Topics in this issue...
- Tucson Be Kind
- Concert Across America for gun Safety
- Public Safety Service Operator
- Gun Destruction Policy
- Primary Election
- Equifax Hack
- Central Arizona Project – Arizona Water Bank
- ASAVET Animal Charities
- National Dispose-a-Med Day
- Boards, Committees & Commissions
- Bike Share
- Roadway Intersections
- Local First: DACA
- Events and Entertainment
With the age demographic that we now see growing older, one thing that’s common is seeing kids beginning to take on the role of caregivers for aging parents or friends. I see it in my own family – my bride is an angel to our parents – and I see it in multiple friends’ families.
Taking a loved one shopping, doing some laundry, pulling a few weeds, or just calling to check in are a part of us showing our parents and others that we recognize and appreciate the many sacrifices they made along the way. We didn’t get to where we are on our own. This giving back is a way of sending the message that we get that.
Thanks to all of you who are serving in that role. It’s both demanding, and rewarding.
And in a totally unexpected gesture of kindness (the best kind, right?) these ladies from the Islamic Center of Tucson dropped by and delivered a great edible gift – all as a way of saying ‘thanks’ for supporting them over the years. As you may know, I and my staff have worked closely with the ICT when things have been tough for them, and in organizing events to celebrate good times as well. I look forward to continuing our close relationship – and am grateful for their vey kind expression of thanks.
And kudos to all of you who have stepped up and bought one of these Bear Down for Houston t-shirts. They’re on sale at the A- Store in the south end of McKale. Cost - $10. The proceeds are headed to relief work over in Houston. They will sell out, so if you want one, act quickly
In Detroit last week, a man and a woman, both in their 30’s were found shot to death. The police are still investigating, and no suspects have yet been arrested. Adding to the tragedy, the woman was pregnant.
Every week I have to report on another domestic violence related shooting. This week one occurred in Joshua, Texas. A 32 year old guy fatally shot his 34 year old wife. He then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
And in Jacksonville, Alabama, a 70 year old woman murdered her two daughters. The daughters were 43 and 44 years old. After taking their lives, the ‘mom’ shot and killed herself.
Come to Monterey Court on September 24th in support of the Concert Across America for gun safety. The event will run from 1:30 until late into the evening. They’ve been kind enough to allow me to share some music in the 1:30-2:30 set. I’ll be followed by Joyce Luna and WomanSong – then the Ronstadt family team will finish out the night.
This year we’re joining cities across the country in bringing the song “Nothing More” as the theme. Its theme is that we are how we treat others – I’ll open my 1:30 set with it. It’ll be sung at each event across the country on the 24th. Come and join us as we take part in this national statement.
Monetery Court is located at 505 W. Miracle Mile. They’ve done a great job renovating the space and now have a really customer friendly outdoor event center. I hope to see you there.
We’re in the process of merging our police and fire dispatch operation out at the 911 communications center. A part of that is the on-going effort to staff up the facility. We now have the job announcement (Recruitment #1709-6304-001) posted for Public Safety Service Operator’s.
These are for both emergency and non-emergency operators. In order to help ensure applicants are getting involved with what they anticipate the jobs to be, TPD is hosting an open house to describe the positions. The open house will be held on Wednesday, 9/20 over at the West Side police substation. It’s located at 1310 W. Miracle Mile. The event will run from 6pm until 7pm. If you think you or someone you know would be qualified and interested, this’d be a great opportunity to speak directly to the folks who are doing the hiring.
If you have questions about the jobs, you can contact Lt. Bart Rohr directly at 205.8843. He’s our lead at the Comm Division and is in a great position to answer any questions you’ve got.
The dispatch team deserves a ton of respect. They’re tough and important jobs.
Final TPD Add
And as we near the holidays, TPD is offering tips and information related to the various types of fraud and scams we will start seeing. In some cases, they’re already going on.
I opened with the Be Kind recognition for family caregivers. One of the scams we see is directed at the elderly. Our parents and aging-in-place friends are vulnerable, and the scam artists know it. This website contains tips you can put into place that’ll help reduce that vulnerability. http://bit.ly/2wMorHh
The site contains information on identity theft activities and prevention tips, phone and internet scams we’re seeing, and person-to-person scams. It also has links to information sites you may find valuable.
TPD has a Vulnerable Adult Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit. The detectives who work that unit do so in conjunction with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and AZ Adult Protective Services. Their work includes investigating financial exploitation, but also reports of physical abuse of adults who may not be in a position of protecting themselves. Check out the site if you feel there may be some of that going on in your circle.
For more information on this important section in TPD, you can contact Sgt. Rick Radinsky @ 837.7814. He can walk you through steps you might want to follow if you’ve got a specific issue you’re aware of and are dealing with.
I hope you’re not traumatized by that image. I know some of our neighbors to the north may need therapy after viewing it. I’m trusting that most in Tucson will be just fine though at the thought of a broken gun.
Last Wednesday we voted 4-3 to eliminate our policy of destroying weapons that come into our possession. I know the 4 who voted in favor of stopping the policy only did so to protect our state shared revenues. That’s a $115M chunk we need to fund core services. We other 3 simply wanted to ensure the state legislature, governor, attorney general and state supreme court justices understand that we as a governing body, representing the interests of Tucsonans are in strong disagreement with the court ruling.
I’ve written about the court case, SB1487 and how all of this came about in previous newsletters. Closing the loop on the issue though, I want to share a few thoughts on what it means locally.
If you bring us a weapon you own and that you want to have taken out of circulation, we cannot accommodate your wishes. We must sell it back into circulation through a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL.)
If a gun is used in the commission of a crime and the victim wants us to destroy it, we cannot. We must sell it to an FFL for the purpose of getting it back into circulation.
I organized a gun buy-back in 2012. In that event we gave away Safeway gift cards that had been funded by members of the public – about $10,000 worth of them. In exchange, people were turning in their weapons for the expressed purpose of having them destroyed. We can no longer do that. We must sell them back into circulation.
The state has effectively made us its arms dealer, regardless of what you want done with a weapon you own.
We will not sell guns that are rendered illegal (sawed off shotguns, guns with serial #’s etched off, etc.) And we can retain some of the guns that come into our possession for training purposes within TPD. The ones selected will be decided by the police department.
The court decision was sweeping. It gives the state the ability to challenge pretty much any local police-related policies. In previous newsletters I shared some of the court language – it speaks of ‘policing powers’ as being a matter of state-wide concern. Having more guns on the streets they say makes us safer. That’s their business to determine, not ours any longer.
The claims we will now be able to fix the streets, put new irrigation lines in all the parks and pay our pension debts is simply farcical. We may net about $100K annually through the sale of guns that could have otherwise been destroyed – per the instructions of the owners.
Last Wednesday we voted to confirm the results from the city council primary election. Now the candidates are selected for the November general. It’ll be held on Tuesday, November 7th – but ballots will be mailed out starting on October 11th. You must be registered to vote by October 9th if you want to take part.
In order to be qualified to vote for city council seats in this year’s election, you must have resided in the City since October 8th, 2017, must have registered by October 9th, and will be 18 years of age or older by Novemver 7th. With those criteria, right now the registered voter rolls show these numbers:
This fall, wards 3, 5 and 6 are up for re-election. In ward 5, Richard is running without a challenger. But there will be opponents in both 3 and 6 . Here are the results from those primary elections:
Point of clarification – those ‘write-in’ votes are not for the candidate shown in the frame. So by way of example, I was just short of 5,500 votes. Kudos to Dylan Smith from the Sentinel – he got it right.
