Politics is too often directly associated with corruption, and this is tragic. Even more so, propaganda wars work as politicians’ cures for their corrupt practices. You would think that, at the local level, corruption wouldn’t have as great an opportunity to occur, but Gail Marshall has proven that wrong. Marshall is an important piece of a political machine that exists in Santa Barbara County seemingly to manipulate and abuse UCSB students and Isla Vista residents. Worse, Marshall and her cronies screw us repeatedly, then send their propaganda police to UCSB to tell us how much good she has done and how beloved she has been in years past. But students never bear witness to Marshall’s follies because a new group of students begin school here every four years.
The fact of the matter is that Marshall has never been a good representative of I.V. In her defense, how could she be? After all, she has to look after the needs of her constituents in North County with its open space and farmland, and – at the same time – work with the needs of her I.V constituents. She realizes that unless she represents I.V. and is able to wage political war in our densely populated community, she will never win re-election. Therefore, she refuses to relinquish her control over I.V. when she really has no business representing us. Last year, the UCSB Legislative Council voted nearly unanimously to urge Marshall to take us out of her district and place us into one that better suited our needs. She simply ignored them.
One particular distortion of Marshall’s record is that she is an environmentalist. But when Heal the Ocean, an independent environmental group, reported that the Tajiguas landfill was an environmental hazard, Marshall refused to shut it down because she needed the tax revenue. The city of Carpinteria offered to take this district’s trash at a lower cost than what we were paying currently, but Marshall refused again, presumably for the same reason. Another blemish on Marshall’s environmental record is her taking of campaign contributions from mega-developers Jeffrey Bermant and Wayne Siemens.
When Marshall ran for office two years ago, we were promised new sidewalks, better lighting and additional parking. Thus far she is 0-3. In fact, Marshall said she would vote to include I.V. in the newly formed city of Goleta, only to turn her back on us yet again and vote against I.V. inclusion. Meanwhile, we are without a lot of money that could have been used for community repairs. Lights are broken or dimmed, sidewalks are simply nonexistent, and our police force is not appropriately compensated and looks to other counties for better-paying work. As an older brother, I would not want my little sister going to school here. If Marshall were her representative, I would feel that her safety was being jeopardized.
With a record like this, it comes as no surprise that Marshall recently began efforts to install “islands” in the middle of our streets. And do not let her tell you she is not responsible. Marshall is as culpable as it gets. We do not have a mayor or a city council. We are merely unincorporated territory within Santa Barbara County. Marshall and her staff make the final decisions regarding I.V. Many residents I spoke with told me they had never heard a word regarding “islands” being built in their streets. This is the type of arrogant leadership Marshall has given us. She is the same woman who attends Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meetings with prepared statements and refuses to listen to arguments made by her constituents.
A yes-on-recall vote is a statement to Marshall that she has been caught. Let her know that UCSB students have realized what she does to us. Only then will she realize that she cannot play political games with 20,000 people.
Jeff Farrah is a senior political science major.