Stop Gentrification

Write to Mayor Rothschild and your council member:;;;;;;

We can have economic development without gentrification!

We must help the City Council understand that there is a better way to have economic development, and protect our water.

What the Council wants to do:

Bring in outside developers using city taxpayer money.  The water infrastructure incentive does not include a clause regarding support for local businesses.

We have been witnessing local businesses being shut down, due to lack of real conversation (e.g. Chocolate Iguana), increasing costs of lease and repair costs (e.g. Bumsted’s), and inability of longstanding local businesses to “keep up with the Joneses”.

We only need to watch the movie “Hidden Figures” to understand how having a hand up, and removing obstacles, helps pave the way to success for all.

City Council should be giving a hand up to local Tucsonans, not hand-outs to big corporations.

We need to build from within, and revitalize and rebuild #OurTucson.


What needs to happen:

1. Repeal the Water Infrastructure Incentive with a “Strike All”.

2. Put taxpayer money into developing infrastructure for all Tucsonans (mass transit, repairs for local businesses, walking paths in parks, green streets)

3. Say “No” to student housing on 4th Avenue


What You Can Do

1. Share this information with others.

2. Join the “Save 4th Avenue” Facebook group at:

3. Join the “First Fridays with Felicia” Facebook group for updates at:

4. Show up at, and speak at Council meetings.

5. Write to your councilmembers and the City Manager (copy and paste the following addresses):;;;;;;;


Detailed History of Events:

8.4.17 Article in Daily Star about Incentive

10.4.17 Meeting with Candidate Paul Durham (now Ward 3 Councilman) who promises to help all Tucsonans.

10.13.17 Inside Tucson Business Runs Article about Economic Development and Sustainability through Local Businesses (Michael Peel)

2.9.18  Tucson Weekly runs article about Flycatcher on 4th Ave being replaced with Student Housing

2.12.18 Save 4th Avenue Facebook Group formed by Urban Scurry

2.17.18 Article In Daily Star about Incentive

Under the proposal, the city would pay up to $2.5 million a year to build water pipelines and other projects helping out new, non-retail employers.  

The incentives would go only to developers who build projects in areas that city government has targeted for future industrial, office and warehouse development. The areas where new development would be eligible for incentives are mostly on the far south and southeast sides, generally near existing residential and commercial areas that are considered economically stressed.

2.20.18 Daily Star runs Councilwoman Romero’s Reasons (Editorial) for Voting No on Incentive

I am adamantly opposed to this proposal for a number of reasons.

This is not an appropriate use of ratepayer dollars. Tucson Water ratepayers shouldn’t subsidize corporations and big companies that can afford to pay for their own infrastructure

2.20.18 Tucson Weekly runs article by Michael Peel (Local First Arizona) on Fourth Avenue and the Future of Localism

2.21.18 City Council meeting.  Many individuals gather to speak out on two issues:

1. Stop the development of high rises on 4th Avenue;

2. Stop the Water Infrastructure Incentive.

2.21.18 The City Council votes 6-1 to approve the Water Infrastructure Incentive  (Councilwoman Romero votes “No”)

Link to video recording:

13:17 is where Councilwoman Regina Romero clarifies the fallacies and myths being presented about the benefits of this Water Infrastructure Incentive.

The 24.7% water rate hike will be paid for by Tucsonans.

A better investment of Tucsonans’ monies would be to our infrastructure.

This vote of 6-1 approved money being given away (not to locals) with promises of more money in the future.

This sets bad precedents for bad policies. There is more than one way for economic development.

Tucsonans can take care of Tucsonans!

2.21.18 City Issues and Events posts about the Water Infrastructure Incentive.  Councilman Cunningham responds.


We must remember: we are not so different.

Tonight, the Water Infrastructure Incentive passed. (6-1)

There is more than one way to have economic development in Tucson.

One way is called gentrification. Getting rid of the old ways. In this case, that means the locals.

The water infrastructure incentive will be paid for with a 24.7% water rate hike on poor people.

… to bring new businesses in, when we have so many amazing local businesses on 4th Avenue, and around town.

Another way was demonstrated tonight, where there was an amazing show of support for saving 4th Avenue. We must look at the bigger picture — Save Our Tucson.

Do this by saying no to bad precedents (like high rises on 4th Avenue), and yes to building transportation infrastructure, supporting local businesses, and protecting our water.

Tucsonans: Listen to past history. Realize that people have their own reasons for doing what they do — frequently money is the bottom line. Pay attention to people giving you advice on how to proceed. Think of the big picture.

Great job, Urban Scurry, on inspiring Tucsonans to speak out tonight!

Next step and strategy: Send one 4th Avenue speaker to each meeting to speak, and check on progress, and allow other speakers to address issues (which also affect 4th Avenue), and create and maintain good policies.

With much respect to all Tucsonans who spoke out tonight, and especially to Councilwoman Romero.

Very disappointed with Mayor and the rest of the Council Members. Look to, and listen to, the people. Ask questions. Be perseverant. Do the right thing.

**NOTE: Apologies for any misperception that the use of Minister Nielmoeller’s powerful words are an attempt to minimize the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. It is the belief of this Page that timeless powerful words can, and do, empower individuals to speak up against social injustices in the past, present, and future.

