December 18, 2013

Mayor’s Update – December 18, 2013

Mayor’s Update
Tucson, Arizona December 18, 2013
Mayor’s Two-Year Plan
At the press conference unveiling my Two-Year Plan.
At the press conference unveiling my Two-Year Plan

Two years ago, on December 5th, I was sworn in as mayor. Last week, I released my plan for the next two years.

This follows two previous plans – the 180 and 360 – as well as progress reports on those plans.

This plan is more ambitious. We won’t complete everything on the list, but we will make progress.

Everyone remembers Arizona’s Five C’s: cattle, citrus, copper, cotton and climate. But Tucson has a new economy, a modern economy, one that’s based on Five T’s. They are: technology, trade, transportation, tourism and teaching – where teaching is both an economic activity and underlies our whole economy, by training the skilled workers employers need.

The Five T’s are based on Tucson’s strengths – our tech industry clusters, our unique geographic location, our tourist attractions and our top-tier research institution, to name a few. The Five C’s look to our past. The Five T’s are our future.

Take a moment to review the plan, and let me know what you think.

Mayor’s Two-Year Plan 

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

My vision for Tucson is this: a city where people want to stay and can stay.

We want to stay in a community with a high quality of life. We can stay in a community with opportunity – in a word, jobs.

Skilled workers and the companies that hire them can choose where to locate. Jobs go to cities where people want to live.

We need to work together on programs that enhance our quality of life and attract quality jobs.

We’ve completed or made progress on goals set in my 180 and 360 day plans. This plan sets goals for the next two years, building on strengths and addressing weaknesses.

This is how we build a strong economy and a strong community.

Jobs and Economic Development

Remember Arizona’s Five C’s? Tucson’s economy has Five T’s.

  • Technology – manufacturing, R&D, sales and service
  • Trade – with Mexico and beyond
  • Transportation – people and goods
  • Tourism – group and individual
  • Teaching – all ages, all levels

The Five T’s represent the foundation of a modern economy – one that builds on Tucson’s unique geographic location and existing strengths.


The University of Arizona, Raytheon and Davis-Monthan are at the heart of Tucson’s tech sector, which has grown to include aerospace, biotech, defense, healthcare, information technology, optics and solar, to name a few.

  • Entrepreneurship and STEM Jobs Pipeline
    • Work in partnership with the University of Arizona’s Tech Launch Arizona, through our Commercialization Network Alliance, to help launch tech startups in Tucson. Work with groups, incubators and tech parks to grow and maintain a network of entrepreneurs.
    • Attract investors to startup and growing companies, through EB-5 visas and other programs.
    • Work with partners to survey employers’ hiring needs and work with area high schools, colleges and universities to match students with jobs and internships.
  • Aerospace and Defense
    • Work to increase prime contractor procurement from local subcontractors and suppliers – and work with local subcontractors and suppliers to make sure they can provide the goods and services prime contractors need.
    • Advocate for our military installations to host compatible missions and units that bring new technologies and build on existing strengths – such as aircraft maintenance, climate, command and control, communications, electronics, engineering and UAVs.
    • Ensure appropriate land use surrounding D-M, Raytheon and the Tucson International Airport. Facilitate land transfers between D-M, Raytheon and TIA that enhance each entity’s operational capabilities.
  • Healthcare and Wellness
    • Build on existing strengths, such as our treatment and research facilities, physicians, medical school, hospitals and integrative medicine providers, to establish Tucson as a healthcare and wellness destination.
  • Solar and Energy
    • Develop a plan to install community solar farms at closed city landfills.
    • Pass PACE legislation at the state level to give businesses cost-effective ways to finance investment in energy- and water-saving infrastructure.
    • Advance a program with TEP to help schools and nonprofits benefit from solar technology.
  • Water
    • Work with experts at Tucson Water, the University of Arizona and elsewhere to develop a new industry cluster around water service methods and technologies.


Tucson has the potential to be a major hub for international trade – with Mexico and, through the deep-water port at Guaymas, the Pacific Rim.

