Grover Beach Democrats blast party leader over flyer

October 16, 2012

Cory Black


Two Democratic candidates for the Grover Beach City Council are accusing San Luis Obispo Democratic Central Committee leaders of making false statements in a flyer that aims to persuade voters to reject Measure I-12.

Ballot measure I-12 proposes to change Grover Beach from a general law city to a charter city.

The flyer, mailed and handed to Grover Beach residents last week, claims the measure will result in higher costs to taxpayers, an increase in pay for council members and is the result of meddling by special interest groups.

The claims could not be further from the truth, Councilmembers Karen Bright and Debbie Peterson said.

“I am appalled,” Bright said. “We need to give people accurate information so they can make good decisions.”

The text of the city’s proposed charter states that it does not give the city greater authority than general law cities to raise the level of or create new taxes and fees. It also does not provide for an increase in council wages which are currently set at $300 a month and it was not funded by special interest groups.

“I am so disillusioned, sad and quite alarmed,” Peterson said. “It is just not acceptable to lie.”

Earlier this year, the City Council voted 3-2 to ask voters to change the city to a charter city. If passed, the city will have more control in handing out contracts to local businesses, the ability to avoid paying prevailing wage on city-funded projects and the legal right to have volunteers perform some jobs.

“We are trying to reduce costs,” Bright said. “A person holding up a sign at a public works project would get $22 an hour and not prevailing wage, $42 an hour.

Opponents of the measure, most with union affiliations, contend the change would hurt workers. San Luis Obispo Democratic Central Committee leaders agreed and informed Bright that she would not have their group’s endorsement if she continued to support Measure I-12.

SLO Democratic Central Committee Chair Pat Harris declined to discuss the misrepresentations on the flyer other than to say that it was not officially sponsored by the committee.

“We oppose Measure I-12, we are not going to comment on the flyer,” Harris said.

In addition to the controversy about the flyer, some local democrats question why the San Luis Obispo Democratic Party is failing to follow its own bylaws. Amended in mid-2011 to create diversity in its ranks, the bylaws require committee members to invite elected local democrats to become committee members.

“We have been busy working on elections,” Harris said. “It is something new in the bylaws and we simply haven’t done it yet.”

A Sacramento businessman who printed the flyers and a San Francisco designer who created the No on Grover Beach I-12 website refused to disclose the person or people behind the committee.

Nevertheless, Google searches of a phone number placed on the California Secretary of State committee application led back to a prominent member of the SLO Democratic Central Committee and the owner of Public Policy Solutions, Cory Black.

Black, the 2011 vice chair of the Democratic Central Committee and the current region 10 director, was last year accused of plagiarism. Andrew Russo of Paramount Communications said Black plagiarized the content of his website, reproducing his words in an attempt to garner clients.

The year before, Black sent out slate mailers to registered Democrats that recommended Republican Ian Parkinson as “the best choices for San Luis Obispo Democrats,” a move that outraged several members of the Democratic Central Committee.

“The current democratic party leadership has fallen from the ethics of Leon Panetta, the architect of many central coast victories, who followed that everything that was put out had to be of the highest integrity,” said a Democratic Party source who asked to remain unnamed.

The anti-measure I-12 flyer also appears to violate disclosure rules. While the flyer asks Grover Beach residents to join the San Luis Obispo Democratic Party and the Tri-Counties Building & Construction Trade Council in voting no on Measure I-12, it does not clearly identify who is behind the mailer as required by law. Instead, small print that blends into the flyer says it was paid for by No on Grover Beach I-12, a group that Grover Beach City Clerk Donna McMahon said has failed to file with the city.

Campaign laws require the print to be displayed clearly and legibly in a conspicuous manner. Violators are “liable for civil or administrative action or a fine of up to three times the cost of the advertisement, including placement costs.”

Nevertheless, Black is a popular political consultant who this election cycle has been hired to work on the campaigns of San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx, Councilman John Ashbaugh and council candidate Jeff Aranguena, according to their campaign disclosures.


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Question: What do media consultant Corey Black, Supervisor Adam Hill, Sheriff Parkinson and Deputy Todd Steeb have in common?

Answer: They are cheats

Black has been attempting to subvert democracy for years around here. He has no morals, I am alarmed to see that Marx, Ashbaugh and Aranguena are using him. Might cause me to vote for any others. And I advise a lot of people about voting…

Though I am sort of a Dem (not the ‘Black’ type- I’m honest) I think the damn parties should keep their hands out of non partisan issues and candidates. That concept was law until held unconstitutional some years ago-but it is still a good idea to keep some separation in these arenas.

