January 6, 2013

Mayor’s Update – January 6, 2013

Mayor’s Update
Tucson, Arizona January 6, 2013
January 8, Newtown and BEYOND
Please ring a bell Tuesday, January 8 at 10:10 a.m.
Beyond logo.

 #360Plan  This January 8 marks the second anniversary of a mass shooting in Tucson where 6 lost their lives and 13 were wounded.

This December, another lone gunman killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

After the horror comes the need to act—to honor the victims and to prevent the next tragedy.

Honoring the victims I am asking Tucsonans to ring bells Tuesday, January 8 at 10:10 a.m. to remember the victims of the January 8, 2011 mass shooting. Christina-Taylor Green, Dorothy “Dot” Morris, Judge John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard and Gabe Zimmerman died in the attack. 13 others were wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

This Saturday, January 5, the annual outdoor festival BEYOND returned to Tucson. Started by the family of slain Congressional staffer Gabe Zimmerman, who loved the outdoors, BEYOND provides many opportunities to walk, run, ride, hike, bike and get moving.Join the Mayor's TEAM logo.

At the main event in Armory Park, I invited Tucsonans to Join the Mayor’s TEAM and walk 100 miles between January and June. TEAM stands for Together, Eat Well, Achieve and Move. The Mayor’s TEAM is part of my Healthy Tucson initiative and an offshoot of my Health & Wellness Task Force. Sign up to track progress toward your fitness goals here.

Preventing the next tragedy In response to the Newtown massacre and President Obama’s call for “meaningful action,” I wrote a guest editorial in the Star, urging Tucsonans to contact their Congressional Representatives and Senators, as well as their state legislators, and demand action. No civilian needs an assault weapon or extended magazines for hunting or protection.

There have been at least 11 mass shootings in the U.S. between Tucson and Newtown. This problem will not solve itself. We must act.

  • Carson City—3 dead, 6 wounded
  • Seal Beach—8 dead, 1 wounded
  • Norcross—4 dead
  • Oakland—7 dead, 3 wounded
  • Gilbert—4 dead
  • Seattle—5 dead
  • Aurora—12 dead, 58 wounded
  • Oak Creek—6 dead, 3 wounded
  • Minneapolis—6 dead, 3 wounded
  • Brookfield—3 dead, 4 wounded
  • Clackamas—2 dead, 1 wounded

For more information on gun violence in the U.S., check out these pages from the Washington Post and the Centers for Disease Control.

Working toward a healthy Tucson for all is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Tucson Wins IBM Smarter Cities Grant
At the press conference announcing Tucson's win.
At the press conference announcing Tucson’s win

 #360Plan  This fall, the City of Tucson won an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant, providing in-kind expert assistance to Tucson Water in two main areas.

Over 10 years, Tucson Water is transitioning from analog to digital water meters, replacing about 300 a week. The IBM grant will help give digital meter customers real-time information, so they can detect hidden leaks or anomalies before getting a big bill.

The IBM grant will also help Tucson Water save on energy costs of moving water and maintaining water pressure through better use of existing data. Tucson Water’s energy costs run about $15 million annually.

News of the grant was reported by the Star, by KVOA in two stories and mentioned in the UA’s College of Engineering newsletter. The College of Engineering is also involved in the project.

Many thanks to IBM, the UA College of Engineering and City staff for this opportunity to deliver better water service more efficiently.

Conserving water and upgrading the City’s technology and use of technology to improve performance are part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Downtown Links Construction Underway
At the groundbreaking for the St. Mary's section of Downtown Links.
At the groundbreaking for the St. Mary’s section of Downtown Links

Downtown Links will be the “last mile” of Barraza-Aviation Parkway, linking the east side with downtown and the west side. The week after Thanksgiving, Council Member Regina Romero and I attended the groundbreaking for the St. Mary’s section, from I-10 to Church.

