? That’s not what I’m hearing from multiple sources. That’s not fair to the elderly who are scared about being put out onto the street. And how do we step up and physically assist in the move when relocation does have to take place? My mom could not have physically moved her furniture. She could barely move herself. How does our system address that?

We have lots of well intentioned people who’ll be at the meeting I’ve requested. We won’t “fix” the whole system, but we will make some positive changes. And if the net result of those is to reduce the stress that’s being placed on our seniors, it will have been a successful gathering. Stay tuned. You’ll be seeing more on this topic soon.

Contacting the City 

I learned about Lily Rose’s situation when she called our office. We all interact with City resources in a variety of ways. We’re taking a Citywide survey to learn how you do that, how effective it is for you, and how we might consider changing our own City outreach so constituent services are improved.

The survey is offered in both English and in Spanish. What are your concerns? How to you contact the City? How can we do better? Please consider taking a few minutes to fill out this survey. It’s anonymous, and it’ll be helpful as we think through where changes may be made that’ll have a positive impact on your quality of life.


Household Hazardous Waste

One way we interact with you is through news releases. One went out last week that you may have missed. It’s an important opportunity that I want you to be aware of.

Recently I’ve been writing regular pieces on our recycling program. We’re due to have a study session item on that topic. Our Environmental Services folks host a special Household Hazardous waste collection event periodically at different locations around town. I write about contamination issues – nothing we collect at these special events can go into your blue bin.

The types of things you can bring to these drop-off sites include pesticides, automotive fluids, car batteries, fluorescent lamps, and solvents. You can go to the Environmental Services website to see a full list of what you can, and what you cannot bring. That link is If you saw the Release, the link shown on that was incorrect. 

You can visit the main collection site at 244 W. Sweetwater every Friday from 8am until 2:30pm. HHW can be taken to the Los Reales landfill Monday through Saturday from 8am until 4:30pm. And on the first Saturday of every month use the Eastside Service Center at 7575 E. Speedway from 8am until noon.

This is a free service for City residents. If you can’t make it to one of those sites, you can also request a special home pick-up. That’ll cost you $25 and will be added to your regular monthly bill. To get that, call 791.3171. 

Our recycling program has multiple moving parts. So does the international recycling mess. Using the HHW program properly will help us reduce the nearly 30% contamination rate that’s costing us $30K monthly right now.

Bi-Weekly Recycling

And this reminder that starting on September 30th, we’re going to every-other-week blue barrel pick up. Your day of the week won’t change, but you’ll be receiving the service two times per month.

A part of this decision is to offset costs that the ES program is absorbing. I’ve heard criticisms that we shouldn’t put a price tag on the recycle program. I disagree. It’s one of many services we offer to the public, and in these days of competing priorities, we owe it to everyone to make our programs efficient. I learned over the weekend that Sierra Vista is completely eliminating their home recycle program. This isn’t just a made up Tucson problem.

It’s also about more than just finances. Our drivers report that the majority of blue barrels they pick up weekly are ½ full, or less. Going to bi-weekly will save costs and will not reflect a reduction in service.

I shared this last week – one more time here. Environmental Services is hosting a series of community meetings to share about the changes to our recycle program that they’re aware of, talk about the recycling business in general, and hear input from you on how we might address the program going forward. The meetings are all free and open to everyone. 

Tuesday, September 10th @ 5:30pm – Fred Archer Center – 1655 S. La Cholla
Wednesday, September 11th @ 5:30pm – Udall Center – 7200 E. Tanque Verde
Thursday, September 12th @ 5:30pm – Liggins Center – 2160 N. 6th Ave.
Saturday, September 14th @ 10am – Quincie Douglas Center – 1575 E. 36th St.
Monday, September 16th @ 5:30pm – here at the Ward 6 community room.
Wednesday, September 18th @ 5:30pm – El Pueblo Regional Center – 101 W. Irvington
Thursday, September 19th @ 5:30pm – Clements Center – 8155 Poinciana Drive (one presentation at the basketball court area, and one at their multipurpose room.)

