Friday, February 3, 2012

Ward 5 Newsletter

Dear Friends:

A lot has been going on in Ward 5 and the City of Tucson, during January and into the first week of February.  Here is the update on the ongoing activities in Ward 5 and the City of Tucson.


I want to thank everyone who turned for the meeting and have written the U.S. Post Office about their attempt to close our only mail processing and distribution center in Southern Arizona.

Below are reasons why we cannot allow this to happen:

Costs to mail packages, letters or otherwise would rise.

Social Security checks and other similar financial measures would be delayed.
Prescriptions would be delayed.

Vote-by-mail would be severely affected. The City of Tucson just initiated this process to conduct its elections in 2011.

The Pima County Recorder and the Coconino County Recorder has filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice on this proposal, since it would disenfranchise the voting population, especially those using vote-by-mail, which is prevalent in Arizona. The Phoenix postmaster has admitted that the Phoenix Processing

Center cannot handle all the vote-by-mail for the state and city elections.

Government costs to mail their various items would increase.

Overnight, two day or quicker delivery for First Class postage would cease for Tucson and Southern Arizona.

More than 23,000 of our local businesses in Tucson and Southern Arizona, who may use mail order and had used Cherrybell, would have to pay more for shipping and postage.
These businesses would also be impacted by the loss of the processing center, including the impact of Tucson’s economic potential with businesses looking to expand or relocate, considering the loss of the 15th largest processing center, if it is closed.
Local mail houses would have to charge more for the services. The same local mail houses would lose the discounts by the USPS if this facility is closed, with the resulting increase in costs passed to the consumer.

Relocation of businesses could happen, resulting in further job losses. Potential businesses will not relocate to a city that doesn't have a processing or distribution center.
This is more than just a post office closing; it involves Tucson and Southern Arizona’s livelihood.  According to the USPS, a decision will not be made until May, according to the Postal Service.  City officials, as well as the private sector are working on this, as well as our federal Congressional delegation.


More than 1,200 people wrote letters and more than 600 showed up to the meetings, set up by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), but this effort for Tucson’s livelihood and future cannot cease now.   Thanks to Mark Kerr, Matt Perez and Nick Nguyen, my office has set up an online petition for people in Tucson and Southern Arizona to sign asking the Postmaster General and USPS Board of Governor’s to not close the Cherrybell processing and distribution center.  It is located online at:


I want to welcome the vendors, dealers and participants to this year’s Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase.  The Gem Show is important to our city and we appreciate everyone involved with this annual attraction, marking its 58th year in Tucson.

City staff have initiated several measures for this year’s event, with a website specifically developed for mobile devices (, a Twitter feed (@GemShow2012), a 24-hour phone line (622-GEMS), and display/information booths that will showcase how the Modern Streetcar will enhance the Gem Show experience in future years.


Tucson’s 87th Annual “La Fiesta de los Vaqueros” and rodeo parade, will take place Thursday, February 18 – 26.  The rodeo is through that week and the parade is on Thursday, February 23.

This colorful, exciting Parade is presented each year and keeps the spirit of the first Parade back in 1925. Now known to be the largest Non-Motorized Parade in the country, it still achieves its success through the community's participation and the dedicated work of its members and the many volunteers.

This major outdoor event attracts locals and visitors from all over the world bringing $16 million in economic impact to the community. Area schools close on Thursday and Friday of rodeo week so families can enjoy the festive rodeo traditions.

The Parade begins at 9 am.  Parade route begins on Ajo Highway 1/2 mile east of Park Ave. going east, to Park Avenue, then south on Park to Irvington Rd., west on Irvington to Sixth Avenue and north on Sixth to the North end of the Tucson Rodeo Grounds. The Judges and Reviewing stands are located on the North side of Irvington close to Sixth Ave. Grandstand seating is on Irvington Road, all of which are in Ward 5.

Seating in this area requires ticketing which can be purchased at Ticket Booths near the Grandstands or in advance at The Rodeo Parade Office. The Tucson Rodeo Grounds are located at 4823 S. 6th Avenue. For more information, call 294-1280.


With the latest, monthly, Sun Tran Report (December 2011), five of the top ten routes came from Ward 5.  Route 8, 7, 24, 29 and 6 had a total of 471,096 riders, 30.6% of Sun Tran’s total ridership of 1,540,734.  These five routes had a total of $376,828 dollars of revenue, 28.3% of Sun Tran’s total monthly revenue of $1,082,002.


