Topics in this issue...
- Tucson Be Kind
- Homicide Survivors
- Brady Foundation & Bump Stocks
- DACA, Gun Safety & Education
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- Cell Phone Collection
- Microchip Event
- Road Stuff
- TEP Work
- Ward 6 Office Disruptions?
- Swan/Valencia Annexation
- Local First: Cakes for Causes
- Himmel Tree Planting
- Passport Day
- Events & Entertainment
Tucson Be Kind
This Be Kind item is a trifecta of goodness. TPD Sergeant Will Corrales requested eight tickets to the Disney on Ice so he could take them around to needy families in the area he patrols. Glenn Grabski and the TCC folks thought that was a great idea and made the request of the Disney people. Disney decided that eight wasn’t sufficient fun to distribute and provided 20 comp tickets for Sgt. Corrales to hand out. There are now 20 residents who live in Operations Division South who will have the chance to see the “Follow Your Heart” Disney on Ice show. I’d say the show is well named. Thanks to Will, TCC and Disney for making it happen.
That’s a shot of Taylor Stovall, a 17-year-old high school student who was one of the Las Vegas shooting victims. Next to her is Tucson native and NBC News host Savannah Guthrie.
When Taylor was first hit she said she ran behind a wall to seek cover. A guy grabbed her and helped her to an ambulance. The rescuer turned out to be another Tucson connection, a UA student and former Army medic named Parker. When Taylor posted on facebook her interest in thanking him, Guthrie saw it and did some sluething around, eventually getting the two in touch by phone. Oh, and Parker also saved his wife Sarah’s life in the incident.
On my semi-regular pass by the Broadmoor-Broadway Village poetry mailbox, I grabbed this entry – it’s worth sharing here.
Life is a classroom
Where it’s okay to ask questions,
And if you don’t get all the answers
In D.C. last Wednesday, two guys in their 20s were both shot and killed. A third victim is hospitalized from his gunshot wounds. The shooting occurred a short distance from a high school. Nobody has been arrested.
Two more guys in their 20s were shot and killed in Orlando, Florida last Wednesday. Both were young fathers. The shooting took place in a playground near a middle school. Students were coming into the area after school let out. No arrests have been made in this case either.
In Pedro, Ohio last Wednesday, a seven-year-old boy, two guys in their late teens and a 23-year-old were all shot and killed in a single shooting incident. Another victim was found in a nearby house, having been stabbed. That young guy will live. No arrests have been made.
Last week, Ann and I attended an event in support of Homicide Survivors. The Siempre con Nosotros (Always with Us) event honored the work of County Attorney Barbara LaWall and the Kautz Family Foundation for their work on behalf of survivors.
Barbara’s a friend. She has been serving in her post since 1996. This is far from her first award. Each has been well deserved. The Kautz Family Foundation has been supporting HSI for years. The foundation’s giving provides much needed healing for people who have lost loved ones due to homicide.
I share about victims of gun violence in the half-staff section each week. Homicide can come in other forms as well – drunk driving, blunt trauma, or other ways you know of. Homicide Survivors Inc is committed to the principle that survivors will not go through their loss alone. During the evening last week I spoke to three different family members who shared their stories, each suffering terrible losses and each lifted up by HSI. I’m working with some of the folks associated with this event right now on assuring a family I’m connected with will be able to find some closure to their case. We’re all hopeful for a just outcome.
This coming Friday, the UA will host a discussion on the evolution of gun politics. It’s a highly divisive issue and so having it over at the ENR2 building on campus will perhaps set a tone for a balanced and civil exchange.
The panel will be made up of Kristin Goss and Philip Cook from Duke University, David Kopel from Denver Law and the Independence Institute, and Robert Spitzer from SUNY. Each is a long-time contributor to the issue of gun policy in America.
The panel is going to focus on how the debate over gun policy has changed, where it’s headed, and the role academia may play in the discussion. The NRA has successfully lobbied to cut funds for research of gun-related deaths from the Centers for Disease Control but, so if academia can fill that void, I’m all for it.
