Support Steve K for City Council

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Need a reason to support Steve K for Ward 6 City Council?

How about $230,000,000 reasons?

When Steve took office the city was actively trying to build a Tucson Convention Center Hotel.

“The Tucson Convention Center renovation and expansion, headquarters hotel, and associated parking garage collectively comprise what may be the largest public works project the City undertakes in our lifetimes. Because the Rio Nuevo District is unable to financially carry the project, city taxpayers will be asked (through City-backed bonds) to backstop over $230 million in debt.” (Inside Tucson Business)

Steve said NO.

“In his first term on the Tucson City Council, Kozachik has been remarkably effective.  He was barely in office when he led the charge to cancel the plans for a major downtown Tucson hotel.” (The Tucson Weekly, April 4, 2013)

What could have happened if Steve hadn’t stopped the hotel?  Tucson could be in the trouble that Phoenix faces.

“The (Phoenix) Sheraton opened in the midst of the Great Recession and struggled to make money…City staff members estimate total losses of about $45 to $50 million on the hotel. Phoenix previously had reported losses of $29 million since the hotel opened in 2008. The city also provided the hotel corporation with about $14 million over the past decade.” (AZ Central 2016)

So… $230 million reasons PLUS another $50 million reasons.

Still need another reason to support Steve K?  He makes the tough decisions. Share this with your friends.

I Support Steve Kozachik

Some time back, I decided to generally stay away from partisan politics on these pages. I still intend to do that except in local elections that have a direct bearing on Armory Park. We are in Ward 6 and Steve K is our council member. He is also one of the most thoughtful and articulate among the council members. He has a solid record of supporting neighborhoods against the many threats from government and economic interests. Consequently, I will be republishing some of his campaign items here. This is the first:

Dear friends,

During the 2013 campaign season I sent out weekly emails as a way of keeping the people informed as to positions and causes I was advocating on behalf of, and inviting them to join me in that work. I believe it’s important to begin that way of connecting with you once again.

The jobs we do at the City Council are serious business. These aren’t hobbies. They take people who will invest the time and energy to study every individual issue and policy we’re considering, and cast an informed vote every time. We craft important public policy, and we defend the values that define Tucson for what we are. Each of us running for Tucson City Council owes you the commitment that as members of the Tucson governing body the message must be Tucson First. That’s my commitment to you as this campaign season begins in earnest. And I will hold every candidate accountable for making that same commitment.

And in fairness to the voters and residents of Ward 6, it’s important you learn from the guy who just filed to run against me where he stands on issues. This photo is from his front yard in the Peter Howell neighborhood – taken during the recent presidential campaign. Note the Trump yard sign. More on that below.

Going forward I’ll make these emails topical and focused – and much briefer than my newsletters. But to kick off these campaign communications I think it’s important to lay the foundation for what the upcoming campaign season should demand of any candidate who runs – regardless of party, and regardless of which ward seat they’re pursuing.

A few examples: coming from Trump and Congress are direct challenges to our local economy, environment and cultural identity. Each of us running for Tucson City Council will either own the Trump agenda as it relates to the wall, cutting ties with our neighbors and friends in Mexico, evisceration of environmental regulations, defunding the arts, support for the needy, and community revitalization – or we will very vocally commit to fighting the Trump agenda in defense of Tucson and the values for which we stand.

Coming from the state legislature are challenges to our local sovereignty and decision making authority. Consider that during the current legislative session there have been 14 bills proposed, each of which would chip away at our Charter authority. We just finished arguing in front of the state supreme court to defend those rights. Each of us running for the Tucson City Council will either own the state agenda of attacking Home Rule, or we will commit to fighting bills that would steal our local ability to set policy consistent with our local values.

You know my consistent advocacy on behalf of the City of Tucson and you, my neighbors. If you’d like to learn how solidly my potential opponent stands behind his yard sign and party affiliation, send him an email and demand to know if it’s the Trump agenda he’s running on, or Tucson values. Ask if he’ll defend our Charter and Home Rule when challenged by the state legislature, or if he’s in their pocket. You can reach him at rodriguez4council@gmail.com.

Share this and his responses with your friends and neighbors. If he chooses to continue with a campaign for the Tucson City Council, you deserve to know whose values he intends to defend. Ours, or Trump’s.

APNA Board, Good Stuff and Some Not So

The good stuff:  The July meeting began with various news items and updates on efforts by committees. The new market rate rentals you may have seen in the news are quite pricy. They rent in a range of $2.20 to $2.50 per square foot or more and units are generally 1,000 square feet or less. You might expect to pay $2,500 monthly for a thousand square footer. These high prices translate to increasing property values for us owners in Armory Park. Also, property owners are also more likely to maintain their properties well to retain their value. The downside is that renters can expect to pay more in the future and it will be too expensive for many downtown workers to live near their work.

