YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE
All registered voters in the City of Tucson have received their ballot from the City Clerk’s Office for the 2011 City of Tucson general election on November 8. On this ballot are the candidates for the respective political parties, running for the posts of Mayor, and for the Council seats in Ward 1, Ward 2 and Ward 4. This is a citywide election, the voters across the City of Tucson can cast their ballots for these four political offices up for consideration this year. Earlier this year, my office brought forward a proposal to have the 2011 Tucson elections conducted through an all-mail ballot. This was done to increase participation while reducing costs. For previous elections, the City Clerk had to run two elections simultaneously, a mail in/early voting ballot election, as well as having polling places – resulting in an increased cost to the taxpayers.
Mail in ballots, also known as the PEVL (Permanent Early Voting List), was a creation by the Arizona Legislature, to allow people the ability to receive their ballots early. For the City of Tucson, more than 50% of the registered voters were on the PEVL list, as of 2010, more than 65% of the total ballots cast were a combination of PEVL voters and those who voted early. With this information, as well as the ever growing PEVL list, the Tucson Mayor and Council voted to conduct the 2011 election, as an all-mail ballot election, joining the towns of Oro Valley, Sahuarita and twelve other cities in Arizona. Turnout was another factor for the change. For the 2009 primary election, only 12,000 Tucson voters cast ballots. In 2007, a little more than 31,000 voted in the primary election. In the 2011 Tucson primary election, the first all-mail ballot election 44,597 votes were cast, more than the two past elections combined and the most since the 1999 primary election when 39,365 votes were tallied.
This was a good first step towards increasing participation of Tucson’s registered voters in the election process – showing that this process is working. It is important for Tucsonans to use their voice at the ballot box to state who they would like to see as their next Mayor as well as those wanting to serve on Tucson’s City Council. Starting in December, with the seating of the new Mayor and Council, there will be many important decisions coming up: the selection of a City Manager and Department Directors, the Fiscal Year 2013 budget for operations, such as police, fire, transportation and parks and recreation, as well as other concerns that will impact the lives of Tucsonans.
Your City government has the most, direct impact on the lives of Tucson’s families and businesses, so your voice needs to be heard. As I had written in previous newsletters, your voice on issues of concern, potential agenda items being considered by the Mayor and Council and other important matters has played a major part in my decision making process.
I have held forums and town halls to update the Ward 5 constituents on various issues and received feedback. I have maintained a Facebook page, blog and updated the Ward 5 page on the City of Tucson website, to provide information and receive comment, so that I can make the decisions as your Councilmember. The public’s feedback with continuing discussions are important, but if this communication stops at the ballot box, the effort to make Tucson a better place to live, work and raise a family won’t succeed.
After filling out their ballot, registered Tucson voters, can mail their ballot now through November 4. If you have any questions, call the City Clerk Elections Center, 791-3221, and they will answer them for you. The ballot signatures are verified through the Pima County Recorder’s office and after the polls close on Election Day, November 8, tabulated by the Tucson City Clerk’s office. The Pima County Recorder has a state of the art, signature verification process, which makes sure the signature on the ballot, matches the one of the voter registration card (which have all been scanned). When a ballot signature has been verified, the ballot is turned over to the City Clerk’s office. Once a signature on a ballot has been verified, that person can’t cast another ballot, thanks to the computer software system the Recorder’s office uses. This system is used for all the county, state and federal elections held in even numbered years.
On Election Day, Tuesday November 8, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., voting (ballot replacement) centers will be set up in six other locations, as well as the Tucson City Clerk Elections Center, 800 E. 12th St. They include:
Randolph Golf Complex - 600 S. Alvernon Way, Quincie Douglas Library - 1585 E. 36th St., Clements Center - 8155 E. Poinciana Dr., St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 1145 E. Ft. Lowell Rd, Udall Park Recreation Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde, Valencia Branch Library, 202 W. Valencia.
Registered voters could return their ballots at these seven locations get a replacement ballot (if lost) and vote their ballot at the locations as well. If you have any questions, even about the process, give the City Clerk’s Office, 791-3221, a call. I sincerely hope that you will do your part and cast your ballot in this upcoming election. Many people have fought and died for the right to cast a vote in an election, so please, do participate and take part, cast your ballot in the 2011 Tucson general election. Let your voice be heard!
WARD 5 WINS GRANT FOR BOOSTER SEATS AND BIKE HELMETS
During the October 25, Mayor and Council meeting, an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Tucson and the Tohono O’odham Nation was approved, for a grant of more than $30,000 for a car booster seat and bike helmet initiative. This grant proposal selected by the Nation and approved by the Mayor and Council, was researched and submitted by my office. I want to thank the Tohono O’odham Nation on this grant since this will assist the City of Tucson and its children during these hard, economic times.
Melinda Jacobs and John Ferra, from Ward 5, put the grant proposal together. Thanks to their efforts, families in our community who are most in need will be able to get 500 car booster seats and 500 bike helmets.
