Steve K's Newsletter 09/09/19

Topics in This Issue...

You have heard of Storm Troopers as they’re related to hurricane assistance sorts of activities. This Be Kind is for the Storm Troopers who stepped into the hurricane Dorian calamity and rescued 250 dogs and cats from the Jacksonville Humane Society shelter. They were temporarily relocated into a series of short-term fosters – until the hurricane passed. Of course, the Humane Society invites each of the Storm Troopers to adopt their new-found friend, but they’re extremely grateful for the help as the shelter faced shut down ahead of the storm.

Last Thursday evening, Crystal and I joined several neighbors, UA students, TPD, UAPD, one of my colleagues from the UA athletics department, and the UA community relations folks on a walk through Rincon Heights neighborhood. It was called the Wildcat Welcome Walk. Julie Katsel from UA community relations spearheaded the event, so she gets one of the Be Kind mentions. The other goes to the participants in the WWW. We split up into teams of about 8-10 and knocked on doors, welcoming the people who answered into the neighborhood, and giving them some goodies that Julie and her folks provided. Included in the goodie bag were neighborhood leader contacts, UA contacts, information about City services, football schedules, and information about how to manage relationships between the permanent residents and student groups. The intent is to build bridges at the start of the semester and avoid some of the otherwise predictable rough interactions that we seem to experience every year around the perimeter of campus. I am grateful to Julie, the participants, and to those who came to the door and showed interest in becoming a part of how the neighborhood runs. We hope to expand these Walks into other neighborhoods over the near term.

My mom was a nurse for about 50 years. I saw first-hand how hard nurses work – shift work, for minimal pay. I have also spent time in hospitals – very recently taking care of mom earlier this year. I again saw first-hand where the heavy lifting is done in health care institutions. I am tossing ‘techs’ into that mix. They assist the nurses in the compassionate work they do. There may be a strike among nurses at a couple of local hospitals soon. The Be Kind is for the clear commitment to patient care and comfort that was expressed by the three nurses I met with on Friday as they asked for my support of their efforts to negotiate a fair labor contract. They have it. As I told them, I certainly hope they can avoid a strike, but I know quite a bit about the internal dynamics of how hospitals operate, and it would be in honor of mom, to stand alongside them on a picket line if it unfortunately comes to that. Here’s hoping they can avoid the walkout.

Mosque/Sol y Luna Bottle Throwing

Last week I shared with you the current unfortunate incidents related to the Islamic Center of Tucson. Beer was dumped on people from the balconies in the Luna student complex. In addition, bottles and cans were tossed down, nearly missing the people who were in the parking lot beneath. As was true a few years ago when this happened, we were lucky nobody was hit and seriously injured.
I reached out to GMH, the property management team back east, and requested they exercise the terms of their leases and begin eviction proceedings on the people whose names are assigned to the suite from which the objects were tossed. The short message is that they have in fact concluded they have enough evidence to do exactly that.

Last Thursday I received this email from the head guy at GMH:

We have worked closely with the Tucson Police Department throughout this investigation and together we have determined that there is sufficient evidence to move forward in filing eviction proceedings with the court. While we feel we have sufficient grounds for eviction, the decision is ultimately in the court's hands. In the meantime, we have closed access to the balcony for residents at the identified unit. 

As stated previously, we have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to our residents endangering the safety and comfort of our fellow community members. While some situations are outside of our control, we take these matters very seriously and strive to be good neighbors. Now that law enforcement has conducted its thorough investigation and we have their support in taking legal action, we are committed to resolving this issue as quickly as possible. 

That’s good. And it’s also good that they have sealed off the balcony in the offending suite. Better would be if they installed wire mesh screening on all of the balconies to prevent a reoccurrence, but this is a sign of good faith that I appreciate.

The community at the ICT is also appreciative. As was true the last time this took place, they are hosting a community event aimed at bringing people together to celebrate the unity we stand for in Tucson. As was true of the Wildcat Welcome Walk, it is about bridge building.


