Support For Sanchez Prompts A Closer Look At Mike Varney, Tucson Metro Chamber

During public discussions of the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, Tucson Metro Chamber President and CEO, Mike Varney claimed that his organization was the voice of the Tucson business community. Varney was making the grand claim as part of his campaign to save he job of TUSD’s Superintendent H.T. Sanchez.

Many of Varney’s statements were questionable, some were patently false, and some too hyperbolic to accept as anything but blather.

Because of the nature of his claims, verification would be difficult. However, his claim that his organization is the “voice” of Tucson business can, and should be scrutinized.

Per the City of Tucson’s website, there are 37,756 business licenses currently active. Per Varney, the Chamber has over 1600 local businesses. Contrary to Varney’s claims, according to his own website, the Chamber represents approximately 1480 business and other organizations.

Giving Varney the benefit of the doubt, the 1600 business he claims to represent only represents less than 4 percent of the licensed business in town.

Of the less than 4 percent of the business community he represents, 520 or slightly less than 30 percent are national corporations like Wal-Mart and Walgreens, and banks like Chase, and Bank of America.

Of the less than 4 percent of the “business community” his organization represents, 176 are colleges within, or divisions of, the University of Arizona such as the Division for Late Medieval & Reformation Studies and the School of Dance.

The Tucson Unified School District, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Boys and Girls Club, Casa de los Ninos, Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, Habitat for Humanity Tucson, Pima Community College, and the Tanque Verde Unified School District are counted among the business members of the Chamber.

It is hard to imagine that Tucson Metro Chamber Chairman of the Board Robert Ramirez of Vantage West Credit Union, and Board members Larry Lucero of UNS Energy Corporation, Tom McGovern of PSOMAS, David Lopez-Monroy of BeachFleischman PC, Sherry Downer of the Law Office of Sherry Janssen Downer, Ghee Alexander of the Hilton El Conquistador Resort, Bill Assenmacher of CAID Industries, Dr. Amy Beiter of Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital, Tannya Gaxiola of the University of Arizona, Stephanie Healy of Cox Communications, Mark Irvin of Mark Irvin Commercial Real Estate Services, Ben Korn of Safeguard, Robert Lenhard of Hallmark Business Consultants, Jill Malick of Wells Fargo, Tim Medcoff of Farhang & Medcoff, Mitch Pisik of Pisik Consulting Group, Barbi Reuter of Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR, Walter Richter of Southwest Gas Corp., Steve Rosenberg of BizTucson Magazine, JB Shockey of Crest Insurance Group, Lea Standridge of Raytheon Missile Systems, Howard Stewart of AGM Container Controls, Inc., Cristie Street of Nextrio, and Matt Wandoloski of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, would appreciate being dragged into a personnel issue turned political. Yet, that is exactly what Varney did.

Varney out on a limb

Given the fact that the duly elected members of the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board represent hundreds of thousands of voters across the Tucson metropolitan area, and those voters do business with Varney’s small membership, his act of defiance is unfathomable.

As local business leader, Jim Campbell noted noted in his letter to Varney, support for Sanchez is as unfathomable.

16 Comments on "Support For Sanchez Prompts A Closer Look At Mike Varney, Tucson Metro Chamber"

  1. Don’t know when or how he was corrupted by the Mafia but he sure has been. Some how some way the Chamber is scared of the cronies that run Tucson behind the scenes. If its money or power or both, one can only guess why Varney took that stance for Sanchez. I find nothing in this article that connects the dots but something is going on behind the scenes that the cronies don’t want to be made public. However I do agree that what Varney did was bad and at worst he did so without the board’s knowledge. That in itself would be a reason to fire him, but I sincerely doubt that the cronies will let that happen. They have a minion that runs the “voice” of the business community and will do exactly what he is told to do.

  2. you just described LOCAL politics and actually politics at ALL levels with your
    “They have a minion that runs the “voice” of the business community and will do exactly what he is told to do.”

    You think that any of these clowns have minds of their own? No way.

