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January 20, 2023

In this week's issue: 

Message from Councilwoman Ann O'Brien

Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen the surgent of homeless populations and transient activities related to drug addiction and mental health problems around our communities. Our parks have become unfriendly to families and fitness enthusiasts. Our bus stops have become unusable to our public transit riders. Our washes have become a worry for flash flooding and human life. Our sidewalks have become littered and covered in trash and human biohazards. To the citizens who see this day in and day out, it doesn’t look like much is changing for the better.

However, there’s a metaphor about a frog in a pot of water I like to share. When a frog is placed in already boiling water, it’ll immediately recognize the situation and jump out. When a frog is placed in a pot of room temperature water and it’s set to boil, the frog stays put and doesn’t notice the incremental rise in temperature. The sudden rise in homeless is the boiling water in the first half of the metaphor. We’re the frog who suddenly sees boiling water and we’re wondering what’s going on. However, in the second half of the metaphor, the water is the progress and solutions we’re making towards the problem. Because these aren’t sudden and drastic changes, the perception is that nothing is getting done. But I assure you, the water is incrementally rising – changes and solutions are coming, and some are already happening.

In the last year, our outreach efforts across the City have contacted as many as 3,501 homeless and unsheltered people offering them services and shelter. This year alone, we have already contacted as many as 435 individuals working to get them off the streets and back into society. Citywide, we have made 11,864 arrests related to drug charges, and right here in District 1, have removed over 100,000 fentanyl pills off our city streets. We added trained security to our parks to supplement our officers and park rangers during overnight hours. We changed federal regulations to ban camping along the canal systems. We partnered with QuikTrip to identify their most problematic store locations and implement new store policies to stop them from becoming new hangout spots for drug dealers and users. We’ve increased our patrols of problematic public transit stops and performed targeted investigations to curtail illegal activity – even going so far as removing some bus stop structures.

Efforts are being done as we speak to roll back the increase in people living on our streets and in our alleys – and there are more changes on which I’m working to implement now. Wednesday night, State Senator John Kavanagh dropped SB1064, or as I like to refer to it as, The Safe Neighborhoods Act. The Safe Neighborhoods Act is a piece of legislation that I have been crafting since last year when I first brought stakeholders to the table to discuss how we can tackle the fentanyl epidemic from the top down. This legislation does not go after users, but directly targets dealers and their suppliers. I’m tired of dealers targeting vulnerable populations and selling their drugs in our neighborhoods! SB1064 will impose stricter fines and longer jail times for individuals found to knowingly be selling drugs around our city parks, banks, ATMs, community centers, senior living homes, drug rehabilitation centers, and other areas with vulnerable populations. If you are selling drugs in these areas, you will go to prison for up to 11 years. I’m done letting our communities become open air drug markets, and I’m taking steps to stop it!

The second thing I’m working on is creating a successful Community Court here in Phoenix. Slight background, by now, many of you are aware of the Martin v. Boise ruling from the Ninth Circuit that limits our officers’ ability to enforce our anti-camping and trespassing laws on public property if we do not have a bed available for an unsheltered individual. Well, Mesa has found a way to comply with that ruling and still be able to successfully enforce their laws and ordinances around their city through a Community Court. This is where they process homeless and transient individuals for various citations and crimes they’ve committed. What makes Community Court different is this is pre-adjudication. Meaning individuals come to Community Court before they are processed and charged with their offenses. In the Community Court, individuals are given an individualized plan to help them get back on their feet. They are given timelines and expectations and are helped through the process of getting identification cards, finding housing, getting a job, getting sober (if need be). Once these actions are completed, their citations which landed them in Community Court are thrown out and the individual is never charged with their offense. I want to bring this program to Phoenix.

