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Comment Archives: stories

Re: “Marriage Equality Ruling: Candidates Speak Out

The liberal's. The party of the blind, leading the blind. Who desire to drag our country through the mud and filth claiming that the constitution has given them the right to do so. It's to the point they have completely lost touch with common sense and decency. And are now at this point in time totally incapable of making any kind of rational judgment pertaining to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

5 likes, 31 dislikes
Posted by Dave D on 10/19/2014 at 3:49 AM

Re: “Welcome to the 26th Best of Tucson

Where's The Best Sporting Goods Store? I've seen it in the past and always look for this issue to see who it is this year.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Reader on 10/19/2014 at 12:04 AM

Re: “The Heist Pizza Parlour Has Closed

Hopefully The Lodge Sasquatch and their shit service is next. May's can stay though.

Posted by Thelodgesucks on 10/18/2014 at 8:41 PM

Re: “Notes From The TUSD Board Meeting

If you look at the data, Burns voted much more often on my side than on Grijalva's side, when those votes were split. I'm not saying who was right: that's just history verifiable for anyone who works back through the minutes. I am happy to make concessions, as I did when I recently voted for the short form of the strategic plan (the board never voted for the long form), although there are many things in it I dislike. For that matter, Grijalva has also sometimes made concessions and voted for things I know she did not agree with personally. The dysfunction in the board has become much worse since the 2012 election. And I am still waiting for the specific examples. I might even agree with some of them, but it is hard to agree with vapor. :-)

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Mark Stegeman on 10/18/2014 at 3:45 PM

Re: “Let's Take A Look At That Story About TUSD In The Star

In fairness to all TUSD superintendents who dared to endure the office, regardless of their efforts, there is a long-standing problem that was described eloquently 28 years ago: "In a February, 1986, speech to the Tucson Metropolitan Ministry, Dr. (Paul) Houston described the tone of the district. He said, "The board may be the most visible example of this, but it's more than the board. It's between parents and board members, board members and teachers, teachers and administrators. This whole district has become programmed, over a period of time, to conflict, and I would rather be in the position of searching for solutions to problems than acting as a referee. We've got to stop this senseless bickering we have here and get on to some action."

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by ay te wacho on 10/18/2014 at 3:38 PM

Re: “Notes From The TUSD Board Meeting

Stegeman's protestations (which come forth quickly whenever he feels unjustly attacked by another commenter) point to exactly why he has done so much to contribute to the ill will and failure to find compromise on the Board during his tenure. He is quick to demand "evidence and examples" as if doing so will cause others to fail in their recall of how he conducted business while in both the majority and now in the minority. While he is far from being solely to blame, it is revisionist history at its finest for him to assert that he did more than the current Board president to promote dialogue and find consensus when he was in charge. Those were acrimonious times (as they are now) and he was just as deft and wiling as Grijalva (now the president) to advance the causes and interests of the majority at the expense of the minority.

Rather than arguing every point, no matter how arcane and always seeking to have the last word, Stegeman and Grijalva should both do more to establish common ground. They are stubborn and relentless people who clearly dislike each other, both personally and politically. Juarez contributes to the current level of rancor with the frequent swipes he makes at other members, especially Hicks.

It is also both amusing and morbid for Stegeman to cite the example of the late Judy Burns in defense of himself and his "leadership." Long-time observers of TUSD recall that Burns and Grijalva were much more likely to be in accord during their time on the Board, while Stegeman has only been able to count on one constant ally: Hicks. It is a clever (yet disingenuous) diversion for Stegeman to ask all his doubters to produce laundry lists of incidents to prove his contributions to the failure of the entire Board to run TUSD with wisdom, foresight and a student-centered vision.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Also Thinking About It! on 10/18/2014 at 3:31 PM

Re: “Tucson Tamale's Secret Ingredient

Rock: That was obviously not the point I was trying to make. I have no preconceived notions about race/religion/region/etc. and cooking. Being Sicilian, I think I make better Asian food than pasta, better southern cuisine than east coast fare (where a majority of my family is from).

