A compendium of messages related to increasing communication and possible joint action among leaders of Tucson's Neighborhoods.

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(Most recent comments at bottom of page)

To see all comments, start here - Comments from August 19 through 22, 2007

Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 08:25:25 -0700

I'd like to recruit a small number of people (no more than 6 or so) to serve as a steering group for our effort to bring neighborhood leaders together. Steering group members will likely meet several times, augmented by whatever email is needed, to set up what we do going forward. I'm trying to keep this as simple and as focused as possible.

I'm hoping those interested in joining this group will be able to come to a first meeting at one of these times:

Sun. Aug. 26 2:00 PM
Mon. Aug. 27 6:30 PM
Tue. Aug. 28 6:30 PM
Wed. Aug. 29 6:30 PM

I anticipate that the meeting will last no more than 90 - 120 minutes.

If you would like to join, please send me an email message and let me know if any of the above times are bad for you. I will report the results of the first meeting to the list as a whole.

Don Ijams

On 8/23/07, Donald Ijams wrote (to 29 current and former NHA leaders participating in the Comments):

After looking over several group discussion support sites (e.g. YahooGroups, Neighborhoodlink), I found Google Groups as a worthwhile candidate for our use.

I set up a group for us to use and to try out. I will be sending you an invitation to join.

You will need a Gmail email address to join as a member - no big deal. Once you have it, you can join the group, read others' messages, post your own topics for discussion or post messages to others' topics.

I propose to limit membership of this group to "present and former elected officers of Tucson area NHAs and HOAs" This will allow participation of many wise former neighborhood leaders who may have burned out and stepped back, but who might be interested in working with us.

See what you think . . .


(Ed. Note: All interested persons will be able to view the content of the
Tucson Neighborhood Leaders Discssion Group)

Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 10:04 AM

Please be advised that we have been trying to get the city to start up TNACC again for over 5 years. TNACC is the TUCSON NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS CITYWIDE CONFERENCE. We were told that you have to go through your Ward Office Councilperson to get any action on this. You have to convince them and the Mayor that it is wanted by the majority of the Neighborhoods. I always thought it was a great idea and why they stopped it, I am not sure. We had a full day at the T.C.C. to set up tables and display whatever items we were working on. At noon, the City provided a luncheon and awards were passed out to people in each Neighborhood who had been recommended for an award from their Neighborhood. After lunch, we would go back to our display and visit between the Neighborhoods to see and talk about what was going on in each Neighborhood. We were usually done about 3 to 4 P.M. and we packed up our material and went home.

It was a great time for all and we each learned what the other Neighborhoods were doing and what could be done to help each other. If this is what is wanted, then lets go for it! I will help in any way that is necessary to get this program back.

I am Richard A. Kessler, P.O. Box 11526, Tucson, Arizona 85734-1526, Phone 573-1132, Email - krass26@juno.com. I am the President since 2000 of the Elvira Neighborhood Association. I am not really computer literate, but I manage. I prefer doing business on the phone or talking in person. Let me know what you want to do and I will help anyway that I can. I am usually home from 9 to 3 unless I am attending a meeting or at a doctors appointment.

I think we would have to draft a letter that could be sent to each Councilperson, the Mayor, the City Manager and any other person that we feel necessary to get TNACC back on track. This would have to be done by each individual Neighborhood Association and signed by the Officers and as many of the attendees at your meetings as possible. If we inundate them with a lot of letters, they will have to sit up and take notice. This letter should also be sent out by any coalition that is active in your area. I will start thinking on a suitable letter that could be used by all interested Neighborhoods. LET'S ROCK and ROLL and show the CITY that we are a force to reckoned with. Neighborhoods are the backbone of this City. Let's show them what WE can do. Kindest personal regards to all.

Yours in Goodfellowship.

Richard A. Kessler, President, Elvira Neighborhood Association

Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 1:33 PM

The following individuals will meet on Monday evening, August 27, to begin discussions on moving this effort forward.

Steering Committee:
Ruth Beeker
Michael Ray
Colette Altaffer
Ronni Kotwica
Wood Sanders
Donald Ijams


Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 08:39 PM (Sent to Steering Committee members)

Today I met with Jean Maldonado and Judith Anderson at PRO Neighborhoods. I spoke with them about our venture and what role, if any, PRO Neighborhoods could play.

I spoke on my own, before our Monday meeting, saying that I wasn't sure what was going to evolve. I said that my reading of the comments we've received, and my own motivation to send the first email, was to simply make it better for neighborhood leaders. The simple fact that we, as neighborhood leaders, have not met was stark. Especially in light of the amount of resources the City puts to neighborhood support.

The women from PRO Neighborhoods described their place as a United Way agency, their funding sources and their asset-based approach to working with neighborhoods. They said they could provide support in several ways, and would be open to discussing what we need. They said they were very excited about our prospects and that they were happy to note the rise of this interest. I said that we would keep them in mind as we went forward.

I look forward to working with you, to discuss some of the following:

Possible agenda items for Monday night:
  • What is your read of the comments of the 31 NA leaders who chose to comment?
  • What do we want to walk away with tonight? To-do lists? Phone calls to make? Other meetings needed?
  • Who are the clients of this effort?
  • Is this effort a one shot event or should it be continuing?
The editorial of Aug. 19 ended with: "All neighborhood groups should link with each other through coalitions similar to Portland's, based on a shared interest in joining the city into a whole with a strong, well-defined voice."

" .. joining the city into a whole with a strong, well-defined voice" may be dreaming for Tucson, but our effort may be a start.
  • If a shared voice is a goal, should we form a group with a name to accomplish it? What is that name? Who are the members of the group?
  • If a group is needed, how far should it go toward formalization?
  • What should the first full group meeting look like? The second meeting?
All this may be a lot for one meeting, but these are some of my thoughts. What are your ideas?

Goals/ideas from the comments of all:

  • Share common interests and concerns
  • Pool our collective voices on regional issues
  • Need to stand together
  • Get better acquainted and work together more
  • Stronger alliances among all NAs
  • Lets start with a face to face
  • Share the information we need to get things done
  • Resource/connections forum will be a valuable tool
  • Common problems and best practices
  • Depository for central knowledge, lessons learned
  • Crystallize the focus
  • Collaboration among neighborhoods
  • Elected officials to listen to us for the greater common good
  • Develop a regional consensus and pursue meaningful results

Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2007 08:23:47 -0700


Thanks again for the summary of goals/ideas. We live in a small world in network terms. I met with Judith Anderson of ProNeighborhoods yesterday in the late afternoon about a grant application for our neighborhood. She laughed when I introduced myself and said "I was just heard about you from Don!".

We are proposing to upgrade the equipment in our park, which has not seen any new play equipment since it was built in 1974. Earlier we met with Karen Larkin of Parks and Recreation about the same topic. In both cases it was clear we could benefit from the experiences of other N.A.'s.

The goals I posted on Aug. 20 align closely with the summary goal list, and I would also be interested in knowing what people make of the network building idea and resource I pointed toward (NetGains Handbook (857k)).

I look forward to meeting with everyone on Monday night.

- Michael

Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 07:24:47 -0700

I'd like to welcome a few more folks to our email list on neighborhood collaboration and sharing.

On Monday Aug. 27, we ended up with a group of 6, including me, to serve as a steering group. We met 6:30 - 8:00 PM at the Martha Cooper Library, near Speedway and Columbus, and talked over your comments to my original email message of Aug. 19. We had a good 90 minute meeting, on which I'll be reporting in more depth shortly. The steering group may need to meet again in the next several days.

I anticipate that we'll recommend a number of things to the group, including a name, a statement of purpose, a meeting plan and other items. We settled on recommending a network model as the framework for our organization. We'll be recruiting active participation in a number of areas, to take advantage of the many skills available among our group.

I am attempting to contact all the neighborhood associations I can. I sent out an email message to 20 more neighborhood leaders from addresses I found on the DNR web site that weren't on my original list. Of the 146 NAs in DNR's spreadsheet, 4 are defunct and 34 have no usable email address. I sent a letter and the 34 street addresses to Jean Maldonado at PRO Neighborhoods for her to mail out for us. I asked leaders to consider joining us, after explaining the genesis of this effort and offering them a chance to read the editorial and our comments. We'll see what response I get.