If you plan on attending, please let Jennifer Carlson know in advance. You can reach her by email at email@example.com. She’s an Assistant Professor in Sociology and Government & Public Policy at the UA. Her focus is on American gun culture, policing and public law enforcement.
Brady Foundation & Bump Stocks
Last year I brought a resolution to M&C in support of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s call for background checks and more stringent controls on the sale of weapons in our cities. We adopted that resolution 7-0.
In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, I’ve joined with Vice Mayor Romero in placing an item on our October 24th agenda to discuss banning the sale, purchase or possession of bump stocks in Tucson. To refresh you, bump stocks are accessories to semi-automatic weapons that effectively turn them into automatics with the capacity to shoot hundreds of rounds of ammunition in a minute. They were used in the Vegas murders.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) has said bump stocks are legal to sell to civilians. They were originally marketed as a way of giving disabled people the ability to easily fire a weapon. As I demonstrated in last week’s newsletter, that’s not at all how they’re being marketed or widely used.
Last week, the Brady Center filed a class action lawsuit against Slide Fire Solutions, the manufacturer of bump stocks. The basis is on misrepresenting the intent of the accessory. The suit is on behalf of all who attended the Vegas concert in which the shooting occurred. The Brady suit is asking for compensation for any treatment needed by the victims as well as punitive damages. They’re correctly trying to hold the people who sell the devices accountable for misrepresenting to the BATF the true use/intent of bump stocks. I shared an advertisement with you last week in which plainly said, “Faster is funner.” The more bullets you can fire quickly, the greater the rush.
It’d be nice if congress acted to ban the devices from civilian use, but I read last week that they’re already backing down from any such action. It’d be okay if the BATF would regulate them as stringently as they do automatic weapons. However, that is still just a conversation; one that if history is prologue will continue until well past the next mass shooting. Even if that regulatory change were made, it’s not as good as a legislative change that would take a subsequent act of congress to undo. So we’ll have our discussion on the 24th and see what the M&C would like to do to weigh in with our policy position on bump stocks.
During the League of Women Voters/YWCA candidate forum last week, I commented on my role in gun safety legislation. It’s not just my role. Each time we have passed a gun safety ordinance or policy at the council level, the vote has been unanimous. That’s our voice speaking in the silence of other governing bodies on this issue. There is a young lady from Pakistan named Malala Yousafzai. She was shot by the Taliban for being a girl and going to school. She once said, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” The M&C will continue to be that voice amid the silence of others, striving for common sense gun rules.
For those who feel compelled to write to me saying they can turn a semi-automatic into an automatic by using a shoestring – very cool. I’m sorry that’s how you organize your creative efforts. Others of us will focus on the serious work needed to craft sensibile gun laws in this city.
DACA, Gun Safety, & Education
If getting involved in advocacy is what you’re looking for in these days running up to our local election, Tuesday the 17th will be a great opportunity for you to begin that step. The topics of immigration, DACA, gun safety and education will each be covered in a “G’Round Table Discussion.”
Speakers on the panel will include immigration attorney Mo Goldman, Meg Pradelt of Gun Violence Prevention Arizona (GVPA), and Robin Hiller of Voices for Education. Mo is chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He’ll touch on immigration generally and the impacts current administration proposals will have on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“Dreamers”) people more specifically. Meg will speak on pending legislation related to gun safety and Robin is an expert in all things public education. She’ll share perspectives on funding, partnerships and how we support our public school system.
San Pedro Chapel is a very cool little place out across from Hill Farm at 5230 E. Ft. Lowell. I expect it to fill up for this event, so you may want to get there early. The mixer runs from 5:15 until 6 p.m. and the G’Round Table goes from 6 until 7:30.
I’m including the GVPA logo in this week’s domestic violence update because of the clear connection between gun violence and fatalities related to domestic violence. Meg (mentioned above in the G’Round Table item) and her group are partnering with Emerge! for a stuff the truck event on October 27th. We’re proud to be working with both groups here out of the Ward 6 office on that day gathering items in support of victims.
