Full Show #40
Good morning to son. It’s 11:30 on a beautiful. I’ll be a little rainy day here in the Old Pueblo and want to thank you for spending part of your brunch hour with us here on downtown Tucson’s Community sponsored rock and roll radio station. Today is July 15th. My name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to Life along the streetcar. This week we discuss our shows Origins and a chance to change the world with a wave of a wand each and every Sunday. Our focus is on social cultural and economic impacts in Tucson’s Urban core and we shed light on hidden gems. Everyone should know about from a mountain to the U of A and all stops in between you get the inside track right here on 99.1 FM streaming on Downtown Radio dot org also available on your I tune. I’m sorry your iPhone or Android with the TuneIn app. If you ever want to reach out to us and suggest some topics for the show or have any questions or comments for us. You can reach us by email contact at Life along the streetcar dot-org you can
interact with us on Facebook at Life along the streetcar. And of course we also are on Twitter handle. There is at streetcar life. Well today we’re going to start with a little Trash Talk. awk the University of Arizona’s a compact compost cat program works to divert food waste manure and other organic materials from the landfill and transform them into a high quality soil supplement for local Agricultural and Landscaping use compost cats provides an economically and environmentally sustainable business model for Southern Arizona by building local food security through the transformation of Organic waste into soil fertility and providing public and education events on composting food Waste and Recycling and we’ve talked about them on our show before we’ve had Tucson meet yourself as one of our features and the compost cats are the ones out there helping volunteers determine what’s garbage? What’s recyclable what’s available for the The compost pile there from all of those delicious treats
that they might get as part of the festival the cats are moving beyond the Tucson footprint and expanding their efforts into Santa Cruz County. Thanks to a ninety one thousand dollar Grant from the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas the cats will redirect compostable compostable materials away from places like the Rio Rico landfill and put that back into sustainable uses. Phillips the University of Arizona compost cats Project Director spoke to Marissa heifer hefferman of the Arizona Daily Star to discuss this newest partnership when produce is put in a landfill. It creates methane and Emissions that contribute to climate change and causes landfills to fill up faster according to a mr. Phillips because it’s expensive to close the landfill and open a new one the Santa Cruz County was open to partnering with the compost cats to address this. Problem. So the project as it does here in Tucson is going to employ high school students. He’s from the Rio Rico area and addition University
and community college students from the Santa Cruz County area will be part of the project and the center will be able to compost about 3,000 tons a year according to the news release not only does this process work to create the nutrient-rich compost. It also helps to identify you. Mobile food sources, which have been routed to the landfill. So the Santa Cruz compost center will have a refrigerated truck on site to rescue food. That’s still within its usable life span that can in turn be given to local food banks supplying a segment of the population with a much-needed nutritional Source from which they can. They can otherwise they might otherwise not have and that’s food that would otherwise probably be going to a landfill. So the University of Arizona continues to impact our community and our health, so bear down and go cats. We listening to Life along the streetcar on Downtown Radio 99.1 FM here in Tucson. My name’s Tom Heath. I’m excited to be your host. And if you ever want to catch
Us online you can get the stream on Downtown Radio Dot. work so recently Maybe it’s because the show is getting more popular which is exciting. I’ve been asked about why we chose to focus on such a limited area of this great City and how the streetcar came to be the vehicle through which we tell the story. Well, I moved to Tucson in the early 90s and the process which culminated with us having modern streetcar is really my perspective of how two sons Urban core has evolved.
In my time here, there’s something special about an urban area. There’s this density and population that changes Lifestyles. It changes how we live how we interact and how we get around in this area from a mountain to the U of A has history dating back over four thousand years and gone through tremendous change everything that has happened in Tucson can be shared through the lens of what’s happened in this core. In the 90s urban life in Tucson was struggling downtown was not vibrant and the urban experience really was mostly a college experience now for 20 years the effort to bring the streetcar would go through momentum changes in public opinion battles and just as downtown was struggling to stay alive. The Quest for the streetcar was too for a while. It looked like we have no downtown revitalization. We’d have no modern streetcar. We really were not able to community to come together on what the outcome should Like on 2010 because of the economic crisis in which the country was mired.
The federal government was looking for projects to put people to work creating jobs and economic stimulus. One specific focus of this effort was transportation.
