Karin's Note: Friday, March 7, 2014
-Ward 3 Events
-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)
-Did You Know?
At our Mayor/Council meeting this week we received more information from the management team on FY2015 budget projections. A recent legal settlement will help us cover $5M in one-time costs (some of which were factored into the original $33M shortfall predicted). In addition our work on transit funding and efficiencies could leverage $3-4M, particularly if the Regional Transportation Authority fulfills its commitment of $2M/year toward streetcar operations.
Every one of us has been offering strategies to help close the gap while sustaining and improving services to our community. For example Councilmember Fimbres has led the way to generate new revenues through “Pcard” purchase rebates (now $500K annually) and explore potentials for pulling car impounds in-house (other jurisdictions such as Pima County collect over $1M by handling this function directly). Councilmember Kozachik has zeroed in on the fact that the $33M gap includes money (millions of dollars) budgeted every year yet not spent (e.g. $20M in outside contracts that may or may not be appropriate to keep in the budget). And I and others continue to dig into specific areas of the budget that could be trimmed through reorganization. Both TPD and Parks and Recreation, for example, will undergo some revamping to cut costs in top and middle management, thanks to strong leadership from our City Manager and the Executive Team.
The Manager will be presenting his formal budget recommendations at our meeting on March 18. I am confident that all of our combined efforts will once again lead us to a balanced and responsible budget that bolsters service as well as economic recovery in our city.
Impact on Animal Welfare
While Mayor and Council voted to allow dialogue to proceed on an (anti) Puppy Mill Ordinance, some legitimate concerns have been raised about the proposal in front of us. The two goals underlying the proposal are widely supported: 1) reduce the market for puppies bred by abusive “puppy mills” and 2) reduce the numbers of dogs euthanized rather than adopted through area animal shelters. Two of the key questions at hand are: 1) would the proposal on the table, if enacted by the City of Tucson, have an effect on either goal? And 2) are there better ways to make progress so we don’t pass a symbolic measure versus more impactful measures?
It’s not easy for any of us to accept that the state trumps City authority in some areas. Animal welfare statutes may limit the ability of Pima County to join us in action on this particular concern over puppy mills, and we’ve already learned that Tucson-only actions can be circumvented by simply jumping jurisdictional boundaries. I made it clear at the table that I will be looking closely at any final proposal brought forward through the staff/stakeholder process to be sure we’re focusing on achieving our goals. If we were to pass something that feels good but accomplishes little, I think we’d be missing the chance to actually assert our community’s wishes effectively. I’ll close on this by saying that, while it can be challenging, I believe it is incumbent on Mayor/Council to accept and explain the actual limitations of our authority and help guide the community toward greatest impact. I hope this dialogue on puppy mills can help us better understand our local power on the issue of animal welfare and also help us learn to harness our community’s advocacy where it will matter the most.
César Chávez Holiday
When we can take action to directly implement the values and will of our community, we do. Overwhelming support was expressed to me for the establishment of a City holiday honoring the life and legacy of César Chávez. Mayor and Council’s unanimous vote to do so beginning in 2015 reinforces our hard work to set Tucson apart from the unfortunate reputation Arizona has as an anti-Latino state. Our work matters to the local economy and our shared quality of life. It’s yet another way to celebrate Tucson’s legacy of embracing diversity and leveraging the strengths derived from that diversity. Phoenix and other cities have adopted the Chávez holiday and continue to observe more local government holidays than Tucson does. I view that vote as a chance to honor a great labor and civil rights leader with strong ties to Tucson, and a chance to remind the world yet again that Tucson thrives as a border community where people with roots from around the world can proudly call home.
The next meeting of Mayor and Council will be on Tuesday, March 18. At that meeting we will continue work on the 2015 budget, review our anti-graffiti program, discuss a possible process for referring Charter change proposals to City voters, review our Medical Marijuana ordinance, and more. Please continue to share your views with me as we work together to build the best possible future for Tucson.
Ward 3 Events:
-Free Tax Help – The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program once again opened at the Ward 3 Council Office (in the Community Room) at 1510 E. Grant Road. Volunteers will be at this location each Tuesday through April 8 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and on Saturdays through April 12 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will prepare tax returns free of charge to eligible low-income families and individuals. No appointment necessary, clients are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Those wishing to receive assistance must bring a picture I.D. and original Social Security card for each family member, proof of income, including W2 and 1099 forms, documentation of deductible expenses, prior year tax return if possible, and account routing numbers for those wanting to have direct deposit of refunds.
