Paul's Note: Friday, February 14th, 2020

Paul’s Note
Friday, February 14th, 2020
Paul’s Note
Ward 3 Gem
Pet of the Week                   
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
City Wide Events
Did You Know?
Paul’s Note
Firefighting Foam
As regular readers know, I've been working closely with our city leadership and leadership at Tucson Water to ensure that the City of Tucson is acting aggressively to remediate emerging contaminants found in our groundwater.
Last year, Council Member Kozachik and I worked to have the City of Tucson join a lawsuit against 3M, the manufacturer of PFOS and PFOA (two popular types of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances known as PFAS). PFAS is used in numerous products but has largely been introduced into groundwater through its use in firefighting foam (known as “F500 foam”). The former use of PFAS foam at Davis Monthan Air Force Base and the Air National Guard sites for firefighting exercises has likely led to high groundwater testing levels in those areas.
Earlier this week I joined Chief Ryan and members of the Tucson Fire Department for a test of a PFAS-free firefighting foam. Tucson Fire Department typically uses water or a Class A foam made up mostly of non-toxic detergent. On Monday, I had the opportunity to see the F500 foam tested and compared to water and the Class A foam on 1,000 degree fires.
The results were favorable. Our first comparison, extinguishing a pallet fire, resulted in times of 1:30 for water, 45 seconds for Class A foam and 12 seconds for F500 foam. The second comparison, extinguishing a tire fire, came in at 17 seconds for water, 7 seconds for Class A foam and 4 seconds for the F500 foam.
TFD firefighters extinguishing a tire fire using F500 foam
I know our team will continue to test this foam, but initial findings are positive. This type of foam is particularly beneficial for chemical fires where our fire fighters really depend on rapid extinguishment.
Finding PFAS-free foam that we can use is not only good for city residents but it further encourages various entities to move away from PFAS-based firefighting foams.
As regular readers know, I've been working closely with our city leadership and leadership at Tucson Water to ensure that the City of Tucson is acting aggressively to remediate emerging contaminants found in our groundwater.
Mineral City
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting with a local, long-time entrepreneur, Gus Gonzalez, owner of Arcal Precision Components, who two years ago ventured into the gem and mineral show business that is booming in Ward 3 in Barrio Blue Moon along North Oracle Road. It was an eye-opening visit.
Gus is helping lead the way in creating an exciting destination point, named Mineral City on West Lester Street, for buyers and sellers who come to Tucson each February for the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase, a critical contributor to our local economy. Gus, who opened his machine shop on West Lester in 1986, has created exhibition and year-round storage space for vendors from around the globe and Gus plans to add more space next year.
Council Member Durham with gem dealer Ian Wan
In addition, other developers are creating new storage and display spaces for the increasing demand of quality venues to show spectacular gems and minerals that are brought to Tucson, all which generates revenue for the city of Tucson and income for local businesses and residents.
According to a 2019 financial impact study conducted for Visit Tucson by FMR Associates of Tucson, the annual gem show makes a deep contribution to the local economy. The total impact, direct and indirect spending, was estimated at slightly more than $200 million for the 2019 Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. Lodging alone accounted for $45.83 million, the single largest expenditure, and food and beverage sales totaled $27.15 million. The 2019 total was a 9.1% increase from the $183.35 million spent in Tucson in 2014.
I toured Gus’ manufacturing plant which makes highly designed components for the aerospace industry. His firm has created parts and components for IBM and NASA, and today counts on Raytheon as his biggest customer. Gus believes that Tucson could attract more small- to medium-size manufacturers but finding skilled workers is a challenge. But the potential is there, he told me.
While manufacturing growth is a question mark, the growth associated with the gem show is clearer. And it’s not just vendors and buyers who come to Tucson for several weeks a year. More sellers are setting up shop here in Tucson year round. One vendor in Mineral City told me that several year-round vendors who have leased space are talking about holding two or three small gem shows in Mineral City, which is just north of the Tucson House. In addition, year-round vendors hire local residents, like the vendor I talked to who had hired a young woman from Barrio Blue Moon.
More vendors means more local hiring and more local spending.
I share Gus’ optimism for the potential economic growth in our ward, in an area that is the focus of the Thrive in the ’05 initiative, a collaboration between the city of Tucson, Pima Community College and the ASU School of Social Work. Tucson is the place to find spectacular gem stones, one-of-a kind minerals and ancient fossils. And I intend to help Ward 3 become a great home for buyers and sellers.
State Legislature Visit
This week I was able to meet with Arizona State Legislators in Phoenix to advocate on behalf of the City of Tucson and learn about some of the legislation that is coming before them. As you may know, this has turned into a very busy session. This 54th Legislature began on January 13, 2020. February 7 was the final day to introduce new bills. In that short period, the total number of bills introduced as of February 8 is close to 1500. That number is a significant increase from last session which had also reached a high point for total bills introduced.
