URBAN LAND INSTITUTE ADVISORY WORKING WITH PRIVATE, PUBLIC PARTNERS IN DOWNTOWN TUCSON - An Advisory Services Panel from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) is in Tucson through Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. The ULI is an independent global nonprofit that provides leadership in real estate development and responsible land use. The Advisory Service Panel will focus on providing a technical assessment for underutilized properties in downtown Tucson. The Panel will provide a private sector perspective on the market viability and implementation strategies for various uses and concepts, and the best approaches to leveraging private investment with limited public resources.
Bios for the Tucson Panel members and more information about the focus of the project can be found at http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/uli.
BIGHORN SHEEP CAPTURED FROM YUMA TO LIVE IN TUCSON MOUNTAINS - Wildlife officers in helicopters captured bighorn sheep in the rugged mountains northeast of Yuma Saturday, the first step in a plan to transplant bighorns from healthy herds near Yuma to the Catalina Mountains, north of Tucson, where a native bighorn herd died out in the 1990s. By midday, the officers had captured nearly a dozen animals and taken them to a staging area on the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge for veterinarian exams and installation of Global Positioning System collars. Capture teams seek to catch more females than males. "We try for two to three ewes for each ram," said Anne Justice-Allen, veterinarian with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. "The ewes are the ones that make the population grow."
From the Star.
NEWSPAPER FINDS FEW CASES OF VOTER FRAUD AMONG UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS - Arizona has spent large amounts of time and money waging war against voter fraud, citing the possibility of undocumented immigrants casting ballots. An examination of voter-fraud cases in Maricopa County shows those involving undocumented immigrants are nearly non-existent, and have been since before changes to voter-ID requirements were enacted in 2004. In response to an Arizona Republic records request, the Maricopa County Attorneys Office provided a list of 21 criminal cases since January 2005 in which the suspect was charged with a felony related to voter fraud. A search of court records found 13 other cases. The non-citizens came from around the world - Indonesia, Canada, Mexico, Yugoslavia, the Philippines and Thailand. Most had been living legally in the United States for decades. Several stated in court documents that they thought they were permitted to vote because they were legal permanent residents of the United States. None was convicted of a felony or given any jail time. The newspaper made no mention of any voter fraud cases in Pima County.
From the Republic.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER RETURNING TO TUCSON - FC Tucson and MLS revealed the six-team field for the 2014 FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. The Monday announcement says the Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake will join host FC Tucson of the USL's Premier Development League in the third edition of the pre-season tournament set to run from February 19 until March 1. This years tournament will consist of four days of triple-headers with the final day culminating with the championship game. The first three-match days will be played at North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex. The final day of matches will take place at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium. Five other MLS teams - Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders FC - will participate in pre-season friendlies in Tucson in early February at North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex. Vancouver Whitecaps FC will also visit Tucson for a behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly against the Dynamo.
JUDGE DISMISSED SUIT FILED BY SLAIN AGENT'S FAMILY OVER "FAST AND FURIOUS" - A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed against federal officials connected with the botched "Fast and Furious" program by the parents of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. In an eight-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David Campbell said he recognizes that Terry's parents, Kent and Josephine Terry, have suffered a great loss, and that any financial remedy is likely insufficient to redress their injury. However, Campbell pointed out that Congress approved several ways of dealing with federal agents who die in the line of duty, including the federal Public Safety Officers Benefits Act. He said that means the only relief the family can get is what that law provides. The attorney for the parents acknowledged that law, but called it inadequate because it provided no separate deterrence against government wrongdoing. The lawsuit is a direct outgrowth of Fast and Furious, a plan by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels to legally purchase firearms from Arizona dealers. The plan was to track the weapons to the cartels, but ATF lost track of thousands of the weapons. Two of those weapons turned up at the scene where Terry was shot and killed in December 2010 during a firefight with drug runners near Rio Rico.
From the Star.