Don Ijams

See also a new discussion group for neighborhood leaders

Steering Committee:
Ruth Beeker
Michael Ray
Colette Altaffer
Ronni Kotwica
Wood Sanders
Donald Ijams

Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 14:10:39 EDT

Hi Don,

Sounds like you are moving right along. I'm so excited that so many people are interested.

In our neighborhood, as it is so transient, the problem is with absentee slum lords. Oh my, the problems, starting with the fact they don't care who they rent to. So we wind up with more drug dealers and users, meth labs, crummy looking properties because no one takes care of them. I have been fighting this for years along with a lot of other things, as you all well know. I think there should be consequences for these people who own these properties and don't take care of them and maybe a new city code (if there is not one already - which I have not found) to address this. I have been working with Ward 3 and DNR has become involved through them. I had trouble getting DNR on board myself. Anyway, we are moving ahead.

Not sure if any of you have heard of the Oracle Project that I started, with Ward 3, several years ago. Anyway, we meet the second Tues of each month (no meeting next month) and address the quality of life issues affecting the neighborhoods, the Oracle Corridor and surrounding areas. Our committee consists of members from the neighborhoods and businesses along the corridor, TPD, DNR, City Atty. Off, Dev. Services. We have made much progress over the years.

Anyone is welcome to attend these meeting so I extend an invitation to you or someone from your group to attend one of our meetings and see if it would be of help. If you think so, you are welcome to apply to be part of this committee.

Our Oct. meeting will be on the 9th at 5:30 at the new TPD substation on the corner of Miracle Mile and Flowing Wells, where the old K Mart used to be.

Good luck and if I can assist you in any way, please let me know. You can also contact Tamara Prime at the Ward3 Council office - 791-4711.

Jane Baker
Balboa Heights NA

(Ed Note: This is exactly the kind of sharing neighborhoods need - all we need are the connections)

Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 22:39:14 -0400


I am Betty Meslin from Ironridge Neighborhood - we would like very much to be included.

Betty Meslin, President Ironwood Ridge Neighborhood Association

Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 04:18:13 EDT

I can understand a meeting of Neighborhood Associations with the intent of seeing if there is a consensus in areas of common interest that might show a need for broad, interactive cooperation. And should such a need be shown, then it may be that both a broad coaltion and regional coalitions are needed and can be, perhaps, useful. I write 'perhaps' because if there are no sets of overriding issues of commonality that are currently not being attended to, even if imperfectly, then we could easily become a mouth flapping forum of no consequence.

The Portland model is brought forward here. However this model was put in place within a much larger picture of a serious reshaping of both the physical and social landscape of that city. We have no such directive. Indeed, we could easily become a forum of complaint rather than an instrument for positive change.

If Tucson is considering even a mildly radical remaking of itself, than we would be critical to that change. Is this the intent, is this our purpose?

Patrick Gibbons
Harlan Heights NA

Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 11:11:48 -0700

This is a key question, Patrick, and I hope one that drives the discussion. I support the concept and want to ensure that this is not just another diluting mechanism. The 2 other things to consider about the Portland model are that they have ordinanced power and that the local government has strong leadership with clear vision. One of the reasons Portland's urban revitalization has been successful is because Portland prohibited growth on the edge--if you wanted to get a project done, you had to look to infill and you had to play with the NAs. Simple strategy, effective, with a clear economic result. But as long as the influence of NAs are undercut by the ability of a developer to just go out into the desert, or a fundamental belief in manifest destiny, NA relevance will be hard to come by.

And, of course, we cannot be afraid to say what everyone is thinking. Retaliation through funds withholding or committee inclusion is possible when sniping individuals, but if the entire group starts sing the same song, it becomes much harder to use us against each other or ignore the cacophony.


Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 07:01:33 -0700

Last Monday evening, August 27, 2007, the following individuals met as a steering group: Ruth Beeker, Michael Ray, Colette Altaffer, Ronni Kotwica, Wood Sanders and Donald Ijams.

Early on, it was agreed that an organization of some kind would be helpful, given the breadth of suggestions contained in the leaders' email messages. Discussion of the purpose of the organization, its membership, its coverage and its name took up much of the meeting. Some ideas about meetings of the organization and its formalization were also discussed.

A list of words capturing purpose included leadership, communication, network, analysis, coalition, stakeholders, connection, resourcing, assisting, helping, inclusive, mentoring, learning, aid society, support system, advocates, alliance. Some extended thought would be needed to bring together a mission statement.

The 'who should be a member' discussion focused on elected leaders of neighborhood associations at first. But extended discussion included a concern for not excluding leadership wherever it occurred (e.g., apartment resident leaders, home owner association leaders, up-and-coming new leaders, special project leaders). It was agreed that membership should be left loosely defined and open to all who showed interest and willingness to commit energy to the group.

The type of organization was discussed. Given that this group would likely be all volunteer, and that peoples' schedules are impossibly tight, a network style group was the best model. A core group will keep the organization together and members will float in and out as interest and availability allow.

A variety of name ideas were tossed around. Whether 'Tucson' should be in the name was discussed. There are many communities in the greater Tucson area and Southern Arizona who could give and receive value to/from the group. The steering group members agreed that they needed more time to mull the name over.

The first meeting of the total group was discussed. Some urgency was expressed, to maintain momentum and respond to leaders' calls for action. This was countered by the need to produce a meeting of value, with a tight focus and process. Early October was mentioned as a timeframe. Also, the possibility of other initiatives surfacing (outside this group) for gathering together neighborhood leaders was mentioned.

Other items discussed included 1) that a website with a repository of knowledge, contacts and expertise would be valuable, 2) making it easy for leaders to use the internet to communicate with one another was needed, 3) keeping the group self-maintaining and not dependant on outside sources for its existence was important, and 4) that holding clear/focused/goal-oriented meetings, as needed, was desirable.

The steering group agreed to communicate by email while Don is out of town (Sept. 4-22).

Don Ijams

Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 07:11:39 -0700

Following the Monday steering group meeting, the following recommendations were formulated and are made to the total group:

Name: Neighborhood Support Network

Ruth Beeker suggested this name: “Neighborhood Support Network (NSN). I think it would be good to not have any community name connected, since "Tucson" could be interpreted by some to mean the city, not the area. (I think that is why "Southern Arizona" is used by others as the geographic designator.) "Neighborhood" communicates the level at which we are directing our efforts; "Support" means that all our activities will be focused on giving or providing that help; "Network" means that we are dedicated to bringing together all parties who are interested in strengthening neighborhoods--inclusiveness.”

Wood Sanders said that this name captures in a nutshell the statement of purpose.

Mission Statement:

The Neighborhood Support Network builds relationships of trust and support among diverse citizens engaged in neighborhood enrichment in the greater Tucson region. The Network offers a unique capacity to build connections among stakeholders and elected neighborhood leaders, past and present, as they work to improve Tucson's quality of life.

The Network's primary focus is on
  • Making connections through which knowledge can be shared
  • Identifying and promoting the use of best practices in neighborhood problem solving
  • Mentoring new leaders
  • Coordinating issue forums
  • Maintaining an internet-based information storehouse
  • Assisting members in forming coalitions and partnerships for joint action.
The Neighborhood Support Network seeks to
  • Reach across political boundaries
  • Be inclusive and open
  • Promote carefully selected policy options judged to be in the best interests of the community.

Michael Ray, President of Limberlost NA, mostly wrote this statement.

These are our recommendations to the total group of people who responded to the Aug. 19 email message. If you have comments, please send them to me and I’ll add them to our comments collection.

Meeting information is still being considered.

We'll be recruiting active participation in a number of areas, to take advantage of the many skills available among our group. Would you be interested in being a part of the core group?

Don Ijams

Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 11:03:22 -0700

Dear Don,

I'm interested in participating in the Neighborhood Support Network. I'm not sure if I can be a core member, as I work MWF evenings and have existing volunteer commitments on some TuTh evenings.

Please let me know more about what is expected of core members.

Diana Lett
Past President, Feldman's NA

P.S. I am totally in favor of not limiting the NSN to neighborhoods within Tucson city limits. It is quite likely that we will need/want to address regional issues. Our credibility when addressing these issues will be much greater if we have done some outreach in the county. When addressing regional issues, it may also be necessary to work with activists in Pinal and Cochise.

P.P.S. Has NSN made contact with the Supes? Andrea Altimarano in Elias' office does lots of community outreach.

Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 14:46:57 -0700

Hi Donald and Ruth,

We at DNR are impressed by your organizing efforts that are currently taking place. I want to remind you that we support "coalitions of neighborhoods" in their formative stages. Attached is information on the coalition registration process and benefits of becoming registered as a coalition with the City. I have also included information about the limitations of utilizing tax payer-funded services.

Have a great holiday weekend. Thanks.


Levonne Gaddy
Community Services Manager
Department of Neighborhood Resources
City of Tucson
P. O. Box 27210
Tucson, Arizona 85726-7210
(520) 791-4605 Fax (520) 791-2566

(Ed. Note: The City's document on coalitions includes: "For . . . individuals joining a coalition but not representing a registered neighborhood association, a letter with their signature as being a member of the coalition is required. There is a minimum of 10 membership letters required. Registered coalitions will be provided the same services as registered neighborhood associations . . ." It look like if 10 of us prepare letters, we can get some mailings and other services from DNR. Thanks Levone - you're what we need from the City!)

Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 21:03:21 -0700

Hello Donald,

Yes, I would be interested in pursuing the idea of getting together with fellow NA presidents.

So, please add me to the list - thank you so much for leading this effort!

Judy Ciampoli
President, Old Ft. Lowell Neighborhood Assn.

Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2007 12:21:00 -0700

Unless I hear from some of you that the name the steering committee recommended, Neighborhood Support Network (NSN), is not a good name, I'll begin to use it as the name for our group.

Call for volunteers:

Core Group - these roles are the most important in building the Network and keeping it running. Right now, the roles are not well defined. But if you'd like to help build and maintain a group such as been described in the mission statement and is implied in the name, please contact me. I am touting this group as "By and For Neighborhood Leaders." This is the place to make it a reality.

Meeting Planners - We need to get together and soon. If you would like to help plan/run NSN meetings, please let me know.

Information Specialists - we need help organizing and keeping up to date information about our NAs and related issues. I have roughed out a web site that gives an idea of what I have in mind as a place to store and access such info. Each link on the left of the web page needs to be filled in with something to click to (the Neigh. Priorities item is linked to the sample NA by Issue grid I prepared earlier).

These are what I think of right now. You may have other ideas for what a vibrant and robust network will need. Please make suggestions.

This is our challenge: If we want a support network for neighborhood leaders, we have to help build and maintain it.


Date: Sat, 1 Sep 2007 14:01:03 -0700


I'm a "go" for the NSN moniker.

- Michael

Date: Sat, 1 Sep 2007 14:12:45 -0700

Donald, The title is great, descriptive, identifiable and easy to recognize, good job. We are scheduled to go on vacation tomorrow and won’t be around for a few weeks but I am interested in the project and hope to get more involved when we get back. That’s why I didn’t respond earlier for fear of getting into it more than I cared to at this time. I will contact you when we get back.

Good luck for now,
Fred Thompson, President, Thunderbird Heights/Wilmot Desert Estates NA

Date: Sat, 1 Sep 2007 19:27:32 -0700

Don, I vote for the NSN name. Serves the purpose of the group. I will be out numerous days this month, but might try to make a meeting.

Bob Small, Spokesperson, Civano Neighborhood

Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 10:42:01 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Don,

Great start to the web site and thank you for taking the lead on this! I would like to assist wherever I can. Perhaps in the Core Group area or the Information Specialists area. Please add West University N.A. to the Neighborhood Issues List and mark the following items: 2,3,5,11,13,16,21,22,23,24,25,27,28,29,30.

Being in the downtown area and centered between the UofA, downtown, and 4th Ave, West University is interested in and becoming involved in many of the issues facing the downtown and Uof A area, such as the modern street car, downtown links, the Neighborhood Preservation Zone (NPZ), so I could help with information on those issues. We also have a good relationship with our Ward Office and the TPD Downtown Division Captain.

Thanks again!

Lori Boston, President
West University Neighborhood Association

Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 13:01:46 -0700

Hello, Donald,

Thank you very much for sending the letter re a gathering of association leaders. I am Kitty Reeve, president of the Rosemont West Neighborhood Association. Certainly, you may add my name and email to the website: kittyreeve@yahoo.com .

It would be difficult this year for me to add another responsibility to a very full plate. We have a very active association (we're the ones who kept Wal-Mart out of the Broadway-Rosemont location). Would it be possible for a board member to represent us at the group you're forming, rather than me? I know we would have interested members who would welcome joining, if that is possible.

Thank you for starting this important group. It is needed and will be most helpful to all of us. I see that attention is being paid by the AZ Daily Star, too (today's editorial).

All good wishes for the success of this terrific endeavor,

Kitty Reeve

Catharine (Kitty) Reeve
President, Rosemont West Neighborhood Association
340 S. Via Reposa Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85711
(Ed. Note: It certainly would be appropriate for one or more board members to join us - we're open to anybody involved in neighborhood leadership.)

Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 13:19:11 -0700

To Everyone:

I have been quietly reading all the responses to this "Proposed Concept", which was first called forward by Nina Trasoff. I have been reading and observing and I have some serious concerns:

1. Have any of the NA's taken this concept to their Boards & residents of their respective neighborhoods? What was the feedback?

2. Why does this appear to be an attempt to not only dilute the NA's, but also dissolve them?

3. With all the Mass Emails, and only 6 showing up to a meeting, doesn't it seem a little odd that with ALL the NA's in Tucson, if this was a "Good Idea", that more would have showed up? But then again, this was a hastely put together meeting.

I find this whole idea running very fast, and there is no time to catch a breath, or even have a Fair chance to submit it to our Board members. Why are you in such a hurry to get this going? What do YOUR Board members have to say? Quite frankly, Im very leery of this lil Project, and for the time being my Board members are in no hurry to get involved.

Maybe it's just me, but I find this whole idea has a smell, and unless something more concrete with ideas, what is to be gained, and how this will Help our neighborhoods, comes to the table, Pueblo Gardens has no immediate plans to join the venue. Though I will continue to read what comes across in emails. It might be somewhat more Ideal to send out letters with ideas in Regular mail and NOT just through Email. Just thought I would bring up my concerns.


Cindy Ayala, Pres. Pueblo Gardens Neighborhood Association.

Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 14:10:45 -0700


I am the president of the Udall Park Neighborhood Association and I agree with you totally. The idea has merit but the execution is flawed. It takes time to form relationships and trust between neighborhoods. 6 out of 140+ sure doesn't represent a mandate. I agree with your concept that the idea should be taken to the respective boards and discussed, then maybe meet with adjoining Neighborhood Associations where you have clear common goals and objectives. A sure way to fail is to rush trying to forge such a difficult and diverse coalition.

Anne Stephenson

Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 16:09:06 -0700

This process is unfolding differently than I would have approached it--and, again, in parallel with other similar processes instead of joining with current momentum--but I understand that the effort is still nascent and the specifics will gel over time. And I will absolutely NOT take issue with the idea that someone MOVED an idea FORWARD. Do we need another 20-year conversation?

I AM concerned with the characterization of a coalition as being inherently difficult, especially with the intimation that only a few NAs have common goals and objectives.

This is a big-picture perspective. The coalition will not be intended to focus on minutiae, but (I would imagine) big picture policy and access issues that will pave the way for all neighborhoods, whatever their goals and objectives. Dozens of common concerns spring to mind, many of which came out in the Ward 3 Neighbors meetings--crime, development, social programs, community cohesion, youth development, local resources, funding, etc.

What can a coalition mean?
  • Rather than allowing the city to continue to dictate to us what traffic mitigation is appropriate where, perhaps it's time they became responsive to the feedback and direct observation/experience of neighborhood residents...I was once told that we couldn't have stop bars painted because then they'd have to be painted every year!
  • Instead of pitting activists against each other for a pittance to build infrastructure that the city should have as a primary budget priority, perhaps it's time we refused to be divided and conquered for an insane public policy by refusing to use our grants for municipal obligations.
  • Instead of the success of your project being based on who knows whom, rather than the merit and need, maybe it's time we stopped bitch slapping each other and started collectively directing our frustration in the appropriate direction by demanding transparency and objective rubrics.
What else can it mean?

The pathological aversion to connectedness undermines no one except those who should be natural allies. Why should we mistrust each other? Why shouldn't our relationships develop as a result of working together, rather than the other way around? What in the world is anyone afraid of? How have we gotten to a point where the very idea of coming to a common table for discussion and support creates paranoia and alarm?