The event is being called “Salam Tucson”. That is an Arabic word that simply means ‘peace’. It will be the theme of our gathering. If you want to join in expressing that with us, please come to the ICT on Thursday, September 19th, at 6pm. I will be joining several other speakers in calling for us to turn the page from this ugly start of the semester, and move forward in a greater spirit of unity. 

I have reached out to the GMH folks and have invited them, as well as representatives from the Sol and Luna towers to come and take part. The invitation is to all of Tucson. I know neighbors from Feldman’s, West University, Rincon Heights, Jefferson Park, and North University have come in the past. I am hopeful we see many of those same faces this time around. 

It is unfortunate this event was once again catalyzed by the incidents that are going to end in the eviction of some students. And yet, it’s to the credit of the ICT community that they’ve seen the timeliness of sending this message of salam. Please come and be a part of that positive expression of who we really are in Tucson.

Mahatma Gandhi coined the phrase “Be the change that you want to see.” Salam will be about walking that out.

PFAS Litigation

If you follow this newsletter, you already know that I advocated for this Mayor and Council to initiate litigation against 3M and other companies who manufactured PFOA and PFOS / chemicals used to fight fires, and used to make consumer products ‘non-stick’. In last week’s newsletter, I shared the decades-long history of 3M, DuPont, and others testing the stuff and concluding it was toxic – and continuing to put it out into the marketplace. Profits ahead of social responsibility. That trial starts this fall.

I also mentioned in last week’s newsletter, that the Arizona Air National Guard used a fire fighting foam out on public land in the very recent past. I was made aware of that during a recent briefing I received from Tucson Water staff. A part of that briefing was them sharing with me some results they had from testing some retired wells that are just north of the Air National Guard (ANG) area. We continue to do widespread testing for PFCs to ensure the water we’re serving is safe.  The test results confirm a significant level of pollution in those wells. Given the proximity to the ANG operations, the Air Guard would be hard-pressed to prove they are not the cause. As I did with 3M, I’m advocating we ‘hard-press’ them to now step up and pay for solving the problem they are a part in causing.

To refresh you, the EPA health advisory standard for PFAS is 70 parts per trillion. The standard we use at Tucson Water is 18ppt. The test results out by the ANG show levels in excess of 11,000ppt. 

This was a map I shared with you prior to calling for the City to initiate the 3M lawsuit.

It shows the PFC levels out north of the DM runway. They are 133 in one well, and over 3,200 in the other. Just west of where these tests were taken is where the ANG operation is located. Remember, they are area is testing at over 11,000ppt.

Note the blue dots on the map. That’s our central well field. If there were hydrology arrows overlaid onto the map you’d see the PFC plume from both DM, and from the ANG is headed in the direction of midtown. Toward those Tucson Water wells. They are not polluted with the stuff now, and we are not serving PFC laden water to anyone. But the fact is, this ANG contamination is of a magnitude that is of significant concern to me, to Tucson Water staff and to the Mayor and Council.

I have told staff, including our City Attorney, that I will support beginning a separate cause of action against the Department of Defense for the pollution out by DM, the State for the pollution caused by the Arizona Air National Guard, and the Tucson Airport Authority for their role in enabling the ANG to hose and/or dump the pollutants into our water system. Tucson Water is paying millions of dollars, with more to come, for testing, making accommodation for, and treating the PFCs. Not a penny of those costs should be borne by ratepayers. We should not have to sit and wait on those governmental bureaucracies to figure out their role in all of this.

It is my strong inclination to make sure the public is made fully aware of how this evolves. Most important is to assure you that we are not sending you polluted water. Also very important, is to assure you that we are taking preventative and remedial action, and that we are serious about holding those other groups responsible. To that end, this statement was issued last Thursday by Tucson Water:

Decades ago, when the TCE pollution was found out on the SW side we signed a consent decree with the feds to assure it would be cleaned up. A part of that decree was that we would send the cleaned up water to customers through our treatment system. The levels of pollution that are now evidently caused by ANG are so high that we are going to petition the EPA to get relief from that consent decree. We will of course have to upgrade our approach to treating the water coming into our treatment facilities. The levels of pollution found at ANG will cost us lots of money to address. While we’re working on solutions, we simply want the liberty to honor our own health standards and not be forced by the feds to serve the water. That is what we are asking of the EPA. That does not mean we cannot also sue the DOD, ANG and TAA.

