Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bus Strike Ended Two Weeks Ago: Here's a Copy of the Deal Between Sun Tran & the Teamsters Union (Finally)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Maria Inés Taracena

The company that manages Sun Tran (Professional Transit Management) and the Teamsters Local Union 104 jointly released the agreement that ended the 42-day bus strike, after much pressure from the public, the press and the City of Tucson to make the deal transparent. 

The two-year, $4.36 million deal grants drivers a raise of 83 cents to $3.72 an hour, depending on how long they've worked at Sun Tran. New drivers didn't get a raise, keeping them at $13.30 an hour. A driver that's been employed by Sun Tran for five years will get a max of $19.52 an hour.  Also, each employee will get a one-time payment of $3,303.37, and the agreement has a provision that requires annual distribution of any savings from Sun Tran’s annual budget that could provide every employee the "potential to receive additional hourly wage, or hourly pension increases in October of each year."

From now on, union representatives will be part of assault investigations. Sun Tran and the Teamsters will meet on a monthly basis to provide updates, "discuss training and/or refresher training needs for drivers as it applies to drivers assaults." The two will also talk driver assault procedures and research ways to better to protect drivers. In case a driver is assaulted, he or she will be able to go home without pay loss. 

In the past 13 months, there have been 22 assaults on bus drivers. That includes beer-throwing, spitting and more violent incidents, such as a bus driver getting stabbed twice while on the job. 

Two weeks ago, the Teamsters said the strike resolution had resulted in the "immediate action by Tucson's City Manager (Michael Ortega) to resolve once and for all the serious mold contamination that exists in Sun Tran's north facility and on the buses, and also resulted in immediate action by the city manager to order and install Plexiglass partitions in buses on selected routes identified as being greater risks to driver safety."

The negotiation's settlement did not use money outside the approved Sun Tran budget for fiscal year 2016, but did include money from fuel savings, as well as $1.6 million from the unpaid salaries during the strike, according to both parties. The deal expires June 30, 2017, and employees aren't allowed to strike while the deal is in place.

Here's a copy of the agreement:

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Trevor Noah's Daily Show Starts Tonight

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Excited? Nervous? Ambivalent? The Comedy Central crew has been teasing big changes coming to the Daily Show. Tonight, we'll get a look at what is to come. 

Hopefully, it'll develop as well as the Nightly Show

AZ Ranks as Third Worst State for Teachers

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 3:30 PM

"I wonder if
  • "I wonder if
Here's a tidbit that's not likely to make the next edition of AZAwesome: WalletHub has released a new survey that ranks Arizona as the third-worst state in the nation for teachers.

The survey took into account several factors, including teacher pay, class size and per-pupil spending.

Here's how Arizona shaped up in each of the categories, according to WalletHub:

41st: Average Starting Salary for Teachers
49th: Median Annual Salary for Teachers
48th: WalletHub “School Systems” Ranking
42nd: Unemployment Rate
45th: 10-Year Change in Teacher Salaries
49th: Pupil-to-Teacher Ratio
51st: Public School Spending per Student 
Julie Erfle of Progress Now Arizona said the survey showed that "it’s no wonder Arizona teachers are fleeing the profession and leaving our schools with a shortage of teachers and experience."

“The future of hundreds of thousands of Arizona students as well as the economic future of our state is at risk,” Erfle added in a statement to the media. “The time is now to switch course and put funding for our educators and schools at the top of our legislative priority list.”

Teachers in TV and Film, From the 1950s to the Present

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 2:48 PM


In early August, I asked people to help me compile a list of all the TV shows and films that involved teachers in a major or somewhat important minor role. You gave me lots of titles. I scoured the internet and added more. Then, using my rudimentary database and graphing skills, I put together a rough picture of how the portrayal of teachers has changed over the years.

Back in August, before I pulled together the information, I wrote what I thought the results would show.
Let me tell you my hypothesis about the changes in the way teachers have been portrayed since the 1950s. First there were the workaday, cut-above-the-average teachers of core subjects. Think "Room 222." Next came the Superteachers who could leap tall curriculum assignments in a single class period — with poor, underprivileged kids, no less — and change the lives of everyone they came in contact with. Think "Stand and Deliver." The next step was the incompetent teacher who was ridiculed and often didn't give a damn. Think, of course, "Bad Teacher."
My hypothesis was a bit simplistic, but the results follow the basic trend I described. Here's a scattergraph of the way teachers in core subjects—English, math, science and social studies—have been portrayed over the years. I've only included public school teachers in the U.S., leaving out the portrayal of private school teachers and teachers in other countries.


Over time the chart moves from the middle—good teachers—toward the top—super teachers—then toward the bottom—bad teachers (A list of the TV shows and films along with my teacher ratings is at the end of the post).