ACLU SIGNALS FUTURE LEGAL ACTION OVER SB 1070 - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched the first legal challenge to the so-called "show me your papers" provision of SB 1070 since it went into effect just over a year ago. Lawyers from the organization sent a notice-of-claim letter Tuesday to the South Tucson Police Department on behalf of Alejandro Valenzuela, who was detained by police and transferred to the Border Patrol last summer without having been accused of a crime under state or local law. A notice of claim is required before suing a public entity. The letter said Valenzuela would be willing to settle for $100,000 in addition to costs and attorneys’ fees. South Tucson has 60 days to respond. From the Star.
PLAINTIFF IN RTA CASE ASKS COURT FOR STRONGER SAFEGUARDS IN FUTURE ELECTIONS - Arguing yesterday before the Arizona Court of Appeals, attorney Bill Risner said the kind of electronic vote-counting systems used in the May 2006 RTA election, which are still in use today, are too easily tampered with, and that existing state law is insufficient to protect the public from election fraud. Risner contends that a system that optically scans ballots as they are counted, storing am image of each ballot for the purpose of subsequent auditing, could remedy the problem. Attorney Ronna Fickbohm, representing Pima County, says this is a problem for the legislature, not the courts. From the Star.
STAFFER IN TUCSON CITY CLERK'S OFFICE NAMED NEW PRESCOTT CITY CLERK - Yesterday the City Council of Prescott, AZ approved the appointment of Dana DeLong to the position of City Clerk. She will replace Lynn Mulhall, who is retiring January 3. A longtime employee of the Tucson City Clerk’s Office, DeLong has gained extensive experience in records, agenda, and elections management. She currently holds the position of City Records Manager. She holds a Certified Municipal Clerk designation and is a Certified Election Official. "We are delighted to welcome Dana to the City of Prescott," said Mayor Marlin Kuykendall. "She brings a wealth of experience and she has a strong background managing the critical functions of city government." From the Prescott eNews.
TANGERINE LANDFILL TO CLOSE INDEFINITELY - Pima County has announced that its Tangerine landfill, which is near its permitted capacity of 6.7 million cubic yards, will close December 1st. The landfill began operation in 1983, and was the first in Arizona to be fully lined. Additional waste disposal and recycling options include Ryan Field Transfer Station (residential only), Catalina Transfer Station, Waste Management’s Ina Road Transfer Station, Los Reales Landfill, and Sahuarita Landfill. In addition, several licensed private solid waste haulers are available to provide waste pickup service for a fee. From KOLD/KMSB.
FINAL RESULTS: CITY OF TUCSON 2013 GENERAL ELECTION - Final results for the City of Tucson's 2013 General Election have been posted by the City Clerk's office. 68,427 of Tucson's registered voters, or about 30.4%, cast ballots in the election.
AGENDA SPOTLIGHT: SB 1070 AND RELATED ENFORCEMENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES - At the request of Council Members Regina Romero and Karin Uhlich, time has been scheduled during tomorrow's M&C study session to discuss the enforcement practices and policies of the Tucson Police Department related to Senate Bill 1070, which was passed and signed into law in April 2010. Generally, the bill aimed to mandate the enforcement of federal immigration law by local police agencies. Certain provisions of the law, such as making it a crime for immigrants to fail to carry registration papers, were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June of 2012. But key provisions, such as the requirement that officers attempt to determine the immigration status of those suspected of being in the country illegally, remain in effect. The provisions remaining in effect have been incorporated into TPD's General Orders. These orders, along with possible revisions to them, will be discussed tomorrow. Read the M&C memo here.
TPD SEEKING PUBLIC'S HELP IDENTIFYING PERSONS OF INTEREST IN LAST MONTH'S BUS STOP HOMICIDE - TPD homicide detectives have released photographs and are asking for the public's assistance in identifying three males that may have information regarding a homicide that took place the evening of October 18th at a bus stop on the 6700 block of East Golf Links Road. Anyone with information is encouraged to call 911 or 88-CRIME.
PROP 409 UPDATE: FOG SEALING ON BROADWAY, WILMOT, 29TH STREET - Crews from Southern Arizona Paving and Construction Co. will be applying fog seal to sections of Broadway Blvd., Craycroft Road and Wilmot Road during evening hours this week and next. A Fog Seal is a thin layer of asphalt emulsion that helps cover small roadway imperfections, cracks or other small voids and seals the existing asphalt to preserve and protect the paved surface. This work is funded by the City of Tucson's $100 million, five-year street bond program approved by voters in November 2012 as Prop. 409.
