Thursday, January 18, 2018

Where I Went Wrong in My Earlier Budget Post

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 1:30 PM

Monday I wrote a post about Ducey's proposed 2018-19 budget. I got some of the facts wrong. I thought Ducey had proposed $214 million in new education spending, including $88 million to build or expand schools in Chander, Queen Creek and Tolleson. My numbers were wrong on both counts. I'm going to try and get closer to right in this post. No guarantees I'll be exactly on the money.

I tried my damndest to pull together the details of Ducey's budget proposal by reading a bunch of accounts in the media, but my damndest wasn't good enough. Better would have been to go directly to the source, the official State of Arizona Executive Budget Summary, Fiscal Year 2019. Near as I can tell, Ducey's proposal contains $190.4 million in new money for K-12 education beyond adjustments for inflation and student growth. Here's the part of the proposal listing the education numbers.

Add together the two "Initiative" lists, and you get $190.4 million.

See the item near the bottom, "$5.1 million, New School Construction"? That's the first of 25 yearly payments to cover the $88.1 million needed to build or expand three schools in Chandler, one in Queen Creek and one in Tolleson Union High district. That means every year for the next 25 years, $5.5 million for those schools will be part of the education budget.

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The Weekly List: 23 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

Posted By and on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 12:30 PM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.

See a Show

Bernstein: Kaddish. Leonard Bernstein, most famous for composing the music for West Side Story, did a lot more than compose the music for West Side Story. For example, his Symphony No. 3, “Kaddish,” is based on the Jewish Prayer and was dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy (who died just weeks after the first performance of the piece). At this performance, hosted by the Tucson Symphony and the Tucson Desert Song Festival, Bernstein’s daughter, Jamie Bernstein, will narrate. 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 21. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $15 to $86.

Outside Mullingar at ATC. John Patrick Shanley, the author of Doubt and Moonstruck, also wrote this Tony-nominated play set in the farmlands of Ireland. It’s a light and lovely romantic comedy about two introverts—Anthony, the cattle farmer, and Rosemary, his next door neighbor who is determined they will be together. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded about all of the love in the world. Shows Saturday, Jan. 20 to Saturday, Feb. 10. Dates and times vary, but this week, there’s an 8 p.m. preview show on Saturday, Jan 20, a 7 p.m. preview show with a post-show discussion on Sunday, Jan. 21, and 7:30 p.m. previews Tuesday, Jan 23 through Thursday, Jan. 25. Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Preview shows $25 to $45. Regular shows $41 to $63.

MOMIX: Opus Cactus. UA Presents is hosting MOMIX, the dancer-illusionist company that you pretty much have to see to understand. It’s a lot of art forms coming together—dance, music, gymnastics, light work, feats of strength—for a performance that the New York Times praised for its “ingenuity, theatricality and cunning imagination.” So it can’t be all that bad, right? And this show is all about the Sonoran Desert, depicting lizards, snakes, insects and our beloved saguaros with dynamism and humor. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $20 to $65.

Shop Local

La Encantada Fine Art Festival. Let’s get this party art-ed! Dozens of visual fine artists are coming together in the foothills so that you can look at their gorgeous work against the backdrop of Tucson’s gorgeous mountains, and take your favorite pieces home with you! There will be metal and leather work glass designs, watercolor, silver jewelry, metal sculptures, ceramic, woodwork, photography, oil paintings and mixed media. Plus live entertainment and free parking! 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 21. La Encantada Shopping Center, 2905 E. Skyline Drive. Free.

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Let's Listen to the New Calexico Single "Under the Wheels"

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 11:30 AM

Calexico's new album, The Thread That Keeps Us, drops next Friday, Jan. 26. I can tell you I've had an advance listen and it is, as usual, great. (Granted, I'm a Calexico superfan, but I'm sure you'll agree once you hear it.) Ahead of the release date, there's a new single, "Under the Wheels." Give it a listen!

Guero Canelo Has Won a James Beard Award

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 10:18 AM

Tucson's Guero Canelo—celebrated for its Sonoran Dog—is one of five eateries that won a James Beard Award in the American Classics category. From the James Beard Foundation:

The Sonoran hot dog evinces the flow of culinary and cultural influences from the U.S. to Mexico and back. Decades ago, elaborately dressed hot dogs began to appear as novelty imports on the streets of Hermosillo, the Sonoran capital. Today, Tucson is the American epicenter, and Daniel Contreras is the leading hotdoguero. A Sonoran native, Contreras was 33 in 1993 when he opened El Guero Canelo. The original stand is now a destination restaurant, outfitted with picnic tables and serviced by a walk-up order window. Fans converge for bacon-wrapped franks, stuffed into stubby bollilos, smothered with beans, onion, mustard, jalapeno sauce, and a squiggle of mayonnaise. Contreras operates three branches in Tucson, one in Phoenix, and a bakery to supply the split-top buns.

Monday, January 15, 2018

All School Districts Are Not Created Equal in Ducey's Budget

Posted By on Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 3:59 PM

Chandler, Queen Creek and Vail school districts all have more than their share of students from higher income families. Over two years, beginning with the 2017-18 budget and continuing with Ducey's proposed budget for 2018-19, all of them share in $152 million to build schools in their districts, assuming Ducey's budget makes it through the legislature intact. Tolleson is the only district getting part of the construction money whose family income is close to the state average.

Ducey's proposed education budget is filled with items worth discussing, but I want to start here, with new money for school construction, because it's one of the indications that all school districts are not created equal when it comes to our meager state funding. Four districts will build new schools or expand existing schools, three of them in high rent districts. It may be a reasonable move. Population growth may have their buildings bursting at the seams. But at a time when additions to most school district budgets are being doled out by the teaspoon, these districts are getting money by the steam shovelful.

