by David Safier
I want to make clear, these are my personal endorsements for the Sunnyside School Board recall election. They don't represent an endorsement from the Weekly.
I support Beki Quintero and Eric Giffin to replace board members Bobby Garcia and Louie Gonzales.
The current issue of the Weekly has an excellent story on the candidates and the history of the Sunnyside recall election. The Star asked questions of the candidates and published their emailed responses. I won't repeat what you can find there.
Though Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo isn't on the ballot, he's at the center of the election. The two current board members in the election support him and voted recently to extend his contract. Candidates Quintero and Giffin believe Isquierdo is a liability to the district and should not have gotten the contract extension. The fifth candidate, Mike Polak, also thinks the district has been mismanaged by Isquierdo.
I can't say whether Sunnyside suffers from corruption in the legal definition of the term, but it's definitely suffering under Isquierdo's leadership. There is a great deal of favoritism, distrust and paranoia inside the district, most of which stems from Isquierdo's leadership style, and board members Garcia and Gonzales are part of the problem. For the district to regain its footing and earn the trust of the community, those two board members need to be replaced.
Giffin served previously on the Sunnyside board and voted against hiring Isquierdo in 2007. Quintero was part of the recall effort and has allied herself with Giffin. Polak ran for Tucson City Council in 2103 as a Republican where he lost 27 percent to 72 percent and seems to be hoping that he has better luck running for school board.