The board is updating its address list for AP property owners. They will be surveyed regarding their sidewalk repair needs. There was also discussion concerning accessibility issues where some sidewalks cross minor avenues. Minor asphalt placement can resolve those issues and some have had success in getting pothole patching crews to do a fix. In the same discussion, concern was expressed that the city may want to narrow our wide streets and avenues to allow for diagonal parking as has been done on 12th, 13th and 14th Streets. This would detract from the residential and historic character of our neighborhood. This is something to be watching for.

The June Porch Party was a great success and lead planner DeeDee Means was complemented by the group. Donna and I enjoyed the chance to visit with neighbors and all seemed to have a good time. The next party will be 6:00 – 8:00 PM on Tuesday, July 25th at the same location, 505 S 6th Avenue. Because the time covers most people’s dinner hour, there will be some plan for food at this event. We hope to see you there.

Plans are coming together for another ice cream social, probably the first week in September at the Johnny Gibson’s patio. We went to the last one and really enjoyed it.

The Baffert project (6th Avenue and 18th Street) may be coming close to an agreement among the developer, city staff and community leaders. The main issue is still the height of the proposed building and the relationship of the property to the HPZ.

Mark your calendar for the Amory Park home tour on Sunday, 12 November. The last tour introduced the community to Donna and me and led to the purchase of our home here. It is a great event to foster our sense of community while introducing new people to the neighborhood.

Not so good:  There was extensive discussion of the historic review requirements and how they should be applied. Even among the very knowledgeable individuals present there could be no definitive agreement about what would be a minor repair not requiring a historic review. The subject has many areas that are very subjective and vague. It is not even clear how a property owner should get a ruling as to whether an application should be made for historic review. Since even a minor review costs time and money, nobody wants to do one if not required. The burden for fixing this problem lies entirely with city government, hopefully under pressure from our neighborhood organizations and individuals. Michael Means and I plus a few others are working on this subject and are now collecting facts to support specific changes to practices at the city Planning & Development Services Department (PDSD). If you have had problems getting through the historic review process, we need to hear the facts of your experience. Drop me an email at ken@kmtaylor.com if you can help.  We want to support historic preservation but the process can be much easier and quicker.

 

June APNA Meeting

I was unable to attend this meeting so Karen Olson took very detailed notes. Many other details will appear in the meeting minutes and I will only extract some items of general interest for this article.

Home tour chair Anne Cooper reported that the tour is up to 12 houses. Bring’s Funeral Home will serve drinks at 3 p.m. Exo Coffee is also partnering with us. Phyllis Factor said that she will run the bake sale again. Anne’s husband will do a poster. There are some artists who would be interested in doing open studio. Everyone was supportive of including them in the home tour. November 12 is the date and Anne is working hard on getting really old homes and those that haven’t been on the tour before.

Outreach chair DeeDee Means arranged a BYOB porch fest. She wants to do this as a monthly event. Anne encouraged everyone to go to these events. The date was June 29, 6-8 pm. The event was well attended. Donna and I were there and enjoyed visiting with our neighbors. If you didn’t come, you should attend one of the upcoming events.

The Baffert Mixed Use Building project at 5-Points has been a regular topic of conversation at previous meetings. The developer sent a proposal to APNA President John Burr and Steve Kozachik’s office. John met the developer and discussed a compromise; he asked the board for feedback that he was going along the right path. This is the first proposal that agrees to a complicated donut style zoning to keep the property in the HPZ. A 44-foot building is proposed. The height and overhanging porches are important issues for the developer. John is pursuing some other zoning options and expects to come back for a neighborhood meeting. John wants to help with working things out with some of the immediate neighbors. He’s agreeing to do 1:1 parking for apartments, but there will not be any for the business. John has been diplomatic with the developer who now seems to be in a cooperative mood. John would like to allow everyone who’s directly affected to publicly comment before this is approved. Mark Crum commended John for all his work on this, which he has been doing very quietly.

John talked to Donovan Durband, Parkwise Administrator, and he said there has been no recent special enforcement. Two recent issues from our listserv: The ticket for the woman parking on her property would be dismissed. The woman who parked the wrong way on her street for a week will keep her ticket. John has a list of the type of parking violations that have occurred over the last couple of years. On 4th, 6th and Stone Avenues, and parts of 18th Street, for example, people are not allowed to park within 30 feet of stop signs.

John pointed out that any emergency repair costing less than $1500 requires a minor review (if it is visible from the street). Over time the permitting process evolved into a source of revenue. This is why the city charges a fee for minor repairs and permits. The fees and a confusing process may discourage property owners from properly maintaining their buildings. The Armory Park historic board is urged not to report people for simple repair jobs. This policy has been part of the code for many years. President John Burr will speak to Mr. Ortega, city manager, and ask a more reasonable standard to be applied.

