When I was sworn into office in 2009, I got the message voters sent in terms of what was needed: reforming city government, economic development and creating jobs.
Over the past four years, some of the accomplishments in Ward 5 include: development of the U of A Bioscience Park project, the construction at the Bridges Project, the opening of many retail stores such as: Costco, QuikTrips, Goodwill Stores,
American Tire and Curacao - resulting in the creation of 1,100 jobs alone in Ward 5 and others across the City. Other business, such as APAC Pharmaceutical, CAID Industries, and Bruker Nano, were able to expand thanks to the work of the Ward 5 office.
As your Ward 5 Councilmember, I have held Town Hall style meetings, Business Forums and have updated constituents on issues of concern as well as through E-mail, a personal blog, Facebook pages and a newsletter. Communications with neighborhoods are essential to my work as your Ward 5 Councilmember, for which many meetings around the table have taken place on issues of concern so that we may reach a consensus.
During my time as your Ward 5 Councilmember, some of the proposals I brought forward included:
Streamlining the Certificate of Occupancy Process: With these changes, 71 new businesses have opened in the City of Tucson since August 2010 when the new rules were implemented. Other changes to city procedures were made, such as streamlining the Land Use Code, changing parking rules and creating Infill Incentive Districts, resulting in more than $475 million in commercial and construction development permits being taken out by Planning and Development Services.
Working with the private sector, I helped to form “Bring Back the Splash,” which raised $100,000 in sponsorships and opened six city swimming pools that were to be closed due to budget cuts through sponsorships and advertising - lifting the 25 year old restrictions that had been placed upon the Parks and Recreation Department. This year, eight pools were opened.
In addition, in 2011, I brought forward a proposal to lift the limitations of bus advertisements that could be placed on Sun Tran buses. Since 2011, this revenue for the transit system has more than tripled.
For Tucson to succeed, the City government must spend its limited dollar wisely, and with that, in August 2010, I brought forward changes to how the City spends its money for goods and services by using the P-Card Program.
I have led the effort to change how the City purchases materials by utilizing the P-Card, instead of writing checks. To be implemented over the next two years, with a potential savings of more than $10,000,000 dollars. The City of Tucson also gets a rebate for using the P-Card, which has increased to $440,000 (or four times what it was in 2010), thanks to Mayor and Council actions taken to get more use of the P-card program.
I worked with the business organizations to bring forward the Local Purchase for Procurement Policy, so that locally owned businesses would receive preference points on RFP’s (Request for Proposals) for City contracts for goods and services. This new policy will benefit Tucson owned businesses.
I also brought forward a review of city contracts to ensure that Tucsonans were being hired to do the work and a study showed that 88% of those hired were from the Old Pueblo. To compare, the City of San Francisco has only a 25% local hire rate.
One of my proudest achievements was getting the City of Tucson to use an all, vote-by-mail election system, which increased turnout city wide by more than 15% (36% alone in Ward 5) and saved the City $600,000 through this process.
My diligent staff and I have worked to try to keep you informed of what is going on and to make Ward 5 a better place to live, work and raise a family. During these tough economic times, the Ward 5 office has worked to provide the best constituent services possible.
I have worked to keep the costs down and to operate the office under budget. My predecessor in this position had 6.5 employees, I have operated the office with 3.5 employees. Unlike the previous office holder, who had a budget of more than
$460,000 for staff and expenses, I have had less to work with but have accomplished more. This year alone,
the staff and expense budget will total a little more than $279,000, the least of all the Mayor and Council Offices.
To those businesses who have opened their doors and importantly to those who have worked hard to keep their doors open, our collective hat comes off in salute to you.
To those neighborhoods and neighborhood associations who continue their work to better the lives of those residing there, the City of Tucson government owes you all a debt of gratitude for your work and commitment, especially during these tough economic times.
There are those neighborhoods, such as Pueblo Gardens, Cherry Avenue in Ward 5 and Sunnyside and Midvale neighborhoods in Ward 1, who have worked with the Tucson Police Department in efforts to help lower the crime rate and according to TPD statistics, these efforts are working.
Progress has been made but there are still things that need to be done to get the City completely back on track. The Mayor and Council has made tremendous strides but more steps need to be taken to complete this task and that is why I am running to continue the work.