Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thank you Byron!

Good Afternoon Honorable Mayor Rothschild & Council Members,

It has been my pleasure to serve the City of Tucson during the previous
twelve years of my forty year career in our community.

The first few years as Council Member Scott's Chief-of-Staff and concluding
my career working in the City Manager's Office. My experience has been very
rewarding, diverse and professionally stimulating regardless of the project
or assignment throughout the years.

My previous activities in the private sector has served me well as I have
always reminded myself how important it is to remember as public service
employees, we are serving the taxpayers and are compensated with their hard
earned money.

I honestly believe the typical Tucsonian respects and appreciates a
competent public servant but also understandably has harsh words for a public
servant appearing and acting like a bureaucrat.

I consider public service work an honor and have always attempted to provide
quality service to the taxpayer.  I honestly believe each of you and members
of your staff also have the same committment and work ethic to the taxpayers
of Tucson.

These are difficult and very trying times for everyone especially
individuals selecting to be a public servant may it be civil service,
appointee or elected. I am convinced with your leadership, vision and
direction the Old Pueblo will once again be the jewel of the Southwest.

 I wish each of you the very best as you attempt to address and resolve each
and every taxpayer issue as well as the city as the leaders of this governing

Again, it has been my honor and privilege to have helped you in the past and
hopefully I will be able to continue the solid working relationship we have
been able to achieve for the future.

Respectfully yours,

Byron L. Howard
Special Projects
City Manager's Office


The public is invited to attend a preconstruction open house regarding the
Grant Road and Oracle Road Intersection Improvement project, Thursday, June
28, 2012, at Pima Community College -Downtown Campus, CC Building, Amethyst
Room (Room 180), 1255 N. Stone Avenue, from
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  There will be a brief presentation regarding the
overall project at 6:15 p.m.  The remaining time will be used for one on
one interaction with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation staff,
RTA Staff, the project consultant and the contractor.

This project will consist of widening Grant Road to six lanes from 15th
Avenue east to Castro Street, and median island right turn lane
modifications along Oracle Road from Alturas Street south to Rillito
Street. The intersection of Grant Road and Oracle Road will be
reconstructed to provide indirect left turn operations.

A public art sculpture will also be included in this project, located in
the westerly median area, near the intersection.

The Holdouts


The 16th Annual July 4th fireworks celebration atop "A" Mountain will restrict user access to Sentinel Peak Park.

In order to accommodate the fireworks display, Sentinel Peak Road will be closed at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 2, and will reopen to all traffic on Thursday, July 5, at noon.

For information contact Wayne Barnett, District Superintendent, at 791-5909.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sad News

It is with great sorrow that I am sharing with you the news that Dorothy Adjovu, Executive Assistant to the Mayor, passed away this morning.

Please join me in keeping her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Vote on the G.O. Bonds Proposal

Tonight, the Mayor and Council considered a proposal to place a measure on the November 2012 ballot a proposal for voters to consider authorizing General Obligation Bonds for road repair.

Here is the statement I made on this proposal.

Mr. Mayor, I want to explain my vote.

In 2010, the voters of Tucson had before them a proposed half-cent sales tax to go, for three years, towards the core services – police, fire, parks and streets.

This proposal was soundly rejected by more than 60% of the voters, mostly due to the economic downturn the city was facing.

Since then, economic conditions have improved but not to the point that I could recommend placing another measure on the ballot in November 2012.

This proposal, as previously stated, would cost a minimum of $350,000 to get on this year’s ballot, since again it is not a city election and would involve another governmental entity.

As was the case in 2010, this proposal would be at the bottom of the November general election ballot. 

With the federal elections, state races, potential state ballot measures, school bond override proposals, all of which would be on the ballot, before any Tucson measure, the question of ballot fatigue is raised.

Then there is the proposal itself.

This G.O. bond proposal would only affect those who own property within the city limits. 

Recently, both Pima county and Pima community college raised their property tax rates. 

Would the voters approve a potential third rise in their property taxes – something they may not be able to afford? 

Why then should only one segment of the Tucson population pay for road repair, when others, who may not own a home, but drive a vehicle or motorcycle, or even bicycle, wouldn’t be affected?

