Campaign to recall TUSD's Michael Hicks kicks off Sunday

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Campaign to recall TUSD's Michael Hicks kicks off Sunday

CREATED Feb 24, 2012

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The man behind the successful recall of former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce is coming to Tucson. Ethnic Studies supporters want Randy Parraz to help them do the same thing in the Tucson Unified School District. The target of this potential recall is TUSD Board Member Michael Hicks.

"People don't wake up wanting to recall somebody," Parraz said. "You really have to do some serious damage to have the citizens think of a recall."

Anger has been building against Hicks for months. His vote to end the Mexican American Studies classes didn't help matters. Neither did the way he described the student takeover of a TUSD board meeting.

"I did not feel safe," Hicks said. "I find it funny others say they know how I feel."

What's really fueling the recall movement is an audio clip from an interview with Garrett Lewis on KNSR 97.1. In the interview, Hicks compares a teach-in at the University of Arizona to this past year's disconcerting events at Penn State University.

"No one's allowed in, I was like Penn State," Hicks said. "What's going on behind closed doors with our children?"

9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked Hicks if he regrets the Penn State reference. "I do regret it," Hicks said. "But what I was trying to get at is closing your eyes to something you know is wrong just isn't right."

Parraz will be in Tucson on Sunday. He's coming at the request of ethnic studies supporters who think a recall may be their best option. Parraz wants to gauge whether there is enough support or commitment to see a recall through.

"It's not something you do lightly," Parraz said. "It's very difficult to get done. The extent of it's success depends on the community's commitment."

9OYS found out exactly what it would take to run a successful recall against Hicks. State law says a recall requires twenty-five percent of the number of votes cast in the preceding general election divided by the number of offices that were being filled at that election. 9OYS did the math. It equals approximately 24,000 signatures.

Hicks isn't backing down. He says he's committed to the district and its students. The meeting with Parraz is scheduled for this Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Valenzuela Youth Center in South Tucson.