Steve K's Newsletter 7/17/17

Topics in this issue...

Cincinnati - a 22 year old woman was found dead at the scene of a home invasion. Two gunmen opened fire, wounding 8  people, including 3 children and a pregnant woman who had just done a gender reveal party. The three kids shot are 8, 6  and 2 years old. The gunmen fled and have not been arrested.

In upper New York State, a police officer was shot and killed as he approached a domestic violence call. I’ve written before  about the correlation between DV, guns and fatalities. In this case, the trooper was shot and killed by the husband as he arrived on the scene. The wife was found dead in the driveway with multiple gunshot wounds. A lady friend of the woman was also shot and is being treated for non-life threatening wounds.

Also in Gardendale, Alabama, a guy was shot and killed in a confrontation with police. Earlier in the day he had shot his ex-wife and 2 others in a domestic incident. The ex had gotten a protective order against him due to stalking and harassment. This is yet another example of the fatal results of adding a gun to domestic violence situations.

Each week I write about victims of gun violence, none of whom are recognized by a ½ staff memorial. In each  case there are survivors of the shootings. Family members, close friends, and as in the cases mentioned above,  there are wounded victims. Those survivors have a network to which they can turn through Everytown.

We’ve got shootings in Tucson. Each of them generates survivors. If that’s you, or if you know of people who have  lost loved ones or friends, and who may now benefit from being with other survivors, there’s a local group you can  connect with.

With the help of the Everytown survivor network, survivors have an avenue to share their personal stories and to work for common sense gun safety legislation. Whatever level of involvement individuals want/need, that’s ok. If you’d like to get connected, text the word “SURVIVOR” to 877-877, or you can email survivors@everytown.org. They’ll help you get in touch with our local group.

Remember, a “survivor” is anyone who has lost someone they know or love to gun violence, or someone who was shot and has recovered physically.

TPD Crime Prevention Tips

Each summer we see slight increases in some crimes. Generally these are property crimes, and often crimes of convenience. TPD has some suggestions I’ll pass along to help you avoid being an easy target.

Most residential burglaries take place when doors are unlocked, or when windows are left open or unlocked. Simply locking locks is an easy way you can protect your home and belongings. The same is true of cars being broken into. Thieves will walk along and check doors until they come across one that’s simply unlocked. Another easy way to avoid becoming a victim.

Get good deadbolts – secure sliding glass doors and sliding windows with a simple and cheap dowel rod. Leave lights on both inside and out. While seemingly common sense, we can forget when in a rush; this is just a reminder.

Vacations, or even long weekends away are also times when we need to make the place look lived in. Get your yard work done before you leave so the place looks occupied. Don’t let newspapers pile up in your driveway while you’re gone. And either have a friend pick up your mail, or you can have it kept at the Post Office while you’re away. Our trash service doesn’t know when you’re gone – have someone move your trash dumpsters out to the street and back in on regular pick-up days.

And if you’ve got valuables that have serial numbers, write them down and keep the list in a safe place. Pawn shops are required by ordinance to report to TPD the serial # of any items they receive. If you’ve reported stolen items, along with their serial #’s, you stand a much better chance of recovering them than just going by description alone.

TPD has more suggestions at their on-line site. If you’d like to browse through and refresh yourself on some of these tips, check them out at www.tucsonaz.gov/police/crime-prevention.  It’s an ounce of prevention that could save you a pound of grief.

TPD / Mental Health Support Team

One of the special units we have through TPD is our mental health support group. The goal of these specially trained corps of officers is to reduce the number of incarcerated mentally ill people by intervening and getting them the treatment they need. The MHST unit was first formed in 2014 and is now a key part of the community outreach we do.

We’ve all seen the reports of tragic incidents that may have gone in a different direction had the person involved received proper treatment early on. Our MHST team is both the entry point into the mental health continuum of care, but also can provide transport in some cases. The goal is prevention, treatment and healing.

If you are reporting an incident and you believe there may be some level of mental health intervention needed, tell the 911 operator you want a member of the MHST team to respond. That’s also true if you’re reporting a missing adult who has mental health needs, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. Getting the right officers involved up front can be a lifesaving move.

We will be bringing a MHST unit presentation to Ward 6. I’m hoping to combine it with a De-escalation Presentation. I’ll make sure to publicize it well in the newsletter and through the media. Since many of us have loved ones who are suffering some mentally debilitating condition, this presentation will be an important one for you to take part in. More coming… so stay tuned.

National Night Out

Otherwise known as Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods (GAIN.) Several Ward 6 neighborhoods take part each year. The date for the 2017 GAIN night has been set for Thursday, October 19th. Based on the past, I’m sure many of you will want to organize and participate. To get involved you can contact us here at the Ward office, or contact Kara Curtis at TPD. Her contact information is kara.curtis@tucsonaz.gov, or 837.7428.

Once you get your plans set, please let us know so I can pop over and join you for a while on the 19th.

This week’s Local Tucson item is a three-member team of locals. Combined they’re working on the important issue of animal welfare and the preservation of endangered species.

Last week, Ann Charles and I joined several dozen others at the Reid Park Zoo education center and took part in their presentation on protecting rare species. Arizona Public Media will be airing 3 shows on this topic (Channel 6 @ 9pm on July 18th, 25th and August 1st). They, along with our partners in the Reid Park Zoological Society organized the event last week.

This local item hits home in several ways. First, remember the Trump budget proposal to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That’s AZPM. I value their content and understand all too well the vulnerable position they’re in if that budget measure is adopted. Their collaboration in projects such as you’ll see in these upcoming shows will become compromised.

The local item is also relevant to the work being done in animal conservation at both the Zoo and out at the Desert Museum. Through the work of the zoological society, our Reid Park Zoo accreditation is in some measure tied to our work in animal conservation. Remember that when you consider the 1/10 cent voter initiative you’ll see on the ballot this fall. It will fund capital improvements needed to maintain the zoo’s accreditation and the role they play internationally in animal conservation.

The Desert Museum is a living lab demonstrating the value of preserving desert species. They’re not competitors with the zoo, but partners. It was great to see their director seated on the panel alongside our zoo director, and a videographer from AZPM last week. The work they are doing together, and the work they’re doing independently of one another is an asset to the community.

I could use these Local Tucson spaces each week to highlight a restaurant or other local business, but we have so many broader examples of very local organizations playing very important local, regional and international roles, that it’d be a disservice to limit it that way.

Many thanks to Jason, Nancy and the docents who keep the zoo running and funded. Many thanks to the Desert Museum staff and docents who keep that living lab open and an attraction to tourists as well as locals. And, many thanks to AZPM for the part they play in educating the community in such a broad array of subjects.

Sun Tran Settlement

Last fiscal year we allocated a one-time bonus to city workers that amounted to about $2.6M. It was a bonus that did not affect base rate wages. We also agreed to absorb the cost of health care premium increases. That was $3.4M we covered through our cash carry forward. Even with that, we had done such a good job of controlling costs that we had the ability to budget enough to approximate those benefits for Sun Tran workers.

Last weekend the Teamsters bargaining unit overwhelmingly approved the negotiated package to keep the buses running. The agreement applies to just under 550 employees. It includes the drivers, mechanics, fare box and fleet technicians, parts clerks, fleet service attendants and custodians. Overall the settlement brings all of them into compliance with the new statewide minimum wage requirements.

One issue I’ve heard pretty regularly since having started on the council in 2009 is that transit workers wanted to be treated similarly to city workers. They’re not city employees due to federal rules governing their right to strike. I believe we achieved that “me too” standard with this settlement.

The deal agreed to last week is a three year contract. That’s an important change from the one or two year deals we’ve been living with. It lends stability to the system for an additional year. The value of the package over the 3 years is just under $2.5M, very close to the one-time bonus we gave to city workers. But since there are far fewer workers in the bus bargaining unit, even in the first year they’re being treated at a comparable level to city workers.

In years 2 and 3 we’re projecting based on what we have in mind also for city workers. Bottom line is that everyone came to the table in the spirit of good faith, we had in our budget the ability to negotiate close to what city workers are getting, and with everyone working together we were able to avoid a work stoppage – and lock in a 3 year deal.

As I told both KGUN9 and the Star, the real winner in this is the community. And it’s another in the series of good news stories we’ve been able to deliver throughout the course of the year. More on this to come in the days and weeks ahead.

Sun Tran Management

And on a related note, the management contract with TransDev – the group we’ve had under contract to run the bus system – is expiring. Everything kind of came to an end at about the same time, which is one of the reasons we had a 3rd party negotiator in the room handling the Teamster contract talks. In the case of TransDev, we’ll be making a change while also putting together a Request for Proposals to re-award the contract.

The TransDev agreement ends on August 31st. We also have a contract with Ratp Dev McDonald Transit (RDMT) to run the streetcar system. Their contract ends on December 31st of this year. The plan’s pretty simple.

