Topics in this issue...
Health and Heat
Climate Change and Tucson
“Pursuit Ready” Hybrid Police Vehicles
United States Climate Alliance
And More Local Work
Tucson Greyhound Park
DM and the F-35
Down in Sierra Vista a 48-year-old guy was out after 1:00 am. He approached another guy and said he thought he might be assaulted. He returned to his car, grabbed his gun, returned, and shot and killed the other man. The victim was 33-years-old. One might ask if he felt he was going to be assaulted and had time to get back to his car, why not just drive away and avoid the confrontation? Sounds like he might have a tough time making his case before the jury.
In Macon, Georgia last week, two guys were burglarizing a woman’s home during the night. She heard them, called out, and they ran from the house. One of the burglars fired a shot over his shoulder while they were scramming from the house, hitting his buddy in the head and killing him. Fortunately, no harm was done to the lady who owned the home.
Another accidental death from gunfire occurred in Palmdale, California. Law enforcement deputies shot and wounded a charging pit bull, but one of the rounds ricocheted and killed a 17-year-old boy who was trying to restrain the dog. The incident is under investigation.
Last week, I spoke to the full house that Our Family Services was training on the topic of sex trafficking. During those remarks, I cross referenced the issue of domestic violence. The connection is that DV victims are at times also victims of trafficking.
I shared another area of overlap. Everytown studied gun violence data and found that on 209 of the first 336 days of 2015, there was a shooting incident in which at least four people were injured. This graph is from that study:
They also looked for other patterns in the data. Between 2009 and their 2015 end date, 57% of the cases they studied involved a victim who was attacked by a current or former intimate partner or a family member. Half of all victims were women.
Those are just data. We’re going to get to more data-backed facts below when I write about climate change. But in the case of gun violence, there’s a tie between domestic violence and fatalities, and there’s a tie between trafficking and domestic violence. It’s all very sad, and it very much points to the need for more attention to be paid to rational gun safety laws at all levels of government.
The June edition of Live Science reported on guns and kids. Their results showed almost 1,300 children in the U.S. die from gunshot wounds annually, and an additional 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds each year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the leading cause of death among children ages 1-17 is unintentional injuries (other than from firearms). Most of those are from motor vehicle crashes or drowning. The second leading cause of death for kids is cancer. Death from gunshot wounds is now the third leading cause of death for kids. Katherine Fowler is a behavioral scientist who works for the CDC. Her research shows “about 19 children a day die or are medically treated in an emergency room for a gunshot wound in the U.S.” Those data are very close to the numbers in the Live Science report. I believe we can do much better than that.
Remember Gun Violence Prevention Arizona’s admonition to ASK – before your kids visit the home of a friend, make sure guns are stored safely.
(And I’ll add on a somewhat related note, I spoke to the Pedestrian Advisory Committee last week on the topic of our ‘hands-free’ ordinance and how I believe it’s relatively worthless as a secondary offense. We don’t know how many of the vehicle-related deaths kids suffer result from distracted driving, but it’s not zero. I’m still hopeful we up our game on that ordinance before the end of the year.)
Health and Heat
If you’re going to be out and about, you should know the signs of heat illness. They include:
c) Dark-colored urine
d) Rapid heartbeat
e) Profuse sweating
g) Muscle cramps
Heat stroke is a step beyond that:
a) Lack of sweat
b) Red, hot, dry skin
c) Fainting and unconsciousness
"Pursuit Ready" Hybrid Police Vehicles
On a related note, we held a study session discussion last week on the topic of climate change. On the day we were inside talking about it, the temps outdoors were 116 degrees. I’m grateful to Dr. Joaquin Ruiz, Dr. Randy Friese, and Dr. Barbara Warren for having carved out time to come and speak to us on this timely and important topic.
In last week’s newsletter I mentioned the possibility of using some of our Prop 101 money to purchasing police “pursuit ready” hybrid vehicles. TPD completed extensive research on those cars for me and offered some helpful insights. To close that loop, I’ll start this section with a quick review of their concerns. They have merit.