Through Community Court, Mesa has successfully, and within the confines of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, cleaned up their streets and parks. With a Community Court and dedicated shelter beds, we too can start to make an impact in our neighborhoods and parks. I’ll need all your help to make this a reality here in Phoenix. When we get closer to our City Budget discussions, it would help if you all participated and asked for dedicated funding for a Phoenix Community Court. Help me untie the hands of Phoenix and work to get people off the streets and back into working society!

Like you, I was the frog that jumped into boiling water with the sudden rise in homeless throughout our communities. However, I assure you, I am working diligently to clean up our streets and make it clear, if you’re looking to sell drugs, Phoenix is not the place to do it in.

All my best, 


Councilwoman, District 1

Weekly DOJ Investigation Update

Week of Jan 9

  • The Office of Homeless solutions met virtually with the DOJ to discuss Phoenix homeless programs that provide emergency shelter and other services to community members.
  • Staff prepared draft Use of Force policy for public feedback.


Mark Your Calendars: Community Meeting

Our next meeting will be Jan 27th and will be located back at the DoubleTree Hilton in MetroCenter (10220 N Metro Pkwy E, Phoenix, AZ 85051). We will be meeting at our regular scheduled time for our breakfast meetings. Plan for check in to begin at 7:30am and the meeting to start at 8am. We will be hearing from Police Department Leadership about their Use of Force Police Draft.

You can register below for the upcoming meeting! As a reminder, please fill out the form SEPARATELY for EACH member of your family planning to attend. Thank you!

News From the City of Phoenix


The Phoenix Police Department is currently revising its Use of Force policy. As part of the Department’s ongoing commitment to transparency with the community we serve, we will be seeking public input involving major policy revisions.

A draft copy of the proposed Use of Force policy is available here for review. It is important to note that this draft is not the entire policy.

This initial draft includes the foundational components of the Use of Force Policy: Core Principles, expanded Definitions, Levels of Force, and revised General Policies.

The public input and comment period will last for two weeks beginning on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, and ending on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. The public is invited and encouraged to submit feedback. All comments will be reviewed and taken into consideration before the policy is finalized.

You can provide feedback through this link.


PHN Cesar Chavez Community Engagement Scholarship

2023 Community Engagement Scholarship.pngAs part of the Phoenix Hispanic Network’s (PHN) vision, PHN is dedicated to collaborating with community partners to strengthen relationships with the residents we serve. We are pleased to announce our fifth annual Community Engagement Scholarships, to be presented at our Cesar Chavez Celebration on March 30, 2023

Two scholarship recipients will be selected and will receive a $1,500 scholarship to be used towards their college education in the field of local government or civic engagement.


  • City of Phoenix resident
  • Current high school seniors who are moving on to a two or four-year university,
  • Must submit a copy of a high school transcript showing a minimum 2.5 Grade Point Average.


Glo-in-the-Dark Pickleball

You know pickleball, but how about glow-in-the-dark pickleball?

pickleball.jpgOn Friday December 9, 2022, at Telephone Pioneer Park of America (1946 W Morningside Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85023) Ability360 teamed up with Cosmic Tennis and Pickleball LLC to bring you Glo-in-the-Dark Pickleball, a unique, engaging, and social Glo-in-the-Dark experience for players and spectators of all ages and skill levels. The event left the participants thinking what an AMAZING time they had. It made the dark FUN and ENJOYABLE for All!

Subscribe to Ability360 news and future events at Telephone Pioneer Park of America.


Human Trafficking Prevention Presentation & Discussion

HT Flier.jpgThis presentation discusses the crime of human tracking, how traffickers find their victims, and steps you can take to protect yourself and members of your community. We also provide real-life examples of human tracking in Arizona and explain what you should do if you suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking.

