With the votes counted, Pima Community College Board of Governors District 5 candidate Richard Fridena sent this to his supporters:
Dear Friends and Supporters,
With the delay in counting votes in Pima County and the low public profile regarding the Pima Community College Board of Governors District 5 race, I bet you are wondering about the outcome. Yesterday afternoon, the final election results were released:
Sadly, Ms. Mary Cortez retained her seat by a 2,285 vote margin. There are many things to say about why the election turned out as it did. I want you to know and understand my respect for your attention to and care for the Tucson community expressed through your support of our campaign to secure a voice on the Pima College Board.
I have additional two thoughts about this outcome. First, we all need to continue watching her and the Governing Board’s performance. We must continue to insist that she, and the other trustees, represent our best interests and that Pima Community College better serves the residents of Pima County. This vote has shown that the Governing Board needs to wake up and again focus on serving students and not a misguided, bloated Administration. They are accountable.
Second, I was aware of the historical pattern that two opposition candidates frequently split the vote thereby allowing the incumbent to retain their office. I thought the continued embarrassment wrought by the sitting board and the compelling need for change in College leadership would have been enough to overcome the predictable splitting of the vote. While close, this simply did not happen. Ms. Cortez cannot truly claim she won this race. She must realize that 57% of District 5 voted to replace her.
Therefore, it falls on all of us to continue holding her and the Governing Board publically accountable. As has been made clear in the last week, the current Board holds public accountability in distain. (See http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/editorial/public-comments-belong-at-start-of-pcc-s-meetings/article_a8e79279-80a6-5d1b-9002-3d364eb61e7f.html#.UKOQQ30AVsM.email)
I am touched deeply by all of the support and encouragement given me. My heartfelt thanks to you. All of you symbolize citizenship and community to me.
P.S. As you, know from my previous letters, my campaign mailed out 20,000 postcards at a cost of about $7,000. I was able to raise about half of this amount. For the duration of the campaign, I incurred a debt of $3,200. Any amount you may spare would help me to retire this debt. You can use PayPal at my website: www.fridenaforabetterpimacollege.com. The website will no longer exist after November 30. Mail your contributions to Fridena for a Better Pima College, P.O. Box 86135, Tucson, Arizona 85754.