City council to tackle housing, economic development; TUSD throws the subs a bone

Blake Morlock

Economic development and homelessness are two fairly significant issues facing the Tucson area.

So reader, you’ll be glad to know that both should be resolved, once and for all, by 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Tucson City Council will discuss its strategies to improve the economy and reduce homelessness during its afternoon study session.

Last December, the Council approved a homelessness plan. It had some interesting elements, but there’s nothing that stands out as new and creative.

Tucson City Manager Mike Ortega wrote in a message to Council “Recognizing that there is no single solution to addressing homelessness, staff are working on a coordinated approach using the inventory existing and expanded shelter and housing as well as resources and programs currently operated in various city departments.”

In fact, there is a solution to homelessness: put people in houses. What he means is that there is no money to do it, no easy way to get houses built for the homeless, and no obvious way to get around the law of State to prevent landlords from rapid evictions authorized by the Arizona Landlord Tenant Act.

Where to start with economic development?

The state requires the city to have an up-to-date economic development plan to be eligible for grants distributed by the Arizona Department of Commerce.

So Tucson is going to have a new plan. He dwells on the same old master key. The city will strive to attract new businesses, retain existing businesses with a focus on jobs that come with multipliers (jobs in some fields create more jobs in other fields to capture any money spent).

There are slogans such as “Run a lead generation initiative for business expansions and relocations”. Boy does this illustrate why hyphens are important. They stand for “lead generation initiative”. Or are they talking about a demographic group named after one of the elements of the periodic table? “Generation leader.”

What both strategies lack are metrics to measure the success or failure of each plan. Failure is so toxic in government that fear of failure undermines success.

I saw an interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt where he talked about working with the military and that was his main gripe. The government shouldn’t be afraid to fail if it fails at Mach 1.

He is right. A spectacular failure in trying to solve a deep and chronic problem in Tucson should perhaps be celebrated more than a long, slow and heavy CYA stasis. The community would learn a lot more and there would be a sense of urgency.

Tucson has always been a low-wage city and has long struggled with homelessness. I’m not looking for that to change now because it’s as much a problem with voters as it is with leaders.

I’m not just going to sacrifice the city. The Council will undertake to extend a policy which seems to have worked.

Fill, don’t inhale, why refill?

An Infill Incentive District was created in 2009 to encourage growth in the urban core, so Tucson can grow, not disappear. The district boundaries are basically, from the banks of the Santa Cruz River at Interstate 10, through downtown and west of the university to Grant Road. A number of incentives are offered to establish densities.

This is a great way to combat sprawl. Since the adoption of the policy, more than 1,100 units have been built and 180 of them met the definition of “affordable”. The policy expires in 2023 and the Council is preparing to extend it a year before that happens.

Councilman Steve Kozachik also asked city staff for an update on the planned Becton Dickinson plant on the east Valencia and south Kolb roads.

Specifically, he wants to know more about the plant’s use of ethylene oxide in sterilizing medical equipment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the substance may be linked to nausea, vomiting, nervous disorders, miscarriages and cancers.

The EPA does not have a specific standard for exposure. It doesn’t even have what is called a “benchmark dose” to measure the effects of exposure. However, it is covered by Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations dealing with “highly hazardous materials.”

Importantly, what is not found is a reference to phrases such as “Ethylene oxide has been shown to increase the risk of (terrible condition here). The language reads more like “may be related to…” and I wade into chemistry, so I’ll wade out of chemistry.

Board members will also debate how to respond to the Central Arizona Project’s approval for water storage to be used for the proposed Rosemont mine operation south of Tucson. Honestly to God, I’m starting to think my granddaughter Audrey’s granddaughter will cover the Rosemont mine approval process after we all cybernetically merge with on Planet Beyonce.

Dig it already.

Business appears to be light on the agenda for the regular city council meeting for Tuesday evening. The Council will hold a public hearing to approve the plans required to receive $12 million in federal home-help grants. This money is part of the American bailout package, signed by President Joe Biden to deal with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Make the scales rise

The Flowing Wells Unified School District will have to decide whether to delay approval of a new curriculum for 60 days so the public can review the material.

The course is taught with the McGraw Hill textbook “Perspectives and Voices”.

It better not be what I think. The district didn’t provide any background material for the agenda, so I have to snoop around.

Here’s how the book was described in a press release:

“The curricula – United States History and World History for High School, and United States History: Voices and Perspectives and World History: Voices and Perspectives for Middle School – prioritize student engagement with lessons that promote critical thinking as well as empathy and understanding.”

Sniff sniff… Do I sense awakened communism?

The Tanque Verde Unified School District will vote on whether to comply with a Pima County requirement to wear masks, at least through the end of the month. Adults will be required to wear masks in all school facilities, if the school board approves the measure.

Some people feel about public health like I do about censorship. We each oppose each other.


Meanwhile, in the Tucson Unified School District, the governing board will vote to hire two assistant superintendents, a diversity and equity program manager and a director of student relations.

The names of the candidates were not attached to the agenda item, which will be discussed during the executive session, where staffing issues are resolved behind closed doors and the public only gets a glimpse of what’s to come. happened later.

The board will also vote on a policy that would allow advertising on school property, including buses.

According to the wording of the draft, ads must be: “1) age appropriate; 2) do not promote any substance illegal for minors such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs or gambling; 3) and comply with the state’s abstinence policy on sex education.

Anecdotally, I’ve heard of problems keeping substitute teachers on rosters. Let’s face it, it’s not an easy gig at the best of times. With a respiratory virus rampant, these times are not the best.

So the school board is talking about throwing subs a bone: paying them to attend the same professional development workshops as other teachers. Replacements must work 45 days during the school year, have active certification, and be on the current district roster to be eligible.

Spell check

The South Tucson City Council will receive an update on the city’s neighborhood revitalization plan. This is the only item on their agenda Friday at 9 p.m., other than attendance, the call for hearing and the adjournment.

Although the agenda has limited information, the city’s plan is to work with the Primavera Foundation, which has been a partner in the city’s rehabilitation by square kilometer since 2007.

The Amphitheater School District Board of Trustees is meeting, in fact, but doing its own thing. So let me recognize the winners of the district spelling bee. Don’t grimace. The spelling is difficult. I’m a writer – not a speller.

So you have one on me, Kiera and Muhammad.

So kudos to:

  • First place: Kiera Franks, Cross Middle School.
  • Second Place: Natalia Hightower, Wilson K-8 School.
  • Third place: Neal Qin, Amphi Academy Online.
  • Fourth place: Kian Huff, Cross Middle School.
  • Alternate: Muhammad Yusuf Maruf, Walker Primary School.

Rio Nuevo

The Rio Nuevo District Council will hear from its lawyers next week on developments in a years-long lawsuit with Nor-Gen.

The Monday meeting agenda is linked from district calendar sign-up page, but there is an erroneous indication that the meeting was set for Friday, February 4, rather than February 7. But an email from Rio Nuevo and the agenda document itself say the meeting is set for the first business day of the week. So maybe they’ll fix that typo, so the audience isn’t misled about what’s going on and when.

The council reached a affair in 2015 with the company to build a hotel, an exhibit hall to house Tucson’s gem and mineral exhibits, and a civic plaza, among other things.

The board of directors has since ruled that Nor-Gen breached the terms of the agreement and sued the company. There were back and forths with lawyers on both sides and council counsel requested a meeting to brief the members on the legal back and forth.

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