The UCSB students probably have had no interest in the results of the 3rd District supervisorial election, but they all did vote and they all are in that district, so here are some results. The proposition was to decide between the incumbent Gail Marshall or the challenger Larry Mills. Marshall got 13,204 votes to Mills’ 10,582.
North County residents overwhelmingly elected Mills; they were really fed up with the lackluster, do-nothing Marshall. South County elected Marshall primarily due to the student votes.
There was a 35 percent average turnout in the 23 UCSB and I.V. precincts, compared to 55 percent for the rest of the precincts in the 3rd District.
A total of 4,968 votes were cast in the 23 “student” precincts . Had the students not cast these votes, Mills would have won by about 78 votes. In order to offset the nonstudents in I.V., this does not include student voters outside these 23 precincts. The student “block vote” distorted what the local permanent residents wanted in a candidate. Now, the students have the right to vote, but do they know for whom they are voting and the quality of the candidate record? Many students will not be returning after June and most do not live permanently in the 3rd District, but due to their votes in this primary election, the permanent residents and the homeowners and taxpayers are stuck with their selection for the next two and four years.
The local permanent residents believe that the students have no vested interest in our local elections and that they should exempt themselves from voting in them. We believe that the students should vote in their home districts by absentee ballot.
For years, the local residents have tried to incorporate a city without the students because of this custom of block voting by the UCSB students. The local citizens do not want the students voting for candidates that we have to live with while the students all go back to their hometowns.
One of the requirements of voting in a democracy is that the voter be informed. The UCSB students were not informed about Gail Marshall. She has not done anything in the 3rd District besides hold meetings, and in particular has achieved no improvements in I.V. – where the UCSB students primarily rent – and she never will. Why did the students vote for her? The local residents of the 3rd District see the UCSB students’ actions as very irresponsible.
This political process has been going on for the past 20 years, first with Supervisor Bill Wallace and his sidekick, John Butney, and now with Gail Marshall and her sidekick, John Butney. Promises are made but the students are never here long enough to insist that they be kept. In the next election, more new students are misled by these disreputable people and so on. The bottom line is that the students do not hold the people they vote for accountable. Ms. Marshall gets away with doing nothing because the students that voted for her are long gone and the new “pilgrims” do not know anything about her record. The solution is to vote in your own hometowns where you can hold your elected officials accountable, and let the local people do the same with the local politicians.
The people of Goleta just formed a city without I.V. and UCSB because they did not want the students electing the likes of Marshall again. A movement is underway to split the county because North County does not want the students deciding who is elected in its district. There is a recall of Marshall because she does not represent the people of North County in the 3rd District, but only a small clique in the South County.
The permanent residents of Santa Barbara County are fed up with the student-appointed supervisors and are seeking a change that will provide a more balanced situation than presently exists under the influence of the out-of-town student vote.
So please, vote at home with the absentee ballot.
Justin Ruhge is a member of Concerned Taxpayers for the Initiative for National Change.