Editor, Daily Nexus,

An important local law was approved last month to protect tenants from unfair actions by landlords. It is called the Tenant Protection Ordinance and it is the first of its kind in California. Our local County Supervisor Gail Marshall sponsored this law and got it passed by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors by a 3-2 vote, over the strong objections of the landlords.

The tenants’ rights package requires a landlord to pay interest on security deposits and requires slumlords to pay relocation money to tenants evicted because of health and safety violations. It also requires landlords to report all evictions to the county, so the community has access to information on who is getting evicted and by which landlord.

At the request of the Tenants Union and the Housing Roundtable, Gail Marshall drafted these new rules that will help protect tenants from this kind of activity. It took several months to get it passed by the Board of Supervisors, but Gail did the right thing and worked for our rights. Of course, this has infuriated the landlords who feel that they alone are the best ones to take care of their property and the tenants. The landlords have created a scheme to get rid of Gail Marshall by pushing a recall of her and holding an election this summer. They are asking you to sign a petition that “will only put the question on the ballot.” It may sound innocent enough but the landlords are not innocent.

Their goal is to hold a special election at a cost to taxpayers of almost $300,000, and in the middle of the summer! They know this would be their best shot at defeating Gail, because they could not do it just last year during the regular election and because several students will not participate during the vacation.

You can fight this landlord-based recall. Do not sign the petition! If you think you have signed it, ask to remove your name. You can legally do it and when enough people take their names off the petition, we can stop it dead in its tracks.

Without elected leaders like Gail Marshall, we would not have the kind of tenant protections or environmental protections in this area. Take charge of you vote now. Do not sign any petition, or else get your name removed from this deceptive plan.