Will tea party types/Republicans succeed in turning the governing board of Maricopa County’s community colleges into a bigger version of the governing board of Gilbert’s public school district?

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

Note to BfA readers: Normally, I wouldn’t cross-post something that is so Maricopa-centric here, but the subject here may be of interest statewide.

Yesterday, I wrote a bit about some of the school board races here in Maricopa County; today, the subject is one of the other low-profile races here.

It isn’t news (to observers in AZ, anyway) that the governing board of the Gilbert Public Schools District has been taken over by tea party types and what was once one of the few crown jewels of public education in Arizona has been devastated.

With the damage done there, the tea party types have set their sights on a bigger target –

The governing board of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD):

– At-large seat, five candidates for two seats (pending litigation; the board’s membership was expanded by the Republicans in the legislature who were looking to make this board more “Republican”.  The move was so brazen that a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law that created the new seats is winding its way through the court system)


– Augustine Bartning, Republican, ran for LD24 state senate in 2012 (lost).  Interesting note: 1000 signatures are required on nominating petitions for this office.   He turned in 1074.  If his petitions are challenged, that probably isn’t enough of a buffer to survive a challenge.

Note: he may not be part of the takeover attempt; in LD24 in 2012, he seemed to be an almost reasonable human being.

Note2: he also may have been toning it down for the audience in a moderate, D-leaning district.

– Mario E. Diaz, Democrat, a well-respected (and well-connected) political consultant

– John Heep, Republican, also running for the Sun City West fire district board

– Tracy Livingston, Republican, wife of hardcore winger state legislator David Livingston

– Eddie Tiggs, don’t know much about him

Assuming that the board’s expansion survives the court challenge, the candidate receiving the most votes will serve a four-year term while the candidate receiving the second-most votes will serve a two-year term.  Future elections will be for four-year terms.


District 3, three candidates for one seat:

– Johanna Haver, whole-hearted RWNJ (pretty much an “English first, last, and only” type; that characterization may be oversimplified a bit, but only a bit)

– Reyes Medrano, Sr., don’t know much about him.

– Fred Zook, don’t know much about him.


District 4, two candidates for one seat:

– Randolph Lumm, incumbent, and a good one

– Jean McGrath, former legislator and current perennial candidate.  Highlight of her legislative stint: she ran a bill that would have barred overnight visits by the opposite sex in the dorms of Arizona’s public universities


District 5 (two-year term; the others are four years), two candidates for one seat:

– Rick Eastman, don’t know much about him

– Alfredo Gutierrez, noted author and incumbent.  Appointed to fill a vacancy.


Normally, I refrain from engaging to too much commentary in posts like this one (this started out as a strictly informative post), but it sure looks like that there is a low-profile but concerted effort to turn the MCCCD governing board into a countywide version of the governing board of the Gilbert school district.

And with the likes of Livingston, Heep (maybe), Bartning (maybe), McGrath, and Haver, they aren’t being subtle about it.

General information on the MCCCD board here.


3 responses to “Will tea party types/Republicans succeed in turning the governing board of Maricopa County’s community colleges into a bigger version of the governing board of Gilbert’s public school district?

  1. Johanna Haver

    Craig, I did not submit the article about my book to the Pro English group. However, the author of it, Rosalie Pedalino Porter, is a friend of mine and might have done so. In fact, she wrote a blurb for the cover of my book. She is proficient in both Spanish and Italian – came to this country from Italy at age 5 or 6. Like me, she found structured immersion methods to work considerably better than bilingual education. That said, as I explain in my book, bilingual ed can be successful but the teachers must be proficient in the language(s) in which they are teaching, the parents/students must be committed, and the classes must be reasonable size. It does not work for kids to come and go – as happens often with ELLs – nor for kids to be absent or not on task. Even the bilingual ed proponents have admitted bilingual had not been properly implemented in many schools at the time of the “English for the Children” initiative. Salvador Gabaldon of TUSD, a major advocate for bilingual education, is a friend of mine who helped me with my book. We agree on the most important issues regarding ELLs. He said that the people on the side of bilingual ed respect me – as I do them. We all want the ELLs to succeed. This should not be an issue regarding my candidacy for the MCCCD except possibly regarding “the dreamers.” I would do whatever I could to make it possible for them to enroll in college. My belief is that community college classes should be high quality and affordable for everyone. I would do all I could to make that happen.

  2. Johanna Haver

    I was inaccurately described in this blog. I am hardly an “English only” person – have an MA in German and taught it for many years. In addition, I taught English as a second language in high school so saw firsthand how bilingual education was keeping the ELL students quite limited in English. That said, I would definitely support Hispanic children, in fact all Arizona children, learning Spanish – but only after they have reached proficiency in English. Read my book to find out why I feel this way and what I suggest must be done. I am running for the MCCCD Governing Board because I want to decrease tuition by cutting wasteful spending – such as the Board’s trip to China. Several students could have attended an MCCCD community college for a year on what was spent on that trip. I hope you vote for me.