Friends of the Desert #9

Pima County Board of Supervisors
130 W. Congress, 11th Floor
Tucson, Arizona, 85701
(If you don’t know what district you are in, go to:
http://www.co.pima.az.us/bos/bos1.html)

***MARANA ANNEXATION TALK PUT OFF***

A Marana proposal for the largest annexation in Pima County history
faces a three-month delay after the State Land Department canceled a
planned discussion of it September 5, according to the September 6,
2001 Arizona Daily Star. According to the article, written by Tony
Davis, the proposal was pulled after state Selection Board members
expressed concerns about the proposal’s effect on the disputed town of
Tortolita. It has been estimated "that 1.6 to four square miles or
more of the proposal lie within preservationist Tortolita, which has
fought annexation efforts by more development-friendly Marana.
Tortolita’s legal status is uncertain, because of continued court
challenges to its existence."

***PYGMY-OWL LISTING UPHELD; HABITAT DESIGNATION REMANDED***

In response to yet another lawsuit by the Southern Arizona
Homebuilders Association, the US District Court upheld the listing of
the Cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl as endangered and ordered the US Fish
and Wildlife Service to redo the economic analysis accompanying the
critical habitat designation issued in July 1999. The habitat
designation will be remanded until the new study is complete, but
developers and landowners will still be required to consider the needs
of the endangered owl in development plans. According to County
officials, the ruling should have no impact on the SDCP planning
process because the critical habitat designation was not used as a
basis for any of the science currently being developed by the County’s
Science Technical Advisory Team.

***CITY OF TUCSON ELECTION INFORMATION***

For our friends who live in the City of Tucson…the Tucson City
Council election is important to the environmental community. Here’s
why:

** Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan:
This farsighted approach to habitat preservation and land-use planning
will be more effective if the city cooperates with county efforts and
produces compatible city plans. The City Council needs to be firm with
their city staff in directing cooperation with county efforts. Not all
candidates agree on this issue.

** Development Impact Fees:
Growth and development must pay for themselves and development impact
fees are the fair means to ensure that goal. Impact fees are a key
element in freeing tax money for other needs, so current residents
will not have to continually subsidize sprawl as other infrastructure
obligations get further and further behind. Some Council candidates
support these, while others do not.

** Transportation:
An enormous percentage of our tax dollars goes to transportation, most
of it to roads. We can destroy the native environment with more
asphalt and concrete, or we can invest in good urban planning and
public transportation. Council candidates differ sharply over how the
city should address this issue.

** Rio Nuevo:
A possible progressive step forward, if done right. The potential for
building an urban core with mixed residential, small businesses, arts
and entertainment could be realized with the taxpayer- financed Rio
Nuevo project, while protecting and restoring the Santa Cruz River
corridor. Rio Nuevo could be the prototype for future city planning
that would save open spaces, while promoting growth into the city
center and building community. We need leadership on this issue so
that it does not become simply another developer boondoggle.

IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT, VOTE!
There are 6 candidates who wish to represent you and your concerns on
the city council. Each has taken positions on these issues. Please
make your voice heard. Talk with your friends and family about this
important election, and find forums and debates where you can hear
candidates’ views on these important issues.

Anyone who lives within the City limits and is registered to vote
(regardless of political party) may vote in the General election this
November. If you don’t want to wait until then you may vote by mail
today. TO VOTE IN THIS ELECTION, YOU MUST REGISTER BEFORE MONDAY,
OCTOBER 8, 2001. To request your ballot by mail, to register to vote,
or for more information call Katie Bolger with Tucson Votes! at
520-628-4312.

***SAVE THE IRONWOOD FOREST RALLY AND WALK POSTPONED***

The Ironwood Forest Rally and Walk scheduled for Saturday, October 13,
has been postponed. This event will be rescheduled for sometime in
early December – we will let you know as soon as the new date is set.
If you have any questions please call Carolyn Campbell at
520-388-9925.

***ATTEND OCT. 6 SDCP STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING***

The Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan Steering Committee will be
meeting Saturday, October 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m at the Old
Vail Middle School, 13299 E. Colossal Cave Road, Tucson. (Please note
that the location of the meeting has changed since we announced this
in our last newsletter.) We hope to see you there!

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