Karin's Note: Friday, September 13, 2013

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


Dear Tucsonans,

The summer lull, if there ever was one, has clearly passed. Thanks for taking time out of your busy lives to learn more about the happenings in local government over recent weeks.

More on the Budget

Like most households across our community, the city must look at our budget every month and year-round. We have to closely track costs and income to be sure we meet essential needs while balancing the books.  This week we addressed Van Tran, an area that embodies a lesson former Mayor George Miller impressed upon me in my earliest days as a Council Member: “the budget isn’t just about dollars, it’s a moral document”. On paper, paratransit jumps out as a “problem”. Unlike our bus service which covers 25% of costs through the fare box (far better than the national standard of 20%), Van Tran covers 5% of costs through fares.


What we heard at Tuesday’s Public Hearing was a powerful affirmation of why that investment has been, and ought to continue to be, made.  Van Tran serves people with no other means of accessing work opportunities (like sheltered workshops at the Beacon Foundation), medical appointments, and chances for social interaction. Most riders survive on fixed, very low incomes. Raising fares would impact not only those disabled and at risk of severe isolation, but their entire families and all who rely upon those family members (employers included).

Raising the possibility of a fare increase fortunately did lead to another important realization. According to State Representative Ethan Orr, Sun Van may be eligible for cost reimbursements through a range of state programs serving the same groups on vulnerable people (Departments of Developmental Disabilities, Economic Security, ACCCHS/Medicaid, etc.). The Mayor and Council voted unanimously to direct staff to aggressively pursue those untapped state revenue sources (in addition to our effort to persuade the state to restore lottery funding recently taken from transit services that I noted in a previous enote to you).

We are right to reexamine all aspects of City spending to improve efficiency and balance the ledger across all services. We’re also right to prioritize our revenue choices and our spending for the greatest good.

Regional Planning

Yesterday I attended the assembly organized by the Pima Association of Governments (PAG) on long term transportation planning. The session reinforced the importance of understanding all of the layers and steps associated with shaping our region’s infrastructure vision for 2040 and beyond. My office recently offered a comprehensive Transportation 101 training, well attended and well received by the public, which covers the range of funding sources and decision points factoring into transportation planning. The Metropolitan Pima Alliance has approached us to repeat the training for their members, and I hope other groups will do the same. I applaud Mayor Rothschild and PAG for convening this week’s discussion and engaging leaders and the public at these early stages of our next phase of long-term, regional planning. PAG will be posting the materials offered for the Regional Assembly on their website, as well as materials from Transportation 101. I will continue to provide you with updates and information on opportunities for you to get involved.

Animal Care

Pima County and area jurisdictions have collaborated for years to provide animal care/control. It’s clear the entire system needs a fresh look. This week Mayor/Council discussed the need to invest in more prevention (spay/ neuter) programs to reduce the numbers of animals ending up in shelters and euthanized. Funding any new mix of approaches will require a full accounting of the entire system if we want to craft a responsible and sustainable agreement moving forward. I will be asking for figures on license fees as well as fines collected because there may be better practices in place for us to consider.  Some cities, for example, allow dog owners to be trained and registered for using limited, designated off-leash park hours/spaces for their dogs (which could augment the few dog parks we have available at this time). The idea is to reduce the costs and burdens on animal control and to better target the goal of public health and safety. Right now, quite frankly, I’ve heard from a whole lot of people who want to abide by the law but who also find it very difficult to provide appropriate exercise for their dogs because of our rigid 24/7 leash laws. I have asked our Parks Commission to learn more about best practices across the country so Mayor and Council can consider proven methods of making open spaces available to everyone in our community while coordinating effective animal care/control.

Let me offer just one recent example of what’s wrong with our current system. A constituent in Ward 3 was recently cited for having her dog off leash at a neighborhood park. The charge is a criminal misdemeanor and the fine is $225. It’s taken her a full day trying to navigate City Court to figure out how to resolve the matter so the misdemeanor can be removed from her record (by paying the fine or doing community service or taking classes or??). She’s a registered nurse, and any criminal violations might impact her professional credentials and career. By the time she figures out the Court procedures and appears and resolves the infraction, she will have spent several days and hundreds of dollars. So my question is whether other cities do a better job of identifying animals at risk and owners who truly put the public at risk. I will ask for the Parks Commission to share their recommendations with the Mayor and Council. If you have input be sure to contact my office so we can share your thoughts with the Commission during their deliberations as well.

Anti-Poverty Investments

This week the Mayor and Council approved an investment from Community Development Block Grant funding (a federal funding source) to construct accessible sidewalks along some of the bond-funded roadway repair segments we are completing in impoverished sections of the City. No doubt we need more and better sidewalks. I challenged any assumption on the part of staff, however, that CDBG will be the future source of that type of project. CDBG funds (and the Section 108 loans in particular that we’re using) can effectively offer job opportunities and lasting impacts for struggling households such as affordable housing. Those types of projects can repay loans extended through the CDBG program so year after year we can expand our impact on poverty. The Mayor and Council agreed that we direct staff to better focus on those types of investments for CDBG moving forward, and to identify all options for sidewalk infrastructure funding that would resist any pattern of defaulting to CDBG loans versus transportation/infrastructure sources.