Arizona law requires that all child passengers under age 5 must be secured in a car seat. The seat must meet appropriate height and weight specifications for the child. Arizona does not have a statewide bicycle helmet law, but in 1993, the City of Tucson passed an ordinance requiring anyone under the age of 18 to wear an approved bicycle helmet on city streets.
My office will distribute the bike helmets and car booster seats to those in need, city wide. Further information on this initiative will be coming in the near future.
STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS HONORED
More than 40 students, from Sunnyside, Desert View and Sahuarita High Schools, as well as eighteen community leaders, were honored for their achievements by Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez and myself. These awards were presented at the Kino Community Center, October 15, with more than 200 in attendance.
Honored from Sunnyside were Anika Adams Baker, Viviana Arvizu, Taylor Barrett, Edgar Duran, Alexis Espinoza, Dominic Martinez, Raymond Menasie, Raul Moraga, Andres Piedra and Steven Spradling. Honored from Desert View were Anthony Ball, Sadiya Buta, Maria Casas, Yaxaira Dorame, Rubi Duran, Uriel Garcia, Giovanni Garcia, Aimee Hall, Luis Hernandez, Paul Intarakamhang, Tiamoya Johnson, Marlene Martinez, Alexandria Ojeda, Dora Otero, Regino Palazuelos, Juan Rojas, Luis Sanchez, Isaiah Sauceda, Alyssa Thompson and Lilly Truong. Honored from Sahuarita were Hailey Bliven, Anne Bruno, Katie Fort, Leslie Grijalva, Maurice Hamilton, Courtney McNichols, Cynthia Quijano, Sigourney Sanchez, Kalleanah Smith, Cayenne Towne, Anthony Vecenti and Nicole Weber.
These young people have worked hard in the classroom, the athletic field and in their community. Pima County Supervisor Valadez and I wanted to honor them for their achievements.
The students were recognized for the academic and athletic work, as well as their effort to better the community.
In addition, Ward 5 business owners and residents – Paul Appleby, Mark and Erika Bilbo, Leo and Emma Carrillo, Bob and Elaine Clark, Dr. Laura Elias De La Torre, Rene Gastelum, Maggie Gerring, Edith Hagler, Andy Herrera, Vickie Messimer and Jamey Sumner were honored for their service to the community. In addition, Old Pueblo Printers owner Albert Elias, Larry Mungia, and Juan Quevedo were honored for their community service and Maiola Coleman received a lifetime achievement award for her work for the Tucson community.
During these tough, economic times, these people go the extra mile to help their neighbors and community to be a better place to live, work and raise a family.
This was the second awards ceremony conducted by Supervisor Valadez and myself. Supervisor Ramon Valadez and his staff are to be commended for their work on this, as well as my fine staff, in this effort for the community. I look forward to working with him and his staff on future events and other projects in Ward 5 and District 2.
“I am very glad to have the opportunity, to honor these people who are part of the good news of our community,” said Pima County Supervisor, Ramon Valadez.
NEW CROSSWALK SIGNAL
The crosswalk signal at Campbell and Bantam is under construction and according to the City Department of Transportation, the signal will be activated in November. Congratulations to the Cherry Avenue Neighborhood Association for their efforts for this signal.
BRIDGES PROJECT UPDATE
Improvements to Park Avenue, from I-10 to 36th Street are underway, and include reconstructing Park Avenue to a four lane, divided roadway with bike lanes, curbs, sidewalks, a multi-use path, drainage infrastructure, street lighting and landscaping. Also, a road through the U of A BioPark portion of the Bridges, should begin in November.
VAMOS A TUCSON
More than 12,000 people attended Kino Veterans Memorial stadium for Vamos a Tucson Baseball Fiesta, October 7-9. Good baseball and fun times were had at this first of many annual events. Mayor Manuel Barro of Ciudad Obregon, Mayor Manuel Bustamante of Villa Juarez, as well as Mexican Pacific League Commissioner, Omar Canizares, were present for this event.
I also want to congratulate the three Mexican Pacific League teams from Hermosillo, Obregon and Mexicali for participating. Mike Feder and the Tucson Padres organization, are to be commended, for their efforts in coordinating the event, as well as organizing the San Diego Padres Future Stars. Felipe Garcia and the staff of MTCVB are to be congratulated for a job well done for this first event of the Tucson Mexico Initiative.
SUN TRAN REPORT
Sun Tran’s purpose is to provide those who can’t afford a car, transportation to get to and from work, to school, to a doctor’s appointment and to be able to survive in our City. More than 90% of the Sun Tran routes service the City of Tucson, which provides more than 80% of the funds to operate the system, in addition to what Tucson citizens are paying at the fare box. The facts speak about Sun Tran’s purpose.