PFOA and PFOS are of a class of chemicals that are being referred to as ‘forever chemicals’. They travel in water and only break down after numerous decades. Once in the water, you have to take it out, or significantly dilute it. Either approach is costly. We have not yet pulled the lever of beginning litigation against those other groups. Stay tuned – I will continue writing about this until it comes to an agreeable resolution.

St. Philips Annexation

If an area is going to be annexed into the City, over 50% of the landowners who own property within the proposed District have to vote in favor of coming into the City. Last week we were presented with a 26+ acre parcel that wanted to be annexed. It is just north and west of St. Philips church at Campbell and River. The proposed annexation area presented to us last week is a gerrymandered shape that contains land both east and west of Campbell. This graphic shows what was being proposed for annexation. 

Even though the proposed annexation district contains 13 taxable parcels, the reality is they are owned by the couple of developers who want to build on the site. Getting 50% of them is no more difficult than licking the stamp. However, they are also setting conditions on finalizing the annexation.

The owners of that open space want to place a hotel, along with other commercial and some residential units, on their property. The residential ‘ask’ is to increase density on the west side of Campbell. It’s also to double the height of the proposed hotel over what would be allowed with the existing County zoning.

Remember, there are only a couple of owners on that gerrymandered annexation District. Our vote last week was to either initiate the annexation, or not. What we knew at the time of the vote is that the developer was going to reject being annexed if he could not get what had already been presented to City staff, and to some residents in a public meeting about a month earlier. That is the 4-story hotel and other pieces I described here. 

I attended an ‘annexation’ meeting put on by the City last week. Among the close to 100 people who attended was a combination of people who didn’t understand the rather unique concurrent rezoning/annexation process, and lots of people who simply objected to the scale of what was being proposed. Other than the developers, to date I haven’t heard a single person who was excited to see what was being planned.

I made the motion to say ‘no’ to the annexation and force the developer back through the public process. Council joined me in rejecting the annexation. If this is going to be real, I’d want to see the proposed District expanded so it includes residents who will be impacted by the development. In addition, I am going to want to hear from some of those people that accommodations to their concerns have been addressed. Those include drainage, historic compatibility, traffic, scale, flood plain issues, and a whole lot more.

I often hear people speak of annexation as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. While it does bring in more revenue, there are also trade-offs. In this case, those trade-offs far outweighed the value of gerrymandering a development district for a couple of developers, leaving the people who live, work, and drive through the area as collateral damage.

Impact Fee Changes

On a related note, developers are required to pay Impact Fees to help pay for public infrastructure upgrades that are made necessary by their projects. That infrastructure includes police, fire, parks, and roads. A formula guides how much of each is required based on the type and size of the project. 

We are, right now, taking a look at the Impact Fees we charge. For the past couple of years we have been holding them in check. The primary reason we’ve chosen to do that is to help developers recover from the recession, and to do our part to catalyze economic development. I have supported keeping the current fee structure in place. I also support taking this fresh look at how we assess Impact Fees.

This is rather complex stuff, and likely of little interest to most of you reading this. Unless you are a developer, or someone who is living near to some major development, getting into the weeds about how the Fees will be revisited isn’t on your radar screen. For those who care, this is an important time. We are in the phase of taking public comments on the proposed changes. Per State Statute, we have to revise and update our Fee plan every 5 years. We are going to do that during a public hearing that is now tentatively set for November 6th. Your input will be incorporated into the City Manager’s recommendations.

Use this link to look at the whole Fee program that we are considering – https://bit.ly/2lt5eZz. You can offer your comments by emailing our consultant at Samuel.Rogers@tucsonaz.gov. We are looking at changing the Districts the Fees can be applied to, and how the Fees are actually calculated. If you have individual thoughts you’d like to share with me directly, send me a note. I read them all.

