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JAN. 7 - 13, 2021 • TUCSONWEEKLY.COM • FREE
Reﬂections and Remembrance
10 years ago, a mass shooting at Gabby Giffords’ Congress on Your Corner rocked the nation By Ron Barber
Why I’m Still in the Fight By Gabby Giffords
Your 2021 Transportation Roundup • Fourth Avenue Restaurant Shuffle • Growing Your Own Pot
JAN. 7, 2021
JAN. 7, 2021
JAN. 7, 2021 | VOL. 36, NO. 1
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Ten years later, a memorial rises for victims of Tucson’s mass shooting
Experts expect COVID cases to continue alarming rise in Pima County
The many road construction projects of 2021
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10 Years Later
THIS WEEK, ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY of Tucson’s mass shooting, Pima County will dedicate a memorial for the victims of that terrible day. In just a matter of seconds on Jan. 8, 2011, six people were killed: retirees Dorwan Stoddard, Dorothy Morris and Phyliss Schneck; U.S. District Court Judge John Roll, Giffords’ community outreach director Gabe Zimmerman, and 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. Thirteen others were wounded and countless other lives were shattered. This week, we have reflections from two survivors: Gabby Giffords, who was shot through the head and who has made an extraordinary comeback, and Ron Barber, who was then her district director and who would go on to take Gabby’s seat in Congress. Ron is now going to work for Sen. Mark Kelly, Gabby’s husband, who won a U.S. Senate seat two months ago in a twist of fate no one saw coming a decade ago. Thanks to the COVID outbreak, you can’t attend the ceremony, but you can watch it on the county’s Facebook page starting around 10 a.m. At 10:10 a.m., bells will ring to honor those lost in the shooting. In other news: Things are changing fast in the cannabis biz now that recreational weed is on the way for adults, so we’re making a change too: We’re rebranding our weekly marijuana column
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as Tucson Weedly. This week, columnist David Abbott gives you some advice on whether you should grow your own weed or just stick with buying your bud at a dispensary. Elsewhere in the book this week: Columnist Tom Danehy predicts 2021 will be a good year—once we get people vaccinated and get this COVID business behind us; staff reporter Nicole Ludden looks at Pima County’s ever-worsening COVID situation; associate editor Austin Counts lets us know what’s happening with restaurants along Fourth Avenue; student intern Joe Giddens lets you know how you can help TUSD students who visit the Cooper Center for Environmental Learning; most of the staff teamed up to bring you a preview of what’s happening with road work around these parts in 2021 (spoiler warning: Broadway east of downtown will remain a mess for most of the year); and of course, we bring you the town’s best comics, horoscopes, sex advice and more scattered around in our pages. Here’s to a better 2021 for all of us. — Jim Nintzel Executive Editor Hear Nintz talk about the latest on the outbreak and other news at 8:30 Wednesday mornings on The Frank Show on KLPX, 91.1 FM.
RANDOM SHOTS By Rand Carlson
Growing your own legal pot might not be as easy as it looks
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COVID is screwing up a lot of things, including relationships
Cover image courtesy of Gabby Giffords
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JAN. 7, 2021
The memorial honoring those who were killed or wounded on Jan. 8, 2011, will be dedicated on the 10-year anniversary of the mass shooting.
IN HONOR OF THOSE LOST
of caring. And I thought that there have always been those who take solace in tending to memorials, adjusting this or that, saying, Ten years later, a memorial rises for victims of Tucson’s mass shooting I suppose, what a mother says when she adjusts a stray lock of hair on her child’s at Gabby’s office and at UMC, where the Ron Barber face—I love you beyond all telling. I say, most seriously wounded had been taken. email@example.com bless him, the memorial tender. The memorials were a place to mourn I thought, we are small, but we contain those who were murdered and hope for the JAN. 8, 2021 IS THE 10TH recovery of the wounded. What happened great things. The lighted hospital rose up, monumenanniversary of the Tucson shooting, which that morning did not define us. What tal, behind the memorial. Inside, all of killed six and wounded 13 people who happened in the following days, weeks were gathered for Congresswoman Gifand months defined us. The aftermath was our worst fears, our sorrows, but also our hope, in many ways, the best of who we fords’ 21st Congress on Your Corner. marked by compassion, love, prayers and are. The hospital itself Jan. 8, 2011 was a beautiful, crisp Tucson support from our coma manifestation of our morning. The attendees were lined up munity, which none of determination and our waiting to have a few private moments us will ever forget. aspirations, our colwith their Representative. Two days after the lective longing to ease The Congress on Your Corner started shooting, Tucsonan suffering, to be better, to promptly at 10 a.m. At 10:10 am the shoot- Greg Hart reflected be kind. ing started. In 19.6 seconds, the shooter on what he saw at the The crescent moon discharged 33 bullets from his handgun. I UMC memorial. Here is and one star hung saw Gabby shot in the head and go down. what he said: directly overhead; the That memory is embedded in my mind. only things visible in After Gabby, I was shot twice. I also will “I walked to the vigil the sky. They cannot never forget seeing my deputy, Gabe Zim- last night in front of explain, they cannot merman, fall at my feet. As I looked at his University Medical dispel our despair, but face, I knew he was dead. On the other side Center. It was cold. in their presence, they of me, Judge John Roll was being given There was no stir in are our friends, CPR by a nurse who was shopping that the air at all. The flags nonetheless. morning. He did not survive. Four others hung straight down, no I noticed a very tall, died that day: Christina-Taylor Green, Dor- motion, pulled taut by gaunt man behind me. wan Stoddard, Dorothy Morris and Phyliss gravity. Schneck. There was a man who had taken it upon He had a beard down to his mid chest, a Our community was shocked and in himself to tend the memorial of the commu- man who could get your attention. He was whispering what appeared to be an incandisbelief when the news reports came in. nity’s sorrow, arranging and rearranging tation and gently tossing pinches of dirt How could something like this happen the flowers, re-lighting the candles that here? Within hours people stood up three had gone out, straightening the cards and or seed in the four directions. Who is he? I thought. What is he doing? spontaneous memorials, at the Safeway, signs. I envied him his task, his expression
Bless him, it is not for me to judge. We are small, but we contain great things. As I walked away from the memorial toward home, I turned to look back one more time. Beside me the reporters were getting ready for the 10 o’clock news beside the media trucks, last-minute changes and updates to their reports, last-minute adjustments to their hair and their scripts, getting ready to tell to the world. Tell the world what, I thought, that there is great confusion and sorrow in the world? Yes, I think that’s about it. I looked back at the memorial, and I noticed for the first time in my life that candles try really hard. I could see that they were burning there in front of the hospital and beneath the moon with the fiercest intensity, and I realized that is what a candle does. There’s no halfway with a candle. Light it and it burns for everything its worth, on fire, casting all the light it possibly can until it goes out, and then I walked home with a new respect for candles. Burn bright until you go out, I thought Bless us all. We are small, but we contain great things.” GREG’S PIECE REMINDED ME WHY we build memorials. Now, we have a permanent memorial next to the historic Pima County Courthouse in El Presidio Park. The memorial is designed to look like an embrace. Those of us who were there on Jan. 8, 2011, have felt the embrace of our community ever since the tragedy. Inside the memorial, built with the generous contributions of many individuals, companies and foundations, there are symbols in the steel walls. Each symbol represents an aspect of the lives of victims and survivors. On Jan. 8, 2021, starting at 9:55 a.m., a virtual ceremony will take place at the memorial. It can be viewed live on KVOA and on other stations. It will also be live streamed on the Pima County Government Facebook page. On behalf of all of us who were deeply and personally affected by the shooting, I want to thank the people of Pima County for their loving support. Together we thrive! ■ Ron Barber is the former District Director for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a former Congressman from Southern Arizona. He is currently the Southern Arizona director for Senator Mark Kelly.