Developed with citizen input, Downtown Links is an alternative to the Arizona Dept. of Transportation’s original plan. That plan, which included a six-lane overpass through the Warehouse Arts District, was rejected for its negative impact on downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

Instead of six lanes and an overpass, Downtown Links will have four lanes and an underpass. It will have multimodal features, such as walkways and bike paths, as well as provisions to preserve historic buildings. For a map, click here.

Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) Quarterly Meeting Also this fall, I spoke at the quarterly meeting of the Valley of the Sun chapter of the ACT. ACT supports efforts to reduce traffic congestion, conserve energy and improve air quality through things like travel reduction and multimodal transportation.

In Pima County, participation in the Pima Association of Governments’ Travel Reduction Program is mandatory for employers with more than 100 full-time employees at one location. But smaller employers can participate too. To find out how, contact Ruth Reiman at PAG.

UA President Hart Inauguration
With UA President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart.
With UA President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart

Dr. Ann Weaver Hart took the helm as President of the University of Arizona last summer, but her official Inauguration was held the last day of November.

I was honored to speak at the ceremony, which featured a number of faculty and student music and dance performances, highlighting the UA’s strength in the performing arts.

The first woman to serve as UA President, Dr. Hart was also the first woman to serve as President of Temple University. In my remarks, I congratulated Dr. Hart on being a trailblazer and said that, in Tucson, “we like our glass ceilings broken.” You can read the speech here.

I look forward to continuing to work with the University on many projects, such as the streetcar and economic development, and welcome Dr. Hart’s leadership.

UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
With faculty of the UA's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
With faculty of the UA’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

 #360Plan  I was honored to give the commencement address for December graduates of the UA’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health—one of Tucson’s many treasures. I talked about the importance of access, information and mobilization for a healthy Tucson. You can read the address here.

ASORBO In my remarks, I mentioned my recent tour of ASORBO. This NGO grew out of a conference put on by the UA’s Sonoran UCEDD, or University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Located in Nogales, Sonora, ASORBO manufactures RoughRider wheelchairs designed for developing countries, where sidewalks are the exception, not the norm. UA College of Public Health professor Dr. Burris “Duke” Duncan is the local contact—one of many worthy ventures the College and the University are involved in. Programs like this are why I told the Public Health graduates, “You are graduating from a special place, with a special purpose.”

Working toward a healthy Tucson for all is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Kids & Cops Christmas 2012
At TPOA's Kids & Cops Christmas 2012.
At TPOA’s Kids & Cops Christmas 2012

Ten days before Christmas, I spent a wonderful Saturday morning with about 300 children, their families, Tucson Police Department officers and staff for the Tucson Police Officers Association’s annual Kids & Cops Christmas.

Some of Tucson’s less fortunate children got to pick out $100 worth of Christmas gifts—toys and clothing—with a TPD volunteer, then had their pictures taken with their TPD personal shopper. Santa stopped by too.

As you can see from the photo, I had the right T-shirt, but I guess only sworn officers get the Sponge Bob headgear.

You can donate to next year’s event by sending a check to Tucson Police Officers Association Charitable Foundation, earmarked for Kids & Cops Christmas, Attn: TPOA, 3849 E. Broadway Blvd., Ste. 320, Tucson, AZ 85716.

Sgt. Robert Carpenter Update: Wonderful news for Sgt. Carpenter and his family! He was able to go home for the holidays December 19 and hopes to return to work within 6 months. Sgt. Carpenter was shot in the head while responding to a burglary call. He is continuing outpatient physical therapy and rehabilitation. The Tucson Police Foundation has set up a fund for the Carpenter family. You can give online here. Where it says, “This contribution is for,” select Sgt. Robert Carpenter Fund.
TPD K9 Ivan
K9 Ivan.
TPD K9 Ivan, a Belgian Malinois

The Tucson Police Department lost a valued member of its family last month when K9 Ivan, a Belgian Malinois, was shot in the line of duty.

