Karin's Note: Friday, March 28, 2014

Karin's Note: Friday, March 28, 2014

-Ward 3 Events
-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)
-Citywide Events
-Did You Know?

Dear Tucsonans,

Priority-Based Budgeting

We’re going to face serious communication challenges related to this year’s budget process, because the Manager’s approach involves actual reorganization of the bureaucracy. Hard to know if facts can out-shout some of the myths circulating but I’ll do my best to amplify key points worth the public’s consideration.

Some myths stem from confusion. I’ve heard criticism, for example, that we’re cutting Housing and Community Services (HCS) by several million dollars while at the same time increasing the budget of Development Services (DS) by several million dollars. On the surface that could so perfectly play into the notion that we’re taking money from areas of need to benefit powerful interest groups. In reality it simply reflects the move of the City’s Code Enforcement Division from HCS to DS. No doubt that could still get spun as a sign of something sinister; at this point it really is just an effort to appropriately reorganize the City’s services and cut management/overhead costs.

We’ll also hear a lot of bluster about the recent and extremely modest pay raise we approved, which was structured very intentionally to benefit our frontline workers more than middle/upper management. The cost will be rightly offset through the reorganization, which reduces positions and money spent “at the top” allowing us to continue investing more at the direct service level.

There’s one other dynamic that I think we have to resist during budgeting: the notion that we better stop funding any and all “outside” services before we look for internal savings. First, let’s not forget that the City has already reduced most “outside agency” human services and cultural/arts funding by 50-60%. Second, the administrative and overhead efficiencies we’re pursuing must occur if we ever hope to claim that we’re providing City services efficiently and effectively. Yes we must evaluate outside services and contracts; but there’s millions of dollars that haven’t been scrutinized closely enough yet by Mayor and Council (“non-departmental general government expenses”, etc.). Fortunately we have time to conduct due diligence over the coming months.

We have General Fund revenues of roughly $466 million and a $2-9 million gap yet to close depending on which of the Manager’s initial thoughts we direct him to implement. That’s a gap of between one-half-of-one-percent and two percent. It’s a budget we can surely balance while entering a new era of improved service delivery in earnest.

My main purpose in sharing all this is to encourage everyone interested to keep raising questions and offering feedback so we can do our best to dispel myths and get the facts out there. Residents, employees, and others so far seem to be encouraging this fresh take on budgeting. Seems folks truly want us to break out of “business as usual” patterns to improve service to the public. It’s a shift that I hope will gain support as the budget process progresses.

Grant Road Phase 2

The Grant Road Improvement Plan is currently in the final design process for Phase 2 of the project, which extends from North Castro Avenue to North Fremont Avenue. Construction of this segment of roadway is scheduled for 2015-2017, with a preliminary cost estimate of $17 million to $20 million (excluding property acquisitions).  Planned features include six vehicular travel lanes, bike lanes, indirect left turns at Stone Avenue and 1st Avenue,  protected bike/pedestrian street crossings including a TOUCAN signal at 6th Avenue, transit accommodations including pullouts and shelters, wide sidewalks, landscaping, and water harvesting and other sustainability features.

If you’re interested in tracking the project through Ward 3, you have several options.  The next Grant Road Task Force meeting will be held Tuesday evening, April 1, 5:30 to 8 pm, at the Tucson Association of Realtors, 2445 N Tucson Blvd. (The public is welcome and there will be a call to the audience toward the end of the meeting when you may make comments on the record.)  The Public Information Coordinator is Genna Dreier [624-4727 / information@grantroad.info].  Or you can get information on the Web at www.grantroad.info for the overall project or https://www.tucsonaz.gov/tdot/grant-road-stone-park-design for information specific to Phase 2. 

Graffiti Abatement

While we work together to decrease graffiti vandalism throughout Tucson, more and more private sector partners are stepping up. This week the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) held a panel discussion on the topic. Members shared their concerns and ideas, and most importantly the Association has offered to be involved in the City’s reconvening Anti-Graffiti Task Force. That group will explore new approaches and best practices from all angles, and will involve residents, nonprofits and businesses, as well as officials from all involved public entities (judiciary, law enforcement, prevention programs, etc.).   In Ward 3,  in addition to residents’ ongoing  efforts at abatement, we are organizing upcoming Graffiti Abatement sweeps, one in partnership with the Mayor (in the Flowing Wells and Amphi areas…more details to follow). We’ve heard loud and clear that this is a priority, and we’re doing our best to intensify Tucson’s efforts in the months and years ahead.

