Steve K's Newsletter 10/07/19

Topics in this Issue:

 

I’m opening this week with a somber reflection in respect of friend and colleague Roger Tamietti. He passed away last week at the very tender age of 61. Roger was a kind and generous guy – former TFD leader and always at the ready to help people in need. We dropped our W6 flag to half-staff last Wednesday when we learned the news. It was a very sad day for the community.

I’m sure this year’s Chili Cook Off will have a little extra special sense of purpose and dedication. Roger was always deeply involved in the event. 

 

It will be taking place all day, from 10am until 8pm over at the DeMeester Band Shell in Reid Park on Saturday, October 26th. They’ll have live music all day, a KidZone, and 24 themed chili booths. If you haven’t gone before, check it out. It’s all put together to raise funds in support of the Greater Purpose Project – a non-profit effort to inspire others to take the curve-balls life throws at us, and use them to inspire others to fight through their own struggles. It’s certainly a fitting theme, given the timing of Roger’s passing.

The Cook Off begins with a Super Hero themed fun run. Show up decked out as your favorite character and take part to support this important program, and in memory of our friend from TFFA. 

 

This week’s Be Kind will highlight October as Domestic Violence (DV) awareness month – specifically, Emerge and some of their community partners.

We at the Ward 6 office have a long relationship with Emerge. We have a tremendous amount of respect for their work, and for just how important it is in transforming (saving!) lives. One way you can join us in that support is by taking part in their Break the Silence of Domestic Violence walk on Wednesday, October 23rd.  It will begin at 5:30 in Jacome Plaza. There will be speakers, informational material, and mostly, support for DV victims. The walk is only 1 mile, and afterwards, Emerge corporate supporter Elliott’s on Congress will be donating 20% of their 8pm to 10pm proceeds to the work Emerge is doing.  Use this link for more info on the event: click here.

Another corporate supporter of the Emerge work is Southwest Gas (SWG). They deserve a Be Kind mention as well. They sponsor an employee-driven “Southwest Gas Fuel for Life” program through which SWG workers donate, and volunteer to help Emerge’s work. One of their employees had this to say about being a part of the Emerge DV work: 

"Many of our employee giving donors have heard about the compassionate staff members, resources and supportive programs that Emerge offers to individuals during their most vulnerable time, and appreciate that such a place exists."

I agree – it’s great that ‘such a place exists.”

I’ll be sharing thoughts on domestic violence awareness and how you can play a lifesaving role in each of my  October newsletters. Here are a few helpful tips related to DV that you can find on the Emerge website:

First, it is ok to both ask for, and to offer help. Don’t let DV hide in the closet. Keep their hotline handy (795-4266.) Make sure the victim knows you care about their safety, and that you believe them. Let them know that what’s going on is not their fault. Do not force-feed ‘solutions’ on them – let them make their own decisions.  Do not confront the abuser. Ask for help – contact Emerge when you are unsure the role you can, or should play. That hotline number is for both victims, and for those who want to play a helpful role.

Also, throughout October there will be a series of DV related panel discussions and performances held at the Screening Room. Emerge will be one of the groups represented, but there’s a lot more planned for the theme. This flyer has the dates and times for the sessions. It’s all part of the larger effort to bring awareness to the topic of domestic violence – and October is awareness month.

 

 

Genna

Last week I shared the banner that is hanging outside of my office. These signs are posted on several major streets around Tucson. Today is the day for Genna’s plea hearing. I’ve heard from many of you – so has the judge. Today we join in hoping the letters, signs and quiet expectation that I hear throughout the community ends with the County Attorney’s office pursuing what their chief prosecutor said at the #URResponsible event I hosted at St. Mark’s last year – “we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

Shooting and killing someone in Tucson under the circumstances that surrounded Genna’s incident cannot end in probation. More on this next week. Fingers crossed for justice for Genna. Many thanks to Dylan Smith for printing this guest piece I wrote last week in the Sentinel:

Steve Kozachik Special to TucsonSentinel.com

Seven years ago, Genna Ayup was shot and killed in the front room of her home. The killer was her live-in partner, the father of their two-year, eight-month-old child. The little boy stood by and watched as the incident played out. He told police, "daddy hit mommy, then daddy shot mommy." The statement was not received as evidence due to his age.

