After an ACLU of Arizona panel discussion on medical marijuana on Wednesday, April 27, I talked a few minutes with Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias, who told me Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry's office was flooded that day with phone calls asking Huckelberry to fire public defense attorney Isabel Garcia and Elias for encouraging students to "riot" at the Tuesday meeting.
Why were the calls coming in? They were listeners of local conservative radio personality Jon Justice, who was encouraging listeners to not only call Huckelberry, but to also call TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone to fire governing board members Adelita Grijalva and Judy Burns for allowing students to "riot."
First, you can't fire elected officials, and Justice has already tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to get Garcia fired. Elias seemed good humored about the radio jock's continuous schtick, so he'll probably have good laugh over this video gem.
In reaction to Tuesday's youth takeover of the Tucson Unified School District's governing board meeting, board president Mark Stegeman wrote the following letter:
April 28, 2011
Open letter to the public, concerning the April 26 meeting of the Tucson Unified School District:
As is well known, the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board postponed its April 26 meeting after a crowd of students and allied persons filled the Board room shortly before the meeting was scheduled to start.
The frequent exercise of free speech, especially dissenting opinions, is one indicator of a healthy democratic society. At the same time, the district has a basic responsibility to conduct its meetings in an orderly manner and to provide a safe environment for persons who wish to attend.
Many members of the public were scheduled to speak to the Board on April 26; other members of the public were scheduled to make a major presentation; and many members of our community and the district’s staff had a stake in various items on the agenda. By failing to ensure an orderly environment and timely consideration of those items, the district failed in its obligations to all of those persons. The Board is ultimately accountable for that failure. On behalf of the Board, I apologize to the community.
In recent months TUSD has improved security at its meetings in response to increased public attendance, demonstrations, and some episodes of disorderly conduct. We knew that the ethnic studies item on the agenda raised the risk of problems, and TUSD’s security personnel revised some procedures accordingly. They did not anticipate the rapid and well-coordinated seizure of the dais (where the Board normally sits) by numerous students, who had brought hidden chains and locks into the Board room.
After the students controlled the dais and the room flooded with people, our primary concern was to avoid injuries. We decided that postponing the Board meeting and allowing the protest to wind down at its own speed was the safest option. TPD officers were available, nearby but outside the building, in case the situation deteriorated. Fortunately this did not happen and no injuries occurred. Staff is carefully reviewing our security staffing and procedures, to avoid repetition of this or any similar incident.
We also considered moving the April 26 meeting to another room in the building. This would have presented logistical problems, because of the number of presentations scheduled, the number of persons who were supposed to speak to the Board, and the difficulty of taping the meeting. By statute the meeting would still be open to the public, but any alternative room would have been much smaller, and the prospect of hundreds of persons trying to reach that room presented new risks of injuries.
The right of free speech and the right to political protest are fundamental and respected by the Board. In recent months, I have often extended the length of the audience call, to allow more people to speak at TUSD’s public meetings. The April 26 agenda included a special audience call, to allow members of the public to speak on the specific topic of ethnic studies. This special audience call will remain on the agenda of the rescheduled meeting.
Other essential pillars of a democratic society include the right of citizens to choose public officials in free elections and the capacity of those elected officials to conduct the public’s business in open meetings.
I appreciate the sincere passion that many students feel for the Mexican-American Studies (MAS) courses and know the frustration that something which one treasures could change. What occurred on Tuesday, however, went well beyond the exercise of free and passionate speech: the students shut down an elected body by force.
One of the MAS teachers was quoted in the press: “They’re [the students are] brilliant. This is not a one-time event. It looks like they’re not going to stop until they have an impact on this decision.” In this environment, ordinary prudence requires the Board to prepare for a continuing campaign of physical disruption, which aims to block measures (or even the debating of measures) which the students find undesirable.
Just as the Board is committed to free speech, so is it committed to protecting its ability to deliberate and make decisions in public meetings, in which all members of the public feel safe and respected.
President of the Governing Board, Tucson Unified School District
Michael Chihak has a lengthy interview with Gov. Jan Brewer on KUAT-TV's Arizona Week. Oh, and I'm on there, too, to talk about Brewer's vetoes, including her rejection of Sen. Frank Antenori's city-destroying SB 1322. Tune in at 8:30 p.m. on Channel 6 or watch it online at AZPM.org.
It wasn’t long ago that Tucson’s mobile-food culture was little more than Sonoran hot dogs and taco stands, but that is changing.
A new generation of food trucks is emerging, selling everything from tender barbecue sandwiches to Hawaiian shaved ice. I even saw a truck selling Chinese food out in Sells on the Tohono O’odham reservation a few weeks back, alongside trucks selling burritos and fry-bread tacos.