First, there are ways we may be able to include some of these vehicles in our purchases, mainly for supervisory roles. One hurdle is cost, but as the market grows, costs will come down. The new vehicles will be ready for large-scale production in about a year. Since they’ll use less fuel, we’ll be able to back some of the up-front costs out of the analysis.
TPD raised some physical concerns. Those include:
a) Battery technology may not be ready for running two consecutive 10 hour shifts
b) Cost for increasing the number of charging stations scattered around town
c) Not enough room in the rear seats to accommodate the gear we need (prisoner screen, molded seats, etc.)
d) Trunk space isn’t adequate
e) Front seat cushions still being adjusted in production to accommodate police equipment (belts, guns and holsters)
f) Large training need for our fleet services mechanics
Those are some challenges. They’re not necessarily insurmountable, but we’ll watch how the rollout goes in other jurisdictions and step into this environmentally preferred fleet as it adapts to some of the issues that have been raised.
When interested parties see an agenda item like the one we had on climate change ready to come before the Mayor and Council, it’s not uncommon to see a brief flurry of informational material come in from them. That was true of TEP this time. According to TEP’s own material, its planned energy mix by 2023 will be 78% fossil fuels and 19% renewables. That needs to be framed against the backdrop of this chart. It’s called a “carbon budget.”
It shows how many gigatons of CO2 we have burned over time. In the first 10 years of this century, we burned about 20% of the amount of CO2 we did in the prior 150 years. The red portion of the graph shows what we have “available” to burn, and also what would push us beyond some of the levels being discussed in the Paris Accord.
To put that into perspective, the voluntary Paris Accord called on nations to do the following:
This chart from Dr. Joaquin’s presentation shows how difficult it will be just to hold the temperature increase to the Paris Accord’s goal:
To have a two-thirds chance of limiting temperature increases to Paris’ number by 2040, we need to reduce emissions rates by 9% per year.
Back to TEP. Its generation mix forecast was based on changes proposed for between now and 2032. That’s not too far away from the 2040 date in the chart shown above, but well beyond 2023, when the first Paris progress report would be due had we not bailed out of it. And recall, TEP plans to rely on 19% renewables for producing energy in 2023.
So the TEP plan is to reduce coal-fired generation from the current level of 69% down to 38% in 2032. That will reduce the company’s water consumption as well. TEP has invested about $165M into renewables since 2010, and plans to add up to 800MW of new resources by 2030. That would be roughly 30% of its generating capacity. So that’s progress, but it needs to be overlaid with the graphs Dr. Ruiz shared.
TEP is a utility, regulated by the state, and responsible for providing power to millions of people and businesses. It needs a diversified portfolio of resources to ensure its ability to meet the demands on the system. But a question remains: can the trajectory of our CO2 production accommodate this pace of change?
To be fair, electricity generation is just one source of CO2. Transportation – getting people out of their cars – is an immense contributor. I remain hopeful that the Project for Public Spaces will inform some creative solutions along the Broadway corridor that save businesses, reduce the asphalt we’re currently planning to lay, and provide for improved transit amenities. Right now, only bus pullouts are in the plans for the corridor. That arguably goes in the wrong direction.
What about water? The single largest cost category for the Central Arizona Project is energy, which it needs to pump water uphill to us. We’ve been doing very well when it comes to reducing our consumption of water, thus reducing our demand on the CAP as a source. In fact, even though our population has increased, we’re using far less water now than we were 10 years ago.
The chart shows we’ve been reducing our water consumption since about 2000. That’s mostly a result of new, efficient fixtures and appliances, encouraged by our water conservation programs through a lot of community outreach and a variety of rebates. Our conservation-focused tiered rate structure has played a big part, too. Beyond that, we’ve adopted a water service policy that directly addresses sprawl and overuse of the commodity.
People sometimes are critical of us for raising water rates despite reduced consumption. This chart was compiled from a study done to show what our consumption would have been without any of the conservation work.
Our daily per capita water demand in 1989 was 188 gallons. By 2015, that figure dropped to about 130 gallons per person per day, although the number of users on the system increase by about 200,000. Had the per capita consumption remained at the same 188 gallon level, you can see from the chart how much more water we’d be using now. Considering the cost of the commodity and the costs for infrastructure to deliver and treat it, customer bills would have been about $133 more per year for the average household than they are now had we not conserved. So, conservation has indeed helped keep costs from increasing more than they otherwise would have.