According to the Sun Tran Report of September 2011, the average passengers per hour was 31.2, of which the top ten routes of passengers per hour, five of the routes, #8, #7, #24, #6 and #29 service Ward 5. The bottom 13 are the express routes. (Route 8 – 40.5, Route 7 – 39.9, Route 24 – 38.2, Route 6 – 34.7 and Route 29 – 34.7)
This is a pattern that continues for the following:
The total ridership was 1,777,419, according to the September Sun Tran Report, of which 30%, or 534,540, were from these five routes. (Route 8 – 278,442, Route 6 - 116,148, Route 7 – 72,574, Route 29 – 42,871 and Route 24 – 24,505)
The average revenue per hour for Sun Tran was $18.68, for which these five routes above average. (Route 8 - $21.64, Route 6 - $21.66, Route 7 - $24.43, Route 29 - $20.75 and Route 24 - $23.00)
The average cost per pass was $2.86, for which these five routes that service my Ward were below average. (Route 8 - $2.14, Route 6 - $2.53, Route 7 - $2.28, Route 29 - $2.62 and Route 24 - $2.27)
The average subsidy per pass was $2.27, for which these five routes that service my Ward were below average. (Route 8 - $1.61, Route 6 - $1.90, Route 7 - $1.67, Route 29 - $2.02 and Route 24 - $1.67)
For all of these, the bottom 13 again, was the express routes.
Tucson will be facing tough decisions in the forthcoming year and it is important that those who ride Sun Tran’s buses and most importantly, speak to the Mayor and their Councilmember.
TUCSON MEANS BUSINESS FORUM
Mark your calendar for Wednesday, November 30, 6 to 8 p.m., for the Ward 5, Tucson Means Business Forum at the Fred G. Acosta Job Corps Center, 901 S. Campbell Avenue.
ROAD REPAIR BEGINNING
The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) has begun a residential street paving program in five different neighborhoods that consists of crack sealing, filling potholes and chip sealing. This work began Monday and is scheduled to last through the end of November 2011, weather permitting. Work hours are Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. One of the first chip seal projects will be for the Bravo Park Lane Neighborhoods: Fair Street, Irvington Road, Campbell Avenue and Park Avenue.
A significant portion of the funding for this effort was achieved through the actions of Ward 5, who got funding from a land sale to be directed towards repair roads across the City. In June of this year, the Mayor and Council had approved a sale of two city-owned parcels, in the Southwest corner of Kino and 22nd Street, located in Ward 5. Originally, the City had purchased these parcels in 2008, using HURF (Highway User Revenue Funds). HURF funds are used for roadwork and maintenance. This purchase was for a road project for which the project’s scope was changed.
The purchase of these parcels by a private development company, totaled $585,000 in HURF Funds for which I directed towards using for road repair across the City of Tucson. Constituents in Ward 5, as well as across the City, spoke loudly about the need for our roads to be repaired. This transaction and approval by my colleagues on the Council will work towards repairing roads in Tucson. In addition, funding from the surplus left over from the Mayor and Council’s budgets, totaling $240,000, was also put towards this effort, per Mayor and Council vote. Also to be worked on is the filling of potholes in various neighborhoods.
With Halloween on Monday, some safety tips to ensure everyone has a safe and fun time: Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls. Keep candle-lit jack-o'lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended. Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely. Have a safe Halloween!
IN OTHER NEWS
The Barrio Centro Neighborhood Association had their annual Fall Fiesta on October 22, which also commemorated their cleanup work of the Aviation Bike Path, which was the 252nd in Tucson Clean and Beautiful’s Adopt a Park and Street Program. Congratulations to Barrio Centro and the work of Tucson Clean and Beautiful on this effort.
Congratulations to Barrio Santa Rosa, who was named a Historic Neighborhood and placed on the National Historic Places Register.
On Friday, October 21, the City of Tucson Parking Regulation Revisements, as well as the refurbishing of the Ghost Ranch Lodge, was honored by the Metropolitan Pima Alliances Common Grounds Awards, held at the Westwood Look. The Bridges Project in Ward 5 was also a finalist for the Common Grounds Awards.
Congratulations go out to Jessica Breen with Atlantic Development, for their wonderful work on the Ghost Ranch Lodge, as well as Vice Mayor Karin Uhlich’s office and the other organizations and groups who worked on this project.
Also, a pat on the back goes to Adam Smith, Jim Mazzoco of Planning, Ernie Duarte and Development Services, the Land Use Code Committee and the participating stakeholders, for their work on revising the Parking Regulations.
I also want to thank Eric Davis of Retail West, Jim Portner, Bruce Wright and the University of Arizona BioPark staff, City staff, as well as the neighborhoods: Pueblo Gardens, Western Hills, Las Vistas and South Park for their work to make the Bridges project a reality.
The Farmers Market at Maynard’s started October 15 and will gather each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the patio on the railroad side outside Maynard’s, 400 North Toole. In addition, the Farmer’s Market at El Pueblo Activity Center, 101 West Irvington, continues and will continue to on Saturday’s.
Congratulations to Maria Guadalupe Cantu, who was awarded the Richard and Mary Fimbres LULAC Scholarship.
Ballots for the Sunnyside school district bond election and other election issues that are being conducted as an all mail election, were mailed out. For more information, call the Pima County Recorder’s office, 740-4330.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween.
Do remember to vote and return your ballots.
Richard G. Fimbres
Your Ward Five Councilmember