Topics in this issue...
- Tucson Be Kind
- Guns and Domestic Violence
- Water Forum
- Visit Tucson Films
- Smart Growth American & Living Streets Alliance
- Local First: Indie Author Day
- Congress Street Award
- More Events This Weekend
- Voter Registration
- Events & Entertainment
Concert security, local law enforcement, concert attendees, off duty police, citizens – giving blood and rendering aid whereever needed
I captured this image of concert goers using a ped-rail to carry one victim to where she would receive medical help. In addition to the citizens who were just there to enjoy the music, concert t-shirt security, local off-duty law enforcement, off-duty paramedics, people driving by in their trucks, on-duty police going above and beyond – all sorts of people pitched in to save lives or give comfort. In addition, the day after the shooting there were reports of people lined up waiting to give blood. Stories of hospital workers who correctly assumed they’d be needed arrived at their work sites to help out without having to be called in.
I know some of our own January 8th victims immediately flew to Vegas and provided counseling to groups over there who will now have to manage the ongoing needs of their own victims. To be clear, included in that word are family members who must carry on in the aftermath as well as those who are suffering from gunshot wounds. I’ve mentioned our local survivors assistance group in previous newsletters. Contact me if you’d like to be connected.
None of the people who are listed here would call themselves a hero. Don’t you think the girl laying on the ped-rail would disagree? I did a song at the Concert Across America last week called Nothing More. One line in it says heroes are people who look like you. We saw them all over Vegas last week.
This week’s half-staff remembrance is for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
1. Steve Berger
2. Michelle Vo
3. Jenny Parks
4. Christopher Roybal
5. Adrian Murfitt
6. Rachael Parker
7. Sonny Melton
8. Angela Gomez
9. Lisa Romero
10. Jordan McIldoon
11. Jennifer Topaz Irvine
12. Bailey Schweitzer
13. Susan Smith
14. Sandy Casey
15. Denise Burditus
16. Neysa Tonks
17. Charleston Hartfield
18. Austin Davis
19. Thomas Day Jr.
20. Cameron Robinson
21. Carrie Barnette
22. Rhonda LeRocque
23. John Phippen
24. Bill Wolfe Jr.
25. Kurt Von Tillow
26. Heather Alvarado
27. Hannah Ahlers
28. Jessica Klymchuk
29. Calla Medig
30. Tara Roe Smith
31. Stacee Etcheber
32. Jordyn Rivera
33. Quinton Robbins
34. Dana Gardner
35. Dorene Anderson
36. Jack Beaton
37. Melissa Ramirez
38. Kelsey Brianne Meadows
39. Laura Shipp
40. Keri Lynn Galvan
41. Carrie Parsons
42. Michael Anderson
43. Brennan Stewart
44. Carly Kreibaum
45. Rocio Guillen
46. Lisa Patterson
47. Lt. Derrick "Bo" Taylor
48. Andrea Castilla
49. Nicol Kimura
50. Christiana Duarte
51. Denise Cohen
52. Erick Silva
53. Chris Hazencomb
54. Victor Link
55. Patricia Mestas
56. Brian Fraser
57. Candice Bowers
58. Brett Schwanbeck
Over 500 others were shot, so that list may grow as they succumb to their wounds. There is a story along with families and friends behind each of those names.
As I was running this morning and thinking about the incident and the whole issue of gun control, I was reminded that there’s a push in Congress to allow the wide sale of silencers on weapons. It’s being pushed as a way to protect the hearing of the person shooting the weapon. You’ve likely seen video of the Vegas shooting. One clear reason more people weren’t killed is because people heard the gunshot. The band stopped playing and cleared the stage. Law enforcement tracked the location of the firing partially based on sound. So sorry about the hearing of the shooters, but silencing the gunshots will make the public less safe and will remove a tool now available to law enforcement during mass shooting incidents. If you agree, let your congressional representatives know how you feel.
The shooting was lethal to the extent that it was for multiple reasons. One is the guy was far removed from his victims. They could hear the shots being fired and see the carnage, but he wasn’t within the crowd as has been the case with other mass shootings. This image demonstrates that point.
