March 30, 2012

Mayor’s Update – March 30, 2012


Mayor’s Update
Tucson, Arizona March 30, 2012

Tucson’s newest residents
Samba, Punga and Sundzu at Expedition Tanzania: click for higher resolution.This Wednesday was the Grand Opening of the Reid Park Zoo’s new elephant exhibit, Expedition Tanzania. I got a close-up look at Tucson’s newest residents the Friday before, at the ribbon cutting.The exhibit has a pool and mud wallow, as well as trees and soft grass. The elephants foraged for vegetation that was scattered in clumps throughout. In the photo, you see older brother Punga taking an interest in what younger brother Sundzu is eating. Siblings. That’s Samba, their mother, in the background. Not shown are Lungile, a smaller adult female, and Mabu, the calves’ father. At 10,500 lbs., Mabu is more than twice the size of Lungile.If you bring your children to the zoo, be sure and introduce them to these amazing animals. Respect and appreciation for wildlife starts at an early age.
City hires Economic Development Manager
Introducing Debbie Chandler, the city's new Economic Development Manager: click for higher resolution.After extensive interviews of a number of highly-qualified applicants, City Manager Richard Miranda announced his selection of Debbie Chandler as Tucson’s new Economic Development Manager.Currently Executive Director of the Microbusiness Advancement Center, Debbie starts work May 1st. She brings to her new role many years’ experience as an executive in the banking industry.Debbie will report to the City Manager. She will work closely with my Business Advocate, Maricela Solis, and with city departments that support business development, such as Planning & Development Services. Please join me in welcoming the newest member of the city’s economic development team.
UnitedHealth OptumRx brings 400 jobs to Tucson
Welcoming OptumRx to Tucson: click for higher resolution. #180DayPlan Governor Jan Brewer made an appearance in Tucson last week to welcome UnitedHealth OptumRx to the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park. I was pleased also to speak and welcome them to Tucson.Part of UnitedHealth Group, OptumRx provides pharmacy claims processing and benefits management, as well as other pharmacy-related services. It is expected to bring 400 pharmacy and healthcare jobs to Tucson. Good news!Working to bring employers to Tucson is part of the Mayor’s 180 Day Work Plan.
Women in Government Day
With TPD's Laura Thomas at Women in Government Day: click for higher resolution.The Pima County/Tucson Women’s Commission held its second annual Women in Government Day last Friday. Almost 60 certificates of recognition were given to nominees – many of whom, I was happy to see, were City of Tucson employees.A number of winners also were city employees – including six Tucson Police Department employees who formed Southern Arizona Women of Law Enforcement. You can watch Channel 12’s coverage here.I was proud to acknowledge these dedicated, professional women for their service to Tucson. Thank you to the Women’s Commission for sponsoring the event.
Solar Power 101 makes a successful return
Solar Power 101: click for higher resolution. #180DayPlan My first Solar Power 101 was well attended and well presented by our guest speakers. I myself learned a lot about solar.Many thanks to George Villec, owner of GeoInnovation and Jeff Shoemaker, owner of Custom Solar and Leisure for providing in-depth introductions to the basics of solar electricity and solar hot water. Thanks also to Bruce Plenk from the City of Tucson and Colleen Crowninshield and James McGinnis of the Pima Association of Governments.You can see George’s PowerPoint here(select the document “CityOfTucsonSolarPower101.ppt”) – but be aware that dollar amounts change with changes in incentives, taxes, the cost of electricity, etc.And you can watch Channel 12’s coverage here.I look forward to our next Solar Power 101, which will be April 23rd from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Miller-Golf Links Branch Library, 9640 E. Golf Links Road.

Promoting solar power is part of the Mayor’s 180 Day Work Plan.

Davis-Monthan wins top honors, $1 million prize
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base won top honors and a million dollar prize this week as the 2012 Commander-in-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award winner. The Award recognizes maintenance and operations staff for ;streamlining services and functions using innovation and creativity.Congratulations to Col. Cherrey and the thousands of military and civilian personnel at D-M for winning this prestigious award.
Tucson’s modern streetcar project a model for others
Artist's rendering of Tucson's modern streetcar.Tucson’s modern streetcar project receives oversight from Mayor and Council, the RTA (Regional Transportation Authority) Board, and the FTA (Federal Transit Administration), which has ultimate oversight of the project.When FTA officials were in town this month for their quarterly review, they commended city staff for doing an outstanding job. In fact, they asked two of the city’s project managers if they’d be willing to consult with other cities, calling Tucson’s modern streetcar project a model for others to follow.The latest FTA Quarterly Reviewof the project is available online.There will be a Construction Kick-off Celebration Thursday, April 12th at 11:00 a.m. by the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona, 1657 E. Helen Street. Mark your calendars and I hope to see you there.This huge construction project will undoubtedly hit some bumps along the road, but it’s great to have good work by city staff recognized by national experts. Congratulations!
AFSCME picnic
At the AFSCME picnic: click for higher resolution. #180DayPlan Part of my 180 Day Work Plan was to meet with city employee unions. I held those meetings early on, and continue to meet with city union representatives – but meetings just aren’t that interesting to report in a newsletter.After the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, I dropped by the AFSCME picnic to thank and say hello to some of our city workers. Somehow, they had a model of the Heisman trophy there. I have now been as close to the Heisman as I’m likely to get.It was great to see our city staff enjoying time with family and friends.Meeting with city employee unions is part of the Mayor’s 180 Day Work Plan.
Honoring Afghanistan and Iraq veterans
Reading the names of fallen troopsWhen:Friday, March 30, 2012, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.Where: Pima Community College, Downtown Campus, 1255 N. Stone Ave.Pima Community College is seeking volunteers to help in reading the names of fallen U.S. troops in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars this Friday, March 30th, at the Downtown Campus, starting at 7:00 a.m. Reading the nearly 6,400 names is expected to take 10 to 12 hours.I took a turn reading names first thing this morning. There are still time slots available. To volunteer to be a name-reader, contact Jerry Haynes at jehaynes@pima.eduor by phone at 206-7263.Tucson’s Welcome Home Veterans Parade

When:Saturday, March 31, 2012, 10:30 a.m.

Where: Pennington and Stone. For a map of the parade route, click here.

Inspired by St. Louis’ parade for Iraq vets, Tucsonan Alan Toppel decided we needed to have a parade here. So he flew to St. Louis, got some help from parade organizers there, and now Tucson’s Welcome Home Veterans Parade will be this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Starting at the corner of Pennington and Stone, the parade honors U.S. veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. To watch an Arizona Illustrated interview with parade organizer Alan Toppel click here.

I regret that I’ll be out of town for a family wedding and cannot attend.

12th Annual César Chávez March
When:Saturday, March 31, 2012, 9:00 a.m.Where: St. John’s Catholic Church (602 W. Ajo Way) to Rudy Garcia Park (5001 S. Nogales Highway)This Saturday, march in honor of Arizona native son and Mexican-American civil rights leader César Chávez, who was born March 31, 1927. There’ll be a rally and music at the park afterward.I regret that I’ll be out of town for a family wedding and cannot attend.

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