TUCSON FACES BUDGET SHORTFALL FOR NEXT FISCAL YEAR - Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Kelly Gottschalk says the City's deficit could be at least $15 million next fiscal year, but the calculation will be more precise in a few months. “The Council is going to have to make priority decisions," she says. "We are seeing on an annual basis that our revenues are going up, but our expenses are going up faster than our revenues, so we are going to have to face challenges in Fiscal [Year] '15." Hear the interview with Arizona Public Media.
CHICAGO PURSUES DEAL TO CHANGE PENSION FUNDING - As many government entities, including Tucson, address issues related to their pension systems, Chicago is hoping from some relief, after the State of Illinois made some legislative changes. The passage Tuesday of a landmark bill trimming retirement benefits for state workers, aimed at fixing the vastly underfunded pension system, is relevant to the nation’s third-largest city, which has its own pension systems in various stages of financial problems. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says some sort of pension reform is required to preserve city services and maintain tax rates into the future. City employee group representatives oppose these efforts, saying that retirement benefits are contractual and constitutionally-protected obligations that City of Chicago government should honor. Read the story from the New York Times.
URBAN LAND INSTITUTE (ULI) ADVISORY SERVICES PANEL DEVELOPS A ROADMAP TO THE FUTURE OF DOWNTOWN TUCSON - The ULI, an independent global nonprofit that provides leadership in real estate development and responsible land use, visited Tucson last month to provide a technical assessment for underutilized properties in Downtown Tucson. The ULI team toured the downtown area, met with many downtown and community stakeholders in both the public and private sectors, and listed some key recommendations last week. Watch the Tucson 12 video and read more about the project and review the Powerpoint presentation at http://tucsonaz.gov/uli.
TUCSON POLICE NO LONGER PROHIBITING PHOTOS OF PUBLIC RECORDS - Tucson Police will now allow citizens to take photos of public documents, reversing their policy after Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne wrote a legal opinion saying public records must be available for free inspection, including permitting the use of photographs. "Throughout the city, our practices already were in line with what the AG opinion concludes," Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin tells NewsNet. "However, in one particular instance (records through TPD's Public Information Office), we were not letting people photograph the record, and instead we told them they could either inspect the record and not pay anything, or we would provide a copy and they would pay the copy cost. In light of the AG Opinion, we've given the direction to stop that practice." Read more from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.
HOLIDAY DECORATION SAFETY TIPS - If you're planning on hanging holiday lights this weekend, make sure to keep safety in mind. Tucson Fire Department Captain Barrett Baker says it all starts with a properly-sized ladder to hang your lights. Learn more from KGUN9's "No Bad Days with Barrett" segment.
FREEZE WARNING TONIGHT - The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning, beginning tonight at 10 o'clock and lasting through 10 a.m. tomorrow. The counties included in the warning area are Pima, Southeast Pinal and Santa Cruz. A cold air mass will be over Arizona starting today, lasting through the beginning of next week. Crews from the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) will spray magnesium chloride on approximately 70 bridge decks within city limits. Magnesium chloride lowers the freezing temperature of water and prevents ice from bonding on a roadway. A light coating produces no negative effects on water or vegetation. Magnesium chloride is an effective ice suppressant agent lasting for approximately 10 days. Read the story on tucsonaz.gov.
Tucson Water tips on protecting your pipes.
FEDERAL U.S./MEXICO TRADE HEARING SCHEDULED FOR TUCSON - The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, will hold a hearing in the Mayor and Council Chambers of City Hall on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The subject is a field hearing on "Promoting Best Practices in U.S.-Mexico Trade." U.S. Representative Matt Salmon of Arizona is the Chairperson of the Subcommittee. Tucson 12 will provide live coverage of the event. Witnesses scheduled to testify.
COMMUNITY LEARNS ABOUT STREETCAR SAFETY - As Sun Link Tucson Streetcar vehicles go through testing along the tracks, the streetcar's management team continues to educate community members and streetcar operators about safety. The streetcar's "Be Street-Smart" educational safety campaign is an ongoing effort to educate citizens about the streetcars presence and how to be safe around the tracks. Read the story on the Arizona Daily Wildcat.
