In the second of three steps to secure funding for workforce development and affordable housing, PCIC leaders testified before Pima County Supervisors, persuading them to support (4-1) an expanded bond package which includes a building for workforce development program JobPath ($1M), affordable housing ($20M), neighborhood reinvestment ($25M) and open space / environment ($80M).
Randy Mayer, the pastor of Good Shepherd UCC, argued that this bond was an opportunity to leave the County in better shape than they found it. He also pledged the support of PCIC and Southern Arizona Interfaith to help pass the propositions this November -- the final step towards victory.
After 6 Pima Community College campuses and 3 PCC adult learning centers challenged the 30 religious institutions of PCIC to a friendly competition of 'who can sign up the most voters,' Bishop Kicanas responded with a public endorsement of the Pima County bond.
PCIC leaders soon followed up with a civic academy for 40 pastors of 8 denominations, in addition to twenty more scheduled at individual congregations, libraries and community centers. The intent of the civic academies is to educate voters about the potential community benefit of the seven proposed bonds, as well as the costs. This is part of a long running campaign to expand workforce development opportunities offered by JobPath.
PCIC-CEO Educates Pastors on County Bonds, The New Vision
Bishop Kicanas Endorses Pima County Bond, The New Vision
Over 250 leaders of Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) convened at St. Phillips in the Hills to celebrate 25 years of success. Since 1980, PCIC has leveraged upwards of $100 million in state and local funds into projects that benefit the common good including KidCo, JobPath, local parks and recreation centers across the County.
In addition to enjoying a youth-led mariachi band and desserts, participants honored longtime and retired leaders Episcopal priest Paul Buckwalter, Methodist Pastor David Wilkinson, former PCIC/AIN Lead Organizer Frank Pierson, former Diocesan CCHD representative Joanne Welter, and deceased former Tucson Mayor and PCIC leader George Miller. Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Tucson Catholic Dioceses chaired the event, which included stories from six younger leaders. Congressman RaÃºl Grijalva, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, former State Rep. Ethan Orr and Southern Arizona Leadership Council Chair Lisa Lovallo from Cox Communications were among the speakers.
The event not only celebrated PCIC, but also raised $20,000 for the organization.
Interfaith Council Celebrates 25 Years of Service, Tucson News Now - Fox 11
Celebrating 25 Years, ABC News 13
Live Coverage, ABC News 13
Additional Photos, PCIC Facebook
340 PCIC leaders packed the hall of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Tucson for an "Education Accountability" session with 30 member institutions in attendance. Candidates for State Representative, Pima Community College Board, and Arizona Attorney General publicly responded to PCIC concerns around DACA, foreclosures, JobPath workforce development, and overall funding for public education.
Tucson Weekly reports on Fr. Tom Tureman's "barn burner" speech denouncing the educational system failure in Arizona: "Teachers are our first responders, but instead of supporting them, we revile them...." 'elect people who ignore education and spend their energy shouting about immigration and taxes.' More below.
Speakers Give Candidates an Earful, Tucson Weekly
Voters Fill Accountability Session in Pima County, Tucson News Now
Photos from event, PCIC
Support PCC, Arizona Daily Star
PCIC Wins In-State Tuition for DACA Students in Pima County, West / Southwest IAF
PCIC executive team member Ernesto Lujan and Literacy Connects Executive Director Betty Staufer called on the public to support local economic development through investments in institutions like the Pima Community Colleges and job training program JobPath. They praised the efforts of PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert under whom they see "renewed emphasis on adult education and literacy...and a continued commitment to immigrant youth (i.e. in-state tuition for those who have work permits under DACA).
Stauffer and Lujan urged the public to pay attention to the contested race for PCC Board members, and to attend the upcoming PCIC accountability assembly with PCC Board candidates September 28 at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Tucson.
Support PCC, Arizona Daily Star
PCIC clergy and leaders piled into City Hall to deliver a letter signed by 50 clergy requesting that the City not raise fares for low-income bus riders. The City Manager had proposed that Tucson double the fares of low-income people in addition to increasing all fares across the board. Bus riders and PCIC leaders filled the room while 60 listened from outside...
Concrete Example of Religious Leaders Standing Up for the Poor, Voces de Casa Maria
Tucson Drops Plan to Raise Bus Fares, Arizona Daily Star
Photos of PCIC in action, PCIC Facebook Album
"About 20 years ago, hoping to encourage citizens to become active in the community, members of the religious institutions of the Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC), spent a Sunday afternoon knocking on 10,000 doors, asking residents for their specific concerns..."
PCIC leaders heard the stories of families, researched ways to address the need for good-paying jobs and created JobPath to provide financially-assisted education, hands-on guidance during the academic career and assistance with job placement upon graduation.
Fast forward to the present and Jobpath now "takes students making $7,000 without benefits and catapults them into $40,000-a-year positions with full benefits." JobPath is one of 10 West / Southwest IAF labor market intermediaries transforming local labor markets and improving peoples' lives.
Even with a Board that included a Supervisor elected by the Tea Party, PCIC leaders leveraged a unanimous vote (5-0) in support of a resolution making Pima an "immigrant welcoming county."
Bud Foster of KOLD-TV reports that half the speakers were against the resolution. However, he notes, "the opponents were not organized like the supporters were. Most of this crowd ere from the Pima County Interfaith Council." In photo, PCIC leaders pre-meet before filing into the boardroom. Fr. Tom Tureman of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church and Rev. Randy Mayer of Good Shepherd of United Church of Christ spoke on behalf of the organization.
Over the last year, leaders of the Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) crafted the resolution, taking into account the concerns of their institutional base and those of Supervisors. This is part of a state-wide strategy to demonstrate a constituency in Arizona that supports federal immigration reform.
County Officially Adopts "Immigrant-Welcoming" Designation, Arizona Daily Star
PCIC Photo Gallery
"Existing programs that save Tucson Electric Power customers money on their energy bills will be cut significantly. That's the bottom line reached at the end of the March 16 Arizona Corporation Commission public hearing....
The story: TEP must meet the Arizona Energy Efficiency Standards unanimously adopted by the ACC and overwhelmingly supported by small businesses, organizational leaders and citizens throughout Arizona."
ACC Should Stop Stalling and Approve TEP Energy-Efficiency Plan, Arizona Daily Star