Hotel Arizona/Hyatt

When I first took office in 2009, the City was on the verge of approving a $200M Garfield/Traub convention center hotel, the funding of which would have been largely public dollars, and the backstop on the loans would have placed the City General Fund at risk. For 9 months, I fought against that, and we finally killed the drill late in 2010. We needed a convention center hotel, but that was not the way. At the time I said we should not be ‘swinging for the fence’ but let the market improve, and with the investment of private dollars hit some singles and doubles – get ourselves to the bed capacity we need, but do it without placing the City finances at risk. Now, we are seeing that happen.

The Hotel Arizona was closed down in 2012. It is an eyesore at the front door of downtown. We have had several offers laid in front of us to be players in helping to fund renovations. Until now, I’ve believed each of those proposals still placed too many taxpayer dollars in the kitty. Last week, we approved what I consider to be a worthwhile proposal that will get the hotel back up and running, using nearly $47M in private dollars. We have a place in the funding, but a place that ensures the benefits to the taxpayer far exceed the incentives we are putting into the deal to make the financing work.

This graph shows exactly that:

When it is opened, the flag will be a Hyatt Regency. There will be 290 rooms, along with the normal food service, meeting rooms, and a fitness center. Most importantly, it will be nearly 300 more rooms in the downtown core that will support attracting major events at the TCC. Rio just approved investing $65M into that facility. We have the Caliber Hotel going in on the east face of the TCC, we just cut a ribbon on the start of a Hampton, the AC is up and running, and one more is in the works. We will get to more than what the Garfield/Traub hotel would have yielded in terms of number of rooms, they will be at price points that make sense for Tucson, and we will have done that with private sector dollars. At the time I worked to stop the $200M boondoggle, some of my friends in the construction industry wrote me off. Since then, with all this other work, I am hoping they now see the wisdom in having been patient.

The anticipated completion date is early 2021. The Hyatt will employ around 200 people. Our investment is capped at $1.8M. You can see the direct benefits back to the public in the chart above.

When I was first elected in 2009, we were fighting and litigating with Rio Nuevo. The State legislature nearly killed the Rio District. We have a new board at Rio who is doing things the right way. So are we at Mayor and Council. The downtown revitalization is in full swing. Adding the Hyatt to the mix, and piggy-backing on the great investments Rio is making in the TCC will only keep that momentum going. 

Genna

I am committed to keeping you up to speed on the evolution of Genna’s court case. You can play a role in how it moves along, too – if you are concerned with how the judicial system treats gun violence in this community.

As I shared last week, the Pima County Attorney’s office is right now considering offering a plea deal to the killer that would include the possibility of probation. The family is opposed to that plea agreement. They have the right to let the judge know. That’s the little guy vs. the County Attorney. I am all for making it the People vs. the County Attorney.

Genna Ayup was shot and killed by the guy she lived with. He said he was changing the grip on his gun. There was a 2-year-old little kid also in the room. If the County Attorney feels that is not negligent homicide deserving of some prison time, the judge should hear that the community has a different perspective. The gun was obviously loaded while he was allegedly tinkering around with it. Two people were there – one is now dead. There was drinking involved. To the County Attorney, that is worthy of probation.

If you would like to write the judge and let him know your thoughts, his contact information is Honorable Michael Butler, Pima County Superior Court, 110 W. Congress, 85701. The County Attorney’s office is, right now, trying to schedule the plea hearing, so I’d suggest you sit down and write your letter today so it’s received when it still matters.

We have got to get to the point at which homicide with a gun is treated the same as homicide with a car. Drive DUI and kill someone and see if you get probation. Kill someone with a gun, and as of this writing, in Pima County you may end up on probation. That cannot be the gun safety message we send in this community.

Unites States of Ammunition Exhibit


That’s the schoolyard at Marysville Pilchuck High School. It’s just south of the Canadian boarder in Washington State. In 2014, a 15 year old kid shot and killed 4 of his classmates before turning the gun on himself. Since then there have been over 250 school shootings. The photo is one of those that’ll be on display when we open the United States of Ammunition art exhibit on Friday the 20th here at the Ward 6 community room.