You’ll be getting reminders in the monthly mailers. There will be lots of information coming so there’s no reason to be caught off guard when the change comes about.

Anza Park Community Conversation

Anza Park sits at the intersection of Wards 1, 3 and 6. Technically, it’s in Ward 1, but residents from all over the area use it and therefore have a stake in plans for the park.

Those 3 ward offices have been sharing a robust conversation about some somewhat unsavory sets of activities that have taken place in the park. We have TPD engaged in monitoring that, and people have told me they see improvement – and that they appreciate the effort everyone is investing.

Police activity is not the solution to turning parks back over to families. The conversation about how Anza will be rehabilitated and transformed, is aimed at activating the space and using that positive approach to helping restore it to access for all. That conversation continues with a public meeting this coming Thursday.

The meeting will be held in the Pima College downtown campus’ Amethyst Room. It’ll run from 6pm until 7:30pm. That’s at the corner of Stone and Speedway. Everyone is welcome. We’ll have our Parks staff on site, as well as representatives from TPD, our Housing Department and TDOT. As with so many of the issues we deal with, there isn’t one single “solution,”  but working together we can identify roles for everyone involved.

If you cannot come on Thursday, there’s an on-line survey related to Anza that you can take. Find that at Just as was true of the A Mountain set of issues, we want to hear from the park users and surrounding residents before deciding on a path without that input.

Gun Control / Art at Ward 6

The Art of Asylum exhibit we’re hosting at Ward 6 will be moving out on September 13th. You have a couple more weeks to come by and see what the refugee kids created. On its heels I have scheduled in another exhibit that contains an important social message. It’s a statement on gun violence. The show is created by mother and daughter, Maureen and Erin Cain.

That’s the grounds of Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas. On October 1st of last year a shooter killed 58 people and injured another 422 during his shooting rampage. It took just seconds to complete. What you see in the picture is a photograph that will be a part of the exhibit coming after the Asylum Art show is down. We’ll be hosting the “opening” on Friday, September 20th at 6pm. 

Maureen and Erin have travelled around the country and visited the sites of several of our mass shootings. They’ve photographed images like the one you see above – with spent shell casings painted and displayed in meaningful ways. In the Vegas photo they have 1,100 casings shown. That’s the number of rounds fired by the killer. 

Also coming in the show will be photos taken at the corner where Tupac Shakur was killed, the Safeway right here in Tucson, The El Paso Walmart, and Philly where 6 police officers were shot. It’s a coast-to-coast road trip in which a photo archive of those well-known shootings took place, but also the kind I highlight in my half-staff sections. Locations where people have been killed in DV, road rage, or “accidents” - each deserving of being honored and remembered.

The details of the opening are still being finalized. I’ll write more as we put those together. Please mark your calendar to come and support Maureen and Erin’s work – and to support the on-going need for common sense gun control measures.

Tucson Wildlife Center

If you follow this newsletter you know I’m a big fan of the work Lisa and her staff/volunteers do out at the TWC. They are having a big fundraiser soon that I want you to be aware of.

Barrio Brewing Company is playing host to the event. So what’s it called? Ales for Animals. On September 4th, between 5pm and 8pm, Barrio is dedicating 15% of all sales in their IPA room to the rescue and rehab work the Wildlife Center does. 

It’s during happy hour, and it’s during a busy time on the streets downtown. So please bring a designated driver, but come and help the Tucson Wildlife Center (and Barrio Brewers) in their important work.

Water Issues

Our 3M litigation is coming right up. In the recent past, I’ve written about the Air National Guard and DM issues, each contributing to our contaminated wells. I’ve also suggested that both of those groups should be considered as additional defendants as we move our suit forward. I pulled this quote from the ANG report I wrote about that was recently released:

There is an indication that PFAS levels in groundwater exceeding the PALs are migrating off-base based on groundwater flow direction to the northwest.

