Three citizens ejected from SLO County Board of Supervisors’ meeting

September 19, 2013
Bruce Gibson

Bruce Gibson

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson tossed three speakers out of Tuesday’s board meeting following an argument that ensued after community members asked for information about a pledge Gibson and a fellow  supervisor signed.

Speaking during public comment, several community members asked the supervisors to explain the International Council For Local Environmental Initiative’s (ICLEI) Resilient Communities Pledge and county staffer’s engagement in the program. Supervisor Debbie Arnold suggested that the board set a time for staff to give a 20 minute presentation to explain the ICLEI movement to the board and the public.

Arnold also requested that staff provide more information regarding the Regional Water Quality Board and the Los Osos Community Services District’s concerns about the progress of the Los Osos sewer project. Arnold noted that many of the board’s Tuesday meetings had ended by noon, giving the board plenty of time to explain the issues publicly.

Adam Hill and Gibson, both of whom signed the ICLEI pledge as county supervisors, argued that Arnold should ask staff to explain the agreement in private and not waste their time responding to a small group of people who do not have the best interest of the community.

Members of the public began voicing outrage calling Hill and Gibson “bullies.” Gibson responded by ordering Templeton resident Bill Pelfrey, Los Osos resident Linde Owen and Cayucos resident Richard Margetson out of the county building.

Watch the entire meeting or start about 40 minutes in to view the altercation.


113 Comments

  1. fishing village says:

    Yawn, what else is new during Public Comment Period at the Supervisors. Many of us would like to speak, but there is so much unpleasantness around that we don’t bother!! Dominating PC really stinks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. rogerfreberg says:

    Maybe Gipson and Hill could pay a blogger to write about how their actions were actually great for free speech and open discussion??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  3. LameCommenter says:

    For those of you defending Gibson shutting down public speech for those he dislikes, here is a recent Federal District Court case where an outspoken member of the public addressed conduct of an elected official. This case bears upon Gibson and even more exactly upon Adam Hill. They don’t get to require preachy speech when it serves their “silence the rabble” attitude.

    IT’S A LONG READ, BUT IF YOU’VE GOT GOOD COFFEE NEARBY, WADING THROUGH IT’S LONG LEGAL SENTENCES IS AN EDUCATION IN HOW INCORRECTLY BRUCE GIBSON VIEWS HIS ABILITY TO RESTRICT PUBLIC SPEECH WHICH HE FINDS UNCOMFORTABLE, SUCH AS THE SPEAKER WEEKS AGO WHO ASKED THE “HARD” QUESTION ABOUT HIM RE-EMPLOYING HIS ADMITTED BED PARTNER.

    THIS IS TRULY A GOOD CASE FOR US TO REVIEW: It’s so clear that the court made a summary judgment in complete favor of public speakers enjoying a constitutional right to point out foibles and peccadilloes of their elected officials.

    Or, wait a minute, just read this PULL QUOTE beginning below from line twelve “…While the City Council has a right to keep its meetings on topic and moving forward, it cannot sacrifice political speech to a formula of civility. Dogg “may be a gadfly to those with views contrary to [their] own, but First Amendment jurisprudence is clear that the way to oppose offensive speech is by more speech, not censorship, enforced silence or eviction from legitimately occupied public space.” Gathright v. City of 18 Portland, Or., 439 F.3d 573, 578 (9th Cir. 2006).”

    Here is the COMPLETE news story on the case of the gadfly public meeting speaker from Malibu known as Zuma Dogg. (Zuma Beach down there has a bit of a SLO feel if you walk near their rocks.)

    FEDERAL RULING (AUGUST 07, 2013) – Zuma Dogg vs Los Angeles City Council: “The court finds the discussion of a councilman’s alleged criminal activities is relevant to a discussion of funding that the City intends to give to that councilman’s District. Indeed, this incident is exemplary of why it is unconstitutional to restrict speakers from making personal attacks in City Council meetings; it chills speech critical of elected officials, which is speech at the heart of the First Amendment. In one of the largest cities in the world, it is to be expected that some inhabitants will sometimes use language that does not conform to conventions of civility and decorum, including offensive language and swear-words. As an elected official, a City Council member will be the subject of personal attacks in such language. It is asking much of City Council members, who have given themselves to public service, to tolerate profanities and personal attacks, but that is what is required by the First Amendment. While the City Council has a right to keep its meetings on topic and moving forward, it cannot sacrifice political speech to a formula of civility. Dogg “may be a gadfly to those with views contrary to [their] own, but First Amendment jurisprudence is clear that the way to oppose offensive speech is by more speech, not censorship, enforced silence or eviction from legitimately occupied public space.” Gathright v. City of 18 Portland, Or., 439 F.3d 573, 578 (9th Cir. 2006). The city that silences a critic will injure itself as much as it injures the critic, for the gadfly’s task is to stir into life the massive beast of the city, to “rouse each and every one of you, to persuade and reproach you all day long.” (‪#‎PLATO‬, Five Dialogues, Hackett, 23 2d Ed., Trans. G.M.A. Grube, 35 (Apology).) 24 The court GRANTS summary judgment to Plaintiffs on the as-applied challenge to the Rules of Decorum.”