The show is the work of Maureen Cain and her daughter Erin. Both will be here on the 20th to explain how they got involved in this, and where it has taken them. We’ll also have Mom’s Demand Action here to share what they’re up to in Tucson with respect to gun control efforts. The opening will start at 6pm. Please stop in and show your support.

Since the El Paso Walmart shooting, we’ve seen several companies step up and announce new policies related to carrying weapons in their stores. Walmart was one to request customers no longer open carry while shopping in there. Also included in that list are Starbucks, CVS, Walgreen’s, Wendy’s, and Target. I also know that’s the policy over at The Loft. If you know of others, let me know and I’ll include them. Businesses are getting the message that the standards for gun control must change. Our County Attorney’s office should do the same. I hope to see you on Friday the 20th as a show of support for changing the gun climate in Tucson.

Recycling Update

Last week we had a good discussion about where the City’s recycle program may be headed. For sure, starting on September 30th, we’re going to Every Other Week (EOW) recycling. You’ll see notices in your billing statements.

We’re going to lose around $5M on our recycling program this year. The market is not now what it was when we started the blue bins several years ago. We will need to make changes beyond EOW.

Staff has been looking into options. So have most of us in the council offices. Together we’ll come up with a new approach to how and what we recycle. One easy change that I know Paul D and I are aligned on is to simply stop taking glass. That alone would save the program over $500,000 annually. None of the glass you put into the blue bin gets recycled anyway, so why keep taking it and paying to have it hauled to the landfill.

I believe the real long term answer is to simply focus on reducing the amount of all kinds of waste we produce. That’s a consumer issue. It’s buying things in larger containers. We can all do that. And an approach is also to stop the single stream program – one blue bin that takes in everything. Lots of other communities do multi-stream programs. It takes some initial investment, but when we’re losing the kind of money that we are now, those investments would have a pay-back sooner than later.

At the M&C meeting I suggested we lead by example. We can begin by recycling all of the City produced paper separately from our other recycle goods. We will begin that at the Ward 6 office. All of that paper can be used in composting processes. Much of the paper now being collected is contaminated when it’s tossed into the blue bin with other items. We’ll be doing a separate, paper-only bin at Ward 6. The City could do the same. TUSD and other school districts could, as well. So can you – at home, and in your business. The savings will be in reduced contaminated waste, but also in starting the process towards the City becoming a leader in establishing a major composting program out at our landfill.

Right now, if you fill up your blue bin every time we come by for pick-up, we offer you a 2nd one at no charge. That is inconsistent with a waste reduction goal. I suggested we charge for the 2nd bin. And if we offer a lower price for even smaller bins, we encourage reducing the amount of waste people create. 

Food waste can be composted. Many communities have fee-based curbside compost programs. As the UA compost program gets ramped back up, that’s another option we need to be looking at. And the City has already applied for a permit through ADEQ for establishing a compost program on our own. We already collect green waste through our Brush and Bulky program. If we dual stream paper, the B&B green waste can also be added to that compost effort. Food waste – either through the subscription program, or simply adding another bin can be added. That’s about ½ of the weight we pick up now, and is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions out at the landfill. There would be an up-front capital cost. There’s a long term payback.

Contamination remains a problem. We are going to begin enforcing the already-in-place “3 strikes” program. That means the third time our drivers see contaminated waste in your blue bin, we’re going to remove it. Stop placing styrofoam, food, clothing, dirty pizza boxes, garden hoses…in your blue bin. Almost a third of what we pick up ends up in the landfill, and it’s costing us about $32K monthly. If you have any question about what you can put in the bin, check the Environmental Services website at www.tucsonaz.gov/environmental-services

Leading by example – no more styrofoam cups at M&C meetings. We should do the paper dual stream, take green waste from the B&B program and work on adding food waste so we can lead in composting. We can encourage waste reduction through how we frame our fees for bins. We can stop taking glass. The program isn’t going away, but the program as you know it is. And with the creative ideas we’re kicking around, I believe the community will be ‘greener’ for the effort.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Fund

Also on the topic of the environment, we voted to establish a Green Stormwater Infrastructure fund. Richard and I felt strongly that our residents who are on the low income program for City services need to be exempt. They will be. But the fund will be inexpensive, and the yield will be significant.