And for Pat Harris, who I do not know; she ought to be able to formulate an opinion of the truth or lack thereof in the flyers and then speak to it. This whole scene is pretty lame, all honest Democrats should condemn this situation. We have for years been asking the Muslim community to speak out against the zealots in their ranks, what about us?

This is alone is worth the YES on I-12 vote:

Section 401. Mandates Limited

No person, whether elected or appointed, acting on behalf of the City, shall be required to

perform any function which is mandated by any other level of government, unless and until

funds sufficient for the performance of such function are provided by the mandating authority.

The State TELLS you to do a ridiculous study/report that will never be reviewed/implemented, yet they don’t provide the funding to complete it (Remember when Cities had to plan for a randomly selected number of housing units determined by the State using an unexplainable formula? And they told the Cities to plan for their housing numbers regardless if the City had the water/sewer to support the number?

during the hearings the city attorney said that this section is basically toothless unenforceable bluster. this thing is a joke. and the supporters here are simply the jesters.

slojo, is that you?

no, but i am drinking coffee that it took too long to brew!

Court precedent has already upheld that cities may not be mandated to spend by state statutes. The 72-hour notice requirement of the Brown Act is currently unenforceable because the CA Legislature stopped providing reimbursement. Thus, I believe this charter section is far from utterly unenforceable.

Yet, even if it were, it serves a much greater purpose. To wit: It codifies the legislative intent of the People of Grover Beach. Courts *always* look into legislative intent when interpreting statutes. To any degree it is enforceable, or merely sets or affects city policy, it is far from useless bluster.

And, on what basis would you oppose such language anyway? Does it not make common sense? Should cities not press back upon outside agencies to fund mandates? Sounds entirely rational to me.

Just say no.

A long-time democrat who wants positive change is a republican in the making! Glad to have you aboard.

Despite all the protests and outrage, the flyer is correct and the pro-charteristas are wrong. Good on you SLO Dems and Mr. Black. Vote NO on the Charter

This thing is a loophole factory. Since the charter is silent on fines and penalties the council will be free to do whatever it wants. While the charter talks about pay for council members, it does not say anything about total compensation for sitting on various boards and commissions – the exact way that the crooked council and city manager managed to enrich themselves in Bell.

The Grover Charter, just like charters all up and down the state, is being pushed and coordinated by a shadowy narrow special interest group. the Grover Charter is virtually identical to the special interest charter that the citizens of the foothill community of Auburn defeated nearly 2-1 this past June. It also looks especially similar to one being pushed by the same group in Escondido. The council members speaking out in support are either simply being “useful idiots” who don’t know what they’re mixed up in or in cahoots with the special interests.

VOTE NO on the Charter

MossyBuddah you are among the misinformed with respect to measure I-12.

Under the charter city proposal council compensation CANNOT be increased without a 51% approval by the voters of Grover Beach.

Compensation for the various boards is not mentioned because it is NOT paid by the City of Grover Beach! The amounts are set by the boards themselves which are generally made up of a combination of elected officials representing cities and the county.

You mention the evils of a charter city without realizing that Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo are charter cities.

Instead of spewing misinformation why don’t you just read the proposed charter word for word. Here is the link:

Currently much of Grover Beach is mandated and governed by the State of California.

Would you rather have Grover Beach governed by its own directly voted in citizens or by the disconnected politicians in Sacramento?

Voting to convert Grover Beach to a charter city will be a very good thing for the people of Grover Beach.


sadly no…that’s why i call this a loophole factory. silly politicians will do silly things. and here they did.

i’m not against charters per se, but the best ones take time to craft, involve the entire community, and are often products of education, debate, and consensus. this was is anything but and the recriminations flying back and forth are plain evidence of that fact.

i watched those hearings and they were in exercise in fantasy and magical thinking and willful dismissal of the dozens of people who came out to oppose the charter.

The issue on the ballot is the “framework” of the Charter. If passed, the details will be determined by the community. Do some research and let the truth set you free!

sadly no again. it is not a “framework” it is a charter.

Excellent reply, thank you. Note how MossyBuddha in his response forgot about even capitalizing letters as if he needed to bust out a few cheap shots and hope no one noticed then move on to other things.

Now he’s not against charters…. “per se”!

its like the pro-charter brigade is out in full force here. wowzers.

to answer your snark…charters CAN be useful for complex cities. charters that are carbon copies of loophole riddled documents being pushed up and down the state by a narrow special interest groups and that are put on the ballot in the face of overwhelming opposition are not useful – especially for a city of 13,000.