The election is now under 8 weeks away. As I stated in the gun destruction section, elections matter. I hope you choose to participate this November. Here’s the roster of who you’ll see on the ballot:
In addition to these candidates, Gary Watson will appear on the ballot as independent candidate for Ward 3.
Over the weekend there was quite a bit of coverage on the potential cybersecurity hacking incident at Equifax. They’re one of the 3 major credit reporting and security agencies in the country. According to media reports, up to 143M people may have had their personal information stolen. And they’ve provided a way for you to check to see if you may have been a victim.
Checking to see if you may have been affected is easy. You can go to https://equifaxsecurity2017.com/ and click on the ‘enroll’ button. Once there they’ll ask you for the last 6 numbers of your social security number and your last name. Within seconds of having entered that information you’ll receive a message indicating whether you may or may not have been hacked. If you were, they’ll set a date for you to relog in and sign up for what’s called their Trusted ID Premier program. It’s their security program, and due to the hacking incident, they’re offering it for free to anybody for a year.
By going through the first step I learened that I may have been hacked. They’ve set a date for me to enroll in the program. I’m debating. Here’s why.
The Washington Post ran a story last week that suggests by enrolling in the Trusted ID program, you may be voiding your right to take part in a class action suit if one is filed over this case. If it hasn’t been already, this is the kind of situation where a class action suit is likely.
The Post story printed this clause from the Equifax terms and conditions page:
AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE ALL DISPUTES BY BINDING INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE SECTION CAREFULLY BECAUSE IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS BY REQUIRING ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES (EXCEPT AS SET FORTH BELOW) AND A WAIVER OF THE ABILITY TO BRING OR PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION, CLASS ARBITRATION, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE ACTION. ARBITRATION PROVIDES A QUICK AND COST EFFECTIVE MECHANISM FOR RESOLVING DISPUTES, BUT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IT ALSO LIMITS YOUR RIGHTS TO DISCOVERY AND APPEAL.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year concluded that ‘arbitration clauses’ like that one are not always in the consumer’s best interests. They’re cheaper for the companies involved, but you limit your own legal options by siging away your rights to take part in a class action. I want to be chairitable to Equifax and assume for now that they’re serious about giving people this free offer, and are doing so without eliminating our ability to participate in a class action later if one is filed. But I’ll also not be signing up for their coverage until that’s made explicitly clear.
Buyer beware – in all things. Even those that appear to be well intentioned.
I say at nearly every candidate event I attend that the two most important issues we deal with at the M&C are our budget, and water security. Last week we addressed two items on our agenda that touch on both, simultaneously.
The Arizona Water Bank was first established back in 1996. It was set up to ensure the state would be able to receive its full CAP allocation every year, storing water for future needs. They have over 2 million acre feet of long term water storage credits accrued.
Long term storage credits (LTSC) are the legal authority to pump a certain amount of groundwater if that water had first been recharged back into the aquifer through some replenishable supply. For us, that ‘replenishable supply’ is our CAP allocation. And as a result of very good water management, we have over 360,000 acre feet of credits built up. That is our water security for the future.
Two more points to this item before I tie them all together. We have the right to purchase 144,000 acre feet of water from the CAP every year. Recently, in an effort to do our part in avoiding a shortage on Lake Mead, we left 26,000 a/f on the Lake. We were tentatively going to do the same thing this year. But this year, because of the wet winter, the need on Mead isn’t as great, so we’re only leaving 21,000 a/f up there. That leaves an $800K hole in our water budget because we’re buying 5,000 acre feet more than we had planned.
Final point – we have an agreement with the Water Bank that allows them to come in and buy some of our accumulated water credits. It’s a 3 year deal. The Bank is exercising their right under that contract this year, so we’ll realize a little over $3M new revenues this year that we had not anticipated. The decision on whether or not to buy our LTSC’s is totally up to the Water Bank, so we don’t budget for it until we get the order.