My proposal to post banners on fences to remind of upcoming meetings was discussed. The consensus was that it would be a waste of money as most people are just not interested in coming to meetings. I feel that we must do what we can to inform our residents of the important community meetings and some may choose to attend. I have spent a little of my money to purchase some sample banners so we can see if they encourage any more participation. I need a couple of people to volunteer a 2’ by 4’ space on their front fence to place a banner a week before an APNA or APHZAB meeting.

Johnny Gibson’s has agreed to be the host site for the ice cream social again. APNA will pay for ice cream. September is likely month for the ice cream social. Paul at Johnny Gibson’s has been very helpful.

Many items were discussed at this meeting and I am sorry that I missed it. Thanks for your notes Karen. I will be at all future meetings possible and hope you will be there too.

Zócalo Magazine

Even though Donna and I have lived in Armory Park for over a year now, we discover new things about our community almost every day. The latest find is the Zócalo Zocalo Magazine - May 2017 2magazine which covers Tucson arts, culture and living. Though coverage is not restricted to the downtown area, many articles and even advertisements are of special interest to those of us who live here. Free copies of the magazine are available  at  many Tucson businesses. If you want your print copy delivered, for $15, you can subscribe at http://www.zocalomagazine.com/subscriptions/.   You can also browse current and past issues at https://issuu.com/zocalomagazine for no cost. There are 11 issues each year.

My first exposure was to the May issue (the latest). Music and other events are wellZocalo Magazine - May 2017 covered with articles also featuring Tucson’s history. I particularly liked the piece on The Old Barrio which covers not only the barrios we see today but also those destroyed in the construction of the convention center. The list of regular features covers many interesting aspects of life in Tucson.

If you want to keep up with the many exciting things happening in Tucson, Zócalo magazine can help you.

 

Neighbors History Comments

I found these notes buried in the “Old Articles” section of the APNA website (ArmoryParkTucson.org) in a November 2014 article. They deserve to be republished for those of us trying to learn more about our community. Thanks to our neighbors for their contributions. 

Railroad executives built homes, many of which are on each side of Railroad Street, and were built in the style of the East (Queen Anne, brick) to remind them of home, I suppose. They typically have two front doors, one for the family and the other for an office or for other executives who visited. My house has a dirt basement opening from the outside with ledges built in for the railroad workers to sleep where they would be cooler, if not very comfortable. –Nancy Myers Continue reading “Neighbors History Comments”

Annie: Saving Armory Park

I have mentioned the contributions Annie Laos made to historic preservation in our community. Doing some internet research, I came across more information about her role in that effort. These are her words recorded in the Zocalo Magazine (May 9, 2014):

“We’ve lived in Armory Park since 1960 and still live in the same house. It tore me up when I saw them tearing down the barrio to build the convention center. They wanted to do more (destruction), but we stopped them. Mayor Corbett wanted to build the Butterfield Freeway from the airport to the convention center. This would have torn down a large part of Armory Park and Safford and Carrillo schools. One freeway plan also called for elevating the wishing shrine, El Tiradito, up in the air on freeway pylons. Continue reading “Annie: Saving Armory Park”

No Politics Here

Some time back I posted a poll asking whether politics should be discussed in this blog. The number of responses was quite small but the comments offered were thoughtful. I asked five questions and I will synopsize the responses.

Should discussion of politics have a place in this blog? Almost all responders said no to this though several said a political discussion in a separate site would be good. One said yes but in a separate section of this blog. Comments indicated concern that political discussions could disrupt the sense of community in Armory Park. Continue reading “No Politics Here”

Spring Cleaning Mostly Done

Spring brings warmer weather and the plants love it. Flowers, shrubs and trees are leafing out and many are blooming. the results are fun to see and enhance the attractiveness of Armory Park. There is a downside though; stop signs get obscured and the sidewalks are sometimes obstructed. Property owners/residents are supposed to maintain the areas between the property line and the curb but that doesn’t always happen. There are a variety of reasons however the work must be done to keep the streets safe and the sidewalks conveniently walkable. Continue reading “Spring Cleaning Mostly Done”

Politics in this Blog?

Donna and I are news junkies as well as concerned citizens. As I reflect on the recent months, I wonder if our neighbors are similarly concerned. If so, would they (you) want to have a local place to discuss politics and advocate for a certain point of view.

Disclosure: I am a pragmatic moderate but liberal on social issues. I am not registered with a political party. The blog is likely to reflect my views though I want to include other points of view that are not repugnant.

If you want to express your position, please complete the following survey.