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The Tucson agenda

Pima Supes take up alcohol policy, revisit COVID boost for employees

A quick look at what's planned for local government meetings

So it's Spring Break next week, which means school boards are off for the week and local governments are on a very light meeting schedule. Plus there's March Madness and St. Patrick's Day.

So this as good a time as any, I guess, for Pima County to tweak its alcohol policy, that basically forbids workers from being drunk on the job. The big change the board will consider during its Tuesday meeting  defines "obvious impairment" as worth a dose of discipline. The Human Resources Department wants the board to strike from county policy a provision that defines drunkenness as blood alcohol level of .04 percent.

Fine. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I get it. If impairment is defined as being at .04 percent, then someone at .03 percent can say they aren't technically impaired (no, this isn't how alcohol works). The days of Don Draper and multiple martini lunches are over and done.

But there's this little line forbidding substance use on the job:  

"Possessing, dispensing, or being under the influence of alcohol, or any unlawful controlled substance such as a narcotic, barbiturate, marijuana, methamphetamine, or a tranquilizing or hallucinogenic drug, while on duty, except in accordance with medical authorization, or in the lawful performance of the employee’s regular assigned duties."

You had best be an undercover sheriff's detective to report that it was your duty to be s***faced on the job. What do you think you are? Print journalists?

OK, I'm having to dig some to find the new stuff worth discussing.

The county will also, again, take up a COVID compensation package worth $4.4 million to award another 80 hours of coronavirus leave to county workers, 40 hours to workers furloughed during the pandemic and pay county staffers for unused leave.

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It's a generous package and Acting County Administrator Jan Lesher is arguing for it. 

In Green Valley, there's an all-dog alert over four fireworks planned during April and May at the Caterpillar Inc. compound in Green Valley.

The aerial pyrotechnics are scheduled for March 31, April 19, April 21 and May 13.

Each display will launch 190 aerial shells. The shooters are required to have $5 million insurance policies for each display and an inspection by the Pima County Sheriff's Department bomb squad.

Somehow, the bond requirement is only for $1,000.

Fireworks displays also require a county permit and the board will vote on each of these. 

Green shoots of a housing boomlet?

There's an interesting little development up in Marana that's worth watching to see if a trend develops.

Developers of Gladden Farms are "proposing" the final plat approval on three subdivisions totaling 341 lots at West T. They will also vote on another portion of the project where the developer needs to change part of his development plan to add another 96 units. That's more than 400 homes approved in one meeting.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't pay much attention but developers may be responding to rents and home prices rising like bionic yeast. My econ professors told me prices are signals to produce more inventory. Honestly, that's what the Tucson area needs to cool off the market.

A "plat" is just a blueprint for a land development project that includes streets, water, sewer/septic and other amenities required for a subdivision. So long as a developer follows applicable laws and ordinances governing subdivisions, the council can't really say no.

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The Pima County supes have a series of small rezonings scheduled for their meeting, too. These are mixed-use projects (commercial and residential).

Also, just because land is rezoned or platted doesn't mean projects are imminent. It's normal for projects to win approval and remain unbuilt for years or decades.

Is this a trend? It's too soon to tell. But it's worth watching. 

Gardens of Stone

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to accept $1.1 million in Operation Stonegarden funding from the federal government.

Agents of the U.S. Border Patrol don't have the authority to initiate traffic stops involving state or local laws and ordinances. County sheriff's deputies do. 

Border Patrol agents can tag-team with a local officer to find and detain suspected undocumented migrants. 

How they do this without profiling is, frankly, beyond me.

The federal program pays local governments for overtime and pitches in for vehicles and communications equipment.

Peace (and Quiet) in the Valley

I can just tell you what's on the Oro Valley Town Council agenda — all of it — in 55 words.

The council will: Review the town magistrate's job performance during executive session; get their monthly financial update; proclaim the Week of the Young Child; consider a liquor license for the Pusch Ridge Pro Shop and Golf Course; approve the minutes of their last meeting and vote to extend Dial-A-Ride service through the Regional Transportation Authority.

That's it. 

In myyyy dayyyy, Oro Valley Town Council meetings required police escorts and K-9 units (Honeybee Canyon, anyone?). Where have you gone, Cheryl Skalsky?

Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist, who worked in daily journalism for nearly 20 years and is the former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party.

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Kyle O'Donnell/Cronkite News file photo

A mini housing boom may (keyword: may) be in the offing as Gladden Farms developers start piling on units and mixed-use projects creep onto Pima County Supes agenda.

The Tucson agenda

Public meetings this week:

Pima County Board of Supervisors

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors

Marana Town Council

Oro Valley Town Council


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