Small-town politics are no different from those big city shenanigans that soon become business as usual and proceed to make us jaded. In our small town it is no different. Considering the size of the area, it is a noted fact that some of our political fiascoes have even made the national media spotlight.
Why live in a big city with all the problems associated, when you can have all of the drama in the comfort of our small town, compliments of the North versus South County squabbles.
These squabbles have a long history within our community and the list of players is as endless as the problem itself. But that doesn’t deny the entertainment value offered.
The most recent debacle centers on the efforts by disgruntled North County residents to have the 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall recalled in an upcoming election with the potential replacement being none other than retired Sheriff Jim Thomas.
Of course, this effort has to have some sort of financial backing and believe me when I say that contrary to what the recall proponents say regarding any lack of money, the coffers for this endeavor are quite full, compliments of certain groups with special interests in mind. Let us also not forget the influence and intervention from outside agitators such as the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business’ Andy Caldwell. Yes, we have it all and it is right in our backyard.
Proponents of the recall are mostly North County residents who feel that Gail Marshall has done little to benefit their agenda of development and agribusiness. They’re also bitter at the fact that the past few elections for the 3rd District supervisor seat have resulted in the sting of defeat for their hand-picked candidates. Add to this the feeling of disdain toward Isla Vista and you’ve got yourself a rather bitter crew of individuals.
On the other hand, the anti-recall side is more concerned with slow growth and environmental concern. Hence the fact that the newly founded city of Goleta voted for a building moratorium as the first order of business. This conflicts with the North County’s wishes and agenda, and has seriously thrown them for a major loop. They thought it was in the bag with Goleta becoming a city, but surprises abound. Such are politics in our neck of the woods.
My wish is that the North County would just go away or at least keep their goals and agenda to their respective side of the hill. I can agree on some points they make on matters such as overregulation of the farming industry and certain land use and ownership issues, as well as restrictions set upon local jobs, industry and housing. But it is the methods employed behind the motives that really put many people off to their cause, regardless of political party affiliation.
They have tried everything from denying local residents in Isla Vista the right to vote as well as misleading voters to the wrong polling places to clouding the real issues with subterfuge and interruption of public meetings in a nonparliamentary manner. All are good ways of losing credibility.
In all, we got us another fine mess on our hands and in the next few days we’ll see and hear much more on this matter. My advice to you, the voters, is don’t be a victim of a North County sucker punch.
Realize what the real agenda is and what the potential consequences of a recall are as well as the fact that what works for the North County does not necessarily work in the South County. I don’t agree with some of Gail Marshall’s past decisions, but I can’t agree on most of the North County’s plans.
As for myself, I’m voting no on the recall. Not because I think Marshall is doing a perfect job, but just out of the same reason the North County is putting this issue on the ballot: spite.
Sure, that’s irrational, but have you ever sat through Andy Caldwell’s rants and raves or read Justin Ruhge’s revisionist views? If you did, you’d vote no as well.
Henry Sarria is a longtime Isla Vista resident.