I need to sound the alarm….this is not accurate, but rather propoganda.

The measure is not about Council or board compensation, or term limits….read the charter.

It is about local control. Sacramento has ripped off local government for years due to their inability to get their sh*t together. Even when the League of California Cities worked to pass a local protection measure, the democrats (I usually vote as one), found a loophole and robbed the communities again.

The hot button is prevailing wage. If you care to read the charter document, you will see that all Federal or State projects will still be paid at prevailing wage. This issue will ONLY be a CONSIDERATION with the investment of locally generated tax revenues.

Why should a local government agency be FORCED to pay a higher labor rate for the same work as a private sector organization? I don’t understand so please help all of us understand. I would support a living wage, but to hold a 2.25 square mile community hostage to this kind of government dysfunction is ridiculous.

all this “local control” stuff is bubkus. cities of 13K run fine with the checks and balances of general law. its about allowing a bunch of silly politicians who don’t know what they’re getting into to get more power for themselves. there is simply no compelling reason to do this. VOTE NO on Measure I-12


Would you rather have Grover Beach run by Grover Beach or Sacramento?

And which trade union are you a member of?

union union union. booga booga booga.

my income won’t be affected one bit by the prevailing wage provisions so that dog won’t hunt. it may be affected by the council chucking out the basic good government and anti-cronyism protections of the public contracting code.

the people talking about independence from sacramento sound like a bunch of secessionist loons spouting nonsense in texas.

Help me understand this. You profess to not be union construction labor, you accuse the city of not using an open process, AND (this is my favorite) you somehow believe that the “professionals” in Sacramento can do a better job of determining what is best for a local jurisdiction, while these “professionals” have the all-time worst approval ratings from their constituents?

Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Solvang and SLO appear to be surviving as charter cities. I really want to understand the downside.

like i said, my income won’t be affected one penny by the prevailing wage exemption. still, i’m not sure why you’re putting words in my mouth though. i have no great love for sacramento but all this secessionist talk and desire to throw out 150 of good government protections is just crazy.

No forced feeding Mossy….just read your posts…I’m just spitting it up in one comment…It’s all good!


Why don’t you do us all all favor and READ the PROPOSED CHARTER CITY beginning framework for Grover Beach.

Here is the link:


Now that you have actually read it please cite SPECIFICS that support your unsubstantiated claims.

And if you can’t do that then why don’t you STFU!

dude. you’re either reading a different charter, imagining things, or have a reading comprehension problem. the word “framework” never appears in there and its pretty clear that this is to create a charter. every change to the charter is going to require an election which will cost tens of thousands of dollars a pop.

Let’s just get along and not curse each other…constructive dissent is better. Knowledge is even better…

Surfdawg NAILED IT!

Surfdawg, you are correct: the prevailing wage issue only comes into play when LOCAL money is at stake. On projects even partially funded through other sources, prevailing wages will still be paid.

Prevailing wages were instituted, as I understand it, to prevent governments from getting shoddy work by going with the absolute lowest bid on a project. In my opinion the contract requirements and codes over the years have eliminated a great deal of this concern. Industry estimates are that prevailing wages add about 30% to the cost of a job.

since construction labor comprises about 20-25% of the cost of a job the idea that you could save 30% is fantastic crazy talk. you can check out for links to research on the topic. i’ve found it to be a very good source for information.

That is a PERFECT link…it just marches in step with the bullcrap mailer…

“Smart Cities Prevail provides complete information, research and education on how prevailing wage standards on public construction projects benefit taxpayers, local governments and working families.”

“We are a 501c(4) nonprofit organization based in California, where serves as an information source for news media, community leaders and members of the public interested in learning more about prevailing wage.”

Just how does PREVAILING WAGE benefit a small community? It soaks up precious resources that should be invested in a well-defined competitive bidding process. I wish we could pay everyone, the guys who own the bike store, the mechanics, the grocery workers, the restaurant people PREVAILING WAGE, but I guess that isn’t in the cards.

Hmmmm, do you think Mossy supports PREVAILING WAGE? I think it must be the case as all the other nebulous arguements are just fluff…Thanks for the website, I’m solid with your position now…it isn’t about anything other than PREVAILING WAGE.

Vote YES ON I-12. Thank you.

if you can argue the facts and the math then do it. otherwise keep yapping, little poodle.

Rather than lobbing dirty bombs from the sidelines, I have gotten involved and have given much to the community. I have seen the numbers, they are very clear. This is the arguement that needs to be explained, as your link makes it very clear you are hating on I-12 over labor wage issues.

