Karin's Note: Thursday, October 25, 2012
-Ward 3 Shred-It Tucson Event November 3 at Jacobs Park
-Bike to Beer Event!
-Lend A Hand Fall Yard Sale
-Keeling on the Move
-17th Annual Tucson Fire Fighter’s Chili Cook-off
-HopeFest is Back
-Free Movie Night at Reid Park
- Did you know....?
Every day 8,000 to 10,000 people travel through the Ronstadt Transit Center downtown. Right now it’s torn up during the installation of improvements funded by a federal grant. That and other factors have raised concern that the City might sell or swap the site without appropriate public input.
In 2009, I made the motion to fire the City Manager serving at that time. I also led the move to form an Independent Citizens Audit and Performance Commission. One of my greatest concerns was the emerging pattern of ‘back room’ negotiating on downtown development agreements. In one case, the ‘frontage’ of the Ronstadt Center got pulled into a proposal (only in the fine print did I realize that the ‘frontage’ was actually defined as 150 feet deep; half a football field of encroachment that clearly would have undermined downtown transit services). As I said then and will repeat now: public assets will not be dealt away in backroom deals on my watch.
On Monday the Tucson Bus Riders Union organized a rally downtown, asking the Mayor and Council to promise that any development deals impacting the Ronstadt Center will be subject to a public process. Everyone impacted acknowledges that there could be development proposals that hold benefits for all stakeholders—transit riders, downtown businesses and Tucson’s taxpayers. We can best achieve a positive result by letting the public weigh in as any potential agreements take shape.
I, and all of my colleagues, have worked hard to move the City beyond the days of backroom, raw deals for taxpayers. Our city turned the corner in 2009 toward transparency and accountability. We have adopted a framework and a public vetting process for proposed developments, to assure a fair return on investment for any taxpayer resources brought into the mix. It’s that level playing field and the public process offered in the full light of day that has already leveraged recent sound investments in downtown. With your support I’ll keep working every day to keep us on that path.
On Tuesday I also offered the motion which the full Mayor and Council anticipates will turn the page to a new chapter of downtown revitalization. The fighting between the State-appointed Rio Nuevo Board and the City of Tucson can soon, finally, come to a close based upon an “Expression of Intent” offered by the current Rio Nuevo Board and an outline of their proposed investments sent to us on October 12. Nothing will serve our community better than choosing constructive engagement over conflict and litigation. I am pleased that my colleagues unanimously supported this good faith effort toward final resolution, and I extend sincere gratitude to the newly configured RN Board chaired by Fletcher McCusker. Together we’re poised to 1.) end the state-versus-city saga, 2.) acknowledge and learn from mistakes made in the past (if any criminal charges are deemed warranted through the direction of the FBI investigation under way, those will be filed to insure individual accountability), and 3.) proceed with key convention center improvements and other voter-approved projects downtown to spark greater economic activity and fiscal strength for Tucson. To be honest it took enough turn over within City Government and the RN Board to establish those three fundamental objectives as our common ground. It’s firm ground we can build upon together.
Our Citizen Independent Audit and Performance Commission and Council Member Romero brought multimillion losses in the City’s Golf Enterprise to Mayor and Council’s attention in May. The cumulative deficit has mounted over several years to 7.5 million. Council Member Romero then led the work with the Greens Committee and others to develop a plan that will bring the enterprise into financial balance and repay the General fund (via operating surpluses and/or asset transfers) for money advanced to cover its past shortfalls. Based upon the City Manager’s recommendation, Council Member Romero’s motion included the following:
- Transfer the Houghton Road Golf Property to the General fund in exchange for the General fund assumption of the Golf Course debt service obligations.
- Analyze the encumbrances and highest use for any excess Golf owned property and take action to sell a marketable parcels.
- Issue a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) for the privatization of Golf operations, maintenance and management.
- Immediately begin the process to gain approval from the National Park Service (required by Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant) to close Fred Enke golf course and clubhouse and convert to an outdoor recreation facility such as a natural passive park.
- Immediately develop a plan, including the golf course from a typical Golf enterprise asset to a Family Golf Learning Center and a Park.
- Continue to seek operational efficiencies and increase marketing productivity at all courses.
- Work with University of Arizona to see if a City course could serve the Golf needs of the University.
- Develop an ordinance that annually requires a presentation of Golf Fund audited financial results to Mayor and Council.
It is expected that implementing these actions will: result in Golf revenues exceeding golf expenditures in two years; pay back the general fund cash subsidy over time; maintain the current five course portfolio if self-sustaining; and provide a plan if courses cannot be operated with sufficient positive cash flow. For the full analysis and background information from the meeting go to the following link:
PIMA COUNTY WIRELESS INTEGRATED NETWORK AND COURTHOUSE
The City of Tucson has joined with Pima County and up to twenty seven other entities across the region to create a public safety communications system that will enable contacts across operations (police, fire, EMT etc.) and amongst all jurisdictions. Overall the collaboration will improve: 1.) interoperability between each system, 2.) communication coverage to stretch countywide, 3.) capacity of dispatch facilities and radio programming, and 4.) redundancy (backup for each system). To learn more about the PCWIN business plan go to:
LAND USE CODE CHANGES
At our previous Mayor/Council meeting we unanimously adopted a new Uniform Development Code. This step cuts some 200 pages out of the previous Land Use Code (including contradictory elements and endless cross-referencing) for a Code that's clearer and user friendly. I want to thank City staff who facilitated the project (particularly Adam Smith and Jim Mazzocco) as well as citizen volunteers Ruth Beeker and Jason Wong. I heard overwhelming support for the UDC from across interested segments of the community (neighborhoods, developers, and so on). This shows us, once again, that good process leads to better outcomes and a community unified to meet the challenges ahead.