The principal reason the guy was able to take so many lives is the way he had his weapons tricked-out. By now you’re probably familiar with the way he had altered the function of the semi-automatic weapons he was firing. The accessory he attached is called a “bump stock.” I’m sure I’m not alone in not imagining such a thing existed before learning about them last week. I’m told they were developed to help disabled people fire their guns. I’m reading though that since the shooting, sales of the things have escalated. One has to assume there isn’t a rush on the market by people with disabilities unable to pull the trigger on their own.
Vice Mayor Romero and I spoke early last week and without hesitation agreed the Tucson City Council should discuss taking a legal position on the sale, purchase or possession of bump stocks within the city. Together we crafted this study session agenda request letter. It has been submitted and we will have this discusson on October 24th:
DATE: October 4, 2017
TO: Mr. Roger Randolph
FROM: Council Member Kozachik, Ward 6
Vice Mayor Romero, Ward 1
SUBJECT: Ban of Products that Render Simi-Automatic Weapons Capable of Automatic Fire
We request this item be agendized for the October 24thth Study Session:
Please set aside 20 minutes for a discussion regarding the City of Tucson banning the purchase, sale or possession of bump stocks or products which create the same effect; rendering a semi-automatic weapon one in which the shooter only needs to pull the trigger a single time in order to discharge multiple rounds of ammunition. We will be asking for the maximum penalty allowed us under our local governing authority.
Automatic weapons are heavily regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. That's appropriate as the carnage of which they're capable is deserving of strict Federal regulation. Automatic weapons have no legitimate civilian application.
Bump Stocks are products affixed to semi-automatic weapons, the purpose of which is to give them the ability to operate as an automatic weapon. With a single pull of the trigger, multiple rounds are fired. We recently witnessed the effects with the Las Vegas murder of nearly 60 people, and the injury of over 500.
Regina and I are committed to showing the state and feds what leadership looks like, yet again. We’re weary of the carnage and inaction at all other levels of government. We were recently made to be the state’s arms dealer because we had a policy in place through which we disposed of weapons you asked to have taken out of circulation. Undeterred, we will now act to ban the sale, purchase or possession of bump stocks in the City of Tucson.
In order to give you a better visual of what we’re talking about, I pulled this graphic from USA Today:
This photo is from the Associated Press. Note in the subtext they say the “bump” makes the attachment different from a fully automatic machine gun. One might argue that the effect is the same and therefore the claim is a distinction without a difference.
This is a quote from a 2011 article that appeared in Shooting Times:
The capabilities offered by the Slide Fire system are going to be compared to full automatic fire, and it’s easy to see why, but very importantly, this is not a full auto system! Slide Fire Solutions went directly to the BATF during development and got the system inspected and approved as legal for civilian ownership. All it does is enhance the shooter’s ability to trip the trigger faster—much faster. And as we all know, the faster the funner.
“The faster the funner.” That’s twisted.
We just lost a legal case in which the Arizona State Supreme Court determined that our policy of destroying guns was pre-empted by state law. They used this statute to come to that unfortunate conclusion:
A. Except as provided in subsection G of this section, a political subdivision of this state shall not enact any ordinance, rule or tax relating to the transportation, possession, carrying, sale, transfer, purchase, acquisition, gift, devise, storage, licensing, registration, discharge or use of firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components or related accessories in this state.
It is from ARS 13.3108 – the broad pre-emption law they use to stop local jurisdictions from passing local ordinances related to weapons. Note the word “accessories.” That’s what some legislator may decide to challenge us on; a legislator who feels bump stocks should not be banned. We shall see if such a champion exists.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) strictly regulates the sale and use of automatic weapons. A bump stock is simply a way to bypass the clear intent of federal laws related to that kind of gun. As noted above, it affixes to the stock of a semi-automatic and transforms that weapon into one capable of firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition with the single pull of the trigger. That’s an automatic weapon. ARS 13.3108 relates to guns and accessories that are legal to use. An accessory whose only purpose is to circumvent the law deserves to be considered under a different set of standards.
Since the Vegas shooting, the sale of bump stocks has increased. So has the conversation about “regulating” their sale. The feds are talking about passing a law. The NRA wants the BATF to alter some of their policies. The majority at the Arizona State Legislature are silent. NRA representatives addressed my proposal to ban the sale, purchase or possession of bump stocks at a Conservative Political Action Caucus (CPAC) meeting last week. The concern is not in the carnage created by the things, but the fact that a city would show them what leadership looks like and propose acting, rather than just talking. One guy said I’m attacking their “culture.”