Tucson police charged the killer with manslaughter. After a brief review of what TPD presented to her office, the County Attorney's Office dropped the case.

The killer had been at O’Malley’s bar for three hours immediately prior to the shooting. We know he had four large lagers during that time. Within 30 minutes of his having left the bar and arrived at home, Genna was dead.

Shortly after the killing, the Arizona State Legislature considered adopting what at the time was to be called Genna’s Law. It would have very simply made it evidence of criminal negligence to fire a weapon and injure or kill somebody if your blood alcohol was above the DUI limit of .08. Our absolutely bought-and-paid-for by the gun lobby Legislature failed to pass it as law. The message: in Arizona you may not operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of or above .08, but you may operate a firearm if you have been drinking. Genna’s death is testimony to the impact of that gutless lack of will.

In addition to the drinking, there were other uncontested facts that should have supported TPD’s effort to bring the case to trial. For example, there was a bruise on the side of Genna’s face. There was a hole the size of a fist with blood stains punched into the drywall by the front door of their house. There were signs of a struggle; clumps of Genna’s hair were found and photographed by TPD in the front foyer of the house. There was a broken wine glass in that same area. Genna’s body was approximately six feet away from where those pieces of evidence were found. She was shot in the temple, and dropped and died immediately. One does not stagger six feet down the hall after having been shot in the head.

The killer says he was simply sitting in the living room placing a new grip on his pistol when it accidentally fired, hitting and killing Genna. It was all just one big mistake. He had a glass of liquor on the ottoman in front of him – continuing the drinking he had begun at O’Malley’s. When police arrived, the grip was fully deployed on the gun. It was not half on and half off, as though he was struggling to slide it onto the weapon.

Not only did the county attorney ignore all of that, but buying the story the shooter gave, she accepts as just an unfortunate break for Genna that she happened to be standing in the line of fire when her "partner" who had been drinking was fumbling around with a Glock, loaded with a clip and a bullet in the chamber, when his finger accidentally hit the trigger. Nothing to see here folks. Drop the case.

That cannot be our standard for how we hold people accountable for gun violence in Tucson, or in Pima County. The message cannot be that if you want to kill somebody, make sure it was just the two of you in the room, do the deed and say it was an accident. And yet, if left to the County Attorney’s Office, that would indeed have been the message.

I have known Genna’s dad through his work at the University of Arizona. Going on two years ago, I met with him and Genna’s mom to talk about the case. The City Council had passed our own local version of Genna’s Law, but the fact that the killer was still on the loose, and had custody of the little boy was a lingering wound. To be clear, regaining custody was not an easy lift for the shooter. He failed drug tests for nearly three years after Genna’s death and could not regain custody until he came up clean.

At the time of our initial meeting, I had not reviewed the case file. When we met, I assumed they simply wanted me to help re-initiate a statewide Genna’s Law. As I poured through the files and photos they brought along, it became obvious that a gross miscarriage of justice was taking place. Photos of the scene I’ve described above left it clear that TPD’s initial charge of manslaughter was the minimum the case deserved. In rejecting the trial, the county attorney even ignored the obvious: criminal negligence with a deadly weapon, along with child endangerment, or even more serious charges that could be justified based on the crime scene.

I read through the files. Statements from friends, family and neighbors painted a much different picture than the story being told by the killer. To be sure I wasn’t simply being overly-emotional about what I was seeing and reading, I asked my chief of staff to read through and give me her independent analysis. To both of us it was clear that in dropping the case, there had been no justice for Genna.

The way the law works, TPD can present a case, but it’s up to the county attorney as to whether or not she takes it to trial. We had to get the case reintroduced and get her to reconsider the earlier decision. To begin that process, we turned all of the case files over to a criminal attorney – one who usually presents cases in defense of police actions. We still did not want to rely on emotions, or pay the attorney to simply tell us what he thought we wanted to hear. Our instruction to him – review the files and tell us what you think.