REID PARK ZOO PREPARING FOR ELEPHANT BIRTH - Reid Park Zoo's "Semba," a 24-year-old African elephant, is preparing for the birth of her 200-plus pound calf next summer. Tucson 12's "Zoo News" recently went behind the scenes to see what's involved in preparing for the birth. Semba already has two healthy calves. Watch the story.
WINTER WONDERLAND THIS SATURDAY - Children's Museum Tucson hosts "Winter Wonderland" Saturday to kick off its holiday season. Enjoy hands-on activities and pictures with Santa and one of his elves. The Children's Museum, in the heart of Downtown Tucson, is in the historic site of what was once the Carnegie Library.
NEED HELP STARTING OR EXPANDING A BUSINESS IN TUCSON? CALL THE SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE LINE - The City of Tucson's Small Business Assistance Line, (520) 837-4100, is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Help is available in both English and Spanish. Staff from the City Manager's Office of Economic Initiatives answer the calls. The Small Business Assistance Line is one of a number of City initiatives, along with 21 new business incentives, streamlined permit processes and more, to make the City of Tucson more business-friendly. Read more about the Small Business Assistance Line.
NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS TO STREAM LIVE VIDEO - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes rulings on Arizona cases, will begin live video streaming of oral arguments beginning next week. Streaming services will open with five cases scheduled to begin Monday. The nation's busiest federal appeals court says it believes this will be the first time a federal appellate court will use its technology to deliver live video of a proceeding over the Internet. Streaming will consist of "en banc" proceedings, which resolve intra-circuit conflicts and other legal questions of exceptional importance. The panel consists of the chief judge of the circuit and 10 judges drawn at random, rather than a three-judge appellate panel. On average, the 9th Circuit says, about 20 cases receive en banc review each year. Read more from Courthouse News Service and view streaming links from the Ninth Circuit.
ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYS PUBLIC HAS RIGHT TO REVIEW PUBLIC DOCUMENTS WITHOUT FEE - State Attorney General Tom Horne says public documents must be subject to inspection at public offices without any fees. In a formal opinion, Horne says the no-charge rule applies even if the agency has to make copies to redact certain private information, saying the costs of doing that cannot be charged to the person who wants to simply view the documents. Horne also says individuals are free to use their own equipment, such as smartphones and portable document scanners, to make copies without having to pay a fee. Tucson City Clerk Roger Randolph tells NewsNet the ruling shouldn't affect Tucson. "We do not charge for a copy made simply to redact information. We do charge 25 cents per page to make copies of documents," he says. "This is still authorized under ARS Title 39. We have never prohibited anyone from taking a photograph of a document in lieu of purchasing a copy." Read more from Capitol Media Services via the East Valley Tribune.
CITY OF PHOENIX TELLS COURT IT HAS RIGHT TO LIMIT BUS STOP ADVERTISING - In a case with statewide implications, the City of Phoenix argued to the Court of Appeals Tuesday that governments can deny access to candidates or controversial causes. Assistant City Attorney David Schwartz said there is no First Amendment right of those promoting political or even religious causes to make their case on city-owned property. The advertisement the City of Phoenix rejected is an image of a heart with the words “Guns Save Lives” superimposed. Read more from Capitol Media services via the Arizona Daily Star.
ZOO LIGHTS 2013 BEGINS FRIDAY AT REID PARK ZOO - Zoo Lights at the City of Tucson's Reid Park Zoo features animal-themed light sculptures, thousands of sparkling holiday lights and Santa Claus. The annual event is Dec. 6-23, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Ticket prices are $6 for adults, $4 for children and kids under the age of two are free.
TUCSON CITY COUNCIL APPROVES EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION PLAN - Mayor and Council yesterday voted 6-1 to give most employees a 55-cent-an-hour pay raise, but cautioned some hard choices lie ahead in the next fiscal year. The raises will affect all permanent and probationary city employees, except 911 dispatchers and public safety personnel. Those employees received alternative salary increases. Councilman Steve Kozachik cast the dissenting vote, saying the raises were not affordable in light of current and imminent budget challenges. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said the city has enough money right now to cover the remaining six months in this fiscal year, and budget challenges requiring both new revenues and possible cuts would need to be addressed in the near future. Read the story from the Arizona Daily Star and the 2014 Employee Compensation Plan Memo to Mayor and Council.