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Parrot Needs a Home

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 1:00 PM


Hi I'm Parrot, my friends at Humane Society of Southern Arizona pronounce it like PER-ROW, because of my obvious French accent. I am a four year old chow mix who loves treats! I'm a good listener and really enjoy being out in the yard or on a walk. My friends at HSSA say my tongue makes me a little different because it’s always showing, but I think it's like that to give everyone extra love and kisses, French kisses! Come by the Main Campus and ask if we can play :)

Au Revoir les amis,
Parrot -760219

Don't Forget to Weigh in On the State's Transportation System at This Community Forum Wednesday

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 11:56 AM

  • Courtesy of www.fta.dot.gov
Hey Tucson, you all should share your thoughts and talk transportation pros and cons at a community discussion Wednesday sponsored by the Arizona Town Hall.

Remember I mentioned this earlier in the month?

The forums have been happening all over the state, with the purpose of getting citizens involved, and identifying "solutions for critical policy and economic issues" caused by private and public transportation. 

“The overall theme for each forum is exploring how the current transportation system is intimately interwoven and has impact on key factors such as the economy, jobs, community, health, lifestyle, education, housing and certainly, the environment. Through the community forums, we want to inform Arizona citizens of research and recommendations which came from the 106th statewide Town Hall..." said Tara Jackson, president of Arizona Town Hall, in a statement to the media a few weeks ago . "We want to hear from people who are affected by transportation issues. Those range all the way from concerns about roads and infrastructure to thoughts about public transportation, or transportation’s impact on the environment. We want the report to represent people, in the true spirit of a Town Hall which reflects consensus from the broad spectrum of the public."

Comments gathered at the statewide forums will then be distributed to state legislators, the public and others.

To register, visit www.aztownhall.org, or call 602-252-9600. 

The discussion is happening on Wednesday, Sept. 30 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Pima Community College's Community Campus, 401 N. Bbonita Ave., Room A-109/A-112. Lunch at the event is $20.

Luckily, all buses are in route again, so car-less citizens you will have a ride there. 

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Cinema Clips: Black Mass

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Johnny Depp breaks his shit slump with a riveting performance as James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, the notorious Boston crime lord who also acted as informant to the FBI while killing people and destroying lives. Depp goes under some heavy makeup, including some gross teeth, to play the infamous brother of William “Billy” Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch) and pal of FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton). The movie examines the strange dynamic that occurs between one of the worst criminals in Boston history, his high-ranking brother, and his meat-headed FBI friend. All three are very good in a film that, alas, feels like it was supposed to be a lot longer (I suspect there’s a four hour cut of this movie somewhere in director Scott Cooper’s basement). Depp is scary-good, yet his work feels strangely abbreviated, making him feel like more of a supporting player. Edgerton’s Connolly feels a little more well rounded, and continues a fine year for the actor after The Gift. Peter Sarsgaard, Kevin Bacon and Dakota Johnson are all good in supporting roles. As mobster movies go, this is a good one, but it should’ve been a great one. If anything, it’s good to see Depp truly digging into something rather than acting like a goofball for a paycheck.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Zona Politics: Clean Elections vs. Dark Money & Tucson Modernism Week

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 5:30 PM

Zona Politics Eps.42 from Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel on Vimeo.

On this week's episode of Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel: Tom Collins, executive director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, stops by to talk about the commission's ongoing conflict with Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan over regulating dark-money groups that are spending dollars in Arizona elections. Then Demion Clinco, executive director of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, gives us the preview of Tucson Modernism Week. Watch online here or tune in at 8 a.m. Sunday morning on the CW Tucson, Channel 8 on Cox and Comcast and Channel 58 on broadcast, DirecTV and Dish. Or you can listen to Zona Politics at 5 p.m. Sunday on KXCI, 91.3 FM.

Here's a transcript of the show:

Hello everyone. I'm Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel, and we're here to talk Zona Politics. Today, we're talking with Tom Collins, the executive director of the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, the agency that manages Arizona's publicly funded campaign program. Thanks for being here on Zona Politics.

(Collins) Thanks for having me, Jim.

(Nintzel) So you've got a little bit of a dispute between the commission and the Arizona Secretary of State these days. And Michele Reagan, she seems quite upset with your agency right now.

(Collins) Well, I think to just kind of give folks some background, when the voters passed the Clean Elections Act, they did more than just create a public financing program for state candidates, which they did. They also created the Clean Elections Commission that would have oversight over campaign finance law, including folks who make independent expenditures, and that's you know, typically what people refer to as "dark money." People are spending money in races and whether or not they're disclosing their donors or their spending or those kinds of things, they're things that the commission has a role in that the voters gave to it. The secretary's office has decided that they dispute that role, notwithstanding the fact there are court cases and the law itself that say that's exactly what the commission does, and they've essentially said that they would like the commission to stop enforcing the clean elections act and defer or otherwise just accept that the Secretary of State's office is the exclusive authority on campaign finance law in the state.

(Nintzel) They're saying you're usurping her authority. Are you usurping her authority?

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