  • Headquarters – Attract companies to set up corporate and regional headquarters in Tucson – Mexican companies that want to expand in the U.S. and U.S. companies that want to do the same in Mexico.
  • Regional Diplomacy – Continue building cross-border relations with government, business and academic leaders by hosting international conferences and trade shows.
  • Business Directory – Partner with the Arizona Daily Star to publish an Arizona Sonora Business Resource Guide – a database of manufacturing, import and export activity in the border region.
  • Offices in Mexico – Open trade offices in Hermosillo and Mexico City.
  • Air – Secure nonstop flights to Hermosillo and other Mexican cities.
  • Export Assistance – Host workshops that provide export assistance.
  • Tech Manufacturing in the Border Region – Develop a regional strategy for manufacturing through the Border Technology Manufacturing Initiative.


To reach our potential as a hub for international trade, we need appropriate transportation and border infrastructure.

  • Highway Infrastructure – Advocate for SR-189, I-19 and I-10 expansions to link the Mariposa Port of Entry with points north.
  • Highway Capacity – Expand ADOT’s overweight border permit program to eastern Pima County, improving the efficiency and security of freight transport between Tucson and Mexico.
  • Rail Freight – Expand and improve capacity between Guaymas, Nogales and Tucson, and at the Port of Tucson. In addition, create a “no whistle zone” for trains downtown that improves safety and reduces noise.
  • High-Speed Passenger Rail – Work with local, state and federal partners to plan, design and ultimately complete a Tucson-Phoenix high-speed passenger rail line.
  • Air – Our airport can add to our competitiveness as a region. We’ll work with TIA to
    • Secure more nonstop passenger flights.
    • Bring logistics and manufacturing businesses near the airport.


A place people want to visit is a place people want to live – and locate their businesses.

  • Sports and Outdoor Recreation – Work with regional partners to target and market to outdoor enthusiasts and ecotourists as well as leagues, conferences and spectators in
    • Youth and amateur sports
    • Professional soccer leagues
    • International sports, like Vamos a Tucson, Mexican Baseball Fiesta
  • Festivals – Tucson is blessed with many festivals, old and new. We’ll work to raise the profiles of our various art, book, film, music and other festivals.
  • Downtown – Our downtown has really come to life – a destination for Tucsonans and visitors alike. Much has been accomplished, yet much remains to be done.
    • Add 2,500 residents
    • Complete improvements to the TCC
    • Develop the western end of the streetcar line
    • Have grocery options downtown
    • Have a downtown hotel
    • Make needed traffic realignments


With the University of Arizona, Pima Community College and others, teaching is one of the things we do best. Let’s make sure every Tucsonan can read and write, graduates from high school and has the skills to go on to higher education or job training. The number one question businesses ask when deciding to come here is: “How good is your education system?”

  • Early Literacy – Expand programs like Reading Seed, that help young children learn to read. Children who read at grade level by 3rd grade are much more likely to graduate high school on time and much less likely to fall into poverty as adults.
  • Family Literacy – Expand programs like Teach the Parent, Reach the Child, that teach parents how to help their children read, and love reading.
  • Dropout Prevention & Recovery – Youth who drop out of high school are much more likely to be unemployed, underemployed or go to prison.
  • Attendance – Students who miss 10% or more of the school year are unlikely to keep up with their classmates. We’ll work with schools, nonprofits and businesses to support programs that track attendance for each student and intervene when necessary.
  • Alternative Programs – Develop alternative programs like GradLink2 at Sunnyside and Tucson Unified School Districts, so that every student has a way to earn a high school diploma, and make sure students and their parents are aware of all options for getting a diploma before dropping out.
  • Education Funding – Organize the business community around legislative efforts to lift Arizona from the bottom in education funding by substantially increasing funding to public education.
  • Mayor’s Reading Challenge – To encourage children to read more, I established the Mayor’s Reading Challenge. Anyone – parent, teacher, student – can track time spent reading. The aim is to get more children reading what they love and loving to read. Teachers can print certificates recognizing their students’ accomplishment. Visit
  • GED/Certification Testing Fund – Test fees should not be a barrier to employment. We’ll work with the Pima Community College Foundation and others to raise funds to help low-income Tucsonans afford these tests.
  • Job and Career Fairs – My office will partner with employers, nonprofits and schools to expand the reach and effectiveness of local job and career fairs.

City Government

Government lays the foundation for economic success in a region, by delivering services efficiently, investing in infrastructure and providing a social safety net. Quality services are worth investing in. We must focus on finding ways to provide services that are sustainable.

Economic Sustainability

Across the country, cities are maintaining older infrastructure and serving growing populations with fewer workers and less tax revenue. To ensure that government has sufficient resources to meet our needs over the long term, we must come together as a region and work on the following.