WHEN: January 24, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Helen Drake Senior Center 7600 N. 27thAve Phoenix, AZ 85051



Thrive Bell Rd Community Clean Up

Image.jpegJoin the folks from Thrive Phoenix for another Bell Road clean up! They will be starting at 9am on Saturday, February 4th at their new headquarters off 15th Ave and Bell Rd. Their clean-up will last until noon or as soon as everything is picked up! Address: 1512 W Bell Rd Ste 3






City Launches Community Survey

Zencity Feedback - IG Square.pngThe City of Phoenix is ready to launch the community survey. This survey asks questions on a wide range of topics around life in our community—from what residents think is working, to where they see a need for improvement—providing feedback that is used to calculate ongoing satisfaction scores. The survey is one more way to gather information from residents in our effort to more holistically understand neighborhood issues and enhance our responsiveness to community priorities.

The survey takes less than five minutes to complete and is available in both English and Spanish. The survey system sets response targets based on Census data to ensure community representation. Survey responses will be anonymous.   

The survey is served up to residents on various websites and social media platforms. Residents can also respond to the survey directly with this link.

We’ve also created a survey landing page on to answer questions, including the security and privacy of the survey.


Heat Safety Program Survey

QRCode for Feedback on City of Phoenix Trail Heat Closures.pngWe wanted to make you aware that we will be seeking feedback from the Phoenix community regarding proposed changes to the Hiking and Heat Safety Program, which closes trails from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak on summer days that the National Weather Service issues a heat warning. This program was developed in partnership with the Phoenix Fire Department in order to protect both the public and first responders during extreme heat. It began as a pilot in the summer of 2021 and was officially adopted as policy at the October 2021 Parks and Recreation Board Meeting.

Based on Fire Department mountain rescue data, trail counter data, and National Weather Service Heat Warning data, staff is considering making two changes to the current Heat Safety Program:

  • The closure time would be moved two hours earlier, so that closures would be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. rather than 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The program would be in effect all year round, rather than just in the summer months from May to October.

A survey gathering community feedback on these proposed changes will be open for responses beginning tomorrow December 21 until January 31. This survey can be accessed using the QR code attached or by clicking here. Parks and Recreation staff will incorporate this community feedback into a final recommendation for Parks and Recreation Board consideration at their March 23, 2023 meeting.


Celebrate Lunar New Year of the Rabbit

Chinese rabbit PCW Flyer Portrait 8.5 x11.jpgKick off the Lunar New Year of the Rabbit at the 33rd Annual Phoenix Chinese Week Culture and Cuisine Festival, 9 am to 5 pm January 21 and 10 am to 5 pm January 22 at Steele Indian School Park, located at 300 E. Indian School Road. Admission is FREE. The festival features dragon and lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, activities for the kids, authentic Asian food, beer garden, souvenir booths and much more. Visit or call 480-406-7470 for more information.




Temporary Road Closures

Upcoming Restrictions/Closures

  • Eastbound Loop 303, between Lake Pleasant Parkway and I-17, is scheduled to be closed from 4 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, for freeway construction.

Detour: Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes including northbound Lake Pleasant Parkway to eastbound State Route 74 to connect to Loop 303 beyond the closure.

Intermittent Rolling Closures

Intermittent rolling closures will continue through January on east- and westbound Loop 303, between I-17 and Lake Pleasant Parkway. They are limited to weekdays, between 9 and 11 a.m. and 7 and 9 p.m.


Northbound I-17 weekend closures planned between Northern Avenue and Greenway Road Jan. 20-23 and Jan. 27-30

The Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers who use Interstate 17 between Northern Avenue and Greenway Road in Phoenix to plan for the following two weekend closures for pavement resurfacing:

  • Northbound I-17 between Northern Avenue and Greenway Road, along with the northbound frontage road between Dunlap Avenue and Greenway Road, will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, to 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 23, and during the same times the weekend of Jan. 27-30. The following ramps will also be closed:
    • Northbound I-17 on-ramps at Bethany Home Road, and Glendale Avenue.

DETOUR: Drivers may consider exiting ahead of the closure and using northbound 19th or 35th avenues to connect with I-17 beyond the closure.



