Incumbents Win Re-election, TCFC Looking to the Future

Incumbents Win Re-election, TCFC Looking to the Future

TCFC Leadership congratulates all of the candidates, volunteers and participants that worked hard in the 2023 City of Tucson election

Every incumbent including Mayor Regina Romero and Council Members Paul Cunningham, Lane Santa Cruz and Nikki Lee were re-elected. We congratulate them on their victories and once again, want to extend our hand in partnering together to make Tucson a better place for all. 

Running for office demonstrates the best and strength in keeping America the strongest democracy in-the-world.

Now there is much work to be done to get Tucson on track to becoming a safer, more prosperous city for all.

Mayor Romero put it perfectly: “When the opponents talk about Tucson being dirty and full of crime and homelessness, I know Tucsonans know the quality of work that we’re doing. They pay attention to what we do and not what they say.”

To Mayor Romero- the reality is exactly as you put it, Tucson is “dirty and full of crime and homelessness” and it has not gotten better in the past 4 years. 

32% of registered voters voted and only 14% voted for Mayor Romero. The result is hardly a strong mandate for the Mayor and council members to double down on failed policies.

It is disappointing that 70% of the voters do not feel it necessary to make their vote count by taking the time to mail-in the ballot sent directly to their home or drop it off at a polling place.  We know that people care, apparently not enough. 

Change can't happen unless people take the time to vote, a right that our fathers, and ancestors died for protecting our democracy. 

Tucson Crime Free Coalition Looking to Future

As TCFC enters its second year, we have taken steps to become a 501c(4) which we believe will help us take our Coalition to a broader level. TCFC is working on longer term solutions, including legislation at the state level. In the near future TCFC will be unveiling our longer term goals and strategies.

In the short term, we are advocating strongly for the City of Tucson to do two things:

1. Replicate the signage on City medians that TCFC successfully had placed on County medians to curtail panhandling. TPD needs to enforce the current City of Tucson ordinance that prohibits panhandling from medians.  You will notice it works!  You don't see panhandlers on medians with these signs.

2. The City of Tucson must make the bus system safe for drivers, riders and the community at large, while maintaining financial fare relief for riders that qualify and return fares for riders that do not.

Read more on these topics below:

1. No Panhandling Signage in Pima County - plans to expand into City. Tucson is a very generous and giving community, we must educate people to the fact that giving $5 to an individual panhandling on a median, likely just bought them 10 fentanyl pills. This is the opposite of helping, it is in fact enabling.  It's better to donate to agencies that help people in need where they can get services. In addition, it is against the law.

Here is the current City of Tucson Ordinance that is not being enforced:

Sec. 20-501. Prohibited conduct.

No person shall stand upon or otherwise occupy a street or highway and solicit or attempt to solicit employment, business, contributions, donations or sales of any kind from the occupant of any vehicle. For the purposes of this section, "street" or "highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way, including traffic medians, if a part of the way is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

(Ord. No. 9058, § 1, 5-18-98; Ord. No. 9479, § 2, 10-23-00)

"The Mayor and Council can pass, amend or otherwise nullify Ordinances. With regard to the Tucson Code and specifically "Section 20-501. Prohibited Conduct," this remains in the Tucson Code and has not been amended (since 10/23/2000) or nullified.

2. TCFC will continue to expose the Crime on the Sun Tran bus system that our elected leaders were/are trying to hide.  We support restoring fares to public transit with reduced or no fare for those that qualify.  Currently our busses are used as a tool in organized retail theft as well as the movement of crime around our community. Drivers and riders are put in hostile and dangerous conditions where public drug use is common, as are assaults, stabbings and at least one shooting. Let us not forget that many of our riders are also school age children. 

Mayor Romero and Council want take $9M+ every year to fund fare-free transit we don't need that should instead be used for public safety including hiring more TPD officers that are now not able to respond to our 911 calls because they have defunded TPD.

TCFC obtained an internal Sun Tran report showing that Sun Tran is bleeding more money than is being reported.  Since Regina Romero was elected Mayor in 2019, Sun Tran has increased its security budget from $306,371 in 2019 to $1,033,905 in 2023!

Here are the Sun Tran security spending by year:

2019 - $306,371
2020 - $644,787
2021 - $649,373
2022 - $797,064
2023 - $1,033,905

Total: 3,431,501 

(Just for security that isn't working)

TCFC will continue to advocate for a safer community for all and hold our elected officials accountable for any decisions that they make that is contrary to our mission statement.


