September 24, 2013

Jobs & Economic Development


Dear Friends:
Jobs and economic development continue to be my top priorities. This year we are entering into a new partnership with the University of Arizona to create new business startups, we are expanding and improving trade relations with Mexico, and we established a Downtown incentive package that has helped leverage $250 million in private investment along the streetcar corridor.  The streetcar line is in place, our first streetcar has been delivered and testing along the route has begun.  We brought to the community jobs and a green way to traverse our urban core.  We’re proud we used an American company, United Streetcar/Oregon Iron Works, to build our streetcar.  Our Downtown and center of the city areas are alive with new residents, new businesses, new energy. Its proof of what we can do when we work together.

On another note, we are days away from the October 1st opening for enrollment in programs under the Affordable Care Act.  Coverage won’t begin until January 1, 2014.  It is important that everyone, especially our neighbors and family members that are currently without health insurance, learn about their options. Arizona’s Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state’s Medicaid agency, will reopen eligibility enrollment on October 1 for childless adults and residents between 100-133% of the Federal Poverty Level.  With so many other options available, it is crucial to become educated.  Pima County/Tucson Women’s Commission (PCTWC) has created a brochure to educate residents in accessing the new health insurance marketplace.  Pima County is fortunate to have community Navigators who are trained to help the public.  Several agencies in Tucson including El Rio Health Care, Pima Council on Aging, and Tucson Urban League received federal funding to hire counselors or navigators to help sort through the different options, costs, and help in the insurance marketplace enrollment process.  I have provided links below to a few helpful sites and a PDF version of the Women’s Commission brochure.


In Community,


Regina Romero


P.S. Congratulations to ASU School of Social Work, Tucson Component.  This November they’ll celebrate 35 years in our community.  Ward 1 partners with ASU so students have the opportunity to work hands-on with our constituents while gaining college credit.  We’ve had several excellent interns who have assisted in our office while completing their degrees.


Community Briefs

USGBC Awards 6 Schools for Green Apple Day of Service

Ward 1’s Pueblo High School is one of seven school sites awarded grants in Tucson for the 2nd Annual Green Apple Day of Service.  Pueblo students are using the award to plant trees, beautify their campus and the surrounding neighborhood as part of Pueblo Pride Day on Wednesday, October 2.  

Green Apple Day of Service is observed globally on Saturday, September 28, with some projects, like Pueblo High School, scheduled on alternate dates.  The Green Apple Day of Service is project of the U.S. Green Building Council and The Center for Green Schools to encourage commitment to schools that practice energy conservation, with the larger goal of helping students create a world that is cleaner and healthier.  Arizona’s Sonoran Branch of the USGBC received requests for over $5000 in funds, and awarded $2900 to six Tucson schools: Drachman, Utterback, Roskruge, Borton, Holladay, City High and Pueblo. For more information on Pueblo’s Pride Day, please contact Mary Wallace at (520)551-0530 or .


Meet Me Downtown

The pedestrian traffic and buzz about new restaurants and clubs opening downtown are a great sign that Downtown Tucson is thriving.  I’m proud that Mayor and Council have made important policy decisions over the past five years to make it happen. Working closely with Congressman Raul Grijalva’s office, the City secured funding for the Modern Streetcar through the TIGER Grant.  The streetcar construction created 500 jobs and has helped bring in $250 million in private sector investment along the route.  Another win for Downtown is the renovation of the former Walgreen’s into UA Downtown, where students from the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences take classes each semester. 

“The vision that so many of us have had for so long, of an authentic downtown for everyone, with a wide variety of housing projects, markets, and beautiful outdoor spaces suddenly seems attainable in a way that was unimaginable even a few years ago,” said Michael Keith, CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership. “This is the downtown we’ve been waiting for, and it feels like the party’s just getting started.”

More than new 150 businesses and projects are now located in our urban core.  34 restaurants, 27 retail shops, 12 new art and cultural projects, 14 offices, nine high-tech businesses or business incubators and eight housing projects are just some examples of development that has taken place since 2008.   Eight housing projects have brought new residents and two schools have brought families to the center of the city. When the Modern Streetcar begins service in 2014, it will be joined by 17 new projects and businesses, with an additional $100 million of private investment.


Vote for Tucson's Sunsets

Tucson’s sunsets are in the running for 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest.  Tucson was selected by a panel of travel experts as Best Place to Watch a Sunset.  Vote at  Participants can vote once a day.  Voting closes Monday, October 14, 2013 at 11:59 a.m. EDT (8:59 p.m. Tucson time).  Winners will be announced on Thursday, October 17 on the 10Best website and USA TODAY.


