“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Simply translated, it means that what’s good for one party is good for the other, and if you follow local politics you can probably see where this is headed. If not, then let’s take a little ride in the history mobile.
Back in 2002, folks from the North County didn’t like the way elected 3rd District County Supervisor Gail Marshall was running things. They said she was divisive and didn’t care for their input by favoring the South Coast constituency’s interests rather than taking an all-around approach. This led to a recall effort with Santa Ynez Valley locals Lammy Johnstone-Kockler and Joe Olla leading the charge.
The South Coast criticized the recall effort as spiteful politics and rattled on about how they would never dream of a recall campaign as they were too good for that kind of thing.
At least the fight was between local politicos and their supporters with minimal or very little outside agitation and, eventually, it all failed and life went on.
So, imagine my amazement when I read that the Ventura-based California Center for Strategic Studies is filing a petition to recall current 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone. I started thinking about the failed recall attempt of 2002 and all the crap that was a result of it. So, here we go again.
But there are a few twists to this recent plot, and one of those comes in the form of the person behind the proposed recall. Brett Wagner is not merely initiating the recall effort; he is also the one who wants to replace Firestone if the recall is successful.
What’s even more interesting is the rationale presented. We heard Wagner’s reasons as to why Firestone should be recalled, but some of you may not know that Wagner has concluded that he can’t win the 24th Congressional District election, so he’s set his sights on a lesser campaign that he thinks he can win. If that don’t smell like self-serving, steppingstone politics, I don’t know what does. Can you say self-created opportunism?
The reasons that Wagner gives as the basis for the recall are funny. Come to think of it, they sound just like the reasons the North County used to describe Marshall’s performance in office – except for the oak ordinance thing – and as it stands, no real changes have been made to the existing law.
During the 2002 recall campaign, all kinds of moral and financial support were thrown in from North County aficionados such as COLAB’s (Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business) Andy Caldwell and Willy Chamberlain.
So, now with a recall appealing to South Coast politics of old, will backers such as John Buttney and every Gail Marshall supporter of old throw in their dollar’s worth on the same attempt they so loathed when their candidate was assailed? If they did, it would be the ultimate in hypocrisy.
In 2002, my vote was against the recall of Gail Marshall, not because she was doing a good job (she wasn’t), but rather to point out that the recall was stupid.
By the way, this isn’t a support piece for Brooks Firestone. He doesn’t need my mere words to support his tenure. However, I am writing this in an attempt to discourage South Coast residents from becoming what they least liked, especially for an outside agitator looking to launch his political career. This attempt amounts to nothing less than a carpetbagging scheme.
Wagner’s attempt to draw the UCSB community into the fray comes down to antiquated desperate rhetoric and key catchphrases. As for Wagner, I offer this: Take a ride in the history mobile and learn a lesson from Michael Huffington’s failed 1994 campaign against Diane Feinstein. Please don’t use our local politics as a steppingstone for bigger ambitions like Huffington did back then. It simply lacks in taste and honor.
Save your political savvy for a worthwhile fight, not an ill-intentioned recall effort. Besides, your think tank is based in Ventura County. My question is this: Aren’t there issues in your neck of the woods that you can focus your attention on, rather than stir things up away from your area?
Henry Sarria is a long-time Isla Vista resident.