Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mesa Leadership Training Program- Mesa's Puppetmasters

The Mesa Leadership Training Program (Mesa LTD) is a program facilitated by the Mesa Chamber Business in Education Foundation 501 c 3 through the Mesa Chamber of Commerce.  We already know about the deep pockets of Chamber of Commerce members.

Alumni of this program include:

Former Mayor Keno Hawker 1985
Councilmember Dennis Kavanaugh 1985
Councilmember Dave Richins 1997
Mayor Scott Smith 2000
Michael Cowan 2001  Mesa Unified School Superintendent
Kirk Adams 2002  Former AZ Speaker of the House
Senator Rich Crandall  2005
Councilmember Scott Somers  2005 (Mesa Chamber of Commerce Board)
Councilmember Dina Higgins 2005
Otto Shill 2006 (Mesa Chamber of Commerce Board)
Stephen Viramontes  2008
Todd Selleck  2009
Wayne Manske  2010
Diane Selleck  2010
Kit Filbey  2010 former Democrat candidate for AZ Legislature LD19
Michael Conway 2010

The Chamber Leadership Program is intended to groom candidates for leadership roles in the community. The Chamber offers assistance and referrals for placement with community boards and organizations.

Their bylaws state

The purpose of the Association shall be to develop community leadership, to enhance awareness of community concerns, and to facilitate periodic opportunities for continual LTD alumni leadership,socialization, networking and furtherance of the organizational purposes.

- Monthly classes allow class members to explore opportunities for increased participation in city affairs and provide an opportunity to interact with current agents of change within Mesa.

- Classes meet once a month with a focus on education, government, arts & culture, effective advocacy, sustainability, public services, social services and economic development.

- Graduation is based on attending classes, participating in a class project, shadowing a leader of your choice, attending several non-profit board meetings, performing a ride-along with police, fire, and park representative as well as choosing among and attending tours that meet your interest.

"The Mesa Leadership Training and Development Program
began in 1981 with the belief that every community has potential leaders
who need facts and opportunities to be effectively engaged in their community."


It is, in a word:


Members have the opportunity to rub shoulders and feel important with people in various government positions.  In return, the students are told how crucial the WaveYard, Earthwise Energy and light rail are to the city.  They are also given the chance to non-profit board hop, network, serve on various boards within the city government or non-profit organizations in an effort to pad their resume. These are "Stepping stones" as they call it, which also allows them the benefit of "name dropping" when they need to appear influential.  This program can potentially catapult them to higher positions within the community where they can do the bidding for those "important" people in government.  After all, discussions could "enhance not only their knowledge of current events impacting their community but the wide-spanning views that government and politicians must weigh in determining community resolutions."

     It's a "you help us, we'll help you" wink and a nod.

Just think....they want to have a YOUTH Leadership Training and Development group as well.  Might as well get them indoctrinated while they're young.

Those interested must go through an application process.  It is at this stage that many are weaned out simply based on their answers to the questions asked.  Conservatives need not apply.

1.  Describe the community or civic subject that interests you the most.
2.  What would you most like to contribute to the Mesa community?
3.  What do you expect to gain from participation in the Mesa Leadership Training and Development program?

Recent candidates who have been accepted into the program include political activists, a head Community Organizer for ACORN, President of the Police Union, Arizona Humanities Council members, SRP employees, members of the Chamber of Commerce, City of Mesa and City of Phoenix employees.

2007-2008 class
2008-2009 class
2009-2010 class
2010-2011 class

This isn't surprising especially when you look at those who are on the board of directors.

Sophia Tesch - class of 2008/ blogger/ Democracy for America
Mary Larsen - class of 2009/ Ex-Officio member of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce
Cheryl Crame - class of 2009/ Member of the World Affairs Council of Arizona
Ruthann Tryon - class of 2009/Mesa Chamber of Commerce
Leo Archer - class of 2010/ Mesa Chamber of Commerce/ VP Mesa Industrial Development Authority
Kathy Romano - class of 2006/ Former Democrat Candidate for LD19 State Representative
Diane Selleck - class of 2010/ Former LD18 Democrat Secretary/wife of Todd Selleck

We've seen the "input" of this Leadership training.  Now let's see the "output".

-Diane and her husband Todd Selleck (class of 2009) along with fellow classmates Wayne Manske and Michael Conway were all board members of LD18 Democrats in 2010.  All were very actively involved in the recall effort against Russell Pearce.

-Wayne Manske along with alumni Ana Cadillo (2007) and Denise Heap (2010) all serve on the Mesa Human Relations Advisory Board which was the committee who reviewed the Utah Compact and approved the Mesa Compact to move forward to the City Council last year.

-The class of 2008 was able to participate in the Mesa Latino Town Hall at MCC sponsored by Mesa Public Schools (Is this really the best use of our tax dollars?), MCC  and the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens.  The Mesa LTD has since promoted the Latino Town Hall and encouraged its members to attend.  The goal of the MAHC is to encourage, support and advocate for public policies that address the concerns and needs of the Latino Community in Mesa and the East Valley.

David Luna (class of 2002) is the Director of Educational Television for Mesa Public Schools and and Co-chair for the annual Mesa Latino Town Hall event.  He was also a donor to Jerry Lewis' campaign.  He was recently recognized by the activist organization Valle del Sol for his role in the Hispanic community.  Luna has served on the board of directors for Mesa United Way (with Kirk Adams), United Food Bank, and Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens.

Members of the Board for the MAHC include: 

Armando Espinoza, President (class of 2010)

John Chacon, Vice-President
Teresa Peña, Treasurer  (class of 2008)
Deanna Villanueva-Saucedo, Secretary (community liaison between Mesa Public Schools and Maricopa Community Colleges.  Donated to Jerry Lewis' campaign/ on the Board for Mesa United Way with Kirk Adams)
Phil Austin (donated to Jerry Lewis' campaign)
Francisco Ballesteros (class of 2008)
Ana Cadillo (class of 2007)
Irene Frklich
Levi Leyba
David Luna (class of 2002-donor to Jerry Lewis)
Maria Mancinas (class of 2002)
Alberto Olivas (class of 2008)
Marissa Ramirez-Ramos
Delia Salvatierra
Juanita Tarango
Denise Traves (class of 2007)
Fernando Valenzuela (class of 2002)

Personally, this program is not something I would brag about. 
If you know of someone who does, well, now you know who their allegiances might be with not to mention that they 
wasted $500 and 9 weekends of their lives. 

And they probably lean a "little" to the left.