Ivan and his handler, Officer Chris Fenoglio, were responding to an armed carjacking and chase that ended in midtown. Ivan bit the suspect, who shot Ivan. The suspect refused to drop his weapon and was shot and killed by officers at the scene.

Ivan was rushed to Valley Animal Hospital, but veterinarians were unable to save him.

Our condolences to Officer Fenoglio, his family, and TPD for this loss, and our thanks to Valley Animal Hospital for their heroic efforts to save Ivan’s life. Donations to the Tucson Police Foundation’s K9 unit fund can be made here. Where it says, “This contribution is for,” select Service Dog Unit K9.

Greater Tucson Fire Foundation

This fall, I spoke at a breakfast of the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation. A 501(c)(3) non-profit founded by firefighters and community members, GTFF works to promote health and safety initiatives for firefighters, as well as to preserve local firefighting history. Projects include:

  • Funding early detection of cardiac disease using ultrasound, based on UA research
  • Funding mental health and wellness services for firefighters and their families
  • Distributing Fire Ground Survival Tools to firefighters to free themselves from entanglement in debris in a fire

Many thanks to GTFF for its important work.

Council Retreat
At the Council Retreat, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith at the podium.
At the Council Retreat, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith at the podium

At a December meeting of Mayor and Council, we heard presentations from Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, former Arizona Attorney General and Phoenix Mayor Terry Goddard and UA Professor of Management Stephen Gilliland.

Topics ranged from economic development to the roles of council and staff and other management issues.

My thanks to our guests for sharing their experience and expertise. I’m opposed to reinventing the wheel, so it’s always good to hear from others what’s worked—as well as what hasn’t.

Pete the Beak Gets ‘Water Smart’
With Tucson Water's Pete the Beak.
With Tucson Water’s Pete the Beak

 #360Plan  Pete the Beak is famous for asking Tucsonans to “beat the peak” by timing water use for when demand is less. Now, he has a new job.

Conserving water is a 24/7 proposition, so Pete helped record PSAs for “Water Smart”—Tucson Water’s new campaign of ways to save water every day. The campaign was launched at a press conference at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, which hosts a Rainwater Harvesting Workshop the fourth Saturday of every month.

To see some of Pete’s tips, visit Tucson Water’s YouTube page.

Conserving water is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Emerge! Theresa’s Fund Grant
With Theresa's Fund Founder Preston McMurry, Emerge! CEO Sarah Jones, Emerge! Board Chair Scott Rathbun and Ward 3 Council Member Karin Uhlich.
With Theresa’s Fund Founder Preston McMurry, Emerge! CEO Sarah Jones, Emerge! Board Chair Scott Rathbun and Ward 3 Council Member Karin Uhlich

Five years ago, Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse was awarded a very competitive five-year grant from Theresa’s Fund, a McMurry charity.

The steps the grant required Emerge! to take demanded great commitment from board and staff, but each year, Emerge! met the challenge.

Theresa’s Fund Founder Preston McMurry was on hand to give out the last installment of the $500,000 grant. As he did, he told how he believed Emerge! to be the strongest organization of its size and kind in the country.

Council Member Karin Uhlich and I were happy to congratulate Emerge! and thank Mr. McMurry for his generosity. Tucson is fortunate to have this lifesaving help available for families and individuals in need.

Food Bank School Gardens Grant
At the press conference announcing the Food Bank's grant.
At the press conference announcing the Food Bank’s grant

 #360Plan  The Food Bank recently received a federal grant to help schools with gardens prepare and serve the food they grow. I was happy to congratulate them. It’s a priority of mine for all Tucsonans to have access to healthy foods, and school, community and background gardens are part of that.

Fed by Threads The week before Thanksgiving, Fed by Threads opened its first organic clothing boutique in Tucson. For every item purchased, they donate 12 emergency food boxes to the Food Bank or another hunger organization. A great idea!