REGISTRATION NOW UNDERWAY FOR PARKS & REC'S DECEMBER "MINI SESSION" CLASSES - Three-week classes are being offered at multiple locations this December for all age ranges, on subjects ranging from holiday arts and crafts to yoga. Most classes start the first week of December. Registration deadline is November 24th. News release from Parks & Rec here, Fall Program Guide (Mini Session classes start on Page 37) here.
WINTERHAVEN FESTIVAL TO DISCONTINUE USE OF HORSE-DRAWN WAGONS - Citing safety concerns, organizers of the Winterhaven Festival of Lights have discontinued the use of horse-drawn wagons through the midtown neighborhood during the holiday season. The increasingly popular event has drawn so many crowds, organizers say, that the horses cannot be lead through the streets in a safe manner. From KVOA.
CITY OFFICES CLOSED NEXT MONDAY FOR VETERANS DAY, NO CITY TRASH PICKUP - The Veterans Day holiday will be observed on Monday, November 11, 2013. Residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on Monday. All City of Tucson residential and commercial customers will have their trash and recycling service delayed by one day during the holiday week. The Los Reales Landfill will be open from 6:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. for commercial and self-haulers.
COUNCIL AMENDS NEIGHBORHOOD PRESERVATION ORDINANCE AFTER WELL-ATTENDED PUBLIC HEARING - At their regular session Tuesday night, M&C voted unanimously to amend the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance, creating some new restrictions on what residents can do in their yards. Yard sales will now be limited to four per year. Inoperative vehicles may no longer be stored in front yards. Outdoor storage, exteriors, gutters, and decorative ornaments must be maintained. Some residents spoke in favor of the amendments. "We now have more renters than we did in 2003, and more of them are having to contend with landlords who are lax with property maintenance," said one speaker. But another, who opposed changing the ordinance, said "Yard sales are, despite the great worker uprising, a reminder that not all of us have cushy jobs with air-condition[ing and] decent salaries." From KVOA.
AGENDA SPOTLIGHT: EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION AND FY13 YEAR-END FINANCIAL RESULTS - At their Study Session next Tuesday, November 13th, M&C will hear a report from staff on preliminary unaudited FY 2013 financial results for the General Fund and provide an update on the 1st quarter General Fund financial results. This report will show a General Fund fund balance of about $54M, which is about $8M less than the previous year. At their Study Session November 26th, M&C is expected to consider three possible increases to employee compensation upon review of fund balance information contained in this report.
STITELER EXPECTS TO BREAK GROUND ON SEVEN-STORY, 150-ROOM HOTEL THIS SUMMER - Developer Scott Stiteler says his upcoming downtown hotel project, a 150-room, seven-story tower at the Northwest corner of Fifth and Broadway, is now about two months into its design phase. The hotel, tentatively to be called AC Tucson, will reflect the European boutique style of the AC Hotels brand, which Marriott acquired in 2010 and will soon reveal across the country, mostly in major urban centers like Manhattan, San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami. The average daily rate would be about $145, Stiteler told the Rio Nuevo board in July. Stiteler said the hotel is now about two months in to its design phase. Project leaders have traveled to Spain, the birthplace of the AC brand. He expects construction to begin this summer, with the hotel completed about a year and a half later. From Inside Tucson Business.
AUTO-PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS IN TUCSON METRO AREA AT A HISTORIC HIGH - An 18-year-old woman is in critical condition after she was hit by a car Wednesday night near Oracle and Rudasill Roads. At least two others have been killed near that Pima County intersection in the last two years. According to TPD and Pima County Sheriff officials, there have been 16 auto-pedestrian fatalities within Tucson's city limits, and another six in the County this year. From KVOA.
MARSHALL HOME FOR MEN TO HONOR VETERANS TODAY WITH FLAG RAISING CEREMONY - Today at 2 p.m., the Sunnyside High School ROTC, as well as students from Walden Grove and Sahuarita High Schools will celebrate Veterans Day with a Flag raising ceremony at the Marshall Home For Men, 3314 S. 16th Avenue. The Walden Grove High School robotics team helped raise funds to purchase a new flag and turkeys for Thanksgiving. In addition, the team will spend time with the home's residents.