The reality is that the NRA doesn’t want congress to pass a law that restricts anything having to do with guns. Instead, they’re hoping to stall until the BATF makes some regulatory changes so as not to “set a precedent” that would force them to publicly support any gun safety laws. Both the NRA and the congress members they have cowed into submission have been playing the same game for years. And the carnage continues.
I was at a campaign event the night after the shooting while a vigil was held at Himmel Park. I arrived a bit late, but earlier in the ceremony they read this statement I had sent to the organizers earlier in the day:
In Arizona, it is perfectly legal to sell guns out of the trunk of your car, cash and carry, no questions asked. Our legislature just forced us (the City of Tucson) to participate in being their arms dealer. We must now sell guns turned into us back into circulation, regardless of the wishes of the owner. We must have a change in leadership at the state level if this madness is going to change. Until then, we on the city council will continue advocating for some sanity.
Acting on that statement, Regina and I are not only advocating, we have the bump stock item now on our agenda for discussion. The feds are talking about regulating bump stocks. Crickets coming from Phoenix. We waited after 20 little kids were gunned down in Newtown. We waited after the massacre of 49 people in the Pulse nightclub. Same nonresponse after Aurora, Columbine, San Bernardino, our own January 8th, and on and on. More coming on this in the weeks ahead.
Guns and Domestic Violence
In Arizona in 2016, over three quarters of the domestic violence related deaths resulted from the use of a firearm. The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence keeps the data. This link shows the fatality reports. It is very likely understating the percentages due to the inability of law enforcement to always accurately tie DV to a homicide.
My friends at Gun Violence Prevention Arizona shared some more data with me last week. The rate of DV gun violence in Arizona is 45 percent above the national average. One in seven of the killers was a prohibited possessor of firearms due to their criminal history or an active order of protection. The folks at the legislature can cry foul about us taking action on our own, but clearly their ideological lens is blurring their ability to enact sensible gun laws.
Beyond guns, barriers to leaving often characterize DV relationships. Those can be financial constraints, guilt, isolation, immigration status or many others. The most prevalent is the fear of physical retaliation. I’m working with a family to bring justice in a situation where that fear ultimately turned fatal.
Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse can provide support services to victims and survivors of DV. They’re all hands on deck to help. If you are one, or know of a person who could benefit from such assistance, call Emerge! at 795.4266. That’s their 24-hour hotline.
In Arizona there’s a DV-related homicide every three and a half days. The Emerge! case management is a vital resource. The senseless inaction by the legislature on gun related issues needs to be addressed.
Well, that was dreary. How about pivoting to water security? It’s a fundamentally important topic for us who live in a drought stricken desert.
The Southern Arizona Water Users Association (SAWUA) is a group made up of some pretty water savvy people. The 15 members represent some of the largest municipal and commercial water users and providers in Southern Arizona. They meet periodically for the purpose of framing a unified water voice from our part of the state. There is no such thing as a “unified water voice,” but the goal of the group is worth supporting. On Friday, October 20th they’re hosting an informational forum downtown at the Hotel Tucson City Center.
On their panel will be a senior researcher from the Kyl Center for Water Policy, Rhett Larson, Tom Buschatzke, Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, ACC commissioner Andy Tobin and Sharon Medgal. She’s the Director of the UA Water Resources Research Center.
The title of the forum is “Current Arizona Water Issues.” I write about many of them in these newsletters. This is an opportunity for you to go and hear directly from the folks who are involved in framing our water policy. It’d be great to have the room filled with the conservation-minded groups who are not currently represented on SAWUA, or on the several governor’s water committees and commissions that are meeting to craft our way forward with respect to water security.
The event will run from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. on the 20th. Even though it’s free, they want people to RSVP before the 13th so they have a head count and know when to cut off attendees. If you’re interested, please let Yesenia Dhott know by the end of the day this Friday. You can call her at 602.277.0911, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a Phoenix contact, but the event is here in Tucson.