Ward 3 Events:
-Ward 3 Shred-It Tucson Event – Saturday, November 3 from 8:30 a.m. to Noon at Jacobs Park, 3300 N. Fairview Avenue. Join Council Member Uhlich and Constable Bennett Bernal in the 2nd Ward 3 Shred-It Event. Bring in your important papers that need shredding—first box is free, 2nd is $5 with donations going to Gospel Rescue Mission and Lend-A-Hand. More info: Ward 3 Council Office, 791-4711.
-Bike to Beer – Saturday, November 3 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Event begins in the parking lot of the Ward 3 Council Office, 1510 E. Grant Road. Ride your bike through Jefferson Park, El Cortez, Northwest, Feldman’s and West University Neighborhoods. Event showcases Tucson’s grassroots efforts in urban agriculture, water harvesting and traffic design. Free event, but you’ll want to bring along funds for food and drink. Riders end at Borderlands Brewing Company, 119 East Toole (at 7th Avenue). More info: 690-1888.
-Lend A Hand Fall Yard Sale – Saturday, November 10, from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 3646 N. Prince Village Place (north side of Prince, east of Campbell). Books, clothes, household items. If you’d like to drop off items for sale, please leave them on the porch of the address above between November 1 and 9. More info/questions: 323-2142.
-Keeling on the Move Events – Sunday, November 11. Free bike repair help with BICAS from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. at Keeling Desert Park (on Glenn, west of Fontana). In addition, there will be a one mile guided neighborhood walk beginning at 1:30 p.m. starting at the Park. Everyone is welcome to join. More info: Ruth Reiman at 792-1093 ext. 482.
City Wide Events:
-17th Annual Tucson Fire Fighter’s Chili Cook-off – Friday, October 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. El Presidio Park, 160 W. Alameda. Fun, competitive event with great food and drink. Funds raised benefit the Firefighter’s Adopt-a-Family Program.
-HopeFest Event – Saturday, October 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Kino Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way. Sponsored by Pima Medical Institute, Hopefest participants may receive dental and medical care, haircuts, groceries and clothing and hygiene items. More info: 751-4673 or www.hopefest.com
-Free Movie Night at Reid Park – Saturday, November 3 at Reid Park’s DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center, NW corner of Country Club and 22nd Street. The event is sponsored by Cox Communications and the Southern Arizona Arts and Culture Alliance. Activities begin at 4:00 p.m. with family-and-pet-friendly kids’ activities sponsored by the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. A mini-film fest begins at 6:00 p.m. followed by the main feature at 7:00 p.m.—“Madagascar 3—Europe’s Most Wanted” a 3D presentation.
Did You Know…?
…that Monterey Court Studio Galleries and Cafe (505 W. Miracle Mile) has a variety of activities going on this Halloween season? From Pint Nite on October 26 to Spirit Fest all day on the 31st, this is the place you’ll want to be. Food and drinks, art show, great shopping and children’s costume parade (on the 31st). More info: www.montereycourtaz.com
…that there are five ways you can report graffiti tagging?
1. The fastest, most direct way is through a SmartPhone application called MyTucson. That app was developed by GPC, the company that abates graffiti for the City of Tucson, so when you use this method you are submitting the report in real time.
2. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Call 792-CITY and leave a message for the Department of Transportation.
4. Click the link on the Tucson Police Department website: http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/graffiti/report
5. SeeClickFix, another SmartPhone application, is a nationwide system that can take a couple of days to filter back to Tucson.
If you can, send pictures. Graffiti Protective Coatings (GPC) is working with TPD and DOT to create a photographic database of images that will speed identification and prosecution of taggers.
…that the Ward 3 Council Office Community Room has 4 Recycling barrels? The City of Tucson’s Environmental Services Department’s new “Know Where to Throw” program runs until November 3. Bring in your used plastic grocery bags, blue jeans, bike tires and garden hoses. These worn out items will be recycled into new products saving natural resources and landfill space. More info: www.knowwheretothrow.com
…that the Valley of the Moon, at 2544 E. Allen Road, hosts a “Haunted Ruins Halloween Adventure” Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October? Tours leave the gate every 30 minutes. $8 adults, $5 children 8-13 of age with younger ones free. Sunday nights get 50% off admission with donation of two cans of food for the Community Food Bank. More info: 323-1331.
….that the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is calling on the public to provide your input on a major Passenger Rail Corridor Study regarding alternatives for linking Tucson and Phoenix. They want to know what you think of the seven alternatives that have been selected for further study, including six different passenger rail alternatives and one bus rapid transit alternative. You can learn more here: http://www.azdot.gov/passengerrail/Alternatives.asp