Biden plans to Nominate Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus to head Customs and Border Protection.

Chris Magnus Tucson Police chief Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star

Curt Prendergast – reporting

President Biden plans to nominate Tucson Police Department Chief Chris Magnus to head Customs and Border Protection.

Administration officials cited Magnus’ role as police chief in a “diverse city close to the U.S.-Mexican border,” according to an announcement from the White House Monday morning.

In Tucson, “Magnus implemented de-escalation training, sentinel event review processes, and programs to promote officer health and wellness. Because of Tucson’s proximity to the border, he has extensive experience in addressing immigration issues,” according to the White House.

CBP oversees the Border Patrol and the legal ports of entry, such as those in Nogales and Douglas. CBP has a budget of more than $15 billion and over 60,000 employees. The commissioner of CBP must be confirmed by the Senate.

“Mr. Biden was compelled to choose him because of those efforts to reform departments, as well as his recent work policing a city close to the U.S.-Mexico border,” the New York times wrote, citing a White House official.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero congratulated Magnus on his nomination.

“During his time in Tucson and throughout his career, Chief Magnus has developed a national reputation for his sensible, inclusive approach to policing that has always centered around community building,” Romero said in a news release.

“Chief Magnus has always understood the importance of distinguishing the role of local law enforcement from federal immigration enforcement and how critical this is to protecting community trust,” Romero said. “He has gained valuable experience serving as Police Chief of a major city here in the Borderlands.”

Magnus, a registered Democrat, has been TPD chief since 2016. He previously served as police chief in Richmond, California, across the bay from San Francisco.

“This is really the honor of a lifetime, being appointed by the president,” Magnus said in an interview with the Arizona Daily Star. “It’s not something I expected, but it’s something I’m very excited about.”

“I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know the senators, who have obviously a lot of interest in the issues we’re dealing with right now involving CBP and immigration in general,” Magnus said.

If confirmed, Magnus would take over for Troy Miller, who has been the senior official performing the duties of CBP commissioner under Biden. Miller started his career at CBP in 1993 and previously served as director of CBP’s New York Field Office and executive director of CBP’s main anti-terrorism organization, the National Targeting Center.

Magnus would take the reins at CBP as tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border each month. Border encounters started rising in April 2020 and accelerated in the past few months, spurring federal officials to scramble to find temporary housing for migrant families and unaccompanied children. In March, Border Patrol agents encountered more than 170,000 migrants, including nearly 20,000 in the agency’s Tucson Sector.

Under the Trump administration, Magnus pushed back against some of the administration’s immigration policies.

In an op-ed Magnus wrote for the New York Times in December 2017, he objected to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ attempt to withhold federal funding from local jurisdictions that did not agree with the administration’s approach to immigration.

“The message from Washington is that cities need to refocus on ‘law and order.’ Yet the harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and Mr. Sessions’s reckless policies ignore a basic reality known by most good cops and prosecutors: If people are afraid of the police, if they fear they may become separated from their families or harshly interrogated based on their immigration status, they won’t report crimes or come forward as witnesses,” Magnus wrote.

In January 2020, TPD opted out of Operation Stonegarden, a federal program that provides funds to local law enforcement for overtime and equipment associated with border-related activities. TPD had received those funds for more than a decade, including about $600,000 at the time TPD opted out of the program.

The program ran counter to TPD’s mission “and the expectation of the community we serve,” TPD officials said at the time. The move by TPD came after a dispute with federal officials about using some of the Operation Stonegarden funds to cover costs for providing humanitarian aid to thousands of asylum seekers who were temporarily housed at Tucson shelters.

“As an established immigrant-welcoming community and in response to SB-1070, Mayor & Council directed a series of amendments to TPD’s General Orders that protect victims and witnesses of crimes from arbitrary immigration status inquires, prohibit stops and detentions based on ‘suspicions’ of unlawful status, and other actions aimed at protecting the rights of our immigrant communities,” Romero said.

