Pauls Note: Friday, February 12, 2021

Paul's Ward 3 News and Update
 
Friday, February 12, 2021
 
News and Updates
Pet of the Week                 
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
City Wide Events
Did You Know?
 
*******************************************
 
We are midway through the second month of the New Year and your Ward 3 staff is busy. Our newsletter is chockfull of useful information. We update you on the process to appoint a new council member to follow Council Member Paul Durham who will step down March 1. We also bring you up to date on the continuing discussion surrounding the Central Business District, and exciting news from the Parks and Recreation Department about its new mobile recreation vans. This newsletter also contains vital information on COVID vaccination registration and an announcement from the Water Department.
 
All this and more including a photo of Sophie, a gorgeous dog waiting for someone to adopt and take home. We ask that you share this newsletter with your neighbors or better yet, encourage them to subscribe here.
 
February 14
 
Here is Ward 3’s civic quiz for the week:
 
When did Arizona gain statehood? How many states were there when Arizona joined the Stars and Stripes club? What president first championed Arizona becoming a state? Who was the first governor?
 
You have 60 seconds to answer and no Googling is allowed.
 
Okay, time is up.
 
Arizona was admitted into the Union on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1912, as the 48th state. President Abraham Lincoln, who was president when Arizona became a territory, was one of Arizona’s earliest key supporters, and George P. Hunt was Arizona’s first governor.
 
Speaking of presidents, Monday, Feb. 15, is Presidents’ Day, a federal and city holiday, but that is not part of the quiz.
 
Arizona’s first governor, George P. Hunt
 
Now if you didn’t answer all the questions correctly or at all, don’t feel bad. We suspect the vast majority of people, whether in Winslow, Wickenburg or Ward 3, do not know that Sunday is Arizona’s 109th birthday. So, here’s a shout out and a (very brief) look back at the road to statehood.
 
Before statehood, the Arizona Territory was established in 1863. Prior to that Arizona was part of the larger New Mexico Territory. Tucson, which was colonized in 1775, was the territorial capital for a short period, as was Prescott which was the capital twice! Tucson was the largest town during Arizona’s territorial years. When statehood arrived, Tucson’s population was around 13,000 hardy souls. But in the 1920s, Phoenix, the territorial capital since 1889, surpassed Tucson in number of residents. (For many Tucsonans, that was a blessing for Phoenix got all the freeways and lousy traffic.)
 
During the territorial period, the move toward statehood was as bumpy as a drive up Mount Lemmon from Oracle in a Prius. East Coast politicians thought of Arizona, if they thought of it at all, as a far-away, isolated, backward area. Nothing but an insufferable desert. Obviously they hadn’t visited the cool pines of Flagstaff or enjoyed the rolling grasslands and mountains of Southeast Arizona.
 
By the early 1900s the mood in the federal Capitol was more receptive to creating a state—reunifying New Mexico and Arizona as the 47th state. But Arizonans, who saw themselves as more progressive than their neighbors, balked.
 
Finally, in 1910 the territorial government convened a session, with the blessings of Congress, to draw up a state constitution which could lead to statehood. The body met for about two months in Phoenix. In the end the group produced a constitution that was considered radical for its time—voters could recall judges. Not everyone approved, including one of Tucson’s representatives to the convention, Carlos Jacome, who voted against the constitution. Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved the constitution.
 
But U.S. President William Howard Taft wasn’t happy. He objected to the recall provision and rejected the constitution. Arizonans voted to drop the contested provision and Arizona was eventually admitted to the Union—about a month after New Mexico became the 47th state. Later that year, Arizona voters approved changing the newly adopted constitution and returned the recall provision to the state’s governing document.
 
Happy Statehood Day!
 
 
 
Ward 3 Council Seat Appointment
 
There are two important events coming up related to the appointment to fill the vacancy that will result on March 1 at 5 pm. The first comes during the Mayor and Council study session on February 23 to discuss the appointment process. The second is March 1 at 5:30 pm when Mayor and Council will hold a special meeting to vote on the appointment.
 
According to the City Charter Chapter VIII, Sec. 2., these are the procedures required of Mayor and Council to follow when filling a vacancy. 
 
Sec. 2. Procedures for filling vacancies in office of mayor or councilmember.
 