After a couple of weeks, the attorney sat with us, and with Genna’s family to give us his opinion. Without qualification he told us that the case deserved to go to trial, and that the charges could have easily been more severe than manslaughter. Based on that, I scheduled a meeting with our chief of police and his detectives to review what we had come up with. The result of that meeting was TPD agreeing to internally review our material and conclusions. They did, and they also concluded the case needed a trial.

TPD re-presented the case to the county attorney’s staff, who agreed to review the material, did so and elected to bring the case to trial. The killer was indicted on manslaughter. A trial date was set for November of this year.

Manslaughter carries with it the potential for prison time ranging from 7-21 years. The prosecutor assigned to the case told the family all along that he fully believed in the case. During the #URResponsible event I hosted at St. Mark’s church last summer, he said to the crowd that his office is committed to prosecuting cases "to the fullest extent of the law." All of us who had invested the time, money and emotion into bringing this case back to trial felt Genna would finally get her day in court.

Then, a promotion happened within the County Attorney’s Office. The prosecutor assigned to Genna’s case got reassigned. Genna’s family was called and told they were to meet with the county attorney staff, putatively for an update on the case. Instead, they were told a plea deal was being considered, one that included probation as an option. The prosecutor who all along had said he fully believed in the case now had other fish to fry. Genna’s case was being sold for probation. The county attorney could still claim a victory because she can claim a conviction. The loser is justice. And ethics. And this community.

A plea hearing is scheduled for next week. A few things can happen. The killer can reject the plea and say he wants to take his chances on being fully exonerated through a trial. I say, bring it on. Or he can accept the plea. The judge can accept or reject any of the options. The family and I, along with well over 100 people have written letters and/or signed petitions asking that probation not be offered as an option. Let’s lay the facts on the table and let them speak for themselves. Is that more work for the County Attorney’s Office. Yes. Should we embrace them looking for the cheap and easy "way out" of this case, and still claim a victory? Not a chance.

Tucson has had two mass shootings. Despite pre-emption laws passed at the state level, we have in place a series of gun-safety policies at the city level that make a strong statement in support of common-sense gun laws. It is not common sense to go out drinking, come home and try to squeeze a new grip onto a loaded weapon with your "partner" and child standing within a few feet of you. Even if it’s to be believed that that is actually how Genna was killed, the message to the community cannot be that that level of negligence, when it ends in the death of another, deserves probation. Not here. Not anywhere. That cannot be our standard of justice.

We will see next week whether or not the judge in this case agrees. If he does, Genna will finally get her day in court, and many of us hope justice will be served, even if it’s seven years late in coming.

 

Our Family Advance Directive Workshop

Advance directives include things like living wills, powers of attorney for both financial and medical decisions, and other documents that identify a person who will be empowered to make significant end of life decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated, or otherwise unable to make key decisions yourself. This workshop will be a deep dive into how you get those forms into place.

Nobody can predict when they will lose their life. Predicting when you become unable to make end of life decisions is also an unknown. I’m partnering with Our Family Services to host a workshop on the importance of Advance Directives – the forms you’ll want to have in place for you and for loved ones to help inform decisions made as end of life nears. Having just gone through it, I can attest to the absolute importance of having these decisions documented well ahead of the time you are in the middle of the emotional challenges of considering options, none of which comes with a happy ending. I’ll add this – before you just agree to be somebody’s agent in implementing those decisions, understand and embrace the magnitude of the decisions you are agreeing to enforce. Even though you can fall back on ‘it’s what he/she wanted,’ at the time, it will be you alone checking the box.

Our Family will present a 2 hour workshop on Advance Directives on Monday, November 4th in our Community Room. It will begin at 6pm, and it’s important that you are here from the start. If you arrive halfway through, some important information will have already been covered. But if that’s the best you can do, then come late – this is important stuff.