Emerge! will be out at Rincon Congregational Church (122 N. Craycroft) all day from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. collecting donations. We’ll be doing the same here at Ward 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The GVPA group will be here with us from 10 a.m. until noon, collecting donations for DV victims as well as sharing information about their work and how it coincides with the work being done at Emerge!.
Stop by with gift cards for groceries or department stores, or bring in new bath and hygiene products (unopened) like shampoos, deoderants, toothpaste, etc. They’re also collecting items such as new underclothes for women, boys and girls, and miscellaneous things such as umbrellas, flip-flops and pillows. GVPA will deliver whatever is donated to the Emerge! folks.
Somebody involved with domestic abuse may never physically injure the victim. Any controlling behavior can be a warning sign. The goal is gaining power over another person and maintaining control. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Check out the Emerge! website all month and learn the signs. If you believe someone you know or love is involved, call them and ask for some help. The Emerge! hotline is 795.4266. It’s on 24 hours daily.
Cell Phone Collection
Another item being gathered in support of DV victims is your used cell phone. The official collection day has passed, but if you have a cell phone you’re not using any longer, bring it to us here at Ward 6 and we’ll pass it along to Emerge!.
Your phone will be cleared of all the personal information such as your contact list you may have left on it. What will remain is a phone that may be used to call 911. It’s a tool for DV victims that you may otherwise simply dispose of. Don’t.
The phones do not need to be in a data plan, nor do they need to be set up for general phone use. It’s the 911 feature Emerge! is after. We’ll be collecting all month. Donating your used phone is a way of protecting the environment and helping a DV victim at the same time.
Another event we’re partnering in is this Saturday’s microchipping. It’s for both dogs and cats who have been immunized for rabies. No Kill Pima County will be at the Ward 6 office from noon until 3 p.m. on the 21st. Joining them here will be Pima Medical Institute veterinary students. Together they’ll administer the microchips. cCst is $10, which will get your pet on the Found Animals Foundation registry for life.
Please make sure dogs are on a leash and cats are in a carrier. This is a really low cost way to ensure you’ll be contacted if your pet is lost and ends up in a shelter, so you can retrieve your lost family member. The No Kill data shows your pet is 20 times more likely to be returned home if microchipped than if not.
Our citizen’s Bond Oversight Commission (BOC) continues to work with TDOT staff to prioritize roads for repair under Prop 101 funding. Now we can add another $7.7M in roads due to the county adopting a property tax change, only a portion of which will reflect a temporary increase in taxes.
Two levels of funding were approved by the Board of Supervisors. One is being offset by reductions in other tax rates and will yield us just over $3.5M in road money. The other comes from a 14 cent increase in property taxes. That’s scheduled to be paid off in three years. It will yield us $4.2M in road money beginning this year. This chart shows how Tucson fares compared to surrounding county jurisdictions:
The BOC received input from TDOT and approved repairs reflecting roads with the worst condition first. That’s not always the recommendation as some of the Prop 409 money went to preservation work that extends life, not gives new life. Chip sealing as compared to a total reconstruction. In the case of these new county property tax dollars, they went for the “worst first” pavement condition model. This map shows the areas that’ll be impacted:
The red squares are what’s proposed for the first year, the yellow for the second year, and the green are some alternates that could be substituted in either of the first two years of the plan. All of this was presented to the Pima County Transportation Advisory Committee last week. We’re waiting now for their feedback.
When the county went forward with their property tax change both Jonathan and I suggested they simply roll those dollars over to our BOC and let us add them to the Prop 101 work that’s already happening with that commission. Instead the county formed their own road advisory committee. That’s where our recommendation is now sitting. I’ll let you know as soon as we hear back as to how the Tucson portion of the property taxes will be spent on our roads.
Another road work item relates to work now being done in both the Palo Verde and Garden District neighborhoods. You may also see some of this coming to your neighborhood over time. It has to do with TEP replacing aging power poles.
During their routine maintenance work, TEP workers identify old poles that may be susceptible to damage during storms. Some of the poles being changed out in Palo Verde and Garden District work have been in place since 1962. I was playing little league baseball in Michigan when they went up. Not that that means they’re old, but just a gentle frame of reference.