“I am grateful for the Chief’s leadership in implementing these reforms, as well as other efforts including streamlining TPD’s U-visa process and the creation of a new refugee liaison program,” Romero said, referencing U-visas issued to victims of crime who help law enforcement.

Magnus’ nomination to the federal post comes a little less than a year after he offered to resign as Tucson’s police chief over his department’s handling of an in-custody death in April 2020 that led to a $2.9 million settlement with the deceased man’s family.

After City Manager Michael Ortega declined to accept the chief’s resignation, Magnus launched a reform effort that has drawn praise from police reform experts around the nation.

He invited a Sentinel Event Review Board to put TPD’s actions under a microscope in the April death and another in-custody in March 2020, a process that resulted in 53 recommendations for change. Many of the changes have already been adopted.

Ortega said the White House decision to tap Magnus reflects well on the entire city.

“Chris leads with passion, integrity and a deep commitment to serve his community. It’s a proud moment for the City of Tucson and a testament to the strength of the team we have assembled to have one of our own nominated for such an important position,” Ortega said.

He said Magnus has worked tirelessly to improve police-community relations and “has been instrumental in everything from improving (TPD’s) financial position to implementing progressive policing policies that serve as models to other cities.”

Biden administration officials said Magnus built a reputation as a progressive leader.

“His lengthy career in public safety includes coming up through the ranks of the Lansing, Michigan Police Department, and serving as police chief in the cities of Fargo, North Dakota, Richmond, California, and Tucson, Arizona,” according to the announcement from the White House.

“In each of these cities Magnus developed a reputation as a progressive police leader who focused on relationship-building between the police and community, implementing evidence-based best practices, promoting reform, and insisting on police accountability,” the White House said.

In Richmond, Magnus “played a key role in rebuilding community trust in law enforcement and dramatically reducing the number of shootings and homicides,” the White House said.

Magnus grew up in Lansing, Michigan, the son of an immigrant from Oslo, Norway. He received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and his master’s degree in labor relations from Michigan State University, the White House said. Magnus attended the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. He has been with his husband, Terrance Cheung, for 15 years.

“I have some mixed emotions about the situation,” Magnus told the Daily Star. “I really love living and working here in Tucson. We have a tremendous team of people. Although I’m excited about Washington DC and the new people I hope to be working with, it’s still hard to contemplate moving or taking on a new job.”

“We have one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with in my career here,” Magnus said. “We have so many things going on. I feel really confident that If I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed by the senate, the good work is going to continue here.”

Magnus said he had never met Biden, “but I certainly am familiar with his policies and priorities around these issues and around criminal justice in general,” Magnus said.

“I’m also particularly excited about working with the DHS secretary, who I think is approaching these issues in a very thoughtful way,” Magnus said. “He’s the kind of person that I think will be a tremendous boss and tremendous resource as we talk about some of these really tough problems.”

“I’m really looking forward to getting to know and building a relationship with both Border Patrol and customs personnel,” Magnus said. “Think they have a very difficult job, look forward to being able to work with them.”

In a press release, Magnus said the confirmation process is “never a certainty.” 

As the Senate considers his nomination, “I remain committed to serving as your Chief of Police to the best of my ability.”

Arizona’s U.S. senators react

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema called Magnus’s nomination “a positive step toward ensuring the administration understands and addresses the needs of Arizona communities,” Sinema said in a news release.

“Our state pays the price for the federal government’s failure to fix a broken immigration system,” Sinema said. “I’ll continue working to ensure the administration takes meaningful steps to support our border communities, secure the border, and treat all migrants and unaccompanied children fairly and humanely – and I look forward to talking with Chief Magnus soon about his nomination.”

“I’ve known Chief Magnus for a number of years, and as the son of two police officers myself, I have respected his approach to public service and law enforcement,” Sen. Mark Kelly said in a news release. 

“With about 370 miles of U.S.-Mexico border and numerous ports of entry, Arizona requires strong, capable leadership at Customs and Border Protection to secure the border and ensure trade and commerce that is critical for our economy,” Kelly said. “As Tucson’s Police Chief, Chief Magnus understands what it looks like when the federal government fails Arizona on border security and immigration, and that is the experience and perspective he can bring to this position.”

