Students on campus may be asked to sign a petition to recall 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall, as her opponents attempt to gather 8,819 signatures before March 18.
Marshall was served a recall notice on Oct. 23, which was signed by 20 citizens of the 3rd District who accuse her of violating her oath of office, ignoring the expressed will of county citizens by not preserving the interest of the county, creating hostility between north and south county, and undermining the future of the city of Goleta.
Santa Barbara County Clerk Kenneth Pettit said if all signatures are gathered, an election will likely be held in early September, but it could possibly be as early as May or June.
If the petitions are turned in early and elections are held in the summer, Pettit said, UCSB students and I.V. residents, who are many of Marshall’s supporters, will not be in town.
“Isla Vistans and students at the university would oppose the recall. During summer break you might see a very active program of absentee voting. The goal of the Marshall people would be to get you to request an absentee ballot listing your address, pounding you over and over to vote. That’s the challenge to the Marshall people,” Pettit said.
Associated Students Off-Campus Representative Jonathan Kalinski signed the initial notice and is working on the committee for Marshall’s recall. He said he believes the effort will be successful.
“We are trying to get as many signatures as we can. … The process is going well … I don’t have any exact number of signatures. A lot of petitions are out and I think that is a good sign and I think a lot of people are working for this and consider this a worthy cause,” he said. “There’s a lot of demand. There has been some gathering [of signatures] in the UCen and will continue to for the rest of the week and during Dead Week.”
Das Williams, a consultant for the Coastal Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, said the recall is based on a ridiculous premise.
“[The county] is going to be preoccupied with the attempt to discredit Marshall, when she’s done a really good job. People need to realize there are extreme right-wing forces on the move in Santa Barbara County that would like to roll back the progress that has been made and prevents us from moving towards gaining socially just and environmental progress in the county,” he said.
Marshall said the petition is an “abuse of the recall process” as well as a waste of taxpayer money.
“It makes me angry that a group of people are trying to overcome the will of the voters. It’s an abuse of the political system. We should all rally behind that point,” Marshall said. “[The recall] is significant to what can happen to me and other elected officials. This will not stand and has nothing to do with good government and we will fight it.”
Kalinski said he understands the process will be arduous.
“I think that anytime you try to recall an elected official it’s going to be an uphill fight. I think that the reasons we are recalling her will be met with an enormous amount of support. We can recall her. … Historically I’m not familiar with the [other] attempts, but I think this is a worthy one that needs to be pursued.”
Marshall said despite the possibility of a recall, she will continue with her appointed responsibilities, as well as fundraising for a campaign to maintain her position.
“We have set up a campaign committee and we are moving forward. My main job is to continue doing the job I was elected for. I was elected last March by 57 percent to represent the 3rd District at the Board of Supervisors. Regardless of what happens, that is how I will be spending my time,” she said.