I’ve worked in tandem with Our Family on multiple community events. Those have included forums on next steps following the ’16 election, education, health care and just last week a Livability Neighborhood event on campus. While they are all important, I don’t think any involve more fundamentally important issues/questions/legalities than this one. If you’re a boomer, have elderly parents, are a senior yourself, or how about this – if you ride a bike on urban corridors – then come and listen. The information you’ll take away will become necessary at a time you cannot predict.

 

Hate Crimes Forum

Coming up on Saturday, October 19th our TPD Street Crime Interdiction unit is going to host a forum in which they’ll discuss hate and bias crimes. During the workshop they will present information on how a hate crime is defined, the varying types of bias crimes TPD is seeing, and trends that are developing. They will also share on peoples’ responsibility to report what they see. 

This isn’t a one-way presentation. People in attendance will have the chance to share their experiences about what they see out in their neighborhoods. The class will be offered over at the TPD Westside Service Center – 1310 W. Miracle Mile. It’ll run from 10am until noon and is free to all who pre-register. Please use this link to sign up:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hate-crimes-forum-tickets-72399140779. 

 


There’s a great resource guide that was recently updated, that friend Maryann Beerling from Compass Affordable Housing shared with me last week. It deserves to be shared to a wide audience. It’s this week’s Local Tucson item. What could be more local than this effort to provide services?

The Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness has compiled this great list of all sorts of local services. They reach into the lives of the less fortunate, giving some direction and hope in areas such as re-entry housing, utility assistance, employment opportunities and a bunch more. This is the link to the guide:

https://www.tpch.net/resources

If you check out that link I am 100% certain you’ll see something that somebody you know can benefit from. 

Every Other Week Recycling (EOW)

At least I wasn’t alone in my neighborhood when I pulled out my blue bin last Monday morning. Alone in forgetting that my area is in Group B for recycling. Last week was the start of EOW so your recycling will no longer be picked up every week. Here’s some information to help you plan – me, too.

First, this interactive map link that’ll allow you to check your own address, and help others if they ask you when their recycle bin is being picked up:
https://cotgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=41e35eab...

When you open the link, click on the magnifying glass logo and type in your address. When the map pops up, just click on any part of it and information like this will appear:

2019 Service Dates

Oct 7, 2019; Oct 21, 2019; Nov 4, 2019; Nov 18, 2019; Dec 2, 2019; Dec 16, 2019; Dec 30, 2019

* = Pick up the following day due to holiday 

Up on the refrigerator it goes, and you’re golden.

Ok, now we know when to recycle. What about the ‘what?’ This link is your recycle coach:

https://www.tucsonaz.gov/es/recycle-coach 

If you have a question about what to put in the blue bin, click the link and type in the item you’re curious about. For example, I typed in ‘pizza box.’ This is the information that was displayed:

You can also use the coach to send reminders on when to pull out your barrel, and other Environmental Services items like Household Hazardous Waste pick-ups, Brush and Bulky+, and more.

Tucson Clean & Beautiful also has a link that will guide you to where to recycle items that don’t belong in the blue bin, but may not be ideal for the landfill. This link has a list of items that will answer that kind of question:   https://tucsoncleanandbeautiful.org/recycling-education/recycling-directory

I typed in Cellular Telephone and the site provided this map:

Each of those teardrops identifies a location where I can take my old cell phone to have it recycled. That’s probably a bad example for me to use because I will not be giving up my flip phone anytime soon, but it’s an example of how the site works.

Feel free to call us here at the W6 office if you have questions. Or you can also call our Environmental Services help desk at 791.3171.

 

Water Security

The next step in our litigation against PFAS product manufacturers takes place this week. It’ll be the judge’s chance to hear the science behind the concerns related to the PFCs getting into water systems. As I’ve written plenty of times, this is happening all over the country.

This is a photo of the Sweeny Water Treatment Plant. It is located in North Carolina, on the banks of the Cape Fear River. The plant provides about 80% of the drinking water for the local community.

