The Tucson Bus Riders Union meeting is held the second Wednesday of every month at Armory Park Center.
The Tucson Bus Riders Union meeting is held the second Wednesday of every month at Armory Park Center.

by Brian Flagg

In a meeting at her office on August 20, Councilwoman Karin Uhlich told the Bus Riders Union that she was willing and able to table indefinitely the plan to develop the Ronstadt Transit Center. Thus, there wouldn’t be a reason to have the scheduled public hearing on the issue.

Uhlich said she would get a recommendation to stop the development plan from the City Managers office and that it could be dealt with in a study session instead of a public hearing. That isn’t how it went down.

The City Managers office was hijacked by monied downtown interests and Uhlich, along with a majority of the City Council went along for the ride.

Uhlich claims to have not known about the staff recommendation to launch the development process in November until she saw it presented in the powerpoint during the September 24 City Council meeting.

So much for public process and transparency.

So, who runs the City? Is it the officials we voted for or wealthy developers?


traducción por Jimmy Ojeda

“El Centro Ronstadt para todos” se está convirtiendo en el Centro Ronstadt para los desarrolladores, políticos y el dinero organizado.

El Sindicato de Pasajeros del Camión de Tucson siempre ha abogado por el “centro de la ciudad para todos” incluyendo la terminal de autobuses Ronstadt.  La visión del sindicato es mantener la terminal Ronstadt como un lugar donde todos son bienvenidos a pesar de las diferencias económicas o sociales, como un recurso vital para el transporte público.

El día martes 24 de Septiembre, el alcalde y el concilio de la ciudad votaron a favor de continuar el proceso de búsqueda de desarrolladores para transformar la terminal Ronstadt.  El 20 de Agosto en una reunión con Casa María y la Mesa Directiva del Sindicato, Karin Uhlich, miembro del concilio prometió que no se continuaría buscando desarrolladores para este proyecto. A pesar de los esfuerzos del sindicato, nuestras autoridades electas votaron a favor de continuar y en apoyo a los intereses de los desarrolladores y su dinero organizado.

Es obvio que el tema trata sobre el dinero y el poder y no sobre las necesidades de la comunidad de Tucson y los pasajeros de los camiones.  En resumidas cuentas, se trata de que los desarrolladores quieran quitar cierto tipo de gente (pobre) del centro. Hay un sentimiento general de que algunos desarrolladores se ven a sí mismos maximizando sus ganancias si las personas que usan el centro Ronstadt no estuvieran presentes en el centro de la ciudad.

El Sindicato de Pasajeros del Camión cree en el poder de la gente organizada. Como resultado de la decisión del concilio en continuar el desarrollo de Ronstadt, el sindicato iniciará una campaña de membresía.  Esta campaña de membresía aumentara el número de participantes en el sindicato y nos dará el poder para luchar el gran dinero organizado que está en contra de nosotros.  El sindicato quiere que todos los que estén interesados en el  futuro de Ronstadt sepan que no va a ser una batalla fácil, pero que estamos listos para luchar por un centro de la ciudad para todos.

Karin Uhlich and Richard Fimbres to speak at PCIC Community Issues Accountability Session

Karin Uhlich and Richard Fimbres to speak at PCIC Community Issues Accountability Session

Casa Maria needs your help! Please attend this meeting! Pima County Interfaith Council is counting on 300 people to show up.

City Council candidates including incumbents Karin Uhlich and Richard Fimbres will be present to answer questions concerning the rise in bus fares and the future of the Ronstadt Transit Center.

Casa Maria is a member of PCIC and has promised to bring a lot of community members to support the interests of bus riders.

City Council Votes to Move Development of Ronstadt Forward

by Brian Flagg and Jimmy Ojeda

“A Ronstadt Transit Center for Everyone” is turning into a Ronstadt Center for developers, politicians, and organized money.

The Tucson Bus Riders Union (TBRU) has always advocated for a “downtown for everyone,” including the Ronstadt Transit Center.  The vision of TBRU is to keep the Ronstadt as a place where everyone is welcome despite economic or social differences and as a vital resource for public transportation.

On Tuesday, September 24, the Mayor and City Council voted to continue the process of seeking potential developers to transform the Ronstadt. Despite the promises from Councilwoman Karin Uhlich during a meeting with Casa Maria and TBRU board members on August 20, that this would not happen and TBRU’s efforts, our elected officials voted to move forward and support the interests of developers and their organized money.

It is obvious that the issue is about money and power and not about the needs of the Tucson community and bus riders. It boils down to developers wanting to cleanse downtown. There’s a general feeling that some developers see themselves maximizing their profits if people who use the Ronstadt were not present downtown.

The TBRU believes in the power of organized people, and as a result of the Council’s decision to continue the development of the Ronstadt, the TBRU will launch a membership campaign. The membership campaign will bolster the ranks of the Union and will give us the power to fight the big money organized against us. TBRU wants everyone interested in the future of the Ronstadt to know that it is not going to be an easy battle, but that we are ready to fight for a downtown for everyone.

For further reading:

Pope Speaks Out on Money and Power

We at Casa Maria are huge fans of the new Holy Father because he lays out the truth, even about the economy! And he dares to acknowledge that our Creator God calls all women and men to liberate themselves from slavery, even economic slavery! May our work here at Casa Maria be based in and inspired by “The Pope Speaks Out on Money and Power.”

“Our human family is presently experiencing something of a turning point in its own history, if we consider the advances made in various areas. We can only praise the positive achievements which contribute to the authentic welfare of mankind in fields such as those of health, education and communications. At the same time, we must also acknowledge that the majority of the men and women of our time continue to live daily in situation of insecurity, with dire consequences…. One cause of this situation, in my opinion, is in our relationship with money, and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society. Consequently, the financial crisis which we are experiencing makes us forget that its ultimate origin is to be found in a profound human crisis: in the denial of the primacy of human beings! We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.

“The worldwide financial and economic crisis seems to highlight their distortions and, above all, the gravely deficient human perspective, which reduces men and women to just one of their needs alone, namely consumption. Worse yet, human beings themselves are nowadays considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away. We have started down the path of a disposable culture. This tendency is seen on the level of individuals and whole societies; and it is  being promoted! In circumstances like these, solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy. While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good. A new, invisible at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rule. Moreover, indebtedness and credit distance countries form their real economy and citizens from their real buying power. Added to this, as if it were needed, is widespread corruption and selfish fiscal evasion which have taken on the worldwide dimensions. The will to power and possession has become limitless.

“Concealed behind this attitude is a rejection of ethics, a rejection of God. Ethics, like solidarity, is a nuisance! It is regarded as counterproductive, as something too human because it relativizes money and power, as a threat because it rejects manipulation and subjection of people, because ethics leads to God who is situated outside the categories of the market. These financiers, economists and politicians consider God to be unmanageable. God is unmanageable, even dangerous, because He calls man to his full realization and to independence from any kind of slavery.”

-Pope Francis, Vatican City, May, 2013

traducción por Jimmy Ojeda

El Papa habla sobre el Dinero y el Poder

“Debemos reconocer que la mayoría de los hombres y mujeres en nuestro tiempo, continúan viviendo diariamente en condiciones de inseguridad, con terribles consecuencias… Una causa de esta situación, en mi opinión, es nuestra relación con el dinero, y el aceptar su poder sobre nosotros y nuestra sociedad. ¡Hemos creado nuevos ídolos! La adoración del becerro de oro, ha fundado una nueva y descorazonada imagen en el culto hacia el dinero y una dictadura económica si rostro y sin ningún verdadero objetivo humano.

“La crisis global financiera y económica pareciera resaltar sus distorsiones, y sobre todo, la gran deficiente perspectiva humana, la que reduce a los hombres y mujeres a solo una de sus necesidades, que es el consumismo. Peor aún, las personas mismas ahora son consideradas como bienes de consumo que pueden ser usadas y tiradas. Hemos iniciado el sendero de una cultura de desecho. Esta tendencia es vista a nivel individual y en sociedades enteras.  ¡Y está siendo promocionada! En circunstancias como esta, la solidaridad, que es el tesoro del pobre, es frecuentemente considerada contraproducente, opuesta a la lógica de la finanza y la economía. Mientras que el ingreso de las minorías está incrementando exponencialmente, aquel de la mayoría se está desmoronando.

“Camuflado  detrás de esta actitud, esta un rechazo a la ética, un rechazo de Dios. ¡La ética, al igual que la solidaridad es un fastidio! Es considerado contraproducente, como algo demasiado humano porque es relativo al poder y el dinero, como una amenaza porque rechaza la manipulación de las personas, ya que la ética nos conduce hacia Dios quien está situado fuera de las categorías del mercado. Estos financieros, economistas, y políticos consideran a Dios inmanejable. Dios es inmanejable, incluso peligroso, porque El llama al hombre a su total realización e independencia se cualquier tipo de esclavitud.”

El Papa Francisco, Ciudad del Vaticano, Mayo, 2013

Welcome to Voces de Casa Maria

Editors note:

Welcome to Casa Maria’s Blog/ Voces de Casa Maria! We are truly blessed to have the dynamic journalism major from the University of Arizona, Kassandra Manriquez help us with all the technical work to make this blog a reality.

-Brian Flagg


My name is Kassandra Manriquez, a second year journalism student at the University of Arizona.

I see journalism as a craft that puts my passion to work. My heart is in justice and in people. I believe in people.

I am a Catholic who spent most of my childhood in the City of South Tucson with my lovely grandma. Through study at the University, I have grown to appreciate different faiths, religions and cultures.

I taught catechism for three years at my parish St. John the Evangelist. Though I miss teaching catechism, my heart has moved me toward a new line of work. I was blessed with the opportunity to work with Brian and Casa Maria.

I met Brian while working on a research project focused on dissecting the complexities in poverty. What I learned at Casa Maria while shooting my documentary taught me far more than what I learned in my three weeks of Internet and book research.

Brian Flagg and the people of Casa Maria have beautiful and complex stories to tell, all equally inspiring. The energy at Casa Maria is more powerful than anything I can shoot with my camera or write on paper. Nonetheless, I hope my work can give you a little piece of “los voces de Casa Maria.”

Thank you for your support,

Kassandra Manriquez

TUSD Parents and TEA: Educational Session September 12

The last session of a three-part education series will be held this Thursday with guest speaker, Augustine Romero.

Augustine Romero is the Director of Mulitcultural Curriculum for TUSD.

Join us:

When: Thursday, September 12, 6 p.m.

Where: John Valenzuela Youth Center, 1550 S. 6th Ave.

Child care is available and refreshments will be served.

Tucson Bus Riders Union: Film Screening August 30

The Tucson Bus Riders Union presents:

Bus Riders Union

A documentary that follows the Los Angeles Bus Riders Union for 3 key years of struggle, documenting the fight against transit racism and their struggle in the streets and on the buses in Los Angeles.

Join us for a film screening:

When: Friday, August 30, 7pm

Where: Casa Maria, 352 E. 25th Street

Food and drinks will be provided! Hope to see you there!

For more information on the Tucson Bus Riders Union, visit our, email, or call (520) 624-0312.