SNAP (food stamps) and Payday Lending led the discussion with Senator Kate Brophy-McGee (R) LD 28, on Tuesday. PCI leaders Barbara Jo Mullins, Martha Pankratz and Rev. Stephanie Hamilton met with Phoenix Republican Sen. Brophy-McGee as well as several Tucson legislators. Sen. Brophy-McGee is the sponsor of SB 1245 that would allow SNAP recipients to double their purchasing power at local farmer's markets, benefiting the local food economy, small growers and SNAP recipients. They also discussed HB 2434, the "Fintech" Regulatory Sandbox bill that exempts on-line payday loans from regulatory control of high interest rates.
Over 60 northwest residents including State Reps Mark Finchem, R. LD 11, and Randy Friese, D, LD 9, heard panelists and Pima County Interfaith leaders talk about the state of public education in Arizona. Rev. Dan Aker, pastor of Northwest Community Church, welcomed the group and laid out the biblical rationale for his congregations' involvement on behalf of public school students. Panelists Jason Fried, Tucson Education Association President, Arlene Benevidez, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Education Association, and Rev. Stephanie Hamilton, a parent advocate, gave their views of the current situation and encouraged all in attendance to become advocates for children and education. Spirited and civil discussions took place during the small group discussions and youth from the congregation asked questions of the panelists and legislators.
Leaders from Pima County Interfaith met Tuesday with House Representatives Todd Clodfelter (R) LD10 and Rosanna Rodriguez Gabaldon (D) LD2 and Senators Steve Farley (D) LD9 and Andrea Dalessandro for LD 2 Senate. They discussed:
2017 was quite a year...
So, what has Pima County Interfaith been up to?
On school days, the children from St. John's School use the park.
After school the skaters from Pueblo H.S. and the neighborhood take over.
In the evening the seniors and everyone else go out to walk and play.
The lights stay on till 10:00 pm and then a neighbor locks the gate and the new bathrooms.
The land is leased by the St. John's to the City. The County's Neighborhood Reinvestment Bond funds have paid for most of three phases of development. This is the way a church, school, neighborhood, and public entities work together. The catalysts: Pima County Interfaith and Southern Arizona Interfaith and the persistent leaders from St. John's.
St John Park Phase II (2013) - Skate Park Dedication
$500,000 from the Pima County Neighborhood Reinvestment Program and the city's Back to Basics funds provided for the construction of a skate park, and amenities including a ramada, with picnic grills, lighting, fencing, a sidewalk, a drinking fountain, landscaping, seating and the asphalt paving of an existing jogging track at the community park. PCI, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, neighborhood residents, the City and the County worked together for 11 years to make the park a reality. Msgr. Raul Trevizo blessed the park and dedicated it to deceased Deacon and community leader Ernest Roche.
ST. John Park Phase 1 (2009) - Track & Field Dedication
Parishioners, PCIC leaders, and neighbors got solid proof that persistence does pay off. The students of St. John's School were joined by representatives from Tucson City Council, Parks & Recreation, Pima County Board of Supervisors, and others to make official and to celebrate the opening of the new park north of the church. The dedication marked the completion of Phase I of the park, and represented a ten-year endeavor with many collaborations, triumphs and set-backs. With Phase II on the horizon, all celebrated what can be achieved through broad-based community action and perseverance!
City Candidates Pledge to Double JobPath Funding -
Tucson City Ward Three Primary Candidates Felicia Chew, Paul Durham and Tom Tronsdal made commitments to 125 local residents at an overflow gathering at Literacy Connects on Thursday evening. The session was sponsored by Pima County Interfaith Civic Education Organization, Southern Arizona Interfaith and Literacy Connects. Candidates Chew and Tronsdal committed to increased funding for KidCo and JobPath, to keep low-income bus fares at their current level, and to protect the number of bus routes. All three candidates pledged to support keeping Tucson an Immigrant Welcoming city, to fight SPICE and other drugs in Ward 3, and to be accessible to the organizations if elected.
Attendees committed to vote, get others to vote, and walk the neighborhood. Two Neighbor to Neighbor Walk & Call sessions are scheduled for Saturday, August 12th at 9:00 am and Monday, August 14th at 6:00 pm. Walkers and callers will meet at Sacred Heart, 601 E. Ft. Lowell, on both days.
At today’s County Supervisors meeting, Supervisors Sharon Bronson, Richard Elias and Ramon Valadez voted 3-2 to approve a County Budget that included a 20% increase for JobPath. This is in line with PCICEO/SAI’s goal from last October’s Accountability Session to double JobPath’s County funding by 2020. The highly successful JobPath Program has over a 98% retention rate in some fields and has now moved over 1,500 struggling Pima County residents through training and into living wage jobs.
The Tucson City Council passed a new ordinance against SPICE.
Council members listened intently to Christina Crawford’s story about her son’s SPICE seizures and spasms. They and 40 Southern Arizona and Pima County Interfaith leaders heard Jennie Ahumada and Msgr. Raul Trevizo talk about the impact of finding young women and men literally vomiting and passing out on the St. John the Evangelist grounds.
After praise for the work of both organizations by City Councilmen Steve Kozachik and Richard Fimbres, the Council voted 6-0 to create the new ordinance. Rep. Kozachik said that a similar recently passed state law HB2033 has already been modified in the Tucson ordinance to include a new chemical. Its adaptability should help keep this scourge away from our stores, families and streets.
The SAI team from St. John’s has been working on this effort for 18 months. Afterwards, team member Lorena Santos said, “Look what we can do when we work together! This is just the beginning!”
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