Cactus Park Dinner With a Cop

Coffee with a cop february 2023 (4).jpgPlease join your Cactus Park Precinct Community Action Officers for Coffee with a Cop at Anzio's Italian Restaurant at 12418 N 28th Dr #1, Phoenix, AZ 85029 on February 23rd 2023 at 6:00pm on Thursday.








Black Mountain Coffee With a Cop

Black Mt Coffee.pngPlease join your Black Mountain Precinct Community Action Officers for Coffee with a Cop at Biscuits Café at 310 E Bell Rd on January 26th 2023 at 8:30am on Thursday.







News From Deer Valley Unified School District

State of the District 2023 from Superintendent Dr. Curtis Finch

drFinchatDesk.jpgAs the calendar flips over into a new year, one often thinks of a “fresh start,” as a chance to make drastic changes and begin the “new you,” but this is not the case at the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD). Signs that point to an already healthy organization have been realized by its sustained excellence and an atmosphere of continuous improvement. Jim Collins, Stanford PhD professor of the internationally recognized book series, “Good to Great,” said it best this way, “Good is the enemy of great.” Deer Valley Unified isn’t looking for a fresh start; we are looking to improve each day, each week, each month, and each year. Only then will we push forward our mission of providing #extraordinary educational opportunities for students.

DVUSD completed another outstanding calendar year spanning from the end of a pandemically-impacted school year to a successful start of our first “normal school year” in a while. The hope is that COVID-19 is in the rear view mirror, and remains so into the future. This State of the District is designed to assist students, staff, and community members to grasp the breadth and depth of DVUSD, its mission, vision, and to recognize some impactful accolades on our school community. The 33,000 students, 4,000 employees, and thousands of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and community members should always be apprised of the accomplishments of DVUSD.

The value of a calendar-year summary is that it reminds us about the end of the last school year and the beginning of the current school year, tying the two together. The work accomplished in an academic year can often be seen bearing fruit in the next school year – educational planning, execution, and improvement are cyclical. The final prediction of the 2022 State of the District was the future of DVUSD “shining brighter” – this prediction proved to be spot on. With our supportive students, staff, parents, and community members, the tough times seem manageable and the great times are celebratory; teamwork truly does “make the dream work.”

To read the full 2023 State of the District, visit

DVUSD is one of the top districts in Arizona with the highest number of dollars invested back into students’ education.




News From Washington Elementary School District

Top WESD Spellers Move on to the Regional Bee

wesd_spellers_2.jpgIt's spelling bee season! More than 30 students participated in the 2023 WESD Spelling Bee last week, which lasted seven rounds to determine the champion! Congratulations to first place winner Ava S., eighth grader from Sweetwater School, for correctly spelling the championship word “pomposity.” Ember M., eighth grader from Arroyo School, came in second place!

Six additional students will be moving on to the Regional Spelling Bee with the two finalists:

Yannis W., Abraham Lincoln Traditional School (last year’s second place winner);
German N., Cactus Wren Elementary;
Samuel P., Cholla Middle School;
Kenny T., Desert Foothills Junior High;
Milan C., Lakeview Elementary; and
Elohim O., Orangewood School.

The Regional Spelling Bee will take place on February 17 at 10 a.m. at Mountain Sky Junior High. The top two spellers from the Regional Bee will advance to the State Spelling Bee in March.


Teacher Surprised with Silver Apple Award

pv_silverapple.jpgBefore the winter break, seventh grade special education teacher Shatiana Cooper from Palo Verde Middle School was surprised with the Silver Apple Award! Sponsored by azfamily 3TV CBS 5 and Arizona Bank & Trust, the Silver Apple Award is presented to teachers who demonstrate dedication to students, commitment to education and originality in their approach to teaching. Her story aired this week. Be sure to CLICK HERE to see her story!