Now in 2010 a few years before that Tucson had passed the Regional Transportation authority and that made us a prime candidate when the feds were looking for a place to Dole out the money because they were looking for something that was quote-unquote shovel-ready the passage of the Transportation Authority by voters had earmarked money for the light rail system, but it was only going to be activated if it was matched by federal dollars. So fast forward to 2010 and the FED saw quick way to turn their monetary investment to actual jobs and to do it quickly in 2010. Federal money was committed to Tucson to build the streetcar and we’ve been talking about the urban Resurgence ever since so now I see the streetcar on roads and I see the urban core and downtown have taken on a sense of new vibrancy. So that struggle for the streetcar in the struggle. Revitalize our Urban core have similar paths in my mind. So when it comes time to when it came time to find a unifying theme for the show, it was
really an easy decision to focus on that part of our community in which the streetcar stretches and that route is what really defines the parameters of the news that we like to cover. We wanted to bring a little more depth of History the streetcar back to the show. So we pulled up an interview we did in December 2017 with Steve Farley. Why once he was called The Godfather of the streetcar and he actually took on that moniker and was very pleased to really tap that as part of his success. He’s currently a state senator. He’s an artist a small business owner. He’s a candidate for governor and for our conversation. He’s a champion of public transit. He was part of the push to create the Regional Transportation authority. And he took a break in his interview from politics and discusses the history and then also present some possible futures for Tucson’s modern streetcar and its impact on our Urban core. We met up on 4th Avenue and hopped along the streetcar for a little bit of a ride
and transportation is community. Ultimately public transit is a way of building civil society. And that’s something we desperately need right now in our democracy is ways that Learn how to talk with people we disagree with or encounter people who are different from us, if if you are if you’re driving the chances, are you driving alone? And if you’re driving alone everyone else is simply in your way. Doesn’t matter how nice you are you’re trying to get from A to B. And those people are in your way. You really rather. They weren’t be there. If you’re in public transit bus or train, you’re going to get there at the same time as all the other people you’re next to in your bus for your train and you might as well talk with them or see who they are just spend time with other people going in the same direction at the same place. And that’s a very different way of thinking about Community after I graduate from college. I went to San Francisco and live for eight years. In a San Francisco, I really
discovered the magic of multimodal Transportation. We’re all different types of public transit rail transit buses trolleybuses the BART system everything all fed together to create a much better and stronger economy than they would have had and and really made that City work in such an efficient and effective way. So by the time was time to start a family we were looking around all over the United States. Place that we could afford to move to that felt like home and the big Award winner was Tucson. It just felt more like home than anywhere I’ve ever been what really happened was we came the Tucson and one of the places we visited was Hotel Congress, which has always been such a treasure and we’re richer owes her on really took a leap to take that over and restore it in the mid 80s before anybody was even thinking about downtown coming back. I looked at this place and I said to myself if somebody cares enough about this place to do this. Tell Congress in the middle of it. I want to live
there and I really chose I don’t have right in around 1999. I got a postcard my mailbox invited neighbors to look at the future of the Fifth Sixth Street Corridor. It was the City of Tucson where the community Advisory Group so I decided to do this and I
joined the group there were a lot of other people from
neighborhoods in the vicinity of Fifth Sixth Street. And that was a corridor that has a bunch of schools
goes through a lot of historic
neighborhoods and it And cleared a lot of us in the city really wanted to have us Greenlight a widening that road which could potentially hurt the neighborhoods and potentially endanger safety of people long it some of us kind of felt the maybe it’d be better to come up with something that might take up more capacity and add capacity to roadway that didn’t involve widening. I Could Be A Streetcar system. In fact, there was one PowerPoint slide that I’ll never forget the kind of started my Transportation advocacy and my political career and won the The title said obstacles to throughput and the number one obstacle the throughput was pedestrians. And and then when I saw that slide that turns some of the other people that room and said is that really the city you want to live in a place that says pedestrians are obstacles as opposed to human beings who live here and would like to have a good city. So creating personas successful Transportation start with 5 people first meeting. We had the
basement of El Charro downtown and there are 57 people showed up. And by the end of that first year, we got 1,600
members. We didn’t want to
say that we were just the people against everything. So we created our own plan and official initiative that had neighborhood Street Maintenance. It had Light Rail. It had better bus system sidewalks bike ways and it had a modern streetcar. We got eighteen thousand signatures to put on the ballot sadly. We didn’t really know what we’re doing in terms of political action and the home builders and car dealers decided they didn’t like it. So they put a bunch of money against it and I heard we were by their poles. We were leaving 64 Plays October and then invite November we lost 6040. But the next day I didn’t get down on it. I want over the homebuilders office. I talked with the director of the homebuilders and I said we both agree that infrastructure investment is important for the community.
So let’s figure out a way we can get
what we both want and work together on this and then
when so that started the RTA
process we met every Monday for like a year. They’re 35 us from all over the region. The for opening bid for Transit was 200 million have a two billion dollar plan over 20 years that didn’t have any rail trim component at all. So I created a subcommittee looking at Transit. What a real needs were what we could do for the community and that was about a third of that overall committee. And in the end
we made the motion the
past to increase that to five hundred thirty two million out of the two.
