The Santa Barbara Superior Court decided Tuesday that the No On Recall campaign’s efforts to examine the legality of the petitions is not an attempt to stall the recall against 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall.
The No On Recall committee filed a lawsuit March 14, which claims the recall supporters illegally collected signatures to remove Marshall from office. Recall supporters said the motion was a “strategic lawsuit” designed to stall the democratic process and filed a counter-suit to shut it down; the court rejected that suit yesterday.
“All they are doing is stall, stall, stall,” Recall Chair Lammy Johnstone-Kockler said. “There are over 13,000 people that want Marshall’s stay in office to be decided by a vote. The only way to take this away from the voters is to take it to the court. It’s very sad.”
The No On Recall campaign claims a majority of the approximately 13,000 signatures gathered in March were collected by voters who registered to vote in the county without the intent to remain as residents. According to California election law, petitioners must be registered voters in the county to circle a petition.
Marshall supporters submitted evidence to the court yesterday to support the their case. The court is expected to decide whether or not the signatures are valid on May 22.
Johnstone-Kockler said the No On Recall campaign’s efforts to gather evidence qualifies as harassment.
“I started my deposition and asked them how long it would take, thinking two or three hours. I was told a day and a half. That’s harassment,” she said.
Das Williams, No On Recall campaign coordinator, said the campaign is only trying to gather evidence, not harass.
“If Lammy is inconvenienced by having to give us those records, I apologize to her for the inconvenience. But things need to be revealed,” he said.
County government redrew 3rd District boundaries this year, which No On Recall campaigners believe unfairly excludes some of Marshall’s former constituents from participating in the process, Williams said.
“With the blessing, if you will, of the county, we were told we could only get signatures from the new district, and now they are turning it around,” Johnstone-Kockler said. “This is a potential class action lawsuit. We were given parameters and we followed them. What’s a person to do?”
Since the lawsuits were filed, No On Recall supporters have also carried on a drive for people to retract their signatures. According to the committee, about 550 signatures have been retracted.
“It’s all coming out of UCSB. The professors over there are handing out papers telling kids to sign [the retraction],” Johnstone-Kockler said. “The electorate is just getting angry.”