Once elected, however, she discovered that she does not possess the power to unilaterally do so. Hell, Douglas doesn’t even possess the power to boss around the Arizona State Board of Education board members.
Douglas also learned, what she should have known all along, that she has no real influence over the state education budget, which is controlled by the governor and the legislature. She is expected to simply do as she is told by her betters.
Frustrated at every turn, Diane Douglas turned to engaging in personal disputes with the governor, and the board members of Arizona State Board of Education over her attempt to fire employees. Douglas is currently pissing away your tax dollars on yet another intra-government GOP lawsuit over the scope of the powers of her office.
Diane Douglas has proven to be just as bad as Democrats predicted she would be in last year’s election, and she has proven to be a great disappointment to the Republicans who voted for her out of GOP tribalism for any candidate with an “(R)” behind his or her name on the ballot.
Well rejoice Arizonans, you now have an opportunity to correct your egregious mistake in last year’s election. The long anticipated recall of Diane Douglas is “game on!” Group begins collecting signatures to recall Douglas:
Max Goshert, who chairs the recall committee, submitted the required paperwork Tuesday to the Secretary of State’s Office to start the recall drive.
[Last November,Goshert created a political-action committee, a Facebook page and the website recalldouglas.com, where you can donate funds and volunteer to circulate petitions.]
But in doing so, Goshert started the clock running.
State law gives recall organizers just 120 days to submit 366,128 valid signatures. That sets a deadline of Dec. 30.
Mary Fontes, who handles election matters for the office, told Goshert he likely needs a margin of 25 percent given the number of signatures that normally get disqualified. That makes the real goal in excess of 450,000.
In the formal statement of recall, the committee says that since Douglas took office in January she has “demonstrated that she lacks the ability and expertise to serve professionally and politically.” It claims she has spent more time trying to “increase her power” than dealing with education issues.
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Much of the criticism of Douglas concerns her attempts to do what she promised during the campaign: dismantle the Common Core academic standards.
Those efforts led to the other things that have kept Douglas in the news — and in court — including her unsuccessful effort to fire two employees of the state Board of Education who she called “two liberal staff who have publicly stated they will block all efforts to repeal or change Common Core.”
But Goshert said Tuesday the real problem is Douglas has not been an advocate for public education.
“She’s the person who has to go in front of the Legislature and say why public schools deserve more money,” Goshert said.
That claim, however, is only partly true.
In January, Douglas told a House panel that the state of education in Arizona is poor. She also told members of the Education Committee that they’re going to have to take some responsibility — and pony up some dollars — if they want the situation to improve.
“New teachers are leaving the profession at an alarming rate,” she said. After the last school year, 24 percent of first-year teachers and 20 percent of second-year teachers did not come back.
And one reason for that, Douglas said, is money.
“ Arizona’s average teacher salary is ranked 42nd in the nation, and salaries are a major obstacle when recruiting outside of Arizona,” she told the panel. “Without experienced, highly effective teachers in each Arizona classroom, our students will struggle to succeed.”
Douglas, however, made no specific budget request to lawmakers, acknowledging the state at the time was looking at a deficit. Nor did she ever submit a specific funding proposal later in the session to the budget committees.
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Even if Goshert gets the necessary number of signatures, it could be close to a year before voters get to decide whether she should remain in office.
Matt Roberts, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said his agency has 10 days to process the petitions. Then counties have another 60 days to review the petitions and determine if the signatures match the voter registration rolls, the people are registered voters and that they live at the addresses listed.
If the petition drive reaches the goal, the elected official is given a chance to resign or submit a statement of defense. In the latter case, others who want to run for office can submit nominating papers.
Goshert said his organization is not now supporting anyone to run against Douglas.
Roberts said state law requires recall elections to be held on one of the four dates spelled out for elections in state law: in March, May, August or November.
Given all the deadlines, he figures the earliest possible date would be next August.
Goshert would not detail Tuesday who is financing the recall effort. State law does not require him to file financial disclosure forms until the end of January, after the petition drive is over.
Remember when everyone said that we could not successfully recall disgraced former Senate President Russell Pearce? We proved the naysayers wrong.
Only once before has a recall campaign collected enough signatures for a statewide office recall election, Governor Evan Mecham in 1988, but the legislature impeached Mecham obviating the need for a recall election.
This is going to take a massive number of well-trained volunteers to properly collect signatures on petitions. Follow the rules carefully so that signatures and petitions pages are not struck on review for not strictly complying with the rules — something our legislature made more difficult in an election bill last year. This will be a herculean effort, but you can do it!