JAN. 7, 2021
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GABBY GIFFORDS AND MARK KELLY
THE POWER OF GRIT AND DETERMINATION Gabrielle Giffords Promises To Continue Fighting for Change I’VE ALWAYS SEEN THE NEW year as an opportunity for hope, aspiration, and excitement, but 2021 includes a difficult milestone. Jan. 8 will mark 10 years since I was shot in the head, six of my constituents were killed, and 12 others were injured at a Congress on Your Corner event in Tucson. I could have never imagined the decade ahead when 2011 began. I had just been sworn in for my third term in Congress but a few days later my life— and countless other lives—changed in an instant. The goals I had set for myself— read more, practice French horn—were replaced by the singular imperative of survival.
As I prepare for the new year and for this anniversary, I’m returning to the reason I ran for Congress in the first place: to help people. I’ve come back to that often in the past year as we worked to fight gun violence, address the pandemic, and protect our democracy. The past year has been challenging for all of us, but I know the power of grit and determination. We can’t stop fighting for change. That’s why this year, I once again resolve to move ahead in my recovery and in my life’s purpose to make our country a better place. —Gabrielle Giffords Facebook, Jan. 1, 2021
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JAN. 7, 2021
of them with COVID-19. Setting a new record for the county, 145 ventilators were in use by coronavirus patients out of 250 in use overall. In a Facebook post on Dec. 31, the Pima County Health Department reported that for the entire month of December, there was an average of 11 COVID-19 deaths per day. At county hospitals, there was an average of 545 COVID-19 patients seen daily. Dr. Joe Gerald, a professor at the University of Arizona who creates weekly coronavirus epidemiology reports based on ADHS data, estimated that by late December, coronavirus deaths would exceed 500 a week. However, COVID-19 death reporting lags by 14 days, and officials don’t yet know if this number was reached. The professor reported Pima County diagnosed 8% more COVID-19 cases in the week ending Dec. 20 than the week prior, representing a new record for cases JEFF GARDNER reported in a single week at 7,810 cases. According to Gerald, increased transmission of the virus is occurring across all age groups, and 2021 will likely start the same way 2020 ended: with the widespread transmission of coronavirus calling for Experts expect COVID cases continue alarming rise in Pima County increased safety mitigation to stop it. records the state has already broken in COVID-19 The county health department released a new public By Nicole Ludden statistics. health advisory on Dec. 30 calling for increased firstname.lastname@example.org Within the first four days of January, Pima County pliance to its safety guidelines, including the mandahospitals reported 70 coronavirus deaths. On Jan. 3, tory 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, staying home as much as ARIZONA IS EXPERIENCING THE HIGHEST RATE 25 deaths were reported—the highest daily count since possible, physical distancing, mask-wearing, frequent of new COVID-19 cases throughout the nation as of Dec. 1, according to the health department. On Jan. 4, cleaning and avoiding gatherings. Jan. 4, according to data from the CDC. hospitals reported 17 COVID-19 deaths. The advisory also mentions all school staff, stuIn the last seven days, the state has averaged 121.8 Jan. 4 also saw the highest number of inpatients dents and employees are required to report positive cases per 100,000 individuals, making Arizona the big- with coronavirus with 694 individuals. ICU bed usage COVID-19 tests to their relative organization and follow gest hotspot for coronavirus infections. California trails also hit a daily record with 218 beds holding COVID-19 the county’s isolation and quarantine protocols. Busiin second with 97.1 cases per 100,000. patients, representing 62% of all ICU beds. nesses are asked to limit their occupancy to 25% of total Releasing its first COVID-19 hospitalization report Jan. 4 also had the highest number of ventilators in capacity and maximize the number of employees who summary of the new year in a Facebook post, the Pima use by coronavirus patients at 159—63% of all work from home. County Health Department revealed a slew of troubling ventilators. “As we work through this accelerated phase of Furthermore, Jan. 3 saw the largest single-day transmission, we anticipate that we will soon be in an COVID-19 case count with 2,214 positive cases. Since accelerated phase of vaccination, resulting in decreased Jan. 1, more than 5,000 Pima County residents have transmission of COVID-19 and improved community tested positive for the virus. wellness,” the new health advisory says. Those unhappy numbers follow a terrible December. However, vaccination has yet to reach an “acceleratThat single month accounted for nearly 40% of the total ed phase” in Pima County. The county administrator’s number of COVID-19 cases reported since the beginmemo says 12,283 Pima County residents have been ning of the pandemic, according to a memorandum vaccinated as of Dec. 30, representing 1% of the county’s from County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. population. A new public health advisory issued last week by the Gov. Doug Ducey has issued an executive order to county’s health department revealed one out of every expand the COVID-19 vaccines’ reach by streamlining 1,000 Pima County residents has died from COVID-19. distribution and creating more vaccination sites. With large gatherings over the holidays, experts The order requires the Arizona Department of expect case counts and coronavirus deaths to increase Health Services to “increase access and ensure rapid with “no plateau yet in the immediate horizon,” the distribution” of the vaccine, according to a press release administrator’s memo says. from the governor’s office. As of Dec. 30, Pima County had only 5 ICU beds “Any delay in the vaccine getting to Arizonans, any available. Bed usage hit a record of 370 ICU beds ocdose that sits in a freezer rather than reaching the arm cupied, with 53% of them holding COVID-19 patients. of a health care worker or long-term care resident, carThere were 42 medical surge beds available, according ries too great a cost,” the release says. “This is a health to the county administrator’s memo. emergency, and we need all levels of government and Meanwhile, 87 patients waited in emergency depart- our health system operating as such. Vaccines don’t do ments to receive care in inpatient beds—more than 60% any good sitting in a freezer.” ■
SICKER THAN EVER
JAN. 7, 2021
Other water usage upgrades planned to meet these goals are: greywater systems, no-smell composting toilets developed by Watershed Management Group and rainwater harvesting. Additionally, seven new showers will allow for longer guest stays and will provide TUSD and UA launch campaign for Cooper Center expansion a new source of revenue for the camp from overnight rentals. Water harvestTUSD and the UA extended manageing and water use is an integral part Joe Giddens ment of the center by both parties of this opening phase and will be used email@example.com through 2039 and added provisions with the new compost toilets to imallowing for fundraising for new prove the vegetation around the camp. OVER THE LAST 56 YEARS, facilities. Greywater from the showers and from more than 130,000 students have exConstruction of the master plan’s the sinks will go to growing shade trees plored nature in the Tucson Mountains first phase will start spring 2021 by and educational sites along trails. at the Cooper Center for Environmen- replacing the 45-year-old bathrooms, It’s all a part of Cooper Center’s drive tal Learning, an outdoor educational which have been the camp’s limiting to make all learning hands-on, accordcamp just north of Gates Pass that factor, according to director Colin ing to TUSD Superintendent Gabriel offers programs through a partnership Waite at a December press conference. Trujillo. between the Tucson Unified School Waite noted that a typical year sees “We’ve had conversations with District and the University of Arizona 3,000 students only having access to teachers and with staff about pollinator College of Education. four toilets and two urinals. That will gardens and growing native seeds of Now the Cooper Center, located at increase to nine toilets, two of which the Sonoran Desert, and using that is 5403 W. Trails End Road, is launching a will be wheelchair accessible, and three another enhancement of our educa$500,000 capital campaign to pay for a urinals. tional program,” Waite said. new facility master plan that’s estimatThis step, which will allow the camp Waite projects that the full scope of ed to cost up to $4 million. to increase visitor capacity while using planned upgrades will be completed in Last October’s renewal of the inless water, is the first large-scale imthe next five to seven years. This year, tergovernmental agreement between provement at the camp since the ’70s. sleeping quarters and gathering areas
CALL OF NATURE
will be renovated and the heating and cooling systems will upgraded. Next year, the plans call for building more indoor classroom space and improvements to the kitchen. This first phase of construction will cost $500,000, with $225,000 raised so far from private donors alongside a $100,000 offer of matching funds from a philanthropic couple, leaving $175,000 to be raised. “Upgrades like solar power support Camp Cooper’s environmental philosophy, while improving bathrooms and showers removes an obstacle some folks had with attending,” said Marguerite Samples, a teacher at TUSD’s Pueblo Gardens K-8 School. “It allows for some of the ‘comforts of home’ while continuing to provide a genuine experience.” ■ For groups or individuals looking to contribute to the Camp Cooper Capital Campaign visit give.uafoundation.org/ cooper-center Joe Giddens is a Pima Community College journalism student and Tucson Local Media intern.
JAN. 7, 2021
COVID uncertainty makes for cloudy 2021 forecast, says UA economist ing from 10.7% in July to 5.9% in August, then rising to 6.5% in September and 8.0% in October. However, Hammond said this may change when the state receives more precise data in 2021. THE FUTURE OF ARIZONA’S “[The unemployment rate] zig-zagged economy is one of uncertainty, UA econaround, with big drops, and then a couple omist George Hammond made clear at a of months of pretty significant increases virtual economic outlook event in early and then some more drops. The state rate December. Throughout the coronavirus has looked really weird, and there’s a lot of pandemic, the state has fared better in unemployment numbers compared to the speculation about what might be driving rest of the nation, but it has still withstood that,” Hammond said. “Probably the best advice is don’t put too much weight or a heavy loss, according to Hammond, the spend too much time trying to explain director of the Economic and Business these monthly zigzags...they’ll likely be Research Center at the University of Arirevised away once we get the revised data zona’s Eller College of Management. Arizona lost 294,600 jobs from February in March of next year.” The biggest impact on Arizona’s ecoto April but had replaced 66% of them, nomic recovery has been federal CARES according to Hammond. Nationwide, Act funds. According to Hammond, the nearly 55% of jobs lost during this time funding provided $40 billion to the state’s have been replaced. “That’s job growth at a pretty rapid pace for the state of Arizona. economy and drove a 12% increase in personal incomes, allowing Arizonans to On average, that translates into almost receive more than $23 billion in stimulus 14,000 jobs per month,” Hammond said. payments. “If we can sustain that pace, in 2021, we “The CARES Act includes a lot of will actually be back to pre-pandemic employment levels by about the middle of different components. But in terms of the stimulus or the financial support, by far the year.” In order to reach pre-pandemic levels, Arizona would have to add 100,700 the biggest program was the economic impact payments or so-called recovery jobs—an average of 13,900 per month. rebates which are those $1,200 checks that “That’s a pretty tall order. Adding jobs were mailed out to individuals, more for at a monthly rate of 14,000 is more than families,” Hammond said. double the average monthly job growth The CARES Act also provided $9 billion rate during the four years before the Great in unemployment benefits, and its PayRecession,” Hammond said. “Before the Great Recession … we would add, on aver- check Protection Program for businesses created about $5 billion throughout the age, about 6,000 jobs per month. It’s not state, according to Hammond. clear that we can sustain that pace.” While Congress passed a new aid bill in The total unemployment rate in Arizona has shown volatility from month to month, late December, the ever-changing status with the seasonally adjusted rate decreas- of the pandemic places a dubious compo-
Nicole Ludden firstname.lastname@example.org
nent in Hammond’s financial forecast. “We keep thinking it’s gotten as bad as it’s gonna get, and then it gets a little bit worse,” Hammond said. “We’re in a situation that seems even worse than what we thought. But that’s a big source of uncertainty that we’re gonna have to continue to track and have to continue to account for in forecasts.” Hammond’s forecast predicts Arizona’s unemployment rate will fall to 6.3% in 2021 and that jobs will return to a “pre-pandemic peak” in the second quarter of next year. At the economic outlook event, Hammond said his baseline forecast “assumes that the current surge doesn’t get much worse than what we saw in July,” but the state has already surpassed those levels. “The baseline may wind up being a bit too optimistic. Essentially, the baseline forecast calls for Arizona to get back to pre-pandemic employment levels by about the middle of 2021, and that means that solid population growth, solid income growth and overall solid retail sales growth as we go through the recovery to pre-pandemic levels,” Hammond said.
by about 4% since February, whereas the Phoenix metropolitan area declined by about 3.3%. Flagstaff has experienced an 18% job loss that’s “really driven by the importance of the leisure and hospitality sector up there in that part of the state,” Hammond said. Hotel occupancy rates, travelers arriving at Arizona’s airports and customers at sit-down restaurants have dramatically declined throughout the pandemic, making the hospitality sector one of the most difficult to recover. CONSUMER SPENDING, MIGRATION TO ARIZONA
HAMMOND SAID CONSUMER spending in “tangible goods” such as automobiles, appliances and building materials has increased since January. Spending on apparel has gone down, as Hammond notes, many aren’t worried about perceptions of their attire through virtual Zoom meetings. “But overall, it’s that spending on goods that has really kind of surged. I think part of what’s going on is people just don’t feel EMPLOYMENT SECTORS HIT THE HARDEST comfortable going into hotels, motels, restaurants, bars…and they can’t do the THE LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY things they would like to do in terms of sector has suffered the most throughout arts, entertainment, recreation,” he said. the pandemic, and as of October, the “Particularly for people with jobs, they sector had 55,000 fewer jobs than it did in have more money they can devote to putting a little bit more stuff in the house.” February, according to Hammond. Hammond also believes more people The leisure and hospitality employment sector has seen the greatest job loss since working from home may increase migration into the state. February 2020. “One of the things that we know about However, Hammond said he was surprised to see the education and healthcare Arizona is that it has a relatively low sector decline as well. cost of living. Our overall cost of living “There’s a lot of face-to-face, close is below the national average, and that’s interaction in those sectors. We’ve just primarily driven by the relatively affordseen people continue to be reluctant to do able housing here in the state,” he said. “It stands to reason that those mobile workers those kinds of normal checkups in either may look for a little bit bigger house in overall health checkups or diagnostic work,” he said. “Same thing for dentists, it a cheaper market, and certainly Arizona looks like demand is significantly reduced would come up there.” Despite the predictions of expert econothere as well, as people are still just nervous as the pandemic continues to really mists, no one truly knows what the future spread at a rapid pace.” of Arizona’s economy will look like amidst Contrarily, trade, transportation and an unprecedented pandemic. utility jobs have increased since February, “The outlook is unusually uncertain as well as transportation and warehousing as it has been since the beginning of the jobs. pandemic. We’ve been emphasizing that, “It’s that big shift to online and delivand what’s driving that is the uncertainery services that has really boosted those ty about the progress of the outbreak,” transportation and warehousing jobs,” Hammond said. “We’ve learned a lot about Hammond said. “But even so, retail is back the virus since March, but there’s still to where it was prior to the pandemic.” uncertainty about just how bad things are He said Tucson’s jobs have declined gonna get.” ■
JAN. 7, 2021
THERE’S MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2021 BUT NOT RIGHT AWAY (OTHER THAN GETTING RID OF TRUMP) By Tom Danehy, email@example.com WITH ANY LUCK AT ALL, yesterday, Jan. 6, will turn out to be the crappiest day of 2021. I’m assuming that Mo(ron) Brooks and his fellow Alabaman, Tommy Tuberville (who says that the three branches of government are the House, the Senate and the Executive), humiliated themselves by making one last failed attempt to suck up to Loser Trump. When Tuberville was sworn in the other day, he immediately became the dumbest person in the Senate while remaining one of the 10 smartest people from Alabama. In a couple weeks, Joe Biden will become President and the country can start moving forward. No-longer–important Donald Trump will correctly point out that the crowd at Biden’s inauguration is smaller than at Trump’s. But, even if pandemic protocols limit Biden’s crowd to a few hundred--socially distanced and masked— there will still be more minorities, college graduates and people NOT married to a close relative in 2021 than there had been in 2017. One of my favorite indisputable facts is that, going all the way back to Harry Truman, IN EVERY CASE, the United States economy performs better when a Democrat
CLAYTOONZ By Clay Jones
is in the White House than it had under the preceding Republican administration and better than it will under the succeeding GOP administration. And it’s often much, much better. For example, GDP and private-sector job growth were much higher (and unemployment was lower) under Bill Clinton than under the Bush who came before him and the one who followed. Believe it or not, all three of those indicators were better under Jimmy Carter than they had been under Gerald Ford or would be in Ronald Reagan’s first term. And President Obama blew George W. Bush out of the water and Obama’s numbers will end up being astronomically better than Trump’s. Of course, people will say, “Well, if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, Trump’s would be better.” That might possibly be true (Obama’s and Trump’s numbers were actually neck-and-neck before COVID hit), but that’s like saying that were it not for the greatest natural disaster in American history (the 1900 hurricane), Galveston would still be the largest city in Texas. Following the Galveston hurricane that killed 8,000 people in one day, the Houston Ship Channel was created, taking shipping
further inland. Houston is now the largest city in Texas and one of the largest in the entire country. When it comes to history, what could have happened, DID happen. The simple truth is that America will have lost 4 million jobs during Trump’s presidency. By comparison, we gained 1 million jobs during George W. Bush’s eight years and 12 million during Obama’s two terms. Now, only a dumbass like Kayleigh McEnany would ever try to claim that there is a strong causal relationship between a president and the economy. Some might argue that it’s mostly just luck, but if it is, that luck has held true for more than 70 years. And, considering the current state of the economy and the fact that there are now vaccines, there is a very-high likelihood that the pattern is going to continue to hold true. Joe Biden’s economy will be way better than Trump’s was. I sincerely believe that 2021 is going to be a great year. We’re starting off badly, with all the COVID cases and deaths, and with COVIDiots still trying to equate selfish stupidity with bold individualism. Plus, Trump is still President. But once the vaccine has been widely distributed and the disease has been tamped down, it’s going to be Party Time. The travel, entertainment and restaurant industries are going to explode. All that pent-up emotion is going to be turned into raging positivity. Sports will come back in the right season and with roaring crowds. There will be concerts and theatrical productions and
fun runs. It may only be normal-ish, but it’ll be great. Many Republican senators will re-discover the phrase “budget deficits” after pretending those didn’t exist over the past four years. But it’ll only take a couple of them to get on board for an infrastructure plan that will put Americans to work and give the economy a much-needed boost. Trump may continue to whine from the sidelines, but he’ll be reduced to a gnat that sometimes comes too close to one’s ear and makes an annoying sound. And there will be a lingering group of people who feel that something sinister is trying to steal away their God-given whiteness, but they’ll mostly be drowned out by all the good stuff that’s happening. When the Arizona Legislature convenes, their first order of business will be keeping brain-dead Kelly Townsend out of the Capitol building. She refuses to wear a mask because most people who get COVID “don’t die from it.” Yeah, but all people who voluntarily get stupid tend to stay that way. They’re going to try to figure out how to steal the money away from schools that Arizonans voted into law. That’s basically why all Republicans run for State office—to screw public schools. And Arizona’s Official State Embarrassment, Mark Finchem, will make a speech about how he “caught a mean case of autism” when he stopped in a Walgreen’s where they were giving COVID vaccinations. As for our neck of the woods, Ally Miller is gone. It’s already a great year. ■
JAN. 7, 2021
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Here are the road construction projects you’ll want to avoid in 2021 By Tucson Weekly Staff firstname.lastname@example.org THE NEW YEAR BRINGS A NUMBER of new (and old) transportation projects to the region, including the continued widening of Broadway Boulevard between Country Club Road and downtown, long-planned improvements to Sabino Canyon Road and much-needed repairs to Oracle Road. City of Tucson officials anticipate wrapping up the widening of Broadway Boulevard between Country Club Road and Euclid Avenue to three lanes in each direction in September 2021. The project, which will also include better bike lanes and sidewalks, is a partnership between Tucson, Pima County and Regional Transportation Authority. The city will also continue work on the Downtown Links project. The new roadway is essentially the longplanned “last mile of Aviation Highway,” although it has been scaled back considerably from what was planned decades ago. Running alongside the Union Pacific Railroad tracks for the
most part, the roadway will stretch from the current end of Aviation at Broadway Boulevard to Sixth Street, with new underpasses beneath the train tracks. It’s designed to offer drivers an alternative route from downtown to I-10 in hopes of calming traffic on Congress Street. The project is expected to be completed in 2023. Two other major midtown projects are on the books for 2021. The city plans to start construction on widening 22nd Street between Tucson and Kino boulevards in late 2021. And while work on the next phase of the Grant Road widening, between Palo Verde Boulevard and Venice Place, won’t begin until spring 2022, utility relocations are scheduled to begin this spring. On the eastside, the city will continue with work on widening Valencia Road to Mary Ann Cleveland Way. The project, which started in September 2020, is expected to be completed early this year. Among the other projects on the drawing board via Prop 101, passed by Tucson voters in 2017: • Work on Main Avenue/Granada Avenue and Los Reales Road between
12th Avenue and Nogales Highway is planned to start this spring. • Mill and overlay on several arterials, including Fort Lowell Road between Country Club Road and Alvernon Way; Glenn Street between Alvernon Way and Swan Road; Grant Road between Craycroft and Wilmot; Grant Road between Venice Place and Beverly Avenue; Bear Canyon Road between Bear Paw Place and Tanque Verde Road; • Reconstruction on several arterials, including Wilmot Road between Grant Road and Pima Street; 22nd Street between Houghton Road and Melpomene Way; Broadway between Houghton Road and Tanque Verde Loop; Camino Seco between Golf Links Road and Irvington Road; Broadway between Pantano Road and Camino Seco; and Camino Seco between Golf Links and Irvington Road. In addition, work is planned for a number of residential streets. You can find out if your street made the list by visiting TucsonDelivers.gov, where you can also learn about bicycle and pedestrian improvements. PIMA COUNTY UP NEAR SABINO CANYON, THE county is continuing work on two
miles of Kolb Road between Sunrise Drive and Sabino Canyon Road. That narrow stretch of Kolb is being widened from a two-lane road to a three-lane road with multi-use paved shoulders for cycling and walking. The nearly $20 million improvement project will also include updated drainage and landscaping. In addition, a roundabout will be installed at the intersection of Kolb and Territory Drive just south of Sunrise near the Bashas. You’ll probably want to find an alternative route throughout 2021 as construction isn’t expected to wrap until spring 2022. This is one of the final projects from the county’s 1997 road bond. Another busy Foothills intersection is getting reworked this year: The hazardous merger of Skyline and Sunrise roads east of Campbell Avenue. The project aims to make the intersection safer for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians by improving the sight lines between westbound cars merging from Skyline Road to Sunrise Road and cyclists west on Sunrise Drive, who pass directly into the path of westbound Skyline traffic. This half-million dollar project is expected to be completed in spring 2021. The speed limit will be reduced to 25 MPH through the construction zone. On the west side, The county expects to wrap construction on Bopp Road and Sarasota Boulevard in Tucson Estates south of Old Tucson this spring after nearly a year of construction. The nearly $5 million project reconstructs Bopp to align with Sarasota to create a four-legged intersection with Kinney Road. According to Pima County, the new intersection includes one through lane and one left-turn lane for all directions. In addition, the intersection will receive a new traffic signal, street lights and curb ramps. The existing Bopp Road alignment will also include a cul-de-sac at the west end to maintain access for local traffic. In addition, several road projects are currently under design throughout the county and will begin soon. South of Tucson, the intersection of Sahuarita Road and Wilmot Road will be reworked to provide a four-way intersection with traffic signals and turn lanes. The project is estimated to cost $3 million and is expected to complete in fall 2021.
JAN. 7, 2021
Out in the developing environs of the UA Tech Park, the county is widening three miles of Houghton Road just south of I-10 and adjacent to the Pima County Fairgrounds, all the way down to Andrada Polytechnic and Pantano High Schools. According to the county, the project will reconstruct the current two-lane roadway to a divided four-lane section with two travel lanes in each direction, a separated multiuse path that will connect to the Loop, and drainage improvements. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2021 and run through December 2022. STATE OF ARIZONA THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF Transportation will be repairing Oracle Road, which, as State Route 77, is a responsibility of the state. Within the first quarter of 2021, 10 miles of Oracle Road will be repaved. The Miracle Mile Segment from I-10 to Oracle Road and further north from Oracle Road to River Road will be paved over, according to ADOT’s southern Arizona public information officer Garin Groff. Groff says between River Road and Calle Concordia, the transportation department will conduct paving and improve some areas with new drainage, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, lighting and utility relocation. Overall, the construction is expected to take about two years. More details, including the repaving’s start date, will be available in early 2021. One of the busiest segments of Tucson’s interstate at I-10 and Ruthrauff Road is also getting a makeover this year. Ruthrauff Road will now go over I-10 in a bridge-like structure above the interstate. The 60-year-old interchange has been closed most of 2020 and won’t be complete until late 2021, but ADOT plans to reopen Ruthrauff/El Camino del Cerro across I-10 by this summer as it finishes building exit and entrance ramps. Groff says the interchange is expected to open before the holidays in 2021, and drivers will have to continue using alternate routes to access the freeway until its completion. ADOT chose the construction project to increase capacity at the busy interchange, as drivers experienced
narrow lanes and frequent stops as trains passed by the east side of the interstate. The new configuration will feature more lanes and the elevated Ruthrauff Road will flow above the railroad tracks where nearly 40 trains pass through a day, according to Groff. Additionally, construction along Houghton Road that began this summer will continue this year as a sixlane overpass over I-10 with upgraded entrance and exit ramps. Although two ramps were closed on the east side of the interchange for four months, the ramps have been reconstructed and access to Houghton Road will be available throughout its construction. Groff says the transportation department only expects periodic overnight restrictions and closures. Groff said the construction in the “rapidly growing part of Tucson” will be the first diverging diamond interchange in southern Arizona, and is expected to wrap up by late 2021. MARANA ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROJECTS on the horizon in Marana is the Lon Adams Road reconstruction, which consists of replacing the existing pavement, adding sidewalks, lighting landscaping and improving drainage along the half-mile between Grier Road to Barnett Road. The final design phase of the project is winding down but staff had to address concerns of business owners regarding the area’s sewer system, according to town engineer Keith Brann. “We started working kind of late in the game. We worked in some redesign for that [the sewers] and we’re also working through utility relocations,” Brann said. “Once we have those two issues out of the way, we will put the project on the street.” Brann said he expects the project to go out for bid by spring 2021, with construction to follow soon after. The town is also close to completing the Chuck Huckelberry Loop around the CalPortland cement plant. Final design of the project is winding down and will finish construction on the last section of The Loop in Marana, said Brann. “There were some design issues related to their [CalPortland’s] heavy vehicles and a bridge we have to
put out there,” Brann said. “They’re looking for a much higher load than what we would normally see because of their vehicles. We expect to put this project out to bid once those issues are situated.” Once the section is complete, residents will be able to ride a bike, run or walk from Gladden Farms to downtown Tucson, said Brann. Marana is also at the halfway point of construction with the Adonis Road extension between Grier Road and Tangerine Road. The project’s goal is to construct a two-lane roadway, providing secondary access to the San Lucas and Adonis communities. This new secondary access will also provide another route to Interstate-10 for those neighborhoods. The current roadway is regularly interrupted by the railroad crossing located at Cochie Canyon Trail and I-10. “We’ve got most of the underground loop done on that project and it’s currently being graded for construction, Brann said. “We’ll probably start grading on that project in late March and it should be completed by mid to late spring.”
ORO VALLEY MEDIAN WORK AT LA CANADA Drive will continue through the start of 2021. Improvements include reconfiguring left-turn lanes and raised medians. Work on the RV Road traffic signal at Arrow Smith and Moore Loop is also in the works during the first months of the new year. Oro Valley will also continue its pavement and seal coat improvements throughout several subdivisions, parking lots and Tangerine Road’s multiuse path from Shannon Road to La Canada Drive. The town is also adding paved shoulders from West Lambert Lane Park to La Cholla Boulevard and the project is expected to be complete within the next six months. ■ Austin Counts, Jeff Gardner, Nicole Ludden and Jim Nintzel contributed to this report.
JAN. 7, 2021
his food and his fan base will help the company survive. “Everything is tentative right now. We don’t know what the pandemic is going to be like or what obstacles will be in the way,” Yucupicio said. “I’m excited but a little worried. This is definitely a scary time to open up and start new, but I feel like we’ve built up a good core of returning customers.” Pop’s Hot Kitchen Opening early February 600 N. Fourth Avenue Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m to 10 p.m./ Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. GEORGE SHAAR
The former Epic Cafe is back in business with a new owner and a new name: Cafe Maggie
As the pandemic shuts down some Fourth Avenue restaurateurs, others see an opening for opportunity By Austin Counts email@example.com
POP’S HOT KITCHEN
PETER YUCUPICIO IS MOVING HIS Tucson-famous hot chicken sandwich OPENING AND OPERATING A BAR shop from American Eat Company to or restaurant for any significant amount the former Tallboys building in early of time on Historic Fourth Avenue isn’t February and updating the name from easy even during the best of times. Pop’s Hot Chicken to Pop’s Hot Kitchen. Competition comes from all angles and Additionally, the owner said he plans to owners are constantly trying to rebuild update his super spicy menu with comtheir perpetually changing customer fort food favorites folks know and love at base of students. his new location. With that said, to take on any busi“We’re going to expand the menu and ness endeavor during this time—other we’re changing the name because we than an online COVID face mask shop want to expand on the concept of being with free shipping—would seem like a southwest take on Southern comfort insanity to even the most insane of entrefood,” Yucupicio said. preneurs. But some brave souls are doing While he is concerned about the it downtown and they’re dedicated to uncertainty of moving to a new spot keeping the flavor on Fourth Avenue. during this time, Yucupicio said believes
plant Maggie. So we decided to name the place in her honor.” Cafe Maggie Now Open 745 N. Fourth Avenue Tuesday-Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m./ Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. OPA’S GRILL
A LITTLE SOMETHING DIED INSIDE every local Greek food lover when longtime Hellenic eatery Athens on 4th announced they would be closing their doors for good. For restaurateur Oais CAFE MAGGIE Papoutsis, who opened Opa’s Best on Broadway Boulevard nearly three years WHEN GEORGE SHAAR HEARD THE ago, the announcement was a chance to news that Epic Cafe was for sale, he said expand his concept downtown. While he it was an opportunity that he couldn’t acknowledges the difficulties attempting pass up—even if a global pandemic was a new business at this time, Papoutsis afoot. So in early August of last year, said he felt an urgency to jump on the Shaar pulled the trigger and said he isn’t opportunity before someone else did. looking back. “It’s difficult right now for all restau“I’ve been a big fan of this place for rants, but if I didn’t move forward on a long time and used to be a regular this location, I don’t think I would have patron around 2005 and just fell in love ever found it again because in a normal with the place. I always felt Epic Cafe was situation you don’t find a good location a corridor of culture down here,” Shaar on Fourth Avenue,” Papoutsis said. “For said. “It’s been on my radar for a while 27 years it’s been a Greek restaurant and because I know the owners have had downtown needs a Greek restaurant, so some rough years.” that’s why I opened there to continue For a few weeks after acquiring the surviving good Greek food.” place, the 41-year-old said he wasn’t sure Opa’s Grill features many of the if he was going to rebrand the busiGreek fare lovers of Athens on 4th are ness, but ultimately chose to go in that accustomed to, but Papoutsis said they direction. He said he found inspiration have expanded their dinner menu and for the cafe’s new name from a long-time cocktail menu to include some authentic occupant in the building. Greek favorites. “We feel that Epic had its full run for 26 years and to better serve the comOpa’s Grill munity it would be best to try and turn Now Open over a new leaf,” Shaar said. “There’s this 500 N. Fourth Avenue dieffenbachia plant that’s been there for Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. / about 20 years that someone named this Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight ■
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Want to start your own marijuana garden? It’s not as easy as it looks. By David Abbott firstname.lastname@example.org ARIZONANS PAST THE AGE OF 21 now have the right grow their own, but cannabis experts are skeptical there will be a sudden rush of Johnny Reeferseeds who will start gardens and wipe out the expanding marijuana industry. With the passage of Prop 207 last November, those of age can now legally grow up to six plants individually or 12 to a household with two or more adults. Pot prohibitionists have warned that you won’t be able to swing a dead skunk without hitting a stand of marijuana plants—or at least be inundated with the
stinky odor of your neighbor’s greenhouse—but those in the biz say it’s not as easy as it looks. “People were worried before that it’s going to hurt the market and the industry,” said Moe Asnani, owner of Tucson’s Downtown and D2 dispensaries and co-founder of iLava, during a December webinar hosted by the Arizona Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. “I absolutely don’t believe that idea. The best thing we did is giving home grow rights to people.” Among the barriers to growing your own are costs associated with starting your victory garden, the time involved and the skills necessary to grow consis-
tent, high-quality pot. Asnani is among those in the industry who believe those difficulties, combined with the ease of purchasing off the shelf, will keep all but the most dedicated and greenest of thumb pot aficionados in line at the local dispensary. “I consider that like craft brewery, like a homebrewer,” said Michael Ptack,
a Scottsdale neuropathic doctor who specializes in cannabis. “There are sick people that don’t have thousands of dollars for lights and securing the grow operation. … I’m grateful that we have grow rights for medical and recreational consumers, but it is not effective in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 14
JAN. 7, 2021
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13
course of a daily regimen for someone who’s sick.” The law provides very strict parameters for cannabis grows. Cultivation must take place “within a closet, room, greenhouse or other enclosed area on the grounds of the residence, equipped with a lock or other security device that prevents access by minors,” in an area “where the marijuana plants are not visible from public view without using binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids.” Along with those rules, there are other barriers: Home-growers could also face property rights issues for renters and insurance liabilities for homeowners due to the plant’s federal status as a Schedule I narcotic. Growers who don’t own their property must get permission from the owner, and many homeowners associations are cracking down on what’s happening outside the walls of the house. “Major, large complexes will roll out guidelines to control and eliminate growing in their facilities,” said Dustin Klein of Sun Valley Science in Phoenix. “Of course, medical still has rights—not
to smoke out your neighbors, but for possession and consuming. We spend a lot of time reminding patients you have to respect your neighbors and neighbors’ rights.” Gary Smith, from Guidant Law Firm, also in Phoenix, believes HOAs will not allow outside grows and will frown on any growing at all. “If you read CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restriction) [they] will typically include provisions that speak to it not being permissible to engage in illegal activity, even in your own home,” he said. “Now, does that mean that your HOA is going to come into your house and gripe about what you’re doing indoors? I can’t fathom that. … But if you’re going to cultivate, it has to be out of sight and has to be behind some sort of a locked enclosure.” According to Danielle Hernandez,
director of the cannabis practice at the Gilbert Insurance Group, homeowner insurance may not cover damage associated with a cannabis grow. “I think like anything else, there’s going to be limitations added to policies as it goes forward,” she said. “With regards to being able to cultivate in your home, there might be exclusions in your homeowner’s policy if you happen to burn your house down because your lights are too hot. So if you’re planning on doing anything like that, it would be advantageous to discuss it with your insurance agent, or at least review your policy and make sure that there’s no exclusions based on how the insurance carrier views cultivating cannabis.” Even after jumping through the hoops to start a grow and successfully recreating your favorite strain of Girl Scout
Cookie, it might be a good idea to have your crops tested to find out if there are any residual pesticides or heavy metals in the soil. Barbara Dow, a founder and owner of Pure Labs, Arizona, said it would behoove the home grower to ensure the safety of their stash. “Who knows what was in the ground before you put your cannabis plant there?” she posited. “The best way to know is put some cannabis or hemp in there: It sucks up everything and you’ll know exactly what’s in your soil.” Testing minimums are seven grams and in addition to soil contamination, the crop can also be tested for potency. Ultimately, though, there will not likely be a huge affect on the MMJ market by home grows given the dynamics involved. “When you pop in a seed and you start growing, you’re probably gonna have to do it for a few years to get that perfect genetic, and to keep harvesting the way you want with consistent results,” Asnani said. “But to do it from scratch and to expect top-quality product? It’s a fool’s errand. So that’s why I’m saying everybody should try it. See if you like it. It may be a great hobby.” ■
JAN. 7, 2021
TUCSON AREA DISPENSARIES Bloom Tucson. 4695 N. Oracle Road, Ste. 117 293-3315; bloomdispensary.com Open: Sunday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Botanica. 6205 N. Travel Center Drive 395-0230; botanica.us Open: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily Desert Bloom Re-Leaf Center. 8060 E. 22nd St., Ste. 108 886-1760; dbloomtucson.com Open: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily Offering delivery Downtown Dispensary. 221 E. 6th St., Ste. 105 838-0492; thedowntowndispensary.com Open: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily D2 Dispensary. 7105 E 22nd St. 214-3232; d2dispensary.com/ Open: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily Earthâ€™s Healing. Two locations: North: 78 W. River Road 395-1432 South: 2075 E. Benson Highway 373-5779 earthshealing.org Open: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Offering delivery The Green Halo. 7710 S. Wilmot Road 664-2251; thegreenhalo.org Open: Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Green Med Wellness Center. 6464 E. Tanque Verde Road 520-281-1587; facebook.com/GreenMedWellnessCenter Open: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hana Green Valley. 1732 W. Duval Commerce Point Place 289-8030 Open: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Harvest of Tucson . 2734 East Grant Road 314-9420; email@example.com; Harvestofaz. com Open: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily Nature Med. 5390 W. Ina Road 620-9123; naturemedinc.com Open: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily The Prime Leaf Two locations: 4220 E. Speedway Blvd. 1525 N. Park Ave. 44-PRIME; theprimeleaf.com Open: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Speedway location closed Wednesday; Park Ave. location closed Tuesday. Purple Med Healing Center. 1010 S. Freeway, Ste. 130 398-7338; www.facebook.com/PurpleMedHealingCenter Open: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Southern Arizona Integrated Therapies. 112 S. Kolb Road 886-1003; medicalmarijuanaoftucson.com Open: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily Total Accountability Patient Care. 226 E. 4th St., Benson 586-8710; bensondispensary.com Open: Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 .m. to 7 p.m.
JAN. 7, 2021
FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
By Rob Brezsny. Go to RealAstrology.com to check out Rob Brezsny’s EXPANDED WEEKLY HOROSCOPE 1-877-873-4888 or 1-900-950-7700 $1.99 per minute. 18 and over. Touchtone phone required.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): The pandemic has made it challenging to nurture our communities. In order to make new connections and keep our existing connections vibrant, we’ve had to be extra resourceful. I hope you will make this work one of your holy quests in 2021, Aries. In my astrological opinion, you should be ingenious and tireless as you nurture your web of allies. Your assignment during our ongoing crisis is to lead the way as you show us all how to ply the art of high-minded networking. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Taurus actor George Clooney is worth $500 million. Yet his dazzling opulence is puny compared to that of Taurus entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune exceeds $100 billion. It’s my duty to inform you that you will probably never achieve either man’s levels of wealth. Yet I do hold out hope that in the next 12 months you will launch plans that ultimately enable you to have all the money you need. 2021 will be a favorable time to formulate and set in motion a dynamic master plan for financial stability. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): One of your main themes for the next 12 months comes from Leonardo da Vinci. He wrote, “To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” If you use da Vinci’s instructions as a seed for your meditations, you’ll stir up further inspirations about how to make 2021 a history-making epoch in the evolution of your education. I hope you will treasure the value of “learning how to see” and “realizing how everything connects to everything else.” They should be at the root of your intention to learn as much as you can. CANCER (June 21-July 22): An extensive study by psychiatric researchers suggests that well more
SAVAGE LOVE By Dan Savage, firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re an adventurous, bisexual, non-monogamous, opposite-sex couple with a teenage kid living in Europe. We don’t really struggle with finding and trying new and interesting stuff in bed. However, we do have a problem and it’s getting worse. Having sex is, well, weird, when the kid is at home. We can’t be loud, we can’t watch porn, we can’t webcam with other people, we can’t do anything involved or time-consuming, like ropes or pegging or foursomes or whatever. We can’t even fuck in the shower. When he was little
than half of us experienced a potentially disabling trauma in childhood. You’re in the minority if you didn’t! That’s the bad news. The good news is that 2021 will be a time when you Cancerians will have more power than ever before to heal at least some of the wounds from your old traumas. You will also attract extra luck and help to accomplish these subtle miracles. To get the process started, make a list of three practical actions you can take to instigate your vigorous healing. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Leo author Isabel Allende says, “We are in the world to search for love, find it and lose it, again and again. With each love, we are born anew, and with each love that ends we collect a new wound. I am covered with proud scars.” I appreciate Allende’s point of view, and understand that it’s useful, even inspirational, for many people. But my path has been different. As a young man, I enjoyed my endless quest for sex and romance. It was thrilling to keep leaping from affair to affair. But as I eventually discovered, that habit made me stupid and superficial about love. It prevented me from having to do the hard psychological work necessary to continually reinvent intimacy—and become eligible for deeper, more interesting versions of love. I bring this to your attention, Leo, because I think 2021 could be your time for a personal rebirth that will be made possible by deep, interesting versions of love. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Occultist Israel Regardie (1907–1985) was an accomplished author and influencer. To what did he attribute his success? I’ll let him speak for himself: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” I hope you will write out this quote and tape it to your bath-
room mirror for the duration of 2021, Virgo. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The Kabbalistic Tree of Life is a mystical symbol of the hidden structure of creation. At its heart, in the most pivotal position, is the principle of beauty. This suggests that the wise teachers who gave us the Tree did not regard beauty as merely a luxury to be sought only when all practical business is taken care of. Nor is it a peripheral concern for those who pursue a spiritual path. Rather, beauty is essential for our health and intelligence. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to take a cue from the Tree of Life. During the next 12 months, give special attention to people and things and experiences and thoughts and feelings that are beautiful to you. Meditate on how to nurture them and learn from them and draw inspiration from them. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): According to motivational speaker Les Brown, the problem for many people is not that “they aim too high and miss,” but that “they aim too low and hit.” I’m conveying this to you just in time for the Reach Higher Phase of your long-term astrological cycle. According to my analysis, you’ll generate good fortune for yourself if you refine and expand your personal goals. Here’s a key detail: Don’t borrow anyone else’s standards of success. Home in on your own unique soul’s code, and give it fuller, deeper, wilder expression. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): One of my primary pleasures in reading books is to discover thoughts and feelings I have never before encountered. That’s exciting! But it’s hard to force myself to keep plowing through an author’s prose if it’s full of stuff that I already know about from my own life or from books, movies, and other art. Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novels fit the latter description. I realize that many people love his fiction, but for me it is monumentally obvious and boring. What about you, Sagittarius? Where do you go to be exposed to thrilling new ways of looking at the world? Judging from the astrological omens, I conclude that this quest will be especially fun and crucial for you in the coming months.
EUROPEAN ADVENTURES we had some plausible deniability, but teenagers know exactly what mom and dad do when they shower together. And it’s weird and makes us both not want to. And we’re not imagining it. Our son frequently reminds us that he can hear everything that happens in the house. Before we took a lot of it outside or to clubs or other people`s places. And he had sports clubs and sleepovers and vacations at grandparents and we could do our thing at home when he was gone. All of that is over now and has been for almost a year. We
really like having sex with each other but it has been just very quiet quickies during the day while he’s doing school online or waiting for those rare nights when he is more tired than we are and goes to bed first. It’s been almost a year of this. Way less people want to meet up now, clubs are closed, and traveling is irresponsible. So before we plunge into another year, which as far as I can tell does not look that different circumstance-wise, any tips? —Cabin Fever
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “I only want people around me who can do the impossible,” said Capricorn businesswoman Elizabeth Arden. In that spirit, and in accordance with your astrological potentials, I hereby authorize you to pursue two “impossible” goals in 2021. The first comes to you courtesy of fashion writer Diana Vreeland, who wrote, “There’s only one thing in life, and that’s the continual renewal of inspiration.” Your second “impossible” goal is from actor Juliette Binoche, who said, “My only ambition is to be true every moment I am living.” AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Your past is becoming increasingly irrelevant, while your future is still a bit amorphous. To help clarify the possibilities that you could harvest in 2021, I suggest you suspend your theories bout what your life is about. Empty yourself out as much as you can. Pledge to re-evaluate everything you think you know about your purpose. Once you’ve accomplished that, meditate on the following questions: 1. What experiences do you truly need and passionately long for—not the experiences you needed and longed for in the past, but rather those that are most vivid and moving right now. 2. What are the differences between your fearful fantasies and your accurate intuitions? How can you cultivate the latter and downplay the former? 3. What are your nightly dreams and semi-conscious fantasies telling you about how to create the most interesting version of the future? PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Author Gunter Grass wrote, “Writers know that sometimes things are there in the drawer for decades before they finally come out and we are capable of writing about them.” I would universalize his thought in this way: Most of us know that possibly useful ideas and dreams are in the drawer for years before they finally come out and we know how to use them. I believe this will be an ongoing experience for you in 2021, Pisces. ■ Homework: What’s the biggest and best lucky break you’d love to attract in 2021? FreeWillAstrology.com.
While a lot of teenagers are performatively disgusted about their parents fucking around, CF, a little tangible/ audible evidence that mom and dad— or dad and dad or mom and mom or nonbinary parent #1 and nonbinary parent #2—are still into each other is, on some other level, reassuring. Because if your parents are still fucking each other that means your parents still like each other. And if your parents still like each other that means you don’t have to worry about your parents leaving each other and throwing your world into chaos. So while overhearing your parents fuck may not be comfortable, it can be comforting.
JAN. 7, 2021
But if you can’t power through your son’s disgust a la Diane and Elliott Birch on Big Mouth—if knowing your son might overhear dad getting pegged or mom getting railed on cam is a boner killer for you and a dehumidifier for the wife—then you’ll just have to resign yourself to quickies for the duration of the pandemic. That means no fucking around in sex clubs for you and no sleepovers at grandma’s house for him for at least the next six months, CF, if not longer. Zooming out… We talk a lot about parents who blow up when their children masturbate and parents who melt down when their teenagers ask for contraception and parents who shame their kids for being gay or kinky or sexually active or just sexual. While these asshole parents can’t make their gay kids straight or their kinky kids vanilla or somehow de-activate their sexually active kids, they can do real and lasting damage. The exaggerated disgust of a sex-negative teenager is lot less likely to do any permanent harm to you or your wife—your son’s disgust is merely and temporarily inhibiting—and you aren’t going to need therapy to solve this problem. You just need him to grow the fuck up and move the fuck out. In the meantime, CF, go ahead and take those long showers together. And if your son objects—if he shames you— just remind him that the front door isn’t nailed shut and he won’t hear anything if he takes a fucking walk. My boyfriend and I have been together for four years. I am 25 years old and he is 33 years old. I’m thinking about ending our relationship. I love him but I don’t see it working out. Our sex-life is almost non-existent. I have low sex drive and can go long stretches without the need for sex. His sex drive, on the other hand, is very high. I’ve brought up opening the relationship but he is very opposed to the idea. The reason I brought up outside partners besides the sex-drive thing is that we both have different kinks. Some overlap, but a majority of our interests aren’t shared. I will be moving to Belgium soon to advance my career. When I told my boyfriend he said he wanted to go with because he wanted to be wherever I was. He didn’t say anything about his own goals for the future. He has mentioned to me on several instances that
who isn’t a striver. Getting dumped is going to suck for your boyfriend, of course, but he’ll be better off in the long run with someone who comes closer to matching his libido and who doesn’t care that his ambitions, whatever they might be, don’t revolve around his career. And who knows? Maybe he’ll wind up writing a book about your breakup. Enjoy Belgium, CAREER, it’s a good place for a young gay man to explore his kinks.
he would like to write a book but he has not written a word in all the time we’ve been dating. He doesn’t seem to have any drive or passion which kind of scares me. Another big issue is that my boyfriend is having serious financial difficulties and declared bankruptcy a few months ago. I was blindsided by this since we don’t have combined finances or live together and he never indicated that he was having financial trouble. As I mention earlier, I am thinking of ending our relationship. I love him but I just don’t know if staying with him is the right thing. I don’t want to hurt him and I don’t see things going down well if I break up with him. Should I stay? Should I go? —Concerned About Relationship Enduring Economic Repercussions You haven’t moved in together, you haven’t mingled your finances, you haven’t adopted a houseplant or a dog or a child. Which makes going—leaving your boyfriend when you leave for Belgium—pretty painless and uncomplicated logistically, CAREER, even if it’s still going to be painful emotionally. You say you love your boyfriend, CAREER, and I believe you. And if everything was working except your boyfriend’s financial issues, I would urge you to give him a little more time—not infinite time—to get his shit together. And not everyone is ambitious for
professional success; some people’s ambitions are harder to recognize because they don’t revolve around making money. Two people with no professional ambitions might find it hard to make their way in the world— someone’s gotta pay the rent—but a supportive non-striver often makes a great partner for a striver. And I don’t know if you’ve been following the news, CAREER, but there’s a pandemic on and a lot of people are struggling financially right now. Your boyfriend isn’t the only person who had to declare bankruptcy in 2020. But I nevertheless think you should end this relationship. You obviously aren’t sexually compatible, CAREER, and you’re definitely going to wanna explore your kinks—without guilt or encumbrance—once you get to Belgium. Openness is the only way to make it work when two people have a lot of kinks but not a lot of kink overlap. Kinks can’t be wished away or waved off, as much as people like to pretend they can be (and not just vanilla people); kinks are hard-wired and some outlet—some way to express and enjoy them—is necessary for a kinky person to feel fulfilled and content. You might’ve been able to make the relationship work if your boyfriend was willing to open it up but he’s not; and you’re not comfortable, at least at this stage of life, with a partner
I’m in my early 30s and I’ve been struggling to make new friends. A lot of the people in my extended social circle are polyamorous/queer, and while I identify as queer, I’m in a monogamish relationship that isn’t poly. Lately I have been finding that I have been getting approached a lot by people who want a romantic/sexual connection. It seems like the only people who want me around lately want in my pants and they assume because I’m queer I’m also poly without asking directly. So people ask me if I want to “hangout” and I’m often unsure if they mean “hangout” in a date context or a friend context. I’ve ended up on dates I didn’t know I was going on! My biggest issue is that I don’t understand why people want to date/fuck me but don’t want to be my friend. I’m pretty average looking and I am not overly flirty. So why is this happening? —Noodling On This Problem Over Lattes, Yeah? There’s nothing stopping you from asking—asking directly—for a little clarity: “Hangout? I’d love to! But do you mean ‘hangout’ as in ‘spend time together as friends’ or ‘hangout’ as in ‘let’s-go-on-a-date’? I ask because I’ve wound up on a couple of dates that I didn’t know were dates and it was awkward.” As for why this is happening… well, either the poly people in your social circle assume—incorrectly—that all queer people are poly or you’re much more attractive than you’re giving yourself credit for, NOTPOLY, or some combo of both. ■ email@example.com Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. If only this column were a podcast... Wait, it is! savagelovecast.com
JAN. 7, 2021
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