Under our procurement policies, we can extend RDMT for a year. We can also amend their Sun Link contract to take on the bus system while we put it back out to bid. That’s what we’re doing.

The RDMT management contract will be extended until December 31st, 2018. They’ll run the whole transit system during that time. In the meantime, we’ll be putting together an RFP and sending it out for management services to be awarded on a more long term basis. That RFP should be out near the middle of next year. While there are also conversations happening about new transit management models, this process allows us to keep continuity in managing the complete transit system, while also keeping our options open for re-awarding using the current model of contracting out to a management firm.

On a personal note, I’m grateful to the TransDev management people for the work they’ve invested in this community. They have indicated an interest in reapplying for the consolidated contract when it comes out next year. They’re of course welcome to compete.

Climate Items

You may have seen some of the reporting last week about the rather large chunk of ice that broke off from the Antarctic Peninsula. In one article I read in the NY Times they said it weighs more than a trillion metric tons. It is now one of the largest icebergs ever recorded.

The scientists who are studying the incident aren’t in a position to definitively say it was caused by climate change. But they are comfortable in saying that the 120 mile long crack that ended up in the sheet breaking off had been growing as the temperatures in the region increased. The article saidIn the late 20th century, the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts out from the main body of Antarctica and points toward South America, was one of the fastest-warming places in the world.”  They’ve been watching the crack develop for several years.

This map shows where the break occurred, and how it advanced over time. Even as large as this sheet of ice is, the people studying it don’t believe it will result in significant sea level rise. But they are concerned that similar shelves which are holding back enormous amounts of ice may collapse, the result of which would be rises in sea level of several feet.

On Friday, July 28th over at Catalina United Methodist Church, we’ll be screening An Inconvenient Truth. That is a prelude to the release of An Inconvenient Sequel; Truth to Power. On the 28th I’ll be giving a short intro to the film, a part of which will be to suggest that we all have a role to play in combating warming. Consider last week’s newsletter in which I shared rebates you can receive when you install rainwater harvesting systems, or buy water efficient appliances. And there’s work the city can continue to do – we each have a piece we can play.

The doors will open at 6pm / Catalina United is located on Speedway, just north of Himmel Park.

And here’s the flyer for our climate forum coming on Monday, August 7th.  Remember, this is going to be a participatory event in which you’ll first hear from experts in their respective climate-related fields, and then you get to respond. 

We’ll have the electric industry, homebuilding industry, solar industry and transit all represented on the panel. As we had during the other two forums we’ve held recently at Temple Emanu-El, I expect this to generate a lively exchange.

I hope you can join us in this very important discussion. Doors at the Temple will open at 5:30pm.

And the following night in M&C Chambers at City Hall, I’ve asked for a public hearing on the issue of climate. It’s my hope that through these various meetings we gather a good amount of input which will be a great starting point for our newly re-formed climate and energy commission to take and begin to use in the formation of recommendations. I’ve already talked with my representative on that commission and expressed that my hope is these recommendations come aimed not just at what the government can do, but as ideas we all can take part in in the way we each live our lives.

We each use electricity, live in a structure of some sort, experience the sun, and travel around to and from. Come and hear from the panelists how those areas are ripe for you to explore and make a positive difference in how you impact the climate.

Transit / Broadway

Above I mentioned that how we get around can have a huge impact on climate. That was a piece of the Broadway expansion debates we have had over the course of the past 5 years. M&C voted to move forward with the 6 lane, 125’ wide design. Transit is currently being accommodated by adding some bus pullouts. That’s still an issue of some considerable controversy.

While Broadway is being widened, of course there are impacts to buildings that are in the way of the expansion. We are working with Rio Nuevo to see if there are buildings that may not be severed, but that are still possible full acquisitions Rio might be interested in for the purpose of purchasing and adaptively reusing. So far, none have been selected.

One that I had hoped would be marketable is, the former Madaras Gallary, located at 1535 E. Broadway. It’s being clipped by the new roadway. My hope was that someone – Rio, or another investor – would want to purchase the remnant and use it for a retail operation.

Despite the best efforts of our TDOT and Real Estate people, we have not been able to find a buyer. The 51 year old building is therefore now slated to be demolished, likely in less than 30 days.  They’ve advertised it for redevelopment and did not receive any willing buyers.

It’s a drag to see it go – it’s a drag to see the unnecessary widening. 

