Late last night, we received the following email about a local story out of South Tucson, Arizona:
We have been fighting a drug rehab from locating across the street from our school for 8 months now. They have money we are a small community of mostly Hispanics without any political clout. Please open link and read article and see our Facebook page, South Tucson Primero HELP!!!
So we checked the link. The author, Raul Green, wrote a summary about how South Tucson already has a disproportionate amount of drug rehabilitation centers (one for every six residents) and that a push by Pasadera Behavioral Health Network for a new center right next to an elementary school is a mistake.
The straw breaking the camel’s back in this Pasadera debacle is the fact that this agency wants to locate across the street from Mission View Elementary, the only school in town. This has the parents of Mission View students scared and worried. Some have taken their kids out of Mission View and have taken them to other schools. Some of these parents have no cars, consequently this creates quite a hardship for them. Pasadera has no right to disrupt our community in this manner.
Pasadera moving in next to our school will affect the safety and learning environment of our children. Pasadera will also create a more negative perception of our community, and further reduce community pride. People from other communities are now afraid of coming to South Tucson due to its reputation as a city full of criminals, drunks, addicts and prostitutes.
The post also details the politics behind the decision to give Pasadera another center. In a letter posted on Facebook, Green elaborates:
LETTER TO CITY OF SOUTH TUCSON GOVERNMENT…
The South Tucson community has been fighting Pasadera for 8 months now. We understand that they will buy the Children’s Home property across the street from Mission View elementary school. Our community has no problem with Pasadera bringing their administrative offices, and caring for children 17 and under as that facility has been doing for some time. We do oppose having a drug rehab next to Mission View elementary school.
Before issuing permits allowing Pasadera to have a drug rehab in that location we suggest you consult with the City of Tucson zoning, or the state, as we do not believe they meet the requirements to be “grandfathered” as a rehab.
We understand the Mayor and the City Manager have already given the green light to Pasadera, but if you look around, its a new day for our little town and our community now insists things be done ethically, justly and legally.
Our community will not oppose Pasadera’s administrative offices but we will, as long as the grass shall grow, oppose Pasadera’s drug rehab next to our school. Our struggle is just beginning.
We urge you to use your sense of justice and common sense in this matter, and deny permits for a drug rehab next to our school. As you may have noticed, our community can’t take it anymore, we want things done right in the City of South Tucson and whatever is done wrong we will make sure its corrected.
This issue has been covered regularly by local media. This article from June provides some key context. In a September story on Tucson.com, several parents shared their thoughts, as well as Tucson Unified School District.
An email to Pasadera requesting comment has yet to be returned.
What do you think of what the parents’ campaign? Let us know in the comments section.
UPDATE: On December 11, we received the following statement from Pasadera’s CEO:
We are excited about coming to South Tucson and purchasing this beautiful complex from Arizona Children’s Association. We will be using it as our main office for services throughout Southern Arizona (about 150 employees), as well as for residential treatment for people struggling to recover from their substance use issues. This is the exact same use of the property as Arizona Children’s Association who has owned the property for over 100 years. We have heard the concerns of Mr. Green, and we believe that our agency will bring a much needed boost to the South Tucson community and our presence alone, we believe, will make the community safer.
Chuck Burbank, CEO of Pasadera Behavioral Health Network