“We’re facing a humanitarian crisis at our border that is already straining Border Patrol in Arizona, and I look forward to speaking with Chief Magnus about his plans for Customs and Border Protection and providing a secure, orderly process at the border that prioritizes safety and public health,” Kelly said. 

 Contact Curt at 573-4224 or

Curt Prendergast


Curt has been with the Star since 2015 and covers the border, immigration and federal courts. He previously worked at the Nogales International.

Habitat for Humanity

Look what this group is doing around town.

Before and After Habitat Tucson Helps Veterans


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Critical Home Repair Feels Like A Blanket of Hope


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Serving Those who Served: John Johnson


A veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne Corp, John Johnson was struggling with the repairs his aging home required. A friend called on John’s behalf and Habitat Tucson’s Home Repair Supervisor […]Read More

Elizabeth Skidmore – Living with Dignity Thanks to Critical Home Repair


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Addressing the Growing Crisis of Critical Home Repair


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Strong links between high-priced housing and Homelessness.


Also, the homeless situation is completely out of control in LA. California based real estate companies are pushing their way into Arizona so they can repeat their nonsense all over again here.

Home / Blog / Affordable Housing / New Research Quantifies the Link Between Housing Affordability and Homelessness

New Research Quantifies the Link Between Housing Affordability and Homelessness

Written by Joy Moses December 13, 2018

Over the last couple decades, rents in America have been on the rise. Housing experts describe “severely cost-burdened households” — people who are spending far too much of their income on rent. Citizens rightly insist “the rent is too damn high.” Researchers and citizens alike suspect this status quo is hurting the nation’s efforts to end homelessness. A recent study, Priced Out: Rising Rent and Homelessness Across America, affirms the suspicions.

The study, commissioned by real estate company Zillow and conducted by a team that included Alliance Research Council Co-Chair Dennis Culhane, confirms a link between escalating housing prices and homelessness. This link is especially present in some of the nation’s largest cities. Affordable housing, therefore, is a critical solution to homelessness.

The Tipping Point

Priced Out reveals a tipping point among rising housing prices. When housing prices force typical households to spend more than 32 percent of their income on rent, those communities begin to experience rapid increases in homelessness. This finding puts a new perspective on a measure already in common use: Government agencies and researchers have long been guided by the notion that individuals and families shouldn’t be spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. We can see that there are broad consequences of passing that threshold.

A Tale of Two Cities: Los Angeles and Houston

Delving into the realities of actual communities is the best way to understand the study. Comparing Los Angeles and Houston is helpful.

L.A.’s housing costs are well over the tipping point. Median-income residents spend more than 45 percent of their incomes on rent. In 2017, the city and county had the second largest number of people experiencing homelessness in the country and one of the highest homeless rates in California. L.A. is not alone. Other major cities have median rents well above the national norm. Only 15 percent of Americans live in such areas but those areas account for 47 percent of the homeless population.

Circumstances in Houston are quite different. Homelessness rates are lower than the researchers expected based on housing costs. Houston belongs to a group of communities in which the relationship between affordability and homelessness is weaker than in places like L.A.

Why? The Zillow team suggests that these communities possess specific assets and/or liabilities that cause them to defy expectations.

For example, in recent years, Houston overhauled its homeless services system. After being targeted for an intervention by HUD, the city made effective use of data and improved agency coordination. While speaking at a recent Zillow event, a representative from Houston’s coalition for the homeless stressed the importance of redirecting extensive resources from programs that weren’t producing permanent housing results to ones that are.

This tells us that an effective crisis response system is an essential tool for combating the affordable housing crisis.


Priced Out sends a strong message to any community concerned about homelessness: we must preserve and create affordable housing.

Key considerations for any community could include:

  • Rewriting local ordinances to reduce barriers to creating housing and prioritize building affordable housing.
  • Using city-owned land for affordable housing development.
  • Exploring new housing models such as single room occupancy units, smaller housing, or accessory dwellings.