The Mayor and Council received this as a late delivery, less than four days before a decision is to be made and facing a deadline of June 30 to get any proposal on the November 2012 general election ballot.

There are other reasons for my reluctance to vote to place this on the November 2012 ballot.

I have had many calls to my office from my constituents, as well as seniors who are on a fixed income, saying they could not afford this.

This leads to the question of whether all options had been looked at, such as the neighborhood improvement district, or a street maintenance fee. 

The answer is that it was discussed on May 8, but there has been no follow up on this. When I posed follow up questions to staff on this, I had received conflicting answers.

Then there is outreach to Tucsonans.

A survey was conducted for this proposal but how many of the 401 respondents were property owners in Tucson?

How many of the 401 respondents had voted in the 2011 city election, the 2010 sales tax measure or even the 2009 city election, when there were other ballot measures of note being considered?

The survey report says only that they planned to vote in the 2012 general election.

There is also the question of how the proposal was stated to the respondents of this survey. 

The last time the city issued general obligation bonds, it was in 2000. 

The city still has more than $200 million in outstanding bonds and the payment to be made for 2013, according to what was stated during the discussions by the Mayor and Council, and would be $28 million dollars.

This is a proposal for five years but what is being done now, in the upcoming fiscal year?

For fiscal year 2013, the city has $20 million earmarked for roadwork and repair of arterials and neighborhood streets. 

The timing of the 2010 measure was not right, as I feel the timing is not right with this proposal either.

All options have not been fully vetted and considered and I am not comfortable going forward with another ballot measure that will affect only a certain segment of the population.

So it is with that I will vote “no.”

Fourth of July Fireworks Update


Desert Diamond Casinos, an enterprise of the Tohono O’Odham Nation, is sponsoring this year’s annual Fireworks Celebration from “A” Mountain. This marks the third consecutive year that Desert Diamond Casinos has stepped up to sponsor the City of Tucson “A” Mountain Fireworks Celebration. This year’s show is scheduled to begin at approximately 9:15 p.m., Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

“The City of Tucson sincerely appreciates the support from Desert Diamond Casinos to help continue this proud tradition in our community,” said City Manager Richard Miranda. "The City of Tucson and the Tohono O'Odham Nation continue to sustain and solidify a strong partnership in preserving and promoting community events. A special thanks goes to Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres and Mayor Jonathan Rothschild in this effort. Independence Day is a national holiday and the City is again honored to offer a location where the community can safely celebrate this important day with a patriotic display of fireworks.”

Those attending the celebration downtown may enjoy the “A” Mountain fireworks show from the Tucson Convention Center’s (TCC) Parking Lot B, which is off Granada Avenue between Congress Street and Cushing Street. Parking is free. TCC’s Food and Beverage Department will be selling food and beverages between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

Statement of Councilmember Richard Fimbres on Supreme Court Ruling on S.B. 1070

"On Monday, June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three key provisions of S.B. 1070 as unconstitutional.  I have concerns with this Supreme Court rendered decision.

"The City of Tucson was the first city to file a legal challenge to this discriminatory law and was vindicated by the ruling on Monday.

"I am concerned though that the Court, for the time being, kept the second section requiring state law enforcement to demand immigration papers from anyone stopped, detained or arrested in the state who officers reasonably suspect is in the country without authorization.

"In our state, people especially those of Hispanic descent, will now be subject to potential harassment and detention while this law works its way through the courts once again. I was disappointed that the Supreme Court did not strike down this provision of S.B. 1070.

"The Tucson Mayor and Council will review the pending court cases to see about the viability of joining a pending lawsuit going through the system.

"Our City has also promoted its diversity and our community must now come together and not act in haste."

Change in M/C Meeting Time Today


Due to a lack of quorum, today’s Mayor and Council Study Session will
begin at 5:30 p.m., rather than the scheduled 1 p.m. start time.
Following the abbreviated Study Session, the Mayor and Council will move
to begin the Regular Meeting.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ballot Issue Survey

On Tuesday, June 26, the Tucson Mayor and Council will be considering a measure to place a ballot initiative on the November 2012 ballot for voters to consider authorizing the City to purchase $100 million in General Obligation Bonds for road work. Your feedback is important so please take this survey.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tip Line Update and Meeting

Josh Gerkin Named Technician of the Month

City of Tucson Certified Automotive Mechanic Josh Gerkin has been named
the inaugural Technician of the Month for the June 2012 issue of
Government Fleet magazine. Mr. Gerkin works in the City’s Fleet
Services Department. He has 18 years of experience as a mechanic and has
been employed with the City of Tucson for eight years.