With so many bills, there is a lot of activity happening right now at the State Capitol. This is heightened given that February 21, 2020 is the day where a bill must have passed from its chamber of origin, i.e., the Senate or the House of Representatives, and over to the opposite chamber for it to continue to progress forward. That means that even if there’s a bill you like, if it is not heard in committee and passed by the committee and then onto the whole chamber and opposite chamber, it has little hope of being enacted anytime soon. This, of course, will happen to the vast majority of bills.
All this means that this week was a strategic time to flag important bills for key legislators. Based on discussions I had at the State Capitol on Wednesday and my strong support for equal opportunity, higher wages for working families and concrete measures towards the electrification of transportation, I directed our Intergovernmental Governmental Relations staff to bring the following bills to M&C on Wednesday and recommend support:
HB 2104: This bill would allow parents who receive child care assistance to be able to pursue full time educational or job training programs without risking losing their child care assistance. The bill is supported by the Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce.
SB 1202: This bill would appropriate $1 million per year from the State of Arizona to provide rebates up to $1000 for homeowners to install high voltage electrical outlets for the purpose of charging an electric vehicle.
My visit offered an opportunity to make sure that many of our Tucson-area legislators were aware of bills that the City of Tucson is tracking and to ensure we are advocating for good legislation, like HB 2104 and SB 1202. All in all, it was a pretty exhausting day for me—to say nothing of the high-energy required of our legislators.
Council Member Durham takes advantage of a brief pause in meetings outside the Senate Chamber
I want to thank all the Representatives and Senators who serve Arizona. I certainly hope that we will see many positive bills coming out of this session.
Youth on Their Own
I had the pleasure of meeting with Elizabeth Slater this week. Elizabeth is the Chief Executive Officer of Youth on Their Own. Youth on Their Own (YOTO) is a dropout prevention program that supports the high school graduation and continued success of homeless, unaccompanied youth in Pima County. YOTO provides financial assistance through school attendance and grade stipends, basic human needs through free items such as food, clothing, hygiene items, household goods, and school supplies and finally referrals to other social service and healthcare agencies to ensure that each student receives the support required to graduate from high school.
YOTO was founded in Ward 3 at Amphitheater High School by a counselor named Ann Young in 1986. Since then, over 16,000 homeless and compromised students have been empowered to stay in school and pursue opportunities for self-sufficiency.
Last fiscal year YOTO served over 2,000 kids of which 21% attend school in Ward 3. About 82% of students in their program graduate from high school, which is actually above the state average. About 75% of YOTO’s funding comes from individuals donors. The City of Tucson is also currently a funding partner through a Housing and Urban Development Project.
Please visit  to learn more about the organization.
President’s Day
As we head into a holiday weekend I’d like you to note that my office will be closed on Monday, February 17th to observe President’s Day. Take some time to enjoy the Spring weather and keep an eye out for early wildflowers. They have already started blooming in our rain basins here at Ward 3. My staff and I will return on Tuesday, February 18th at 9 am. Have fun and stay safe.
- Paul Durham
Ward 3 Gem
Gus Gonzalez
He was 17 years old when he began working as a machinist in California. He told his employer he was 18.
Gus Gonzalez with Council Member Paul Durham and Ward 3 Chief of Staff Sarah Launius
But from that intrepid start, Gus Gonzalez has worked his way as a machinist to owner of a small but highly touted precision machine shop tucked away on West Lester Street in Barrio Blue Moon just north of the Tucson House on Miracle Mile.
Arcal Precision Components, which Gonzalez moved to Tucson in 1980 and then relocated six years later on Lester, supplies aerospace companies and the U.S. government, with highly engineered parts, from large to teensy. Arcal's customers have included IBM and NASA, and today the small company's biggest customer is Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson.
Gonzalez is a champion of small manufacturing in Tucson. But in the past two years, Gonzalez has spearheaded another effort that is paying dividends for Tucson and especially for Barrio Blue Moon and the southern portion of the Oracle Road corridor. He has helped establish Mineral City as a destination point for Tucson's annual Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase which brings in thousands of shoppers and buyers from around the country and the globe, which provides millions of dollars to Tucson and local businesses.
Gonzalez leases 22,000 square feet to 19 tenants from around the world who showcase and sell high-end gems, minerals and stones. Gonzalez first leased space two years ago and next year plans to add four more tenants and increase space by 5,000 square feet. In addition, there are plans by other developers to create showcase and storage space for gemstone and mineral dealers, Gonzalaz said.
"There is so much potential to do more," he said. "We're discovering a lot to do."
One clear benefit from the expansion of Mineral City and the adjoining mineral and gem and fossil venues is the economic development and job creation for nearby residents. While some jobs are temporary during the gem show, other jobs are year round.
The development is a far cry from when Gonzalez bought property on West Lester in 1986 after leasing space on Tucson's south side. The area was depressed, marked by dilapidated buildings and houses, he said.
After he bought an adjoining parcel, Gonzalez built spaces for small manufacturers. But as the area began to attract some wholesale fossil and mineral storage places, Gonzalez realized the future of the area is paved with gemstones and minerals. He converted his rental space to meet the growing demand for gemstone storage and display spaces.
"All of a sudden we have more people moving in," he said.
The Ward 3 Council Office is hosting the United Way of Southern Arizona’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA provides FREE, quality tax preparation from IRS-certified preparers to individuals and families earning up to $66,000 annually.
You can come to the office on any Saturday from February 1st-April 11th from 9 am-1 pm. This service is first come first served so plan ahead when you get ready to do your taxes.
The Ward 3 Council office is located at 1510 E Grant Rd.
Pet of the Week
Samantha is a 4 year old Pitt Bull/Boxer mix. It might surprise you that she is only about 30 pounds. You can almost fit her in your pocket she’s so petite! It’s been almost a month since she came to Pima Animal Care Center. She would love to be your valentine and it’s not too late to come out to PACC and make her wish come true.
For more information Samantha, email:
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Flowing Wells Estates Neighborhood Watch
February 15th
4-5 pm
Old Times Kafe
1485 W Prince Rd
Flowing Wells
February 20th
6-8 pm
Ellie Towne Center
1660 W Ruthrauff Rd
Ward 3 Events
One Water Tucson Ward 3 Community Event
February 29th
10 am-12 pm
Donna Liggins Rec Center
2160 N 6th Ave
What is the One Water 2100 Master Plan?
Tucson Water is preparing a new comprehensive long range plan for the first time since 2004, based on a nationally recognized, integrated approach to water resource management known as “One Water.”
Public involvement is a key component of the One Water 2100 Master Plan process to ensure the communities have a voice in the management of water resources as the Tucson area continues to grow and evolve.
Through a series of surveys, workshops, webinars and public events the One Water planning team will better understand conservation priorities, scenario planning and the value of water from the perspective of various types of customers and water users.

Below is a link to the One Water 2100 Master Plan website.

City Wide Events
Tucson Tree Festival
March 7th
8 am-5 pm
Reid Park
Tucsonans will head outdoors on Saturday, March 7 for the annual Arizona Tree Festival & Tree Climbing Championship at Reid Park.
Presented by Arizona Community Tree Council, the Tree Festival is a free day of fun for the whole family including tree giveaways, tree care demos, food and kid friendly activities. Festival-goers are also invited to watch the annual Tree Climbing Championship featuring professional climbers from throughout the
Did You Know?
City of Tucson Holiday Schedule
The Presidents’ Day holiday will be observed on Monday, February 17th City offices, including the Ward 3 Council office, will be closed on Monday, February 17th.
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. The Los Reales Landfill will be open.
Holiday collection schedules are available online at, or if you have a smartphone, download the free Recycle Coach™ App to have access to all collection schedules.
Customers may leave a message for Environmental Services Customer Service at 791-3171 or by submitting a service request at or Recycle Coach.
Census Day
Census Day is April 1st, 2020. Starting in mid-march, Census forms will be available by phone, online or by mail.
Help make sure everyone is counted to ensure that our region gets the funding we deserve.
The census provides information that determines:
  • Representation in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • How more than $675 billion in public funds are distributed
  • How much public money Arizona receives annually based on census data ($20 billion in FY 2016)
  • Funding levels for programs and services, such as education, health care and emergency services
  • Necessary details for local government to better plan for public safety and prepare for emergencies
Despite what you may have read or heard, participating in the 2020 Census is safe and secure. Your responses are not only anonymous; they are protected by federal law.
Your answers to the census questions can only be used to produce statistics—they cannot be used against you in any way.
Things to know:
  • The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that your answers legally cannot be shared
  • Answers cannot be used by law enforcement
  • Answers cannot be used to determine eligibility for government benefits
  • Every census bureau employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life
  • Since you can respond securely online, by mail or by phone, no census worker will come to your home unless you fail to respond
  • Your online responses are safe from hacking and other cyberthreats – all data is encrypted and is not stored online
Updated census data provides a fresh statistical portrait of the nation, which leads to fair government representation, better decision-making and equitable distribution of public funds for critical local programs and services. Learn more about the census bureau’s data protection and privacy program at
Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
Ward 3 has Facebook and Twitter pages so you can keep up with our Council Member and stay in touch with what's happening in Tucson and around the Ward.
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham
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