    Enuff said. Somebody educate Gibson on the Gathright case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6

    • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

      Your reference to a legislative assistant and county employee as a “bed partner” is rude to the lady who holds the job. Are you calling her that because she is a woman or a subordinate? Either way it says more about you and your attitude than apparently you realize.

      Gibson merely stopped the shouting coming from the back of the room. The speakers had their three minutes of public comment, uninterrupted, at the podium. Guess you missed watching the meeting that we are talking about here.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11

    • SLOthinker says:

      I wholly agree with you on the right of citizens to address (and even verbally attack) their elected officials at public meetings like this. That is a huge part f the Brown Act. However they must still conform to the rules for commenting. They can not expect to be able to disrupt meetings by yelling from the back of the room.

      If Gibson is shutting them down when they are at the podium, that is definitely wrong. But from the clip in this article, he is throwing them out for yelling from the back.

      I’m no fan of Bruce, but we have to be fair here.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  4. rogerfreberg says:

    Arnold needs to stand up

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 11

    • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

      Arnold needs to do her homework.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 33

      • kayaknut says:

        or she could be like our other supervisors and have an affair and then hire at taxpayers expense the object of your affair or vote to funnel more taxpayer money to your significant other when it is clear you should have not voted because of a clear conflict. My choice would be yes, she should do her homework instead.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 14

        • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

          Since when is an assistant’s salary whose amount was approved by a prior board, “funneling more money?”

          Why don’t you try using facts instead of falsehoods in trying to make points. It might work better for you.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 15

          • givemeabreak says:

            Hey “Lynette” ….Did you get your Utility Newsletter Update?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

          • kayaknut says:

            Now who needs to do her homework?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

          • LameCommenter says:

            Since it escapes your mental grasp, let me lay it out for you, Tornatzky.

            Funneling more money works like this:
            Someone has an illicit affair with a subordinate, a Cardinal NO NO in the workplace. She is moved out of your purview and then you arrange to move her back. Her pay under your thumb is restored to her.

            THAT is “more” or additional money, with each and every pay check.

            Try to keep up to speed. Nobody is putting out falsehoods here, at least not Kayaknut whom you responded to. Your comment does not rise to the level of your past public participation when you used to have some valuable comments about the Los Osos sewer debacle. Try to get your comments back up to your former quality.

            Kayaknut was right on track with the comment you attempted to insult.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 11

            • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

              Try to keep your 1952 morality in check Lame. County Counsel found no wrong doing. I don’t recall seeing you at public comment asking the Supes to craft a ruling to make it a “no-no.”

              I happen to know both parties, do you? Both have done an excellent job for Los Osos which is where I live. That is where my interest is.

              Do you live in District 2? Do you attend your town’s office hours? If you do not participate, you really don’t understand what is going on.

              Fling insults off topic if it makes you feel better. You are choosing to ignore the last part, ” (Gibson) should have not voted because of a clear conflict.” Please explain what you think that means.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

              • kayaknut says:

                You say county counsel found no wrong doing but you failed to mention it is this very counsel that has their job thanks to the same individual it investigated, if they were so sure there was no problem then why not have an outside person do the investigation?

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8

              • LameCommenter says:

                I’m not into debating, but if it will help you grasp better, I will help you out this time: (apologies to others, you can skip this long one).
                1): My “1952″ morality, “don’t sleep around on your wife and don’t sleep with a paid workplace subordinate” is TIMELESS and has value BEYOND “1952″ or 2052. I humbly submit this.

                2): The Gibson-timed board majority displays little interest in swaying their rulings to public comment. No point in my going through the public comment exercise. Such behavior was, is, and always should be a “no no”. I have expressed my other opinions by a more direct method than public comment anyway. An active District Two resident CAN see Gibson personally on a reasonable public schedule, but you have to corner him at a public function, and talk swiftly. I said he’s unethical, liberal, hides his extreme enviro public membership(s), and pushy, but I never said the man was deaf nor completely inaccessible.

