Petitioners are currently on campus gathering signatures for two statewide initiatives to be voted on in the March 5 primary election, and for the petition to recall 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall.
Twenty 3rd district residents are accusing Marshall of violating her oath of office, ignoring the expressed will of county citizens, creating hostility between the North and South county, and undermining the future of agriculture in the county.
Petitioners served the supervisor with the recall petition notice on Oct. 23 and must now gather 8,819 signatures before March 18 in order to recall her. If that happens, a special election will take place over the summer, allowing the public to keep Marshall or elect a new candidate to the office.
Petitioners are also gathering signatures for the Water Quality, Supply and Safe Drinking Water Projects, Coastal Wetlands Purchase and Protection initiative. If placed on the ballot and passed, this would authorize $3.44 billion to fund a variety of water projects including reduction of Colorado River water use, drinking water disinfection projects, and protection and restoration of coastal wetlands near urban areas.
The Classification by Race, Ethnicity, Color or National Origin initiative – also being petitioned – would prohibit state and local governments from using those categories to classify current or prospective students and employees.
A petition table, located in front of the UCen, features all three documents. Recall petition signatories must live within the 3rd District and only registered California voters can sign the petitions. Voter registration forms are available at the table.
Signing the petitions does not necessarily mean that the initiatives will be put into effect, petitioner Jerrell Neal said.
“Just signing the initiatives doesn’t mean that you’re for them or against them, it just means you’d like to see them on the ballot,” he said. “Putting them on the ballot just means that you have a chance to get more information about them.”
The water quality petition requires 419,260 signatures and the classification petition requires 670,816 – both statewide – to qualify for the March 5 primary ballot. The required number of valid signatures and approval by California Secretary of State Bill Jones are necessary to place an initiative on the ballot.
“A lot of students are interested in what’s going on in the state and they pay attention to [the initiatives] they are signing,” petitioner Rita Williams said.
Senior computer science major Nelson Maltez said he was well informed about the issues.
“I’m for the environment, and one of the things I signed for was the clean water initiative. It seemed like a reasonable thing to at least get on the ballot,” he said.
Some students solicited for signatures felt they needed clarification before signing their name.
“I think [the petitioners] pretty much assumed that I knew about [the initiatives] and I think they do that for a lot of people,” freshman computer science major Naj Srinivas said.
Sophomore business economics major Steve Kleinbaum found that he did not agree with the racial profiling initiative after reading more about it, and declined to sign it.
“I just don’t think a change needs to be made,” he said. “If people don’t want to be classified by ethnicity, then don’t mark it down on a form.”
Neal said most students are not blindly signing these petitions but are asking questions and reading the initiatives to make sure they fully understand and support them.