Over the course of the next approximately three months, 35 wooden poles will be replaced. You’ll see the work on E. Bellevue running to N. Bryant, then over to Palo Verde and up to Kleindale. The old poles are going to be replaced with steel ones that are a little taller and that have a little greater circumference.
In addition to the pole work, they’re upgrading a major power distribution line. That work will take place in generally the same area, beginning at N. Dodge and E. Seneca, running along Dodge to E. Bellevue. When that phase is done, they’ll move down Bellevue to Country Club. This work will likely result in some temporary lane closures.
Everyone understands and appreciates the need to upgrade the aging equipment. Nobody likes surprises. In the past week I believe we’ve opened some new communication lines between the neighborhood leadership and TEP. I’ll keep you up to speed as I learn about the progress of the work.
Ward 6 Office Disruptions?
Hundreds of people share our Ward 6 meeting room space each week. It’s a community resource I and my staff are committed to preserving. We charge nothing for groups to use the space; the energy costs come from my budget. In an effort to extend those dollars, I requested an energy audit of the building. My goal was to see where we might be able to upgrade the facility and save costs. We got the audit results and we’re moving forward with some changes.
First, this pat-on-the-back for my staff. The executive summary of the audit had this to say:
Ok, but we can save more. To that end, I’ve placed a work request to have several changes made to the building. If you’re a visitor to the site, you may see some of the work going on while you’re here.
One change is simply adding timers to the fans in the restrooms. It’s not a huge deal, but the facilities management folks estimate adding them will save us just under $100 per year. They’ll pay themselves off in three years.
The other changes will bring more substantial energy savings. They’re also the ones you may see the effects of while you’re here.
Both our interior and exterior lighting is old school flourescent or high pressure sodium. They aren’t energy efficient, nor do they emit good light. I’ve OK’d changing both out to LED lights. TEP used to give rebates for these sorts of changes, but due to the excellent payback, they stopped encouraging the shift to LED. We’re doing it anyway. The payback will take about a year and a half for the interior lights, and seven years for those on the exterior of the building. But both are being done in order to make ours a more energy efficient building envelope.
This pie chart shows how our energy costs break down at W6:
When you use the building, please don’t leave lights on when you leave. I often am the last one out at the end of the night and go around turning lights off in the meeting rooms. It’s wasteful.
This chart shows the changes we’re making, each with the cost and the estimated payback in years. I told them not to do the blinds in the break room. I think I can beat the price and we have some plants growing back there that like the indirect sun, so that one’s a balance we’re weighing.
Last week we approved what will be the largest residential annexation in the city’s history when it goes into effect in 30 days. In forums I hear from time to time that we should “fix what we have before bringing in more.” That’s ill-informed and simplistic.
The Swan/Valencia annexation will take in 652 acres that includes a combination of residential, commercial and open space. The area is southeast of Swan and Valencia, between Craycroft and I-10 and the Los Reales Landfill. There are just under 1,400 taxable properties in the area. It will yield to us about $1M annually in new tax revenue.
We do not approve annexations that cost us money. When we consider an area to attract into the city, each department of the city that may be affected weighs in on what that impact will be. That includes our streets staff, parks, police, fire, environmental services – any area that will have to pick up staffing responsibilities as the new area becomes a city responsibility. We weigh the cost of those new obligations with the taxes the annexation will yield. If there’s a net positive, we move forward in gathering signatures from the people who live in the proposed annexation area. It’s not until we have over 50 percent that it comes to M&C for our final consideration.
No annexation is a land grab by the city as has been suggested in some forums. None are net financial losses to the city, as has also been suggested in some forums. The Swan/Valencia annexation is the result of hard work by our economic development team and a unanimous vote by M&C last week. As we have these opportunities, they result in increased local revenues, increased state shared revenues and an increased ability to provide services to the wider community as that economic pie expands.
Local First: Cakes for Causes
I became familiar with Cakes for Causes during last Friday night’s Zoocson out at the Tucson Zoo at Reid Park. In addition to their great menu of goodies, the model they use is well deserving of mention in this week’s Local Tucson item.