  3. Working Man Blues | March 17, 2017 at 6:56 am |

    Guess Varney and the chamber are quilty of their own version of “alternative facts.” But then who cares when your membership is only 4%. In tucson only the far left bots connected to the powers that be and run the city county and TUSD really listen. That is like throwing red meat to your base. However. The good old boys on the chamber board should be forewarned. Typically they avoid negative press like the plague. Apparently the chamber executive board is asleep at the wheel? VWCU TEP and BeachFleischman directors need to take a hard look at the face of the team and stick to their real mission vision purpose.

  4. What would it take to get rid of Mark Varney?

  5. My guess as to why Varney keeps singing the praises of H. T. is that H. T. has something on Varney that he doesn’t want the world to know about. Nobody else is blathering on about H.T., so what’s up with “Varney the Canary”? Also, that H.T. was introduced with such plaudits to the State Legislature after being canned could indicate that he’s got something on a few legislators too. This should be scanned, in the words of Hamlet!

  6. I suspect that Varney is being “supported” in some ways by Raul Grijalva. TUSD has been a vehicle for Grijalva to reward his supporters with cushy jobs or funding for pet projects like the Promonteras program that caused TUSD to be fined millions of dollars for misspending federal Title I money on training organizers for Grijlava’s cronies political campaigns. This has all the earmarks of a stunt the Grijalvas would support.

  7. Disgusted Tucsonan | March 17, 2017 at 12:14 pm |

    When Varney arrived in Tucson, he spoke out on City Council issues, Pima County issues, and the Mayor. Somehow over time he has been introduced to the Machine and it’s magic. Now he only takes a stand against those that do not support the Machine. And interestingly, his Board has been suspiciously quiet about this issue.

  8. Varney should be fired for supporting ex-Schools Superintendent H T. Sanchez. Sanchez has had to have been the worst TUSD Superintendent in its history and that is putting as nice a gloss on his tenure as is possible. Clearly, Varney supported Sanchez only because he was a Raul, boycott Arizona businesses, Grijalva protege.

  9. Sick of the tucson power structure | March 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm |

    Barney is the worst chamber president since Jack camper.

  10. Barney and friends = "shut up and pay more taxes" | March 17, 2017 at 4:23 pm |

    I wouldn’t waste my time talent or treasury on being a member of the tucson chamber. He doesn’t represent businesses. He is a hired gun for the far left power structure that has choked the tucson community for 40 + years.

  11. I would like our legislators to create a law prohibiting any Chamber of Commerce entity from endorsing or participating in political activities for any local, state, or federal election including influencing any ballot issue, school board, school superintendent, city council or county board of supervisors.

  12. stop the fools running tucson into the ground | March 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm |

    Crickets I say. Barney’s executive board apparently told him STFU. The whole bunch of them are fools for supporting an organization that has run afoul. Robert R Larry L and David Lopez Monroe are clearly I n total damage control mode. VWCU, TEP and BeachFleischman should know better than to support this pit of vipers . The will of the people spoke and it is time for real change including lthe eadership team at the tucson chamber.

  13. Lillian Fox | March 17, 2017 at 6:41 pm |

    What should be embarrassing to his Board, is that Varney hasn’t done his homework. All it would take is looking at the Az Auditor General’s report on TUSD. TUSD did not improve and was not going to improve under Sanchez. You would think business people and a business organization would be paying attention to the results.

    There was no reason to continue to fund Sanchez’s exorbitant pay package and the exorbitant pay packages he’s awarded to his chose few, not necessarily with Board approval.

  14. Tusd tax payer and voter | March 17, 2017 at 8:11 pm |

    With some people you just can’t fix stupid. Varney clearly falls into that category.

  15. The Oracle of Tucson | March 17, 2017 at 8:44 pm |

    Why anyone with an IQ in double digits would squander company money to join the COC is beyond questionable. Varney is a corrupt whore to the Graftjulva crime family. He’s incapable of talking outside of his provided talking points. It’s beyond pathetic when he’s incapable of proving an answer until he can ask his handlers what his favorite color is?
    “Hey Uncle Raul, what’s my favorite color???”
    Well Mikey, put on these rose-colored spectacles and see the real world as we want you to see it.”
    Perhaps the next installment of the Matrix can be filmed here in Tucson…………..


  16. The Oracle of Tucson | March 17, 2017 at 8:46 pm |

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    DEAR EDITOR: Is everything I write tonight gonna be subject to moderation from the sphincter police?


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