The work being done by the developers of the Bridges Project on the roadway and intersection at Park and 36th Street will be completed in February.

Construction has started on the 156,000 square foot, Wal-Mart Supercenter and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2012.  Presently, 100 people are working on the initial construction of the Supercenter.  A further update will follow in the upcoming editions


Construction began Tuesday, January 17, on the walkway path and wall, for the 22nd Street – Tucson to Plumer road project.   This project is on the north side of 22nd Street and could affect west bound traffic, so be on the look out.   It is scheduled to be completed within 75 days, and is being done by KAZ Construction, which is located in Ward 5, and will have up to 50 people working on this construction project.  For more information, call Gary Wittwer, 791-5100.  Thanks to all the neighbors who worked on this project with the City Department of Transportation and the Ward 5 office.


At the Mayor and Council meeting on January 10, they approved the final agreement, with Landmark Development, for the project at 22nd and Highland. This Ward 5 project will bring jobs, construction sales tax and in addition, $585,000 in HURF (Highway User Revenue Funds) dollars which will go to road repair, city wide, that I had requested in August 2011.


Tucson’s Mayor and Council approved my motion, for a new private-public partnership to open up the city’s pools, which had been closed due to budgetary constraints. Adopt-A-Swimmer, will allow businesses, corporations, community organizations and others to sponsor one of Tucson’s closed pools.

During a budgetary meeting last year, I had asked Fred Gray, the Parks and Recreation Director about whether Parks could solicit sponsorships or advertising, such as on recreation centers, or in the parks guides. Fred Gray stated that there was an ordinance on the books which prohibited Parks from doing so.  I brought a motion forward to repeal this ordinance, which had been on the books since 1986.  By a 5 to 0 vote, on February 1, 2011, my colleagues on the Mayor and Council agreed.    This repeal, allows the Parks and Recreation Department to be able to solicit the private sector for funding for their programs and services, with the potential of creating a sustained funding source.

This past summer, the situation with the City pools came about, with 17 of them closing due to budgetary constraints.  We heard from the citizens of Tucson about the lack of opportunities for people to swim and be healthier, as national trends show how swimming can make a person more physically fit.

During the National Day of Prayer Breakfast in Tucson, I had a conversation with businessmen Doug Martin and Rick Stertz and I brought up the subject of the pools situation.  They asked if something could be done about it, maybe having businesses advertise at pools and taking those proceeds to open those pools that had to be closed during the summer because of the budget. A follow up meeting took place and then Martin and Stertz met with the Parks Department to come up with the initiative, and launched a private-public partnership and effort to help, “Adopt a Swimmer” for Tucson’s pools, for which the Mayor and Council unanimously supported.

Another part of “Adopt a Swimmer,” is Crissy Perham, the former Olympic Gold Medalist and now community relations director for the Tucson Padres. Crissy is assisting this effort by taking part in a public service campaign to spread the word about “Adopt a Swimmer.”  When she swam in the Olympics, she was Crissy Ahmann, and she won the 400 Free Relay-Gold Medal, 400 Medley Relay-Gold Medal and 100 Butterfly-Silver.  She was the 1992 USA Olympic Swim Team Captain.

Through the actions of my office and Vice Mayor Karin Uhlich we directed funds from the transfer of the Pascua Neighborhood Center to the Pascua Yaqui Nation, and the direction of funds from the construction of a AT&T cell tower, a total of $193,000 had been raised for this effort prior.  The Catalina Rotary Club has made a $25,000 contribution to open Jacobs Pool.  For all of the 17 pools to be opened, it would take $650,000.

This is a new option to be considered and used.  It is not a one-time fix, an “end all, cure all,” but a new approach to be implemented for now and for the future.  For more information about Adopt a Swimmer, call 745-4404.


By a 7 to 0 vote, my colleagues on the Council approved my motion, to form a stakeholders group to study the idea of a local purchase ordinance/policy for the City of Tucson government, for the purchase of goods and services.   This group would then report back to the Mayor and Council, for further consideration and action.

Several states and cities, such as Albuquerque New Mexico, Columbus Ohio, Los Angeles California, Madison Wisconsin and San Jose California, as well as states, such as California, West Virginia, Wyoming, Indiana and New Mexico, have enacted “Local Purchase” ordinances, dealing with the government purchase of goods and for services.