He is a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
Master Tech and is ASE certified in a number of areas, including
Compressed Natural Gas and Advanced Engine Performance. Mr. Gerkin is
responsible for repairing and rebuilding all types of vehicles and
equipment for the City of Tucson. Throughout his years with the City, he
has found a number of ways to improve processes, saving labor hours and
money, noted Government Fleet magazine.

John Tennant, Fleet Maintenance Superintendent for Tucson's Fleet
Services Department, said Gerkin constantly looks for solutions to
problems. He recognized the need for improved shop communication and led
efforts to develop a shop-wide broadcast system that communicates
critical information directly to each mechanic's workstation. He helped
develop the police pursuit vehicle make-ready process, which reduced
required man-hours by 20 percent. He developed the procedure for
installing automated mileage update hardware on light- and heavy-duty
vehicles. Tennant said both categories of units now experience minimal
downtime when staff is installing this critical equipment. The equipment
automatically updates unit mileage and sends it to the department's
Fleet Information Management System.

"I congratulate Mr. Gerkin on this well-deserved recognition," said
Tennant. "He has been instrumental in improving our overall capabilities
and efficiency. As the go-to mechanic, his knowledge and skills continue
to have a positive impact on our proficiency and quality of

Beyond those accomplishments, Gerkin recognized the need to update and
add new vehicle diagnostics software, participating in the process to
update the Genesis II system used and was behind adding Ford's IDS
web-based diagnostics system to the department's available technologies.
Since the department implemented the system, Gerkin has remained
responsible for maintaining it and training other mechanics on its use.
Tennant said Gerkin improved processes and saved money in a number of
other areas as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ward 5 Newsletter for June

G.O. Bond Proposal Public Hearing

On Tuesday, June 19, the Mayor and Council will be holding a public hearing on whether to place a general obligation bond proposal on the November 2012 ballot – either for $100 million or $200 million for roads.  This public hearing will take during the Regular Meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m, at Mayor and Council Chambers, 255 West Alameda.  If you have an opinion on this, either for or against, now is the time to speak up on this issue.


Between December 11, 2011 to June 10, 2012, the Tucson Police Department has received multiple reports from citizens who have been approached by a male and female claiming to be law enforcement.

The suspects have used a vehicle equipped with emergency lights and sirens on most occasions. The vehicle does not have any law enforcement markings or insignia. They are typically dressed in police uniforms and are equipped with police gear. In several incidents, the suspects conducted traffic stops on citizens using specially mounted emergency equipment on their vehicle.

The suspects gave verbal warnings for traffic violations. In one instance, the suspects intervened in an altercation while impersonating law enforcement officers. Anyone who may have had contact with individuals purporting to be law enforcement officers are encouraged to call 911 or 520-791-4444.

Broadway Citizens Corridor Task Force Update


The Citizens Task Force (CTF) for the Broadway, Euclid to Country Club
project is holding its first meeting on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 5:30
p.m. in the Copper Room at Randolph Golf Complex, 600 South Alvernon
Way. The first Broadway CTF meeting will involve introductions of the
project team and other CTF members, an overview of the project, a
presentation regarding Context Sensitive Solutions planning and a
discussion of the CTF role and ground rules.

Yellow Pages - Phone Book

Dex One has been a leader in offering consumers a choice about
directory delivery for several years, and we are asking for your
partnership to help spread the word throughout your community. It is
important that residents know they have a choice about the print
directories they receive.



The City of Tucson Information Technology (IT) Department will be
hosting its first-ever job fair on Saturday, June 16, 2012. From 9
a.m. to 1 p.m., qualified candidates can apply for, and interview with
IT staff at the IT Building, 481 West Paseo Redondo, which is west of
Granada Avenue and north of Alameda Street. Parking is available at
the City/State Parking Garage, 498 West Congress Street.