The fact is, and point I was trying, is that it does come to a lot of peoples mind, so it warrants the question. Also my point was TTC took guts to open, which was the underlying theme throughout the story.

Thanks for your input!

sabasbas: I will take the charge for oftentimes. The other grammatical mistake ("are guts") happened somewhere in the transition between my computer and the printing press. Thanks for noticing!

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by C.J. Hamm on 10/18/2014 at 3:11 PM

Re: “Notes From The TUSD Board Meeting

Think About It: "Stegeman is a model for how to stay on top of the facts that Board members must master, but he is a horrible example of what it takes to foster consensus, compromise and direction for central office administration." I have never claimed to be perfect as a board member, but this claim suffers from much more repetition than evidence or examples. For example, with most of my fellow board members, past and especially present, meetings to discuss issues and resolve differences are almost always at my suggestion. Moreover, when I was president (and the same was true for Judy Burns), many more issues were pulled back to attempt to reach a higher degree of consensus before a vote. If the quoted criticism has more substance than simply shooting the messenger, then there should be examples behind it. Persons who watch board meetings regularly might say that the recent absence of collaboration comes substantially from the self-proclaimed board majority.

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Mark Stegeman on 10/18/2014 at 2:38 PM

Re: “Let's Take A Look At That Story About TUSD In The Star

The superintendent is a lightning rod, and through the years many have felt the lethal shocks. Thinking back, I can recall a smart guy like Paul Houston giving it a good shot and then moving on as gracefully as possible. Those who certainly seemed less inspired (e.g., George Garcia, Roger Pfeuffer, et. al.) seemed to stay longer. The more recently departed superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen showed just how suddenly the revolving door can spin. The job is a meat grinder and few realize it until it starts. H.T. Sanchez looks young and energetic and we hope he can learn quickly and effectively, but the air is rarefying around him. Hopefully, someday, all the people who really work hard every day, every year in TUSD will prevail.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by ay te wacho on 10/18/2014 at 1:36 PM

Re: “Notes From The TUSD Board Meeting

Poor TUSD - at one time just a few decades ago or so, the district held so much prestige, so many resources, and so much neighborhood support. But somewhere along the way, it was squandered, bogged down by internal favoritism, rapid insider promotions, arrogance and mismanagement. For years, the district turned down outside advice, let no one dare interfere with its toxic politics and, with apparently no critical awareness, slid slowly and inexorably into today's strange, school-closing situation. Despite many, many good people on board through the years, an absence of flexible decision-making has taken a terrible toll. Poor TUSD.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ay te wacho on 10/18/2014 at 12:34 PM

Re: “Best Place to Sing Karaoke

Thank you Tucson for voting us #1. We love our Karaoke friends and a big hug for all our fantastic KJ's from Y Not Entertainment. If you haven't been here yet...we hope you'll come out and play with us on Thurs, Fri and Sat nights from 9pm - 2am. You guys rock!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Royal Sun on 10/18/2014 at 11:51 AM

Re: “Notes From The TUSD Board Meeting

Awesome Teacher has done a solid job of offering some history and perspective on behalf of people like Safier who are relatively new observers of TUSD politics and operations. To add to her discourse, it needs to be pointed out that Fagen unwisely eliminated the department that oversaw curriculum not only to save money, but also because she wrongly thought those decisions should be made at the site level. As a result, TUSD lags behind all other local districts as it seeks to develop curricula that is aligned with state standards. This is actually an area where Sanchez and his team have done some solid work, building on the efforts that were begun by Pedicone and his deputy, Menconi.

District administrators are responsible for day to day operations, but the Board sets policy that directs those operations. For far too long, predating the members of the current Board, but also including the, TUSD has been plagued by Board members who fail to grasp that critical distinction. They use their Board seats to advance personal agendas and spend next to no time learning the intricacies of the budget, the needs of the sites and the roles of all the people who are employed at both the district and site level. This distorted focus makes them easy prey for district administrators who count on their ignorance and consequent inability to ask questions about initiatives or policies those administrators want the Board to approve.

