May 6, 2013

Mayor’s Update – May 6, 2013

Mayor’s Update
Tucson, Arizona May 6, 2013
Focus on Summer Jobs for Youth
Mayor's Office Intern Lujuana Curley.
Mayor’s Office Intern Lujuana Curley

 #360Plan  Can your workplace use a little extra help this summer? Local youth are waiting and willing to help.

Together with the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and members of my Youth Task Force, I’m calling on employers to make room in their organizations for young people, as summer hires or interns.

The Mayor’s Office uses interns to help with answering phones and responding to constituent requests. It’s been a big help to us and a good experience for them.

Youth have been hit disproportionately hard by the recession. For teens, the unemployment rate is more than three times the national average.

If your workplace can help, contact to participate in United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona/Pima OneStop‘s 2nd Annual Youth Job & Career Fair no later than May 15th.

Employers can also list jobs—and youth can search for jobs—at a special website set up by in partnership with the Obama administration:

Creating a Youth Task Force was part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Tucson Police Dept. Works With Community on Mental Health Crisis Calls
Sgt. Jim Kirk, TPD Behavioral Sciences Unit, explains the program.
Sgt. Jim Kirk, TPD Behavioral Sciences Unit, explains the program

Last month, the Tucson Police Department announced it was starting a program in collaboration with the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona (CPSA) and the Crisis Response Network of Southern Arizona (CRN/SA) that would get 911 callers experiencing mental health crises on the phone with mental health professionals almost immediately.

In 2012, TPD sent officers to respond to about 3,200 such calls. Upon arrival, the officers provided referrals to appropriate mental health providers.

Under the new program, TPD 911 operators and supervisors will receive training in triaging mental health calls. Police will still respond to situations where there is an immediate threat. Where there is not an immediate threat, the caller will be connected with CPSA’s 24-hour crisis line, (520) 622-6000, which is staffed by trained crisis intervention specialists with CRN/SA.

Calls can be transferred back to 911, if additional information develops that would warrant police response.

A theme of my administration is, “We do more together than alone.” This is one program that proves that. Congratulations to Chief Villaseñor and his staff on this innovative approach that conserves police resources while improving constituent service. Thanks to partners CPSA and CRN/SA for their willingness to collaborate on the program.

Grand Opening of Tech Launch Arizona
At the Grand Opening of Tech Launch Arizona.
At the Grand Opening of Tech Launch Arizona

 #360Plan  The University of Arizona and the City of Tucson are more than good neighbors. We’re partners in the success of our city and region.

Last month, the University held the Grand Opening of Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) at its West 6th Street location. TLA will work to bridge the gap between the University’s research community and the tech business community. The City is contributing a staff person to work with TLA on developing a commercialization network that links the University with resources in the community, the region and beyond.

One of my goals as mayor is to do what I can to help expedite tech transfer. I want to see cutting-edge discoveries at the University turn into leading-edge companies that create jobs here in Tucson.

Tech Launch Arizona brings renewed focus to tech transfer. Read their roadmap for more information.

Working with the University of Arizona to encourage entrepreneurship and support tech transfer is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

STEM Education in Tucson
With representatives of the Girl Scouts at the UA's announcement of its STEM Education Center.
With representatives of the Girl Scouts at the UA’s announcement of its STEM Education Center

Together with representatives from industry, the community and academia, I spoke at the launch of the University of Arizona’s STEM Learning Center last month. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The Center will focus on teacher training and support, research and evaluation, pre-K to college STEM curricula and community partnerships.

STEM education is important for several reasons. STEM careers tend to pay higher wages. STEM innovations improve our quality of life. And while we don’t need (or want) everyone to choose a STEM career, we do want everyone to be scientifically literate. We need an informed electorate to make decisions on such critical issues as climate change—without being swayed by uninformed opinion.

In March, I called a STEM meeting of my own, bringing together folks from the University and the community to discuss needs and resources. The meeting was hosted by the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, who have worked on getting girls interested in STEM subjects for some time now. That group will continue to meet, with University faculty taking the lead.

Nogales Economic Forum

 #360Plan  In March, I led a delegation of Arizona mayors to a Binational Economic Forum in Nogales, Sonora.

As the Arizona Daily Star reported, Sonora has 45 aerospace and 87 automotive manufacturing plants. By 2015, these are expected to grow to 60 and 90, respectively, and employ 41,000 workers.

Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora form an economic region that can only grow stronger as we work together—building relationships and infrastructure on both sides of the border for our mutual benefit. This trip was an important part of moving that process forward.

Working to increase international trade is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Involta Grand Opening

Involta held a Grand Opening Celebration of its new, 38,000-square-foot facility last month—the first Tier III data center in Tucson, with an overall network uptime of 99.982%.

Tucson is an ideal location for companies seeking to avoid potentially disruptive natural disasters. That, plus our low cost of doing business and ready access to high-tech talent make Involta’s newest data center a natural fit for Tucson. Council Member Richard Fimbres and I were happy to welcome them to Tucson’s Ward 5.

Bankers’ Roundtable
At the Bankers' Roundtable.
At the Bankers’ Roundtable

 #360Plan  Last month, I attended a Bankers’ Roundtable at the invitation of the Arizona Small Business Development Center. I asked those present to share their concerns and told them I was open to suggestions on how how we can make more capital available to more local businesses.

I also made sure everyone was aware of the City’s 21 business incentives and other incentives available to local businesses, so they could pass that information along to their business clients.