COUNCIL MOVES AHEAD WITH PLAN TO SEEK STATE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTING CERTAIN RIDERS - At their study session yesterday, M&C directed staff to take steps toward applying to a state program officials believe could reimburse the City for about $9 per trip on Sun Van for certain riders. Under the program, riders eligible for services from the Developmental Disabilities Division of the Arizona Department of Economic Security would not have to pay any fare, since the cost is included in the state reimbursement. Sun Van will incur some immediate costs to qualify, however. Drivers would need first-aid training, a fingerprint clearance card, among other requirements. These will be considered a change in working conditions under Sun Van's labor agreement with the Teamsters Local #104, with the potential to increase Sun Van's labor costs. In a report presented to M&C by staff, annual revenue from this program was projected at about $450K, and first-year start-up costs to be about $194K, resulting in an estimate of about $256K in first-year savings to the City's General Fund. But the report cautions that these projections only include certification and training costs, and do not include potential increases to Sun Van's labor costs. From the Star. Read the M&C memo re: potential reimbursement opportunities here, read the summary of projected financial impacts here.
CINCINNATI VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY REJECT INITIATIVE TO REPLACE PENSION SYSTEM WITH 401K-STYLE PLAN - In the City of Cincinnati, Ohio's general election Tuesday, 78% of City voters said no to a plan to phase out the City's pension system and replace it with a 401(k)-style plan for newly hired employees. A private group known as the Cincinnati for Pension Reform Committee gathered enough signatures last summer to place a charter amendment on the ballot. A similar initiative was initially expected to go on the City of Tucson's 2013 ballot as Proposition 201, but was ordered off the ballot by a court after opponents of the initiative prevailed in a lawsuit challenging the validity of its petition signatures. From WCPO Cincinnati.
TUCSON LAWYER APPOINTED TO PIMA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT BENCH - Governor Jan Brewer today appointed D. Douglas Metcalf yesterday to the Pima County Superior Court. Mr. Metcalf had been a partner with the law firm of Lewis and Roca since 2000, focusing primarily on commercial litigation, state and federal tax issues, and employment law. He also has criminal, appellate and administrative law experience. The appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Howard Hantman. From KVOA.
GIFFORDS AND KELLY TO BE GRAND MARSHALS AT UA HOMECOMING PARADE - Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Capt. Mark Kelly will be grand marshals for Saturday's University of Arizona Homecoming parade, according to the Arizona Alumni Association. The parade kicks off at 4 p.m. near First Street and Cherry Avenue, and will head across the Mall toward University Blvd., then back to Campbell Avenue. Student groups build the floats every year. This year, the reunion classes of 1963, 1988 and 2003 will walk in the parade. From KOLD/KMSB.
2013 CITY OF TUCSON GENERAL ELECTION: INCUMBENTS WIN, PROPOSITIONS PASS - In yesterday's election, incumbent City Council Members Karin Uhlich, Richard Fimbres, and Steve Kozachick were re-elected. Propositions 401 and 402, the City's expenditure limit increase and general plan, passed. 60,679 ballots have been counted, representing about 27% of registered voters in the City of Tucson. About 6,900 ballots, most of which were turned in by voters yesterday at City polling locations, have yet to be counted. "I think this shows what we've been doing these past years has re-earned the trust with many of the voters in Tucson," said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. "And it's a good sign for the future."
VAIL INCORPORATION EFFORT FAILS - About 56% of voters in the proposed town of Vail said no to incorporation in yesterday's election. About 44% of the community’s voters turned out for the election. Citizens for Vail, the group behind the incorporation effort, had proposed an initial budget of $3.2M, to be funded by state-shared revenue. An opposition group calling itself Vail Incorporation Facts claimed the proposed budget was unrealistic, and that the proposed town's budget would not be able to sustain levels of municipal service currently provided by Pima County. Law enforcement, road maintenance and other municipal services provided by Pima County in its unincorporated areas are paid for by taxpayers countywide, including residents of the City of Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita and South Tucson. From the Star.