OK – with that groundwork, we tied those two items together last council meeting – leaving less on Mead/selling to the Water Bank – and used the new money from the Bank to offset our financial needs due to leaving less on the Lake. That will leave about $2M in the water department coffers for some future needs. On Wednesday we decided to let the dust settle on the two deals before making any firm decisions on what to do with the funds.
We have a need to accumulate a capital reserve fund. Right now, if a water main breaks, we have to shift money around from another capital project in order to fund the emergency. A capital reserve would allow us to address the emergencies without sacrificing other work. I believe we also have an interest in flattening out our debt curve. We’re essentially paying the minimum on our credit card – paying it down will help us financially over the long run. And there’s an interest in setting aside some funds to help promote conservation work. All of that’s important – and all can be a part of the conversation when we get to deciding how to allocate the one-time funds we’re receiving through these two water-related items.
I appreciate our water department staff – at all levels – and I appreciate the input we receive from our Citizen’s Water Advisory Council. We’ll be rolling all of their input together and will come up with a game plan, one that will hopefully address the many important needs that exist in the management of our water enterprise.
Many of you know Pat Hubbard from the Humane Society. She was with them for over 25 years until recently taking a leadership position with ASAVET. On September 30th, we’re teaming up with her and hosting a spay/neuter clinic for cats. We’re providing the space – she and the ASAVET Animal Charities are providing the expertise.
Through grant funding provided by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, they’re able to provide free of charge spay/neuter services. On the 30th, if you wish to take advantage of this opportunity, bring your cat by the Ward 6 office between 8 and 9am. The ASAVET folks will have their mobile clinic on site. They’ll check you in, you’ll leave your cat, they’ll perform the services and you come back later in the day to take your furry family member home. It’ll all be wrapped up by about 4pm. Since they’re doing surgery, if you show up after 9am, they won’t be able to take your cat on the 30th.
We have an unmanagable situation with the cat population at all of the shelters, and out in the community. I applaud Pat, the ASAVET organization and Best Friends for their work helping to reduce the quantity of unwanted cats by offering this free service. If you have questions about how the day will work, please give Pat a call directly at 403.6947. You can check out their work on their website at www.asavetcharities.org.
A little further down the road is another event you’ll want to take part in. October 28th is National Dispose-a-Med Day. We’ll have multiple locations around town you can access in order to properly dispose of unwanted medications.
Earlier I wrote about our water supply. Simply put, dumping meds down the toilet or the drain is introducing pollutants into the aquifer. That, along with the added safety piece of getting meds out of circulation so they cannot be abused by kids or others, is why this event is so important.
We’ll have a variety of community partners taking part in this event. In each case they subscribe to these simple principles:
- Don’t flush meds down the toilet or down the drain
- Don’t dispose of meds in the trash
- Take your meds to a local Dispose-a-Med collection site, preferably still in the bottle.
All the medications delivered to a disposal site will be incinerated according to DEA protocols. The temps used are high enough so the pharmaceutical ingredients are decomposed and will not introduce pollutants into the air or water.
We actually have several locations open on a regular basis for this service. The big round-up will take place on the 28th though. Here’s where you can go to get rid of your unwanted drugs:
Police Department Locations:
Sheriff Department Locations:
At our next M&C meeting, we’ll begin having representatives of the BBC’s come and give us an update on the work they’re doing. A friend asked me over the weekend for the background on our adding that to the agenda. Evidently there’s a flurry of misinformation being passed around that this is somehow like coming before the Sanhedran and justifying your existance as a BCC. It’s nothing of the sort.
Last year my office began working with staff and some members of the Tucson Residents for Responsive Government (TRRG) to work out ways we might better reflect on the good work being done by our BCC’s. One idea is to ask them to give us a brief report at council meetings on what they’re up to. The message they bring is not scripted in any way. We just want to hear from the citizens who are serving on these committees, and to voice back to them our gratitutde for that work.