That’s good – but it’s not good enough. This is still a desert, and we still need to be vigilant about preserving this resource.
I’ve written previously about Governor Ducey’s Governor’s Water Augmentation Council. It’s made up nearly entirely of water consumers. Water conservation advocates are not well represented. In what I hope is the result of work by local and statewide water security groups, on June 15th Ducey brought together another group of representatives of legislative, tribal, development and business leaders to talk about water solutions. His Chief of Staff has indicated the group will focus on the Colorado River and groundwater issues. While I am not at all satisfied with the composition of the group, our water director is among those who have been invited to take part in the discussions. He has some clear water sense and will bring a conservation voice into the discussions. If you would like to help advocate for a more inclusive group, here’s the guy you need to contact:
Tom Buschatzke | Director
Arizona Department of Water Resources
1110 W. Washington Street #310 | Phoenix, AZ 85007
602.771.8426 | email@example.com
For those on fixed or low incomes, you may be eligible for a half off deal on your water bill. These are the guidelines we use to determine eligibility:
Waste diversion is also a climate issue. I’ve shared previously that the city pays an extra free if we turn contaminated recyclables in to the sorting facility. Because of the contamination issue, we’ve had to shut down some of our community recycling centers.
I took this picture while walking past the former Himmel Park Neighborhood Recycling Center (NRC) last week. The dumpster in the photo is private -- not for public recycling or garbage use. If you have recyclables to discard, you can take them to a different NRC, which are now at these locations:
Mansfield Park, 4th Ave, a block south of Grant
The Ward 5 Council office at 4300 S. Park
The Hardesty Center, NW corner of Alvernon and 22nd
Los Reales Landfill at 5300 Los Reales Rd.
Fire Station 15 at 2002 S. Mission Rd.
The Eastside City Hall at 7575 E. Speedway
The Ward 4 Council office at 8123 E. Poinciana Dr.
United States Climate Alliance
Also at last week’s study session, I invited State Representative Randy Friese to come and share how the legislature is responding to Trump’s having pulled us out of the Paris Accord. He and 32 of his colleagues up in the legislature have penned this letter and sent it to Ducey:
By the evening of June 1st, the day Trump announced he’s pulling us out of the Paris Accord, the governors of several states had announced their intentions to stick with the commitments contained in the Accord. From the letter Randy penned, you can see Arizona’s governor wasn’t one of them. By June 5th, that number was up to 13. This chart shows how varied those states are in terms of CO2 emissions per capita – but they’re all in on the deal.
According to a report from the June 3rd Independent (Alexandra Wilts – Majority of Americans in every US state supports Paris climate deal Trump is poised to withdraw from), nearly 70% of Americans support the Accord. We shall see if Ducey joins that chorus.
And More Local Work
Food security plays a role in climate issues –how food is produced (see the water item above) and the impact extreme weather on production are relevant. One local group working on the production piece is Iskashitaa.
Iskashitaa not only helps refugee families find their way while they’re integrating into our city; they’re also working in local food production in ways that benefit not only the refugee community, but also serve as outreach. On Saturday, July 8th, Iskashitaa will be hosting a potluck at the Desert Courtyard Apartments (3837 E. Fairmount). It’s a chance to get introduced to the Iskashitaa staff and volunteers, meet many of the refugee families they’re assisting, and hear some of their stories. And there will of course be food, swimming, sidewalk art, and a lot more.
I raise the event here in the context of food security and how that issue relates to climate change. That’s not only our long term ability to feed the needy, but how we may need to take a new look at our food production processes generally in the face of changing climatic conditions.
The Iskathitaa event will run from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm on the 8th. I hope to see you there.
Another area we can locally impact our carbon footprint is of course how we travel around the city. Earlier, I mentioned my continued hope to see some transit upgrades when the Broadway design is more fully developed. Along with that, though, there’s our Bike Share program.
Our Bike-Ped Guru Ann Chanecka shared with me last week that the city has selected an equipment provider and operator for the program. Shift Transit will operate the system, and the equipment will be provided by PBSC Urban Solutions. They have over 50,000 bikes in similar programs located in 21 cities throughout the nation. Some of those are Chicago, New York and D.C., so they’re not rookies in this.