SUNNYSIDE OVERRIDE FAILS - 53% of voters in Sunnyside Unified School District said no to a proposed budget override that would have provided an extra $9.3 million annually for seven years. Arizona law limits property tax rates that school districts can impose to fund their budgets. However, the state allows residents to vote for an increase of up to 15 percent on that limit. From Arizona Public Media.
MESA VOTERS APPROVE $130M BONDS FOR ROADWAY AND PUBLIC SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS - Yesterday voters in the City of Mesa approved two bond questions to fund street and public-safety projects. With 96 percent of the city’s precincts reporting, plus early ballots, the unofficial returns showed "yes" leading 55.7 percent to 44.3 percent for Question 1, which would authorize $51.7 million in capital spending for the police and fire departments. Question 2, authorizing $79.1 million for streets and related infrastructure, had received 56% in favor and 44%. From the Republic.
RIO NUEVO BOARD AUTHORIZES START OF TCC WORK, TRANSFER OF ARENA SITE, NAME CHANGE - The Rio Nuevo board met yesterday to discuss several items. Among them were the approval of a general contractor to begin the preconstruction process in rennovations to the TCC Arena. Concord General Contracting was awarded the contract for $35,160 to begin planning for renovations to the TCC’s bathrooms, ceilings, concession areas and more. The board also approved the transfer of a City-owned parcel near Granada and Congress streets, a proposed site for a future arena, that was part of the district's settlement with the City earlier this year. Additionally, the district approved a plan to select a new name, based on a contest among local high schoolers. From the Star.
CITY OF TUCSON GENERAL ELECTION 2013: POLLS OPEN UNTIL 7 PM - Voters who have yet to vote in today's City of Tucson general election may still drop off their voted ballot, obtain a replacement ballot, or vote in person at any of the City's seven polling locations until 7 p.m. Election results will become available on the City's elections website shortly after polls close.
COUNTY APPROVES TEMPORARY ADDITION AT ANIMAL SHELTER - The Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure to build a temporary addition to the Pima Animal Care Center to address overcrowding at the shelter. Shelter managers were asking for $400,000 to build a tent to house the overflow pets. Under the measure passed this morning, the county will erect a 100' by 60' tent to house 100 kennels. It will be heated, cooled and tied down to protect against summer monsoon storms. From KOLD/KMSB.
FORMER TPD OFFICER SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY - A former Tucson police officer caught with child pornography will spend the next decade in prison. Pima County Superior Court Judge Jane Eikleberry sentenced Martin Louis Henry Ward on Monday to 10 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor followed by lifetime probation for a second count of sexual exploitation of minor. A TPD internal investigation into Ward from 2012 said he knowingly consumed prescription medication with alcohol, disobeyed direct orders, lied about a marriage and forged documents in order to receive Family and Medical Leave benefits. At Mondays sentencing, Ward neither apologized nor accepted responsibility for any wrongdoing. From the Star.
COUNTY NEARLY DOUBLES CONTRIBUTION TO EL TOUR DE TUCSON - After losing its title sponsor, El Tour de Tucson is looking to the city and Pima County to fill some of the financial void. The city of Tucson has already agreed to almost double its financial commitment to the communitys premier cycling event, kicking in an extra $25,000. Today, the county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an additional $25,000 from its contingency fund to bring the county's support to $51,063, according to a news release. For the last six years, El Tour has been sponsored by the University of Arizona Medical Center, which dropped to a lower level of sponsorship this year, creating a $250,000 gap in the budget. From the Star.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER - The Tucson Fire Department is looking for a career professional to serve as an Emergency Communications Manager, responsible for planning, organizing, and administering the technical components and operating systems of the E-911 Communications Center. Applicants should be experienced and proficient in coordinating the efforts of technical staff, system engineers, software and hardware vendors, and contractors, for a large, urban dispatch center environment. Applicants should possess a wide range of knowledge of radio, telephonic, CAD, reporting, and data management systems related to emergency call center operations.
