Correcting problems in the 3rd District – Jim Thomas

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Correcting problems in the 3rd District By Ron Fink — Special To The Record 10/7/02 The pending recall vote and election of retired Sheriff Jim Thomas as 3rd District Supervisor is the culmination of grievances concerning the lapses in judgment by Gail Marshall. Some say that the recall effort was initiated because Ms. Marshall refused to allow Joe Olla to have the American flag at a Santa Ynez Valley General Plan Advisory Committee meeting. As you will recall, Joe called her staff aid, John Buttney (an acknowledged and unapologetic anti-American activist) to request a flag for the meeting. Following his basic instincts, five-time convicted felon Buttney refused and Marshall fired Olla after he obtained a flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance anyway. There are many other issues associated with the need to recall Ms. Marshall: 1. Redistricting: About 5,000 district residents petitioned the Board of Supervisors to exclude Isla Vista from the 3rd District and to realign supervisory districts so that they were more representative of the people who lived in them. She steadfastly refused to acknowledge her constituents’ concerns and referred to these 5,000 people as “being disingenuous.” Scores of people, including residents of Isla Vista and Goleta, appeared during board hearings to support the inclusion of IV in the 2nd District. Marshall ignored her constituents and pressed on with the gerrymandering effort. 2. Environmental activism: She has consistently taken positions that erode the basic rights of landowners to manage their properties. A prime example is the twice-defeated oak tree ordinance. Ignoring the will of the people, she, along with the other two South Coast supervisors, directed county staff to craft an ordinance anyway. This was not based on any demonstrated need to protect oak trees. If there was such a need the oaks would certainly be on the lengthy list of threatened or endangered species, but they are not. The grading ordinance was another attempt to inhibit the ability of the agricultural community to manage their lands. This misguided ordinance later failed in court tests costing the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The poorly thought out Toro Canyon plan requires homeowners to obtain costly land/conditional-use permits and have an approved fuel management plan in place before clearing highly combustible underbrush. These time-consuming bureaucratic delays may cause homes to be lost and place the lives of residents in danger. Efforts to use the county assessors office to punish oil companies and developers has proven costly. The county was recently required to return improper assessments of about $7.3 million to oil companies and $4 million to developers. The primary fiscal impact is to local schools, fire departments and wastewater treatment plants. 3. Gaviota National Seashore: Originally she was a strong supporter for the Gaviota National Seashore proposal. Recently she “flip-flopped” and withdrew her support thinking that voters would forget her earlier strong support of the same proposal when she didn’t feel threatened! Along with her South Coast co-conspirators, Ms. Marshall took extraordinary efforts to gerrymander the 3rd District so that the three, who comprise the elective arm of the Santa Barbara County environmental coalition, would control all of the beachfront from Guadalupe to Carpenteria. This step insured that they could support the efforts of their mentor, Representative Lois Capps, to sequester hundreds of square miles of the county and ultimately prevent public access to the coast. She will likely flip back again if she is able to avoid the recall. 4. Surf Beach closures: Ms. Marshall has taken no direct action to ease restrictions at Surf Beach since she acquired this area during redistricting. A staff aid attended one meeting of the Surf Ocean Beach Commission but her office has not taken any action to support the work of this group. She has referred to Surf Beach as “Vandenberg’s problem” as if the county has no role to play in the issue. Of course, supporting Lompoc’s right to access the beach for recreation would be contrary to the views of the environmental lobby who advocate total closure of this beach to the public for the next 25 years. His record as sheriff demonstrates that Jim Thomas practices good judgment when deciding issues, acts based on the merits of the proposals before him, and that he will provide a steadying presence on the dais. Voting “yes” on the Marshall recall and voting for Jim Thomas will be a move in the right direction toward correcting the problems in the 3rd District. Ron Fink is a 25-year resident of Lompoc and is a community activist. :nav Source:

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