January 23, 2013

Mayor’s Update – January 23, 2013

Mayor’s Update
Tucson, Arizona January 23, 2013
Mayor’s Office Partners With SUSD to Bring Students Back to Graduate
With SUSD Superintendent Dr. Manuel Isquierdo, announcing the launch of GradLink.
With SUSD Superintendent Dr. Manuel Isquierdo, announcing the launch of GradLink

 #360Plan  My first press conference of the new year announced the launch of an initiative to help more Tucsonans graduate from high school.

Together with Sunnyside School District, my office is working to get the word out about GradLink, a free online path to graduation and a high school diploma.

Currently, the program has funding to accept up to 100 students who:

  • Dropped out of high school in the last three years
  • Are 17-21 years old
  • Passed at least two of the AIMS tests
  • Have 17 or more credits toward graduation

GradLink offers students, free of charge:GradLink logo.

  • A loaner laptop
  • Online or online plus classroom instruction
  • Self-paced learning
  • Flexible hours
  • Open enrollment

GradLink offers maximum flexibility for students who are working or have family obligations. It may also help students qualify for DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. And, students don’t have to live in the Sunnyside School District to enroll.Slide showing yearly earnings by educational attainment.

My recent presentation to the City Council on the work my Advisory Task Forces are doing included this slide. Average yearly earnings for someone without a high school diploma or GED are 18% below the federal poverty threshold for a family of four. Too often, dropping out of high school means dropping into poverty.

Please tell any young people, teachers, social workers or guidance counselors you know about GradLink. I am very pleased to be working with Sunnyside, and look forward to seeing the results of this pilot program.

Supporting excellence in education for all is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Healthy Tucson: Walk 100 Miles With the Mayor
At BEYOND with Jannie Cox for the first walk of Walk 100 Miles With the Mayor.
At BEYOND with Jannie Cox for the first walk of Walk 100 Miles With the Mayor

 #360Plan  The January 5th BEYOND outdoor festival included the first walk of “Walk 100 Miles With the Mayor,” a program of my Health & Wellness Task Force.

Walking is great exercise. It’s free and available to just about everyone, plus it’s something families can do together—even the family pet.Join the Mayor's TEAM logo.

If you made a resolution to get more exercise in 2013, sign up to Join the Mayor’s TEAM and walk (or run) 100 miles between January and June. You can track your miles and find places to walk as well as organized walks and runs throughout the community on my website, mayorrothschild.com—making it easy to meet the goal of 2 1/2 hours of physical activity a week.

Many thanks to the volunteer members of my Health & Wellness Task Force, especially Tucson Medical Center and the Southern Arizona Roadrunners for providing water bottles, T-shirts, sunscreen and pedometers for this first event.

I hope to see you and your family on an upcoming walk. Happy trails!

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

Ward 6 Town Hall
At the end of the Ward 6 Town Hall.
At the end of the Ward 6 Town Hall

Along with city, county, state and federal representatives of Tucson’s Ward 6, I attended the town hall organized by Council Member Steve Kozachik earlier this month.

Falling the day before the second anniversary of the mass shooting in Tucson, and less than a month after the mass shooting in Newtown, the issue of gun violence came up more than once. (See a video excerpt.) My position is that assault weapons are weapons of war, not hunting gear or defensive weapons for the home, and that no civilian needs extended magazines for hunting or protection. The Second Amendment right to bear arms is not an absolute right for everyone to bear all arms, in all places, at all times.

Questions were submitted in writing and read by moderator David Fitzsimmons, who kept things moving with help from his smart phone, whose bells, chimes and other sound effects let speakers know when time was up. I escaped the dreaded “crickets” by keeping my answers short.

Many thanks to the volunteers and all who attended for making the event possible, including The Loft Cinema for hosting and Access Tucson for providing coverage.

Chicago Store’s Façade ‘Lift’
Detail from the Chicago Store's restored façade.
Detail from the Chicago Store’s restored façade

One of downtown’s iconic businesses, the Chicago Store, recently revealed its new façade—which restores much of the building’s original architectural detail.