We suffer the impact from stormwater every monsoon season. While we as taxpayers already pay into the Flood Control District, the projects those dollars fund are of a larger scale than what’s envisioned for this fund. For example, we already have several hundred stormwater features scattered throughout the City, and maintenance on them is an issue. Portions of this fund will go towards maintaining bump-outs, chicanes, traffic circles, and medians. But that’s just a part of it.

One of my concerns with the fund is that we already don’t do a great job with maintenance and landscape work. There are too many different departments involved, and we don’t have a consistent set of standards to follow. A part of the fund will be to hire a single point of contact who’ll work under the auspices of the City Manager. That person will therefore be ‘deputized’ with the authority to reach across departmental lines and authorize/order certain work to be done. That consistency is now lacking. My hope and expectation is that the fund will help to resolve that issue.

Tucson Water staff surveyed the stormwater features we already have around the City. Their estimate is that we’ve got about 300 of them that would be more effective in handling stormwater infiltration if we were doing a better job of maintaining them now. The impact will be seen not only on residents’ seeing less of a storm impact, but the wear and tear on our roads will be lessened. Water and asphalt don’t do well together, especially when the road is already cracked, allowing water to get to the subsurface base. That’s where potholes begin.

Our initial goal is to get to an annual budget of around $3M. Basing the fee on how much water is used (per Ccf – each hundred cubic feet) the estimate is this’ll cost around a buck a month for our average residential customer. Higher water users will of course see a higher cost. That’s consistent with how we already charge for water use – and for our conservation fee.

For me the big plus coming from the program will be to establish a fund earmarked for expanding our tree canopy. I pointed out at our study session that the goal presented in the GSI document is far too conservative. It calls for just over 5,200 trees over the next 14 years. We can do better than that, especially working with our partners at Trees for Tucson. The money, and the projects will be equally distributed across all 6 Wards. The program we put into place will have a 3 year sunset – we’ll look at it in 3 years and see how it’s doing, and what changes we feel will need to be made at that time. It’ll take a little time though to build up the fund, and to get projects rolling with those new dollars.

Staff conducted a City-wide survey to see if people supported this sort of program.  I had the links to the survey in the newsletter a couple of times. We received over 400 responses. You can see that over 80% of you support it in concept, and about ¾ of you are fine with the fee. That was before Richard and I exempted the low income folks. I suspect that figure would now increase since the burden will be removed from those residents.

The fund will also be used in concert with our Prop 407 parks/connectivity list, as well as with the work being done by the Flood Control District. And the existing neighborhood scale projects now being administered by Tucson Clean & Beautiful will be rolled into this fund.

Local businesses should appreciate this as we’ll be using local contractors to do the installation work. City crews and our private contractors will handle the maintenance. 

A new fee is always hard to approve, but with the exemptions we put into place , the stormwater infastructure, tree canopy, and the aesthetic benefits this will generate, I believe it’s a worthy investment in our community.

Section 8 Housing 

Recently our midtown Constable had contact with one of our Section 8 clients, which ended in eviction, 15 minutes after she knocked on the door. The clients had made a partial rent payment on the 5th of the month. Twenty-six days later, they got the visit from the Constable informing them they had to leave. When they made the partial payment they had felt there was an agreement with the landlord to make the balance payment within 30 days. Arizona State law does not require the landlord to wait – he didn’t, and they, along with their dogs were locked out of their home with little more than what they were wearing. The Section 8 program needs work. 

I’m grateful to the many people who came to the meeting I hosted last week to tear into this issue. There are multiple moving pieces and no single entity is going to fix what’s wrong. But, with everyone working on it, we can make improvements. 

At the meeting we had our Housing folks, the City Manager, people from the County housing department, PCOA, Step up for Justice, the Constable, Arizona Multi-Housing representation, and a landlord who wanted to learn about the program. Several of my staffers also attended.

