Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild  

Tucson-based West Point Contractors says the city is wrong to include the company on a list of firms it won’t invest in over ties to President Trump’s effort to build a border wall.

A three-page letter signed by Joel Alley, the company’s vice president, notes that if staff had reached out they would have learned that the border fence project the company is working on in El Paso was approved during the Obama administration.

“The City Council has mistakenly assumed that West Point is building Trump’s border wall,” the letter states. “The fact is, the specific Border Fence Replacement projects West Point provided proposals to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were forecasted in 2015 and out for solicitation in 2016, prior to the inauguration of Mr. Trump.

“For the record, West Point decided against submitting proposals for the prototype walls requested under President Trump’s Administration.”

Alley criticized city staffers for not talking to West Point before the City Council meeting in February when the divestment list was discussed.

“We would like to present the City Council with additional information that, had it been aware of at the time, might have changed the Council’s decision to disparage the reputation of a small business that is committed to benefiting Southern Arizona,” he wrote.

At that meeting, staff discussed several companies that were on the list, specifically mentioning West Point.

The divestment list is separate from one of businesses the city could conceivably contract with on construction projects. West Point has previously worked for the city on a number of transportation and park projects.

“This divestment list will have no impact on West Point, as it is a small, privately held corporation with no outside investment,” Alley wrote.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild says he plans on responding to the company directly.

He noted that none of the companies on the city’s divestment list is publicly traded and the list serves more as a watch list.

He expects that city staff will review the list after receiving the letter from West Point.

He said the policy is also flexible, for example, exempting companies that are working on projects near the various ports of entry.

Group ends attempt to buy Golden Pin Lanes

The fight to keep a longtime bowling alley on Miracle Mile from being torn down to make way for county offices is over.

The private group that had been trying to buy or lease Golden Pin Lanes failed to meet the deadline to raise enough cash.

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Felicia Chew, who helped spearhead an effort to lease the bowling alley, conceded on social media earlier this week that the group was unable to secure funding.

The hefty price tag it would take to lease the facility from Pima County? At least $127,567 in the first year. Those lease payments would have hit nearly $750,000 by 2024.

Chew said contributors to a GoFundMe account will get a refund.

Cunningham on Rosemont’s impact

In between talking about the streetcar and how many streets in Ward 2 have been paved in the last few years, City Councilman Paul Cunningham dropped a bombshell at a recent Democrats of Greater Tucson meeting.

Maybe the city of Tucson should charge Hudbay Minerals Inc. a fee for all of the water it will use at the proposed Rosemont Mine, he joked.

Cunningham said he wanted $125 million a year.

He came up with a backup plan, too — build a reservoir to keep a portion of the San Pedro River from flowing into Cochise County.

Cunningham, a Democrat who is running for another term on the council this fall, said that while his proposals were more of a joke, he is deeply concerned about how the mine and massive planned housing developments in Cochise County could hurt the region’s water levels.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson

Reporter

Joe has been with the Star for six years. He covers politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona. He graduated from the UA and previously worked for the Arizona Daily Sun.