N4T Investigators: Activists fighting drug rehab center in South Tucson accuse city of staying silent
When activists in South Tucson fought a proposed drug facility in their neighborhood, they thought they had won. But now they're saying they don't trust the city.
A legal battle between South Tucson and the Pasadera Behavioral Health Network has a new participant, a group of activists now fighting both sides.
The city is defending itself in court. But activists joined the suit as defendants. Raymond belt ran says his issue is with the city and city attorney Edward Matchett.
"He's been blocking communications with the community members, with the community itself of South Tucson," said activist Raymond Beltran.
Matchett refused an on camera interview and hung up when I told him I wanted to meet with him to get his side.
Beltran says that's how the community itself is being treated.
"We don't have due process. We don't have due process at all."
The city denied Pasadera a permit for its proposed drug rehab center for adults, earlier this year.
The rehabilitation company sued the city this month. Beltran says the city's been unresponsive to his requests for information about the legal fight.
Liz Olguin lives just down the street from the Pasadera facility. Her daughter attended Mission View Elementary School, right across the street from the rehab center. She pulled her out, in part because of the center.
"It's not the best place, in front of the school," she said.
Pasadera CEO Chuck Burbank said he could not interview with us because of the suit. He sent this statement:
"While I cannot comment on any pending litigation, Pasadera Behavioral Health Network has always sought and continues to seek a resolution that avoids the courts. Our goal is to utilize this property to the benefit of all of our neighbors."
The center is also trying to win over the community by offering its gym to a local boy's basketball team.
We've reached out to South Tucson mayor Miguel Rojas several times over this legal fight. He declined an interview saying he would not be available until late January.
Rosella Rosthenhausler says she remains worried that the center will degrade South Tucson.
"The community has voiced their opinion about this very strongly. They do not want them in the community," she said.
We heard from South Tucson officials late Monday. They say they can't comment because of the lawsuit. The next hearing is scheduled for January. We'll be there. If you have something you'd like us to check out for you, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 955-4444.