CITY OF TUCSON ELECTION TOMORROW: POLLS OPEN 6 AM UNTIL 7 PM - Tomorrow is election day for the City of Tucson's 2013 General Election. Voters will elect Council Members for Wards 3, 5 and 6 and vote on two propositions: a expenditure base adjustment for the City Budget, and a new General Plan. All registered voters should have received their ballots by mail. Voters who wish to obtain replacement ballots, drop off their voted ballots, or who would like to vote in person, may do so tomorrow between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. at any of the City's seven polling locations.
COURT FINDS CITY RESPONSIBLE FOR $2.95M IN DAMAGES FROM ALLEGEDLY LEAKY PIPES IN BARRIO VIEJO - A jury in Pima County Superior Court has awarded a $2.95 million against the City in a case in which plaintiffs allege leaky water pipes have damaged some of their historic adobe structures. The suit, filed in 2002 by the Rollings family, initially went to trial in 2006. The jury in that case found in favor of the City, but an appellate court ordered a retrial. The city fought that decision all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court, which denied the city a hearing last January, sending the case back to Superior Court, where it went to trial Oct. 22. The trial ended Thursday, Oct. 31. The jury reached its verdict the following day. From the Star.
PARKS & REC RECEIVES GRANT FROM US TENNIS ASSOCIATION TO RESURFACE COURTS - The City's Parks & Recreation Department has received a a Facility Funding Grant from the United States Tennis Association for a recent court resurfacing project at the Jim Reffkin Tennis Center. The project resurfaced 11 tennis courts and a practice area. The resurfacing allowed the center to provide a uniform surface treatment for all of its courts and included 'blended line' striping for youth tennis programs. The Reffkin Tennis Center has been heavily involved in USTA programming and has hosted numerous national tournaments. The center has been chosen to host seven USTA National Adult League Championships, which began September 26th and end November 24th. They will be hosting three major junior events over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as well.
VISIT TUCSON NAMES NEW SPORTS DIRECTOR - Visit Tucson has hired Angel Natal Jr., formerly of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, as director of Tucson Sports. He replaces Vince Trinidad, who accepted the position as Executive Director of Tulsa Sports Commission, in August. Natal will be responsible for building awareness for metropolitan Tucson as a preferred destination for all types of sports events, and for selling and marketing the area in order to secure regional and national events that fill hotel rooms, venues and facilities throughout the region. News release from Visit Tucson.
ANALYSIS: MARICOPA COUNTY CITIES CLIMBING OUT OF RECESSION, BUT FACE LONG-TERM CHALLENGES - An analysis of five years of city financial data by The Arizona Republic shows cities in the Phoenix metro area are increasing spending and restoring programs after several years of stagnation. But many of the underlying issues that led them to the brink of economic crisis during the recession remain, including sensitive revenue streams, legislative mandates and rising benefit costs. From the Republic.
RIO NUEVO AUDIT: DISTRICT IN BETTER POSITION, BUT NEEDS STRATEGIC VISION - The Arizona Auditor General's office has released a new performance audit of the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District. The audit, conducted by Johnson Consulting of Chicago, reports "significant improvement" in the performance of the district, citing changes made to address statutory compliance recommendations from the prior audit, and the settlement of significant legal disputes with the City and other parties. The auditors said some areas of non-compliance remained, but called these "fairly minor." Concern was expressed over what auditors called "the District's current procedural inability to accurately monitor tax collections," and that this "can be addressed administratively, but may possibly require a legislative modification." The report concludes that Rio Nuevo cannot address the capital needs of the TCC as currently structured. It has the option of keeping its overhead low and using the district's remaining life to make limited improvements. But making the TCC a nationally competitive convention facility and a catalyst for overall District success will require a comprehensive strategic plan. From the Arizona Auditor General (84-page PDF).
NEW STARTING POINT FOR ALL SOULS PROCESSION - The All Souls Procession will start in a new spot this year, just south of the intersection of North Sixth Avenue and East Sixth Street, the same block that houses Exo Roast Co., Miller's Surplus and Tap & Bottle. The annual procession, now in its 24th year, has been forced to shift its route around in recent years, primarily due to ongoing development downtown and Modern Streetcar construction. Last year, the event started on the East Toole Avenue side of Hotel Congress. The procession will begin Sunday at 6 p.m. From the Star.