If you subtract the money going to the four districts from the two year education budget total, it gives the lie to Ducey's claim that he's spreading lots of new education dollars around the state. His claim is a wild exaggeration to begin with, considering how far we have to go to get back to 2009 spending levels, but even that exaggerates the benefits to most districts. Ducey says his 2018-19 budget proposal will bring $214 million in new education spending. Add that to last year's total, $163 million, and you get a two year total of $377 million. But about 40 percent of that figure, $152 million, is going to build schools in four districts. That leaves $225 million over two years for everyone else.

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Marbles Needs a Home

Posted By on Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 9:20 AM

Hi, I’m Marbles!

I am an energetic 1 year old boy who can’t wait to meet the purr-fect family! I am a very outgoing and friendly boy. I love to play with the feathers here at HSSA and enjoy getting treats!
Come fall in love with me at HSSA Main Campus at 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd., or give an adoptions counselor a call at 520-327-6088, ext. 173 for more information.

Lots of Love,
Marbles (849604)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Will Congress Find an Agreement That Protects the DREAMers From Deportation?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:32 PM

Protesters defend DACA in Tucson last fall, after Donald Trump ended the Obama-era protections for young immigrants. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Protesters defend DACA in Tucson last fall, after Donald Trump ended the Obama-era protections for young immigrants.

The fate of DREAMers is uncertain, but one one Tucson DREAMer is confident Congress will find a legislative fix to replace Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Jesus Lucero, a member of Scholarship A-Z, an organization that works for access to higher education and equal rights for young immigrants, recently spent two-and-a-half weeks in the halls of Congress, telling politicians his story.

The morning after Thanksgiving, Lucero and about 20 other people loaded into two vans at 3 a.m. and drove 48 hours to Washington D.C. Many of them were DREAMers—the swath of American-grown youth brought into the U.S. as children without the legal status.

The group used the “bird-dog” approach—waiting for Congress members to come out of voting. Lucero said that often, Republican senators were the ones who took stopped to listen to his story while both Democratic and Republican congress members ignored him by getting on their phones.

“It’s really heartbreaking to open your heart to someone and have them shut you down,” he said.

Lucero’s been in the U.S. since he was 2. He’s about to turn 19. He was never able to get DACA because of a technicality. Among other things, in order to qualify, DREAMers had to prove they’d been in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007. Lucero says he was but lacked the documentation to prove it.

Although he is confident some form of DREAMer legislation will pass, he doubts it will be a “clean DREAM Act,” meaning free of other immigration enforcement measures. Many Democrats and even the occasional Republican have expressed the need for a clean DREAM Act.

Donald Trump has long said any protection for DREAMers needs to be attached to stricter border security measures, although on occasion, he’s flipped his position.

Trump prepared to ring in the new year with an ultimatum. On the morning of Dec. 29, he tweeted “The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!”

Then, in the first week of 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump clarified what he had in mind: $18 billion for his “big, beautiful wall. And he wants American taxpayers to pick up the bill, rather than Mexico, the country he has repeatedly said would pay for it. The billion-dollar plan would construct and replace barriers along 700 miles of border, which would cover just under half of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

And this week, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, in a rare televised meeting with members of Congress, Trump initially agreed with Sen. Dianne Feinstein that Congress should handle a DACA fix first, then move on to immigration reform. A Republican senator had to jump in and explain to Trump what he was agreeing to.

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On Trump’s Watch, Another Surge of Unaccompanied Minors at The Border

Posted By on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 4:08 PM

College Place, before it was converted to a UAC detention center now called Estrella Del Norte in Tucson. - UCRIBS
  • Ucribs
  • College Place, before it was converted to a UAC detention center now called Estrella Del Norte in Tucson.
In a clear sign that the number of unaccompanied minors is again surging at the southwest border, a shelter for these youngsters hosted a job fair last month.

After a drastic and steady decrease in 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported a 23 percent increase in the number of “unaccompanied alien children” apprehended at the border from October to November of 2017.

Pima County, which shares about 100 miles with Mexico’s border, is home to a Southwest Key Programs facility, providing shelter for children and adolescents often fleeing violence in Central America. It was once an apartment complex called College Place, its leasing office designed like a hotel lobby, welcoming university students to their new home. But, these days a stay here is nothing like going to college.

The shelter is contained by a black iron security fence and concrete block walls. Near the central courtyard, a mural has been painted with kid-friendly colors, striking a garish contrast against the drab stucco that surrounds it.

Last month, 50 applicants showed up to Southwest Key’s Estrella Del Norte job fair in Tucson by 10 a.m. looking for anything from food service to clinical casework positions. Nearly all the job seekers were 25 to 35 years old, and Hispanic, according to a job hopeful who spoke with The Chronicle of Social Change.

Southwest Key is one of a number of private agencies that contract with the federal government to provide housing for unaccompanied minors and families detained at the border or apprehended in the U.S. and awaiting deportation proceedings. Of late, it is on a hiring spree. The agency had more than 200 open positions listed from Arizona to Texas as of December.

“This position is seasonal and is staffed as necessary in response to fluctuating business operations,” reads the agency’s job listing.

As The Chronicle reported in November, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is suddenly desperate to find beds for unaccompanied minors. The department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which oversees the so-called Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program, has reached 85 percent capacity among its network of providers, according to a memo obtained by The Chronicle in November.

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Staff Pick

Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

This top-rated illusion show is "Revitalizing Magic" by blending an international travel theme with all the charms… More

@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays. Continues through April 14 160 South Scott Ave

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  1. Guero Canelo Has Won a James Beard Award (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. The Weekly List: 23 Things To Do In Tucson This Week (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
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  5. The Weekly List: 25 Things To Do In Tucson This Week (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

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