Paul's Note - January 14, 2021

Over the last few weeks, I’ve gotten some disturbing news about vandalism at Jesse Owens Park. 

The maintenance compound at the park was broken into late last month and equipment and vehicles were vandalized. Later, a bathroom was also vandalized. 

The new backboards on the basketball court were also vandalized. Former Wildcat Basketball player Corey Williams raised money to put in those backboards and improve the courts for neighborhood kids. My office donated as well. The plexiglass backboards will be replaced by the wooden ones that were there before. 

Parks and Recreation has cleaned up much of the damage and installed cameras. 

Jesse Owens has always been a great park.  Over the last decade I have worked hard to make it a fantastic park and I was infuriated and frustrated to hear about what happened.  I will continue to look for opportunities to improve our parks for everyone, even if some of our neighbors are destructive bozos.  If you know anything about what happened at JO or want to help me and my office to clean up the damage and continue to make Jesse Owens a signature eastside park, call my office at 791-4687.  I, or my staff, will be happy find a way you can help. 

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Let’s talk a bit about perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. These are chemicals that are nearly indestructible, which makes them great for things like non-stick packaging and stain resistant surfaces. 

That indestructability also means that PFAS don’t readily break down in the environment or in our bodies. This can cause issues including cancer, thyroid disease and immune system problems. 

In recent years, there have been standards that mean fire departments have moved away from using PFAS in firefighting foam. Still, we’ve been detecting contamination in wells near Davis-Monthan and the airport. 

Those particular Tucson Water wells are used for testing and no longer used for our water supply, but that still means that nearby wells that are contaminated and our groundwater storage is threatened. That’s why an opening I went to this week was important. 

We cut the ribbon on a ground water treatment facility on the south end of Columbus.  This is a pilot program that is being paid for by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (plants that handle TCE contamination are paid for by the US Air Force). The plant will cost $3.3 million, which is a small price to pay to protect our precious water supply.