It’s all over but the crying. The Yes On Recall folks took a lump to the noggin and all they have left to show for their efforts is a sour taste in their mouths and a stream of insults and curses for the 53 percent that voted against their measure.
Lammy Johnstone-Kockler and Joe Olla, with their respective negative remarks against our neck of the woods, are by far the bitterest of the bitter. That’s what you get for your efforts at spoilsport politics.
Supervisor Gail Marshall gets to complete her term in office, and the recall culprits get to crawl back under the rock from whence they came.
The guy I feel sorry for, though, is none other than retired Sheriff Jim Thomas. He really isn’t a bad guy and means well by all intentions. His conciliatory speech after the failed recall did send a message that maybe there is hope for the end to petty politics in our area.
As Santa Barbara County’s top cop, Sheriff Thomas did a good job. Like Supervisor Gail Marshall still is, Sheriff Thomas was a public official that did the best he could for his jurisdiction. I can’t say that there was agreement on everything that Sheriff Thomas said or did. But he was our sheriff for a long tenure and he still gets all of my respect for his years of service and dedication to the safety of our area.
Unfortunately, he gets a bad rap, not from his stellar reputation as our top cop, but rather through his associations with the Yes on Recall people. If there were ever a case of guilt through association, this is clearly it and this will haunt him into the election campaign in 2004.
I understand that Sheriff Thomas resides in the Santa Ynez Valley and that his affiliations will follow suit. But it is these affiliations that will destroy any chance of a political future for him. The fact is, if you surround yourself with kooks, you get lumped into the same bunch.
Just ask former 3rd District Supervisor candidate Larry Mills about associations with the North County backers of his campaign back in 2000. He was even quoted as saying that if he had a chance to do his campaign all over again, he wouldn’t have let those people run it for him.
Simply stated, the Los Padres Ag and Land PAC, the Cattlemen’s Association, COLAB and a string of others were doing his bidding for him in their usual way: dirty politics, mudslinging, lies and false accusations. But all they managed to do was alienate South County voters with their tactics.
Thousands of dollars and only 40 percent of the votes later, Mr. Mills realized that it was his affiliations that cost him present and future chances for any office. Mr. Mills is actually a nice guy but just got caught up in the politics of bitterness, compliments of North County political players.
It seems clear that any candidate these folks touch becomes damaged goods. Sheriff Jim Thomas is no exception to this rule. People will remember who his supporters were, as well as what they did, and this is what hurts the most.
The 2004 elections aren’t that far away, and it is the memory of this recent nasty campaign to recall Supervisor Gail Marshall that voters will take to the polls fresh in mind. But it doesn’t stop there.
Joe Olla referred to anyone who voted against the recall as “pro-terrorist communists who’d put a bullet in Reagan” and then had the audacity to recite the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Sorry Joe, some of us who voted “no” on recall are Republicans. We just don’t like the perversion of government that some people tried in the name of greed and personal gain.
Lammy Johnstone-Kockler is another story. As the mastermind behind the failed effort of recall, she can’t bring herself to understand how the measure lost, even to the point of sheer disdain towards those of us from this side of the hill – especially Isla Vista.
And so now it is over. When all was said and done, democracy prevailed and the majority made the choice that was ethically and morally correct, regardless of the smokescreen used by the recall proponents to make the outcome otherwise. For all it’s worth, it was a learning experience for everybody concerned.
Henry Sarria is a long-time Isla Vista resident.