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Organizers toss in towel on PCC recall

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Organizers toss in towel on PCC recall

  • Kynn Bartlett/Wikimedia

A recall effort that targeted two members of the Governing Board of Pima Community College is being abandoned, and organizers will not submit petitions after failing to gather enough signatures. The Southern Arizona Leadership Council said that the "recall committees found identifying valid voters ... and then convincing them to sign the recall petition too difficult to overcome."

A litany of complaints prompted by the college being placed on probation by the Higher Learning Commission led a variety of groups, including the SALC, to seek the recall of two of the five-member board. Recall organizers targeted Scott Stewart and Marty Cortez. A third targeted board member, Brenda Even, is up for election in November.

Recall organizers will not be submitting petitions to the county for certification, a Tuesday email from SALC to members of the business group said. The deadline for turning in petitions is Wednesday.

Instead of seeking to oust members of the board by forcing an election, the backs of the effort will instead recruit new candidates to lead the school, the email said.

Recall backers had 120 days to gather nearly 30,000 valid signatures to force an election in Stewart's District 4 and Cortez's District 5. Governing Board districts parallel districts for the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

Stewart's term ends in 2016; Cortez was elected to a term ending in 2016.

Check back for updates.

SALC email

An email sent to members of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council on Tuesday:

As you know, SALC has remained an active member of the community coalitions supporting the efforts of the two Recall Committees attempting to effect change in PCC College Districts 4 and 5. Tomorrow is the end of the 120-day recall period and the recall committees will not be submitting signatures to the county. The recall committees found identifying valid voters, District 4 and 5 only, and then convincing them to sign the recall petition too difficult to overcome. There are several key points for you to consider regarding SALC's on-going effort with PCC:

- The community coalition which SALC helped form has remained committed to effecting change. The diverse group still has active participations from CFAIRR, POAC, PCC students and the Tucson Metro Chamber

- Recall efforts were the second step in a three step plan

1. Seek resignations

2. Attempt to recall board members

3. Recruit, and elect, highly qualified candidates to the governing board

- The coalition has entered the third phase

While the coalition was aware of the difficulty of a recall, the importance of Board change at the college required the attempt. While the signatures will not be submitted, there were several positive outcomes from the recall effort.

- The coalition has remained united around the singular purpose of improving the quality of education at PCC

- Hundreds of newly registered voters are now capable of their voice being heard specifically because of this effort

- The people of District 4 and District 5 are more aware of the governing board and will undoubtedly be more informed the next time they go to the ballot

The concerns that brought this diverse coalition of business leaders, community leaders from throughout Pima County, educators, and students, have not changed. The college is attempting to correct the areas sighted by the HLC and Chancellor Lee Lambert is turning PCC toward the future. However, Lambert, the students and employees need the best help they can get: Highly qualified people serving on the governing board and guiding the college.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Our long-term goal is to improve the governance of PCC. Our first opportunity to improve the college's governance will occur this November, when the District 1 seat is up for election. We are pleased that SALC member Michael Duran has announced his candidacy for the District 1 board seat and we are confident that with our support, Michael's experience and abilities will result in his election this November. With your continued resolve, support and guidance, SALC will remain committed to improving , and ensuring, the future success of Pima Community College.

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marty cortez, pcc, salc, scott stewart

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