Tucson Progressive

Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

It’s your turn to speak out: Convention hotel & medical marijuana zoning on City Council agenda

Tuesday’s Mayor and Council Meeting will be one of the liveliest meetings they have had for months. Both the Convention Center hotel project and proposed medical marijuana zoning are on the agenda for October 26.

The public meeting will be held at the Tucson Convention Center. Councilman Steve Kozachik pushed for a larger venue because people had been shut out of earlier Mayor and Council meetings due to insufficient seating. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. There is a call to the audience where anyone can voice their opinion. Here is some background information, and if you follow the agenda link there are background PDF documents online.

Convention Center Hotel

Literally for years, Tucson’s Mayor and Council have been debating, negotiating, and planning for a Convention Center hotel downtown. Once the Great Recession hit, the hotel’s construction and the politically and financially risky debt associated with it became one giant hot political potato.

Everything got muddier downtown after Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature created the Rio Nuevo Board to rescue us poor Tucsonans from ourselves and show us how to spend our money.  My understanding was that the businessmen (of course, we know that they have our best interests at heart) on Rio Nuevo Board would make the decisions on how to spend the Rio Nuevo funds, since progress has been… well… spotty, deals and plans have fallen through, wild ideas like the UA’s $300 million-dollar rainbow bridge and the turtle-shaped arena football stadium have been floated, and the M&C’s decision-making has been mushy.

Unfortunately, the Rio Nuevo Board appears to be more interested in playing politics and fighting the Mayor and Council– rather than making sound decisions. (Hello, Jan, this isn’t working. Are you paying attention to the mess you created?) Consequently, the Rio Nuevo Board has added to the problems, rather than coming up with solutions. In an earlier article, I likened this back-and-forth bickering to the classic Abbot and Costello skit, “Who’s on First?”

For the last few months, Kozachik has been trying to get the Rio Nuevo Board to take responsibility for the convention hotel decision, and they have been avoiding it. To add to the political theater, Mayor Bob Walkup, the primary cheerleader for the ultra-expensive hotel, has been using agenda maneuvers to avoid a yay or nay vote on the hotel by the City Council. Kozachik has been pushing for open debate and vote on the hotel; Walkup wants discussions behind closed doors.

Medical Marijuana Zoning

Prop 203, which is on the November 2 ballot, proposes to legalize the use of medical marijuana. Since the Arizona voters have passed this law at least twice before, it is expected to pass again– despite the intense campaign efforts by Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, who trying to stop it (1, 2). Cities and counties around the state need to make decisions regarding zoning for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation. Again, check out the agenda for more information.

Holding this meeting at the TCC is about as public as you can get. So, take this advantage to participate in your local government and come downtown on Tuesday! If you can’t make it, you can watch the proceedings on Tucson Channel 12 (online or on television).

4 comments on “It’s your turn to speak out: Convention hotel & medical marijuana zoning on City Council agenda

  1. fraser007
    October 25, 2010

    Tell me how many Tucsonans actually need the weed for their medical problems?? Give me a number! So we need “how” many shops to supply them. Just how stupid do you think we are.
    Give me the number Ms. progressive. (small “p” for progressive).


    • Pamela
      October 25, 2010

      Here’s a link to the American Cancer Society’s Facts and Figures for 2010. This will give you cancer prevalence by state and by type. Add to the number of cancer patients, HIV/AIDS sufferers, and others with chronic debilitating diseases.

      If you read the bill, you will see that it is statewide– not just in Tucson– and the number of dispensaries is capped at 120. What’s the matter? Don’t tell me you’re not “business friendly.”



  2. fraser007
    October 25, 2010

    Dont be smug with me. You are naive enough to believe that the 120 shops are just for the number of people who are ill. The state will be flooded with”doctors” who will fill a far more of number of Rx for all of the so called sick people. 


  3. tiponeill
    October 25, 2010

    Dont be smug with me.
    so called” sick people
    in the same post.
    With any luck, the voters will have more concern for “so called” sick people than you and Mark Evans.


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This entry was posted on October 25, 2010 by in Arizona, Barbara LaWall, Bob Walkup, City Council, medical marijuana, Rio Nuevo, Steve Kozachik, Tucson and tagged , .

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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