And, no, this certainly wasn't first called forward by Nina Trasoff, for God's sake. If the Council was taking any kind of leadership role on these issues, this whole conversation would be redundant. For the successful, but still micro-regional, coalitions that do exist here, it was all bottom-up.

Marlena Hanlon

Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2007 17:02:25 -0700

I am serving my fourth term as president and my eighth as an officer of the Campbell/Grant Northeast Neighborhood Association because no one else was willing to take the job this year. In part, that's because the people in our neighborhood are disengaging, and lots of them are moving away, after seeing a poorly designed Regional Transportation Plan and tax sold to voters by the usual suspects. That is, of course, if the RTA actually passed, since law suits and investigations are now under way to determine whether the wrongful access of the computer counting those ballots in the Pima County Elections Division went so far as to change the results of that election, as well as others.

I'm sick of volunteering time I can't afford to try to help this city be the kind of place we want to live in so that I'll be called a CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) Person and a NIMBY. I'll give up my back yard if it's really for the good of Tucson, but the RTA plan won't begin to solve greater Tucson's transportation plans and if you're disappointed in Rio Nuevo, just wait, especially since the RTA is set up so that it's not answerable to citizens who take their grievances to the ballot box (if those ballots are actually being counted).

Getting 150 or so neighborhood associations to come together in one place and one time to agree on anything is all but impossible. But trying, and having the possibility of some sort of meaningful conversation and a slightly more unified voice just might begin to re-empower the people who live in this community instead of leaving decision making up to builders, developers, car dealers, and other profiteers. Maybe we could start by insisting that city government go back and consider all the time and money they spent on developing goals for a Liveable Tucson instead of allowing those power brokers to reinvent them for their convenience.

I, for one, would like to see this effort continue, and thank those who have taken the time and initiative to move it forward. Two cents,

Mike Hayes,
President, Campbell/Grant Northeast Neighborhood Association
Member, Ward III Neighbors
CAVE and NIMBY nominee

Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 19:02:54 -0700

To all,

As one of the six members of the ad hoc steering committee and speaking only from my own heart, I want to help bring this conversation down to ground and replace some of the fear and dread that I sense going around. I don't want to contribute to any unnecessary high blood pressure, including my own.

This is a conversation that to some extent is propelled by the notion that some group would think it could take the initiative to form a coalition that would in some miraculous or odious way manage to claim that it speaks with one voice for neighborhoods. In some sense the roots of the fear go back to the editorial by Sam Negri in the Arizona Daily Star. Mr. Negri, using the bully-pulpit of the most powerful print media in our city boldly asserts that "All neighborhood groups should link with each other through coalitions similar to Portland's, based on a shared interest in joining the city into a whole with a strong, well-defined voice."

I believe it is this framing of the solution that Cindy and others who are responding find so problematic. Mr Negri presumes to offer the solution to our problems, using the neighborhood coalition model from Portland, Oregon as a model worth emulation here in Tucson. I don't doubt that we can learn useful lessons from other cities. However, the use of the word "coalition" suggests that the solution is political, and rests on the capacity of neighborhoods to unite to wrest a greater justice from the fractured decision-making politic represented by a jumble of political jurisdictions and entrenched bureaucracies that appear to struggle to communicate the simplest things to each other.

In the midst of all this, neighbors struggling to organize for the improvement of the most basic services (police, parks) must contend with a bewildering forest of codes, jurisdictions and politicians to get something done.

So to the grounded part: Don Ijams will soon (if he hasn't already) publish a report describing the meeting that he, Ronnie Kotwica, and Wood Sanders had today in my kitchen to try to make sense out of where to take the undeniably strong and complex response to Don's original offer. In short, we are not pursuing a coalition building agenda. Instead we believe there is a deeper need the precedes effective coalition building, and that is connection building. If there is anything profound about what we want to do, it is get the knowledge that our peers in the neighborhoods have gained about how the complex City, County, State, Federal systems function (or disfunction as the case may be), and make it available to the neighbors who most need it to benefit their neighborhood organizations, whatever goals they may have. Rather than wait for a crisis to briefly reveal the way things actually work, we want to build durable relationships among neighbors in leadership positions, be they formal or informal. We want one result to be a knowledge base available to everyone who might need to know what works and what doesn't when facing the common dilemmas that know no neighborhood boundary.

This is not a coalition organization we are wanting to birth, it is instead a network organization that attends to something no one else seems willing to tackle--bridging the geographic, cultural, and political boundaries that divide us to develop a group intelligence that is at least the equal of the bureaucracies with which we contend.

We can only begin to do this by identifying each other and beginning to meet in venues dedicated to sharing what we know, rather than is more usually the case those venues in which we compete for what seems like scarce resources. We believe that if done competently, the introductions and sharing of common issues will produce natural collaborations across neighborhood boundaries on issues that cry out for it, and are led by neighborhood leaders with the support of their neighbors. If we can begin to meet each other, learn who we can turn to in times of need, then THOSE network members that CHOOSE can coordinate on specifics as that makes sense to those they represent, and if that results in a coalition, then it will be a coalition of the willing, not a coalition rammed down the throats of neighborhood boards. Network building will not look like the coalition politics most of you are familiar with. It will complement coalition building, but not determine it.

For what its worth, I'm humbled to put myself in the kind of position where anyone might think I want to tell someone else what to do. I'm going to help facilitate some meetings where I hope to meet many of you under circumstances I hope will be positive, and produce a useful sharing of knowledge of great benefit to you and your neighbors. I consider it a great way to give back to the community in which I was born and in which I continue to live and work. That is my purpose.


Michael Ray
Member of the Limberlost Neighborhood since 1975
Citizen of Tucson since 1952 (when the two-lane blacktop ended at Swan)
Raised in Barrio Central (22nd St. and Alvernon)
Educated at Keen Elementary, Naylor Jr. High, and Tucson High
First member of my family to graduate from college in 1999, at the U of A at age 47
I work full time as a human resource and organizational effectiveness professional at the UA Library.
Grandfather of five grandkids ages 3-12

Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2007 20:12:17 -0700

Keeping with my practice of adding all comments to the collection we have, I have added those from a recent flurry to the bottom of the web page. Some of the messages were sent to old email lists, so there may be some you’ve haven’t seen (Current Comments).

This afternoon, the steering committee met (Ijams, Ray, Kotwica and Sanders - Altaffer not able to attend and Beeker not continuing with the steering group, being overloaded with projects). We reviewed where we were, vis-à-vis steps taken so far, comments received, and noted that only two weeks have gone by since the first editorial. Keeping momentum was on our minds.

We talked about communicating with neighborhood leaders not now on the email list. I mentioned the response I got to the letter I sent out, thus adding some email addresses. I also received a call from a leader who does not use email and we chatted. Communicating with these leaders will be something we have to manage. The possibility of registering with DNR as a coalition was discussed, as a means to cover mailings to the extended group.

We talked about “membership” in the Network and what this means, given our open door policy. This will take some time to come together, but we’re thinking of a simple opt-in process, only requiring a some sort of current or past role in leading groups of residents and a willingness to share information and talent with the larger group. Basic contact information would be requested. This is a work in progress.

Also requiring more time will be the idea of a core group and the roles they will play. Simply maintaining an email list, working on a website to easily share information and holding a few meetings to begin useful connections don’t require much in the way of on-going maintenance. Several members of our larger group have volunteered to help - we have their names and when we have roles better identified, we will ask for assistance.

Much of the meeting today dealt with future meetings of our group. We talked over the pending citywide forum idea being worked on by Councilman Steve Leal, who is working with the Neighborhood Infill Coalition. We agreed that we would encourage interested citizens and neighborhood leaders to support and fully participate in any neighborhood-related forum that arises this Fall. We also felt that a meeting or two as a new group (NSN) will assist leaders in getting comfortable with each other and with the idea of a network.

Michael Ray, President of Limberlost NA, has taken on the lead role in getting some early meetings to happen. He is quite experienced in working with groups and well understands our goals. Wood Sanders will assist with logistics and Ronni Kotwica will assist with meeting communications.

We determined that a pair of meetings, to accommodate various schedules, would be planned. We are working to find a right-sized room tentatively for Saturday afternoon, October 6. A second meeting of similar content is contemplated for the following Wednesday evening, October 10. We are thinking of a 3 hour meeting in each case, with heavy emphasis on getting to know each other, beginning the sharing process and developing connections. The grid of NA by Issue, to identify common ground with others, will figure prominently.

I would like to comment on several recent emails that appear to contain some misconceptions. The origin of this effort was as I stated on August 19 in the first email. I simply read the Az Star editorial and reacted by asking if you all wanted to get together to talk over common interests and maybe generate some common stances. The idea I expressed was my own - there was no connection to the Ward 6 councilwoman or her effort to gather Ward 6 NA leaders together.

My email was to neighborhood leaders whom I intended would act independent of their boards. I don’t need my board’s OK to share ideas with other NA leaders, and you shouldn’t either. In its simplest form, I just want to learn about your successes in getting neighborhood problems solved and to tell you about mine. If I know how to do something, I’m willing to teach you. Likewise, I’m willing to learn from you. The name says it all - neighborhood support network.

As to the common voice, the idealized Portland-like vision, perhaps something like this will develop. But only after we meet each other first, overcome internal squabbles, explore common ground and see where we’re aligned will there be the basis for standing together on important community issues.

Don Ijams

Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 20:38:43 -0700

Cindy, I look at this effort as an honest attempt to give the various NA's a communications channel that was not (at least in my short time in Tucson) there. Though I have not been able to attend any of the meetings up to this point I do look forward to hearing about some of the challenges that other NAs have had to tackle. From Don's Table I have seen a number of topics that Civano has some degree of interest out here on the far East side of town.

Since there is no request for money or some type of binding contracts to the NSN, I see no threat to the individual NAs. You can simply delete the e-mails if you don't want to be involved. Speed of getting this concept into some type of formal group (organization) is important ("strike while the iron is hot"). We are all very busy with our daily lives and if we were to sit around and discuss the idea for months or years, you and I know that the concept eventually moves to the "back burner of our lives" and eventually drops off the "stove". Though using regular mail might be more formal, it does require money and people to assemble. It is also difficult to pass the threads of comments around to other interested members of the leadership teams.

I look at the NSN as a conduit for concerns, solutions and maybe even a call to action if there is consensus on a particluar topic.

Bob Small
Civano Neighbors

Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2007 08:47:30 -0700

Donald, just a comment on Sunday's Star editorial about you and the neighborhood work you have started. I think you have created a momentum that hopefully will bring neighborhoods together and make a difference in Tucson. It's important work and even though there may be some naysayers, let's just keep moving forward.

And thank you for the time and energy you are putting forth.

Ida Plotkin, President
Midtown Garden District

Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2007 14:11:45 EDT

Dear Friends and Neighbors ~ Near and Far,

I've been passively reading all the emails with great interest and now humbly offer my 2 cents. I am excited about the possibilities that exist as a result of the formation of the Neighborhood Support Network. I'm so pleased that Don Ijams initiated the discussion, that the NSN has been formed, and that a focus has been established. I'm delighted to learn that knowledgeable and competent leaders like longtime residents Michael Ray and Ronni Kotwica have responded to the call to help create the NSN. Tucson's neighborhoods are so ripe for this type of action.

For many years already, thanks to the dedication and hard work of John Sawyer and its steering committee, Ward 3 Neighbors (W3N) has had a successful means of networking and information sharing. W3N has the attention and, I believe, the respect of our elected officials and TPD as evidenced by their participation in numerous W3N forums. We have a strong network among NA reps which the Council office supports and fosters. Tucson has always felt to me to be one great big neighborhood, and to go beyond the Ward 3 boundaries and create a Citywide neighborhood network just makes sense.

The Neighborhood Infill Coalition, formed by a network of neighbors, benefits all Tucson's neighborhoods by working to ensure land use codes are enforced and are good for the neighbors, not just those who profit from our neighborhoods.

On a smaller networking level, the Dodge/Flower NA is in partnership with surrounding NAs and TPD through a Community & Law Enforcement Task Force to address crime issues we have in common. It's working and we get more enthusiastic neighbors coming to our meetings each month. We know the problems we deal with don't stop at our neighborhood boundaries. We're all in this together.

Capt David Neri calls all of us who live in the neighborhoods ~ those who know what's right or wrong here ~ the "groundtelligence" that TPD and other City departments need from us to do their jobs more effectively. We can be most effective by also channeling that groundtelligence through a network of supportive, experienced neighborhood leaders to our local government/beauracracy for the benefit of our whole community.

Thank you to all of you who care enough to work together to make ours a better community for all.

Barbara Lehmann
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dodge/Flower Neighborhood Assn
Tucson Neighbors Building Community
P.O. Box 57004
Tucson, AZ 85732-7004

Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2007 11:38:56 -0700

I totally agree with Marlena and the people who are trying to make this experiment work.

This is not about personal or political agendas. It is about SHARING INFORMATION & RESOURCES. A clearing house, if you will. You take care of your individual neighborhood problems…but maybe I can help you through an experience or helpful department, organization, whatever..so you and I (collectively here) don’t have to re-invent the wheel 140 + times.

Leave your politics and your pettiness at the door…and be a builder – not a whiner!!!

These leaders do not have to do this…they are trying to help everyone…We’re trying to work on the BIG Picture.

IT’S VERY SIMPLE – yet a Very Big undertaking - As a normal citizen who has been elected to a very small office (president of N.A – with a usual attendance of about 25 people – out of a city of 700,000!!!) I, for one appreciate the knowledge and help of all of you (the other 700,000!) so that our neighborhood can do what we need to do, as efficiently as possible, so that we can then have some time and a nice place to actually enjoy what we’ve accomplished. On the other hand, I’m here for you, too.

From the first emails - That’s what it’s all about! That’s ALL it’s about. They thoughtfully picked a name for a reason - NEIGHBORHOOD SUPPORT NETWORK! Ask yourself, Could you use some Support from others? Are you going to be Supportive of the others? Then join in. Obviously, some have more time & experience than others, but that does not mean the others are less supportive, as long as they do what they can – when they can for the whole. LETS GET TO WORK!

And how did Nina Trasoff’s name get into this?

PS PLEASE!!!!!! Use Blind Carbon Copy BCC so our emails, addressed and phone numbers are not spewn all over the internet.

Ed Brogna, President
Cabrini Neighborhood Association
Website http://www.neighborhoodlink.com/tucson/cabrini/

(Ed. Note: Also please use my cleaned-up email list if you want to sent out a message. Please don't just find an old message and reply with new content. The main reason is that some folks on the early list have been taken off at their request, but are still getting messages because old replys still have their email addresses in them. And remember to use the Blind Carbon Copy BCC feature in your email program. Thanks.)

Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2007 15:57:17 -0700

Hello all,

I would like to add my opinion in response to this comment (Ayala's). First, thanks for voicing your concern and reaction to the ongoing e-mails and action. We are all reading these from the privacy of our own homes and offices, I assume, without the benefit of discussion, so it is important that ALL reactions be observed and acknowledged. It is a valid and probably not uncommon response, so best put it on the table.

I find the prospect of working and communicating with other neighborhoods exciting, if not scary, because it could mean more work on my part (more information and access to advice means that more can be accomplished if I (we) have the time to put to it). I was surprised at the number of very quick responses that the original e-mail generated. I belong to other groups who send out feelers on topics and receive very little response. It is obviously a hot topic. I was grateful to the six who met to discuss face to face how to network and frame the beginning of this process. I do not think that it was expected that many people would show up. It was probably more efficient with only a few. Thank you, again.

I do not feel any need to "discuss" with a board, for my neighborhood, because there is no decision to be made. It seems to be simply a way to communicate, share information, support each other in our needs. I feel almost certain that if I had a specific question about where to get info or advice that I could send out an e-mail today and would receive some advice. That would soon swamp us all, so there needs to be a method, but there is rich experience, knowledge and caring in this group, and we may as well share it. Our City could be the better for it. Certainly I will let the other officers and members know that this coalition is forming and is there for our benefit. We will see what develops.

It does not threaten or worry me if a council member did voice an idea such as this. ( I have no idea who started it.) They are members of our community too and we all will benefit working together. Nobody can put this together and have it work but us, but whoever planted the seed is all right with me. I certainly can't see this disolving any neighborhood associaciations, not in the way this is developing. It is hard with only 550 homes. What group could possibly want to handle and decide for more. We are good for the City. I don't see any reason for us to be thinking that someone is out to get us. We are too many.