The problems we identified included, increases in rents, lag times in making initial payments to landlords, rents exceeding program limits, the broken process that involves when the Constable shows up to give notice, software that’s archaic, limited funding sources to help address the rent issues, staffing issues at both the City and County, and the fact that due to a combination of market forces (ability to increase rents and not lose tenants) along with some of the pieces of the Section 8 program that are federally driven; we’re losing landlords. There is a low income housing shortage. We have over 9,000 people on our Section 8 wait list. It got so long that we had to close it to new applicants in 2016.

Each of the participants in the meeting took some homework away. We’re looking into sharing staff between the City and the County. Each side is looking into new and additional funding sources. Our landlord guest is now considering joining the program, and hopefully bringing more new landlords along. We’re looking into ways to shorten the initial wait time, upgrading our software system so communication with both clients and landlords is improved. The Constable and County are meeting to talk about how to get them at peoples’ doors earlier in the process so there’s a chance to find resolution short of eviction. And even if a person is going to have to move, intervention may make it so that’s not an ‘eviction’ on their record. 

It is illegal for judges to issue an eviction notice if it’s the City who’s responsible for the late payment. We learned that judges need to be educated on that – if the client is late on their part of the rent payment, that’s fair game. If it’s the City, the landlord may not evict. And the judge may not direct that. In a case like that though, the landlord may simply wait until the lease comes up for renewal and elect to not renew. The net result is the client loses their home – and we lose more Section 8 housing stock. We have to fix the late payment piece of this.

We’re going to reconvene in early November to check in on how all the parties are doing with respect to their parts of this puzzle. With the vulnerable population we’re serving, we owe it to them to not simply consider them a statistic, blow off the notion of someone losing their home because a landlord’s rent was deemed ‘unreasonable’ by the system, and moving onto the next case. 

This is a tough one. I’ll report back when we’ve got what I anticipate will be the good news to share when we reconvene.

Census 2020

The work on next years census has already started. There’s a complete count committee we’d like to see you join – contact Crystal here at the Ward 6 office to get signed up (crystal.dillahunty@tucsonaz.gov.) 

The work you may see in the immediate future is the verification of addresses. The workers are called ‘address listers.’ They’re census employees, and they’ll have badges and laptops with the Census 2020 logo that indicate their affiliation with the Census Bureau.

The listers are out confirming addresses, and asking some pretty basic questions about whether there are other living quarters on site. The goal is getting a complete count next year. That’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars to support programs such as our Section 8 housing work.

The 2020 Census is going to involve several steps along the process before the actual count begins. This is one of them. The Census is also partnering with the U.S. Postal Service to help gather this early information. Please confirm who’s at your door, and then help them with the information so next year’s work is as comprehensive as it can be.

This little graphic shows exactly what the listers’ goal is:

It’s Escooter Week in Tucson

As hurricane Dorian headed towards the Florida coast last week, cities with escooters had to rush to make sure they weren’t going to become little 45 pound missiles when the winds whipped up. Miami leaders called for all of them to be removed from the streets. So far, we’ve had a pretty tame monsoon. The scooters will be deployed on Thursday of this week. You’ll see at least a thousand of them, likely around the streetcar route. If we get a late monsoon, we’ll have to decide on what measures to take to avoid them ending up scattered in the streets, tracks and sidewalks.

Watch for improperly ‘parked’ scooters. They are to be left upright in the ‘furniture’ section of the sidewalk. They must leave 4’ of clear space. 

They may be ridden in the street – not on the sidewalk. They are subject to the same rules of the road as everyone else is.

There will be injuries. Don’t be stupid. Ride solo, and wear a helmet.

This is the start of what may be a 6 month pilot program. We’ll see where it goes once they’re competing for space along Main Gate, 4th Avenue and downtown.

Finally, the local Tucson item this week is another good-news story related to our parks. You passed Prop 407. As a result, we’re moving forward investing in upgrades to the parks system. This coming Friday we’re going to unveil another example of that work over in Reid Park.

   

Jonathan and I will join the parks staff who actually did the heavy lifting on getting the new playground up and running. The event will take place at 5:30 – check it all out in the NE quadrant of the park – 920 S. Concert Place. I wrote above about the new GSI fund and how tree canopy will be a big part of that. You can see the new playground has lots of shade cover, too. It all works together. I hope you can join us as we cut the ribbon on this new amenity at our largest regional park in the City.

