|Volume 6, Number 12||December, 2008|
Welcome to the Picture Rocks Digest,
a free newsletter about issues and events in the community. The print
version of this all-volunteer publication is distributed at area
businesses and community sites. If you have calendar events or news
items, or if you would like to be added to our email
list, please contact us at PictureRocksDigest@comcast.net.
The Picture Rocks Digest is a publication of Citizens for Picture Rocks, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(4) civic organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in the community. Citizens for Picture Rocks meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the Picture Rocks Community Center, 5615 N. Sanders Road. Meetings are free and open to the public. The next meeting is January 20, 2009. Everyone is welcome to attend. Membership not required, but highly recommended!
In addition to a raft of activity reports at the November C4PR meeting, a series of proposed amendments to the C4PR Bylaws were proposed by the Coordinating Committee. They are designed to streamline and simplify membership requirements, expand the Board of Directors by two, set forth a transparent nominating procedure, and allow the Board to choose its own officers, subject to membership approval. The proposals will be discussed and voted on at the January 20, 2009, meeting of the membership.
Twenty-two young people from Ms. Thompson's Picture Rocks Intermediate School class once again served hungry Thanksgiving diners at Picture Rocks Community Center on the day before the actual holiday. Seventeen turkeys, 60 pounds each of yams and green beans, 30 pounds of mashed potatoes, hundreds of dinner rolls, 24 pies and an applesauce sheet cake filled the tummies of 163 people. Among the 45 volunteers were four Marana High School Med Start students checking blood pressures and Pima County Health Department staff giving 75 flu shots. PRCC Coordinator Wanda Crawford says that a yummy time was had by all!
Thanksgiving dinner at PRCC
C4PRTreasurer Keith Winans got his blood pressure checked by a Marana High School Med Start student, Alexandra More
Despite overwhelming local opposition to an Avra Valley I-10 bypass proposal that appears to use Sandario
Road as part of its route, despite the Pima County Board of Supervisors going on record as unanimously
opposing any bypass in Pima County, and despite the fact that this route would compromise the Wildlife
Mitigation Corridor put in place when the Central Arizona Project canal was built, the State Transportation
Board (STB) appears to moving toward approving the route.
According to an
With possible public works infrastructure projects coming from the new administration in Washington, the prospect of a major highway running through Picture Rocks is no longer such a far-fetched idea. On Friday, Dec. 19, the STB will hold a public hearing, and concerned citizens are encouraged to show up to express their opinions. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Tucson City Council Chambers, 255 W. Alameda Street.
Can't Pay Your Water Bill? Avra Water Co-op General Manager Chris Ward urges anyone having trouble paying their water bill to contact the Co-op at 682-7331 before service is terminated to discuss payment options.
There are three major political parties in the unincorporated Pima County community of Picture Rocks:
Republicans, Democrats, and None-of-the-Above. Registered Republicans are a slight majority, with 1,696
voters. Democrats are next, with 1,645 voters. But those who decline to name a party or call themselves
Independents are a close third, with 1,439 voters. Libertarians and Greens bring up the rear, with 47 and 14
registered voters, respectively. The Independents, not wanting to be pigeon-holed into a particular party,
give up the right to vote in presidential primary elections. Thus, nearly one-third of the voters here could
not help make the choice of who were to be the major party candidates.
While Pima County and Picture Rocks generally voted with the rest of the state, there were several exceptions. Arizona voted for native son John McCain over Barack Obama by about 10 points, but Pima County went for Obama for president by about six points, 52.24% to 46.20%. Picture Rocks voters went for McCain by 57.8% over 42.1%, higher than the state margin.
Incumbent Congressman Raul Grijalva, a Democrat, easily turned aside challenges from Republican Joe Sweeney and Libertarian Raymond Petrulsky, garnering 72.55% of the Pima County vote, but only 49.6% of the Picture Rocks vote. The divisive state proposition 102, to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage, passed state-wide, but Pima County voters narrowly rejected it, by not quite a 51% to 49% margin. Again, Picture Rocks voters voted more conservatively than the rest of the county, approving the initiative by just under a 10% margin.
It took two weeks for the Pima County Elections Dept. to tally the final
votes, with Office Manager Mary Martinson and her crew working overtime to get through absentee and
provisional ballots and determine the results of several very close races, including Dist. 25 State Senate and
Representative seats. The final Senate results showed Republican Mary Ann Black eking out a narrow
victory over Democrat Manny Alvarez, 10,438 to 10,191; in percentages 50.56% to 49.36%. Black easily
carried Picture Rocks 58% to 41%. Democrat Pat Fleming came in first for two seats in the State House of
Representatives with 27.9% of the votes, but the second seat was won by just 1.25% as Republican David
Stevens edged out Democrat (and Picture Rocks neighbor) Ric Boyer, 25.68% to 24.44%. Picture Rocks
voters also split their votes between Democrat Fleming and Republican Stevens, except that Stevens
received about two percent more votes here than Fleming. Both races clearly demonstrate the importance of
every vote, even when nearly 80% of registered voters made it to the polls, some waiting on line to mark
In the battle for Dist. 3 Pima County Supervisor, incumbent Democrat Sharon Bronson, who survived a bruising primary fight, easily beat Republican Barney Brenner, 38,493 to 26,169, almost a 60% to 40% margin. Surprisingly, Bronson did not carry Picture Rocks, which has benefited directly from Bronson's interest and support for projects including the swimming pool, forthcoming BMX/Skate Park, and other community amenities. Bronson received 1,728 Picture Rocks votes to Brenner's 1,896, a 47.7% to 52.3% margin.
In the Marana Unified School District election, the top three vote-getters elected were Dan Post, Suzanne Hopkins, and Maribel Lopez. Recent Marana High School graduate and Picture Rocks neighbor Dean Spencer came in fourth in a field of eight candidates.
Picture Rocks voters showed up at Precinct 215, at the Picture Rocks Community Center; Precinct 219, at
the Sandario Baptist Church; Precinct 222, at Marana High School; and Precinct 306, at Desert Winds
Elementary School. It was a large, and therefore representative, turnout. Of 498,777 Pima County
registered voters, 397,503 cast their ballots, 79.7%, compared to 65.44% in the November 2006 election. It
was not a record, and came in a few points lower than the 82.43% turnout in the 2004 presidential election.
Clearly the results show that Picture Rocks is an independent-minded section of both the Pima County and state-wide electorate. Those who call themselves Independents tended to vote party-line Republican. They also show that races can be decided by a very few votes, so that every vote really does count. The more voters who actually turn in their ballots, whether by mail or at the polls, the better chance democracy has to truly express the will of the people.
For those whose candidates were elected, congratulations. For those on the losing side, there is an old saying: "Democracy is gruesome - but it's the best thing we've ever been able to come up with." With the election of 2008 now behind us, it is time to once again set aside party differences and come together, in Washington, in Phoenix, and in Picture Rocks, to work for the common good. In the long run, and with the challenges before us, we remember that, regardless of party preference, or lack of one, we are all Americans, and we're all in this together.
(Note: Because state districts often include portions of various counties, final election results may be slightly different than reported above. For instance, Dist. 25 State House candidate Ric Boyer lost in the district by less than one percent, slightly less than in Pima County. Results for this story are based on the Pima County Dept. of Elections Official Canvass, released Nov. 18, 2008.)
The winter solstice on Dec. 21 is marked with shafts of sunlight across millennia-old circle and spiral
petroglyphs carved and pecked by the ancient Huhugam people who lived here for thousands of years.
Solstice means the sun is standing still, and it is the shortest day of the year. It has been celebrated
throughout the world as long as people have existed, marking the lengthening of the days, and signaling
that spring plants are sure to follow. The tight winter food supplies will soon give way to more abundance.
December is also time for the celebration of Christmas, when those of the Christian faith honor the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25 with songs, feasts, prayers, and gift-giving. Jews celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, Dec. 22 to 29, to mark the victory of the Maccabees over Greek Syrians. Islam counts Dec. 29 as Hijra, the first day of the new year, when Muhammad and his followers arrived in Medina. Earlier in the month is the Eid al Adha, the pilgrimage to Mecca, and its concluding feast. Dec. 8 is Bodhi Day for Buddhists, marking the day Prince Gautama, the Buddha, vowed to remain sitting under the bodhi tree until he attained supreme enlightenment. For Wiccans, who follow ancient beliefs in the many gods of nature and the earth as mother of all, the solstice is a sacred day. To help make it a nice holiday for kids in need, drop off a new toy or two, unwrapped, at the Picture Rocks Fire Dept.
In the Sonoran Desert mesquite and acacia trees are dropping their leaves while desert mistletoe is bearing fruit. The gentle winter rains, called "female rain" by the O'odham people, will, hopefully, arrive, bringing out leaves on ocotillos. Brittlebush, creosote bush and cacti plump out. Curve-billed thrashers move from their usual two-note whistle to full song, marking out their territory. Anna's hummingbirds may battle for territory, while shiny black phainopeplas are showing up everywhere.
Reptiles and many small mammals are hibernating, and coyotes and roadrunners have to work harder to find food. Some nights will drop below freezing, and many non-native plants will suffer or die if not protected. If there is enough rain, the desert turns winter-green and there could be a spring wildflower extravaganza. It's a good time for hiking, this month that the Tohono O'odham call "Eda Wa'ugath Mashath," the moon of the backbone when the sun divides the year in half.