Awesome Teacher is correct to describe Grijalva as perhaps the prime example of this dereliction of a Board member's duty, but that is the model that has been followed by virtually every Board member during her sad and undistinguished tenure. Stegeman, despite other faults that cause him to be an ineffective and polarizing elected official, does get into the details of budgeting, policy and operations. It is his utter arrogance, unwillingness to consider alternative points of view and tendency to act more like a shadow superintendent than a Board member that cause him to be a negative presence on the Board...but there is no doubt that he does his homework and knows his facts. Grijalva has been on the Board longer than Stegeman and can't approach his level of knowledge.

It is telling that no Board member (except Stegeman, and he did so weakly and tentatively) questioned the extraordinary difference between the budgetary numbers presented to them first by Awwad and then by Soto. None of them (except Stegeman) have the knowledge base about the budget necessary to comment intelligently on those discrepancies! Putnam-Hidalgo's wry public comments indicate that she had some inkling of how bizarre these contrasts were, but she should have been more descriptive and less clever in what she said during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Awesome Teacher works in TUSD and has a good read on the true nature of the current superintendent, how he does business and how he treats people. Anyone who wants further insight into HT Sanchez and his record as an employer should look at the comments posted by Texans who worked with him as both a superintendent and a principal via this link: http://threesonorans.com/2014/09/25/ht-sanchez-gets-called-out-by-tusd-administrators-an-open-letter/#comment-91098. A leader's past actions and how they dealt with both supporters and opponents are good indications of how they will behave in the present, especially when they face adversity.

Given all these facts, the public needs to elect independent, hardworking and inquisitive Board members who will also work effectively and harmoniously with all their colleagues. Stegeman is a model for how to stay on top of the facts that Board members must master, but he is a horrible example of what it takes to foster consensus, compromise and direction for central office administration. So far, the only candidate who I see that fits this description is Putnam-Hidalgo, but I agree with previous commenters that some of the other candidates (Bernal, Campos-Fleenor and Darland) show promise. The one thing that is abundantly clear is that both the incumbents (Grijalva and Hicks) have demonstrated that they lack the work ethic, independence and understanding of their roles to serve as effective Board members.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Think About It... on 10/18/2014 at 11:49 AM

Re: “Best Signature Cocktail

You might want to order in some copies of the novel, Ghost Orchid by D. K. Christi with a beautiful picture of a ghost orchid on the cover and the mystery of ghost orchids within. dkchristi.com

Posted by dkchristi on 10/18/2014 at 10:55 AM

Re: “RIP Sean Collins, aka DJ Sean T

Sean always played my Morrissey requests at Club Congress on Monday nights. Because of that, some of the most precious memories were created for me and my friends. Member forgotten Sean. Sleep well.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Julie Riza on 10/18/2014 at 10:14 AM

Re: “Best Public School

UHS has no campus of it's own, it has equipment and books that are frequently outdated (it took until October for the School Board to okay an AP text that was being used in a class they had already approved), they get no additional money or fancy anything, unlike Cat Foothills which looks like a swank JC, and Tucson High which has a huge foundation. But what UHS offers is sanctuary for kids who have been taunted and often bullied for most of their lives in other "normal" schools—because they actually really love learning. Almost every kid I know at UHS, and I know quite a few, has horrific tales to tell of how kids and sometimes even teachers treated them at their feeder "normal" schools. UHS is a school for special education because gifted kids learn differently and they need more and deeper learning strategies. If UHS did not exist, those kids would not be going back to their neighborhood schools. A large number of them would probably go to Basis as the next best choice to get an education that challenges them.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by KimE on 10/18/2014 at 9:02 AM

Re: “Best Vegetarian/ Vegan

urban fresh has SUCH better choices than any of the vegan options at blue willow. that sweet potato sandwich is awful.