CPS COMMUNITY FORUM TONIGHT - As mentioned at yesterday's Mayor and Council meeting, Ward 3 Council Member Karin Uhlich is attending a forum on ways to improve how Child Protective Services handles abuse and neglect cases involving Arizona children. The Children's Action Alliance is hosting the forum tonight in Phoenix.
DOWNTOWN 2ND SATURDAYS LOSING A MAJOR FUNDER - Providence Service Corp. says it will stop funding up about half of the $12,000 a month it takes to run the monthly 2nd Saturdays after Dec. 14. Providence says it will redirect the money to causes that better support the company's mission of creating healthier communities. Downtown Tucson Partnership CEO Michael Keith, who sits on the 2nd Saturdays steering committee, says the committee will do all it can to find alternate funding for the event. Read the story from the Arizona Daily Star.
2nd Saturdays Downtown
COLD TEMPERATURES EXPECTED BY THURSDAY, SO PROTECT YOUR PIPES - A winter storm system is predicted to move in to Tucson starting tomorrow, leaving cold temperatures in its wake and another system is expected next week. Tucson Water reminds its residential and business customers to insulate any exposed water pipes, plumbing, and backflow assemblies. View a video and more tips on Tucson Water's website.
National Weather Service outlook for Tucson.
ATTORNEY, PHILANTHROPIST TOM CHANDLER DIES AT 94 - Tom Chandler, who spent much of his life helping people in need, died at home Friday after a battle with cancer. Chandler founded, or co-founded, several organizations, including what is now Southern Arizona Legal Aid and the Arizona Adopt-a-Classroom Project, which has helped more than 2,000 teachers. He was a founding member of the Conquistadores, a group that has raised millions of dollars for local youth sports, and was a past member of the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s public universities. Chandler, known as a mentor to scores of attorneys and judges throughout his life, co-founded what is now the Udall Law Firm and played a key role in opening the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. Read the story from the Arizona Daily Star.
THREE COUNCIL MEMBERS INAUGURATED TO NEW TERMS TODAY - Re-elected Tucson City Council Members Karin Uhlich (Ward 3), Richard Fimbres (Ward 5) and Steve Kozachik (Ward 6) were sworn into office today for their new terms. Shortly after their inaugurations, the three began their new terms at today's Mayor and Council study session. Read the City of Tucson General Election 2013 Summary.
ANALYST: CITY BONDS STILL A GOOD INVESTMENT DESPITE SLOW MARKET - Despite a meager growth environment, a new analyst report says local governments are still expected to be a stable investment. However, the report says investors should be wary of any municipality that has not had consistent credit ratings or has not improved underlying credit factors in recent years. Read about the report from Governing Daily.
STATE CHARTER SCHOOLS SEEKING MORE MONEY - The state’s charter schools want an additional $135 million a year in taxpayer funds, saying they need the money to operate like public schools. Attorney Kory Langhofer says lawmakers are not living up to their obligation to treat all public schools equally, pointing out that charter schools are considered public schools under Arizona law. Langhofer says charter schools don't have the same access to funds, meaning they receive at least $1,100 less per student than traditional public schools. Earlier this year, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge found nothing legally wrong with the disparity, saying the schools are different and can be funded as such. Langhofer wants the state Court of Appeals to rule that disparity is unconstitutional. Read the story from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.
CITY TESTING NEW BUS STOP FEATURES, HOPING TO SAVE MONEY - An insulated rooftop, fresh paint and other redesign tweaks highlight a bus stop along Irvington Road, near Interstate 19. The bus stop, built by the inmates at Arizona Correctional Industries, is 40 percent cheaper than the current model being used by Sun Tran, saving about $1,200. Read the story from the Arizona Daily Star.
MORE THAN 30 TREES TO BE DEDICATED FRIDAY IN TUCSON - Tucson Clean & Beautiful, in cooperation with the City of Tucson and Pima County, will dedicate 32 commemorative trees along Pantano River Park. Each tree to be dedicated Friday was purchased by Tucson area residents, honoring friends and family. The dedication ceremony will include a reading of the names for whom the trees have been dedicated, with the names inscribed at the nearby Children’s Memorial Garden. At the conclusion of the ceremony, attendees are invited to a brief walking tour of the park. Read the news release and visit the Tucson Parks and Recreation website.
HOLIDAY CLOSURES - All City of Tucson governmental offices are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, with the exception of emergency services. Business will resume as normal on Friday. Trash and recycling collections scheduled for Thursday and Friday will be delayed by one day.