Lastly, I want to offer a huge congratulations to Renee Banuelos, Manager of the Nottinghill Apartments at 2660 N. Alvernon Way--who this week received a Ben's Bells for her work in the community.  Renee has been a critical partner in annual National Night out celebrations in Ward 3, and works closely with many community partners to improve the quality of life for residents of the Nottinghill Apartments and the community surrounding the complex.  Great job, Renee! 


Our next Mayor/Council meeting will be held on September 24.  In the meantime, there's lots more information below for you. 

Have a great weekend,



Ward 3 Events:

-Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance – Wednesday, September 18 at 6:00 p.m. (Networking at 6:00, meeting from 6:15-7:45) Woods Memorial Library, 3455 North First Avenue. Speakers will be Deanna Chevas, membership  coordinator for Local First Arizona  and David Higuera, Council Aide and small business coordinator to Council Member Karin Uhlich.


-4th Annual Ward 3 Shred-It Event - Saturday, September 21 from 8:30 a.m. to Noon. Partnering again with Constable Bennett Bernal, this year’s event will be held at Mansfield Park, 2000 N. 4th Avenue. First box is free, and subsequent boxes are $5 each with donations going to our non-profit partners, Lend A Hand and Boys and Girls Club of Tucson. For more information, contact Cheryl Rodgers at Ward 3 Council Office, 791-4711.

-Tucson Police Department Hosts Neighborhood Cleanup- Saturday, September 21 from 8:00 a.m. to Noon (with BBQ to follow). Area of focus will be Tyndall Avenue between Hedrick and Blacklidge in Ward 3. Amphi High School student volunteers and many local businesses will be on hand to assist. All volunteers welcome! Meet at Hedrick Drive and North Tyndall at 8:00 a.m.  More information: Officer Sean Travers: Sean.Travers@tucsonaz.gov or the Ward 3 Council Office at 791-4711.

Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s):

-Cabrini NA – Tuesday, September 17 at 6:00 p.m. Vineyard Church, 1695 N. Country Club
-Samos NA – Tuesday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. Salpointe H.S. 1545 E. Copper
-Flowing Wells NA – Thursday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m. Ellie Towne Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff
-Mountain View NA – Thursday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m. Habitat for Humanity, 3501 N. Mountain


Citywide Events:

-2nd Saturdays Downtown – Saturday, September 14 from 5:00 – 11:00 p.m. Free monthly event features dancers, mimes and movies for kids. There will also be a concert and dancing on top of the Pennington Street garage. Classic cars at 6th Avenue and Congress. More info: 545-1102 or http://www.2ndsaturdaysdowntown.com/

-Voter Registration Training Workshop – Sunday, September 15 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Dusenberry-River Library, 5605 E. River Road. The League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson offers this workshop to individuals and groups interested in participating in “National Voter Registration Day” (September 24). Email Sue DeArmond: ssdearmond@gmail.com if you’re interested in attending the training or would like to participate on September 24.

- Ready or Hot? Climate Smart Southwest Conference kick-off.  Friday, Sept. 20, 7-8 pm. Unisource Building Conference Room, 88 East Broadway.  Extreme weather events in the Borderlands are on the rise. This conference looks at ways to educate and engage community action to address the anticipated public health impacts of climate change. For complete information on Saturday's conference events, go to  http://www.psr.org/chapters/arizona/climate-smart-southwest/


UA4U - By Sarah T. Evans, UA Office of Community Relations

Welcome to UA4U, an occasional communication from the UA Office of Community Relations. Its purpose is to share information of interest with core-campus neighbors and neighborhoods.

New VolunteerUA Pairs Student Volunteers with Community Needs - The University of Arizona recently implemented its own online Volunteer Match program where students have easy access to sign up for service projects, and community groups looking for volunteers have a centralized resource to identify students for activities. The program makes it a one-stop shopping experience to identify opportunities, sign up, and participate.  To learn more, visit the site at https://www.volunteermatch.org/.

If you are a community agency, or college at the UA, and would like to post a project on this site, please contact: volunteer@email.arizona.edu  or call 520-621-2782.  We are happy to help you!


-Did you know…?

…that September is National Preparedness Month? One important step in preparedness is having a 72-hour kit. Every household needs one; they are essential for emergencies, and you’ll be glad you have one! Check out FEMA’s website: https://www.ready.gov/ for help in building your kit and personalizing it for your family’s needs. On this website you’ll find lists of recommended supplies, tips on maintaining and storing your kits, and other useful tips and ideas.


…that Cox Communications is once again sponsoring free Movies in the Park this fall? Friday, September 27, Toy Story presented at Kennedy Park; Friday, October 4, Toy Story 2 presented at Freedom Park: Saturday, October 26, Toy Story 3 presented at Reid Park. All movies start at dusk, but come early (5:30 p.m.) to enjoy jumping castles, face painting, clowns, music and food trucks. More info: saaca.org or call (520) 797-3959.