Officials back PCIC cause
The Pima County Interfaith Council pushes for programs that aim to raise the quality of life.
By MELISSA MARTINEZ
Citizen Staff Wrtter
Several Tucson City Council members, urged on by about 2,000 people at a political rally, pledged yesterday to push for nearly $2 million in funding for job training, home repairs and other programs.
Mayor George Miller also promised to help raise $10 million next year.
The city and county officials who attended, almost all of them Democrats, made the commitments to one of Tucson's most powerful political groups, the Pima County Interfaith Council.
The crowd - including members of nearly 70 churches, synagogues, neighborhood groups, school groups and. other community organizations ,cheered and waved signs preaching solidarity.
The council, which claims as its members 80,000 families who attend its participating churches, held its annual Political Accountability Convocation yesterday afternoon at the Tucson Convention Center.
Candidates and officials who attended were asked to commit to PCIC's agenda for social change, including more money for job training and adult education.
The agenda grew out of PCIC's Solidarity Walk in April, when about 1,200 members went door-to-door to ask residents about their concerns, said member Mauri Bratt.
The group asked yesterday for more than 2,500 early ballots for the Nov. 5 general election, and county Recorder F.Ann Rodriquez promised to mail them out immediately.
"I work with children, and I wanted to make sure they get a chance to live and be better," said Rosemary Granillo, explaining why she took part as a representative of Carrillo Intermediate School.
Miller and City Council members Steve Leal, Michael Crawford and Jose Ibarra, all Democrats, pledged to support the nearly $2 million.
Included would be emergency home repairs for Tucson's elderly and low-income families.
We have to come together as a community and assorted segments, such as churches," said Gladys M. Ahmad, who was representing Prince Chapel AME Church. "We can't do it just one group at a time. Everybody has the same needs."
Miller and the three representatives of the seven-member City Council also said they will support $120,000 in funding for teen job programs at Cholla, Palo Verde and Sunnyside high schools, and parent involvement.
Members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, and challengers for those seats, were also asked to contribute nearly $400,000 to the programs.
Supervisors Raul Grijalva and Dan Eckstrom, both Democrats, and board candidates Vicki Cox Golder, Sharon Bronson and Wayne Bryant all said they would support the increased funding.
Cox Golder, a Republican, and Bronson, a Democrat, are chal lenging Supervisor Ed Moore, a Republican running as an indepen dent, in the Nov. 5 election.
Bryant, a Democrat, is taking on Republican Supervisor Mike Boyd.
Convocation co-chairman Jim Haag criticized Moore and Boyd for not attending the PCIC rally.
PCIC also announced its "Econoniic Summit," set for Feb. 28 and March 1, and asked for the officials' participation.
The summit will focus on the economic self-improvement of Tucson families and on raising $10 million for a "Family Development Fund."
The money would be used for job training scholarships, child care and transportation.
"I fully support (the Family Development Fund), and I'll do what I can to raise the $10 million to make it possible," Miller said.
Leal said he would "commit to ask members of the economic de velopment community to participate in good faith in the summit."
Members of the boards of the Tucson Unified School District and Sunnyside School District also took part yesterday.
Participants said the rally was a chance for politicians to hear from voters.
"We're very interested in seeing what happens with the candi dates," said Arcadio Gastelum, leader of the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council.
George Pettit of the Casa Maria soup kitchen said he wants to see his neighborhood improve.
"I live on the South Side, and I have a real interest in seeing that life improve there, such as with decent-paying jobs," said Pettit.
Co-chairwoman Angie Quiroz said the council is not disappointed that Moore and Boyd, for example, did not attend.
We are not discouraged," Quiroz said. "We will do what we have to do for our families."
But one man at the convocation said it was the officials' responsibility as Tucsonans to attend.
"It is the responsibility of being a citizen in our community," said Joe Yee, a member of Our Mother of Sorrows Church. "It is an exercise of our basic rights in a democracy.
'We have to come together as a community and assorted segments, such as churches, We can't do it just one group at a time. Everybody has the same needs said Gladys M. Ahmad, representing Prince Chapel AME Church.
'I fully support (the Family Development Fund), and I'll do what I can to raise the $10 million to make it possible." said Mayor George Miller.