Marshall’s future rests with 3rd District voters

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Marshall’s future rests with 3rd District voters By Elizabeth Rodriguez — Staff Writer 10/25/02 The future of Gail Marshall’s and Jim Thomas’ political careers will be in the hands of the 3rd District voters come Nov. 5. Will the 3rd District supervisor be recalled from office and the former sheriff-coroner replace her? The highly controversial race began when the Committee to Recall Gail Marshall gathered approximately 13,000 signatures to recall the supervisor from office. After a lawsuit, filed by Marshall’s No On Recall Committee, failed to stop the signatures from being counted, an election date was set. More than 9,000 signatures were deemed valid and certified on June 5 by the County Registrar of Voters, the petitions had been filed in March. According to Lammy Johnstone-Kockler, of the recall committee, the effort to recall Marshall began when the supervisor’s district was redrawn to include Isla Vista and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Some 3rd District residents opposed having student voters, whose views are often at odds with the views the Santa Ynez Valley residents, in the district. Johnstone-Kockler said the final straw came during last fall’s Santa Ynez Valley General Plan Advisory Committee. At the meeting Marshall had an outburst after former chairman Joe Olla started the meeting with a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. Olla was subsequently fired because he had failed to follow the proper procedure. Marshall’s camp maintains the meeting was a set up. Das Williams, No On Recall campaign manager, said people such as Thomas, who had not previously attended the meetings showed up along with the media. “If it wasn’t a set-up, what was Mr. Thomas doing there? It was obviously a set up.” Marshall has continued her duties as supervisor throughout the recall movement, but she said her job has been impacted as a result. “When I started off in this, I told myself I wouldn’t let my duties as supervisor fall on the way side … when confronted with this (the no on recall campaign) every day, my duties as supervisor have been impacted. I have to walk precincts, make phone calls … it really has taken way from my duties and the people should be upset at the process,” she said. Marshall said the recall proponents are taking events at past meetings out of context and using them against her in advertisements. An example she gives is an ad in which Marshall shuts off the microphone while a person was speaking during a board of supervisors meeting. Marshall said the speaker’s time was up and had been asked repeatedly to wrap up his comments before the microphone was shut off. “I was well within my parameters as chair,” she said. Marshall said she never characterized herself as a slow growth or no growth person, she said she is for managed growth. Marshall declined a request to debate Thomas last week because she is not running against Thomas. “The issue is to recall or not to recall. The debate is not who is the better supervisor, I am the supervisor. This is an opportunistic approach to get the supervisor seat,” she said. Marshall’s supporters have been working hard to get a positive message out about the supervisor, Williams said. If the voters had been unhappy with Marshall, they would not have re-elected her two years ago, he said. Thomas, who said he supports slow growth, is the sole candidate attempting to replace Marshall if she is recalled. He said his qualifications to be supervisor stem from his 12 years of experience as sheriff plus three years as county safety officer, during that time he managed the county fire department. He said his simultaneous work as fire chief and sheriff is an example of his ability to handle two diverse groups in a balanced manner. “I can take two diverse groups and do well with both. You just have to be willing to understand that one size does not fit all.” Thomas said he has been working hard going door-to-door around the district gathering support. Throughout his campaign Thomas has maintained that Marshall does not respect her constituents and the way she acted at the GPAC meeting was indicative of her behavior all the time. Thomas said he is confident the recall will succeed, “I believe it’s going to happen. I’m a realist, I’m not ready to say ‘read my lips,’ but I’m comfortable that people are ready to make this change.” If 50 percent plus one vote yes on the recall, then Thomas would only need one vote to become supervisor. A secretary of state investigator will be on hand on election day to keep an eye over the recall election, at the request of 4th District Supervisor Joni Gray. Marshall’s supporters include the Sierra Club, the California League of Conservation Voters and Citizen’s for Goleta Valley. Thomas’ supporters include the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Association, the county Farm Bureau, and the Grower-Shipper Vegetable Association. Staff writer Elizabeth Rodriguez can be reached by e-mail at :nav source:

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