Family owned, the Chicago Store has been in Tucson since 1919. A music store that buys, sells, rents, trades and repairs musical instruments “from kazoos to pianos,” the store is a fixture on the Tucson music scene. In the 1990s, you could find legendary local musician Rainer Ptacek fixing guitars in the basement.

Many thanks to the Tohono O’odham Nation for providing funding for this restoration project, with a match coming from the store’s owners. Projects like this contribute to the economic impact of the modern streetcar and the revitalization of downtown. To find out more about the city’s Façade Improvement Program, contact the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

Design ‘Charrette’ for Streetcar Route
At the Rialto for the start of the Charrette.
At the Rialto for the start of the Charrette

Last week I had the pleasure of kicking off a design “charrette” discussing land use along the modern streetcar route. I know, I had to look it up too.

A charrette is an intensive design process. Here, it was a week-long series of public meetings and presentations involving architects, planners and members of the public. The topic was the kind of development that would be desirable and appropriate along different sections of the modern streetcar route. We know we need infill and density. High-rises are one way to achieve that, but certainly not the only way. They’re appropriate in a few areas, but not all or even most areas.

Thanks to PAG, RTA and City staff for organizing this process. I look forward to reviewing the results.

Erika Yee
With Chris Miller and Erika Yee.
With Chris Miller and Erika Yee

As Mayor, it’s often my privilege to meet and recognize outstanding young people.

After band practice one day last October, University High student Erika Yee and fellow band members were at school having dinner when Erika’s friend and bandmate, Chris Miller, suddenly collapsed. Erika responded to cries for help and began administering Continuous-Chest-Compression CPR.

She had learned the technique as a Junior Girl Scout at Camp Fury, a firefighting camp put on by the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, Northwest Fire Dept., and Tucson Fire Dept. Erika kept giving Chris CPR until paramedics arrived and transported him to the hospital.

Continuous-Chest-Compression CPR is a technique developed at the UA’s Sarver Heart Center and field-tested by Tucson Fire Dept. personnel. Research shows that it can be twice as effective as traditional CPR in cases of sudden cardiac arrest.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Chris has made a wonderful recovery and is so thankful Erika was there and knew what to do.

Anyone can be called upon to save a life—of a friend, loved one or stranger—at any time. The Sarver Heart Center offers periodic classes in Continuous-Chest-Compression CPR and has a video that can train you to perform this lifesaving technique in minutes. There’s a link to it on my website. Watch it with your family. Tucson needs more happy endings like this one.

Operation Deep Freeze
A frozen fountain outside City Hall.
A frozen fountain outside City Hall

This month saw near-record lows for Tucson and surrounding areas. When that happens, or whenever the temperature drops to 35 degrees, or 40 degrees with precipitation, Operation Deep Freeze and Project Hospitality spring into action with emergency shelter for the homeless.

I’ve volunteered with Operation Deep Freeze for over a decade now, setting up cots and getting my synagogue’s overflow shelter ready to receive guests.

To find out how you can help, contact the Salvation Army’s Hospitality House at (520) 622-5411.

Tucson Rings Bells in Remembrance
Ringing the bell at Fire Central in remembrance of the victims of the January 8 shooting.
Ringing the bell at Fire Central in remembrance of the victims of the January 8 shooting

This January 8th anniversary was more low-key than last year’s vigil. In light of the dozen or more mass shootings that took place between January 8, 2011 and January 8, 2013—particularly Aurora and Newtown—how could it be otherwise. We know we are not alone, and that any community, at any time, can bear witness to the next senseless tragedy.

As we did last year, I asked Tucsonans to ring bells at the time of the shooting. I rang the bell at Fire Central 19 times in memory of the victims. It took much longer to ring that bell than it did for the shooter to kill, or wound, those 19 people.

We must pass meaningful gun laws at the federal level. In Arizona, the state has largely taken away cities’ legal authority to pass their own gun laws.

Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said at her shooter’s sentencing, “After Columbine, after Virginia Tech, after Tucson and after Aurora we have done nothing.” As I said in my guest column in the Tucson Weekly, “We cannot add Newtown to that list. We cannot do nothing.”

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