It was a good discussion. My thanks to AzSBDC for hosting the event.

Informing the community about the many business incentives available in the City of Tucson is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Hero 2 Hired
Inside the Hero 2 Hired mobile job store.
Inside the Hero 2 Hired mobile job store

Hero 2 Hired helps members of the National Guard and Reserves find jobs, build resumes and translate military skills to civilian careers.

Last month, I visited the Hero 2 Hired mobile job store, parked at Pima Community College‘s Downtown Campus, which houses Pima’s Veterans’ Center.

Employers can sign up, too. Visit the site for more info.

Arizona International Film Festival
At the festival with Vice Mayor Regina Romero, whose husband, Ruben Reyes, served as Honorary Chair.
At the festival with Vice Mayor Regina Romero, whose husband, Ruben Reyes, served as Honorary Chair

Tucson and the film industry go way back, so it’s not surprising we’ve become home to a highly-respected film festival. The 22nd Arizona International Film Festival ran from April 12 to 28, bringing films and filmmakers from around the world and across the country to Tucson.

Some of those filmmakers visited local classrooms as part of Festival in the Schools, a program that receives funding from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The film festival is one of Tucson’s cultural treasures. To enjoy independent film year-round, check out The Screening Room and The Loft Cinema.

Water Awareness Month
Recharging water at Tucson Water's Clearwater facility.
Recharging water at Tucson Water’s Clearwater facility

 #360Plan  In March, I joined Tucson Water employees in celebrating their one-millionth acre-foot of water recharged.

Then, in April, we kicked off the Wyland Foundation‘s National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, a friendly competition between cities, where residents pledge to take simple steps to save water.

The results are in and Tucson won in our category!

Many thanks to Tucson Water for promoting the challenge and for the work they do every day to promote conservation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some Tucsonans to win prizes in Wyland’s drawing later this month.

Thanks also to challenge sponsor Rain Bird, which not only donated prizes for the drawing, but also donated irrigation equipment to Tucson’s Toumey Park.

Working to conserve water is part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Environmental Services Poster Contest
With one of the contest winners at Sierra Middle School.
With one of the contest winners at Sierra Middle School

Good habits start early, so I was glad to see the City’s Environmental Services Department promoting recycling through a poster contest for middle school students.

Out of more than 140 student entrants, two tied for first place—surprisingly, both from the same art class at Sierra Middle School.

You can see their work on the sides of brand new ES trucks—trucks that run on compressed natural gas, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20-30%.

Background Checks Vote
Tucson hero Pat Maisch at a rally to urge the U.S. Senate to pass background checks.
Tucson hero Pat Maisch at a rally to urge the U.S. Senate to pass background checks

Like the overwhelming majority of Americans—and Arizonans—I was very disappointed that the Senate failed to overcome a GOP-led filibuster against background checks on all commercial gun sales last month.

Before the vote, I joined Tucsonans at a rally outside South Tucson’s City Hall with fellow member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, South Tucson Mayor Jennifer Eckstrom.

The fight to pass common sense gun laws will go on. I believe that politicians who ignore the will of the people will pay a price at the ballot box—and polls show overwhelming support for background checks.

If you have not already done so, please thank Senator John McCain for his vote in support of the Manchin-Toomey amendment.

Upcoming Walks, Runs
With members of Team Madden.
With members of Team Madden

 #360Plan  Tucsonans have logged more than 32,000 miles as part of Walk 100 Miles With the Mayor.

Find upcoming walks and runs here, and be sure to join us for the TMC Meet Me Downtown 5k June 1 to congratulate everyone who reached this goal.

Creating a Health & Wellness Task Force was part of the Mayor’s 360 Plan.

Michele Convie Award and Scholarship
Michele's daughter accepting the award on behalf of her mother.
Michele’s daughter accepting the award on behalf of her mother

Michele Convie was a remarkable woman who overcame many obstacles in her life, including those society puts in the way of all who’ve been incarcerated.

Michele served time for two drug convictions. Decades later, after completing her degree at Pima Community College, she had to wait an additional year before being cleared to work as a social worker. And, as someone with two felony convictions, Michele still wasn’t able to vote.

I first met Michele through the Civil Rights Restoration Clinic at the University of Arizona law school, a clinic I co-founded with U of A Law Professor Andy Silverman. Michele was ecstatic about having her rights restored, particularly her right to vote, and referred many clients to the clinic over the years.

She also founded WREN, the Women’s Re-Entry Network, a self-help group for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women.

Pima Community College’s Social Services Department presented Michele with an award posthumously, which her daughter accepted on her behalf. They also started a scholarship in Michele’s name. I was honored to attend the ceremony.

Pima Community College
At the PCC Foundation's fundraiser, with Executive Director Cheryl House and new PCC Board Member Sylvia Lee.
At the PCC Foundation’s fundraiser, with Executive Director Cheryl House and new PCC Board Member Sylvia Lee

Pima Community College has been on the receiving end of some very negative press lately.

When personnel problems come to light, getting to the right response can be difficult. Employees have rights, including privacy rights. But in public institutions, we expect accountability.

Attending a fundraiser for the PCC Foundation last month, I encouraged those present to continue to focus on the mission and work of providing the excellent educational value the school is known for.

The bottom line is this: Pima Community College is the path to a better life for countless Tucsonans. We cannot afford to let its problems overshadow its many strengths.

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