INITIATIVE TO BAN RED-LIGHT CAMERAS FAILS TO MEET SIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS - A proposed citizens initiative to ban the City's traffic enforcement camera program will not appear on the November 2013 ballot. The initiative, if approved by voters, would have prohibited all traffic-enforcement cameras in Tucson and would amend the city code to require that every ticket issued by the Tucson Police Department have an actual officer witness the infraction. But supporters of the initiative needed 12,730 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. A legally required random check of 5 percent of the signatures by the Pima County Recorder's Office showed that only 55 percent of the signatures were valid. Based on that rate, backers had only 11,124 valid signatures, according to City Clerk Roger Randolph. Story from the Weekly here, from the Star here.
FINAL WELD MARKS END OF STREETCAR RAIL CONSTRUCTION PHASE - This Thursday, July 25th, at 10AM, crews will weld of the final piece of rail for the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. This will mark the end of more than 400 days of rail construction activities: the removal of existing asphalt, relocating and replacing underground utilities, installing concrete embedded rail, and repaving. Sun Link Streetcar Construction Manager Joe Chase stated that this is an incredibly momentous occasion as it signifies the final piece of rail construction for the Sun Link project. Old Pueblo Trackworks, a collaboration between Granite Construction and Rail Works, has had multiple crews working simultaneously along the route, often on weekends and nights, to meet the ambitious construction schedule. City of Tucson news release.
GROUP THREATENS LEGAL ACTION OVER SENTINEL PEAK SHRINE - A group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation is demanding that the City remove a handmade shrine depicting the Virgin Mary from Sentinel Peak Park, the area better known as 'A' Mountain. The shrine was set up by a man who was exonerated after spending several years in Pima County Jail, and has been there for about 20 years. The Freedom from Religion Foundation states that having a Catholic symbol in a public park endorses the religion. The group says it will send a letter to the City Attorney, citing legal cases that support its claim, and that legal action against the City is a possibility. From KOLD/KMSB.
COUNTY PRESSES SOUTH TUCSON TO PAY $1.9 MILLION JAIL DEBT - Pima County is asking South Tucson to pay off $1.9 million in delinquent jail fees and interest. "Everybody has to pay their fair share and costs," said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. Recognizing the square-mile city's limited resources, Huckelberry said he's willing to have the two governments sign a contract for South Tucson to start making installment payments, but South Tucson needs to start paying down the debt, which he said is an unfair burden on the rest of the community. As of April, South Tucson owed the County more than $1.344 million in principal, dating to 2007, plus $562,973 in interest. From the Star.
VIDEO: GRIZZLY BEARS ARRIVE AT REID PARK ZOO - William and Kate have a new arrival, and so does Tucson. The City of Tucson's Reid Park Zoo recently received two rescued 18-month-old Grizzly bears from Montana. Zookeeper Alisha Brewer tells the story of how the bears came to the zoo. Video clip from the Reid Park Zoo.