A “PAL” is the military acronym indicating ‘personal action level.’ It means they know they need to do something about it. More on that to come as the litigation unfolds. For this week though the message is to conserve – and to give us input as to how we might better invest our water conservation fund dollars so you can take part in an effective conservation effort.

Water Conservation Kits

You still have time to order your free conservation kit; there are several you can choose from. This includes low-flow showerheads, the 5-minute shower timers; toilet tank gizmos that help adjust the water level in the tank, leak detection kits, and some other stuff. You need to do the installation yourself, but Tucson Water is giving these items away as long as they last. Use this link to learn what’s available, and how you can get some into your house:

Also, we charge a .10 cent fee for every hundred cubic feet of potable water that you use. The fee goes into a conservation fund. Last fiscal year the fee collected about $3.5M. 

Currently the fee is used for grade school educational programs, training on landscape efficiency for both, homeowners and professionals, water waste enforcement, and rebate programs. These graphs show you where we used that money last year:

We’d like to know if that way of dividing up the conservation money is how you’d like to see it continue. What priority areas would you identify? Should we increase the funding percentage to any – eliminate any? We want to hear from you.

This is a “conservation budget” survey. It simply asks how you’d allocate $100 to new or existing programs. The results will help us make priority decisions, as we get closer to our budget talks. The survey will be open until September 3rd, so get your response in soon to make it count.

SERI Low Income RWH Program

And finally this. Seri is our partner in educating/installing/marketing rainwater harvesting features to our low-income residents. They have an Arbor Day Grant that’s being used to get out into the community and encourage participation.

Rainwater Harvesting systems are not falling-off-the-shelf cheap. The Grant is allowing Seri to increase their reach into the low-income community so we can spread RWH investments. The program provides a no-interest loan for families to help pay for the systems over time. There are of course income standards that you’ll need to meet in order to qualify. This table gives you some indication of where you might fall on that criterion, as well as some other criteria that are considered:

If you’re somewhere in that mix, consider registering for the Seri workshops and see about getting your property outfitted with some RWH gear. The Grant could be for up to as much as $400, plus other assistance; depending on the type of system you’re installing.

This chart shows the income levels they’ll use for seeing where you fit in:

If you’re in the mix, please Register for a workshop here


Steve Kozachik
Council Member, Ward 6

Events and Entertainment

Thursday, August 29 - Sunday, September 1


Hotel Congress, 311 Congress Street,

Various times and ticket prices.

Nested within the rising cultural hub and longtime artistic oasis of Tucson, Arizona, the historic Hotel Congress is proud to host the annual HOCO Fest as part of its 100 year celebration (founded 1919).

HOCO Fest strives to embody more than just the typical music festival, hosting a series of panels and lectures, experimental after-parties, art installations, daytime pool parties, regional vendor flea markets, holistic workshops, and unparalleled tastings from the UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

HOCO Fest offers distinctive curation, combining tastemaking musical acts, Tucson’s best venues and attractions, and the vibrant, inspiring spirit of the desert community.

Saturday, August 31

8 PM


Rialto Theatre

318 E. Congress Street

$10 - All ages over 7 years

Rockstar Wrestling Alliance and HOCO Fest present DÍA DE LAS LUCHAS at Rialto Theatre with music from Taco Sauce.

Tuesday, September 3


The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway


Tickets are FREE, but seating is limited. To reserve tickets in advance, visit HERE.

Ticket reservations are NOT available through The Loft Cinema. 

Arizona Public Media presents a special free preview screening of Ken Burns’ Country Music! This preview will provide an overview of the entire series with artists contemplating what is country music through a series of segments featuring stories about the genre’s most beloved musicians. Featuring a post-film panel discussion with local country musicians Andy Hersey, Billy Shaw, Jr., and Drew Cooper.

Country Music is an 8-part, 16-hour documentary series directed and produced by Ken Burns, written and produced by Dayton Duncan, and produced by Julie Dunfey. Explore the history of a uniquely American art form and learn how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, county music eventually emerged as America’s music. (Total event running time: 90 mins., Not Rated)


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 |

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 |

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 |