I think it is normal for some neighborhoods to sit back and see what develops and how they can or want to fit in. That will make it work better in the long run. Keep the dialogue going. It isn't always easy, but certainly healthy. Certainly, e-mail does not reach us all, but I bet that we are getting far more discussion this way than we ever would by land mail.

Good luck to us all in this process. Our neighbors and City stand to benefit.

Katy Brown, Vista del Monte

At 07:11 AM 9/5/2007, you wrote:


Thank you for your helpful reply.

I have looked over the Joomla site and found the product to be a bit overwhelming at first. Perhaps starting simply and using a tip or two from you, we can make it work. The potential looks to be significant. Have you run across any Joomla junkies in Tucson?

I'm out on a vacation now (this is written from San Francisco), so will deal with this in more depth when I get back on Sept. 22.

Thanks for your help,


At 05:21 PM 9/3/2007, you wrote:

Hi Don,

I would be pleased to give you a hand and some advice for a new website. Joomla has been a great content manager, fairly easy to set up, and easy to use. We did struggle a little bit understanding where things will show up on the site and how to get them to the section we wanted them to be in. We are past that and have several people updating and adding content. I think it has been a great tool for what we are trying to accomplish. If you decide to use it, I think you will be pleased at the ease and power of a tool like this. You can set various levels of access and allow certain members approval rights. If you haven't checked out http://www.joomla.org , check it out. I didn't know much about content management software when I started, but this make it simple.

My goal was to create a place where multiple people could easily add content. I want a place where there is new information each week so that the site doesn't go stale and people have a reason to come back. We also were interested in mass e-mailing and adding a neighborhood form.

Give me a call, when you get some time, and we can discuss it. I am available between 6 and 8 most evenings.

Ray Deininger, Webmaster, Midtown - The Garden District

At 10:59 AM 9/6/2007, you wrote:

Don, the director of CMI can meet during the week of the 17th of September, and I would suggest that Monday, perhaps 3pm in the afternoon. Let me know if this works for you.

Mr. Jaime P. Gutierrez
The University of Arizona
Associate Vice President
Office of Community Relations

At 4:51 PM 9/6/2007, you wrote:


I'd love to meet then, but I will be in Seattle that week. Perhaps sometime the following week? Afternoons are best.


Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 09:55:09 -0700

The meeting for possibly next week is to have initial discussion with the CMI director on the perceived needs from your perspective. I wanted to make sure that the purpose of the meeting was clarified. I went back and reread the email to you and upon second reading perhaps it was not too clear.

Mr. Jaime P. Gutierrez

Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 06:00 PM


Please excuse the slowness of my reply. I am out of town, now in Chicago, and had poor connection to my email system until now.

I look forward to meeting with the CMI director. I am hoping to explore the possibility that the use of the computer-assisted group decision facility might assist our neighborhoods in building consensus on issues of importance to neighbors, solidifying value positions and exploring the possibility of common priorities among us on policy questions that face us.

Thank you for arranging this assistance from your institution,

Donald Ijams, Ph.D., President
Peter Howell Neighborhood Association

Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 16:41:08 EDT

Harlan Heights here:

With a little reflection, I think we all see that there are two incompatible directions the NSN supergroup can take. The first is to act parochially, apolitically, as a basic cooperative clearinghouse and minor sound forum for NAs. The second is to act broadly, politically, as a directional social-policy contributor and partner to (what Locke would call) the magistrate (secular, governmental power).

You write: We talked about 'membership' in the Network and what this means, given our open door policy. This will take some time to come together, but we're thinking of a simple opt-in process, only requiring a some sort of current or past role in leading groups of residents and a willingness to share information and talent with the larger group.

As presented, the first option is non-threatening to the magistrate and, in fact, removes many of the pestering direct communications NA leaders and residents have with our elected leaders. Utilizing existing city/county services as well as non-magistrate skills through a clearinghouse is useful and should be more efficient than the current scattered (silo?) method in play. It is also clear that this service can most efficiently be done through compliment of a Web Site. Dialogue can shape the clearinghouse and can, though inefficiently, be useful at times through collective meeting of NA leadership. This clearinghouse approach should have the blessing and active, cooperative assistance in formation--including funding--of the magistrate. It is non-threatening and to their benefit. I strongly support the clearinghouse concept but am wary about the 'networking' becoming mouth flapping.

You write: As to the common voice, the idealized Portland-like vision, perhaps something like this will develop. But only after we meet each other first, overcome internal squabbles, explore common ground and see where we're aligned will there be the basis for standing together on important community issues.

Marlene and I perceive the second approach as also needed and essential to the future survival of our city. We are in an urban livability crisis of great magnitude. Tucson cannot sustain the present patterns of growth. This is fact.

There are those of us who know the history of Tucson's tepid leadership and the entire population of our city has seen this concretely with Rio Nuevo. Allow me this moment of example. The Grand Idea to create both space and function to bring our citizens back to the city core has clearly disappointed and largely disappeared. You may add your own reasons to this assessment as you, like all of us, surely have them. When Rio Nuevo is finished we will still find (and we can thank the magistrate) that our One Great Public Space in our city core will be the enormous dike we call I-10. It becomes clear why some of us are not confident in both the planning and decision making of the magistrate.

An empowered NSN-like body with a mandate and funding such as the Portland model is clearly needed. While water and planned population growth around land use are anathema to our state legislature, they are central to our survival. This is where the Portland model comes to play. Some of us want to see in place an NSN that is clearly political, has clout, and which can work with the magistrate to move our city and county in a direction that sets effective ground rules for our survival. No piecemeal, expensive Mini-Idea of a Rio Nuevo, but a positive plan that allows for both directed growth and effective and sustainable use of our water resources. Other issues would also come into play, these being social and particular, such as concerns and issues in public safety, health, education, and the like. Obviously, being political, such an organization would be under constant scrutiny and attack from opposing interests, both from within and without. Our future will not come easily. I understand this model if put in place far surpasses the networking proposed and requires active cooperation in formation from both the magistrate and the voters. I have confidence in the voters, I have little confidence in elected officials supporting a diminishing of their powers.

It is my thinking that both directions are needed, neither one waiting for the other, nor one taking precedent over the other. However, it is easy to see which will happen first. I am at a loss as to how to birth that other which is already a breach baby.

I wish to thank you for your organizing efforts and will work with Ward VI in support of a clearinghouse Web Site should this be an element of the NSN. Thank you for caring about our neighborhoods and for your passion to see them become more livable.

Patrick Gibbons

President, Harlan Heights NA
5547 E. Camden St.
Tucson, Arizona 85712

Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2007 14:31:29 -0700

Hi all,

I just got a letter from Steve Leal regarding a "City-Wide Neighborhood Association Forum. Now mind you, I would just basically send my reply and be done with it, but now with you all wanting to start a Coalition of NSN, I and my Board Members have all gotten these letters. Hang tight, Im sure you will all be getting 1 or have gotten 1 since they arrived in yesterday's mail. Mr Leal wants to work with other elected officials and neighborhoods in this forum. We need to "choose & define for ourselves "what will it mean to have a sustainable livable community mean". He wants to choose that definition? Ok , I want would like to know who else got a similar letter, and what you all think. Is this coincidence?

Sign me Curious,

Cindy Ayala, Pres.
Pueblo Gardens Neighborhood Assoc.


Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2007 17:33:31 -0700

I received mine today, Lori Oien, Bear Canyon NA President.

I received the letter from Leal today, Bob Small, Civano Neighbors

I don't think you're going to want to hear from all the neighborhood association people who got or will get this message from Steve Leal. At least two of the five on our executive committee got copies today. I haven't heard from the other three. I suggest we let the ward offices help us where it's appropriate, but not allow any of them to preempt the process. Mike Hayes, Campbell/Grant

Date: Sun, 09 Sep 2007 18:11:34 GMT

I received mine about 2 days ago. Obviously this very interesting discussion is also on the radar screens of the council.

Luis Castillo, co-chair Fairgrounds Neigborhood Association.

Date: Sun, 09 Sep 2007 11:37:59 -0700

Dear Neighbors,

It is easy to understand the level of suspicion many of you are feeling. There probably isn't a person among us who has not, at some time, felt betrayed by a decision the city made that negatively impacted the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Steve Leal's letter obviously touched a nerve with many of you, so I'm hoping a short explanation will help.