Working toward a healthy Tucson for all is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Boots to Business
Speaking to attendees at MAC/AzSBDC's Boots to Business.
Speaking to attendees at MAC/AzSBDC’s Boots to Business

 #360Plan  Thanks to the Arizona Small Business Development Center and the Microbusiness Advancement Center for their recent “Boots to Business” workshop for veterans considering starting a business. Lots of good info, including on how to do business with the military.

AzSBDC and MAC are great resources for veterans or anyone starting a business. For more info, call 620-1241.

Encouraging entrepreneurship is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

FC Tucson International Soccer ‘Friendly’
At the press conference announcing Tucson's first international soccer "friendly."
At the press conference announcing Tucson’s first international soccer “friendly”

 #360Plan  The future of Major League Soccer in Tucson got another boost with FC Tucson bringing in the first international soccer “friendly,” an exhibition match between Canada and Denmark January 26 at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The match kicks off a month of soccer in Tucson, which is rapidly gaining well-deserved recognition as a soccer city. Thanks to all who helped make this happen, especially FC Tucson.

Working to recruit new and retain existing employers is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

TAP Royal Launches Bus Service to Western Mexico
At the opening of TAP Royal's Tucson bus station.
At the opening of TAP Royal’s Tucson bus station

 #360Plan  Tucson gained a new luxury bus service to Nogales, Hermosillo and Western Mexico with the arrival of TAP Royal in Tucson. Buses offer wireless Internet and electrical outlets, as well as spacious seating.

This adds another convenient option for tourists, families and business people traveling on both sides of the border. Along with Council Member Regina Romero, I was happy to welcome this new service to Tucson.

Working to facilitate international trade and tourism is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Mayor’s Poverty Task Force Update
At a meeting of my Poverty Task Force.
At a meeting of my Poverty Task Force

 #360Plan #TucsonPoverty  My Poverty Task Force has started the process of developing a Coordinated Entry System (CES) for homeless to access social services.

A HUD requirement, the CES will make it easier to track and deliver services, as well as reduce time spent homeless. The goal is to return people to permanent housing within 30 days.

With help from a HUD Technical Assistance grant, the Corporation for Supportive Housing and other community partners, the Task Force reviewed local data systems that capture information about people living in poverty. Having completed this first step, the Task Force handed the project to the entity charged with creating the system—the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness.

The Task Force’s next steps are to research other poverty-reduction programs and policies to see what could work in Tucson.

Creating a Mayor’s Task Force to work on Poverty is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Muslim-Jewish Peace Walk
At the Muslim-Jewish Peace Walk.
At the Muslim-Jewish Peace Walk

A Tucson tradition continued on Veteran’s Day with the Muslim-Jewish Peace Walk. Starting at the Islamic Center of Tucson mosque and ending at Temple Emanu-El synagogue, the walk seeks to promote understanding and fellowship among Tucsonans of all faiths.

Like most days in Tucson, it was a beautiful day for a walk. Events like this, that bring us together, show how Tucson draws strength from its diversity. My thanks to the volunteers and donors, as well as the participants, for making this happen.

Dancing in the Streets … and the Mayor’s Office
With Tucson Hebrew Academy 1st-graders, learning Hanukkah dance moves.
With Tucson Hebrew Academy 1st-graders, learning Hanukkah dance moves

Dancing in the Streets I never had the dream of becoming a dancer—and if you’ve seen me in action, you know why—but I am a huge fan of Dancing in the Streets, a local non-profit that takes “at-risk” children and youth and teaches them ballet.

Every year, this troupe does an amazing performance of The Nutcracker, which I had the pleasure of appearing in this December, playing the role of the mayor.

Fortunately for everyone, I wasn’t on stage long, so I could enjoy watching the real dancers—very talented kids of all ages—from the wings. They did a great job!

Dancing in the Mayor’s Office During Hanukkah, my office received a visit from 1st-graders at Tucson Hebrew Academy. They did a special dance for the occasion, which looked like a lot of fun, so I gave it a try. Thanks to Rabbi Billy, teachers and staff for bringing the kids and brightening my day.

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