Their treatment plant has the ability to filter out over 160 known contaminants. It cannot filter out PFAS.

The Cape Fear public utility just awarded a $36M contract to a local contractor to build a treatment facility that uses the same filter medium we have to clean the PFCs out of our water. Once the plant goes on line in 2020, they anticipate annual operating costs to be nearly $3M. 

In Cape Fear, they know DuPont and Chemours are largely responsible for the contamination.  Just as we did when we built the treatment facility to address other compounds (1,4 Dioxane), their public utility is building the plant and fighting the two companies after the fact to get reimbursed. Until they win that battle, the water customers in the area will pay an estimated $5 per month to fund the work.

Why do I write about a North Carolina water issue? Because it mirrors our situation. We will have to build at least one new treatment facility to address local PFCs. As you can see, they’re not cheap. And we will have to re-drill wells, put into place containment measures for the plume, and continually pay for testing and O&M on the new treatment plant. Tucson Water ratepayers should not bear any of that burden. That’s why I have advocated for our lawsuit against 3M, other product manufacturers, and now the DOD and State of Arizona. As the contamination problem grows, we are able to identify more and more groups who are culpable. You as a ratepayer are not one among that group.

Here’s more. When you see the heading “Water Security”, it’s generally a lead-into a piece on PFAS and our litigation against 3M. You can also add how the Trump administration is rolling back protections that have been in place intended to ensure the purity of our nation’s water supply.


Photo Credit to Brandon Thibodeaux – NY Times

That’s an oil rig that’s docked in Sabine Pass, Texas. The rule rollbacks that are taking place will mean industrial pollution will be allowed to flow into our waterways – and they’re slow-walking changes to the health advisory for the PFCs we’re in court over. Like they’re immune from the effects?

In total, there are so far 85 specific rules that are being rolled back. This chart shows the areas they’re scattered around in:

What is the administration saying about the rules? An environmental law professor at the Vermont Law School, Patrick Parenteau, said this is “an opportunity to really drive a stake through the heart of federal water protection.” Trump’s EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler says the rule changes “put an end to an egregious power-grab.” He’s talking about those of us who want to see the natural environment protected for our kids, grandkids – and selfishly, for ourselves as well.

Some of the regulations they’re eviscerating include an Obama-era clean water regulation that had put limits on chemicals that could be used near streams, rivers and wetlands. They’ve also eliminated restrictions on coal-fired power plants, tailpipe emissions, methane emissions, asbestos and pesticides. It is that same EPA that has set a health advisory of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFAS. Out by DM, the levels are in excess of 1,300 ppt. Out by TIA, they’re over 11,000 ppt. That’s why the DOD and the State need to be defendants in our lawsuit. And toss in TIA.

Not surprisingly, agriculture lobbyists are praising the rollbacks. They don’t want regulations preventing them from using chemical pesticides and fertilizers near large bodies of water – or the rivers or wetlands that feed them, including streams that primarily run after rainfalls. We have several right here in Southern Arizona.

One example of collateral damage is the impact of agricultural chemicals on pollinators. Full disclosure – this guy isn’t one of my most favorite critters:  

Honestly, even the picture gives me the creeps. I’ve had some bad experiences with bees. And yet, they are important pollinating insects that, just as with our ag brethren, play an important role in putting food on tables by transferring pollen between flowering plants and extending the cycle of plant life. The use of pesticides is playing a role in their losses. Leaders in the beekeeping industry have filed their own suit to try to prevent some of these regulatory rollbacks. 

So, back to the new treatment plant in North Carolina. Bless them for investing over $36M in keeping their water clean. I’ll be pulling for them as they turn to DuPont for financial help, and I’m looking forward to the start of our own litigation against PFC producers, and others. One thing we may not be placed in the position of doing by the polluters is having to imagine a day without water.

 

Imagine a Day Without Water

…and to that point…

Coming on October 23rd is this year’s national ‘Imagine a Day Without Water’ campaign. It’s being pulled together by the Value of Water non-profit. They’ve been doing this for several years. It gains in importance each time they do.