When the newspaper first challenged the community to work toward greater neighborhood networking, several of us from the Neighborhood Infill Coalition (NIC) approached a few council members about the idea of a community-wide Forum. While they were supportive of the idea, they also expressed concern about moving forward without a commitment from ALL council members. To do otherwise could jeopardize their ability to obtain political support for other issues in the future. Steve's letter is an attempt to gauge the level of community support for a citywide Forum.

As some of you have pointed out, there are groups in our community that work hard to improve the quality of life for everyone. Do we always succeed in our objectives? No. But if we allow our suspicions to paralyze us, we will ALWAYS fail. The Neighborhood Infill Coalition has found that there are those within the city bureaucracy and political system who genuinely care about this community. We have also found that being in the tent and working to promote positive changes is more effective than standing outside trying to throw rocks through.

Don Ijams and his steering committee have done a terrific job, working to create an effective network that, we hope, will allow all of us to become more efficient in our neighborhood work. The Neighborhood Infill Coalition will continue to move forward with its plans for a community-wide Forum so that these vital connections can be formed and strengthened. We urge all of you to work with Don, and us, to make that tent as inclusive as it can possibly be.

Colette Altaffer
Neighborhood Infill Coalition

Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2007 21:27:43 -0700

I agree with Colette, in addition there is a new hire in Mr. Leal's office. His name is Anthony Novelli (he worked on the Portland Project imitative). I think he could be the spark plug the NA's need to develop an integrated response to City problems. That is unless he is crushed under an avalanche of negative comment, depressed apathy and all around political back biting.

Wendell CVNA

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2007 07:52

It has been more than a week since I last sent out a message to you all. I have been traveling with my wife - we're doing some Amtrak - and we'll be back in Tucson Sept. 22.

I have added a number of messages on various topics from several of you to our continuing collection:


All messages since 9/3 are newly posted. Included there is some work to set up a web site using a content management system. This approach allows multiple people to contribute content in an easy, controlled manner. I'm hopeful. I'd still like to identify more people who might like a role in this process and computer resources for hosting the site.

There are comments about the Steve Leal letter (which I haven't seen) and a thoughtful piece by Patrick Gibbons on Sept. 6. A number of folks are still pleased with our general approach and look forward to our next steps. We have 113 names and email addresses on our list.

The pieces are coming together for our first pair of meetings for the whole group. Wood Sanders, Palo Verde NA, has put in significant work, ultimately successful, to find us a date and location. The dates for the meetings are Sat. Oct. 6 and Tue Oct. 16. Michael Ray, Limberlost NA, is taking the lead in this effort and will be sending an invitation soon with particulars and a contact for RSVPs.

We are also looking for a funding source to cover the small expenses of our operation. We intend to keep it as simple and cost-free as possible, but we have some interested folks who don't do email or otherwise need a mailing. Some meeting sites have a rental fee, with additional costs associated with food/beverage service. Equipment rental may come into play.

Thanks for keeping faith with us as we organize and for your patience,

Don Ijams

Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2007 14:48:37 -0700

I am the Chairman of the Toumey Park NA (Swan to Columbus, 16th to 22nd), serving until Septmber 2008 in this term. As concerns the Steve Leal letter, it was mailed to all NA leaders on file with DNR apparently. In addition Ward 6 NAs were previously invited to a meeting next Monday.

There are 140 designated neighborhooods in Tucson. Quite a few of those are not active, but there are still likely 100 or more active NAs. In my opinion a "forum" of all NAs would be an unwieldy organization. I see such a forum as a workshop and communication environment where we get together across the City a few times a year, not as a steering organization for all neighborhoods.

Organization of NAs by wards make some sense for more frequent meetings. However the number of neighborhoods in wards is not well balanced. For example I believe one of Nina Trasoff's staff said there are more than 40 neighborhoods in Ward 6. In any case, such a division by wards would make for more workable numbers of NAs to be working together on a more frequent basis.

I have responded to Steve Leal "yes" to the concept of a citywide NA forum, and "no" to "help us put it together." I added the comment that there are already independent efforts by NAs underway to organizae a city-wide forum. Someone needs to communicate with Leal on a more "official" basis in the context of "thanks for the offer, and we'll accept help offered, but we'll do the organizing ourselves." Similarly at the Ward 6 meeting next Monday I plan to speak up and say "thanks for getting us together; we'll take it from here." I plan to communicate with Nina beforehand.

In my opinion this effort will only work if it is a grassroots effort emanating from NAs and not city leaders.

Bob Bowers, Chairman, Toumey Park NA

P.S. - I'm frankly tired of hearing about Portland from city staff/leaders and the media. Tucson is not Portland, and differs in many ways, beginning with the fact that Portland had a thriving downtown many years ago.

Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2007 13:37:21 -0700

Dear Neighbors,

The Neighborhood Support Network Steering Committee invites you to attend the kick-off for the Neighborhood Support Network.

This is a great opportunity for neighborhoods to get together, share information, provide assistance for each other, and strengthen the communication between citizens! We hope you will join us in this exciting opportunity!


This flyer includes corrections to mistakes not caught in the mailing last Wednesday.

Michael Ray

At 04:30 AM 9/19/2007, you wrote:


It may be a good idea to do some things at the Ward level. But I think we need to use all the wisdom and hard-won experience we can find (i.e., citywide at least) as a guide. Maybe our October meetings will be a good start down this road.


At 06:02 AM 9/15/2007, you wrote:

Hi All,

We are many and spread accross the city with issues that are alike and different. My suggestion is that we break it down onto Ward NA's first. The NA's of one ward get together and figure out the major issues of that area then send represenatives to "our" forum. The Ward division is only a suggestion, it may be easier to break it down differently... What do you good folks think?

Abreeza Zegeer
Westside Development NA

Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 21:23:44 -0700 (PDT)


I love the website and the comments but I can not figure out how to respond so I will send you my thoughts. On the spreadsheet of NA by issue the Broadway Pantano East NA are addressing 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, and 30.

I would like people to know that our one year celebration will be held on Monday October 15th from 7-8 pm (annual meeting 6:30-7:00) at Steele Elementary School 700 E Kenyon St. and all are invited. I will let people know at the October 6th meeting as well.


Darlene Spoor, Broadway Pantano East NA

(Ed Note: Darleen, hold onto your ideas for Broaday Pantano East's participation in the joint issues/projects sheet. I see an expanded, refined one going out to NA leaders, probably more than once, for their input. Don)

Date: Sat, Sep 29, 2007 12:44 PM

The Neighborhood Support Network is now one week before its first meeting, which will be next Saturday, Oct. 6, 1:00 - 4:00 PM. A second meeting is planned for Tuesday, Oct. 16, 6:00 - 9:00 PM.

At the present time, the signup list for these meetings looks this way:

For 10/06 at Freedom Center
1) Dietz NA
2) Mitman NA
3) Udall Park NA
4) Thunderbird Heights/Wilmot Desert Estates NA aka "twiddy"
5) Colonia Del Valle NA
6) Broadway Pantano East NA
7) Colonia Solana NA
8) Old Fort Lowell NA
9) Miramonte NA
10) Cabrini NA

For 10/16 at Northwest Center
1) West University NA
2) Blenman-Elm NA
3) Flowing Wells NA
4) Sam Hughes NA
5) Barrio Hollywood NA
6) Rosemont West NA
7) Broadmoor NA
8) Mountainview NA
9) Civano Neighbors NA

Several other leaders are expected to RSVP today. Steering committee members, from Palo Verde NA, Catalina Vista NA, Limberlost NA and Peter Howell NA, will be at both meetings.

For those who haven't signed up yet, we urge you to do so by contacting Wood Sanders at SANDEPA7@aol.com or 319-0345. He will take your name, association and contact information. We will make a name badge for you to pick up at the meeting of your choice. If there are other leaders in your neighborhood who would like to participate, please invite them to contact Wood.

Looking forward to seeing you,

Don Ijams

Date: Sun, Sep 30, 2007 09:34 AM

As part of setting up the Neighborhood Support Network, we'd like to begin gathering information about neighborhoods and association activities. We hope to build a collection of neighborhood association concerns, priorities, current activities, talents and recent projects. This information will form the basis for a computerized storehouse for sharing among us.