   (a)   As used in this section, the term "governing body" shall mean, in the case of a vacancy in the office of councilmember, the mayor and council, and in the case of a vacancy in the office of mayor, the council.
   (b)   In filling any vacancy in the office of mayor or councilmember, the procedure shall be as follows:
   1.   The governing body shall meet within a reasonable time to select an elector of the City, and, in the case of a councilmember, of the ward from which the councilmember whose office has been vacated was elected or appointed, to fill such vacancy.
   2.   Such selection may occur at any regular or special session of the governing body called for that purpose, and the selection of such mayor or councilmember shall be duly noted in the minutes.
   3.   Upon qualification, such selected mayor or councilmember shall continue in office as mayor or councilmember until the expiration of the term for which the mayor or councilmember whose office has been vacated had been elected or appointed.
   4.   The governing body may provide by ordinance for additional procedures to be used in selecting a mayor or councilmember pursuant to this subsection (b).
   (c)   Should the governing body select a council member to fill a vacancy in the office of mayor, the office of the councilmember so selected shall thereupon become vacant and shall be filled by the governing body in the manner set forth in subsection (b).
Under this provision, each elected official (i.e., the Mayor and each remaining councilmember) has a vote in the appointment of the person who is selected to fill the vacancy.
 
That is to say that Mayor and Council must select and appoint an elector by a vote in a reasonable time. To be a qualified elector is defined in the Charter as someone who has lived in the City limits for the last 3 years; and who has lived in Ward 3 for at least 1 year (with adjustments in the event of annexation or redistricting).
 
The Charter does not require any particular process that leads to the selection of the appointee. Rather, that process will be determined by Mayor and Council.
 
Central Business District and GPLET Discussions
 
Many of you are aware that the city has the opportunity to identify a Central Business District (CBD) and to provide the Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET) incentive within the bounds of the CBD.
 
Mayor and Council recently hosted seven public conversations to help them discern whether and how to expand the CBD and to redefine economic development in the city. On Tuesday, Mayor and Council were presented with the findings from those seven sessions.
 
A few highlights that popped out for the Ward 3 team include feedback from participants of the public conversations regarding priorities for the types of developments and community benefits they would like to see incentivized through the GPLET. In addition to affordable and workforce housing, participants said they would like to see developments that support renovation and reuse of existing buildings (84.7%), public and green spaces (80.4%) and safer streets and better connectivity (76%) be prioritized in the downtown area. Participants also shared that they wanted to see historic preservation and adaptive reuse (80.1%), environmental sustainability (76%) and small and local business job creation (73.2%) incorporated as community benefits to accompany new developments.
 
Individuals who attended these sessions provided valuable insights to how Mayor and Council will proceed. In addition to the 229 individuals who attended these conversations and 733 individuals who completed the survey, the city also worked with three bridge builders to provide impartial feedback to both participants and to Mayor and Council regarding the fears, challenges and opportunities that they heard from residents. These bridge-builders (photographed below) include: Francisca, the Director of the Women’s Business Center at the YWCA; Corky, Architect and Principal Planner with Poster, Mirto, McDonald; Sharayah, Architect and Principle Designer with Cuadro Design.
 
 
We spoke with Sharayah, an active participant in Ward 3’s Barrio Blue Moon Neighborhood Association, the Thrive in the ‘05 collaboration and other public initiatives, about what she drew from her participation as a bridge-builder and what she hopes will come from this public process.
 
“For all of us (bridge-builders) we saw ourselves as moderators and listeners,” she said. Their roles, she added, was to help lead and broaden the discussion, to move forward and to encourage participants, especially residents, to share their experiences and their opinions about the CBD and the GPLET.
 
She was encouraged when there were moments in each of the seven virtual discussions when the participants started showing a path forward or at least reaching a middle ground.
 
Shay, which is what she likes to be called, was encouraged by the discussions which she believes will set a new standard for future public town halls in Tucson. Given the City staff time is limited as well as every-day residents, public engagements are challenging. While the process is not perfect, she acknowledged, she said this engagement was more open than other previous processes.
 
On a deeper personal level, Shay said she feels both sides of the discussion and debate over the GPLET. While the GPLET is seen as a tool to spur development, others see it threatening to older barrios and low-income residents. The challenge is to strike a fine balance between development and preservation of neighborhoods, she said.
 
"We need to find a way to move forward and encourage responsible growth while protecting neighborhoods and residents,” said Shay, who is a parent and small business owner. Another challenge is to open up development opportunities for medium to small developers, she added.
 
While the public engagement over the CBD and the GPLET has been exhaustive, Shay said the process is not over yet. There will be more “in-the-weeds examination” of the GPLET, including the Feb. 23 Mayor and Council study session.
 