We’ll have 3 BCC’s on the agenda during our evening sessions from now on. They’ll each have 5 minutes to share. It’s not a case of our sitting passing judgement on their value – but a case of giving each of them an opportunity to bring us up to date on their work.
I heard another false rumor over the weekend that some folks were stirring up the idea that we are closing Himmel park and turning it into some sort of mass development. The folks who start these urban myths aren’t helpful. Those like TRRG who are working towards a better rapport between the government and the people are.
My friend Ann Chanecka – our City Bike Share guru – will not be happy about what’s going on over in China with their Bike Share program. This photo is of a mountain of over 10,000 bikes collected by officials over there who were out retrieving misplaced bikes. More to the point, bikes that had been discarded by vandals.
Over in China there are more than 16 million shared bikes on the road. Having been there and witnessed the congestion (and the air pollution) they need them. But the popularity of the program has been accompanied by a rash of bikes being simply abandoned, stolen or discarded all over the place. Vandals hang them from trees, bury them in construction sites, toss them into lakes and rivers – pretty much anything goes. The reason is that they don’t have docking stations associated with their bike share programs. It’s just random – find the bike, leave the bike. And the result is the mountain of bikes you see in the picture.
Rest assured that as we roll out our Tucson Bike Share program, they’ll come with docking stations and you won’t see the urban landscape littered with millions of unwanted bikes.
As Ann and her crew roll out our program later this year, you’ll see them neatly aligned as is shown in the image above. We’ll launch with approximately 30 stations, largely located on and around campus and the streetcar line. Pricing and the logistics of the program are in their final stages.
The Tucson Bike Share program will be funded by a combination of grant money, sponsorships, advertising and user fees. If you’d like to find out more about the program, contact Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give her a call at 837.6691. Or you can surf around their web site at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/bicycle/tucson-bike-share.
This is admittedly not a Ward 6 item – but I thought it was kind of fun, and it’s to poke at our Alison a little. She’s from Seattle, and is therefore somehow responsible for their quirks.
This is a poster being marketed that shows what at first appears to be random symbols, perhaps characters from a foreign alphabet, or depicting yoga principles? In fact, the designs show real roadway intersections that exist in Seattle.
Jessica Lee is the reporter from the Seattle Times who penned the article. The guy who developed the poster did so initially as a kind of joke. Now he’s being inundated with requests for copies. Jessica writes that his apartment has now become the home base for a rather major printing operation.
The creator, Peter Gorman, got the idea out of frustration. He’s a bike rider and as a newcomer to Seattle he was having a tough time finding his way around. So he decided to memorialize some of the wacky intersections that were causing him grief. He shared his designs with some friends, then on line, and now he’s making some serious money from it.
Ok, I could try to tie this one to some crazy Tucson intersections (how about 4th Ave, Congress, Toole, Broadway?) but will resist. Looking at Peter’s poster, I don’t think we’d be able to compete anyway. Thankfully.
Closing with this notice from Congressman Grijalva. It’s my local Tucson item for the week.
You know the president has indicated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is being eliminated in 6 months unless Congress acts to re-establish it. They have until March 5th of next year to come up with something. A part of that program is that applications to participate have to be renewed annually. In order to assist with that renewal process in the midst of the current confused state of the program, Congressman Grijalva is offering assistance. It’s for DACA petitions related to existing, pending, or new applicants.
There are admittedly a lot of moving parts to the program under the current limbo state. DACA recipients whose benefits will expire before next March can still sign up for an extension if they get it done before October 5th.
Council Member, Ward 6
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Join us anywhere on The Loop to kick off El Tour season and encourage use of Tucson's car-free multi-use urban path. Meet up with other bicycling enthusiasts at designated spots throughout The Loop to learn about El Tour and various participating nonprofit organizations. Join a charity team and you can take part in training rides, social events on and off the bike, and sign up to ride in El Tour on November 18, 2017. Come to the post-ride celebration at Union Public House in St. Philip's Plaza and enter to win fabulous prizes.