Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
Approximately 50-60 Tucsonans — representing several neighborhoods, including Jefferson Park, Feldman, Palo Verde, El Rio, and others– gathered Friday evening to morn the destruction of yet another old house (above).
Mini-dorm developer Michael Goodman and two squad cars of Tucson Police watched as neighbors sang, read poetry, and gave speeches decrying the destruction of older neighborhoods which are being scared with mini-dorms. Goodman tried to disrupt the gathering before it started by parking his big truck in front of the house where the protest was to be held. Luckily, one of the protesters got there before he did and parked in front. This allowed neighbors to set up large signs reading “Tucson has cancer” and “Pure Greed” in front of the demolition site
Police cars blocked East Waverly Street at both ends– even though the event was entirely peaceful. This most likely stopped some people from attending the event. Police also told the neighbors that they had to end the event by 7 p.m.– allowing only a half hour for the vigil. (I’ll give you one guess who called the cops.) The police presence was totally unnecessary. Why don’t the police break up the infamous mini-dorm parties?
The entire vigil is captured on the video below. At about 4 minutes you can see Tucson Police officers questioning neighborhood activist Bob Schlanger. They tried to intimidate him by asking for his identification, birthdate, etc. His reply was that he didn’t need an ID to walk down the street in his own neighborhood. (I guess he doesn’t realize he lives in Arizona.)
At about 9.5 minutes, in the video Schlanger gives a speech about activism against mini-dorm construction and the destruction of older neighborhoods in Tucson. In his speech, Schlanger announced that the city approved the building plans for 1036 E. Waverly. The single-family home above will be replaced with a seven-bedroom mini-dorm. This is a rooming house– not a single family home.
One question I have is: If this neighborhood and other neighborhoods in Tucson are plumbed for single-family homes, what happens to that infrastructure when the single-family homes are replaced large apartment buildings and rooming houses?
Don’t forget to voice your opinion about mini-dorms with the poll attached to this article.
[tnivideo caption=”Candlelight Vigil in Jefferson Park Neighborhood” credit=”Pamela Powers”]brightcove:742512773001[/tnivideo]
The police use their scare tactics frequently. I’m amazed they did not arrest activist Bob Schlanger. The police can simply say “You are disturbing the peace.” It’s sad the folks with the most dough have favorable power. Thanks for keeping us posted Pamela Powers.
Great video Pam, showing citizens peacefully protesting & trying to save historic neighborhoods in Tucson. Keep us posted (especially for those of us who aren’t able to attend these vigils).
Thanks for great reporting. Funny how if students have parties until late, and leave trash in the street, it´s not a big deal, but if there´s a peaceful protest it has to end by 7 pm. It´s getting more obvious that not only is city council is complicit by their inaction, the police are complicit by their intimidating presence.
I attended yesterday evening’s vigil, and I agree with those who voiced concern over the police presence. Seemed a little too intimidating for my taste. Likewise, the squad cars blocking the 1000 block of East Waverly. Was that an effort to suppress turnout at this event?
BTW, I’ve called 911 to report many a loud party, including those held at mini-dorms in this area. Trust me, the police response isn’t nearly as prompt as it was yesterday.
“Why don’t the police break up the infamous mini-dorm parties?”
Pam,….how ignorant are you?
Help us save Jefferson Park and other historic neighborhoods from the blight of student apartments – aka mini-dorms – sign our online petition:
Keep on posting and thanks for caring! Let’s save our heritage!
The TPD Chief needs to have an explanation about this. Now.
To have the police cars at each end of the street mat have been a way to protect the demostrators from cars but why question one of the people?
Chief Villasenor better have an answer! Keep on this!!
One issue that was raised during the vigil merits further discussion. That is the role of the UA. It has announced expansion plans. Conspicuously absent from those plans is any consideration of how such expansion will impact surrounding neighborhoods.
This issue is not unique to Tucson. Here’s how a Georgetown University neighbor reacted to that institution’s expansion plans: