Thursday, July 7, 2011

Call to the Audience

During the Mayor and Council regular meeting is an item for which people present can speak up to three minutes on any subject and the Mayor and Council must listen and can't respond.

There was the usual assortment of people who use this time to speak, were present. One person, who had spoken in the past, made comments about Ward 5, despite the fact he doesn't live in my Ward. His remarks warrant a response.

He referred to a Ward 5 neighborhood as "poverty ridden," during his call to the audience, and went on to state that the Mayor and Council hasn't done anything about poverty. This individual then cited an article written in the Tucson Weekly and called for a tour to take place of this neighborhood, which is not listed, as well as the crime rate, which is the second lowest, according to then Southside TPD Cmdr. Mark Timpf. This person who lives on Tucson's west side, managed to even get the name of the neighborhood wrong, taking a cheap shot at the good, hardworking people of this neighborhood, the South side and Ward 5.

Since taking office 18 months ago, Ward 5 has seen the construction of a Costco, two General Dollar stores, four Goodwill Stores, two Quik Trips, a Circle K, the Tucson Marketplace Bridges Development, the U of A Biopark, the opening of Perfection Industries, to name several of the many buisness that have opened, creating several hundred new jobs, all around this "poverty ridden" neighborhood.

Despite the remarks from this person, things are changing for this neighborhood and for Ward 5, and a lot has been accomplished and we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel not only for this neighborhood, but for Ward 5 as well.

A nearby business, Ashton Construction, located in Ward 5 and near this neighborhood, recently received the contract to build the Cushing Street Bridge for the Modern Streetcar, employing 100 Tucsonans. Rarick/MGM Associates is expanding their business, with a $3.5 million dollar construction project and quintupling their workforce to 74.

A new student cottage housing, and not a minidorm project will begin construction at 22nd and Highland, a $20 and $30 million dollar investment in Ward 5.

More than 70 new businesses have opened with the streamlining of the Certificate of Occupancy process, brought forward by my office. Thanks to this change, more than $345 million in commercial and construction permits have been taken out for new projects and businesses.

At the Mayor and Council meeting, the Ward Offices (Ward 1 through My Ward, Ward 5) as well as the Mayor's office, combined their surpluses, totaling $240,000 towards road repair and fixing the potholes. Ward 5's surplus was $43,600. In addition, my office added the HURF (Highway User Revenue Fund) proceeds from the land sale in my Ward at 22nd/Highland, approved by the Mayor and Council last week, towards road work and pothole repair, a total of $585,000. So the Ward 5 Council Office contributed $628,600 towards this endeavor.

In addition, the revenues from the cell tower, approved by Mayor and Council to be located in the parking lot area of the Council office, will go towards opening more pools in FY 2012.

A lot is going on around this "poverty ridden" neighborhood, as the person, who at a previous call to the audience, wanted the Mayor and Council to institute a renters tax, proclaimed the neighborhood to be, unaware of what is going on.