NEW DOWNTOWN MIXED-USE BUILDING NEARING COMPLETION - One East Broadway - named after its address - is set to open soon. The building’s main commercial tenants will be The Pima Association of Governments (PAG) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which share office space and staff. The new building also has additional office space, street-level retail space, on-site parking and 24 residential apartments. PAG/RTA Executive Director Farhad Moghimi says the agencies plan to move in by Jan. 1, if not sooner. PAG and RTA have a 10-year lease term for the building, which is located along the Sun Link Streetcar line. Read the story from Inside Tucson Business.
REID PARK ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY (RPZS) SELLS RUBY RANCH TO BENEFIT ZOO - The RPZS, a nonprofit membership and fundraising organization for the Reid Park Zoo recently sold 765 acres of ranch land in Sahuarita and will use the $3 million proceeds to continue to help improve the zoo. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. is the buyer of Ruby Ranch. Read the story from Real Estate Daily News.
HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT (HCD) HAS NEW DIRECTOR - After serving a short time as HCD Deputy Director, Sally Stang has been named as Director of the department. Stang replaces Andrea Ibáñez, who retired recently. City Manager Richard Miranda says Stang has proven herself to be a responsible steward of public funds and trust. Among other things, HCD manages public housing and rental assistance programs. Visit the Housing and Community Development website.
TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT GAINS RE-ACCREDITATION - The Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) recently voted unanimously to grant re-accreditation to the Tucson Police Department. This is the fourth re-accreditation and fifth consecutive time TPD has met or exceeded many of the national standards in law enforcement as set forth by CALEA. TPD is the largest nationally-accredited law enforcement agency in the State of Arizona. Read the news release from TPD.
CITY OF TUCSON SELECTS GOLF MANAGEMENT COMPANY TO OVERSEE CITY GOLF COURSES - The City of Tucson today issued a notice of intent to award for the management of the City’s municipal golf courses to Scottsdale-based OB Sports, a professional golf course management, development and consulting company. In business since 1972, OB Sports manages 45 golf courses nationwide, 17 of which are in Arizona. After final award, OB Sports will maintain the golf courses and facilities, operate and manage the pro shops, golf ranges and golf cart operations, manage the food, refreshment and catering services in the clubhouses and on the courses, promote and market City of Tucson golf courses, develop and implement capital improvements and increase usage of the facilities. Read the news release.
TRASH AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS FOR THIS THURSDAY AND FRIDAY DELAYED BY A DAY - Due to the Thanksgiving holiday this week, residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on Thursday. Residents and businesses with regular Thursday or Friday collections will have their trash and recycling service delayed by one day during the holiday week. The Los Reales Landfill and the Household Hazardous Waste facility will be closed on Thursday.
Holiday collection schedules
Schedule via smartphone: Download the free ‘my waste’™ app to have access to all collection schedules.
UA WILDCAT STATUE VICTIM OF UA/ASU RIVALRY - A 12-foot-tall bronze statue on the University of Arizona campus depicting four bobcats — a male, a female and two kittens — was covered with yellow and gold spray paint and the letters “ASU” Monday morning. Nearby benches also were covered in paint. The vandalism comes just days before the rivalry football game between the UA and ASU. The spray-painted sculpture seems to be in retaliation for a prank last week in which Tempe’s “A” Mountain, normally with a white "A," was painted bright Wildcat red. While some Wildcats see the repainting of the rival’s mountain as a fun tradition, some at the UA are calling foul when it comes to the statue. A restoration company used high-pressure hot water to clean the statue. Read more in the Arizona Daily Star and the Arizona Daily Wildcat.
CITY OF TUCSON EMPLOYEE WINS PRIUS IN WATER CONSERVATION CHALLENGE - Tucson Water employee Ivan Milensky is the proud owner of a new Toyota Prius he won in the 2013 National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation. The Wyland Foundation and Toyota sponsored the national challenge, urging residents nationwide to conserve water. Tucson came out on top in the challenge of similar-sized cities. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild says Tucson needs to be "water smart" to thrive as a community. Watch the story on Tucson12.