                3): Office hours are unworkable. . His “office hours” were booked out weeks in advance and, as such, not much of a valid or fair opportunity to address the Supervisor. His office hours get “sold out” way in advance, at least when I personally SOUGHT them to “participate”, and I have a busy challenging and rewarding life in this and other counties, so I admit I’ve not signed up and waiting many weeks to sit down with him, at the convenience of His Excellency. Again, not much point in it. He is what he is, an intelligent, closed-minded politician, if a little petty and bullyish and liberal for my tastes.

                I doubt I could change his behavior with a heart to heart talk, NOR with a scholarly explanation of governmental and workplace and chair ethics, ALL of which I happen to have training and personal experience with. Waste of my time; he thumbs his nose at ethics and his constituency when restoring his lady friend to a paid subordinate position. And remember, I don’t care WHAT county counsel “opines”, AGREEMENTS IN CONTRAVENTION OF PUBLIC POLICY, SUCH AS RELEASING ONE’S RIGHTS AGAINST SUCH THINGS AS SLAVERY OR LAWSUIT FOR DISCHARGE AFTER A ROMANTIC SPAT, ARE ROUTINELY HELD NOT TO BE VALID FROM INCEPTION BY COURTS. This means, “county counsel” should KNOW that those AGREEMENTS are FLUFF that will usually NOT stand if any party wants to invalidate them, particularly the signators who could claim having “signed under duress”. Look it up! Case law case law case law.

                4): Yes, I own a home in District Two, plus north county plus SoCal and Texas. What does THAT have to do with my knowledge or opinion level? Or validity of my comments?

                5): I haven’t the time to explain nor enlighten you beyond this. You have your opinions and are so entitled. The REST of us, substantially the rest of us, think he’s a bully, a shallow and inexperienced public meeting chair, an adulterer, and a VIOLATOR of public ethics, good judgment, and classy behavior.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

                • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

                  Lame, you may hold your ideas on morality however you like them. Me? I don’t judge on this topic and I don’t judge someone who is elected, especially on an issue that I feel is not my business. What happened is a private matter between the participants. Wasting public funds or taking bribes I would care about. I have not seen any change in Gibson from before and after the “news” broke, he has worked hard for Los Osos. The voters will choose, if there are two candidates that is.

                  Please provide examples of the “Gibson-timed board majority” not being swayed by public comment. Please do not cite any public comment by the nuts however. Remember, these Supes were elected by a majority, Loud, persistent and angry public commenters do not equal a majority of voters.

                  Gibson comes to Los Osos (Sea Pines) for office hours roughly once a month, the fourth Thursday. I don’t think that I have seen you there. You can ask him as many questions as you like and not just in three minutes, there is no time clock.

                  Who you call a “lady friend” and a “paid subordinate” has been super accessible for gathering requested information and answering questions to even those in Los Osos who are openly hostile to Gibson. I really don’t like your demeaning tone to a legislative assistant who has done an excellent job.

                  Fine, you don’t like County Counsel’s opinion. Are you an attorney?

                  My wondering if you live in District 2 was just to see if you voted in District 2. Do you? If so, don’t vote for Gibson. Simple.

                  I really don’t think “substantially the rest of us,” (whatever that means), thinks that he is a bully. But election time will tell won’t it? Are you putting money into some other candidate?

                  Full disclosure, I did not vote for him and he knows it. But I defend his record on assistance for Los Osos. and intensely dislike the vile comments put out by some of the commenters here who won’t even use their real names, like letsbhonest ‘s comment below.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

                • kayaknut says:

                  And of course Lynette ignored commenting on the suggestion of a outside investigation instead of having it done by the person hired by the person being investigated.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

              • letsbhonest says:

                Excellent job in Los Osos……….yah right in or out of the sack?