The goal of the campaign is to get people thinking about what exactly a day without water would look like in their lives. Everything from my bride missing her daily gallons of coffee, to something perhaps more significant such as an inability for TFD to put out a housefire, to flushing the toilet, doing the dishes, impacts on hospitals – the list is only limited by your imagination.

You can promote this message through your neighborhood newsletters, in classrooms, on social media, or simply in face-to-face conversations. We’re living in a time when I have no trouble week to week finding examples of where jurisdictions all over the country are fighting to keep their water clean and abundant. The notion of doing without is not “Silent Spring” hype (you millennials, Google Rachel Carson.) 

Sign up to be a registered part of this campaign. Publicize how you plan to get the message out. You can get started by using this link: sign up on the Imagine a Day Without water site.

If you do Twitter, you can follow how this is rolling out at @thevalueofwater, and follow the conversation at #ValueWater. There are already hundreds of individuals, cities and businesses signed up. Protecting our water security is an immensely important issue – especially when you consider the actions taking place at the federal level rolling back protections we’ve had in place for years.

 

Either before or after you do the Fire fighters chili cook off, you can join the 8th Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival that’ll be going on over at Armory Park. This event runs on October 26th from 11am until 4pm. It’s a day celebrating community organizations and companies who are leading the way locally in helping make ours environmentally resilient.

Throughout the afternoon, you’ll hear short-talks that’ll give you ideas about how to up your own ‘sustainable game’ at home, or in your workplace. They’ll touch on everything from solarizing your home, to composting, gardening, supporting local businesses, home repair and a bunch more.

Some of the special features will include a display of 3-D printing, a kid-friendly rope labyrinth with special environmental messages built in, and more. The festival website address is www.envisiontucsonsustainable.org. Check it out – you can get back and forth between the chili cook off and the Armory Park event by Tugo – in keeping with the Envision Tucson Sustainable theme.

 

Central American Migrants

Since the Benedictine was emptied out of our Central American asylum-seeking guests, you haven’t seen much at all about the issue in the Tucson media. The Casa Alitas Welcome Center is up and running in the County facility, and several hundred guests have been assisted through the place in the past month, or so. What you do see in the news are reports of “numbers being down.” Those ‘numbers’ are human beings.  The fact that they’re no longer coming into Tucson via I.C.E. in huge numbers doesn’t mean the conditions they are trying to escape have been resolved. It also doesn’t mean the ‘numbers’ won’t increase as the weather cools off. We need to be ready to address whatever is tossed in our direction.

People are losing their lives – and Trump just announced the fewest number of refugees will be allowed in this country in decades.

Since I.C.E. and Border Patrol have cracked down on the border, migrants are finding more dangerous spots to try to cross. This is a photo taken of families getting ready to cross the Rio Grande from Matamoros, Mexico. 

Asylum seeking families are being blocked from crossing, being detained in some of the most dangerous towns in Mexico, or sent back to the homes they fled due to violence and poverty. The ‘numbers’ are down in Tucson, but many of them are dying as a result of D.C. policies.

In the Benedictine, we heard the stories of kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, extortion and starvation. Those same conditions are reported by the guests who are showing up at the Alitas Center. The Trump policies haven’t cleared up those conditions – they’re causing people to go further underground when trying to escape. The NY Times reported last week that Border Patrol apprehended 111 people who had been crammed into the back of 3 different tractor-trailers. In one of them, the inside temperature was 104 degrees. According to BP’s own data, the number of migrants caught hiding in tractor-trailers has increased by 40% this year, over ’18. 

In Mexico, smugglers have become the last, best option for many seeking asylum. Border Patrol data show they’ve pulled more than 2,700 migrants out of tiny rooms in homes and hotels – “stash houses” – that are the conduit used by human smugglers. These people are not coming here because things are swell back home in Guatemala.  When we slam the door, we’re keeping them in equally dangerous cities in Mexico. Remember Matamoros? The US State Department has it on a “do not travel” list. We’re making it the ‘safe haven’ for asylum seekers.