-Doolen Meet Yourself – Wednesday, March 12 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Doolen Middle School, 2400 N. Country Club Road. Celebrating cultures and honoring Lydia Peera, teacher and community organizer. Join in the celebration of food, performances and more. Bring a dish from your culture or another culture. If you don’t cook, please consider donating fruit, beverages or a dessert. More info: Brianda.Torres-Traylor@tucsonaz.gov
-Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance – Wednesday, March 19 from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. Mayor Rothschild as requested the opportunity to talk to residents of Ward 3 neighborhoods. Bring your questions and your expectations! For further information, contact Ron Spark, who handles neighborhood outreach for Mayor Rothschild at 664-6062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Donna Liggins Recreation Center Open House – Friday, April 11 from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Come and meet the new park supervisor AJ Rico and her staff. Take a tour of the facility, learn about enhanced programs for youth and seniors, including open volleyball with a demonstration of UA women’s volleyball players. A volleyball skills competition will take place from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. for ages 7 - adult where participants can show off their skills. Prizes in each category will be awarded. Other activities include a “Walk through Time” neighborhood display of historical articles and pictures of the El Cortez and Sugar Hill neighborhoods, Mansfield Park and Donna Liggins Center. Activities for children to participate in will be available as well as light snacks and drinks.
Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s):
-Mountain/1st NA – Saturday, March 8 at 9:00 a.m. Mitchell Park, 1060 E. Mitchell
-The Oracle Project Steering Committee (TOPS) – Tuesday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m. TPD Westside substation, 1310 W. Miracle Mile
-Alvernon/Grant Initiative (AGI/TNBC) – Tuesday, March 11 at 6:00 p.m. Emerge! 2425 N. Haskell
-Campus Community Relations Committee (CCRC) – Tuesday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. U of A Student Union
-Cabrini NA – Tuesday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m. City Vineyard Church, 3450 E. Ft. Lowell
-Samos NA – Tuesday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. Salpointe High School, 1545 E. Copper
-Flowing Wells NA – Thursday, March 20 at 6:00 p.m. Ellie Town Community Center, 1670 W. Ruthrauff Road
-3rd Annual Pima Council on Aging “Ages ‘n Stages” Expo – Saturday, March 8 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Casino Del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85757. This free event is for all seniors seeking ways to live fuller, happier lives. There will be entertainment, seminars, exhibits and demonstrations. More info: http://bit.ly/1jAGCCV
- 2nd Saturday Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Event- Saturday March 8th from 8 a.m. to Noon at Himmel Park at 1000 N. Tucson Blvd. Accepted materials include: Automotive fluids, auto and rechargeable batteries from electronics equipment, toxic cleaning products, fluorescent lamps, paints, solvents, lawn and garden products, and computer equipment ($2 for monitors without computer). The program only accepts materials generated in homes—no commercially-generated materials are accepted. More information is available on-line at http://1.usa.gov/MUZErB, by downloading the “my-waste” App or by calling ES Customer Service at 791-3171.
-Garden District Porch Fest – Saturday, March 9 from 4:00 – 6:00 P.M. Come join in from Alvernon Way to Columbus Boulevard, Pima Street to Grant Road. Local musicians and food trucks. More info: 323-3231
- 20th Annual Mayor’s Alzheimer’s Education Conference – Wednesday, March 12 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 East River Road. Join Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, doctors and caregivers to learn more about this very important issue. For information on fees and availability: Kelly at email@example.com or 520-322-6601
-Tucson St. Patrick’s Day Annual Parade – Saturday, March 15 at 10:00 a.m. Parade begins at Stone and 16th Street, traveling through Downtown and ending at Armory Park. More info: http://bit.ly/1fMczck
-Tucson Festival of Books – Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. University of Arizona Mall. Authors, lectures, culinary presentations and more. Free admission and parking. More info:
Did You Know...?
…that the Ward 3 5th Annual Shred-it event will be held on Saturday, April 26? More details will follow soon. Save the date! 9am to Noon at the Donna Liggins Recreation Center.
…that the wildly popular event, Cyclovia Tucson, is back for the 5th year in a row and needs your help as an Intersection Volunteer? Intersection volunteers will help neighbors get in and out of their homes during the event. We also encourage you to do something fun that will engage the participants and to sign up with a friend! You get a free Cyclovia t-shirt if you sign up before March 26th! There are 3-hour morning or afternoon shifts available, so you can enjoy the event as well! It's easy to sign up at: http://www.cycloviatucson.org/april-6-map/ or check out more information about Cyclovia Tucson at: http://bit.ly/1aEEVnb
…that Yaqui (Yoeme) Lenten Ceremonies 2014 in the Old Pascua Yaqui Community celebrates the Lenten season through the Yaqui Easter traditional ceremonies? Activities begin on Ash Wednesday and continue through Easter Sunday. The Yoeme interpretation of the Catholic liturgy for the Easter season through the re-enactment of the Passion of Jesus Christ is concurrently dramatized with the Pre-Christian Pascola and Deer Dancing. Activities take place at Capilla San Ignacio de Loyola, Pascua Neighborhood Center, at 785 W. Sahuaro This Cultural Center is located in the Old Pascua Yaqui Community near I-10 and Grant Road. Activities are open to the public. NO CELL PHONES, NO PHOTOS and NO RECORDINGS are allowed at the ceremonies. For more information on dates and times of the traditional ceremonies, please call the Pascua Neighborhood Center at 791-4873.