Going for Transit including the modern
streetcar. Then we fought as hard as we could to get this thing passed. I was the chief spokesperson. I was working with people on all sides. I worked with Jim Click, it worked with all types of people to try to get this thing through and we want 60/40 and may 2006 the people who were really anti Transit agreed with it because they never thought we would get the money for the federal match. It had to have a federal man, but once we got a pass the voters and we got half the money up there. I think that that really the City of Tucson then took off Bob walk-up was one of the biggest cheerleaders and it was wonderful to see people come
on board. Then they really
pushed the city to try to with their Federal lobbying to give the effort Raul Grijalva was one of the first people early on even with our effort to endorse our effort for the light rail initiative in 2003 and and he had managed to get he actually came to us and in Tucson has four sets of Transportation said, what would you guys like in the your mark? Herb are still back then DC and we said Willie the streetcar be it’s so he got it listed in the federal documentation that there may be a street car coming through that was important first step and then he and Gabby work together and they got this they got it placed in and then we when President Obama was elected. He started this tiger grant program and we got an application through it Community really came together and applied for a tiger Grant and the fact that we already had designated money for half of it was what has separated us from most of the other people who apply we had money on the table already identified. Another people are like
we have this idea. No, we had an actual project shovel-ready. This was further the Great Recession starting anything shovel ready to create jobs and do it right away. So we won the single largest single Grant in the first year of the tiger Grant and 63 million dollars. I’ll never forget when Ray lahood came here to the depot and presented us that big cardboard check. It was a Moment. I know this wasn’t just a transportation thing. There’s a real challenge selling something to people that they can’t see feel touch if it’s something that’s simply expensive and unfamiliar. That’s a tough thing to sell people on that
one and it was going to be tough. But I knew it was going to be so important for our
community to be able to create these jobs create this excitement create this activity so that a downtown that was just a bunch of tattoo parlors and seedy bars and secondhand stores could become a place where everybody would want to to be all the time. What we need is investment in infrastructure do what the private sector can and that unleashes the private sector to be able to fill in the rest and they can happen and that’s what we’ve seen these steel rails in the pavement. They provide the certainty that A lender needs to be able to open up their pockets and make a project Greenlight and we saw that it’s over a billion and a half dollars within three blocks of a 4-mile rail. Well, actually what one of the interesting Examples of how the property values can increase based on the streetcar was that project the
just just west of Fourth Avenue on 6th Street that I think was built for 38 million and it flipped 463 million within 18 months of building because the streetcar was in operation then so that that that also underlines the fact that there can be a lot done with public-private Partnerships and extending the street. Because if somebody has a 10 million dollar parcel of property, that’s a mile away from the street car and they put 15 million dollars into building another mile streetcar including the extra car to get there and then their property is worth 40 million dollars. They’ve just made a big profit while creating good infrastructure for the people
who create enough Partnerships amongst
people in a route like I would love to see a Campbell Keno cord or
extension. Going all the way up to River
and all the way down the airport. There’s a lot of developable land on the south side and there’s a lot of things in the middle. I know you’ve a would
love to see it go down the middle of
that development that’s never really taken off that said 36 and Kino and then they could you can connect the entire you of a campuses with the Kino Hospital campus with the main campus with the cancer center and the UMC so people can ride back and forth on that and then there’s all those businesses that would benefit along that corridor.
Or there’s a lot of land
or some of the that is pretty underutilize along there right now the come very very valuable with people are doing projects under it. So I know there are people talking right now about the possibility of partnering to make something like that happen and then the city can create a local Improvement sister for the ongoing operation maintenance nice and the what I’m seeing really is that we’ve done a really good job and there are other places were in cool revitalizing districts big chains National chains coming in the price out in force out the Well Independence we have we’ve got almost entirely local Independence every were going and that’s been that’s been a wonderful thing. We’ve somehow been able to manage that sweet spot where you’ve got the local independent people who are dominating the whole thing and succeeding and you don’t have these external outside chains coming in and forcing them out. So let’s just keep making this thing better. That’s what we got to do. Keep this success. Go
trolling for miles is fabulous. It’s done amazing things, but man
What we can do
when we have 14 miles or 40 miles. You can’t
say I’ve done now you’ve got to keep pushing and try to make it
better and push that further because that’s that’s how you create a living breathing Community soon as you stop growing you’re done.