Transit / Left-Hand Turns

One impact of the widening is that it’s going to be making it tougher for pedestrians to cross. That’s also true at large intersections throughout the city. And at large intersections, due to the speeds cars travel, the car crashes that occur can sometimes be severe. In an effort to make our driving/walking/biking experiences safer, I raised the idea with TDOT of moving to what are called Protected Left Hand Turn signals. While there’s resistance, we met last week and agreed to identify some intersections and give it a try as a pilot project. We’ll gather data over time to see if the intersections with protected left’s are safer. If so, I’d like to see the pilot program expanded. If not, it was worth the try.

The debate we had was pretty easy to frame. It’s safety vs. moving cars. I was looking at accident data as well as reflecting on observations I make while out on the road. Engineers look at cycle times and how we can synchronize signals in favor of keeping cars rolling along. Differing world views perhaps with legitimate arguments on each side.

If our signals were timed together right now, and if we had common conditions at all of our intersections, I’d be more inclined to resist trying the Protected Left test. But our signals are not sync’d up, we have differing cycle times at intersections throughout the city, synchronization is already compromised by HAWK lights, and the data shows Protected Left’s reduce collisions, with cars, pedestrians and bikes. I believe it’s worth testing to see how the community fares at some of our major intersections and not compromise safety in favor of movement.

There are a variety of traffic signal options we have in place. Some are safer than others.

A common type you see is called “Permissive-Only.” There’s no left turn arrow, only a green ball on the signal. Motorists go when there’s a gap in on-coming traffic.

“Permissive/Protected” left hand turns have both the green ball, and a green arrow. Drivers can turn during the green ball cycle, but there will be on-coming traffic. And there’ll be pedestrians in the crosswalk to keep in mind. When the signal turns to a green arrow, that’s the “Protected” phase during which there is no on-coming traffic.

Then there’s the “Protected-Only.” This is the option I’ve asked to have implemented on a trial basis at some of our major intersections. With the “Protected-Only” left hand turn, you may only turn left when there’s a green arrow. And when you get that arrow, there will be no on-coming traffic, and peds will have already navigated their crossing.

Data from studies throughout the country validate that protected left hand turn intersections result in reductions in accidents. In a study conducted by Li Chen, Cynthia Chen and Reid Ewing, and reported in Accident Analysis and Prevention I found this table. It contains a lot of data, but don’t be put off by that. The conclusions are easy to discern.

They studied before and after conditions in a variety of traffic control situations. For what I’m demonstrating, the data that matters is in the bottom row of each segment. Where you see “CG” that’s just their control group where no special treatments were included in an intersection. The “TG” is the treatment group – intersections in which left hand turn changes were tried. “PP” is protected/permissive, and “PO” is Protected-Only.

They looked at data historically for 5 years, and then studied what happened 2 years after changes in treatment were made. Across every condition, where you have a Protected-Only left hand turn condition, every type of crash is decreased. That’s multiple vehicle crashes, left-turn crashes, rear-end collisions, over-taking collisions, pedestrian crashes, and bicycle crashes.

Engineers love data. The data in the table is, or should be compelling. For left-turn crashes, PO has a 77% reduction in crashes whereas PP has a 17% reduction. And that trend is the same throughout the study.

Adding the PO will reduce the amount of green ‘thru-traffic’ time available during the cycle. That’s the frustration factor our TDOT folks are concerned about. It’s understandable if the only purpose of the road is to move cars. But we have multiple modes of travel going on throughout the city. Safety plays a role in how we manage our streets, too. I think we can balance the two in ways that reduce the number of crashes and fatalities we’ve seen on our roadways.

I appreciate the willingness from our staff to give this a shot. They’ve committed to bringing back in two weeks a list of the intersections at which we’ll try the PO turns. Then it’ll take a little time to change out the signal components. During the time we’re making these decisions and changes, there’ll be some considerable educational outreach to alert drivers, peds and bicyclists where the Protected-Only pilot will take place. Surprises on the roadway are also not a great way to foster safety.

I’ve already reached out to our bike and pedestrian advisory committees and will be asking them to help in getting the word out. With all of us working on this together I believe we’ll have a successful test, hopefully demonstrating what other studies have shown, and ultimately resulting in safer roads in Tucson.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

While I’m on the safe roads theme, mark you calendar for this year’s MADD Walk.

It’s coming September 16th over in Reid Park. It’s timed to coincide with other MADD walk/run events going on in over 60 cities across the country. Our 5K run will start at 7:30am, and the Walk starts at 8:30am. In each case though you need to be on site at least a half hour early to register.