Homeless service providers can look to cities like Houston for model practices in responding to homelessness. Through prioritizing Housing First approaches and effective systems management, they too can create community assets that help disrupt the connection between housing affordability and homelessness.

The Research behind Socializing at Work

Omega Z Advisors – Mike Lehr

People with a best friend at work are “seven times more likely than the typical worker to be engaged on the job.” Socializing is one of two keys to job enjoyment. Herman Miller, the office furniture company, found that “fostering better social interaction equals increased contentment.”

The down side is when these relationships are bad. That is when we refer to them as office politics. Office politics are relationships gone sour.

We can use socializing at work as a teambuilding tool.

What Does Socializing at Work Mean?

Socializing at work can mean taking breaks together, sharing work tips and venting. It can mean talking about vacations, families, fashions, sports plus many others. The face-to-face contact that comes with this is very important. Simple social actions correlate to happiness and success on the job. “Those who sat at larger [cafeteria] tables were 36% more productive during the week.”

Socializing at work means sharing. Share ideas, tips and experiences. Share problems and solutions.

Turning Socializing at Work into Teambuilding Tool

People like breaks in training and seminars. They can network. They can socialize. This adds to the event and to job enjoyment and productivity.

There are many other ways to promote socializing at work:

  • Form small project teams of two or three.
  • Create smaller groups within larger teams and committees.
  • Increase the length or number of breaks in meetings.
  • Avoid always putting the same people together.
  • In three-person teams put one quite different from the other two.
  • Sometimes assign seats to break up cliques.
  • Have teams share training, product, service or other ideas before the group.
  • Assign coming up with a meeting’s agenda or content.

General Concepts

The idea is to encourage:

  • Discussion
  • Engagement
  • Diversity
  • Dissent
  • Achievement

Small, diverse teams do well. Once groups get beyond three, it becomes too easy for some to become disengaged.

The task or purpose for the small team does not need to be grand. Teambuilding occurs from the process of working to a goal.

It is best if there is no single, obvious answer. The more teams must work together, the stronger they become.

Management by email affects employee engagement.

How much does management by email affect unit relationships? Mike Lehr – OmegaZ Advisors

Posted ByMike LehrManagement by email affects team building.

Management by email has a direct impact on team building activities.

There are many reasons why managers might prefer management by email (MBE). It is an efficient communication tool. It impacts teambuilding, a critical atom of organizational culture.

Email is a great example of the difference between efficient and effective. Its efficiency comes at the cost of effectiveness. This is seen in building relationships.

The Research

Alex “Sandy” Pentland cites his research in “The New Science of Building Great Teams”. He concludes that “the most valuable form of communication is face-to-face” and “email and texting are the least valuable.”

What does he mean by valuable though? He looks at teams. MBE harms teambuilding. Using email comes at the expense of the teambuilding glue: relationships. This shows up most as lower team engagement.

Digital Isolation

Walter Isaacson writes “Engage Face-to-Face” as one of “The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs”. Isaacson claims Jobs “knew all too well [the digital age’s] potential to be isolating.” Emails focus on ideas and thoughts. These do not flourish if relationships are mediocre.

It is easy to focus on ideas and thoughts. Much of the mainstream business literature talk about the importance of vision, strategy and process. Relationship and culture trump all three though.

Balancing Management by Email with Phone and Face-To-Face

This does not mean we do not use email. Pentland says there is a balance. He does not say what that balance is though. (This is probably for proprietary reasons.)

From my experience and research, in terms of time, a good phone and face-to-face (FTF) percentage will be in the 35-60% range. We can quantify email time as reading time. The average adult reads 300 words per minute.

Emails will still make up most interactions. Phone and FTF will be fewer but longer. Logistics will vary this percentage. For scattered teams, phone will substitute for FTF. Using the same content, phone calls are about half the time of FTF meetings.

These interactions do not have to be all business. It is better if they are not. They can be part of an overall teambuilding plan. Discussing vacation and family are effective teambuilding topics. There are many other tools.