Sincerely,

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

Events and Entertainment

Sonoran Restaurant Week

September 6, 2019 - September 15

Visit Tucson presents Sonoran Restaurant Week 2019 - a ten-day celebration of Southern Arizona dining, raising funds and awareness for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona from, 2019. Your favorite restaurants - and local hot spots you've been meaning to try - will be offering prix fixe three-course dinners for just $25 or $35. The participating restaurants include a who's who of Tucson's talented chefs and their imaginative menus. What's even better? Your participation helps support the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, providing food assistance to thousands of your neighbors across the region. View the special Sonoran Restaurant Week menus at each restaurant on SonoranRestaurantWeek.com/.

 

Arizona Underground Film Festival

September 13, 2019 - September 22, 2019

The Screening Room presents the 12th annual showing of one of the nation's top underground cult film festivals whose mission is to showcase the work of filmmakers with defiantly independent visions. This ten-day celebration will feature films from categories of Narrative, Horror, Documentaries, Experimental, Animation, and an Exploitation category. View times and prices at http://azuff.org/.

 

Mexican Independence Day Celebration at the Presidio Museum

September 14, 2019. 10:00 AM to 01:00 PM

$5 for adults, $1 for children ages 6-14, free for 5 and under

The Tucson Presidio Museum will be flying the Mexican flag as it did from September 16, 1821 through 1854 while operated by the Mexican Republic. Representatives of Soldados of the Mexican Republic and La Gente will be on hand dressed in costumes from this period in Tucson's history. Visitors can enjoy tastes of horchata and handmade tortillas and take part in popular Mexican games and crafts. Tucson High School’s Mariachi Rayos del Sol will perform throughout the event and Danzacultura Folklorico will perform at 11:30 am. https://tucsonpresidio.com/

 

Bluegrass & Brews Jamboree

September 10 at 6pm

Gaslight Music Hall

Tickets: $13.50

Featuring the Old Pueblo Bluegrass and Cadillac Mountain Bluegrass. Your feet will be tapping to these traditional bluegrass tunes with a special finale of all musicians on stage together! Don’t miss it! For more information, visit www.gaslightmusichall.com.

ONGOING...

Arizona State Museum, 1013 E University Blvd | www.statemuseum.arizona.edu

Arizona Theater Company, 330 S Scott Ave | www.arizonatheatre.org

Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S 6th Ave | www.childrensmuseumtucson.org

Fox Theatre, 17 W Congress St | www.FoxTucsonTheatre.org

Hotel Congress, 311 E Congress St | hotelcongress.com

Jewish History Museum, 564 S Stone Ave | www.jewishhistorymuseum.org

Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway Blvd | www.loftcinema.com

Meet Me at Maynards, 311 E Congress St | www.MeetMeatMaynards.com
A social walk/run through the Downtown area. Every Monday, rain or shine, holidays too! Check-in begins at 5:15 pm.

Mission Garden, 946 W Mission Ln | www.missiongarden.org
A living agricultural museum and ethnobotanical garden at the site of Tucson's Birthplace (the foot of "A-Mountain"). For guided tours call 520-955-5200

Raices Taller 222, 218 E. 6th St | Fridays and Saturdays from 1pm to 5pm | www.raicestaller222.com

Rialto Theatre, 318 E Congress St | www.rialtotheatre.com

The Rogue Theatre, The Historic Y, 300 E University Blvd | www.theroguetheatre.org

Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N Toole Ave | www.tucsonhistoricdepot.org

Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N Alvernon Way | www.tucsonbotanical.org

Tucson Convention Center, 260 S Church St | tucsonconventioncenter.com

Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N Main Ave | tucsonmuseumofart.org

UA Mineral Museum, 1601 E University Blvd | www.uamineralmuseum.org

Watershed Management Group, Living Lab 1137 N. Dodge Blvd. | www.watershedmg.org

Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson2130 North Alvernon Way | www.yumegardens.org