The Committee to Support Gail Marshall raised $33,773 by Dec. 31, just over half of what the campaign to remove her from office received in the same time period, according to county campaign files.
Over 63 percent of Marshall’s money – about $21,000 – came from residents of the 3rd District, which includes Isla Vista, Goleta, the Lompoc Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley. Marshall received most of her money from private residents, who made up all but two of Marshall’s 57 contributors.
Marshall’s largest out-of-town contributor was Tower Industries in Anaheim, which gave $2,000 and whose owner lives in Santa Barbara County. The No on Recall campaign also received $2,500 from Santa Barbara advertising executive Gary Saint Denis, $1,000 from Apollo Group Executive Peter Sperling and $100 from 2nd District Supervisor Naomi Schwartz, who represents Santa Barbara city on the Board of Supervisors.
Marshall’s campaign spent a much greater portion of its contributions than the recall supporters did. The Marshall committee spent $25,000 before Dec. 31, including a $5,438 reimbursement to longtime 3rd District aide John Buttny that angered Marshall’s opponents.
“He is a full-time salaried employee of the county,” Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business Executive Director Andy Caldwell said. “The right thing for him to do, the protocol that others take in his position, is to take a leave of absence from the county and collect his paycheck from the No on Recall committee.”
Das Williams, the No on Recall campaign manager, said Buttny was just getting reimbursed.
“[Buttny] is not getting paid a dime for the recall campaign,” Williams said. “His job is to work for the county. If he volunteers time, it’s personal time. The county owns him from nine to five – that’s it. After that, it’s his personal time.”
Buttny, who has worked for the 3rd District for years, is one of the biggest problems for Marshall’s opponents, who say the left-leaning aide is calling the shots in the district. The recall petition, which was written last fall, accuses Marshall of violating her oath of office, ignoring the wishes of 3rd District citizens, undermining agriculture, and creating tension between North and South County. The recall supporters claim to have collected the 8,914 signatures needed to put the recall on the ballot.
The No on Recall campaign took two months to officially react to the recall, which was nearly completed with its signature drive by the time Marshall hired Williams in January.
“They did it with preparation.” Williams said. “It didn’t just happen in October. This stuff goes further back.”
Marshall’s opponents say it goes back to her election in 1997, when they say she began ignoring her agricultural constituents in favor of restrictive policies that drove North County ranchers and farmers out of business.
Roughly one-third of the recall campaign’s funding came from agricultural interests. Marshall, who owns a North County nursery, received only two agricultural contributions – $500 from a Santa Ynez rancher and $100 from a Lompoc farmer.
“There’re still agriculture people who realize that the protection of agricultural land goes hand in hand with the protection of open space,” Williams said. “When developers talk about protecting private property rights they’re really talking about it so they can build on their land. When Gail talks about protecting agricultural land, she’s talking about protecting agricultural land.”