National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation
A NEW WAY TO FIND ANSWERS ABOUT CITY SERVICES - Are you looking for a job in the City? Do you need to know how to pay your water bill? How do you request a police report? The answers to these questions and more are available on the new Tucson Answers website. You can search topics or browse categories to get you the answers you need. The site is an example of open source code developed by city governments and non-profit organizations to be adopted and re-used by other cities at no cost. In this case, the site is modeled after a similar site created jointly by the City of Honolulu and Code For America. Tucson Answers also is available via a widget on the City of Tucson's main website.
Code for America apps for cities and citizens
URBAN LAND INSTITUTE (ULI) OFFERS SUGGESTIONS FOR DOWNTOWN TUCSON - The ULI planning group says tearing down the Hotel Arizona for new development and redeveloping La Placita Village for the University of Arizona are a couple of changes that would make downtown more economically viable. More than 100 people representing business, government and neighborhood interests crowded a meeting room Friday at the Tucson Convention Center to hear the ULI's preliminary findings on how to bolster the downtown core and the area west of I-10. The process entailed a seven-member panel of experts studying Tucson’s economy, history and demographics and visiting the city last week to interview 120 stakeholders from a broad cross section of Tucson. ULI is a national group of real estate, development and other business professionals specializing in land development issues. Read more in the Arizona Daily Star and Inside Tucson Business.
PORT OF GUAYMAS SET TO DOUBLE CAPACITY, SEEKING ARIZONA TIES - A multimillion-dollar investment to more than double the capacity of Guaymas' deep-water seaport is underway and, within two years, an additional nine docks will be built to support ocean vessels hauling everything from coal and grain to durable goods and automobiles. The expansion would make the Port of Guaymas the second largest seaport in Mexico by volume, with capacity for more than 30 million tons of cargo. Officials from Guaymas visited Tucson Friday to present plans to local business and political leaders and to encourage continued cooperation between the two regions. The City of Tucson and the Pima Association of Governments hosted the event. Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.
GREASE COLLECTION AND RECYCLING EVENT - Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation (RWRD) and community partners are hosting the 9th annual day-after-Thanksgiving Grease Collection and Recycling Event. The collection offers people the opportunity to properly dispose of cooking grease, which can clog sewer pipes and eventually cause a backup of raw sewage into the streets, the environment, or into homes and other buildings. There will be five drop-off locations, including the City Council Ward 3 Office at 1510 E. Grant Road. View the list of collection sites and hours of operation.
FRIDAY CLOSURE ALERT: CITY COURT - Tucson City Court will be closed to the public on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. The Court building will be open for the public to access the Public Defender’s Office and the City Prosecutor’s Office, but court services will not be available. Tucson City Court has designated the Friday following Thanksgiving as a non-juridical day, replacing Columbus Day as a non-juridical day. In the future, Columbus Day will be a juridical day.
TUCSON DEPARTMENT OF PROCUREMENT DIRECTOR MARCHETA GILLESPIE NAMED TO INTERNATIONAL POST - Congratulations to the City of Tucson's Director of Procurement, Marcheta Gillespie on becoming the new President of the Board of Directors for NIGP, The Institute for Government Procurement. In her new role, Gillespie will be the chief advocate for public procurement professionals, working to develop, promote and support the work they perform in their communities. The Copper Chapter of the NIGP recently hosted the 6th Annual Reverse Trade Show in Tucson, where local and regional vendors met procurement representatives from dozens of government agencies. Watch the story on Tucson 12.
TRAFFIC ALERT: SUN TRAN DETOURS TOMORROW (SATURDAY) - Several Sun Tran buses will experience detours and delays due to the El Tour de Tucson bike race. Routes 3, 5, 20, 21, 22 will experience delays when crossing I-10. Routes 3, 7, 8, 16, 37 will be detoured all day. Route 27 will be detoured from 5 a.m. - 11 a.m. at Drexel. Route 34 will be detoured from 5 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Glenn and Swan. More information is at Sun Tran.
TRAFFIC ALERT: I-10 NEAR MARSH STATION - If you travel on Interstate 10, east of Tucson, you will encounter travel restrictions beginning Monday. The Arizona Department of Transportation continues to build a new alignment for a segment of eastbound I-10, near Marsh Station. The interstate will be restricted to a single lane in each direction, approximately a half-mile from the Marsh Station traffic interchange (Exit 291), from 6:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday to allow trucks to haul construction materials onto the median. After the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the same lane restrictions will be in place daily from 6:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2 through Thursday, Dec. 5. More information is at ADOT.
