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Tucson mayor brunches, discusses student issues


Photo
Matt Robles/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup discussed Tucson's involvement in hurricane relief efforts over brunch yesterday with UA students in the Student Union Memorial Center.
By Nick Smith
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 9, 2005
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Walkup speaks about campus, city concerns

The mayor of Tucson sat down with UA students yesterday morning to address their concerns and questions while brunching on muffins, Danish pastries and cantaloupe.

More than a dozen students met Mayor Bob Walkup in the Student Union Memorial Center to voice concerns ranging from hurricane relief efforts and water issues to transportation and running a city.

The mayor began by telling the students about the current hurricane relief effort at the Tucson Convention Center and the outpouring of good will.

"The generosity is extraordinary," he said. "It's a mountain of clothes, a mountain of toys."

Students were encouraged to ask the mayor about any issue on their minds.

Brad Burns, a political science freshman, asked Walkup what Tucson is doing to keep from buying acres of Central Arizona Project water.

Walkup said the water purchased from CAP was being used to recharge the aquifer west of Tucson, that way water could be drawn from there and Tucson's own aquifer would rise.

"I believe that we can support a population of a million and a half people for the next 50 years with that strategy," he said.

Some students wanted to know what Tucson is doing for student safety.

"The areas surrounding campus, especially the north and south, have been an area of concern with students in regard to safety," said Steven Gerner, a political science junior.

Walkup discussed a transportation plan that would connect the university to downtown Tucson, allowing students to travel back and forth safely.

"One of the strategies is to allow it to spread out a bit and link it through transportation," Walkup said.

A former aerospace engineer, Walkup discussed with students how pleased he is to be mayor, and how he wouldn't trade it for any other position in the state, even a seat in the governor's office.

"This is the greatest job in the entire world," Walkup said. "You get to participate in stuff and get things done."

The student brunch with Walkup was made possible through the work of Associated Students of the University of Arizona Sen. Matt Boepple, a political science sophomore.

"The main goal is to get students interested in city issues," Walkup said. "We've got an election this year."

Brunch with the mayor is only the first of ASUA's efforts to get city leaders on campus.

"We are currently working with administration on a city council forum," Boepple said.

The brunch's 25 spots were open to all students, and 15 attended the event.

The entire event cost ASUA $144.14 and was below the projected budget for the meeting. Most of the money went toward catering the event. Mayor Walkup appeared for free, Boepple said.



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