MADD has been around since 1980. Since then their events have been used to both educate the public about the dangers of drunk driving, but also as ways to raise money that’s used to help victims. The “Walk like MADD” event is their main fund-raiser for the year. If you’d like to save $5 on your registration, get it in before August 16th. You can find all the registration information at the MADD website: www.walklikemadd.org/tucson Or contact Rachel Hersh at: Rachel.hersh@madd.org, the local event organizer, to either offer your help as a volunteer, or ask any other question you may have about the event.

It’s a great community event. I hope you can carve out some time to take part. And if the race and cause aren’t enough of a lure, there’s also a post-walk BBQ from 10am until noon. So, lots of reasons to think about joining up.

Prop 409 Work

In November, 2012 you voted to approve funding @ $20M annually for road repairs. Because that funding sunsets this year, last May the voters overwhelmingly approved an extension of that work with Prop 101. Thank you for both votes in support of investing in the community

The Prop 409 money is still being used to complete road repair work around town. Alvernon, between 22nd Street and Speedway is now in the prep-stages for the construction. So throughout August you’ll likely experience some traffic snarls when traveling through this area.

Work will be done during daytime hours, Monday through Friday. The only exception to that will be August 21st through the 25th when milling will be done. That work takes place during the night. If you have concerns during construction you can contact our PM on the job Greg Orsini at 520.837.6617. A good alternative is Mike Graham, our TDOT public information officer; he can be reached at 520.837.6686.

It’s road construction. While it’s being done, it’ll be a hassle. But once we’re through, the improvement will validate the value of the bond money most of us just approved.

Brush & Bulky

You’ve seen these work crews out in your neighborhoods collecting our brush and bulky waste. The B&B program is one of our most popular throughout the city. Our Environmental Services staff, most importantly the guys out in the heat doing the actual work, deserve a ton of thanks for their efforts.

We hire a vendor to send out notices of the upcoming B&B schedule. Last week that vendor didn’t pull off its job, and what’s known as “Area 8” didn’t get adequate notice that B&B was coming. Most of Area 8 is in the neighborhood right around the Ward 6 office, but it also extends south and west of us over into Ward 5.

Because people didn’t have adequate time to get their stuff out on the curb, staff has agreed to a re-do. On July 31st, the ES crews will again hit Area 8, but this time with the right notice. Here’s a map showing who will be served:

If you live in that area, you should be receiving a confirmation letter in the next little while. But please, pass the word around so nobody misses out. We understand that stuff happens – and we at the Ward 6 office are grateful for the willingness of the ES group to step up and provide cover for the flub our vendor created.

Yes, management is reviewing that contract.

 

Sincerely,

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

Events and Entertainment

Summer Safari Night
Friday July 21, From: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E Zoo Ct.
Enjoy summer's cooler evening temperatures at the Reid Park Zoo's themed nights featuring live music, different zookeeper chats, animal encounters, sponsor booths, and wildlife activities. This week’s theme is “Have a Ball - Enrichment for the Animals”. Presented by Tucson Medical Center.  Special Member's Only Package: Covers each Friday Night: $25 Adult; $15 Child.
 
Loft Kids Fest
Every morning 10:00 am from July 22, 2017 through July 30, 2017
The Loft Cinema 3233 E. Speedway Blvd
Let the fun begin! Super summer excitement returns to The Loft Cinema with our ELEVENTH annual Loft Kids Fest! Each morning, children and their parents can experience some of the best family-friendly films of all-time, along with a fabulous animated short before every feature! We’ve also got fun games, hands-on activities, live performances, great giveaways, tons-o-free-popcorn and crazy surprises. And best of all, it’s FREE!
 
Meteor Mania at Kitt Peak: The Delta Aquarids
July 29, 2017 to July 30
Kitt Peak National Observatory,
Travel far away from the city lights to view the Delta Aquarids meteor showers under the pristine dark skies of Kitt Peak National Observatory, weather permitting. Festivities begin late and stretch into the wee hours of the morning as we observe some of Nature’s most spectacular cosmic shows. Learn about meteors, comets, meteor showers, and touch an actual piece of an asteroid. Refreshments will be provided.  Adults and families with children 8 years or above are encouraged to attend. Reservations required.  Dress warm; hats, gloves and layered clothing required. Bring sleeping bags or blankets to lie on the ground if you wish. Lawn chairs are permitted.

Ongoing…

Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N Alvernon Way | www.tucsonbotanical.org
“Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life” Exhibit, October 10, 2016 – August 31, 2017

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 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.TucsonMusuemofArt.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.
Mission Garden, 929 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 520-777-9270.

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