Tucson is at a crossroads, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said in his State of the City speech.
The city can choose to languish in the past or it can choose to build on its recent success and transition onto a path to prosperity.
Rothschild touted his vision for Tucson in front of hundreds of community members at the Tucson Convention Center.
Revitalizing downtown, helping house almost 500 homeless veterans and fixing the city’s crumbling streets are evidence that good things can happen when the public and private sectors work together, Rothschild said.
But more needs to be done if Tucson wants to emerge from the economic doldrums, he added.
To get there, Rothschild said, Tucson needs to replace the antiquated Five C’s with a new mantra: Five T’s — technology, trade, tourism, teaching and transportation.
“The Five T’s build on our strengths, who we are and who we can become,” Rothschild said.
So how can the five T’s improve Tucson?
• Technology: Continue investing in entrepreneurs who dabble in technology, which can lead high-paying-job growth. Also, the city must preserve the top jobs already here and support measures to keep Davis-Monthan and the Air National Guard from leaving.
• Trade: Bolster ties Tucson already has with Mexico by opening trade offices in Obregon and Hermosillo, and eventually Mexico City, and expanding direct flights to Mexico. Rothschild pointed to a Mexican sugar company, Zucarmex, signing a lease with the Port of Tucson that will create up to 50 jobs as evidence that building bridges, not tearing them down with bills like SB 1070, can lead to economic gains.
• Transportation: Saying a strong infrastructure begets a strong economy, Rothschild called for building out of Interstate 10, Interstate 19 and Arizona 189. “These are near-term strategic investments that we can accomplish now,” he said.
• Tourism: Work with groups such as Visit Tucson to promote the region.
• Teaching: Businesses won’t relocate if a school system is a shambles. He said the state Legislature has starved schools of funding, and now Arizona ranks last in the nation in education spending. He asked everyone to demand the Legislature open the purse strings and adequately fund education.
continue reading the Arizona Daily Star article by Darren DeRonco