Posted by lindsey on 10/18/2014 at 9:01 AM

Re: “Notes From The TUSD Board Meeting

Great post by Awesome Teacher, but I'd like to add a comment in response to this statement: "Perhaps Darland will do fine, if she learns to wean herself away from Peterson and demonstrates that she is not totally influenced by Foster." I don't think there is any reason to believe Darland could wean herself away from Pedersen or be independent of Foster (with Grijalva a very real presence in the background even if she is not re-elected). It's about relationships: from what I've seen, Darland is deeply entrenched in this network and if she wins the election will be too indebted to them to be independent in any meaningful fashion. Two things about this group concern me deeply:
1. Many things seem to indicate that they have not put enough checks on the power of the Superintendent during the last year. A board should support the Superintendent and not micromanage him, but it should not give him carte blanche to do whatever he wants. Damaging mistakes have been made in the last year that could have been avoided if the board had been fulfilling its proper function, and if Ms. Grijalva had felt she could use her "institutional knowledge" to provide better direction for a Superintendent who was new to Tucson and in his first real superintendency. TUSD is a very troubled district and not a good place for someone who hasn't had a decade or more of experience leading a school district to "try their hand" at it. He needs more guidance and oversight than this group has seemed able to provide.
2. It seems they cannot find a way of working constructively with Stegeman. I know it's difficult, but for better or worse, he will remain on the board at least until the end of 2016. It's going to be two long and counter-productive years if we have more of the almost complete polarization and lack of a collegial, collaborative leadership style we've had since Juarez and Foster came on the board.

Among the liberal candidates, my support is going to Putnam-Hidalgo because she understands both of the above points and has character qualities that will enable her to work collaboratively with board members on both sides of the political spectrum to provide better guidance and oversight for the Superintendent. Whatever the outcome of the election, the Grijalva-Pedersen network will still have two members on the board until the end of 2016 (Juarez and Foster). They don't need a third and for the reasons stated above I think it would be very bad for the district if they controlled the majority for another two years.

Among the conservative candidates: I hope that voters understand that one of the things board members have to do is read and interpret spreadsheets and ensure that information given to them about the organization and its finances is accurate in every respect. This is not easy, especially in a context like TUSD, and it involves a skill set that can best be provided by someone with years of experience serving on non-profit boards and managing a business. I don't think, given TUSD's financial situation, it's wise to eliminate Campos-Fleenor as a likely positive contributor to the board.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Think Strategically on 10/18/2014 at 7:42 AM

Re: “Notes From The TUSD Board Meeting

During TUSD's appeal of Huppenthal's decision that the MAS Program violated state law, there were several days of testimony. During the testimony it emerged that the Governing Board...over a period of quite a few years...had not exercised its legal obligation to review and approve TUSD's curricular offerings. The focus of the appeal was the MAS program, but testimony clearly involved other subject areas as well as the English and History curricula. Judge Kowal cited this failure by a succession of TUSD Governing Boards in his decision upholding Huppenthal's action.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Marty on 10/18/2014 at 4:13 AM

Re: “Another (Not-So-)Proud Arizona Moment on How Women Can Prevent Their Own Rapes

Great article. You've done a great service to women everywhere, particularly the naive 18-19 yr old freshmen, living on their own for the first time.

"teach men not to rape!" How's that been working out? Swimmingly, huh?
Well, juuuuust in case you don't want to trust a party full of drunk people, a little personal responsibility can go a pretty long way.

Leave your doors unlocked tonight. It's ok. We've told men not to steal, too.

Cops, take the night off! We've already told people not to drink and drive.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rob Monteleone on 10/18/2014 at 1:29 AM

Re: “Best Public School

It's easy to be the best when you only accept the very best. Applying students can come from any school too, which means less kids who attended TUSD schools prior to enrollment. Let's not pretend UHS is a typical public school, when it is anything but. I'm glad despite AZ's dreadful national status on education Tucson had some promising schools but both our top performing high schools are gifted best of the best only admissions. If anything they are direct proof of why AZ is such a horrendous disgrace to public education. We make exclusive schools abandoning the majority.

4 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by ELjaime on 10/17/2014 at 10:51 PM

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