A 2008 study commissioned by Local First Arizona reported that a purchasing contract with an independent local supplier recirculated three times the funds into the local economy as the same contract with a national firm.

Dollars spent locally generate additional economic activity even beyond the value of the initial contract as the local supplier in turn sources goods and services locally.

Each additional dollar that circulates locally boosts local economic activity, employment, and ultimately tax revenue.

Recirculation of money in the local economy was a key factor for the cities and states that have enacted such measures, especially during these tough economic times.

Since my election to the Tucson City Council in 2009, I made a commitment to “Tucson first.”  My colleagues on the Mayor and Council have done so as well.

A “Local Purchase” ordinance for the City of Tucson could potentially boost our local economy in all areas of commerce and get people back to work, and could translate into potential reinvestment in our City that could help pay for public safety, road repairs, parks, and neighborhoods throughout the community.


The total projected dollar valuation is more than $9 Million - In construction that will benefit the Tucson economy The City of Tucson Planning and Development Services Department (PDSD) has completed the reviews and issued more than 151 commercial permits for new construction, tenant improvements and all commercial upgrades and repair projects from December 1 - 30, 2011.

Some of the recently permitted projects include: Tenant Improvement of a Medical Office at 630 N. Alvernon Way #150.  New 28,800 sq ft Industrial Building at 2001 E. Ganley Rd (Ward 5).  New 4 unit apartment building at 3101 E Fairmount St: #01.

January $22,268,967.00
February $18,336,565.95
March $ 4,745,018.77
April $22,594,562.47
May $24,642,775.17
June $55,794,873.02
July $18,971,571.93
August $81,155,682.13
September $14,644,065.85
October $ 8,937,479.75
November $ 6,727,993.41
December $ 9,140,461.76

Total for 2011 - $ 287,960,017.21


The U.S. Air Force basing alternatives for an F-35A Pilot Training Center include Boise Air Terminal Air Guard Station, Idaho; Holloman Air Force Base (AFB), New Mexico; Luke AFB, Arizona; and Tucson International Airport Air Guard Station, Arizona.

Public hearings on the F-35A Training Basing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be held:

Tuesday, February 21, open house at 5:00 PM and formal presentation at 6:00 PM.  Windemere Hotel and Conference Center, Grand Ballroom, 2047 South Hwy 92, Sierra Vista.

Wednesday, February 22, open house at 5:00 PM and formal presentation at 6:00 PM.  Holiday Inn Hotel, North Ballroom, 4550 South Palo Verde Road (just north of East Irvington Road between the swap meet and Southwest Gas).

Thursday, February 23, open house at 5:00 PM and formal presentation at 6:00 PM.  Tucson Jewish Community Center Auditorium, 3800 East River Road (southeast corner of North Dodge Blvd)

The Air Force's preferred alternative is to base the pilot training center at Luke AFB; however, no decisions will be made until after the EIS process is complete. More info, including the draft EIS, is at  This is the opportunity to make your voice heard on this important issue.


University of Arizona students Nick Nguyen and Matt Perez have joined the Ward 5 team this spring as Interns. 

Nick is a political science major and Matt is majoring in economics and political science. I want to welcome both to my office and hope they make the most of their time helping the effort to make Ward 5 and the City of Tucson, a better place to live, work and raise a family.

The 22nd Annual Martin Luther King Breakfast was held at the Holmes Tuttle Boys Club on January 14. 

Congratulations to James Christopher and the Pueblo Gardens Neighborhood Association MLK Breakfast Committee, Betty Howard, Bette Trahan, Willie Blake, Elaine Ward, and Bernice Vanover, for another wonderful event to honor the work of Dr. King.

The University of Arizona College of Nursing is conducting a family diabetes study on the south side. For more information, call Maria Figueroa at 626-6175.

I will be attending the 74th Annual, Tohono O’odham Nation Rodeo & Fair.  I want thank Tohono O’odham Chair Ned Norris and the Rodeo and Fair Committee, for the opportunity to be part of this year’s parade.

Congratulations to Ward 5 resident Peter Norback, for being honored by the Community Food Bank, for his work and efforts with his “One Can A Day” program.

Thank you again and peace.

Richard G. Fimbres
Your Ward Five Councilmember.