WESD to Host Kindergarten Open House

Kinder22-23_social-01.pngThe Future is Bright in Kindergarten! If you or someone you know has a child turning five before September 1, 2023, please join us for our kindergarten open house event on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. You will have the opportunity to meet teachers, explore classrooms, and receive important information about the WESD KidSpace childcare program, transportation services, school meals and so much more! We look forward to meeting our newest kindergartners! To learn more about kindergarten enrollment, please call 602-896-6950 or visit



News From Glendale Union High School District

GUHSD Teacher Job Fair

2023-2024 Teacher Job Fair Webstory Thumbnail.pngGlendale Union High School District is hiring for the 2022-2023 school year! Become part of a top-performing high school district in the Metro-Phoenix area. Join us for the annual GUHSD Teacher Job Fair:

Saturday, Jan. 28

8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Greenway High School Media Center

3930 W. Greenway Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85053

GUHSD is committed to hiring exceptional teachers and providing the necessary resources to enable them to achieve success and satisfaction while fulfilling the mission of the district. GUHSD offers a nationally recognized teacher-mentoring program, extensive professional development opportunities, competitive teacher salaries, generous benefits package, and much more!

Apply here, and then reserve your interview today by calling the GUHSD Human Resources Department at (623) 435-6017. The GUHSD Human Resources Department will be on-site to conduct interviews at the event.


Help Support GUHSD Students with a Tax Credit Contribution

Tax Credit Opportunity.pngThere is still time to give back to GUHSD students with a tax credit contribution. By donating to a GUHSD high school or program of your choice, you can benefit students’ high school experiences and positively affect your community.

Arizona state law also allows you to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions that you make to an Arizona public high school, which you can use as a credit against any state income taxes that you may owe.*

Married couples can contribute up to $400 when filing jointly; $200 per person if filing separately; and single individuals can make a maximum contribution of $200.

*Please consult a tax professional for more information.

To make a tax credit contribution, click here.

You can also make a larger donation through the GUHSD Education Foundation (501c3) here.


Cortez High School Students Attend Future Business Leaders of America Competition

CHS FBLA 2023.pngExcellence continues at Cortez High School as Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students compete at the Region 3 Competition at Grand Canyon University. Six students from Film & TV and five students from Coding and Computer Science participated. Shawn Ruggiero won 2nd place for Digital Animation, Xandra Cornelius won 3rd place in Job Interview, Daniel Pham and Aeryk Snyder took 2nd place for E-Business Design, and Lance Phan and Mason Tallman won 1st place in Mobile App Design.

To learn more about Cortez High School news, visit @CortezHighSchoolAZ on Facebook.


Greenway Students Display Artwork at Local Art Show

GW Shemer Art Show.jpgExcellence continues at Greenway High School as students Michaela Giacalone and Gracie Lindell’s artwork is on display at the Shemer Art Center's exhibit New Horizon. This exhibit is showcased from now through February 16th, 2023. While on display, this artwork is open for donors from the community to come in and choose a student (or students) they would like to encourage with a scholarship. Scholarships, often named by the donor in honor of a friend or family member, will be awarded in increments of $50, $75, and $100, and presented to the artists at an awards ceremony attended by their instructors and family members at the Shemer on Saturday, January 21, at 11 a.m.

To learn more about Greenway High School news, visit @GreenwayHighSchoolAZ on Facebook.






Interested in serving on Phoenix's Boards and Commissions? 

Boards and Commissions.pngDistrict 1 is seeking community leaders interested in serving as the District's representative for various boards and commissions, such as the Village Planning Committee. 

To start the application process, please visit the Boards and Commissions webpage



Upcoming City Council Meetings

  • Next City Council Policy Meeting: January 24th
  • Next City Council Formal Meeting: January 25th

Councilwoman O'Brien has been appointed chairperson of the Public Safety and Justice Subcommittee, and is also a member of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Innovation Subcommittee and the Economic Development and Equity Subcommittee. Visit the Council Subcommittee webpage for the schedule of public meetings.  

Learn more about Councilwoman O'Brien, her priorities and focus for District 1 on the district's webpage.

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