We’re still focused on rolling out the program later this year. There’s some branding talk going on right now, but the pieces are coming together to have our city-led Bike Share program up and running so yet another option will exist to your hopping in the car to go short distances.
Add Watershed Management Group (WMG) to this list of climate advocates working throughout the region. Last week, I shared information on the neighborhood scale stormwater project grants we will award through Tucson Clean & Beautiful. The WMG folks have a guide they’re offering for free to help not only neighborhoods, but anyone who has an interest in developing green infrastructure projects around their home. Here’s a link to the manual, Green Infrastructure for Desert Communities.
Open it and you’ll find it’s written for us non-professionals in the landscaping world. It’s very user friendly. Lisa and Catlow Shipek over at WMG will be happy to help you design and build your project if you’d like some guidance from people who are invested in this sort of work. You can find them at www.watershedmg.org or by calling 396-3266. The manual centers on neighborhood scale work, and it addresses everything from design of new projects to retrofitting existing work. I know it’s relevant to many of the projects being considered by TC&B because I reviewed several and know they include curb cuts, chicanes, basins in rights of way – each of which the WMG manual addresses.
In the aftermath of last week’s climate study session, I wanted to give a large focus this week on some of what we covered, but mostly give examples of work being done locally and how you can get involved in a variety of different ways – some of which you may not have considered. Also last week I submitted an agenda item request for the evening session on August 8th. Here’s the letter:
We will convene our newly-formed Commission on Climate, Energy and Sustainability hopefully in August. My desire for the public hearing is that we’ll hear more ways we can approach the climate issue from many of you. I’d like answers not just to “what can the government do?” but suggestions for ways we in the community can step up our game and help make a difference. The evening session starts at 5:30 pm, and public hearings last for an hour if there are enough people there to speak. Based on the feedback I’ve already received, I suspect we’ll have plenty of you coming to share your thoughts.
And finally, the Arizona Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility offers a workshop aimed at building resiliency into neighborhoods in the face of extreme heat. It’s a three hour session that touches both your personal health and safety when confronted with brown-outs and other possible heat-related incidents. It focuses on how you connect with your neighbors, check in on one another, and work through the inconveniences (which could be life-threatening) that you would confront. In order to make the workshops valuable, it’s best if a neighborhood or a quadrant from a neighborhood got together and participated as a group. Kick it around with your neighbors and if you’ve got a group that would like to go through the workshop, let me know and I’ll help get you it scheduled.
In the spirit of empowering people to get involved and make change for the positive, I want to thank the folks at Breckenridge Group and Arizona Forward for bringing a well-chosen panel to the Arizona Inn last Thursday for a presentation on just that: change making. Each of the panelists brought a unique set of experiences to the dais, and each is well-connected when it comes to protecting the environment.
Arizona Forward is a statewide group of civic-minded business and community members who come together to seek positive change. It’s largely economically focused, but I would argue there’s no reason economic progress and sensitivity to the environment are mutually exclusive of each other.
The panel consisted of Carolyn Campbell, Keri Sylvin, and Emily Yetman.
Carolyn was a huge factor in the development of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan – now under threat from the Trump administration.
Keri was involved in the formation of Imagine Greater Tucson, the precursor to Plan Tucson which contains development standards throughout that reflect a concern for the environment.
Emily is the director of Living Streets Alliance, our local, home-grown force for building walkability and bikeability into our neighborhoods and streetscapes.
The timing of the Arizona Forward luncheon and having those three ladies on the dais was a perfect conclusion to a week in which climate and empowering us all on the individual level to take charge of some aspect of protecting the planet were the themes. There are so many examples of how you can plug in – choose what suits your interests and abilities. But there’s no reason to sit on the sidelines.
Yup, I just called them ‘ladies.’ No disrespect intended. The title is accurate. But I was surprised to learn just how controversial the change to “Ms.” was – and how recently it occurred. Yes, in my lifetime, but until recent D.C. events I had thought we’d moved past some of these fights that were won and resolved back when I was growing up.