Visit Tucson Films
If you’re a reality TV fan, you may soon see a series that’s based on the life of an eccentric merchant that was filmed from our very own 4th Avenue. What may be called Robby’s World (the producers are still deciding) recently finished a six week shoot that took place here in Tucson. During that time they booked over 800 room nights and left over $700K behind in our local economy. At every chance I get during the campaign circuit I speak about supporting the resurgence of the local film industry. The work being done at Visit Tucson’s film office is key to that and Robby’s World is one recent example.
A couple more examples of film wins we had include the news site Vice News. They’ve been here filming twice since the start of summer, most recently for a six day shoot that included a local spend of $45K. They stayed at Phil Lipman’s Downtown Clifton – a newly remodeled boutique hotel over on Stone. In addition, we just finished the Tucson Film & Music Festival and the Second Annual Film Fest Tucson is coming from October 19th through the 22nd. That’ll be hosted by the Scottish Rite Cathedral at 160 S. Scott. It’s a collaboration with TENWEST and the Tucson Desert Angels. A mixer is scheduled for the 19th and the films begin on the 20th. Check them out at www.filmfesttucson.com for schedules and shows. This is a combined production using the talents of Shelli Hall from Visit Tucson and Herb Stratford who pulled the event booking and scheduling together.
One final add for films. Last year the Visit Tucson film office was responsible for brining in the TV series Run Coyote Run. It was shown in Mexico and used Tucson regional locations during the production. They’re back for the second season. The producers are based out of LA and are coming to look over location options for this season. Great work by Shelli and the crew over at Visit Tucson keeping us on the film map.
Smart Growth America &Living Streets Alliance
The recent “Complete Streets” conference hosted by Living Streets Alliance was encouraging. City staffers from across the spectrum of departments were present, taking in the notion that designing our streets in a comprehensive manner that addresses not just auto traffic makes sense from multiple perspectives. The discussion we’re having about the design of Broadway is a timely one.
The day-long conference was led by a group called Smart Growth America.
The idea is to shift road design from a standard, project-by-project effort solely to move cars, to a policy re-orientation in which each road project involves an array of additional considerations. Those internal policies will be the focus as LSA leads the effort to put together a set of guidelines we may consider for how we approach future projects. The work in framing the policy manual will include city staff as well as outside community members.
Data provided at the conference indicated that transportation is the second largest household expense item for families. In low-income households that figure can reach north of half their disposable income. How we design our transportation network is therefore a significant issue for families across the region.
The policies will touch on ADA obligations, as well as the multi-modal considerations we heard over and over during Broadway citizen task force and public open house meetings. The change in perspective will have health benefits, increase safety on the roads and create destinations that drive positive economic development.
Right now Rio Nuevo is working with Project for Public Spaces (PPS) to look at place-making design options for the Sunshine Mile of Broadway. When that draft is completed, we’ll be able to compare it to the complete streets policy guidelines to see how they align with one another. Then working on funding, and whether the RTA/PAG will agree to use of the Broadway allocation in ways that match the PPS design proposal.
RTA will soon need to be reauthorized. If voters are asking for new design factors to be a part of how we remodel streets and adjoining businesses, it’d be wise for the folks who will be crafting the reauthorization criteria to include much of what the public is asking for. I believe they realize simply continuing in the same mode will be a tough sell.
Local First: Indie Author Day
This local Tucson item is a little different than most others I’ve used. It’s a book reading and signing by local authors. It’ll be held at Rae’s Place Downtown Market – 25 N. Stone.
Saturday, October 14th is “Indie Author Day.” The signing party will take place the day before on October 13th from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The readings will be from a newly released storybook by Tucson author Hey Pedro and Tucson illustrator Jo Kharmanica. So this’ll be local art, local writing and a local market all rolled into one.
Add local radio to that. From noon until 1 p.m., KTDT Downtown Radio will be doing a live remote from the market.You can find them at 99.1 FM. Ten percent of all the book sales will go to support the radio station.
Book signings don’t generally take place at a market. In this case though we’re celebrating multiple layers of supporting local talent. It’d be great if you could pop in during the event to encourage them to continue this sort of thing.
Congress Street Award
You’ve seen that image hanging in my office and you’ve seen it each time you head downtown. Congress St. has been around since territorial days. In the past eight years we’ve made significant progress in giving it a facelift. Now, the American Planning Association has named it one of the “5 Great Streets in America.”