We spent probably close to an hour on that interview with mr. Farley and covered quite a bit more than just the streetcar if you wanted to hear that extended interview. We’ve got a slightly longer version on our webpage. Turner Facebook page, we’re still working on the web page and then extended interview. He talks more about some of his beliefs in public transportation and also kind of delve a little bit into his time as a as an artist and some of the work he’s done in downtown. So nice little segue in their Facebook after the show. We’ll post that link as we do every week. Well on July 28, you can wave your magic wand and help for homeless youth literacy programs and the Arts Okay, it takes a little bit more than your magic skills, but the profits from the Harry Potter charity ball will go to those causes the date again is July 28th, and the ball will be held at the Scottish Rite Temple on Scott Avenue. Just South of Broadway. The fundraiser is hosted by strata company, which is an organization.
Its comprised comprised of actors writers artists dancers Comedians and a whole host of Four types of Artisans they advocate for the Arts in the artist. They create new art and art experiences and they like to leverage technology to create and promote new art forms, Michael Fenton, the artistic director of strata company here in Tucson said that in a recent Daily Star article. He said that the story of Harry Potter resonates because it’s a story of people with unusual skills who feel empowered powered to battle for themselves and not rely on someone else to solve their problems. It’s also an age-appropriate theme for their target audience while it’s open to all strata company was formed with an intentional goal as part of their mission to connect 20 and 30 year olds that Millennial group with art and opportunity something that they felt in their origins of this company was lacking. So they’ve put together opportunities for those individuals and some of them will be attending the Harry Potter
charity bulb organizers. Do hope that attendees will dress the part they encourage them to do so maybe even take on the Persona of their favorite characters. It is a 21 and older event. So do keep that in mind the beneficiaries of the evening our literacy connects youth on their own, Arizona Theatre. Teen program and the Tucson Fringe theater Festival literacy connects is an organization that strives for Community where every child graduates from high school crime and poverty rates are low skilled Workforce is fostering a thriving economy and the arts and culture environment is second to none, but it’s the connects believes literacy at the most fundamental levels supports all of those aspects youth on their own is a Dropout prevention. Prevention program which supports the high school graduation and the continued success of homeless unaccompanied youth in Pima County the number of individuals that they serve when I was reviewing their website surprise me that we had that much need but I’m
glad you found their owners out there to support and then the Arizona theater company has several programs one of which is a five week intensive training and performance and technical theater that culminates in a to production. Perform a performance. It’s on the main stage to the Temple of music and art and it really focuses in with the help of the Arizona theater staff and selected professional teaching artist helps students learn through immersive training and this contributes to an experience that prepares the young people for creative and an Engaged life within the Arts and we’ve talked about The Fringe Festival on the show in the past. This is the uncensored Performing Arts Festival which connects artists with opportunities to perform and connect audiences with access to non-traditional Performing Arts at a low cost. So all four of those organizations are here in Tucson, and there are going to benefit from the ball and I have to live near the Scottish Rite Tempo. So I remember last
year seeing the streets filled with the Harry Potter look-alikes many of whom I think ended up. That does some of the post ball festivities with some of our downtown here local bars. Well, you’re listening to Life along the streetcar on 99.1 FM and it’s also available for streaming on Downtown Radio dot-org. So what’s coming up you ask on Life along the streetcar? Well later this month. We were breaking new ground again. We’re doing something first for the show. We’re going to have a guest host. Last year we had in our studio Mike Peel who’s the Southern Arizona director of local first Arizona at the time. He touched on a couple of cool undertakings that were just in the very beginning stages still had not launched and were they were actually so formulating some of the final details. Well, it’s been a while since he was here. So we wanted to get an update. One of those training programs is designed specifically to give training and support. Helping underserved micro-entrepreneurs with important
basics of financial literacy and Business Development their initial focus on Project. Number one around number one of this project was in south Tucson. The other program is designed to make it easier for local businesses to implement sustainable practices with an emphasis on local energy water and transportation conservation. So the goal is to train businesses to apply Concepts and find ways. Is to evaluate the process and then implement the needed changes and the appropriate upgrades for their business facilities. Mike’s going to be here on the 29th. That’s it 11:30 here on 99.1 FM next week will give a little bit of a taste of what he’s going to be discussing by giving you the background on his interview. So head over to Downtown Radio your after the so if you want to learn any more about the Rest of our stations lineup. We’ve got all volunteer DJs who like to really spin the music that is true to their hearts their selected specifically because of their love and their knowledge of the
music they play so they know what’s happening. Check it all out on our website Downtown Radio dot org, if you want to reach us you got the email address. Contact it Life along the streetcar. You can also find us on Facebook and streetcar life and follow us on Twitter. We’re going to leave you today here with music from Brian Thomas Parker and a train from the album Cliff you listening to a blackberry wine. Hope you have a great week and tune in next Sunday for more Life along the streetcar.