  • Annexation – Lost revenue to our region through failure to annex or incorporate is estimated at $70 million a year. These are tax dollars we pay, but don’t get back. Instead, they’re spent in Maricopa County, which is 93% incorporated. Through annexation and incorporation, we can recover that revenue, which can mean more services and lower property taxes. In the next two years, we’ll continue to increase Pima County’s incorporated area.
  • Bond Projects – The City and County must work together to formulate a bond package that makes sense – one that funds projects to improve quality of life and attract new business. This includes fixing our parks, roads and public facilities, expanding alternate modes of transportation, and building new facilities. We’ll work to support a City-County bond issue that makes sense for the region and, if necessary, the City will pursue a complementary bond issue.
  • Public Safety – Review our City Charter and determine if there are ways to create a dedicated funding source for public safety equipment and personnel.
  • RTA – We’ll set forth a plan to reauthorize and reallocate existing RTA funds, to direct more funds toward transit, road repair and pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
  • Pension Health – We’ll set forth a plan to ensure that Tucson’s two pension systems – PSPRS, a state-run system for public safety employees, and TSRS, a city-run system for all other city employees – remain affordable and solvent.
  • Houghton Area Master Plan (HAMP) – It’s time to take another look at this plan, shelved during the recession, and work with our State Land Department to identify and promote best uses for this area – including open space – to build our regional economy.
  • Shop Tucson First – We’ll promote local purchasing. If every Tucsonan and Tucson business increased purchases from local businesses by just 10%, the benefit to our economy would be tens of millions of dollars.

Service Delivery

Shrinking revenues from federal and state government and growing costs mean that cities need to find better ways to deliver core services to people and businesses.

  • Small Business Assistance – Promote programs that educate small business owners, including Tucson’s Small Business Assistance Line.
  • Integrated Planning – By integrating planning functions with development services, the city will do a better job coordinating between water, utilities, streets and development services. Planning and Development Services will continue to streamline operations, reducing processing times and complexity.
  • SunTran, SunVan, SunLink – Increase operational efficiencies and marketing to make sure our transit system meets our mobility needs while remaining affordable and solvent.
  • Water Service Upgrades – Engage smart technology at Tucson Water to improve customer service, increase efficiency and reduce energy costs.
  • Mayor-Manager Development Action Team – A project/portfolio manager will act as the single point of contact for large development projects, to help coordinate and manage development processes.
  • Employee Wellness – The city will participate in programs that offer employees preventive care, nutrition and exercise programs. Healthy employees are more productive and health insurance savings can be put toward city services.
  • Employee Appreciation – In all departments, city employees have been asked to do more with less. The Mayor’s Office will reward customer service, ingenuity, initiative and teamwork by recognizing, once a month, a city employee team that consistently provides quality constituent service.


A city that’s truly successful leaves no one out. If you need help, it’s there. If you want to help, you can.

Health and Wellness

A number of chronic health conditions can be prevented, or better managed, through healthy lifestyle choices – saving lives and improving the quality of life.

  • Tucson Moves a Million Miles – To encourage Tucsonans to be more physically active, we’ll launch Tucson Moves a Million Miles. Anyone can track time spent walking, running, biking and swimming. The aim is to get more families enjoying exercise together. Visit
  • Connecting Seniors – Seniors are among our most active volunteers. Sometimes, though, seniors without family nearby can become isolated from the community. Using existing organizations and informal networks, we can identify those in need and connect them with services, keeping them healthy and engaged.
  • Food Deserts – In some neighborhoods, healthy food can be hard to come by. We’ll work with community partners to increase access to fresh produce and healthy food.

Social Programs

Too many Tucsonans live in poverty. For some, the answer is jobs. But others can’t work. Financial education, housing assistance and public transportation can help lift families above the poverty line.

  • Veteran Homelessness – We have committed to end veteran homelessness in Tucson by December 31, 2015, a challenge issued by the President of the United States. Thanks to our 18 partner agencies, we’re on track to reach that goal – and we’re growing our capacity to address homelessness overall.
  • High ROI Social Programs – My Poverty Commission is working with the University of Arizona to study and report back on social programs that yield a high return on investment – programs we can implement in Tucson.
  • Low-Income Weatherization and Home Repair – Hundreds of thousands of federal dollars for weatherization upgrades to low-income homeowners go unspent every year. We’ll partner with Tucson Electric Power and nonprofits to make sure these funds are fully utilized.