I write this as an update on the great work happening at the Alitas Center. We are continuing to receive donations – and the needs continue to be significant. Bring food, clothing, travel hygiene products, kids toys – we will get it all over to the Catholic Community Services folks who are still managing the hundreds of volunteers as they reconnect the refugees fortunate enough to have made it this far with next of kin. 

There continues to be a local connection to the stories you read about ‘numbers’ being down, interdiction in Mexico, and building a border wall. That connection is all about compassion.

 

Horse Racing / Off Track Betting

A guy who’s affiliated with Rillito Race Track called me last week and asked if he could count on my support for their Off Track Betting (OTB) license for a bar in midtown. I reminded him that I had opposed the earlier application, and would do so again for more new ones. Why? The state of horse racing in this country is not the ritzy mint juleps and wild ladies’ hats you see when big races like the Kentucky Derby are broadcast.

You didn’t see any local coverage of this incident. It’s the 32nd horse fatality this year at Santa Anita race track over in Arcadia, California. It’s supposed to be one of the top tracks in the country. Horses are going there to qualify for the large, internationally broadcast races. Some are not coming out.

The guy who called gave me a pretty good indication as to which sports bar they’ll be approaching. I know the owners and they’re a fine family. My position on whether or not to support OTB in local establishments has nothing to do with the character of the people running the places. It has to do with the current controversies surrounding horse racing.

If there was ever a time you’d think the folks at Santa Anita would have their act together, it would be at the start of their 85th year, on the heels of some major negative press that exposed the catastrophic injuries and the 30 deaths that had taken place at their track this year. In the photo shown above you see track officials hiding the carnage. The 3 year old colt named Emtech collapsed in the final stretch. Both of his front legs were broken. He was euthanized. California Governor Gavin Newsom called it a ‘disgrace’ and indicated that horse racing was ‘dangerously close’ to being out of business in that State.

In 2018, nearly 10 horses per week died at U.S. horse racing tracks. That’s 5x higher than in Europe, largely due to very conservative rules related to racing and drugs, and racing and rest. At Belmont Park in New York (even non-racing fans have heard of the Belmont Stakes – one of the ‘triple crown’ races), they’ve had 7 fatalities in their last 18 racing days. The issue is not just at Santa Anita. In horse racing mecca Lexington, Kentucky, the Keeneland track has seen 4 deaths in their past 16 racing days.

You also may have seen coverage – briefly in our local press - the 2018 triple crown champion Justify had failed a drug test before racing in the Kentucky Derby. The regulatory body decided to ignore it and not pursue any punishment. 

So to my friend from the Rillito – yes, it’s nice to hear that the UA College of Veterinary Science has some students out at the track observing, but the issue is the condition of the industry. It is races from across the country that will be displayed and wagered on at the OTB sites, not the small races that take place during the limited race season out at Rillito. It is that national circuit that’s seeing the injuries and deaths. 

Bring the application back when the regulatory bodies governing the sport get serious about drugs, rest, and general injury/fatality prevention. Until then, wagering on the industry isn’t something I believe we should be supporting in Tucson.

 

Finally, this weekend is our own local celebration of the diversity that makes Tucson Tucson. Spread throughout 4 city blocks in the downtown area, Tucson Meet Yourself is food, music, quilting, Aids Walk, car show, and did I mention food? 

The event will run on Friday and Saturday from 11am until 10pm, and on Sunday from 11am until 6pm. You’ll find booths and activities in Jacome Plaza in front of the main library, on Pennington Street, Church and Stone. Trust me – once you’re in the general area, follow the people and it won’t be hard to find.

This is a free event, but you’ll find donation buckets at each entry point. Every donation helps to make sure the event stays healthy and will be back for another year. If you haven’t attended one of these, give it a try. It’s a great celebration of who we are as a community.

The Tucson Meet Yourself website is www.tucsonmeetyourself.org. It has event schedules, and lots more about the activities you can anticipate.