Thanks again for continuing to offer your thoughts with me and my staff.



Ward 3 Events:


-Free Tax Help – Tuesdays 1:00 – 5:00 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am – noon at the Ward 3 City Council Office Community Room, 1510 E. Grant Road. The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program is once again open at the Ward 3 office. Volunteers will be at this location on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, through April 12th, preparing 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.


- Feldman’s Neighborhood Household Hazardous Waste Collection – Saturday, March 29th from 8:00 – 11:30 am at the SW corner of Park & Drachman. You and your neighbors are invited to participate in the Feldman’s Neighborhood Household Hazardous Waste Collection. Please bring items such as paint products, solvents, household cleaners, aerosols, drain openers, mercury, and automotive fluids. For a complete list, email paruni@dakotacom.net


-Celebrate LOVE – Sunday, March 30th from 2:30 – 5:00 pm at Monterey Court 505 West Miracle Mile. The Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA) is hosting an afternoon of music, storytelling, poetry and creative inquiry dedicated to all the ways love touches and transforms our lives. $10 suggested donation to benefit COPA, Signs for Change, and Wingspan. For more info visit http://www.cultureofpeacealliance.org/page.php?page=clove


-Lend A Hand Yard Sale – Saturday and Sunday, April 5th and 6th, from 7:00 am - 1:00 pm at 1545 E. Water St. - It's that time of year again! If you have items to donate to a worthy cause, consider Lend A Hand. Donations are tax-deductible. And, of course, plan to come to the sale – there are always some wonderful things hidden in among what used to be your stuff. To donate items call Jane Hoffmann at 323-9299.


-The Great Rillito Wash Up! – Saturday, April 5th from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm starting just east of Oracle Rd on the south side river path. Join Pima County RFCD and Tucson Clean & Beautiful in cleaning up the Rillito riverbed. Bring your refillable water bottles and sunscreen! Gloves, grabbers, and water will be provided. Wear long pants and sturdy close-toe shoes. For more info contact Suzie Bohnet at 724-4600.


-Donna Liggins Recreation Center Open House – Friday, April 11th from 4:30 – 7:30 pm at the Donna R. Liggins Recreation Center, 2160 N. 6th Ave. Come and meet new supervisor AJ Rico and her staff. Take a tour of the facility, learn about enhanced programs for youth and seniors, and explore new programs such as open volleyball. Show off your serve in a volleyball skills competition from 5:30 – 7:30 pm for ages 7 to adult. 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.


- “What You Always Wanted to Know About Water…” – Thursday, April 24th from 6:00 - 7:30 pm at the Ward 3 office. Tucson Water invites you to celebrate Water Awareness Month and learn more about water! Meet experts, ask questions, and enjoy light refreshments. Check out this link for more detail: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/water/docs/April_Water_Session_3.pdf


- Shred-it Event – Saturday, April 26th from 9:00 am – noon at Mansfield Park 2000 N. 4th Avenue. Council Member Karin Uhlich and Pima County Constable Bennett Bernal invite you to bring documents that you wish to have securely destructed. Your first box is free and everything after that costs only $5.00 a box. Proceeds to benefit Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse and Lend a Hand.


-Suppers for Signs – Sunday, April 27th 4:30 pm Reception and 5:15 pm Supper. Join the Jefferson Park neighborhood for supper, Louie’s famous Sangria, a raffle, and a display of historic photos from the oral history project. Supper is $15.00 and JP wine glasses may be purchased for $10. Proceeds will contribute to the purchase of 32 street signs for the Jefferson Park historic designation. By reservation only. Call 623-9044.


Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meetings:

-Northwest NA – Wednesday, April 2 at 6:00 p.m. Donna Liggins Recreation Center, 2160 N. 6th Avenue

-Feldman’s NA – Thursday, April 3 at 7:00 p.m. St. Luke’s Home, 615 E. Adams


-Alvernon/Grant Initiative (AGI/TNBC) – Tuesday, April 8 at 6:00 p.m. Emerge! 2425 N. Haskell

-Campus Community Relations Committee (CCRC) – Tuesday, April 8 at 6:00 p.m. U of A Student Union


Citywide Events:

-TMA Spring Artisans Market – Friday through Sunday, March 28 – 29 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm – Tucson Museum of Art With over 130 of the finest artists and craft makers, the Market boasts everything from jewelry to fashion to fine art to ceramics. There will be live entertainment, tasty food from Tucson’s best food trucks, and a beer garden on Friday and Saturday brought to you by Golden Eagle Distributors. The Spring Artisans Market and admission to the Museum are free! Visit https://tucsonmuseumofart.org/?s=artisans+market for more details and a list of the artisans.


-Planning Forums Workshop- Saturday, March 29th from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm at Pima County Housing Center 801 W. Congress St. The League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson presents a free workshop on planning forums. Come and learn the steps in producing a successful event for your club or organization. You’ll find out about working with other groups, deciding staffing, location, and more. Light refreshments will be served. Register at 327-7652 or 326-3018.


-NAMIWalks – Saturday, March 29th at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way – Walk for Mental Health! NAMIWalks is an awareness-raising program of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. All proceeds from NAMIWalks will be used to fund NAMI’s programs which include support, education, advocacy and the encouragement of research involving mental illnesses. Participate in the 3k or 5k. Registration begins at 7:00 am with the walk starting at 9:00 am from the baseball field. Not walking? Bring a chair or blanket and listen to the entertainment from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm. More info at http://www.namiwalksaz.org/


-Park Place Chalk Art Festival – Saturday, March 29th from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm and Sunday, March 30th from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm at Park Place 5870 E. Broadway Blvd. The third annual Park Place Chalk Festival will be a true community collaboration of the arts. Participants will transform Park Place sidewalks into colorful works of art with mural artists creating elaborate, large scale pieces. Learn more at https://saaca.org/Park_Place_Chalk_Art.php


- Blenman Elm Home Tour - Sunday, March 30th from 12:30 - 5:00 pm at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St. The Blenman-Elm Neighborhood is hosting a home tour this spring, and will be generously donating part of their proceeds to Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse. Tickets are $10.00 (includes $1.00 donation to EMERGE!) available the afternoon of the tour at the Church. More info: http://www.emergecenter.org/

- Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – Monday, March 31st from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm at the University of Arizona Student Union, Kiva Room. CLIMAS and the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions are co-sponsoring a panel of UA experts to discuss the forthcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.” For more information about the topics to be discussed, visit www.climas.arizona.edu/events/3007


-How to Moderate Workshop- Saturday, April 5th from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm at Murphy-Wilmot Branch Library 530 N. Wilmot Rd. The League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson presents a free workshop on moderating forums, debates, and panels. Come and learn the tips and techniques on how to make everything run smoothly with everyone following the rules and being civil to one another. Light refreshments will be served. Register at 740-5779 or 326-3018.


-Tucson Hullabaloo – Saturday, April 5th – Sunday, April 6th at Armory Park 221 S. 6th Ave. Presented in conjunction with Cyclovia Tucson, Tucson Hullabaloo is a celebration of all things Tucson! Bring your family and come join for bike parades, costume contests, entertainment and more. More info at http://tucsonhulla.com/


-Viva La Local – Sunday, April 6th from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at Rillito Downs 4502 N 1st Ave. In conjunction with Cyclovia Tucson, Viva La Local Food Festival celebrates the joyous local flavors of Baja Arizona. Food, drink, farmers market, music, and more… Come be part of the experience! Free admission with $5 food and drink tastings. For more info, visit http://www.vivalalocalfoodfest.com/#about


- Color the Mural – Sunday, April 6th 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at the House of Neighborly Service 243 W. 33rd St. Get ready to paint! In conjunction with Cyclovia Tucson, Safos Dance Theatre is creating a mural to reflect the 50+ year history of the House of Neighborly Service in the City of South Tucson. Paints, brushes, and aprons will be provided. http://safosdance.wixsite.com/color


-Cyclovia Tucson – Sunday, April 6th from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm from Downtown to South Tucson. Five miles of car-free city streets for walking, biking, and all-out fun! Presented by the Living Streets Alliance, this annual event temporarily transforms Tucson’s streets into safe recreational space open to everyone, and is a proven cost-effective way to introduce thousands of Tucsonans to sustainable, healthy, safe and active transportation habits. Visit https://www.cycloviatucson.org/ for more info.