The City of Tucson is seeking talented and enthusiastic IT
professionals that are solution and detail-oriented with great
customer service skills. The positions available are below and they
are security certified, which requires a background check.

IT Analyst
Systems Analyst
IT Specialist
Web Developer
Network Engineer
Computer Operator
Database Administrator
Systems Administrator
Communications Engineer

For information on minimum job qualifications and other requirements,

Thomas Price Service Center Update

THOMAS PRICE CENTER UPDATE - Thomas Price Center Update:  The Environmental Services Department has announced they plan to close and remove the four Underground Storage Tanks (UST) located at the Sun Tran Bus Maintenance Facility, 4220 S. Park.  According to Richard Byrd, the Environmental Management Program Coordinator for Environmental Services, this decision was made because most of the bus fleet located at this facility is now using CNG and these fuel tanks are at the end of their designed life expectancy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ward 5 Economic Development

During a recent meeting with the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the question was raised about what I, as a Councilmember, had done for economic development and creating more efficiencies for city operations. What follows is what I presented to those in attendance at the meeting:

Friday, June 8, 2012

A City Bond Proposal on the 2012 November Ballot

Councilmember Richard Fimbres is conducting a survey about potential bond proposal on whether the City of Tucson should place a General Obligation Bond package the November 2012 ballot for road repair or other services the city offers.

Please take the survey titled "Potential General Obligation Bonds - City of Tucson". Your feedback is important!

This survey is also online at:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Councilmember Fimbres remarks on the budget

Mr. Mayor, before I make my vote, I want to say a few words.

I want to thank the City Manager, Kelly Gottschalk, Marie Nemerguth, Sylvia Amparano, Joyce Garland and the staff of Budget Office and the staff of the Finance Department for their work on this year’s budget.

Many questions were asked and answered and tonight, the Mayor and Council are voting on a balanced budget.

This budget will have no layoffs of police or fire fighters, and that includes a COLA for all city employees, who have worked the hardest and have sacrificed through furlough days and budgetary cutbacks over the past three years.

Through my time as a Councilmember, starting in 2009, I have seen nothing but big budget deficits. 

Even with that, the Mayor and Council have taken steps to erase these deficits, even while state shared revenues were being swept from Tucson by the Arizona Legislature.

I have brought proposals to the table:

Changing the Certificate of Occupancy process, to stimulate new businesses, to the tune of 71 opening their doors in Tucson.

Saving $600,000 through the vote-by-mail process for City Elections.

Initiating the effort for more usage of the City’s Procurement Card Program, which has saved more than $3-million in transaction charges and brought in $400,000 in revenues for usage.

Ending the restrictions on bus advertising, which has tripled the revenue, to now at a little more than $300,000.

Lifting the 25 year prohibition on the Parks and Recreation Department from soliciting sponsorships and advertising.

Bringing $585,000 in HURF funds for road repair work, thanks to the Landmark student housing project at 22nd and Park.

And thanks to a talk with Doug Martin of Good News Communications and Rick Stertz, with 4Tucson, at the annual National Day of Prayer Breakfast, we brought back the splash and opened six more pools with this private/public partnership in its first, of many years of existence.

There have been many successes with these and the other ideas brought forward by my colleagues and there has been progress made, but the work cannot stop with just the adoption of the budget tonight.

We have begun the work with an Economic Development Manager and the Mayor’s Business Advocate, but this must not stop there. 

The City of Tucson must focus on international economic development and the time is now, and I will be bringing proposals forward for this to become a reality.

The City has begun the process of using the Procurement Card system but that effort must be expanded.  If the University of Arizona can get more than $1.0 million alone in revenue for usage of their card, why can’t the City of Tucson?  I have asked for this to be agendized in August for an update and for further discussion.

Sun Tran, PTM and the Transportation Department cannot rest on the initial work on advertising for buses.  I will be agendizing this for discussion about the effort, the contract and the results so far.

For the City of Tucson, as well as our community to succeed, the public/private partnerships, such as “Bring Back the Splash,” will continue to be a part of this discussion.  This effort was not just a one time shot for one aspect of the Parks and Recreation program.

