Local event organizers raise concerns about safety downtown

Local event organizers raise concerns about safety downtown
(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - An organizer of the Tucson Electric Vehicle Association is pleading with city officials to improve safety for events being held downtown, in light of growing drug use in the homeless camps scattered throughout the area.

Benjamin Nead, the Secretary of TEVA, said he has written letters to Mayor and Council regarding his safety concerns after Tucson News Now ran a story last week about a dog that overdosed on the synthetic drug "spice" in a park downtown.

TEVA is hosting an event on Sept. 12 at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library in downtown as part of a nationwide effort to promote the use of hybrid vehicles.

The event is part of a larger campaign called National Drive Electric Week.

Tucson is a key market for electric cars. It was a test market for the Nissan Leaf.

Nead said they estimate about 15-20,000 electric cars are in use in Tucson.

The upcoming event is a chance for electric car owners to showcase their vehicles, as well as talk to people in the community about their big switch and to answer questions from those who are considering buying an electric vehicle.

In a press release sent out on Monday, Nead said "Here is what I'm unexpectedly confronted with today: Some rather extraordinary and alarming activity that has been occurring in front of the library recently."

Nead said the increasing drug use had prompted a TEVA member who planned on showing off his vehicle at the event to withdraw, and that he was concerned about other car owners pulling out, as well as low attendance.

Nead said he heard back from the Mayor's office on Monday.

He said they told him they planned to address the issue with Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor's office.

The event is scheduled to take place at Jacome Plaza in front of the Joel D. Valdez Public Library, located at 101 N Stone Ave. on Saturday, September 12th from 2-5:30 p.m.

A documentary film will be shown in the library called "Revenge of the Electric Car" between 3 and 4 p.m.

Find out more about the national campaign at www.driveelectricweek.org and more about the local event at www.tucsonelectricvehicle.org.

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