2.21.18 Councilman Cunningham‘s Replies to City Issues and Events post:

A few things should be mentioned. It is important for Tucsonans the have opportunities for good jobs. To qualify for the incentive a company would have to spend a minimum of 10 million dollars in capital investment. They would also to have to show they are providing a minimum of 10 million dollars a year in primary jobs. Above that, there are 11 specific areas this incentive allows for and requires any capital investment to use a myriad of conservation efforts. The community is paid back through on site sales tax, new employees state shared revenue and sales tax from new earnings. The business are not exempt from the CAP fee. This incentive has been wrongly vilified. I stand by my support for this measure. Are we so Xenophobic to not invite opportunity for our working men and women?

2.21.18 City Issues and Events responds to Councilman Cunningham (no response from Councilman Cunningham):

Councilman Cunningham, you are missing the point.

The argument could be made that there is more than one way to skin a horse.

But the truth is: the horse shouldn’t be skinned at all.

“Leave no man behind!” — The battle cry of American soldiers.

But here, the Council has chosen to leave a whole group of Tucsonans behind, by creating a situation where the poor people of Tucson are paying for their own slow deaths.

The low murmur has begun of people wanting to leave Tucson, because it is no longer the unique and funky place it once was.

You have the power to help *all* of Tucson, not just *some* of Tucson.

2.21.18 Daily Star runs article covering the 2.21.18 City Council Meeting

Romero referred to a rate overview offered by Tucson Water officials as part of her reasoning, noting the city-run utility was planning on small rate hikes for all users over the next four years.

She argued the city’s working poor should not be asked to pay more at the same time that the city would be offering incentives to companies.

2.28.18   City Issues and Events Contacts Mayor regarding a re-vote on Water Infrastructure Incentive.  

We need to take this bad policy off the books, and not leave them there as bad precedents.  We can ask for a re-vote (Supervisors  revoted in Operation Stonegarden):

We wrote a letter to the Mayor asking for the process in the City.   Here is Mayor Rothschild‘s response:

…reconsideration of an approved item would require that the matter beI scheduled on an agenda for reconsideration. Only a member who voted on the prevailing side of the vote can ask that the matter be scheduled for reconsideration, and only a council member who voted on the prevailing side can offer a motion to reconsider.

If this matter, or another matter, were to be placed on an agenda for reconsideration, then the process for the consideration of that action at the scheduled meeting would have 2 steps. First, a councilmember who voted on the prevailing side in the prior action must make a motion to reconsider the prior action. Like other motions, a motion to reconsider requires a second, which can come from any councilmember. If the motion to reconsider receives a second, the Mayor and Council will then vote on the motion. If the motion to reconsider is approved, the Mayor and Council can proceed to consider and approve a new action (for example to approve an amended form of the proposal; to reject the proposal, etc.).

To do: Connect groups who will be affected by gentrification to speak up at City Council meetings, repeal the bad precedent.

3.2.18 Daily Star runs article about Chocolate Iguana on 4th Avenue closing

3.3.18 First Fridays with Felicia posts about the need for people to connect with to stop gentrification and have economic development without excluding local businesses:

3.6.18  Unable to comment in groups … (not ignoring people)

3.6.18  Conversation with Councilwoman Romero and Facebook Post.

Speak out to the City Council at the Call to the Audience. Tell ten friends, and ask them each to bring two more, and so on…

1. Remind Mayor and Council about the unanimous approval for Councilwoman Regina Romero ‘s motion for a plan for a small local business incentive program that is equitable and socially responsible, an addition to the City’s Comprehensive Economic Development Plan.

2. Say no to water rate hikes.

3. Save 4th Avenue.

4. Save #OurTucson

3.7.18  Attended Local First Arizona Mixer at Sonoran Glass Academy

Michael Peel shared that Emerge 2030  is working with the City toward a program that supports small local businesses.

Michael Peel, Emerge 2030, Local First Arizona

3.8.18  City Issues and Events post about speaking out at City Council meetings.

Did you know? Tucsonans have the right to speak out during the Call to the Audience at City Council meetings. The advantage to speaking out at the Council meeting? Being heard by the world! The meetings are televised live and also available online at:

Share compliments, complaints, and concerns with Mayor and Council, the City Manager, Tucsonans, and the world!


3.13.18 Post on Facebook outlining alternatives for parking that provide community support.

Michael Kraych posted this in a comment, and it is buried. Re-posting here, because this is something that could be offered to M&C:

Here is my vision
West of downtown the streetcar ends and there is a huge empty lot adjacent to I-10. Build a parking structure there say 5 bucks all day includes a day pass to the streetcar now people can park ride the streetcar that’s always empty and enjoy downtown, 4thave, and maingate, also employees can use it. In exchange city gets their building but not like they want but 5 stories max facades match 1920s structures instead of retail space or bar’s they put in a farmer’s market with local only providers. This way the people living down here have a grocery store/farmer’s market. Now we have created jobs promote green living promote walking and not driving down 4th ? Oh and this gets started same time as their amazing new farmers market/multifamily housing

Additional feedback from Thomas Sullivan:
Once downtown links is completed, should be some space for development. Also curious about some of the open spaces between 4th Ave and 6th ave, but off of either Street. Also capacity along the streetcar line could be increased in the convention center area.

3.13.2018.  Blog Post “Say No to Hidden Gentrification”

3.20.2018.  City Council Call to the Audience

Speaking out at the Call to the Audience (starts at 3:09:23)