At that meeting, Mayor and Council will hear from Dr. Gary Pivo who has been doing research to learn what the actual cost burden and benefits of existing GPLET projects have been for different constituencies. Stay tuned for a future update in the Ward 3 newsletter.
 
Ready, Set, Rec!
 
We are excited to announce the City's new mobile recreation program, Ready, Set, Rec! This engaging program was made possible by federal CARES Act funds to acquire six vans, equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), handwashing stations, and traffic cones or barricades to bring recreation to the community. This effort is backed by the Mayor and all city council members.
 
 
The program, set to begin during Rodeo Vacation on Thursday, February 25, will mobilize the six vans into the community at three different park locations per week, per vehicle. This program will ensure that the entire community is served and has an opportunity to participate in recreation activities near where they live. Some of the activities will include corn hole, board games, hula hoops, giant chess, giant checkers, giant connect 4, cards, giant ring toss, and more!
 
Official Ready, Set, Rec! Launch: Thursday, February 25
 
Ward 3 Location: Jacobs Park, 3300 N. Fairview Ave., 2-4 p.m.
 
Other Locations:
David G. Herrera and Ramon Quiroz Park, 600 W. St. Mary’s Road, 2-4 p.m.
Jesse Owens Park, 400 S. Sarnoff Drive, 2-4 p.m.
Purple Heart Park, 9800 E. Rita Road, 2-4 p.m.
Himmel Park, 1000 N. Tucson Blvd., 2-4 p.m.
Rodeo Park, 5000 S. Nogales Highway, 1-3p.m.
 
Safety of the community and employees is a top priority for the City. Each program will have limited participants, masks will be required, as well as physical distancing. Equipment will be cleaned between uses and prior to the activities taking place. Each vehicle will be equipped with PPE to keep both staff and the public safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, including first aid kits, masks, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer. We ask that if you are feeling sick, stay home and follow all other CDC guidelines to keep safe.
 
 
To find out where and when each Ready, Set, Rec! vehicle will be and what activities will be happening throughout the month, visit www.Tucsonaz.gov/parks/ReadySetRec.
 
Ward 3 Neighborhood Series
 
As the Ward 3 Neighborhood Series continues, we look forward to bringing you topics that successfully connect neighbors. The upcoming topics address how to bring people together for neighborhood events and making sure all residents are included in plans for the neighborhood.
 
For next week’s session we have developed content that will help engage and inform neighbors on best practices.
 
Here is the link to view the all prior sessions on the Ward 3 YouTube page.
 
Here are the links to register for the final two sessions. The times for both is 5:30pm.
 
February 18, Session 8: Communications for Events
 
 
Pet of the Week
 
 
 
One doesn’t often see a Vizsla and yet here is Sophie. She is a 4-year-old mix and ready to come home with you. Vizslas are calm, benevolent and sensitive. They are extremely easy to teach and very obedient. They make great hiking and biking companions.
 
Sophie can be found at the Human Society of Southern Arizona where you can meet her today and see this special girl for yourself.
 
To maintain social distancing, HSSA is asking that you come to the shelter with a plan to bring a pet home with you. If you have other pets that you would like to meet or greet your new family member, you are welcome to bring them along.
 
************************************************
 
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
 
Jefferson Park Safety Meeting
Tuesday
February 23
6 pm
These meetings with Officer Erin Peters will be chaired by Rosemary Bolza, Executive VP of JPNA.
 
Jefferson Park
Wednesday
February 24
6 pm
Meeting ID: 869 9816 8476
Passcode: 693954
 
****************************************
 
Ward 3 Events
 
El Cortez Weekly Walking and Cleanup
Thursdays
5 pm
Corner of Flores/Los Altos
 
Join El Cortez residents and meet your neighbors while getting exercise. Beautify the 'hood by walking around and cleaning up litter.  Starting this week, it will be on Thursdays. Meet at 5 pm at the corner of Flores & Los Altos. As the days get longer and hotter, start time will likely be later.
 
Vita at Ward 3 Council Office
 
 
Did you know that if you made $66,000 or less last year, you do not have to pay to file your taxes? Starting on February 1st, United Way of Tucson's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help you file for free. Mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way is teaming up with www.GetYourRefund.org to provide free, online, one-on-one tax assistance from real, live IRS-certified tax preparers. VITA tax preparation saves taxpayers an average of $250 per return. The program helps taxpayers access all tax credits for which they are eligible – including the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
There are three ways you can get your taxes done for free:
 
-GetYourRefund.org – taxpayers can connect with VITA volunteers online
-In-Person Assistance – limited in-person assistance is available at select sites
-DIY Self-Prep Software – online services for those who feel confident in filing on their own Click here for more information.
 