FIREFIGHTERS' CHILI COOK-OFF TOMORROW - Tucson Firefighters Association Local 479 will host its annual Chili Cook-Off from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at El Presidio Park, next to City Hall. Proceeds benefit the agencys Adopt-a-Family Program, which provides food boxes, basic necessities, clothing and gifts to families in need. Many families aided by the program are referred and others are adopted by firefighters who see the need when they go to residences on calls. Last year the group raised $60,000 at the cook-off. Chili, made by firefighters, sells for $2 a cup, and other food is available for purchase. From the Star.
SATURDAY: "PRESIDIO WALLS TALK," A CELEBRATION FOR DIA DE LOS MUERTOS - Tucson Parks and Recreation Department and Presidio San Agustín del Tucson invite you to join us for "The Presidio Walls Talk," a celebration for Dia de Los Muertos. This event will feature altars, reenactments of the life of early Tucson, Puppet Theater: La Llorona by Maki Maki Theater, levitation performance by Special Head, Danza Azteca Calpulli Tonantzin, hula hoops with lights, a fortune teller, art exhibit, art raffle by Mel Dominguez and Carolyn King, childrens activities, and more.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: BUDGET ADMINISTRATOR - The City of Tucson is seeking a Budget Administrator for the Office of Budget and Internal Audit. This key position will assist the Program Director in the planning and oversight of the City's operating and capital budgets. The City of Tucson's FY 2014 budget is $1.3 Billion. The ideal candidate will have extensive knowledge of principles and practices of municipal accounting and budgeting with five (5) years relevant supervisory experience. Interested candidates should possess a Bachelor degree in Accounting, Finance, Business or related field. Highly desirable would be a candidate with a Master's Degree in Public or Business Administration; a Certified Public Accountant; or a Certified Governmental Financial Manager.
FRIDAY: DEDICATION FOR WWII MEMORIAL AT ARMORY PARK - Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres and the City of Tucson will host a ceremony for the unveiling and dedication of the City's World War II memorial at Armory Park, 221 S. Sixth Ave. Arrival and seating for the dedication will take place at 9 a.m. and the ceremony will commence promptly at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013. This memorial, designed by artists Lauri Slenning and Rebecca Thompson, honors and recognizes Tucson veterans who served and gave their lives for their country. Immediately following the dedication there will be a reception held in the Armory Center Ballroom.
I-10 REOPENS AT PICACHO AFTER 19-VEHICLE CRASH THAT KILLS 3 - Interstate 10 reopened in both directions at about 10:30 last night after serious mid-afternoon collisions, believed to be related to dust storms, closed the freeway for about 10 hours. ADOT officials say the crashes involved 19 vehicles and resulted in 3 deaths. DPS spokesman Bart Graves said Tuesdays crash was one of the worst chain-reaction accidents in that area in the past seven years. From the Washington Post.
FEDERAL AUDIT: ARIZONA SECOND-WORST IN U.S. AT DISTRIBUTING MORTGAGE AID TO HOMEOWNERS - A quarterly audit of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, released late Monday found that Arizona distributed the second-lowest percentage of federal Hardest Hit mortgage aid directly to homeowners despite being one of the states hardest hit by the housing bust. The audit covered a period of roughly three years. The Arizona Department of Housing disputed the audits findings, calling them "flawed and misleading." From the Republic.
PIMA COUNTY SHUTS DOWN WEB PAGE DISPLAYING WRONG POLLING LOCATIONS AFTER VAIL RESIDENT COMPLAINS - The Pima County Elections Department will take down a web page that displayed the wrong polling places for upcoming election, which will determine whether the community of Vail will become an incorporated town. Pima County consolidated the number of polling locations since the November 2012 election but failed to update their website, according to Pima County Elections Director Brad Nelson. Nelson said a recent mailing to thousands of voters, including more than 7,000 eligible voters in Vail, contains the correct polling information. From the Star.
CITY PROCUREMENT DIRECTOR ELECTED PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION - Marcheta Gillespie, director of the City's procurement department, has been elected as President of the Board of Directors for The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP). As President, Ms. Gillespie will lead the Institute in its mission to promote, develop and support the public procurement profession. She will serve as ambassador for NIGP and its over 16,000 members representing 2,600 agencies throughout North America.