Cakes for Causes is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 group made up of bakers, cake decorators and sugar artists of all sorts. They are committed to touching the underserved in our community through “sugar art.” By providing their goodies at events, they allow the organizers of other non-profits to focus on their own missions and goals. It’s a partnership emblematic of how Tucson rolls.
In addition to their outreach, Cakes for Causes has classes on baking. Some of the groups they have reached with their work include Make-a-Wish, Operation Proud to Serve, Hope Women’s Center, the Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter, our pals over at The Loft Cinema and of course Zoocson.
Check them out at www.cakesforcauses.org or call them at 303.7893. If you bake or if your group is made up of people with sweet teeth, try them. Their motto is, “Where sugar art meets the heart.” It could have easily been a Be Kind item.
Himmel Tree Planting
Last Saturday morning, a group of Sam Hughes neighbors joined with Friends of Himmel Parks, Trees for Tucson, the Girl Scouts, our own Alison, and city parks staff to get the Himmel tree-planting project started. The goal is 60 new trees, primarily in the NW quadrant. The trees will be a great amenity to people picnicking in that green space as well as for people jogging and walking along both Tucson Blvd and 1st Street. KVOA reporter Faye DeHoff did a very nice job of promoting the Saturday event. She included this statement of mine in her piece:
"Parks are one of the core services provided by the City. Most importantly, they constitute a significant quality of life enhancement for residents. This Himmel project is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when the City partners with community members, each advocating for the quality of life benefits that will result from the irrigation and landscaping upgrades. The results will last for decades, providing a long term impact of which I am pleased to have been a part."
Saturday was just the start. On Tuesday of this week at 3:30 p.m., we’ll gather at the park and have a celebration of the project. We’ll recognize the financial partners along with the Friends, T4T and our own city parks workers who are bringing this addition at Himmel to life. We’ll meet in that NW quadrant. Drop over and join us in thanking all the community partners who have come together on this project.
Head’s up – if you’re planning on travelling across a border, you may need to update your passport. It’s sometimes a rude surprise when you’re packing to learn yours has lapsed. Take a minute and check – there’s an event coming next week that may be of value to you.
According to the folks at the Western Passport Center, this is the slow season for them. School just started, so I guess that makes sense. Given that, they’re hosting a passport day in Tucson on October 28th. It will run from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. out at their center (7373 E. Rosewood). During the event you can apply for both routine and expedited services. You do not need to make an appointment to come to this event. Just show up with your documents and they will process you.
If you have any questions about what documents are involved, you can check on the State Department website at www.travel.state.gov or call them directly at 877.487.2778.
Council Member, Ward 6
Events & Entertainment
Mission Garden, 946 W Mission Ln | www.tucsonbirthplace.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
Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N Alvernon Way | www.tucsonbotanical.org
Butterfly Magic | Every day, through May, Tucson Botanical Gardens presents a live tropical butterfly exhibit.
Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N Toole Ave | www.tucsonhistoricdepot.org
UA Mineral Museum, 1601 E University Blvd | www.uamineralmuseum.org
Jewish History Museum, 564 S Stone Ave | www.jewishhistorymuseum.org
Fox Theatre, 17 W Congress St | www.FoxTucsonTheatre.org
Hotel Congress, 311 E Congress St | hotelcongress.com
The Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway Blvd | www.loftcinema.com
Rialto Theatre, 318 E Congress St | www.rialtotheatre.com
Arizona State Museum, 1013 E University Blvd | www.statemuseum.arizona.edu
Woven Through Time: American Treasures of Native Basketry & Fiber Art July 17, 2017 - December 5, 2018
Arizona Theater Company, 330 S Scott Ave | www.arizonatheatre.org
The Rogue Theatre, The Historic Y, 300 E University Blvd | www.theroguetheatre.org
Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N Main Ave | www.TucsonMuseumofArt.org
Tucson Convention Center, 260 S Church St | tucsonconventioncenter.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 5:15pm.
Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S 6th Ave | www.childrensmuseumtucson.org