SCARED STUPID: After belittling the recall drive that has made them marked pols, members of the Amphi School District Ruling Party -- the Governing Board majority -- quietly filed suit last week to stop the May 16 recall election. Board President Gary Woodard and longtime board members Thelma Virginia Houston and Richard Scott filed for electoral protection the day after county Schools Superintendent Linda Arzoumanian wisely set a May 16 election, despite enormous pressure from the majority and its minions to delay the vote until the September primary.

Arrogant or stupid or cheap (or all three), the Amphite majority filed "pro se," meaning on their own behalf and without counsel.

The three claim that petitions were improperly circulated, signed and notarized. And they claim Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez, a Democrat who is seeking a third term this year, certified petition signatures that should have been invalidated. Supplying no proof, the three claim that had Rodriguez invalidated those signatures, the petitions would have fallen under the required level of 5,042 on each recall target.

Recall leaders were meticulous in their 120-day signature drive that ended in December. While they may not have had a huge cushion, they had precision. Validity rates ranged from a low of 88.3 percent against Woodard to nearly 90 percent on the petitions against Scott.

Moreover, Rodriguez was diligent. She is no stranger to petition work and political controversies. And, to the consternation of recall leaders, Rodriguez took it a little slow on the Amphi petitions to make sure her office's work could withstand a challenge.

Nonetheless, Woodard, Houston and Scott are asking Judge John F. Kelly of Superior Court to issue a temporary injuction against Rodriguez and Arzoumanian to prevent them from doing anything else to get the election rolling. Isn't it a little late?

Among the demands: an opportunity to challenge the legality of all signatures, and time and access to review the signatures against voter registration files.

Get lost!

Rodriguez opened up her shop to any and all who wanted to observe the process. Only Houston bothered to go downtown to see this, but she left after a few minutes.

But where's all the bravado? Since Rodriguez certified the petitions last month, each of these political tyrants has said the recall was a nothing -- big talk, considering that reformers, Nancy Young Wright and Ken Smith, cleaned their clocks in the last two elections in 1996 and 1998. Houston, despite her broad reach and a family entrenched in Amphi administration, carried only six of Amphi's 51 precincts in 1996. Young Wright carried the rest. Scott has been in more precarious positions. He was a distant third four years ago and struggled to keep in seat in 1992, defeating the more qualified Skip Whitley, a political novice, by a mere 38 votes. Smith crushed Woodard and his Amphi mentor Mike Bernal in 1998, carrying all but three precincts.

For the Amphi majority, voter reality bites. Woodard, Houston and Scott could not thwart the recall. Their election numbers are no longer strong. So naturally they have to attempt some 11th-hour, back-door maneuver to circumvent the will of the long-abused Amphi voter/parent/taxpayer.

Leading the charge against them is the indomitable Mary Schuh, a 65-year-old grandmother/student/ taxpayer advocate who has long shaken Amphi, Pima County and Pima Community College with her bitingly funny lectures.

In the quirky recall system, targets in even the multiple-seat elections must be identified by challengers. Schuh is taking on Woodard. Not only could she whip him out back, she'll whip him at the polls, too.

"I've got one nerve left and he's getting on it," Schuh said this week of Woodard.

Schuh served on the first, appointed council of the village of Casas Adobes and has since headed the Pima Taxpayers Association.

She is joined by Kent Barrabee, a 60-year-old community college instructor from Oro Valley; and Mike Prout, a 53-year-old space flight science manager at the University of Arizona who lives in Oro Valley.

CLASS SYSTEM: Rich people are different. Not only do they have more money, but apparently that entitles their children to be stupider than the rest of us.

We are, of course, referring to the AIMS (Arizona's Instrument for Measuring Standards) flap currently riling the general populace.

The rich folk are yanking their kids out of the public schools in increasing numbers to avoid the state-mandated AIMS graduation test, state education officials tell us privately.

Furthermore, they say the state has offered the AIMS test to all of Arizona's private schools, even going so far as to offer free training in its administration. So far, however, only two tiny schools we've never heard of have taken the state up on that generous offer in Pima County.

Perhaps the private schools don't like the one condition state officials have set out if they are to receive the test for free -- namely, that the results have to be published.

Why aren't these high-priced private institutions willing to show what great students they produce? Could it be their students are twits and their expensive educational programs are less than effective?

And what a nasty little class divide we have going here. The private school lobbyists are citing Arizona law which states the Arizona Department of Education may not in any way interfere with private schools.

These snooty clowns expect the rest of us taxpayers to go along with their proposed voucher system? We may not be wealthy enough to put our kids in private schools, but surely we're not that stupid, are we?

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