If you do not have access to the internet you can call 520-837-4231 to talk to VITA volunteers by phone. Be sure to leave your name and a good contact number so that they can reach out to assist you.
 
***************************************
 
City Wide Events
 
Public Meeting About Accessory Dwelling Units
 
Learn more about how Accessory Dwelling Units can provide additional housing options in Tucson, how they are regulated today, and what changes are being considered in order to make this housing option more accessible. You will also have a chance to share your thoughts and feedback.
Meetings will be held virtually over Zoom at the following times. Sign up to attend using the links below:
 
Regulation of Adult Use Marijuana Dispensaries
 
The Department of Planning and Development Services, at the direction of Mayor and Council, is working to amend Tucson's local zoning code to permit and regulate legal adult-use marijuana dispensaries. The next step is to review the proposed changes with the Planning Commission which will hold a public hearing on the topic.
 
You can follow the process and share any feedback here.
 
***************************************
 
Did You Know?
 
CITY OF TUCSON TO END MORATORIUM ON WATER SHUTOFFS MARCH 15
 
On Feb. 9, the City of Tucson Mayor and Council directed Tucson Water to resume shutting off water accounts for nonpayment beginning March 15. The utility is working to notify customers of this impending change and to make customers aware of the more than $1 million in utility bills assistance that is still available for COVID-related financial hardship.
 
Tucson Water is urging customers with delinquent accounts to take the following actions:
 
  • Check your utility services statement to ensure you are current on your bill
  • Check your mail for any notices from Tucson Water, which will be mailing notices to all delinquent customers
  • Make payments by visiting https://tucsonaz.gov/PayUtility  or calling 520-791-3242
  • Visit https://tucsonaz.gov/UtilityBillsHelp  or call 520-791- 3253 to see if you qualify for COVID-related utility assistance for water, sewer, and trash services
  • Visit https://pima.gov/UtilityBillsHelp  for information on all COVID assistance available in the region
 
TAKE THE CLIMATE ACTION COMMUNITY SURVEY
 
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero is inviting the community to complete a survey to identify their priorities for both City government and communitywide climate and environmental sustainability actions. As part of a climate emergency declaration on Sept. 9, 2020, the City of Tucson committed to develop and implement a 10-year Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Community Survey will kick-start the process of developing that plan. "I invite all Tucsonans to complete the Climate Action Community Survey and voice your priorities and ideas on climate action and environmental sustainability,” said Mayor Romero. 
Take the Climate Action Survey
Resolution 23222 - Climate Emergency Declaration
 
HOW TO REGISTER FOR A COVID-19 VACCINE
 
If you're eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine (70-years-old and up, prioritized essential workers, public safety, and teachers/educators/child care workers), you can register online at the link below. Help is also available in English and Spanish by calling (520) 222-0119 for those who do not have computer access. Please plan for a long hold time as people make their way through the crowded system.
Vaccine registration online
 
MOVE TUCSON VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE ONLINE
 
The City of Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM) is offering a self-guided, on-demand informational virtual tour of Move Tucson Phase 2. This virtual tour shares what DTM has learned from the public about Tucson's mobility priorities and provides an overview of the current state of our transportation system. By participating, you will learn about Move Tucson, review the feedback from the community as part of the draft vision and guiding principles, and be able to provide feedback that will shape the outcome of the plan. Move Tucson is an important first step in creating a world-class transportation system that works for all Tucsonans now and into the future.
 
TRANSIT FARES REMAIN FREE UNTIL END OF FISCAL YEAR
 
Tucson's Mayor and City Council voted yesterday to extend the suspension of transit fares through the end of this fiscal year, June 30. That means riders won't have to pay to make trips on Sun Tran buses, the Sun Link streetcar, Sun Van, Sun On Demand, and Sun Shuttle. The City received funds for public transit in the latest federal relief package that will help offset the costs of not charging fares during the pandemic.
 
CITY HOLIDAY CLOSURES MONDAY
 
All City of Tucson offices, except for emergency services, will be closed Monday, Feb. 15, for Presidents Day. Residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on Monday, and all collections will be delayed by one day. The Los Reales Landfill will be open on Monday, but Household Hazardous Waste will not be open. Sun Tran, Sun Van, and the Sun Link streetcar will operate on a regular schedule on Monday.
 
****************************************************
 
Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
 
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham
 
***************************************************
 
Quick Links