Links to two one-page forms are provided, to help gather this information. We ask that you click on these links, print these two pages, fill them out and either bring them with you to one of the meetings or mail them to me (see contact information at bottom).

The first form is open-ended, for your general comments on information and skills you have and would be willing to share. Any other comments you'd like to make can be added in the section at the bottom.

The second form has a list of issues/topics/projects (column A) for you to indicate your prorities. Please look over the list and pick out your neighborhood's greatest area of concern at the present time and write a 1 next to it in column B. If your issues/topics are not on the list, please add them at the bottom. Pick out your next greatest area of concern and write a 2 next it, and so on. The intent is to get a rough idea of what's important to your neighbors at the present time.

The third column (C) asks you to place an X in any column where you know of someone who has expertise/experience in the area. We're hoping that these resources might be shared after they give their permission, and that they might be made known to each other.

The fourth column (D) asks you to show which areas you have recent experience in. This may be a current or recently completed project, an on-going feature of your neighborhoood that works well or an effort just under way to accomplish something. Place an X in Col. D as appropriate.

The ranking numbers and the Xs will be added to a composite chart that will be shared with all. You should be able to easily find out who else is working on the same issue/project you are, or who has some expertise or a good idea that might be helpful. This information can and will change as time goes by. You can change what we have and we will need to check with you in the future to see what's new.

Please bring the printed and filled out forms to a meeting (Oct. 6 or Oct. 16), or mail them to me. Please make sure your name and neighborhood association are on the forms and keep copies of what you send.

Thanks for making the effort to let other neighborhood leaders learn what's happening in your neighborhood.

Donald S. Ijams
4204 E. 4th Pl
Tucson, Az 85711

Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2007 15:20:10 -0700

Yesterday, Saturday October 6, the Neighborhood Support Network (NSN) had a successful beginning to its existence through a meeting that was held at Freedom Park Center in Tucson. The first of two organizational meetings, this gathering from 1 PM until 4 PM, brought 28 people from 19 neighborhoods together to begin connecting with one another and forming links that will help them be better neighborhood leaders.

Those participating included:

Arroyo ChicoLes Pierce
Barrio Kroeger LaneCarlos Ochoa
CabriniMark Haberman
Campus FarmMary Schlentz
Catalina VistaColette Altaffer
Colonia Del ValleDonald Houghton
Colonia Del ValleNick Weaver
Colonia Del ValleWilliam Holden
Colonia SolanaAnne Gomez
Colonia SolanaBill Dupont
Colonia SolanaRobin Gomez
Desert Aire/Loma LindaJennie Meyer
Desert Aire/Loma LindaLaura Roth-Shepherd
DietzKathy Van Horne
DietzLinda Howell
Doolen-FruitvaleHelen Garfinkle
Harrison East-SouthM. J. Yee
LimberlostCarlos Nagel
LimberlostMichael Ray
MidtownCaroline Rondeau
MiramonteCharles Casey
MitmanSandy Paris
Palo VerdeLinda Poag
Palo VerdeRonni Kotwica
Palo VerdeWood Sanders
Peter HowellDonald Ijams
San ClementeTres English
Vista Del MonteKaty Brown

After a round of introductions, the participants were broken into three groups for discussion of topics central to the initiation of this network:
  1. When you think about your most successful efforts as a neighborhood leader, what factors contributed to that success?
  2. What can we do together to make each other more successful leaders?
  3. What three wishes do you have for the creation of the Neighborhood Support Network?
The makeup of the three discussion groups was change three times, in order to expose leaders to more faces on a direct basis. The discussion was spirited with everyone contributing. Picture 1 Picture 2 At the end, highlights from each group's recorder were summarized. These summaries, and suggested next steps, will be made available shortly.

This sort of gathering appeared to be what people were after as they left the meeting with smiles on their faces and were continuing conversations as they filed out. They took with them a listing of participants with full contact information for continued networking.

A similar meeting is planned for Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 6 PM - 9 PM, at the Northwest Center. For those who were unable to attend yesterday, and others who may be interested in helping the NSN gain strength, please let Wood Sanders know. See the invitation for RSVP information.

NSN is still interested in receiving surveys with neighborhood priorities, talents and projects. Please print out and send/bring them to me for compilation with those from other neighborhoods.

And finally, for those who haven't joined, I would appreciate it if you would join our discussion group, Tucson Neighborhood Leaders Discussion Group. Over on the right of this page is a link Join this Group. If you click here and Create a Google Account (with your current email address), you can participate fully in the discussions to come. You can also send an email to the group by addressing just the group (tucnha@googlegroups.com) and you will be assured of getting your message to all who have signed up.

NSN Website

Donald Ijams, President
Peter Howell Neighborhood Association
4204 E. 4th Pl. Tucson, Az 85711

Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 14:57:21 -0700

Last evening, Tuesday, October 16, 2007, the Neighborhood Support Network met at the Northwest Center for the second of two organizational meetings. There were 35 neighborhood leaders in attendance, representing 29 neighborhoods:

Barrio San AntonioJacky Turchick
Bear CanyonAnn Charles
Bear CanyonLori Oien
Blenman-ElmAlice Roe
Campbell-Grant NEMike Hayes
Campus FarmBonnie Poulos
Casas de Kino HOABill Seitz
Civano NeighborsBob Small
Dodge FlowerBarbara Lehman
El PresidioTom Pashos
Feldman'sDiana Lett
Flowing WellsEllie Towne
Grant & SilverbellJean Maldonado
Hedrick AcresLinda Drew
LimberlostMichael Ray
Menlo ParkMac Hudson
Mountain ViewBill Crouse
Mountain/1stRon Proctor
Old Fort LowellJudy Ciampoli
Palo VerdeRonni Kotwica
Palo VerdeWood Sanders
Peter HowellDonald Ijams
Prince-TucsonJohn Kovacik
Rosemont WestBarbara Stoddard
Rosemont WestBrad Tatham
Sam HughesCarolyn Classen
San ClementeTony Haswell
Santa Cruz SWBeryl Baker
SilvercroftGloria Manzanedo
South ParkJeanette Seitz
Toumey ParkBob Bowers
Udall ParkWalt Stephenson
West UniversityCheri Wiens
West UniversityDave Croteau
West UniversityLori Boston

After some introductory remarks by Don Ijams, the history of the group and its purpose were discussed, the agenda was reviewed and some ground rules were established. Participants were asked to introduce themselves with short bios and current interests. Leaders were then organized into five 6 – 8 person groups for discussion of the following topics:

  1. When you think about your most successful efforts as a neighborhood leader, what were the factors that contributed to that success?
  2. What have you discovered is the best way to get the services you need from City departments?
  3. What three wishes do you have for the future of the Neighborhood Support Network?
Groups were reconstituted between discussion sessions to increase opportunities to meet other leaders. The goal of these table conversations was to get leaders close to each other and to begin to make connections. Results of these discussions were shared with the whole group. The evening ended with a large group open discussion, focusing mostly on the Network's methods of operation, governance, financing and communication, and what the next group activity should comprise.

At the end, the Neighborhood Support Network was declared active and all meeting participants were welcomed as members. Participants from the Oct. 6 organizational meeting are also welcomed into membership, as are neighborhood leaders both on the emailing list and currently active elsewhere in neighborhoods.

A core group will be convened to manage the progress of the Network. It is expected that other members will float in and out of the Network as they need training, connections, information and ideas from other neighborhood leaders, and as they are willing to share information, expertise, participation and topic knowledge with others.

The next meeting of the NSN is scheduled for the middle of January 2008. The value of two similar meetings, at different times and locations, was recognized. At the same time, there was sentiment for one citywide gathering, however hard it is to find a date/time appropriate for all. Details will follow.

The NSN website is being continuously enhanced, to bring it to a place where it can serve as a hub for NSN information, priorities, current neighborhood status and activities, training opportunities and play a number of other roles. Similar development of the NSN GoogleGroup is taking place.

Donald Ijams, Network Coordinator
Neighborhood Support Network

As we build the Neighborhood Support Network, you might be interested in the
network guidebook (857k pdf) we consult once in a while as we go along.

Map of Tucson's Registered Neighborhood Associations (1.2m pdf)
DNR - Associations and Neighborhood Maps
NA and NHA both stand for Neighborhood Association
DNR stands for City Department of Neighborhood Resources
Last Updated: October 19, 2007 Managed by: D. S. Ijams