Bobby Garcia and Louie Gonzales recall, Sunnyside Unified School District, Arizona (2014)

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An effort to recall Bobby Garcia and Louie Gonzales from their positions on the Governing Board of Sunnyside Unified School District in Arizona was launched in July 2013.[1] The Pima County School Superintendent's Office scheduled a recall vote for May 20, 2014 for voters living within the district.[2] Beki Quintero and Mike Polak are running against Garcia while former board member Eric Griffin will attempt to replace Gonzales.[3] This election will take place using mail ballots and cost an estimated $98,000.[2]

Recall supporter arguments

The recall effort is being led by a group called Sunnyside Recall 2013. The group is made up of local residents who oppose Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo. Garcia and Gonzales are supporters of the superintendent along with board member Eva Carrillo Dong. Isquierdo has received criticism for various personal actions, including using bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure on his home, owing $150,000 in back taxes, having his driver's license suspended for failing to pay fines, using his district credit card for questionable purchases and using athletes in the district's effort to promote the passing of school bonds measures. Board members Buck Crouch and Daniel Hernandez, Jr. opposed Isquierdo. A recall effort against Crouch and Hernandez began in August 2013, but did not move forward after supporters declined to turn in signatures.[1][4]

Petition language

The petition against Garcia reads:[5]

Recall of Sunnyside Unified School District #12 Board member Bobby Garcia

To increase respect for our children's educational needs, insure better academic outcomes, to eliminate the current culture of fear and intimidation among teachers and classified staff, to effectively represent the taxpayers and families of this community, and to insure financially sound board decisions, we the qualified electors of the Sunnyside Unified School District demand the recall of Bobby Garcia, Sunnyside Governing Board Member. The grounds of this demand for recall are:

  • Failure to respect and respond to input from.the Sunnyside Community and Staff
  • Failure to represent district voters
  • Failure to provide responsible and accountable fiscal oversight of scarce taxpayer dollars
  • Failure to demand financial, programmatic and personal accountability from the Superintendent[6]

The petition against Gonzales reads:[5]

Recall of Sunnyside Unified School District #12 Board member Louie C. Gonzales

To increase respect for our children's educational needs, insure better academic outcomes, to eliminate the current culture of fear and intimidation among teachers and classified staff, to effectively represent the taxpayers and families of this community, and to insure financially sound board decisions, we the qualified electors of the Sunnyside Unified School District demand the recall of Louie C. Gonzales, Sunnyside Governing Board Member. The grounds of this demand for recall are:

  • Failure to respect and respond to input from the Sunnyside Community and Staff
  • Failure to represent district voters
  • Failure to provide responsible and accountable fiscal oversight of scarce taxpayer dollars
  • Failure to abide by election laws by pressuring district athletic teams with threat of withdrawal of funding for teams that did not participate in distribution of bond arid override election literature
  • Failure to properly notify and provide background information to all board members resulting in an inability by some board members to make informed and effective decisions.
  • Failure to recuse himself from board decisions involving hiring family members[6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Arizona

Recall supporters had to collect 1,345 signatures from registered voters in the district for both Garcia and Gonzales by November 14, 2013 to trigger a recall election.[1] The group collected about 1,455 signatures to recall Gonzales and more than 1,417 for Garcia, totaling nearly 2,900 signatures. The Pima County School Superintendent’s Office processed the signatures and sent the names to the county Recorder’s Office. The Recorder's Office certified signatures on January 3, 2014 and the school superintendent scheduled the election on January 10, 2014.[7][8][2]

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