In Our Community

Vote for Manzo as AZ's Greenest Workplace

Manzo Elementary has been nominated to the 4th Annual Arizona’s Greenest Workplace Challenge. Fourteen Arizona companies are competing, online voting begins on September 23 and ends at noon September 27.  Votes are limited to one person per day.  Manzo is being recognized for practicing and teaching the 3R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle.  Learn more about Manzo’s green practices and vote at

Mrs. Green’s World has challenged the Arizona business community to become more green and incorporate strategies for sustainability by reusing materials, reducing waste and recycling.  Past winners include St. Michael’s Day School, Sam Levitz Furniture,, and Golden Eagle Distributors.   Nominators must submit an application detailing the workplace green practices, and how they pass along the concepts of sustainability to their employees and customers.  Judges include representatives from Local First Arizona, Strategies 360 and Bookmans.  Winners will be announced on September 27.  Don’t forget to vote for Manzo!


Join Coach Olson & Wildcats for #97CATS

On Friday, September 27, the Primavera Foundation and the Blair Charity Group invite you to relive the action as they screen the 1997 NCAA Men's’ Basketball Championship at the Tucson Fox Theatre. This once in a lifetime event will feature retired University of Arizona Basketball Coach Lute Olson and former Wildcats including Jason Terry, Joseph Blair, Miles Simon, Eugene Edgerson, Michael Dickerson, and Jason Stewart. 

Coach Olson and the Wildcats will provide ‘commentary’ during the viewing, sharing the inside scoop and their own personal perspective on this epic game.  Like any game day, attendees are encouraged to show their Wildcat Pride with hats, clothing and face paint.  Autographs will not be available, but autographed items will be raffled off to benefit Primavera and Blair Charity Group.

Doors open at 6 p.m., the screening begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person, $100 for VIP.  All proceeds will go to the Primavera Foundation and the Blair Charity Group.  Refreshments will be available, as will competitions, raffle prizes and fun.  For more information or to purchase tickets visit .


Volunteers Needed for iTN*GREATERTUCSON*

Volunteers Needed:  There is a new innovative transportation program for seniors and people with visual impairments called iTN*GreaterTucson* that can use your help. Volunteer to drive seniors and adults who are visually impaired to their important commitments and earn mileage reimbursement or collect miles credits for getting involved. Give 2 hours a month or 4 hours a day to help these folks stay connected to our community. Meet fabulous people along the way. Go to for more information or call 520-209-1645 to volunteer.


Get Waterwise- WMG Worskshops & Events

Watershed Management Group (WMG) is hosting a series of events and workshops to spread awareness of water conservation and being arid landscape savvy.  Visit or contact WMG at (520)396-3266 for all the details.  Here are just a sample of what’s planned:

  • 3rd Annual Home-Scape Tour, Saturday, October 19, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at locations throughout town.  Advanced reservation required; admission is $15 for per person or $10 for bike/bus/rideshare.  Take a self-guided tour of landscapes featuring shady rain gardens to urban homesteads, chicken coops, solar energy, composting and water-harvesting systems. All sites on the tour have completed projects with WMG’s Green Living Co-op.
  • Simple Solutions for Sustainable Living Series.  All presentations are from 6:30–7:30 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E.  River Rd.

Harvest the Sun (and Shade!) For Multiple Uses
Presenter: Brad Lancaster
Solar power doesn’t have to be limited to expensive photovoltaic panels. Learn simple, cost-effective strategies for working with the sun that have a big impact on your utility bills and your carbon footprint.

Shady Neighborhoods: Thinking Outside the Planter Box
Presenter: James DeRoussel
Learn how your neighborhood can create healthy streets and public spaces by harvesting stormwater to grow trees, shade, and habitat.

Learn to Build Healthy Desert Soils for Productive Landscapes
Presenter: Catlow Shipek
Learn to transform “wastes,” such as stormwater or tree trimmings, into resources to enhance your soil for growing food and native habitat plants.


Barrio Kroeger Lane's Verdugo Community Garden

Barrio Kroeger Lane Neighborhood is home to one of the newest gardens in Ward I, the Verdugo Garden.  A donated plot near Verdugo Park is providing residents a place to grow healthy fruits and vegetables, as well as beautiful flowering plants.  The garden is one of many supported through the Community Gardens of Tucson.  Residents Margaret Ward help to oversee the garden, and Josefina Cardenas is encouraging children and families to grow their own dinner.  Garden plots are still available, there are nominal monthly fees to cover water.  Residents have been hosting monthly dinner and music get-togethers to cover plot fees for children and families who cannot afford the plot dues.  The next dinner is scheduled for October 19.  For more info call Josefina at (520)971-6490.