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

    • SanSimeonSam says:

      i really dont like to agree with you roger, but Debbie Arnold needs to step up and lead. Mecham is an outstanding individual and a fine christian gentleman, but he is a placebo as a politician. He has done nothing and will do nothing to curb the power hungry antics of the maligant dwarf and Anthony Weiner wannabe. Ms Arnold is supposed to be the ball of fire that can lead the charge. Ms Arnold so far has made, at best, a pathetic attempt at being a political leader. Hill and Gibson have been maligning her both publically and privately because she lets them get away with it. If Arnold was a man they would not be doing that, neither Hill nor Gibson can stand toe to toe with men so they become abuse towards women. They have convinced Ms Arnold to drink the Kool-aid known as Civility to prevent her from taking a position contrary to theirs and its working…. Debbie….lead, or get out of the way.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

      • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

        “If Arnold was a man?” A little sexist are we SanSimeonSam? Granted, Arnold is not a Mama Bear Sarah Palin type, although her naivete regarding the Agenda 21 nuts puts her leaning far right. Was she sold to you as a “ball of fire” at the ballot box?

        Why do you think that she drank Kool-Aid? I’ve heard that she is a genuinely nice person, which includes the attribute of civility. Civility has nothing to do with holding a contrary position. Her positions have just been plain wrong and she had to back down. She just doesn’t get big grape, sucking the water out of the Paso basin, is not fair to the regular resident or farmer. Even Republican Mecham got that to give away the basin to big business was a bad idea.

        “Abuse towards women?” I assume you mean “abusive.” You again treat her like she isn’t an equal. Any Supe, regardless of their sex, having not done their homework, would get the same words.

        I assume you mean she should “lead,” in that she should demand that the the nuts should have their own personal spotlight at the BOS?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

        • SanSimeonSam says:

          Thanks for the wordsmithing. I did mean abusive. You are however wrong on the rest of your analysis. I am the father of daughters and was hoping Arnold would “woman-up” to the task. She should be a role model for women interested in entering the political arena and instead she is falling into the stereotypical role of a woman playing second fiddle to men. (not that i would call the malignant dwarf or anthony weiner wannabe men). I do not believe that is sexist in nature. If i misinterpreted her personality and she is not a dynamic person then i will be further disappointed. If she is the milk toast Mr Mecham is then Hill and Gibson will indeed continue to have free reign over the county…..Again we get what we deserve unless we run them out of office

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

          • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

            Where she is playing second fiddle is not to men, but to the big grape interests that she is so clearly trying to protect despite the oh-so-very-clear peril of water overuse in that basin. I don’t know if they are men or not.

            Really, she does need to do her homework on the nut jobs of every stripe that parade before the BOS weekly with off-the-wall comments to grasp why catering to them does not further the work of the County’s business.

            Where do you think she needs to “stand up?” Are you big grape?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

            • SanSimeonSam says:

              I am Cabernet all the way. However, i do not consider vineyards or wine industry to be part of the agriculture industry, its all part of the recreation industry and should not receive the same water rights as agriculture. Ms Arnold needs to stand up in defiance of the filthy political culture and attempts at power politics that is taking over our county and is being led by Hill and Marx and Gibson and others. I am a life long left winger and believe the democratic party is to moderate for my taste. Having said that the representatives of the Democratic party in our area…Gibson Assbaugh Hill Marx and others are disgusting human beings out after personal gain and power and not concerned with the good of the county. If the wine growers threw them money they would lick their boots.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

      • Homer says:

        “…fine Christian gentleman…” “If Arnold was a man…” Wow, I think that pretty much sums it up.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • deecoast says:

      This ICLEI is one of many organizations which are hiding their real agendas. Sustainability originallly meant a community living within the constraints of available water and usable land. However the agenda today is very different. Now it is a front for degrading personal property rights “for the good of the community”. Now it has little or nothing to do with environmental sustainability. It reeks of socialism and even totalitarianism – where the citizen has little or no rights to land ownership. It is a seriously flawed trend, which needs to be closely examined. I hope Debbie Arnold sets things in motion to look at what these two questionable “public servants” are up to in aligning themselves with this or any other organization.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

      • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

        So what you are saying Deecoast is that it is OK to trash the environment if it is on your own property?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  5. Maxfusion says:

    For more on David Cadman, the leader of ICLEI to whom both of your ‘supervisors’ pledge loyalty research Cadman’s connection to Boris Johnson the extreme left mayor of London. You remember Boris, he’s the one that approves of Sharia law. Do your homework, the apparatchiks are among you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 8

  6. Maxfusion says:

    David Cadman is the leader ICLEI. Research ‘Mr’ Cadman and you’ll find a hard left operative funded by none other than ‘Mr’ George Soros. The ICLEI is a socialist movement parading as an ‘environmental’ organization. While you’re doing your homework, investigate ‘Mr.’ Soros in the matter of influencing Secretary of States elections. Why you ask? Because it’s Secretary of States that validate elections. Do your homework.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 10

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