Does Stegeman plan to use procedural sleight of hand?


by David Safier

My recommendation to TUSD Board members: Keep good track of your wallets, purses, watches and votes. It looks like Mark Stegeman may try to pick your pocket one way or another.

Stegeman has a letter in today's Star. For a man who prides himself on making clear, logical presentations, he's put together one of the more opaque pieces of writing I've seen on the letters page, and that's saying a lot. Here's what I think he's saying: The Star was wrong to report that some Board members were hornswoggled in December when they thought they were voting to get rid of an earlier objection to part of the proposed deseg plan. After all, there was a unanimous vote to keep the objections.

What happened was, somehow or another, Stegeman pulled a fast one. While the majority of the Board thought it was removing the objection to the multicultural courses being part of the core curriculum, Stegeman knew that's not what they voted for.

If this is going to be Stegeman's new tactic when he's in the minority, which will happen more frequently with the new makeup of the Board, the rest of the members had better have a procedural expert on hand to watch for motions that mean the opposite of what they appear to mean.

Stegeman is smart and hard working. He may figure out ways to pull a fast one now and then, kind of like Senate procedural wizard Mitch McConnell. But the purpose of the Board is to decide policy for the District based on careful discussion followed by a majority decision, not to have one member subvert the will of the majority by resorting to tricks. I hope Stegeman understands that.


  1. Stegeman treats the TUSD Board process as if it were a board game and his antics reinforce the community’s sense that TUSD is run by a bunch of clowns. His goal was to have a unanimous vote supporting the deseg plan, which contained TUSD’s objection to ethnic studies classes. Grijalva announced that she would vote no on the plan if it contained the objection and asked if the objection could be separated out. Stegeman said “Sure” and offered a decoy objection. TUSD’s lawyer said that would accomplish what Grijalva sought. Grijalva then took the bait and voted yes on the plan, thinking that the decoy objection would be the Board’s up or down vote on whether the objection would go forward to the court.

    Was that unanimous vote so important to Stegeman that he, once again, turned the TUSD Board into a laughing stock? He even fooled Tom Horne. Horne told the court that TUSD had removed its objection! Yeah, sure Mark. It’s clear as mud and your letter to the editor is pathetic.

    There are serious concerns about the role played by TUSD’s in-house counsel. What good is it to have a lawyer sitting at the meeting when she did not respond to Grijalva’s question asking whether the vote on the decoy objection was instruction to the attorneys to remove TUSD’s objection?

    Stegeman did not answer the question, either. Nice touch. Then he had a near melt down insisting that the board revote on the decoy objection because it was sooooooo important for the board to be unanimous on the issue. Gee, why wasn’t a unanimous vote important to you last week when you were in the 3-2 minority on the new board’s vote to remove the objection? Hmmm?

    And what about the Deconcini lawyers? They have ethical obligations to zealously represent TUSD and to be candid with the court. Did they misrepresent to the court that TUSD still maintained its objection? Were they certain that was the Board’s position? What steps did they take to get clarity? The new board has some housecleaning to do.

    Stegeman disgraced the board again with this sleazy move.