  • Anita

    @Emily – I Think you are on the right Track for Transit Officers on Every Bus if Mayor and Council insist on keeping it free so anyone can wander on the bus with no protections. From KVOA Channel 4: From the KVOA article: 10% of Sun Tran Drivers have been assaulted since 2021. KVOA tries to minimize the assaults on drivers. If I was a driver I would be angry anyone is trying to minimize my attack while simply trying to do my job. From KVOA: "City data indicates that 90% of Sun Tran operators have not been assaulted since 2021. Bus rider April Clark shared what she has witnessed, “A lot of people get on the bus and go to the back and smoke blues, and I don’t like it. For one, it makes me sick, and bus drivers miss that, and that’s how fights break out.” While Clark feels generally safe riding the bus, she believes the city can do a better job. “Transit officers, that might help a lot. There are a lot of other things that go on, on the bus drivers tend to miss sometimes,” she said."

  • Emily K

    If I read this right, there has been a 337% increase in security costs since 2019 with little or no results! $3,431,501 million dollars for a social experiment that is making our kids who ride the bus ride with drug addicts smoking fentanyl on the bus? Shootings and stabbings. Mayor and council if they are serious and want to make it so that anyone can stumble onto the bus using drugs and committing violence need to put a transit security officer on every bus. This is the only way it can work and keep us all safe including our children.

  • Robert McLane

    @Nancy Smyth Here is an example. I do not believe getting rid of free buses is a serious solution. I think its an easy proposal that ignores the true cause of what is happening. What we see happening is the culmination of decades of short-term policies that prioritize private wealth over public goods—in housing, business, healthcare, education, public transportation—on and on. Yes, the whole time the narrative has been that liberal “wokeness” was ruining our country—even before “wokeness” was a term. That is all a smoke screen. What has actually been happening? Private healthcare companies get rich while peoples’ health declines. Weapons manufacturers get rich while military spending sucks up a majority of the federal budget and leaves educators and workers to fight over the scraps. Labor unions, the builders of the famed middle class of the mid-20th century, decline as ultra-wealthy owners of giant corporations push their agenda under screens of anonymity. Meanwhile, the Clintons in the 90s bowed to corporate America, loosening financial regulations to set us up for the turn of the century harbinger—the Enron scandal and collapse. The 90s also saw the cementing of two images in peoples’ minds: the “welfare queen” and the “druggie”—both to be despised and hated for sucking off of polite society. Nevermind that welfare budgets pale in comparison to the giveaways to huge “agricultural” corporations and fossil fuel companies that have been busily profiting off the poisoning of our world. And our “justice” system has long treated drug-addicts as trash to be locked up instead of humans that need help.
    Let’s bring it back around to our little free bus system. Stridently advocating for getting rid of a free bus system(and demonizing public servants who don’t buy that argument) is missing the point that the problem of poverty, desperation, homelessness, and drug addiction is decades in the making and has nothing to do with free buses that do actually help lots of people and have many demonstrable benefits to society. Fentanyl is only the latest drug to sweep the nation, and it won’t be the last, as long as we pretend that addressing the problem is best done by obsessing over something that is not related to the root cause of the problem. There are plenty of people with smart policy ideas for addressing these issues. The hard part seems to be to listen to them.

  • Anonymous

    The TCFC has published photographs of fentanyl smokers at Sun Tran open air opium dens trying unsuccessfully to use umbrellas at those Sun Tran bus shelters to conceal their illegal drug abuse in public.
    Now, at the same time TCFC correctly calls for no panhandling signs within Tucson city limits, TCFC conspicuously omits calling on Tucson and/or Sun Tran to install NO SMOKING TCC SEC. 11-89 signs at the Sun Tran Udall Transit Station and EVERY Sun Tran bus shelter that does not already have them.
    Panhandling to obtain money to buy fentanyl is half of the problem and no panhandling signs alone are half of the solution. To completely and consistently recognize the public fentanyl problem and to solve it comprehensively requires completely and consistently installing NO SMOKING TCC SEC. 11-89 signs.
    Also, looking forward, the next Ward only voting petition signatures gathering effort must be preceded by thorough education and training of those organizing it.
    For example, the signatures sheets are two-sided and if both are not completed they will be rejected, as so many were in 2023.

  • Nancy Smyth

    I DO NOT see why some of the commenters feel that we are “tearing down” city officials! If they are not doing their job well, we need to point it out and they need to listen. So far, from what I have seen of city officials (Mayor included), they do not listen. The only one I can count on is Steve Christy. Sorry; unless you’ve had crime in your once peaceful neighborhood, you probably don’t understand. Thank you TCFC for ALL of your hard work!

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