There is power in our personalities. It comes to us free of charge. We use that power best in person.

Managers who manage by Email

Do you have a manager who always communicates by email? Do you feel like you can’t get your feet under you?


Posted ByMike

A financial professional emailed me regarding bosses who “manage by email.” She implied that her boss rarely calls  or meets with employees. She asked, “What does this mean?” and “What should I do?”

First, email does provide certain efficiencies over personal interactions (phone calls and visits). However, from a relationship-building perspective the others are superior. Consequently, I advise managers to have at least one personal interaction with every employee every day.

Managers who MBE will do so for different personal reasons. Nevertheless, we can categorize them under one or both of the following:

  • Wanting to minimize their personal interactions
  • Liking something better about email communications

So, what do you do? Begin by uncovering the specific reasons under these broad preferences. Here are a couple sample questions to customize:

  • What are the advantages of emailing on ____ over meeting to discuss it periodically?
  • It seems you prefer to communicate by email; if so, would you share with me why so I can ensure I communicate effectively in them?

Their answers will give you a general direction as to what bosses like to see in their relationships. For instance, if he references efficiency, then speed might be more important than substance in his relationships. If she references documentation, she might prefer accountability, organization and recollection. If he references organizing or forming his thoughts, he might prefer control to spontaneity in relationships.

After gaining this insight, employees can initiate personal interactions and seek to deliver the attributes they’ve identified. Regardless, employees are wise to reverse the tables and make it a point to call or visit their bosses at least once a day. This will not only help protect their jobs but also help employees be happier and more successful in them.

JustAnswer is just another scam.

JustAnswer is just another scam.

I have a sick cat; he has had Calicivirus and has been sick with it for two months. It was a Saturday, the vet’s office was closed and I was tossing and turning about what to do because he looked worse. My options were to take him to Vet ER again (another $150). As I agonized what to do, I realized that the ER room was probably where he got the virus in the first place. A friend who works at clinics says the animals are brought into a ‘holding room’ in their carriers and wait there until they are seen by a vet. In ER, due to volume, that could be two hours. More than enough time for a sick cat to sneeze and for the droplets to carry and infect other cats. So, instead, I thought to call an online service and speak to a vet that way. I found JustAnswer and at first it looked to be $5; that was just to log in. Then it was another $28 to talk to the vet. I did that, got hold of the vet, she gave me a lot of good tips. By Monday morning, I was on the phone with my regular vet and requesting additional meds that I received.

So far, so good. Then today, eleven days later, a $50.00 charge pops up on my bank balance that I don’t recognize from JustAnswer. I contact them and they advise me that the $5 was for a trial membership and here is the important part, if I did not cancel the membership within 7 days, I would be charged a membership fee ($50). Apparently, someone at JustAnswer has been to law school and found out about the strength of unilateral contracts. (I would love to hear from some attorneys from the readership.)

Anyway, after making enough noise about the fee, and telling them they should be ashamed of this behavior, the fee was cancelled and I guess I get my $50 back. The CEO of JustAnswer is Andy Jurtzig, who looks like a nice guy from his photos. The company is making 100 million per year which probably means Andy is making at least 1 million per. More and more, we see companies like this one and Amazon, pulling with all their might, customers into ‘membership’ programs. They have clearly learned that steady ‘membership’ fees are far more lucrative than individual sales.

Years ago I worked as a cashier at a huge furniture retailer. Customers would routinely come in and buy $2000 worth of furniture and then make $10 a month payments. Since the stuff was junk, the furniture would easily break and wear out long before the loan was paid off. Businesses over and over again seek to lure customers into financing schemes which of course, with interest, earn way more revenue than just the simple retail sales. At Macys I have been asked as many as three times during one such purchase if I wouldn’t like to sign up for their credit card. No, no thank you.

I can only say, that people contacting JustAnswer for Vet, MD, or attorney advice probably do so in desperate times. The frantic pet owner or frantic whomever is not likely to focus on the small print. So, you just enjoy your cocktails there in Silicon Valley, Andy, I am just hoping more people will get wise to this racket.