Why is it okay for a small city to have to accept prevailing wage bids from Contractor A, when someone like a local developer can hire said Contractor A for an almost identical project (same scope, same code requirements, etc.) and pay less money for the same labor pool?

I don’t get it.

I met a candidate who is a steelworker. His arguement surrounded around something along the lines of, “Why are you taking food off of the working man’s table?” This gentleman seemed like a really nice person, but why is he entitled to a prevailing wage, when others doing the same work make a lessor but still acceptable wage? Where do we stop? I want a prevailing wage, I’m sure everyone I know would like to automatically get a “surcharged” labor rate just because I am doing a project for a public entity. I think even a taxpayer like yourself would like to see your tax contribution go further.

This just doesn’t make sense. If the Federal and State politicians want to pay political favors to supporters, I don’t agree but I am not headed to Sacramento or DC to change it.

Change starts locally.

Vote YES on I-12.

Thank you.

And your condescending, almost defeated comment made me laugh…I’m more like a stubborn dachshund.

You must be new here.

Less about the other commentators and more real facts.

Poodle? You of all people should know better.

its true. i don’t join many of these little online debates since the opportunity for changing people’s minds is about slim to none, the reading comprehension is questionable, and a written version of putting fingers in the ears and shouting “lalalala” is extreme. still i simply couldn’t let the silliness expressed here go by.

so let me try this again…

1. this charter is full of loopholes for cronyism, corruption, and a bigger bite out of people’s pockets as i described when i first jumped into the fray.

2. this charter ballot measure is virtually identical to a charter defeated 2-1 in the foothill community of auburn this past june and charters being pushed across the state by a some .

3. when the auburn city council tried to shut up the opponents by filing suit (with city money!) the council members got their rear ends smacked down by the judge who said plainly that the loopholes the opponents identified were very much plausible.

4. charter’s aren’t necessarily a bad idea but they are best developed through extended discussion and community consensus rather than a divisive set of council hearing where the opposition outnumbered proponents something like 10-1 (except for the people on the dais); there’s a reason why so many proposed charters vetted through charter commissions never make it to the ballot.

the charter proponents ignore all of this stuff and tell me to look at the string that makes up the supposed knots. i’m pointing out the loopholes. rather than confronting those basic facts they thing that yelling “union union union, booga booga booga” is somehow going to distract people. i’m pretty confident that like in auburn, people will see that this is nothing but silly politicians doing silly things and VOTE NO ON MEASURE I-12.

now as much fun as i had fun doing this but since i’m going up into the backcountry for a few days i’ll have to let the madness continue without me. over and out.

“rather than confronting those basic facts they thing that yelling “union union union, booga booga booga” is somehow going to distract people.”

Oh the irony, the yelling it’s true.

When it was about plastic bags, the plastic people came.

When the sewage flowed over the levy, the water people came.

Different subject, same strategy.

Cory Black (Public Policy Solutions) was paid by SLO City candidates in this election:

Mayor Jan Marx $1,500

John Ashbaugh $1,000

Jeff Aranguena $1,000

Source: Candidate Form 460 filings dated 10.05.12 here:

Complete information on the 2010 slate mailer involving Sheriff Parkinson:

Cory Black represented Kimm Daniels in the Gail Wilcox fallout:

Cory Black was hired to represent SunPower:

Thank you Karen and Debbie. STAY STRONG! Black and Hill aren’t through with you yet. Expect a lot of nasty, intimidating telephone calls. When Cory Black slithered into SLO County Adam HIll found his perfect political partner. Unfortunately the Democratic central committee has been take over by Black and HIll. They were successful in squeezing out candidates for the central committee who would have stood up against the two-some.

Unfortunately Black’s reputation is enhanced when candidates like Monning, who know nothing about Black’s tactics retain him.

I truly hope that one day the democrat party can reclaim itself from the throw-back (throw-away) 60’s radicals who dream of a communist utopia. Progressivism sucks no matter what it’s called. Always has, always will.

We lost the democrat party decades ago, and lost the republican party years ago (though some are trying to take it back). Let’s hope we can go back to the times of “loyal opposition” politics and not the garbage we have now from both of these hack groups.

Roy, you didn’t leave the Democrat Party (or the Republican one) – the party left you! Why do you suppose so many young people do not identify with either party?

Mr. Black also represents Bill Monning. This is just an example of the dirty tricks that are played in politics. Unfortunately this appears to be accepted way of life any more that it’s ok to lie and cheat in order to obtain the reults that you want.

Voters should beware of Mr. Black and his cronies, there is nothing good in his camp.