Last week, Dave Dunlap wrote a piece in the New York Times recognizing June 20th, 1986 (within my daughter’s lifetime!) as the day the top editor finally allowed that title to be used in their paper. Previously, it was Miss or Mrs. They felt ‘Ms.’ was a “passing fad.” Here’s their groundbreaking public announcement:
Tucson Greyhound Park
That little greyhound puppy doesn’t need to worry about being forced to ‘perform’ out at Tucson Greyhound Park (TPG), very much due to the work done by animal welfare advocates in the community. It’s another example of finding your niche and working passionately toward a goal.
June 25th, 2016 was the last day of live racing out at TGP. During my work aimed toward getting TGP shut down, I came into contact with local volunteers who were passionate about ensuring the dogs were no longer mistreated. Together we worked with the media, rallied, and kept the issue on the front burner of the public’s mind. And finally the Florida-based owners of the park told the Arizona Racing Commission that they were tired of the negative publicity they were (deservedly) receiving, and they agreed to legislation that ended the cruelty. As with the climate issue, local people empowered by their passion and the correctness of their goal worked and achieved the end of dog racing in this state.
There are plenty of groups you can connect with who are still active in getting pups adopted. There are the familiar ones like Humane Society and PACC, but also groups like Cold Wet Noses, Beading Divas, No Kill Pima County, and plenty more you can Google easily enough. And if kittens are your thing, Hermitage is looking for good homes for their furry group.
It’s great to have TGP shuttered, it’s great to have so many animal advocates in the community, and it’s great to see this further example of just us regular folks getting involved and making a difference – in climate issues, animal issues, or pick you passion.
On the theme of taking care of our four-legged community members – and thinking about the extreme heat we’re experiencing – TPD and PACC recently released this video on animal cruelty, and what you can do if you witness it: http://bit.ly/2sr4nJP.
With all the focus on empowerment and local people doing significant things, the Local Tucson item this week might well be all of the initiatives I’ve listed above. But the folks over at KXCI Community Radio are offering some hands-on opportunities for youth that deserve mentioning.
School’s out and through the KXCI/Tucson Federal Credit Union partnership, kids between the ages of 9 and 17 have a chance to take part in a summer DJ training program. In the program, they’ll get familiarized with broadcast equipment, receive some instruction on how to put music sets together, learn rules of broadcasting, and work on speaking into a mic so as to build confidence in that skill.
These classes have filled up, but KXCI is showcasing the work through some live, on-air broadcasts. There are two more coming – July 16th and July 23rd, both running from noon until 5:00 pm. The classes are held Monday through Thursday for three hours each day in the week leading up to the live broadcast. Cathy Rivers and her staff join the others mentioned in this week’s newsletter as significant contributing members of the community who have found their space and filled it well.
DM and the F-35
Last week I closed with a note about some of the military’s ongoing problems with the rollout of the F-35. The planes were grounded up at Luke AFB while they sorted out issues related to pilots suffering oxygen debt while flying. Well, good news – they believe they’ve fixed that problem.
The day after that was announced, another new problem was discovered with the plane. They’ve now grounded F-35s in Yuma due to malfunctions in the technological backbone of the plane. There’s a system called “Autonomic Logistics Information System” (ALIS) that transmits detailed information about the plane’s mechanical condition to maintenance experts on the ground. It’s not working. So, the planes are grounded.
While this system doesn’t affect the performance of the aircraft and the pilots are not passing out due to some other malfunction, it’s imperative that the ALIS system function well so routine and emergency maintenance can be conducted properly. With a $379B project, nobody wants to chance losing aircraft due to maintenance issues. In the San Diego Union Tribune article that announced the Yuma problems, they quote members of the Pentagon as calling the design of the F-35 “acquisition malpractice.” You can read the full article here.
Council Member, Ward 6
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
Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway Blvd | www.loftcinema.com
Rialto Theatre, 318 E Congress St | www.rialtotheatre.com
Arizona Theater Company, 330 S Scott Ave | www.arizonatheatre.org
The Rogue Theatre, The Historic Y, 300 E University Blvd | www.theroguetheatre.org
Tucson Convention Center, 260 S Church St | tucsonconventioncenter.com
Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S 6th Ave | www.childernsmuseumtucson.org