-2014 Pima County Victims’ Rights Week Commemoration - Tuesday, April 8th at 3:30 pm at the YWCA of Tucson, 525 N. Bonita Ave. The event will honor and recognize individuals who have made a difference in the lives of crime victims.  Light appetizers and refreshments will be provided.  RSVP by Wednesday, April 2nd at 520-740-5525.

-Tucson Samaritans and The Loft present Which Way Home – Wednesday, April 9th 7:00 pm at The Loft Cinema 3233 E. Speedway Blvd – Tucson Samaritans present a screening of Which Way Home, an Oscar-nominated documentary about unaccompanied minor children traveling to the U.S. Screening to be followed by a panel discussion. Visit http://www.tucsonsamaritans.org/ for more info.

-Take Back the Night – Wednesday, April 9th with 4:30 – 5:30 pm march from the Main Library 101 N. Stone Ave and 6:30 – 9:00 pm main event at Mercado San Agustin 100 S. Avenida del Convento. Take Back the Night focuses mainly on anti-sexual violence action for survivors. March from the Main Library to the Mercado where there will be performances, community art, and a survivor speakout. Bring mementos for the community shrine. Everyone is welcome! Advocates will be on site. For more info, visit https://www.facebook.com/TBTN.Tucson.

- 20th Annual Earth Day Festival – Saturday, April 12th 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at Reid Park.  Join the largest Earth Day event in Tucson to celebrate Southern Arizona’s unique environment. Be an exhibitor, join the parade, or come as a spectator. For more details and to register, visit www.tucsonearthday.org.

-3rd Annual Youth & Peace Conference – Saturday, April 12th 9:30 am – 4:00 pm at Wakefield Middle School 101 W. 44th St. Join for a free conference for youth 10 to 23 years & parents/adults who work with youth! Workshops will be focused on three themes: Speaking Up & Out, Expressing Ourselves, and Engaging Our Community with Art & Technology. After Party from 4:30 – 6:00 pm. http://www.higherground.me/youthpeaceaz/

11th Annual El Grupo Bicycle Scavenger Hunt – Saturday, April 12th starting at 9:00 am at El Grupo’s new clubhouse location just north of downtown. Annual fundraiser to support El Grupo’s mission of empowering youth through bicycles. Bring your bike (and friends!). The event features a scavenger hunt, lunch, drinks, and a large raffle with prizes from awesome local businesses. Contact 520-304-9682 or visit https://www.elgrupocycling.org for more info and registration.

Tucson Artists Open Studios – Saturday, April 12th and Sunday, April 13th from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. Over 130 artists in 85 locations across Tucson open their studios to the public so they can see the creative process at work. Complete listings and detailed studio locator maps are online at www.tucsonopenstudios.com.


Did You Know...?


…that the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Department and the Pima Council on Aging offer a Senior Lunch Meal Program at 8 different locations throughout Tucson? Our host in Ward 3 is the Donna Liggins Center at 2160 N. 6th Ave.  Meals are generally served at noon Monday through Friday. Individuals ages 60 and over and their spouses of any age are invited to participate. For general information, call Parks & Rec at 520-791-4873. Contact the Donna Liggins Center for more specifics on their program at 791-3247.


…that the Yaqui (Yoeme) Lenten Ceremonies in the Old Pascua Yaqui Community have begun and will 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 and 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


…that Tucson Arts Brigade is seeking youth arts submissions? All media accepted for a one day event entitled "Color of Our Voices: A Generation of Creative Youth (G2A)" to take place Saturday April 26th 4:00 – 7:00 pm at the Maker House, 283 N. Stone Ave. To apply, youth up to age 24 can visit http://www.tucsonartsbrigade.org/ and download an application, email info@TucsonArtsBrigade.org or call us at 520-623-2119. Submissions must be returned by March 31.


…that Cyclovia Tucson is seeking some cheerful greeters to orient participants to all the great activities happening in Santa Rita Park on April 6. This year the exhibitors will be set back into the park rather than lined up along 4th Avenue, and organizers want to be sure folks don't just blow past and miss the cool happenings in the park. Lindsay Walker with Living Streets Alliance is coordinating Cyclovia's volunteers.  For more information visit https://www.cycloviatucson.org/volunteer/