Attractive, Safe Neighborhoods

Everyone deserves to live in a neighborhood that’s safe and well cared for. Well-kept neighborhoods show pride in our community.

  • Repurpose Closed Schools – Schools are community assets, but a closed school is a liability. It’s in everyone’s interest to see these properties returned to productive use – as housing, community centers, or schools. We’ll work with the Tucson Unified School District to find the right incentives to get this done.
  • Graffiti Cleanup – Working with volunteer groups, utilities, schools and businesses, we’ll enhance our programs to remove graffiti quickly. Along with cleaning medians and paving streets, eliminating graffiti increases civic pride.
  • Adopt-a-Mile/Adopt-a-Park – We’ll work with Tucson Clean & Beautiful to encourage civic, church, neighborhood and school groups to adopt neighborhood streets and parks, clearing weeds and litter on a monthly basis.

Civic Engagement

All of us can help our communities. Our city is only as strong as we make it.

  • Youth Civic Engagement – Programs like YouthBuild, Tucson Youth Poetry Slam and Pima County Teen Court help connect youth with the community, developing a culture of engagement and giving back. Through a youth-led commission, the Mayor’s Office will promote programs that encourage youth engagement, connecting them with funding sources and each other.
  • Sunday Evening Forum – We’ll recreate a Tucson tradition that brought John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt and many other luminaries to town.
  • Volunteering – Tucsonans want to be involved. Through the Mayor’s Office, we’ll encourage volunteer efforts to plant trees and community gardens, clean neighborhoods, increase literacy, provide food and improve lives in our community.


Clear skies and clean water are fundamental to a high quality of life.

Environmental Resilience

Preparing for changes to our environment, working to mitigate our environmental impact and increasing food security make Tucson a stronger community.

  • 10,000 Trees – Businesses, individuals, neighborhoods and nonprofits will work together to plant 10,000 native and desert-adapted trees. Planting low water use trees in water-harvesting basins is good for the environment and the economy – cooling the air and lowering energy costs while raising property values and occupancy rates. Visit
  • Food Security – Updating our Land Use Code to allow for more back yard, community, school and small-scale commercial gardens will enhance health, food security, economic activity and community.
  • Reducing Energy and Water Use – Working with the City Council and the City Manager, we’ll set ambitious but realistic goals to reduce energy and water use for all city-owned facilities and pursue cost-neutral methods to finance these efforts.
  • Riparian Habitat Restoration – We’ll work to protect and restore areas of shallow groundwater in Tucson Water service areas that support wildlife habitat and recreational use.

Bikeable/Walkable Tucson

A community that’s safe, pleasant and easy to get around by bike or on foot is attractive to young people and the employers who hire them.

  • Pedestrian and Bike Safety Campaign – Partnering with Allstate Insurance, and working with programs such as Safe Routes to School, we’ll launch a safety campaign to raise awareness among motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. We all need to watch out for each other and obey traffic laws.
  • Build Bikeway and Walkway Capacity – Expand and connect bikeways, greenways and walkways; improve signalization at major street crossings; increase protected bike lanes and expand the number of bike boulevards to make it easy for Tucsonans of all ages to ride and walk wherever they need to go.
  • Build-a-Trail – Working with partners, we’ll use volunteers to build and maintain bike and pedestrian trails in designated areas.
  • Sidewalks – We’ll work with partners to find funding sources to invest in sidewalk construction and repair.
  • Bike Share – We’ll work with partners to create a pilot bike share program.


We need to promote and support our arts and culture as part of what’s unique about Tucson.

  • Performing Arts Center – Arts organizations benefit from incubator space just as startup companies do, and having multiple performance venues downtown helps create an arts and entertainment district. We’ll work to include funding for a Performing Arts Center in a future bond issue.
  • Tucson Musicians Museum – Tucson has long been home to respected musicians. The Tucson Convention Center will display exhibits from a Tucson Musicians Museum – memorabilia and photos – for the community to enjoy.
  • Public Art – We’ll work to increase public art and maintain the art we have. New projects include a meditation garden for family and friends of suicide victims and a community sculpture garden.
  • Community Art as Placemaking – We’ll work with the Kresge Foundation, local artists, arts organizations and others to integrate arts into neighborhoods.
Visit the Mayor’s website and follow him on Facebook or Twitter.
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedIn