CURRENTS: Saving the Rialto
SKINNY: Arizona’s Dumb Audit
MAY 13 - 19, 2021 • TUCSONWEEKLY.COM • FREE
Take Your Shot
Pima County health ofﬁcials battle vaccine hesitancy By Christina Duran
DANEHY: What’s Wrong With Sen. Sinema?
TUCSON WEEDLY: Growing Your Own
MAY 13, 2021
MAY 13, 2021
MAY 13, 2021 | VOL. 36, NO. 19
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Sen. Kelly highlights shuttered venue grants
The election audit might be the stupidest thing we’ve ever seen at the Arizona Legislature
Local health officials work to overcome vaccine hesitancy
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Take Your Best Shot
LAST WEEK, THE NEW YORK TIMES had a story that suggested, thanks to vaccine hesitancy, we may not be able to vanquish COVID-19. Instead, the disease may continue to circulate at low levels “for generations.” It’s a chilling thought. This week, staff reporter Christina Duran sinks into the efforts that federal and local officials are taking to transition from big, centralized vaccination Points of Distribution to smaller mobile units that are going into neighborhoods in order to get more needles into arms. It’s not just a matter of protecting those who are vaccinated; unless we get the vaccine into enough people, the virus will stick around and mutate. As Dr. Richard Carmona, the former surgeon general and leader of a taskforce to combat COVID on campus, puts it: “The fact is the longer this virus is alive around the world the more it’s going to circulate. The more it will mutate, and eventually will mutate to a virus that could cause some significant problems. There is a scientific reason that we want to encourage the whole world to be vaccinated, and as a humanitarian issue as well. But for the self-preservation of mankind, everybody needs to get vaccinated.” If you haven’t already signed up for a shot, please consider doing so. There are plenty of doses to go around.
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Elsewhere in the book this week: Staff writer Duran also reports on why Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to spend $10 million next year on early childhood education programs, as well as U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly’s recent tour of the Rialto Theatre in support of grants for shuttered venue operators; columnist Tom Danehy pens some open letters; The Skinny audits the “audit” of the 2020 election underway in Maricopa County; UA School of Journalism intern Madison Beal looks at an initiative effort to raise Tucson’s minimum age to $15 an hour; associate editor Jeff Gardner gives a listen to a new album from Keith Allen Dennis; calendar editor Emily Dieckman brings you pandemic-safe events if you’re ready to get out of your house; Tucson Weedly columnist David Abbott has more advice for those who want to grow their own cannabis; and we have plenty more in the book, so dig in and enjoy yourself. Jim Nintzel Executive Editor Hear Nintz talk about what to do this week in Tucson and the news of the day at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays during The World-Famous Frank Show on KLPX, 96.1 FM.
RANDOM SHOTS By Rand Carlson
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Keith Allen Dennis commemorates the transitional nature of Southern Arizona on new album
The Guys at Green Lady can help you grow your own
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MAY 13, 2021
expects the Rialto Theatre will open up again in the fall. “We can’t wait either.” Kelly and his wife, Gabby Giffords, are no strangers to the Rialto. They reminisced about their favorite shows seeing acts like Calexico and Snoop Dogg as they strolled around the Rialto Theatre Gallery Project before its opening day on Friday, May 7. One of the only events the Rialto has offered since closing its doors at the start of the pandemic, the gallery showcases the photos of the many acts that have graced the Rialto’s stage by C. Elliott and Martinez, along with concert posters by Ryan Trayte. Kelly and Giffords, a regular Rialto show goer since she was a kid, said the community would not be the same if businesses like the Rialto were to close. PHOTO BY CHRISTINA DURAN “Tucson would be a much lesser place if Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords at the Rialto Theatre Gallery Project the Rialto or Fox were not able to remain in business,” said Kelly. “It really is an important part of what brings us together as neighbors and to have the opportunity to enjoy a venue like this is one of those Sen. Kelly highlights shuttered venue grants things that makes places like Tucson really special.” the state of Arizona, many of which have By Christina Duran Martinez hopes the venue will “let email@example.com been closed for a long period of time, people know that we’re still here, we’re not through no fault of their own. Venues going away and just to show a little bit of like the Rialto are a lot different than a history because all the photos here were SEN. MARK KELLY (D-ARIZ) VISITED restaurant. Restaurants, many of them, created here in the theater, and it’s a histothe Rialto Theatre this week to highlight are open and in business, reduced capac- ry that brings back memories for people.” federal funding designed to get local ity, but they can generate some revenue,” music venues open again. said Kelly. “A Tucson icon like the Rialto KELLY VISITS CBP TENT FACILITY The federal government allocated more or the Fox Theatre down the street or the than $16.2 billion to the Shuttered VenVan Buren in Phoenix, I mean so many ON HIS VISIT TO TUCSON, KELLY ue Operators Grant for live venues, live of these places have been closed for toured the tent facility for undocumented performing arts organizations, museums over a year now, and these are valuable minors in Tucson, which opened Friday. and movie theatres, as well as live venue small businesses. So the purpose of the The “soft-side facility” constructed in promoters, theatrical producers and talent Shuttered Venue Operators Grant is to the Tucson Sector, mobilized at a prorepresentatives. make sure that these businesses can get jected budget of $34.5 million, will hold But when the small Business Adopen and provide these good jobs that people while undergoing processing, ministration opened the portal for the hundreds of thousands of Arizonans according to the U.S. Customs and Border first-come, first-serve program on April depend upon.” Protection. 8, the demand from venue owners and The Rialto Theatre, like other venues, Kelly, who visited the site on Monday other eligible participants crashed the closed since last March and had to cancel morning, said the site is currently holding system. Two weeks later, Kelly and Sen. shows and events. Rialto Operations Man- around 50 unaccompanied minors, with Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz) joined many ager Mark Martinez said they need the possibility of holding 150 and, if not for of their Democratic colleagues to send a help as they have gone a year without any COVID-19, “maybe 500.” letter to SBA urging them to reopen the income, but continue to pay a mortgage “It’s part of the process we’re going application portal before “more indeand also have staff waiting for the through right now to make sure the Borpendent businesses are forced to shutter reopening. der Patrol has what it needs to handle this permanently or file for bankruptcy.” SBA With the venue closed, Martinez said crisis at the border,” said Kelly. According announced it would reopen the portal on they had to let go of more than 100 fullto Kelly, Border Patrol has a challenging April 24 and the Rialto Theatre was one of and part-time staff members. job, but “they did a good job thinking the venues that applied for funding. “They’re waiting patiently, hoping that through what they needed to support “We’ve got 550,000 small businesses in we can get back here,” said Martinez, who these kids.”
As someone who has visited the southern border multiple times and speaks with Border Patrol on a regular basis and spoke with Interim Chief Patrol Agent John R. Modlin Monday morning, Kelly feels he understands the difficulties CBP face. “Just hear about the challenges they face. It’s a difficult challenge, the numbers are up right now. They’re trying to make the best decision they can with the resources they have,” said Kelly. According to Kelly, Border Patrol will have 262 additional staff from the northern border to “provide some relief in the office, to allow Border Patrol agents to get out in the field to be able to do their jobs.” Kelly said he feels “a little bit better” about how they’re handling the processing of children, with children to be held for a maximum of 48 hours. However, Tucson Ward 6 Council Member Steve Kozachik, who assists Casa Alitas, the migrant welcome center that provides short-term housing for asylum seekers, feels the tented facility is “an absolute waste of money.” “What we are doing right now is we’re putting families up in some hotels here locally and we’re scratching and clawing to get reimbursed for the money that we’re coming out of pocket on,” said Kozachik. “We can do it in a more humane way, using some of our local partners and hotels here.” To this criticism, Kelly said he and Sinema recently passed legislation that allotted $110 million to reimburse NGOs for the costs involved in housing migrants. He is referring to the additional funding FEMA awarded to the National Board for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 in mid-March. “It’s up to Washington D.C., not communities in Arizona,” said Kelly. “Let me make that really clear, the federal government has failed the state of Arizona on this issue for decades now and it’s on Washington to get this right. It needs stronger border security, more technology at the border. Border Patrol needs the staffing to do this job. Also a positive development would be if we had more judges at the border. I’d like to see that happen. So we’ve seen some improvements, but we can’t get our eye off the ball.” ■
MAY 13, 2021
IT TAKES A COUNTY County supes vote to fund childcare program
additional scholarships to high-quality preschools within their “quality first” system, which includes school districts, daycare centers and home care. • A partnership with Child-Parent THE PIMA COUNTY BOARD OF Centers to offer extended-day Head Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve a $10 Start preschool programs at 11 locations million plan to fund early education for 205 children. scholarships for low-income families at It also includes a solicitation of prolast week’s meeting. posals to contract with an experienced On Feb. 16, the county approved a organization to develop a three-year measure to allocate $10 million for the implementation plan to develop a upcoming fiscal year budget to fund scholarship program. full or partial scholarships to parents There is a possibility of about $3 milwho wish to enroll their 3- to 4-year-old lion in additional funding for the prochildren (or 5-year-olds not eligible gram from other local jurisdictions and for kindergarten) in high-quality early partners, such as the City of Tucson’s education programs. $1 million contribution for scholarships The scholarship program works to for schools within the city and Oro help low-income families find reliable Valley proposing to provide $100,000 and affordable childcare. It’s also defor the upcoming fiscal year to support signed to address the decline and loss a three-year commitment. of early childhood programs during the Supervisors will still have to approve pandemic. “Successful communities the $10 million in funding during this support the education of their children, year’s budget process. and I’m proud to be part of a commuWhile the plan was approved, Supernity that is giving our children the best visors Sharon Bronson, Adelita Grijalva possible chance for success through this and Steve Christy voiced concerns over program,” said District 1 Supervisor Rex various aspects of the plan. Scott. “The data is undeniable—early Grijalva, a Democrat who serves on education works. Children who benefit the TUSD board, and Christy, a Republifrom early education on average do bet- can who provided the sole vote against ter in school throughout their careers, the program, had the same concern over are more likely to graduate from high the planning for more than one year school and earn higher wages after with possibilities of federal funding that graduation.” could be allocated to the program withThe proposed multi-year Pima Early out the need for county dollars. Education program, administered by “I would hope that there will be some Pima County Community and Workkind of thought to maybe holding back force Development, would provide fund- the process, holding back the expening for 1,245 children and begin July 1. ditures until we see what the current The plan includes: administration is going to provide in • Partnerships with eight school disthis area,” said Christy. tricts and Pima Community College to Nicole Fyffe, an assistant to County offer free, high-quality preschool to an Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, estimated 480 children. said she did not expect the county to • A partnership with First Things receive any of $39 billion in American First, a state agency focused on early Rescue Plan funds for early childhood childhood development, to offer 560 programs. By Christina Duran firstname.lastname@example.org
or American Rescue Plan funds be “It’s pretty certain that we’re not used first before using dollars from the going to see that money flowing to county’s general fund. Pima County into our Pima County “I think even in the second year, it’s preschools in this next coming year,” going to be very questionable that it said Fyffe. would remove the need for the county’s However, “if by some miracle that did happen,” Fyffe said the agreements participation entirely, but if it did that would certainly be fantastic,” said Fyffe. that the county has started to work Bronson expressed concerns over the with other school districts or partners have termination agreements in place transparency of the process as much of the discussion and agreements were and the plan requires that the county funding be the “last dollar in,” meaning made privately without public input. other funds, like subsidies from Arizona Department of Economic Security CONTINUED ON PAGE 15
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MAY 13, 2021
TOM HAS A FEW THINGS TO SAY TO THE TCC VACCINE TEAM, U.S. SEN. SINEMA AND STATE SEN. MICHELLE UDALL By Tom Danehy, email@example.com DEAR FOLKS INVOLVED IN THE Vaccination Effort at the Tucson Community Center: YOU’RE THE GREATEST! From the guy directing traffic to the madly skilled woman who put the needle in my arm to the uber-polite person checking to make sure that the newly vaccinated didn’t try to sneak out before their prescribed post-shot down time—you’re all a bunch of badasses. You’re doing God’s work and America’s work and Hippocrates’ work. You’re making the world inhabitable again. I’m old, but since I have the immune system—to go along with the girth—of a thoroughbred, I decided to wait to get vaccinated. I wanted all the teachers and first responders and grocery-store workers to get their shots first. And so, I waited until April to get my first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Even the website that I used to sign up for the vaccine worked perfectly; what are the odds of that?! When I went for my first shot the morning of Good Friday, I expected to be blowing a couple hours, but it was unbelievable. No lines, no hassles, no waiting. The first delightful woman had me sanitize my hands and put on an extra
CLAYTOONZ By Clay Jones
mask. The next one politely directed me to Table #4, where the young man took my info and made the appointment for my second shot. From there, it was through the double doors into the auditorium and directly to a vaccination station. The woman asked me “Right or left?” I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t talking about politics, but, just in case, I said left. This sounds silly, but I swear I didn’t even feel the needle go into my arm. To be sure, I have mostly adipose tissue where my deltoid used to be, but it was amazing. She had to tell me to get up out of the chair. If anything, it was even better last week when I got my second shot. You people have been doing this for months, but you show no signs of weariness. You made it an absolutely amazing experience for me (and, as far as I could tell, for everybody else). For your skillful, professional, and cheerful efforts, you will have something to be proud of for the rest of your lives. Thank you. As for me, from now on: • When habitual gripers complain that government can’t do anything right, I’ll
point to the smooth-as-silk nationwide operation that distributed 200,000,000 doses of the vaccine in less than 100 days. • When the Ted Cruzes of the world rail about Obamacare, we can all revel in the seamless cooperation between multiple layers of government and the health-care industry. • When the talk-radio liars spread dangerously false information about masks and distancing and now vaccines, we can be sure that from a historical perspective, the rollercoaster pattern of infections and deaths traced directly to the mindless and selfish flouting of heath regulations will become even more evident. But we’ll also be able to trace a clear correlation between the number of vaccinations and the decline of the virus. We have to meet their lies with truth. • And when the people who despise the previous President so much that they can’t even give credit where it is due (in terms of the initial push for a vaccine), I will quite honestly say that even a blind racist occasionally finds a nut. DEAR SEN. SINEMA: I hope you’re enjoying your time in the spotlight as one of two people who could derail the Democrats’ agenda. But you might want to snap out of it or find yourself looking for a new job in a few years. First off, enough with the bio stuff. You’re bisexual? So what? I suppose some people might tell you to make up your damn mind, but as far as I can tell, the only people who care about that stuff are
televangelists and porn directors. You wear pink wigs and run triathlons? Well, aren’t you special? You graduated college at the age of 18? First of all, that’s just sad, but while you were learning stuff, did they teach you that the filibuster about which you claim to be so passionate no longer exists? And as for this “bipartisanship” of which you speak so fondly, sadly that’s also a relic of the past. (We all wish it weren’t.) Instead of all this posturing and spotlight-grabbing, perhaps you might remember why you’re where you are. You were elected, as a Democrat, to represent the people of Arizona. Even though you were running against a horrible candidate who had sold her soul to Donald Trump (and, in a way, you were also running against Trump himself), you barely won. And in the past couple of years, Arizona has zoomed to the left while you’re still trying to straddle some imaginary line of bipartisanship. It’s time to do your damn job. DEAR MICHELLE UDALL: So, the bill you’re pushing in the State Legislature says that any “controversial issues” discussed in a school classroom has to be discussed from “diverse and contending perspectives.” Does that mean that, after Republicans lie and lie and lie and lie and lie and lie about the 2020 election, it rises to the level of “controversy” and teachers are forced to perpetuate the Big Lie or risk a $5,000 fine? You suck. ■
THE FRAUDIT DOESN’T ADD UP This might be the stupidest thing we’ve ever seen at the Arizona Legislature—and we’re old enough to remember when they wanted to create Gila monster ranches to get around the Endangered Species Act
Jim Nintzel firstname.lastname@example.org SENATE PRESIDENT KAREN FANN just can’t understand why so many people view her so-called “audit” of Maricopa’s 2020 election as a sad and pathetic joke. During an appearance on Phoenix PBS affiliate KAET-TV last week, the Prescott Republican fell back on the argument that so many critics don’t want the audit done, she’s beginning to think there’s something to hide. “They do not want this audit done,” Fann told Horizon host Ted Simons. “They talk about conspiracy theories, but I’ll tell you what, there’s almost a reverse conspiracy theory trying to demean this audit.” Karen, if an angry bully told you your home’s foundation was bad, but legit contractors told you the foundation was fine, would you go ahead and hire contractors with zero experience in repairing foundations? If your contractors showed up, tore down your house and started replacing it with a bamboo hut, would you still think it was a good idea? If they told you it was going to take four months to build your bamboo hut because they couldn’t hire enough people, would that work for you? Let’s run through some of the reasons that so many people—including Republicans, such as Arizona Sen. Paul Boyer, who told the New York Times last week that he regretted voting for the “ridiculous” audit because
“it makes us look like idiots”—think your audit is a big fat joke. 1. The election was audited more than once under the oversight of the GOP-controlled GOP Maricopa Board of Supervisors using a legitimate process. Nothing was off. 2. Fann hired a company named Cyber Ninjas, which has zero experience in auditing elections. These guys didn’t even know what color pens to use during the recount. 3. Cyber Ninjas’ CEO Doug Logan has a history of supporting nutty conspiracy theories about how the election was stolen by Donald Trump. 4. The company was clearly overwhelmed by the scope of work, as they have counted somewhere around 250,000 of the 2.1 million ballots. Unless they step up the pace, this count is going to continue until the dog days of August. 5. While blocking legitimate reporters from observing the audit (before finally allowing the press to sit up in the stands where they can see almost nothing), the audit team has given special access to the Trump propaganda operations One America News (OAN) and Gateway Pundit. 6. Speaking of OAN, the network is raising money from unknown sources to fund the operation because the Senate only authorized $150,000 from the state to pay for it. (The crowd-funding efforts are continuing despite the Arizona Legislature passing a law ths year that blocked local and state governments from accepting outside nonprofit funding for election support, voter-registration
MAY 13, 2021
drives and the like.) 7. A hand count of 2.1 million ballots—especially one that’s conducted without clear policies and procedures while being interrupted by graduation events because no one thought about how long it would take (see reason No. 4 above)—is going to be more inaccurate than a machine count. It’s human nature to screw up stuff like that. There are studies if you want to look them up. 8. It’s not even clear what the Cyber
Ninjas team is doing beyond the sureto-be-flawed hand count; For a while, they were looking for secret watermarks with UV light; last week, we learned that they are trying to figure out if there’s bamboo in the paper ballots in order to determine if secret Asian enemies smuggled in tens of thousands of ballots. And those are just highlights. Yes, “ridiculous” is one word to describe this farce. CONTINUED ON PAGE 21
MAY 13, 2021
so the county was turning to mobile clinics in places such as the Fox Theatre, along Fourth Avenue, YMCAs and even local casinos. “We know that a lot of people are not actually truly resistant, but are just hesitant. They’re waiting to see how the dust settles,” Garcia said. “We’re hoping to make vaccine opportunities so ubiquitous throughout our community, whether it’s on Fourth Avenue, whether it’s in some of these parts, whether it’s at a fixed site. We’re trying to make it so damn ubiquitous, that essentially you fall into a vaccination needle without much effort. If we can decrease those barriers for those folks for whom these are obstacles, I believe that we will continue to make progress.” Overcoming vaccine hesitancy is not unique to Pima County. While recent PHOTO BY CHRISTINA DURAN polling varies depending on how questions are asked, a recent survey by CS News/YouGov suggested that 18% of those asked said they would maybe get a vaccine, while another 22% said they Local health officials work to overcome vaccine hesitancy would not get a shot. That reluctance, in turn, is slowing efforts to reach so-called “herd immunity” across the nation and in Pima County. By Christina Duran Heading to a dinner downtown, Maria Christina@tucsonlocalmedia.com Mendoza declined a vaccination because Health officials estimate that roughly 75% she did not think it was necessary for her of the population needs to get vaccinated to reach a level where the virus can’t find to get vaccinated at the moment. She ON A RECENT FRIDAY NIGHT, said she would wait until the government new hosts to continue its spread. Dr. Richard Carmona, the former U.S. Paul Madero walked into downtown’s Fox makes it mandatory. surgeon general who has been leading the Tucson Theatre mobile vaccination site Some people walking past the theater University of Arizona’s coronavirus re-enfollowing almost a month in the hospisaid they had already been vaccinated try effort, said that unless more people get tal thanks to a mountain bike accident. while others were waiting to see if there shots, the virus will continue to circulate Madero’s daughter, April Madero, had were adverse effects. as well as mutate into new variants, some already gotten her family vaccinated, but of which may prove more dangerous and was unable to get her father an appointWHEN THE VACCINE SHOTS FIRST resistant to vaccines. ment. April saw the Fox Theater offered rolled out at the end of 2020, it was “The fact is the longer this virus is alive vaccinations without an appointment and unimaginable that so few people would brought her father. take advantage of available doses. People around the world the more it’s going to circulate. The more it will mutate, and Madero, 65, did not have much hesitawere so desperate for a shot that they tion as his daughter made the appointrefreshed web browsers looking for avail- eventually will mutate to a virus that could cause some significant problems,” ment for him. able appointments, drove to Phoenix or “She’s the one that made the appointvolunteered for eight-hour shifts at clinics, said Carmona. “There is a scientific reament, so I figured it was safe,” said hoping enough vaccine would be left over son that we want to encourage the whole Madero. at the end of the day that they could get a world to be vaccinated, and as a humanitarian issue as well. But for the self-presOn recent Friday nights, as some shot. ervation of mankind, everybody needs to people were heading home from their State records show that as of Monday, jobs and others were headed out for a May 10, nearly 40% percent of Pima Coun- get vaccinated.” night at now-open bars and clubs, the Fox ty residents had received at least one shot opened its doors, not for a show, but to and more than 349,000 people were fully MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO CAME for a vaccine at the Tucson Chinese provide no-appointment walk-in Moderna vaccinated. But as vaccine production Cultural Center on April 29 were seeking vaccinations. has ramped up, supply is now outstripBut on Friday, April 30, the theater ping demand. Dr. Francisco Garcia, Pima their second dose of the Moderna vaccine. Many said they lived nearby and since vaccinated only 18 individuals, although County’s medical director, said last month the mobile site required no appointhealth officials had about 300 doses of that county officials are working four Moderna allocated for the event. times as hard for every vaccine delivered, ments, it was easy to get vaccinated
TAKE A SHOT!
after work or school. Lizbeth Bueno and Raul De La Rosa, 39 and 45, said they did not have any doubts about the vaccine, but had waited for a place where they could get easily vaccinated. Bueno, who works at the Guadalajara Original Grill on Prince Road, said her manager informed them the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center would be offering vaccinations, and “many of us came from work.” She also passed on the location to other people she knew, who in turn passed it on to people they knew. While the couple were not hesitant to get vaccinated, they do know people who continue to have concerns about “secondary effects” of the vaccine. Bueno said her friend has concerns about the ability to conceive after vaccination, and De La Rosa said some had concerns about how sick they would be after getting vaccinated. Bueno and De La Rosa both said they would not have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had it been offered to them as their first shot, citing the recent pause of the vaccine as a concern. The vaccine’s distribution was halted as health officials studied a rare side effect involving blood clots in women between the ages of 18 and 49. Even though the CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services has resumed the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, concern about the potential side effects of the vaccine continues to linger. At the Chinese Cultural Center clinic, executive director Susan Chan called out on several occasions, asking if anyone would be willing to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with few takers. Chan said although 200 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses were allocated to the mobile site for the day, only seven people volunteered to take it. But Chan estimated that roughly 500 people at Thursday’s clinic were returning for their second shot of Moderna. Hieu Nguyen, 46, waited in line with his wife to receive his second shot of Moderna and brought along his neighbor to get vaccinated and help translate for him. Nguyen was one of the few who said he would take any vaccine offered to him. “I do not have a preference,” said Nguyen. “Everyone should take it. I would take everything.”
MAY 13, 2021
However Nguyen said his neighbor was not as willing to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For the month of May 2021, the state expected 15,800 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Despite the hesitancy regarding J&J and the concern of vaccine wastage, Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said vaccines like Moderna and J&J are better suited for mobile sites as they have a longer storage time frame and come in smaller multidose vials than Pfizer. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be stored in a regular refrigerator for up to three months, according to the CDC. Christ said as a woman between the age of 18 to 49, she would take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had it been offered to her as her first and only dose. “I would get the Johnson & Johnson if that was the vaccine administered, or offered to me, and I was unvaccinated,” Christ said during a recent press briefing. “I’m not one that wins the lottery. It’s a really, really small risk, and I would recommend getting the Johnson & Johnson.” She would also recommend the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to her patients. “I would advise a patient of mine: ‘You’re at higher risk for getting blood clots if you get COVID-19, than you are from getting a blood clot from this vaccine,’” said Christ. “Hearing those types of facts from your healthcare provider who is actively encouraging you to get vaccinated.” Christ believes allowing more local doctors and healthcare providers the chance to offer vaccines will be a “big help” in addressing vaccine hesitancy. This month, the state began allowing providers registered with ADHS to order vaccines directly from the CDC without needing an allocation from a county health department. Almost 1,200 providers statewide are set up to order vaccines through ADHS. Some providers may have already received a vaccine allocation from their local health departments, but the change would make others eligible to receive vaccines for the first time. Each registered provider will be able to order up to 200 doses of Moderna during a two-week period, but larger orders would be permitted for special events. “Based on our community listening sessions, people indicated that a recommendation from their healthcare provider would be one of the things that would
GRAPHIC COURTESY ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
New daily COVID cases in Arizona have plateaued since March.
drive them to get vaccinated. So they trusted their health care provider and then those that they personally knew who had already gotten the vaccine,” said Christ. “We do believe that if somebody is there on their annual checkup and it is recommended by their healthcare provider and that healthcare provider can answer questions that that individual may have about: How safe is the vaccine? What would the side effects be? What are the risks associated with it? A lot of people have very specific medical conditions that they want to know how the vaccine is going to impact that or how COVID is going to impact that.” Christ hopes the greater accessibility of vaccines would mean the state gets closer to herd immunity by the end of summer. However, reaching herd immunity requires vaccinating children under 18, who make up more than a quarter of Arizonans. Until a few days ago, the Pfizer vaccine was the only vaccine authorized for use on those 16 and older; earlier this week, the FDA granted emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 years and above. Christ estimated that would make another 320,000 to 400,000 Arizonans eligible for vaccination and improve the sprint toward herd immunity. Christ said vaccines are the best tool to avoid another surge in cases as other states are seeing. “Hopefully we’re on a plateau,” Christ said. “That may increase, (we) may have
more cases, but people aren’t necessarily being hospitalized and dying from it. But we still could be facing another surge and that’s what we’re watching for every day.” AS THE RATE OF VACCINE administration declines in the state, the number of COVID-19 cases have essentially plateaued since late March. While more than 42% percent of Arizonans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, May 10, the rate of infection was on a slight rise until the week ending May 2, when cases dropped for the first time since the week ending March 21, according to Dr. Joe Gerald, an epidemiologist and professor in the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health who has been tracking the virus for more than a year. Gerald reported that with 4,946 people tested positive in the week ending May 2, meaning that 68 Arizonans per 100,000 residents tested positive. The state hit a low of 38 cases per 100,000 people on Sept. 8, 2020, between the summer and winter waves, and a low of 54 cases per 100,000 people on March 23 following the winter wave, with cases on the rise since then. “Case rates will likely remain ‘stuck’ above the threshold differentiating substantial and moderate risk, 50 cases per 100K residents per week, for the next four to six week owning to more
transmissible variants and continued normalization of behaviors,” Gerald wrote in a May 7 report summarizing the latest status of the virus. Gerald noted that Arizona’s seniors now have the lowest rate of infections, at 26 per 100,000 among residents 65 and older, while the highest rate is among people 15 to 24 years old at 111 per 100,000. He added that officials estimated 73 people died after contracting COVID in the week ending March 28, making it the first week with fewer than 100 deaths since October. The week ending Oct. 4 saw the fewest number of deaths related to COVID between the summer and winter surges, with 51 deaths. But the number of Arizonans who have been hospitalized since Jan. 11, when Arizona hit a peak of both general admission and ICU beds. A total of 1,183 ICU beds were in use, compared to 457 in use by non-COVID patients, and only 8% percent of ICU beds available were available on that day. From early December to the end of January, Arizona had fewer than 10% of ICU beds available. Since then, ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients declined, and from about mid-March to the end of April stayed at around 10%, increasing by 1% through April into May. Phillip Bullington, 31, a doctoral student in the UA’s Nurse Anesthesia program, volunteered at a recent vaccination event. He worked as a nurse prior to beginning his doctoral project and has experience dealing with people who are severely ill, but what he experienced as a student registered nurse anesthetist in the ICU during the pandemic was beyond his expectations. “We never really expected the way everything happened and then it just got crazy,” recalled Bullington. “Where there’s people on ventilators just taking up all the ICUs. We’re turning other floors into ICUs and we’re running out of places for patients to go. And then they would get sick, but they were healthy enough that they would still live for a while, but they weren’t getting better. So just a pile of people who would get more sick and there was nowhere for them to go.” While Bullington says things are better, he thinks the situation could return to how it was during the height of the pandemic. CONTINUED ON PAGE 14
MAY 13, 2021
‘Fight for $15’ ballot initiative gains traction in Tucson By Madison Beal email@example.com FOR MORE THAN TWO MONTHS, organizers with the Tucson Fight for $15 campaign have worked to collect signatures in the hopes of getting a citywide policy initiative on the ballot this November. The initiative seeks to gradually increase Tucson’s minimum wage to $15 by 2025. In addition to increasing wages, the initiative would lead to the implementation of a variety of worker protections, including the creation of a city office of wage enforcement. “The beautiful thing about the citizens’ initiative is it doesn’t really require any politicians to be on board,” said C.J. Boyd, the campaign manager for Tucson Fight for $15. “We do have politicians that are very much in support of our initiative. But it doesn’t require that. It’s about people actually pushing legislation themselves, getting broad support and passing legislation based on people’s needs.” The idea for the campaign originated about a year ago when a collective of local nonprofit organizations known as the Southern Arizona Prosperity Alliance came together to discuss the root causes of poverty in Tucson. The group said they wanted to address the problem head-on through tangible policy rather than just implementing a series of “band-aid” solutions. People from low-income communities in Tucson have consistently struggled to cover their costs while earning the minimum wage. Limited access to affordable housing has been a particularly devastating problem—especially since the onset of the pandemic. And the cost of rent in the city only continues to rise. The price of renting a single-family home in Tucson increased by 9.8% from January 2020 to January 2021, according to a study produced by CoreLogic. “Working for minimum wage is a thing that folks equate to being young and going into the workforce,” said Zaira Livier, the director of People’s Defense Initiative and a member of the steering committee for Tucson Fight for $15. “But what we need to understand is that a lot of the folks who work for minimum wage—or close to minimum wage—are folks who are parents,
who are poor working-class folks who’ve got a couple of jobs going for themselves. And oftentimes they are people of color, particularly women of color.” PDI played a large role in drafting the Tucson Minimum Wage Act in concert with a team of lawyers and other members of SAPA. The group spent a significant amount of time making sure the bill was ready before they filed with the city to officially launch the campaign towards the end of February. “Any time you’re going to do something like this, anything progressive, you should assume you’re going to be met with opposition from the powers that be,” Boyd said. “You know that there’s going to be people who don’t want to pay their employees more and will spend a lot of money to make sure that doesn’t happen.” The group modeled the legislation after Flagstaff’s Minimum Wage Act or Proposition 414—a citizen’s initiative passed by 53.99% of the city’s voters in 2016. The legislation raised the city’s minimum wage gradually from $10 an hour in 2017 to $15 an hour this January. Critics of Prop. 414 argued increasing the minimum wage would put a strain on small businesses and lead to higher unemployment in Flagstaff, but unemployment rates have been generally unaffected by the gradual increases over the years. According to research platform YCharts, the unemployment rate in Flagstaff continued to hover right around 6% even after the minimum wage increased in 2017, 2018 and 2019. A study produced by the National Employment Law Project found there is no correlation between increasing the minimum wage and increased job loss. The study examined historical data related to 22 increases in the federal minimum wage between 1938 and 2009. Its results reveal that increasing the minimum wage more frequently leads to an overall increase in levels of employment. Regarding the impact on small businesses, some small business owners in Flagstaff and other locations throughout the U.S. have expressed a willingness to adjust their prices so they can pay their workers a livable wage. Not only does it help workers cover their daily costs, it can also benefit small businesses.
PHOTO BY MADISON BEAL
Tucson Fight for $15 volunteer Brittany Fitzgerald collects signatures on Fourth Avenue to get the Tucson Minimum Wage Act on the ballot this November. The legislation would gradually increase the minimum wage in Tucson to $15 by 2025.
“I have reached out to small local businesses, and almost universally, they’re supportive because one of the arguments that they make is that retention of employees is equally important,” said Steve Kozachik, the city councilman for Ward 6 in Tucson. “One of the highest costs of doing business, whether you’re a big employer or small, is turnover retraining or recruiting. So being able to retain employees is a big deal to our small local businesses.” The Tucson Minimum Wage Act would gradually increase minimum wage from the state level of $12.15 an hour by starting with an increase to $13 an hour in April 2022. After that, the minimum wage in Tucson would increase incrementally every January until reaching $15 by January 2025. In the years following, the minimum wage would increase based on the inflation rate in Tucson. One of the most important aspects of the legislation would be the implementation of a city office of wage enforcement that would ensure employers cannot steal wages from workers by paying them less than what the law requires, not compensating them for working over-time or incorrectly classifying workers as independent contractors. “We have a federal minimum wage— and we can all debate about whether it’s the right dollar amount, but we have it, it exists—and yet there’s no government agency enforcing it,” said Billy Peard, an attorney who has spent a large part of his career representing low-wage workers. “Part of what we’re doing with this Tucson initiative is to say enough of
that. Too many years have gone by with no enforcement of these laws.” In 2016, voters in Arizona passed the Fair Wages & Healthy Families Act, which resulted a gradual increase in the state minimum wage starting in 2017. It also led to the implementation of a paid sick time requirement for the first time in Arizona’s history. The Tucson Minimum Wage Act would increase Tucson’s minimum wage beyond the state level and ensure more worker protections for those working within city limits. Boyd and a team of volunteers have been collecting signatures throughout the city since the end of February. It’s been a challenge for the volunteers to collect signatures during a pandemic, as movements like Tucson Fight for $15 typically rely on large events to bolster signature collection efforts. The grassroots campaign needs to collect roughly 15,000 signatures from registered voters in Tucson by July 2 for the proposition to make it on the ballot, but their goal is to collect 30,000 before they submit their signatures for review. “I think it’s so important that people understand just how many hours you have to work on this current minimum wage to be able to just cover your most basic expenses,” said Carmen Smith-Estrada, a volunteer with the campaign. “If this bill were to pass, it would really be a step in the right direction for getting people closer to having basic dignity and a better quality of life.” ■ For more information about Tucson Fight for $15 tucsonfightfor15.com
MAY 13, 2021
MAY 13, 2021
by Emily Dieckman
Tubac Center for the Arts Exhibitions. In the mood to get out of town for a bit? The Tubac Center for the Arts is displaying several great collections for just about another week. “Starry Starry Night” is a national juried exhibit with art celebrating the night sky. “Catherine Nash: An Inner Astronomy,” with guest artist Robert Renfrow, is a series of works also inspired by the mystery of the night sky. And Beth Courtright-Detwiller’s exhibit features an interactive dive into the emerging medium of masking tape art. You know road trips and art are both good for the soul. So take advantage. On display through Sunday, May 23, at the Tubac Center for the Arts, 9 Plaza Road in Tubac. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Art In the Eye of a Needle. There’s something really impressive about all of the displays at the Miniatures Museum: little houses only two feet tall, or people the size of your fingers. Colombian artist Flor Carvajal takes things to the next level with her micro-miniature sculptures on the head of pins and in the eyes of sewing needles. All she uses is a magnifying glass, needles, synthetic resin and plenty of good lighting. This is the first time these works will be on display in the United States, and you seriously don’t want to miss it. They’re SO SMALL, and this woman is SO TALENTED. On display through June 27 at the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive. GA is $10.50 and ticket slots are made available starting three weeks in advance. Vanishing Circles. I think you can learn something every time you go to an art gallery. This exhibit is particularly sobering, as each of the animals, plants and habitats pictured in the collection are endangered, threatened or otherwise compromised. The series of paintings and drawings was acquired for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum by the Michael C. and Priscilla V. Baldwin Foundation. It’s strange how sometimes, though we’re surrounded by the beauty of the desert every day, it takes viewing it in an art exhibit to gain a renewed grasp on its beauty and importance. On display May 15 through August 15. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Ironwood Gallery at the Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. Entrance included with museum admission, and tickets must be reserved in advance.
All the Single Ladies: Women Pioneers of the American West. Many depictions of the Wild West include two types of women. There’s the doting farmer’s wife, hair in curls, baby in arms and needlework in hand. And there’s the seductress, who strolls into saloons in sexy black boots and a low-cut dress to “keep the fellas company.” Of course, the experiences of the early pioneer women were far broader than this. Many were married, but some chose to come out West single! This exhibit at the Tucson Desert Art museum tells their stories: the boarding house owners, the teachers, the madams, the entertainers, the Harvey girls. Put your hands up! (as Beyonce would say) and head over to this exhibit. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Closed Sundays through Tuesdays. Tucson Desert Art Museum, 7000 E. Tanque Verde Road. $10 GA.
MAY 13, 2021
about starting. Out with the old, in with the new, right? Or, since this is a vintage market, maybe it’s more like “Out with the old, in with the… better old.” 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 13. 657 W. St. Mary’s Road.
Miss Olivia and the Interlopers at Rendezvous Plaza. They’re back! They’re back! This beloved local band is playing their first live show in… well, in awhile. The gradual return of live music has been a real balm to the soul, and this is one we were particularly looking forward to. They pull from too many influences to be easily classified, Olivia’s voice soars in a way we really don’t deserve, and the bandmembers’ care for each other is tangible. Come rock out with them again this weekend! 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 15. Rendezvous Urban Flats, 20 S. Stone Ave.
Sports Tucson Roadrunners Fan Appreciation Weekend. Ready for a live hockey game? Or willing to try it out if it means leaving the house to get into some air conditioning? This weekend’s Roadrunner games feature increased arena capacity (while still maintaining social distancing and
Beasts and Children
other safety protocols). On Friday, May 14, they take on Ontario Reign at 7 p.m. The two teams face off again at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 16. Tucson Arena, 260 S. Church Ave. $17 to $48.
Shopping May Market. Gather: A Vintage
Market is a monthly antique market with a different theme each time. May’s concept is “Al Fresco,” featuring European doors, motel chairs, outdoor dining inspiration and much more. It’s a delightful opportunity to find some one-of-a-kind goodies and reward yourself for the spring cleaning you’ve been doing, or have been thinking
Summer Safari Nights. Summer Safari Nights at the Reid Park Zoo starts this weekend, and thank goodness. It’s such a pleasure to spend the evenings outdoors among the animals and live music from local bands. There are plenty of games, wildlife activities, and even carousel rides for the kids. For the adults, there’s plenty of craft beer, prickly pear margaritas, wine and White Claws. This week’s theme is Super Heroes and Animal Super Powers. You’ll get to lean all about the super hearing of African wild dogs, the highpowered noses of the bear snout and the mega strength of elephants. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15. Reid Park Zoo, 300 Zoo Court. $10.50 GA, $8.50 seniors, $6.50 children ages 2 to 14. ■
MAY 13, 2021
TAKE A SHOT!
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“It could always still go back the way it was,” said Bullington. “With the new variants, I don’t think there’s any reason that it’s completely over.” For Bullington, getting vaccinated is the “safest course of action.” “It’s not a live virus, you can’t get the virus from it. So it’s better to be safe to be vaccinated than to take the risk of getting it or giving it to your family or your grandparents or your kids,” Bullington said. Bullington volunteered to assist with vaccinations at a clinic run by the UA College of Nursing faculty. Led by UA clinical assistant professor and program administrator of the Nurse Anesthesia Specialty Kristie Hoch, volunteer certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) administered vaccines to people at the drive-thru. For around 150 years, CRNAs have been ensuring the comfort of their patients, normally preparing patients for anesthesia before surgical procedures, said Hoch. “We ensure patients are safe and comfortable during their anesthesia and this piece for us is part of ensuring our community is safe,” said Hoch, referring to vaccinations as part of that work. Since the onset of the pandemic, CRNAs have found themselves outside of the operating room. “We’ve been called to take care of patients who are acutely and chronically ill with COVID,” said Clinical Assistant Professor at the College of Nursing Charles Elam, who said he along with his partner were consulted to manage acutely ill COVID patients in Green Valley. They were tasked to install central lines, big IVs that go into the neck or chest, or arterial lines that go into the artery as well as managing ventilators and sedation for patients.
“This was above and beyond what we typically do, but because we are airway experts we were called upon and stepped up to do what we needed to do,” said Hoch. Hoch, who is also a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, said the event not only serves the community, but also honors the memory of her family members who passed away due to COVID-19. “My father-in-law and brother-in-law both passed away due to COVID-19 at the beginning of this year. To me, playing a role in the vaccine rollout is my way of honoring their memory and ensuring others do not suffer their fate,” said Hoch. “It’s heartwarming to see my students joining the effort. As ICU practicing nurses, they’ve seen the effects of COVID from the frontlines, and share my passion for putting an end to the pandemic.” Not only CRNAs but even physical therapists got caught in the eye of the pandemic. Physical therapist Piper Daulton worked around 64 hours a week in packed ICU COVID units at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. Daulton, who works in the Trauma and Surgical ICU normally providing physical therapy to people who’ve had car accidents or received spinal surgery, volunteered for the Prone Team last April. The Prone Team, a hodgepodge of different disciplines, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and techs, came together to work specifically in the COVID ICU to turn patients on to their stomachs in order for them to breathe better, said Daulton. She explains how they would turn intubated patients onto their stomachs for eight hours then every two hours would turn their head and arms to prevent pressure sores. Unlike other physical therapist colleagues, Daulton is a young, healthy 28-year-old, with no children, and no comorbidities (which would make it more likely for someone to be severely ill from COVID-19), so she felt she could volunteer to work in the COVID Unit. “Not to say by any means, had I contracted COVID it wouldn’t affect me or I wouldn’t have lasting effects from it. Not at all, but it was just something, kind of a risk that I took, because I wanted to help these patients,” said Daulton. She remembers a particular COVID patient, a “younger gentleman,” who passed away while on his stomach. His wife was able to arrive in time to say her last goodbyes, then they had to flip him onto his back when he was deceased. “I’ll never forget that. It’s something that I’m happy that I was able to do, just to kind of put life into perspective, and to be with that gentleman and his last moments and for that family, but definitely that’s kind of weighed heavy on me. It’s hard to talk about. It’s hard to think about,” said Daulton. “No amount of schooling can prepare anybody for what us healthcare workers have gone through over the last year and a half.” On July 2, in the midst of the pandemic, Daulton’s
Upcoming Vaccination Clinics May 15-17, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. • Rillito Race Track, 4502 N. First Ave. • Curtis Park, 2110 W. Curtis Road Saturday, May 15 • Our Lady of Fatima Parish, 1950 Irvington Place, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Moderna • Dunbar Pavilion, 325 W. 2nd St., 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Moderna • Robles Ranch Community Center, 16150 W. Ajo Way, Robles Junction, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Moderna, Johnson & Johnson Sunday, May 16 • Sacred Heart Church, 601 E. Fort Lowell Road, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Moderna
grandmother unexpectedly passed away from leukemia. Since then, Daulton wears a silver necklace with angel wings, a birthday gift her grandmother gave her. The necklace helped her get through the last year. “Since July 2 I’ve had it on, and it just gives me some hope and peace knowing that she’s proud of me,” said Daulton. “She was a woman of faith and integrity and of science. She couldn’t wait to get the vaccine.” Daulton is one of several Banner Health frontline medical workers featured in “The Things They Carry,” a visual project highlighting them and the personal items they carry to cope during the pandemic, which launched on Sunday. Inspired by Tim O’Brien’s book, The Things They Carried, about soldiers in the Vietnam War and the unique things they carried during combat, the project will showcase a series of portraits, video interviews and emotional stories on social media during National Hospital Week, which runs Sunday, May 9, through May 15. Others featured are ICU nurse Craig Rufener, whose silver Buddhist prayer ring etched with 82 microscopic words helped him endure grueling overnight shifts, and patient transporter Steve Stanek, who creates bracelets from guitar strings and gives them to patients having a tough day. Daulton hopes people will get vaccinated, and said she convinced her elderly neighbors as well. She told them, “‘I can guarantee you, you will want to get this vaccine, as opposed to me having to turn you over onto your belly in the ICU,’ and that kind of resonated with them. I was like please get it. If not for me, get it for your daughter, get it for your 3-year-old grandson that you watch every week.” Daulton hopes people will be able to put politics aside to come together and “listen to the doctors, listen to the science, get your vaccine and stay healthy.” ■
going to be tougher to reach and that’s why you need community organizations that are funded to do that work.” Initial response strong to special Affordable Care Act open enrollment Coombs said the reinvigorated navigators program will promote outreach and education for people who may not coverage through the Marketplace by By Jacob Holter/Cronkite News even realize they are eligible for low- or increasing eligibility for financial assisno-cost premiums under Obamacare. tance to help pay for Marketplace cover“Right now, so many folks can qualify age,” according to CMS. It estimates that for zero-dollar premium plans or $50 OPEN IT, AND THEY WILL COME. four in five people who enroll through premium plans and many folks are not A special open enrollment period healthcare.gov will end up paying less aware of that, so there’s a mass marketfor Affordable Care Act coverage drew than $10 a month in premiums after their ing campaign accompanying actual 528,005 new enrollees nationwide in tax credits are applied. assisters in enrolling folks,” she said. its first six weeks, with 9,569 of those Coombs said the subsidies “will make consumers in Arizona, according to a COOMBS HAS FIRST-HAND report from the Centers for Medicare and a huge difference to people’s pockets, and in people’s decision-making in getexperience with coverage under the act. Medicaid Services. ting coverage.” “Before the ACA, I had to pay for birth Enrollment from Feb. 15 to March 31 control and I remember the first time I was two to three times higher than the same period in previous years, although THE KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION went to CVS, and I was thinking I would estimated that 11.4 million Americans pay my regular copay. And when that spring enrollment then was available have insurance through a state or fedlaw was enacted, they were like, ‘Oh no, only to those with qualifying life events like a birth or job change. But advocates erally run marketplace under the ACA, it’s free,’ and that means a lot,” she said. also known as Obamacare. In Arizona, “That makes a huge difference for were encouraged by the numbers from 153,020 people were insured through someone who those $10, $15, $20 co-pays this spring, which they said show the the marketplace last year. means their next meal, means their underlying demand for coverage. The number of uninsured hit historaccess to transportation to go to work,” “I think that largely shows that ic lows in 2016, but have been rising Coombs said. “Little things like that people need coverage, and having a steadily since then, according to Census have made all the difference.” special enrollment period extended Bureau data. It said the percentage of While they welcome the progress during a pandemic is exactly the kind people without insurance in the U.S. in the current open enrollment periof policies that we need,” said Sarah rose from 8.6% in 2016 to 9.2% in 2019, od and under the American Rescue Coombs, director for health system transformation at the National Partner- while the rate in Arizona grew from 10% Plan, Coombs and Packard are already to 11.3% in the same period. looking forward to more relief from the ship for Women and Families. Coombs thinks that because of the Biden administration. The American President Joe Biden ordered the speAmerican Rescue Plan, enrollment will Families Plan that Biden introduced cial open enrollment period just days continue to increase, since more people in a speech to Congress last week after his inauguration in January, to are now eligible for these subsidies. includes a provision that would make counter what the White House called HHS also announced last week that premium reductions in the American “four years of attempts to strip health it plans to make $80 million available Rescue Plan permanent. care from millions of Americans” for ACA “navigators,” or specialists who “What we’re going to advocate for, during the Trump administration. especially in the next recovery package, Biden originally called for the open en- can help guide consumers through the insurance marketplace as they look for is that we actually make those provirollment to run from Feb. 15 to March plans. That funding had been steadily sions, if not permanent, last at least for 15, but that was later extended to Aug. the next 10 years,” Coombs said. “We’ve 15 by Health and Human Services Sec- reduced under the Trump administration, from $63 million in 2016 to $10 seen what making coverage more afretary Xavier Becerra. million last year, the department said. fordable does. It increases enrollment, it Since the special enrollment period The navigator grants will not go into increases more access, and coverage is started, Congress approved the admineffect until the next open enrollment the first critical step to accessing care.” istration’s $1.9 trillion American Resperiod, but will make a huge differPackard echoed that sentiment. cue Plan, which includes funding that ence once they do, according to Laura “These need to become permanent. will lower health insurance premiums Packard, the executive director of Get These are deficits in the original through tax credits for people who buy Affordable Care Act that were never their insurance through the ACA’s feder- America Covered. “If you have somebody that is workable to be fixed because we never had al marketplace. That includes consumers ing multiple part-time jobs, they are the votes,” she said of the changes in who enrolled in 2020, but can use the open enrollment period to see if they can going to be harder to schedule and they the American Rescue Plan. “There was are going to be hard to talk to … people never a majority in the House and the get a lower premium. Senate and a president willing to sign Effective April 1, the American Rescue who English isn’t their first language,” Packard said. “There are all these popit, from 2010 when it was signed into Plan provides “major improvements ulations of uninsured people that are law until now.” ■ in access to and affordability of health
MAY 13, 2021
IT TAKES A COUNTY
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“We need transparency, we need accountability and we need public involvement. There was no public involvement in this instance,” said Bronson. “It has every aspect of earmarking, which concerns me. I mean that’s what Congress does, their pet projects. That’s not who we are. We need to include the entire region, and give everybody an opportunity to be able to comment, and express their views, and we did not do that today.” She noted the internal discussions between school districts and the county, requesting a more than oneyear commitment in order to create more classes. Fyffe said because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, school districts would “like to start off with a lot more new classes, preschool classes, but are reluctant to do that straight off the bat.” Further, Christy and Bronson said they would have liked to see more private sector commitment. Fyffe said that since Feb. 16, the county had conducted “extensive outreach” with school districts as well as with Preschool Promise, the initial advocates for funding early education programs. That coalition included representatives from the private and public sectors, as well as preschool providers, parents and other agencies. During the meeting, Fyffe said the Tucson Metro Chamber proposed a survey of businesses to identify employee child care needs and identify creative solutions for businesses to support their employees’ child care needs. But she said the county faced a “chicken or the egg” issue, whereby partners wanted to first see the details of the first-year plan before committing to funding or support. “Until the county decided to go forward and the partners could see exactly what the plan would look like,” said Fyffe. “It’s a little bit easier to fundraise for a plan when you have something to show.” ■
MAY 13, 2021
Liminal by Keith Allen Dennis Available for purchase and streaming KeithAllenDennis.bandcamp.com or OldBisbeeRecords.com Album release show Monterey Court, 505 W. Miracle Mile 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, May 20. Free.
The most overtly timely song on the album, it’s also the most familiar for fans of Arizona folk/rock. This style changes on the erratic song “Wikiup,” which features a jerking central melody, percussion of handclaps and clacking background instruments, and some of Dennis’ wildest vocals on the PHOTO BY ZOYA GREENE album—a fitting style for a song named after raggedy brushwood huts. But after the energetic opening songs, Liminal transitions into a more mellow Keith Allen Dennis commemorates the transitional nature of Southern Arizona on new album and lush direction. Rather than commenting on current politics and the “border militarized zone,” Dennis reflects on nature and the stories filling the land By Jeff Gardner But despite this, Liminal makes room firstname.lastname@example.org for quiet reflection, and even a bona fide around him. “There’s ‘Haunted,’ which is about the love ballad. paranormal, ghost-tour industry you BISBEE IS LOCATED ROUGHLY “You know Bisbee is my home, it’s find in so many of these little mining 10 miles from the Mexican border, but where I really hit my stride as a human towns like Bisbee, or Jerome,” Dennis a stroll through its colorful architecture being, in my ‘Jesus year’ of 33. I was and storied downtown proves the city is couch surfing in Tucson before I snagged said. “Towns built in that dreamtime of ‘American greatness’ when the empire influenced by much more than governa job here, basically homeless and it’s was ascendant, and now the places where mental transitions. On his latest album been a long, slow climb out of all that,” tourists and TV crews go to engage in Liminal, musician Keith Allen Dennis Dennis said. “In my own little world this sort of pop-necromancy trying to traces the transitional nature of Bisbee’s I live in, the Mule Mountains are the catch a glimpse through the veil separathistory, culture, spirituality—and yes, omphalos, the place where heaven and ing living and dead, and doing it in these geography—in a musical style he calls earth meet, and so much of my music is “mystic blues.” about the heavens. But you know heaven small mining towns which usually carry The musical style, with influence from implies earth, which implies heaven, etc. the whiff of the semi-abandoned ‘ghost folk and psychedelia, stems from a lyrical They’re one of those binaries, there’s that town’ in their architecture and their declining populations—again, a place where emphasis on the metaphysical, periods boundary between the two, and to cross of “creative illness” and a healthy dose of it you gotta go to the ‘high places’ where the loss or change in status is literally part of the landscape.” experimentation—all held together with a they touch.” The central track, “Eventide,” is a 12-string blues playing style inspired by One such “high place” is featured gorgeous representation of day to night— Delta greats. on the album’s cover art: the iconic “B again with the transitions—with a steady Dennis began writing the songs for Mountain” that rises above the city’s frame drum beat, subtle shakers, and a Liminal in 2015, concurrent with a grow- main drag. The mountain is even feaing interest in spirituality and rumblings tured on the cover of his previous album, warm slide string guitar backing. Anyone who’s spent a dusk in the Sonoran of political change on the horizon. The also titled Mystic Blues. Desert should be able to hear the purples album’s conception continued into 2020, Liminal opens with “Twilight Zone,” a and oranges flowing from this romantic so there are references to quarantine, blues song in the grooving desert style but it is far from one-note. Dennis and that sees Dennis reflecting on quarantine song that finds beauty on both sides of a fellow Bisbee musician Stuart Oliver and political division, singing how left is division. “It is in those in-between spaces, those began recording the album in February right and black is white, all while mixing liminal spaces, where the divine comes 2020 as global upheaval neared its apex. red pills and blue bills into purple lines.
into manifestation. So maybe dividing everything up is Jehovah’s way of giving himself some breathing room to actually do what he does—and since there’s no pantheon, no ‘division of labor’ in monotheism, well, Jehovah wears all the hats: wrathful judge, merciful redeemer and trickster. For us mortals though, it gives us a chance to do the ‘great work’ of healing and reconciling those divisions,” Dennis said. “I think it was T-Bone Burnett that said all songwriting comes down to mommy issues or daddy issues, and the ‘Heretic’s Song’ definitely falls in the latter camp.” “Heretic’s Song” is a seven-minute folk epic that closes out Liminal, rife with Biblical references, existential ponderings, and some of the most passionate guitarwork on the album. It’s a far cry from the quirkiness of “Wikiup” or the close country harmonies of “Stay With Me,” indicating a true journey across the titular threshold by way of the mystic blues. “In my reckoning, the difference between magic and mysticism is that the former is something that one would do willfully, and the latter is something that happens to you whether you like it or not. And I guess for some people, you know, maniacs and what not, when you go through those changes they can be accompanied by some paranormal episodes, synchronicities popping off all over the place, a dire need to metabolize all the pain into some sort of personal mythology or allegory just to make it make sense and to try to navigate your way back to solid ground. I mean, the root of all myth is trauma, right?” Dennis said. “William Blake said, ‘The fool who persists in his folly will become wise.’ Not gonna lay claim to any great wisdom, but I will say in my case Humpty Dumpty did indeed put himself back together again.” ■
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CULTIVATION COMMUNITY The Guys at Green Lady can help you grow your own By David Abbott email@example.com GROWING YOUR OWN POT can be a rewarding experience, particularly when you consider how much it costs to buy your weed at the local dispensary. But getting started can be difficult, so what better place to learn about the ins and outs of the craft than an established hydroponics shop with a full-blown nursery attached? Green Lady Hydroponics is a locally owned business established in 2017 at the iconic Green Things Nursery, which has been in operation since 1970 serving generations of Tucson gardeners and plant aficionados.
With the legalization of adult-use marijuana and spurred along by the COVID pandemic, Green Things is carving out a niche in the home-growers landscape, with classes and discussion groups creating a community of pot growers who learn from Green Things’ cannabis experts and from each other. “There’s been an unbelievable response and increased demand in the last year and everything kicked in,” says Green Things employee and master grower Tower Crist. “People want to try to grow at home with hydro.” Crist, along with fellow employee Francisco Carmona, have been growing their own for a few years and are both onhand to share their knowledge and teach
the basics of marijuana growing or help experienced growers overcome problems that might arise. “We have a group of people and are creating a community of growers,” Carmona says. “We’ve developed community relationships and have learned from sharing our mistakes.” Carmona adds that there can be a steep learning curve, but once the novice grower gets past that, they have not only acquired a great hobby, but they can also save money in the long-term over what they might spend on recreational or medicinal weed. “Even a medical patient is spending a lot at a dispensary,” he said. “If you smoke one gram a day, you can save thousands of dollars a year if you grow your own.” Carmona and Crist both worked their way up through the company, starting off as cashiers and eventually taking what they learned to the next level. They are master growers who started out with garden vegetables and have applied that knowledge to the craft of cannabis cultivation. Green Lady not only offers hydroponic equipment, but also everything needed for traditional growing as well. For the beginner, Carmona and Crist can help set up a growing kit and “point them in the right direction.” From lights to tents
to growing media, the pair can help determine what is best for any given situation. “To get started you probably need a 4’x4’ tent space for up to three plants,” Crist says. “Depending on your style of growing, you can get started for a few hundred dollars.” Crist says one of the main costs for indoor grows can be lights. Larger light kits can run from $400 to more than $1,000 for a good LED system. A good rule of thumb, though, is that you can get 2 to 2.5 grams per watt. “There’s a steep learning curve and hydro is a lot less forgiving but it can be faster,” Carmona says. “Nothing will ever beat the full spectrum of light from the sun, but with a tent you can grow year-round and you don’t have to worry so much about theft or complaints from the neighbors, since it’s not visible from the outside.” He says that since cannabis is a flowering annual, “if you can grow a tomato plant, you can grow weed.” Since the shop is so busy during the pandemic, classes and groups have been taking place “every other month or so,” but they hope to have a more regular schedule coming soon. They also hope to someday sell seeds and starters if doing so is ever legalized in the state of Arizona. CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
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Tucson, near where River Road turns into Alvernon Way.
“It can get complicated,” Crist says. “But to get started, all you need is hydroponics or a bucket of dirt: There are a lot of different ways to do it.” Carmona says that with their local growing experience, they can also help fine-tune grows for the local climate. “We’re desert grow specialists and can talk about growing in the heat,” he says. In operation since 1970, Green Things Nursery opened Green Lady Hydroponics in 2017 as an extension of the indoor gardening portion of the business, according to owner Jan Westenborg. The locally owned and operated shop has experienced geometric growth over the past few years and the team expects the trajectory to continue as they become Tucson’s one-stop shop for hydroponics, emphasizing maximum efficiency to set up new gardens and/or fine tune customers’ current systems. Classes, workshops and group discussion announcements can be found at Facebook. com/greenladyhydroaz or on Instagram. For more information, call (520) 2091881 or drop in to the west side of Green Things, located at 3235 E. Allen Road, in
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CANNABIS KINGPIN STEVE WHITE SELLS HARVEST. The biggest news in Arizona cannabis this week was Monday’s announcement of the sale of Harvest Health & Recreation—by far the largest marijuana company in Arizona—to Florida’s Trulieve in a deal said to be worth $2.1 billion. Should the deal go through, the resulting conglomeration would be the biggest cannabis company in the U.S. with about 126 dispensaries and operations in 11 states, according to the announcement that came out early on the morning of May 10. Currently, Harvest has 39 operating shops in five states and was the first operator to sell adult-use marijuana when the Arizona Department of Health Services surprised everyone on Jan. 22 by suddenly announcing the opening of legal sales
in the state. “We are thrilled to be joining Trulieve, a company that has achieved unrivaled success and scale in its home state of Florida,” White said in a prepared statement. “As one of the oldest multi-state operators, we believe our track record of identifying and developing attractive market opportunities combined with our recent successful launch of adult use sales in Arizona will add tremendous value to the combined organization as it continues to expand and grow in the coming years.” The new deal with Trulieve includes a $100 million “reciprocal termination fee” should it fall through. Both companies’ boards of directors have approved the deal, but shareholders must now approve it and the deal must also survive regulatory scrutiny. HIGH AND HORNY. I’ll bet our good readers did not know there was such a thing as weed porn, but a recent Cannabis Insider news brief informs us that Canadian cannabis entrepreneur and former Liberal Party official Chuck Rifici is in talks to acquire Pornhub, despite the Canadian government going after the site “after recent [unspecified] controversies.” As it turns out, there are porn sites com-
pletely devoted to “weed porn,” and most of your run-of-the-mill porn aggregation sites have weed sections as well. Research on this one was hard, but as I Googled “Pornhub+cannabis” I came across these gems attributed to Rolling Stone: “The adult entertainment and cannabis industries pair well for a number of reasons. ‘I think porn and weed are sister industries,’ says Kristel Penn, a spokesperson for Emerald Triangle Girls, the only porn company devoted entirely to 420-focused content. ‘Each carries its own stigma, misinformation from the outside, and taboo, although both are multi-billion-dollar industries.’” And this: “Performers’ stage names—like Jenna Sativa, Misty Stone, Allie Haze, and Karla Kush—can speak volumes about their smoking habits, as do their weed-infused social media presence.” You’re welcome. FROM CAPITALISM TO SOCIAL EQUITY. Last week, the Arizona Department of Health Services dropped the draft rules for the social equity program intended to help communities that have been hardest hit by the War on Drugs. The rules can be found at www.azdhs.
MAY 13, 2021
gov and citizens have until May 16 to take a survey and provide feedback. Advocates—as well as the Tucson City Council—have been waiting for the rules to drop to see if the state can create an equitable program that will do more than provide cover for Big Cannabis to acquire 26 additional licenses that will be released once the rules are in place. The City of Tucson is holding off completion of updates to its Unified Development Code Related to Medical and Adult Use Marijuana Dispensaries until it is determined the rules are truly egalitarian and fair to impacted communities. “In Tucson, for the most part, the market consists of small, locally owned business owners, but we also have industry heavyweights that are eyeing Tucson and the state of Arizona with this adult-use issue,” Romero said during an April 6 council meeting where the changes were discussed. “Right now the system is very favorable to industry giants through exorbitant application fees,
and many minority communities simply lack the access to capital that the current system demands.” Southern Arizona NORML, which has closely tracked the myriad aspects of the legalization process, is skeptical that the rules as they are laid out will achieve the stated goals of the program. “Prop 207 clearly states that the social equity program is to promote the ownership and operation of marijuana establishments and marijuana testing facilities by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws,” SOAZNORML president Mike Robinette stated in an email. “Sadly, the draft rules neglect to appropriately define communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws… The draft rules fail in defining who can participate in the social equity program and fall far short of adhering to voter intent regarding Prop 207.” ■
CLEAN LIVING THROUGH CANNABIS
COURTESY SOUTHERN ARIZONA NORML
Southern Arizona NORML volunteers prepare to clean a stretch of Campbell Avenue from Fort Lowell Road to River Road. The cannabis advocacy organization has been cleaning the stretch for more than a year and have finally received the sign honoring their labor. Anyone interested in helping with the cleanup or getting involved in reefer activism can go to https://soaznorml.org or search for the group’s Facebook page.
MAY 13, 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): In one of her poems, Emily Dickinson tells us, “The pedigree of honey / Does not concern the bee; / A clover, any time, to him / Is aristocracy.” I suggest you be like Dickinson’s bee in the coming weeks, my dear Aries. Take pleasure and power where they are offered. Be receptive to just about any resource that satisfies your raw need. Consider the possibility that substitutes and stand-ins may be just as good as the supposed original. OK? Don’t be too fussy about how pure or prestigious anything is. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): A fan once asked composer Johann Sebastian Bach about his creative process. He was so prolific! How did he dream up such a constant flow of new music? Bach told his admirer that the tunes came to him unbidden. When he woke up each morning, they were already announcing themselves in his head. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, Taurus, a comparable phenomenon may very well visit you in the coming weeks—not in the form of music, but as intuitions and insights about your life and your future. Your main job is to be receptive to them, and make sure you remember them. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “I love unmade beds,” writes Gemini poet Shane Koyczan. “I love when people are drunk and crying and cannot be anything but honest. I love the look in people’s eyes when they realize they’re in love. I love the way people look when they first wake up and they’ve forgotten their surroundings. I love when people close their eyes and drift to somewhere in the clouds.” In the coming days, Gemini, I encourage you to specialize in moments like those: when you and the people you’re interested in are candid, unguarded, raw, vulnerable, and primed to go deeper. In my opinion, your soul needs the surprising healing that will come from these experiences. CANCER (June 21-July 22): Trailblazing psychologist C.G. Jung said his loneliness wasn’t about a
lack of people around him. Rather, it came from the fact that he knew things that most people didn’t know and didn’t want to know. He had no possibility of communicating many of the interesting truths that were important to him! But I’m guessing that won’t be much of a problem for you in the coming months. According to my astrological analysis, you’re more likely to be well-listened to and understood than you have been in quite some time. For best results, ASK to be listened to and understood. And think about how you might express yourself in ways that are likely to be interesting and useful to others. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The French government regularly gives the Legion of Honor award to people deemed to have provided exceptional service to the world. Most recipients are deserving, but a few have been decidedly unworthy. In the latter category are Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, as well as drug-cheating athlete Lance Armstrong, sexual predator Harvey Weinstein and Nazi collaborator Marshal Pétain. I bring this to your attention, Leo, because the coming weeks will be a favorable time to reward people who have helped and supported you. But I also suggest that you pointedly exclude those who have too many negatives mixed in with their positives. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In 2010, an American engineer named Edward Pimentel went to Moscow to compete in the World Karaoke Championship. He won by singing Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling in Love.” His award: one million dumplings, enough to last him 27 years. I have a good feeling about the possibility of you, too, collecting a new prize or perk or privilege sometime soon. I just hope it’s a healthier boon than dumplings. For best results, take some time now to clearly define the nature of the prize or perk or privilege that you really want— and that will be truly useful.
SAVAGE LOVE DRAMATIS PERSONAE
By Dan Savage, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m someone who does gay porn for a living. How do people who do gay porn meet someone who doesn’t just sexualize or fetishize them? I can’t eat, sleep, and breathe my work constantly but the guys I meet want me to live out the “porn persona” version of myself all the time. How does someone who does porn know who you can be yourself with? —Aiden Ward @aidenxxxward “Living with two identities is definite-
ly a balancing act,” said Devin Franco, an award-winning gay porn performer. “Being in porn means juggling the ‘real world’ person I actually am—a person who has to navigate rent, healthcare, bills, and a social life—and a porn star alter ego. And these days our porn alter egos don’t just have to perform. We also have to do a lot of our own shooting and our own PR while maintaining our images. It’s a lot. And reality always comes knocking no matter how much fun you’re having. The bills always come due.” Franco’s first bit of advice is to remem-
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I will love it if sometime soon you find or create an opportunity to speak words similar to what novelist D.H. Lawrence once wrote to a lover: “You seem to have knit all things in a piece for me. Things are not separate; they are all in a symphony.” In other words, Libra, I’ll be ecstatic if you experience being in such synergistic communion with an empathic ally that the two of you weave a vision of life that’s vaster and richer than either one of you could summon by yourself. The astrological omens suggest this possibility is now more likely than usual. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Sometimes people don’t like the provocative posts I publish on Facebook. They leave comments like, “You stupid idiot!” or “I hope you commit suicide!” and far worse. When I delete their messages, they become even more enraged, accusing me of censorship. “So you don’t believe in free speech, you jerk?” they complain. I don’t try to reason with them. They don’t deserve any of my time or energy. But if I did communicate with them, I might say, “My Facebook page is my sanctuary, where I welcome cordial conversation. If you came into my house and called me an idiot, would it be ‘censorship’ if I told you to leave?” I hope these thoughts inspire you to clarify and refine your own personal boundaries, Scorpio. It’s a good time to get precise and definite about what’s acceptable and unacceptable from the people with whom you engage. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Have you ever kissed a monster in your nightly dreams? Have you won a chess match with a demon or signed a beneficial contract with a ghost or received a useful blessing from a pest? I highly recommend activities like those in the coming weeks—both while you’re asleep and awake. Now is a good time to at least make peace with challenging influences, and at best come into a new relationship with them that serves you better. I dare you to ask for a gift from an apparent adversary. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): What does it mean to “follow the path with heart”? I invite you to meditate on that question. Here are my ideas.
ber that you are not your alter ego. “It’s a beautiful and sexy part of you that you have the opportunity to show to the world,” said Franco. “But it’s not all of you. That will help you stay grounded.” It also helps to remember that being “porn famous” doesn’t mean everyone knows who you are. “A lot of people you meet will have no idea who you are,” said Franco, “which means a lot of the time you’ll get to choose when you want to introduce yourself as your porn alter ego or when you want to just be yourself. This makes it easier to create boundaries between your real life and your porn life. Knowing you get to decide when or even if you want to introduce yourself as your actual self or as that fantasy version of yourself—your
To follow the path with heart means choosing a destiny that appeals to your feelings as well as to your ambitions and ideas and habits. To follow a path with heart means living a life that fosters your capacity to give and receive love. To follow the path with heart means honoring your deepest intuitions rather than the expectations other people have about you. To follow the path with heart means never comparing your progress with that of anyone else’s, but rather simply focusing on being faithful to your soul’s code. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “It’s a good thing when people are different from your images of them,” wrote Aquarian author Boris Pasternak. “It shows they are not merely a type. If you can’t place them in a category, it means that at least a part of them is what a human being ought to be. They have risen above themselves, they have a grain of immortality.” I love that perspective! I’m offering it to you because right now is a favorable time to show that you are indeed different from the images people have of you; that you transcend all stereotyping; that you are uncategorizable. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You have personal possession of the universe’s most monumental creation: consciousness. This mercurial flash and dazzle whirling around inside you is outlandishly spectacular. You can think thoughts any time you want to—soaring, luminescent, flamboyant thoughts or shriveled, rusty, burrowing thoughts; thoughts that can invent or destroy, corrupt or redeem, bless or curse. There’s more. You can revel and wallow in great oceans of emotion. Whether they are poignant or intoxicating or somewhere in between, you relish the fact that you can harbor so much intensity. You cherish the privilege of commanding such extravagant life force. I bring these thoughts to your attention because the time is right for a holiday I call Celebrate Your Greatest Gifts. ■ Homework. Send testimony or proof of how you’ve seized control of your own life. Truthrooster@gmail.com.
alter ego—means you can control how a lot of people perceive you.” So even if you get as porn famous as Franco is, Aiden, you’ll still have lots of opportunities for people to get to know the real you—not the porn persona—before you tell them what you do for a living. As with so many things (being HIV+, being trans, being kinky, being polyam, etc.), when you tell a guy you do porn, Aiden, you’re telling him one thing he needs to knowabout you—but his reaction will tell you everything you need to know about him. If he starts shaming you about what you do—or if he goes from seeing you as a person who is also an object to seeing you as just an object—that’s really all you need to know: don’t see him, unfollow him, block him.
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At some point in our gay lives every gay man learns not to mess around with a friend’s drunk straight-identified boyfriend. No matter how many dick pics they send us, no matter how much they claim to wanna, when it comes to shit—as it invariably does—the gay guy is gonna get the blame. It’s a lesson most of us learn earlier in life (I was sixteen when I learned it), BLAH, but it’s a lesson most us learn after messing around with the drunk straight-identified boyfriend of a friend. We fuck around, we find out. Anyway, your male former friend obviously wanted to mess around with another dude—he wasn’t sending you dick pics by accident—and the drinks he made were as much about lowering his inhibitions and yours (about cheating with him) as they were giving him some plausible deniability (“Man, I was so drunk last night!”) if the worst should happen. And it did: you fucked around, she found out. But after you guys got caught—which almost everybody does—instead of taking responsibility or coming out as bi or bi-curious or at the very least heteroflexible, BLAH, your former friend weaponized the toxic stereotype of the predatory homosexual against you. It’s understandable that you’re upset. If it’ll make you feel better—and it would certainly make me feel better—you could send screengrabs of the dick pics he sent you to him and his girlfriend. Because if anyone was making passes here, I’m a gay male in his thirties and during the pandemic I stayed with a straight male friend and his girlfriend. He’d it was him. If anyone taking advantage here, it was him. You could send those screengrabs, but you shouldn’t— periodically been flirty with me over the years—sending as wrong as it was of him to weaponize anti-gay steme nude photos and drunkenly telling me that he loved reotype against you, BLAH, using his dick pics against me. When his girlfriend was away visiting family we got drunk together. He bought all the alcohol, he mixed it, and him would also be wrong. And probably a crime under revenge porn statutes. But you have every right to push he served it. During this time we had a series of drunken back against the accusation that you forced yourself on encounters. The first time he took out his cock and asked me if I wanted to play with it. There was some brief licking your former friend—and while you have the receipts and he knows it, BLAH, you shouldn’t produce them. Maybe and he grabbed my hair and finished on my face. He hugged me and rubbed my back after. The next two times just knowing you have them will make you feel better. were less serious, but he took off his shirt and pants. On email@example.com one of those occasions his girlfriend called and he put his Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. clothes back on, took the call, then came back and took his www.savagelovecast.com clothes off again. All three times it happened he was fully engaged and communicating his wants and initiating things. His girlfriend eventually found out about one of the incidents. After a month of drama, he told her everything and they broke up. Shortly after he claimed that I took advantage of him and claimed he was too drunk to give consent! I am not sure what to make of this. First, he is the one that supplied the alcohol and made us both really strong drinks. He also drinks a lot regularly, so his tolerance is much higher than mine, but we drank the same amount and I was much drunker than he was. Third, he continued to hang out with me until his girlfriend found out. I am deeply hurt. I’ve lost of two friends—which I admit that I am partially to blame for. I knew they were together. But I don’t know what to about the accusation that I forced him to be sexual without his consent. I have played events over and over in my mind and I don’t understand how he could say this. He supplied the alcohol, he was an active participant, and when I asked if he really wanted to do this, he said yes. I am not sure if he is gaslighting me or if he honestly remembers things differently. —Boy Lost And Hurt “Now lots of the people who fetishize and sexualize you are your fans—they’re your audience, they’re the ones who pay your bills, and you have to recognize that and you do have to keep them interested,” said Franco, “but you don’t have to give them all of your time and attention. Because at the end of the day, it’s your work and you’ve got other shit to do. You will meet people both in and out of the industry who recognize that you are a real person, with a real life, and who will get to know the real you,” said Franco. “And you’ll sometimes find that some of the people who fetishized you at first don’t anymore once they get to know the real you.” Franco shared your question with CagedJock, another high-profile porn star that Franco works with regularly, and CagedJock shared his strategy for finding guys he can be himself around: “I like to hang out with people who work in the same industry,” said CagedJock, “because they don’t sexualize me. Devin and I have been friends since 2019. He’s super sexy and I adore him. While other guys might only see him only as fantasy figure, I don’t. Because I know our work doesn’t define us 24/7. We’re friends.” Follow Devin Franco on Twitter @devinfrancoxxx and CagedJock @cagedjock.
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By handing over control of the ballots to the half-assed Cyber Ninjas team, Fann has ensured that whatever results come out of this, normal people will always be skeptical of any results that show issues with the election. And if Cyber Ninjas deliver a report with false-but-damning conclusions, the Trumpers will have more “evidence” to further their Big Lie that the election was stolen—which, sadly, somewhere around 70% of Republicans already believe, according to some polling. Sadly, that belief that the election is stolen is giving life to GOP efforts to pass more voter-suppression bills during the current legislative session. They want to throw roadblocks in the path of early voting (which the vast majority of Arizonans now use), find new ways to toss ballots and generally make it harder for Arizonans to cast a vote. Meanwhile, Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich are saying they have no opinion on this whole affair as the Senate is a co-equal branch of government, so lawmakers can do whatever they want. As Secretary of State Katie Hobbs—who now needs a protective squad of state troopers because she’s getting so many death threats as a result of her criticism of this disgraceful comedy—pointed out, Brnovich raced to investigate Sharpiegate, an early conspiracy theory that anti-Trump forces snuck Sharpies into voting booths in an effort to disqualify GOP votes on Election Day. Now Brno is doing a Sgt. Schultz routine in order to keep the GOP base mollified as he ponders whether to run for an open gubernatorial seat in 2022 or take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. It’s a shame that our democracy has been hijacked by a Florida con man. It’s a far bigger shame that Republican elected officials are willing to further its collapse with bogus stupidity like this audit. ■
MAY 13, 2021
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S E V E R
S I T E
A C H E
Carpets cleaned professionally with $30,000 steam machine. Guaranteed 100% satisfaction.
Clean 2 rooms of carpet only $59 Clean 2 rooms tile/grout only $59
Call 520 331-7777 For free estimate orovalleycarpetcleaners.com
For more information visit www.hmsnm.org Or contact: 575-534-0788
B O H R
O L E S O O C C K D E T B E R M O E S R A R Y
•HMS Offers a Positive Team Environment •Competitive Wages and Benefits •National Health Service Corps •(NHSC) Approved Site •Loan Repayment Opportunities •Relocation reimbursement •Generous Paid Time Off (PTO) •401(k) Retirement Plan •Malpractice Insurance Coverage (through FTCA) •Continuing Medical Education (CME) Support
M Y H E R D O R O M N A E V
WANTED TO BUY
Dentist Positions Available in Southwestern New Mexico
A R T I
Banner University Medical Group has an opening for a Psychiatrist to work in Tucson, Arizona. Provides psychiatric care to hospitalized patients. Attends to patient needs through effective diagnosis, treatment, and documentation. Participates in utilization management and care management processes to ensure high-quality, cost-effective delivery of medical care. For full description or to apply, Send resume to Jessica. Bodzioch@psychiatry. arizona.edu, Reference # SJ2021. HEALTHCARE TRAIN ONLINE TO DO MEDICAL BILLING! Become a Medical Office Professional online at CTI! Get Trained, Certified & ready to work in months! Call 866-459-5480. (M-F 8am-6pm ET) (AzCAN)
HANDYMAN I Buy Record Collections Large or Small. Rock, Jazz, Blues, Soundtracks etc. $Cash$ and I will come to you. Call 520-389-8668 (Text only) 559-355-5935 Local Company
Announcements NETWORK ADS BATH & SHOWER UPDATES in as little as ONE DAY! Affordable prices - No payments for 18 months! Lifetime warranty & professional installs. Senior & Military Discounts available. Call: 888-709-0796 (AzCAN) LONG DISTANCE MOVING: White-Glove Service from America’s Top Movers. Fully insured and bonded. Let us take the stress out of your out of state move. FREE QUOTES! Call: 877-706-1204 (AzCAN)
I BUY VINYL RECORDS CASH PAID $$$ Are your records gathering dust for years in boxes? Inherited records that you’ll never use? Win a storage unit & have lots of albums you want to flip quickly? Please call. I own a record store locally & pay fairly in cash. (520) 900-1392.
Never Pay For Covered Home Repairs Again! Complete Care Home Warranty COVERS ALL MAJOR SYSTEMS AND APPLIANCES. 30 DAY RISK FREE. $200.00 OFF 2 FREE Months! 1-877-565-0239 (AzCAN)
oooooooooo Handyman Service
Doors* Drywall* Painting Roof Repair/Coating* Hauling Coolers* Odd Repairs Minor Plumbing/Electrical* BBB Member. Visa & MasterCard accepted. Not a licensed Contractor.
MAY 13, 2021
We Buy Oxygen Sensors, Starters, AC Pumps, Alternators, Radiators, Complete Cars & Trucks
For ALL unwanted Cars, Trucks & SUVs Now buying Catalytic converters
Call or text anytime for quote FREE PROFESSIONAL REMOVAL
New, Old, Running, or not!
Tucson and surrounding areas
Hidden addresses, for short 5 City in the Rio Grande Valley with a historic namesake 10 Hard ball? 14 Island where it once rained for 331 days straight 15 Emerald is a variety of it 16 Source of a purple puree 17 Weary boater’s welcome sight? 20 Airer of political parodies, briefly 21 Prominent focus for a navel-gazer? 22 A pup is a young one 23 Student ___ 25 Flying monsters in Dungeons & Dragons 27 Cry on arriving for a boating trip? 31 “___ queen!” (slangy affirmative) 34 Deep-pocketed 35 Title for the entitled, maybe 36 Bring down by coup, e.g. 38 Input 40 Big gobbler 42 “Adam Ruins Everything” airer 43 Like idols 45 Grab hold of 47 Big meanie 48 Drink originally called “blanc-cassis” 1
Top $$ For Catalytic Converters
retire from boating? 52 Victor who wrote “Odes et Ballades” 53 Having no application 54 When Tatum O’Neal won her Oscar 57 Second staff in many an orchestral score 60 Org. concerned with air bags? 63 Boaters, collectively? 66 Meanspirited 67 Look upon with disgust 68 Galactic conquerors of film 69 Deployed, as a sailor 70 Spoiling one’s attendance record, say 71 Verbal equivalent to a nod of the head
DOWN Fashion accessories that shed 2 Boss of a bo’s’n 3 Minor performer? 4 Sic legal on 5 “Who we are” page 6 Spring time 7 Beginning of the Constitution: Abbr. 8 “You saved me!” 9 Flamenco shout 10 “A snail can sleep for up to three years” and others 11 Rapper with a hyphenated name 12 All there 13 Category 1
Wins undeservedly over Power point? 24 Upper atmosphere, with “the” 26 Paxil may alleviate it, in brief 27 Exact 28 Language written in the Devanagari script 29 Hardest part of a date 30 Futuristic delivery device 31 Encouraging words 32 Dino : the Flintstones :: ___ : the Jetsons 33 Cut off 37 Bit of publicity 39 The customer’s right, at times 18
Dallas N.B.A. player, in brief 44 A pup is a young one 46 Enjoy oneself festively 50 iRobot product 51 ___ Klebb, Bond villain in “From Russia With Love” 52 2003 #1 Outkast hit 54 Watery shade 55 Barge haulers 56 That’s some story 58 Physics Nobelist who developed an early model of the atom 59 Psalm starter 61 Wikipedia, e.g. 62 Belly trouble 64 Take in 65 Inflation fig. 41
MAY 13, 2021
MEDICAL MARIJUANA EVALUATION CENTER
Save Money on Taxes! Get Legal Today!
Medical Card Holder Benefits • • • • •
18+ Up to 2.5 Ounces of concentrate* Up to 2.5 ounces of flower* No potency limit on edibles HIPAA/Legal Protections to your rights
Recreational Disadvantages • • • • • •
21+ No more than 10mg per serving on edibles No more than 100mg per package of edibles Limit 5 grams of Concentrate 24.5% tax on all purchases No Protections
TELEMEDICINE CERTIFICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE! GET LEGAL TODAY! *MUST HAVE CURRENT MEDICAL RECORDS FOR MONTHLY SPECIAL
ALL MONTH LONG! **excludes State fee.
WALK-INS WELCOME: OPEN MON-FRI UNTIL 6PM, SAT UNTIL 4PM
• Receive A Voucher With Every Certification! • Choice of 1 Free 150mg Gummies or Syrup from Baked Bros.
4120 E SPEEDWAY, TUCSON, AZ 85712
Voted #1 in the Cannabis Bowl