Sincerely,

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

 

Events and Entertainment

TenWest Impact Festival
October 11 – October 20
Tucson Convention Center and other locations. Visit https://tenwest.com/ to learn more and buy your tickets.

TENWEST Impact Festival helps the curious and the impassioned solve the great economic, social, cultural and environmental challenges facing our communities. Through ten days of exhibitions, talks, and interactive experiences, national experts and local heroes will inspire the ideas and facilitate the connections that will empower us to act. 

This October, 15,000 local, regional, and national attendees will come together to focus on solutions for creating social, environmental, and economic impact. The majority of TENWEST activities take place at the Tucson Convention Center, however, there are additional events that happen all over downtown Tucson locations. 

Tucson Meet Yourself (on October 11-13) will partner with TENWEST Impact Festival and be the gateway event for 10+ days of innovative programming. The TENWEST Pavilion at Tucson Meet Yourself features:

  • Local First Roadshow Tent with micro-workshops, crafts, games, and education
  • Heritage Popup Market highlighting regional heritage foods and drinks
  • TENWEST Discovery Lounge with raffles and prizes

 

Tucson Organic Gardeners Fall Fair
Saturday October 12, 9am - 1pm
3809 E. 3rd St

Tucson Organic Gardeners, a local non-profit, is having our Fall Fair on October 12 at St. Marks Presbyterian Church, 3809 E. 3rd St, from 9-1. We will have organic plant starts from local growers, organic compost, fertilizers, and gardening supplies, and a free organic gardening class at 11am.

Visit this website to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/tucsonorganicgardeners/

 

Tucson Benefest
Sunday October 13, 12:30PM
Whistle Stop Depot, 127 W 5th St

Tucson Benefest is a one-day, outdoor music festival bringing together like-minded individuals of our community to become informed, to celebrate and honor ALL beings through dance, lecture, music, art and food. Proceeds benefitting Planned Parenthood of Arizona.

Event Sponsor: Planned Parenthood AZ

Ticket Prices-
GA: $30
Day of Show GA: $35

Visit https://www.tucsonbenefest.com/ to learn more.

 

Porch Fest
Sunday October 20, 2:30 to 5:30 pm
Garden District Neighborhood, Pima and Columbus Area – Signs will direct you.     

A Walk and Bike, Family Friendly, FREE Event. Celebrate local musicians, food trucks, and beautiful Fall weather.  Please park and WALK and BIKE from porch to porch, enjoying Tucson's musical talent and sampling delicious food truck fare in Garden District, our beautiful mid- century neighborhood in the Heart of Tucson. 

  • This is a "Leave no trace" event. Please pack out all your trash or use the trash and recycling cans that will be out on the streets. 
  • Bring small bills to tip the musicians!!!!!!    It is their only source of income for the event.
  • Support the delicious Food Trucks!
  • Park your car and WALK! Porch Fest is best and safest when enjoyed on foot or by bike.
  • Bring a portable chair or blanket. Seating is not necessarily provided at all porches.
  • •Maps will be available at different locations, posted online at thegardendistrict.org, and also displayed on a sign in front of each performance venue.

Go to: https://gdna.weebly.com for more info 

 

3rd Street and Treat Avenue Bicycle Boulevard Community Input Event
Swanway Park, 4800 E 1st Street
Saturday, October 19, 5-8pm (Movie at 6pm)

Join us for fun in the park with a movie under the stars, free ice cream, and free bicycle repair! Talk to our project team to learn more about the Treat and 3rd Street Bicycle Boulevard projects and give your input. These projects will expand our citywide low-street biking and walking network by creating calmer residential streets for you, your family, and neighbors. 
Visit: bit.ly/bikeboulevards for more information. You can also provide input online if you are unable to make the event. 

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

Friends of Himmel Park, 1000 N Tucson Blvd | https://samhughes.org/friends-of-himmel-park.php

Weekly Sunday morning weed-pull from 7 to 9 AM.                                                                             

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