CITY OF TUCSON AIMS TO IMPROVE TRADE RELATIONS WITH GUAYMAS - The City of Tucson and the Pima Association of Governments met today (Friday) with Guaymas, Sonora officials to share insights on how to conduct international business with the growing port operation in Guaymas. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Chair of the PAG Regional Council, opened the presentation at the TCC and urged accelerated investment in infrastructure at the border and leading into the border. More information is at KVOA.
TUCSON RANKS IN TOP 10 OF THE LATEST DIGITAL CITIES SURVEY - Tucson is ranked as a Top 10 Digital City in e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and the Digital Communities Program. "These are the cities that invest in engaging with their constituencies and that continuously improve their municipal services to be models of excellence nationally,” said Marie Lopez-Rogers, National League of Cities (NLC) President and Mayor of Avondale. Tucson competed in the category of cities with populations of at least 250,000. See the list of winning cities.
ATTEMPT TO IDENTIFY: ARMED ROBBERY SUSPECT - The Tucson Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying an armed robbery suspect. On Nov. 21, at about 2:30 p.m., police say the suspect entered the Denny's Restaurant at 6485 East Broadway and displayed a handgun and demanded money from the clerk. He was given an undisclosed amount of money and was last seen running westbound from the business. No one was injured during the incident. The suspect is described as an African-American male in his 20s, 6'02” to 6'04” tall and between 220 to 230 pounds. He was wearing a white long sleeve t-shirt, baggy blue jeans, white tennis shoes and a black do rag. Anyone with information should contact 911 or 88-CRIME. View the news release and photos of the suspect.
TRAFFIC ALERT: EXPECT DELAYS SATURDAY DUE TO EL TOUR AND UA FOOTBALL GAME - Expect major traffic delays Saturday as UA football fans try to get to campus while riders in El Tour de Tucson cycle around the city. Bicyclists in the 107-mile race are expected to cause intermittent delays along Mission and Drexel roads shortly after the race begins at 7 a.m., with the pack beginning to thin out as the course winds along Nogales Highway and Hughes Access Road. The race route will cause many delays for fans heading to the University of Arizona campus and elsewhere. People attending the UA game and all citizens should plan their trips accordingly. Read the story in the Arizona Daily Star.
TUCSON CONVENTION CENTER HAS NEW INTERIM DIRECTOR - Tucson Deputy Police Chief Sharon Allen is the new interim director of the Tucson Convention Center, replacing Martin Carey, who took over the role of finance administrator for the TCC. Tucson City Manager Richard Miranda says he shifted Carey to the finance position because Rachel Duarte is leaving that position, due to city rules that prohibit retirees from returning to work for longer than 18 months. Although Duarte’s term doesn’t expire until January, Miranda says he made the move now to maintain continuity as the TCC transitions toward hiring a private management company to run the facility. Read the story in the Arizona Daily Star.
SUN LINK STREETCAR CONSTRUCTION NEAR UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA REACHES MILESTONE - For the first time since July 2, 2012, the Warren Avenue Underpass will reopen to pedestrians this Friday. The Warren Avenue Underpass will be a pedestrian-only and walk-your-bike area so that everyone can safely share the space with the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. The Tucson Modern Streetcar is currently in testing and is expected to begin service for the public this summer. Follow Sun Link construction updates at http://www.tucsonstreetcar.com/.
PIMA ANIMAL CARE CENTER EXPANDING - Construction is underway on an expansion of the Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), allowing temporary space for more than 100 dogs. The huge tent at the facility will have heating and air conditioning. The expansion comes as PACC is overcrowded and animals are susceptible to many diseases. Watch the story on Tucson 12.
GREEN PARTY NO LONGER OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED IN ARIZONA ELECTIONS - The Green Party no longer will be recognized in statewide elections due to a lack of registered voters identifying themselves as party members. Elections officials said Wednesday that all state-recognized political parties in Arizona must have at least 21,499 electors, or 5 percent of voters in the last election, to qualify for continued representation on the ballot. At last count, the Green Party in Arizona had about 5,600 registered voters on its rolls, said Matt Roberts, a spokesman for the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. The party is circulating petitions to help regain official recognition in 2014. To do that, the party must file 23,041 valid signatures with the Secretary of State by Feb. 27. Read the story in the Arizona Republic.