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TOPIC: City Budget and N Mailings
rbowers ()
Neighborhood Activist
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City Budget and N Mailings 8 Years, 3 Months ago  
Letter to Mayor and Council, 12/31/2009:

The Arizona Daily Star today urged that the City get out of the neighborhood mailing business, and that we depend on bulletin boards, web pages and email. Few neighborhoods have bulletin boards, or places to have one. While estimates range from 60-70% of US households having computers, and less than that with Internet access, our experience with Neighborhood Associations (NAs) reflects that a very large minority of our neighbors (Ns) do not have such access, particularly the poor, elderly, black and Hispanic; some estimates are 1/2 the access of their white neighbors and those with better means of support. We assume that Internet access is universal; it is not.

NAs have made suggestions to the City how to reduce the cost of N mailings but still maintain some level of communication to Ns. In some Ns this communication is vital and critical to crime and drug fighting initiatives.

NAs did not ask for the level of support for mailings which we have enjoyed for many years. The guidelines and budgets were developed by the former DNR years ago, and _base_d on ongoing activity not budget. NAs have not done or been asked to do such things as determine a list of emails for N residents and reduce the size of postal mailing lists. Mailings are mailed to generated sets of addresses for each N, not within the control of NAs. NAs have not even been aware of the cost of their mailings until within the last month that the question of cutting costs in this area was brought to our attention.

It would certainly be possible to siginificantly reduce the cost of N mailings and continue to maintain a good level of communication. Both the frequency of mailings and the N mail lists could be reduced. Eliminating mailings altogether would be a very bad idea, and would eliminate one "signal" to criminals that we care about our Ns. Strong Ns are a deterrent to crime.

In another area of City mailings, as a N leader, I receive weekly numerous notices about zoning issues and variances, most of which have no relevance to my neighborhood. Here is another area to trim back. Put all these notices on a web page, and send N leaders email when matter require attention, first notifying by mail that this will be the means of communication. In the experience of NSN, nearly all N leaders do have Internet access.

As an individual, I advocate across the board salary cuts more than the 3% proposed. Some employees may leave, but there are a lot of talented people in Tucson to fill the gap. For every employee who is considered "vital" by their management or by M&C, there are several people already living here capable of whatever the job may be.

As a N leader and on behalf of my N I oppose cuts which affect public safety.

Bob Bowers
Neighborhood Activist and Leader
Chair, Toumey Park NA
Member, Core Group, Neighborhood Support Network

Epilogue: I may have initiated my last NA mailing today. A decision on this matter may be made at the January 5 M&C meeting.
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Last Edit: 2009/12/31 23:01 By rbowers.
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