The restrictions have been lifted for Parks and Recreation to go out and use this option to help any and all programs they offered.   As it has shown with Bring Back the Splash, the private sector benefits, the public sector benefits and most importantly, the community has six more pools open.
As with the other areas mentioned, I will be requesting this be agendized for an update and discussion.

When it comes to the City’s infrastructure, such as its computers, the past way of operations by the City of Tucson I.T. department cannot continue.  I will be agendizing this to have a discussion about the third party contracts and outside vendors that the City pays for services which are not keeping up with the times.

I want to thank City staff, my colleagues and the community, for their work on this budgets, the discussions and for being able to get to this point tonight.   So with that, I will vote in favor and look forward to the continuing work ahead.

Volunteer with the Red Cross

Hello Everyone! This summer we have a project for youth ages 11-18 to learn about how Tucson is prepared in an emergency.

Tucson Streetcar Contacts

If you have questions, follow the link and speak with the persons listed.

Median Update

The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) and The Groundskeeper are about 60 days into a four-month citywide clean-up of median islands and roadsides in an intense effort to remove weeds, debris and dead plants along arterial roadways with higher traffic volumes. As of Friday, June 1, 2012, the following median and roadside areas have been completed: Broadway - Country Club Road to Camino Seco Miracle Mile - Oracle Road to Interstate 10 Golf Links Road – Swan Road to Harrison Road Speedway Boulevard - Interstate 10 to Campbell Avenue Speedway Boulevard – Wilmot Road to Camino Seco Campbell Avenue - Grant Road to 15th Street Silverbell Road - Grant Road to St. Mary's Road River Road - Oracle Road to First Avenue 22nd Street - Kolb Road to Camino Seco 22nd Street - Country Club Road to Alvernon Way In the next 30 days, crews will concentrate their cleanup efforts of median islands and roadsides on: Mission Road - Starr Pass Boulevard to Ajo Way Campbell Avenue - 22nd Street to Benson Highway Campbell Avenue - Irvington Road to Valencia Road Golf Links Road - Swan Road to Ajo Way (to include the Barraza Aviation Parkway area) Valencia Road - Country Club Road to Sandpiper Avenue 22nd Street - Cherry Avenue to Kolb Road Speedway - Silverbell Road to Wilmot Road Oracle – Drachman Street to Genematas Drive Upon completion of this four-month project, TDOT will continue to use contracted services and in-house staff to maintain median islands and roadsides on a monthly basis with weed removal and pre-emergent spraying throughout Fiscal Year 2013.

Juneteenth 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tucson Modern Streetcar Update

Tucson Road/Traffic Update

TRAFFIC ALERT DOWNTOWN STREET CLOSURES On Saturday, June 2, 2012, the following street closures will be in effect to accommodate the Southern Arizona Roadrunner’s Meet Me Downtown 5k Night Run and Walk: Sixth Avenue between 12th Street and 14th Street will be closed from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. The following streets will be closed at 5 p.m. but will be opened after the participants pass through the area: Fifth Avenue, from between 14th Street/Cushing Street and 21st Street Seventh Avenue from between 14th Street/Cushing Street and 21st Street Eighth Avenue/Convent Avenue from between 14th Street/Cushing Street and 21st Street Sixth Avenue between 12th Street and 22nd Street The run/walk begins at Tucson’s Children’s Museum, 200 S. 6th Avenue. Runners/walkers will travel south on Sixth Avenue to Cushing Street/14th Street; east on Cushing Street/14th Street to Fifth Avenue; south on Fifth Avenue to 21st Street; west on 21st Street to Sixth Avenue; north on Sixth Avenue to 15th Street, West on 15th Street to Stone Avenue; south on Stone Avenue to 17th Street, west on 17th Street to Seventh Avenue; south on Seventh Avenue to 21st Street, west on 21th Street to Convent Avenue/Eighth Avenue; south on Convent Avenue/Eighth Avenue to Cushing Street; east on Cushing Street to Sixth Avenue; north on Sixth Avenue to the finish line and festivities at the Children’s Museum. Motorists driving in these areas can expect delays during the events. The traveling public should use caution when driving or bicycling in the vicinity of these events and obey all traffic control signs and watch for event participants and pedestrians.

Arizona State LULAC Convention