The criteria they use are similar to what we’re hoping to see along the Sunshine Mile. A sense of place, destinations, respect of culture and history. A variety of reasons to visit, each telling a part of the story of the area.
Coming up on October 14th, carve out some time to take a walking tour of downtown Congress Street during the next 2nd Saturdays. If you haven’t been for a while, you’ll be surprised at how much vibrancy it exudes. I join city staff, the downtown merchants and those who have brought new investment into the area in being proud of this designation. It’s a community award. It’d be great to share it with you on the 14th.
Also on the 14th, the Historic Train Museum will be hosting their outdoor screening of family friendly Shrek at 6 p.m. It’s free and there are kid-friendly activities before and after the film. The museum is located at 414 N. Toole. Check them out at www.tucsonhistoricdepot.org.
For more downtown fun that same weekend check out this year’s Tucson Meet Yourself. That event runs from Friday the 13th through Sunday the 15th. Vanessa Barchfield just ran a very nice piece on it on Metro Week (Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on Ch. 6 PBS). Check it out if you aren’t familiar with TMY. It’s a celebration of our cultural diversity that includes food, music and crafts. They’ll be set up in El Presido Plaza all weekend. It’s a self-paced party so plan on just hanging out and mingling the 2nd Saturday events all throughout the area that evening.
Here’s more for you to do this week. It’s Tucson Modernism Week through Sunday the 15th. There are events scheduled all week. Go to www.tucsonmod.com for the whole schedule including an array of lectures, tours and exhibits. Each explore post-WWII design in Tucson neighborhoods and businesses. The whole week of activities is put together by the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation. They’re now located along the Sunshine Mile in the former Hirsh’s Shoe Store, next to Broadway Village.
Also on Friday this week is the annual Zoo support event, Zoocson. They’ve got all sorts of entertainment, activities, food, drink – the works. The event will run from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the zoo. Included are 20 local restaurants, specialty cocktails, entertaiment by Jovert, auction items and mystery bags. You can reserve your credentials by calling 881.4753. It’ll be a nice cool evening to stroll through the zoo grounds with hundreds of other zoo supporters. I’ll be there with my bride. I hope to see you.
Mingling with Tucson Meet Yourself this coming Sunday will be the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation annual AIDS Walk. The event will begin at Jacome Plaza downtown at 8 a.m. This is the fundraiser for care and prevention services for people with AIDS. This event is pet friendly, so register ahead through the SAAF website at www.aidswalktucson.saaf.org.
And finally, this.
Sunday evening out at the Viscount Suites (4855 E. Broadway) the E. Pima Baha’I Assembly will host a film called “Light to the World.” There’s a dinner as well as a pre-show program. I’m pleased to be included in that program.
The Baha’i have been involved with many of the interfaith gatherings I’ve helped to coordinate. It’s nice simply to be an invitee to this one – celebrating Light of Unity. That’s a message of particular importance during these days of otherwise divisiveness.
If you’d like to join us you can call Baha’i Tucson at 838.1293, or go to their website at www.tucsonbahai.com. Onsite registration will begin at 4:30 out at the Viscount.
Not quite as entertaining, but still important is the mailing this week of the November election ballots. You should receive yours by the end of the week or over the weekend. If you don’t, call the Pima County Recorder’s office at 724.4330. You can also use that number to register to vote. The deadline to register is today (October 9th) so if you want to have a voice in this year’s city council election or a voice in the ballot propositions (salary of Mayor & Council, zoo funding, and pre-K) or some school district bond elections, you need to get on the horn to the recorder folks.
We have several copies of T”he Choice is Yours” – the voter guide – here at the Ward 6 office. Come by and snag one. On Wednesday starting at 6 p.m., the League of Women Voters, along with the YWCA will host the final council candidate forum. It’ll be held out at the Y, 525 N. Bonita. Come and hear what we have to say about what will likely be a wide variety of topics. The League and the Y always put on a well run forum.
I mentioned Vanessa Barchfield’s Metro Week earlier. Tune it in this coming Friday (PBS, Ch. 6 at 6:30 p.m.). She interviewed all of the council candidates, the two Ward 3 guys and us three Ward 6 guys. She’ll also be speaking about some of the propositions on the ballot. The show is a tool you can use to become a more well-informed voter.
Council Member, Ward 6
Events & Entertainment