It’s hard to say what’s fueling this mobile food trend. Some say it’s the trickle down from the exposure food trucks have seen in the popular culture, while others say years of thin economic times make starting a food truck a better option for those who cook for a living.
Whatever it is, it means more good roadside food for those willing to look for it.
Julie Ray wants to make the search for food trucks a little easier. She recently started the Tucson Food Trucks Facebook page — the first Internet hub of food truck knowledge outside of the Food Truck Diaries that we know of — and is currently looking at other ways to offer people the tools needed to access more local food trucks, or even start their own.
“In L.A., food trucks have become part of the culture,” said Ray, who just returned from a trip to Los Angeles. “I’d like to see some interesting takes on food trucks from a Tucson angle, a new hybrid with more of the Tucson flavor.”
(Ray also sent this link about a sold-out event focusing on L.A. food trucks, humbly submitted here for your perusal.)
Ray was one of the people at a recent meeting at Dinnerware Artspace where the conversation was all about food trucks. What came out of the meeting is that there is definitely a hunger for more mobile food in Tucson—and that there are also some serious stumbling blocks for those wanting to get into the business.
“One of the barriers to getting people going is that we need a commissary kitchen, which is a requirement: A food truck has to operate out of one,” said Ray. The search is currently on for a centralized commissary that could act as a hub for food trucks, but nothing solid has emerged.
But that isn’t stopping food truck entrepreneurs. Whispers of a new food truck called Street Delights have been circulating for months, and some details recently started emerging via Twitter. Other chefs are also talking about taking their skills on the road, although I’ve been sworn to secrecy on all accounts.
There has also been buzz about holding a food-truck festival or organizing “mobile food courts,” where patrons could count on finding their favorite food trucks on designated days of the week.
It’s an exciting time to enjoy roadside food, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted as our mobile-food culture continues to grow.
A statement from Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on today's scrubbed launch:
Congresswoman Giffords is disappointed that Endeavour was unable to launch today, but realizes that mission safety must come first. Launch delays are not uncommon with the space shuttle. We are looking forward to the quick rescheduling of this scientifically important mission. The congresswoman was pleased, however, to have been able to meet with President Obama and the first family.
Her travel plans at this time are undetermined.
Dear Arizona Daily Star,
While I understand that it's hard news to take and the people at AVA still seem hopeful that Maroon 5 is coming to town, posting a story online saying that tickets aren't on sale because "details for the show, which should feature Train, have not been finalized" could probably be cleared up with an email to the band's PR representative, who told me earlier this week that "the event is definitely not happening".
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I hate it when the Sound Strike gets its way too.
NASA called off its attempt to launch the final voyage of the space shuttle Endeavour today (April 29) because of a malfunction in one of the spacecraft's critical power units.
"It's unfortunate for the [Endeavour] team and Mark Kelly and his crew, but today the orbiter's not ready to fly, and as we always say in this business, we will not fly before we're ready," launch director Mike Leinbach said.
Two heaters on one of Endeavour's auxiliary power units, which power hydraulics systems on the shuttle during its return to Earth, failed this morning, rendering the unit useless.
"The troubleshooting proved that it was a hard failure," Leinbach said. "We were not able to get it to come to life no matter what we did."
Mission managers decided to delay at least 72 hours to look into the source of the problem.
The next chance to launch Endeavour comes Monday (May 2) at 2:33 p.m. EDT (1733 GMT) from Launch Pad 39A here at Kennedy Space Center.
Local psychologist Steven Gurgevich's book Hypnosis House Call: A Complete Course in Mind-Body Healing was recently published. Visit www.HealingwithHypnosis.com for more information.
Like many psychologists, Steven Gurgevich, Ph.D. — who has been treating patients in private practice for 38 years, has trained over five thousand physicians, psychologists and other professionals, and has over 60 professional publications — works with patients dealing with myriad challenges including phobias, addictions, PTSD, anxiety, sleep disorders, and depression, as well as physical diseases.
Nancy, for instance, a fifteen-year-old, had over 200 warts on her face that left her insecure and discouraged. A painful case of shingles afflicted Jerry, who was in his 40s, and also another patient, Andrew, a retired military man. Stephanie's symptoms of ulcerative colitis left her doubled over in pain every morning after her children and husband went off to school and work. All had tried prescriptive drugs to no avail. While working with Dr. Gurgevich, all discovered a mind-body connection to their ailment and all were cured.
The method Dr. Gurgevich uses to encourage the body and mind to heal? Medical hypnosis.
A Tucson Pastorela, presenting a timely satire by the Pastorela Ghostwriters, opens Thursday, Dec. 19, and continues… More