Did supervisors dump ag ordinance to protect Gibson?

December 5, 2012

Bruce Gibson

By CalCoastNews staff

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting did not proceed as scheduled Tuesday.

After a late start to the meeting, Supervisor Adam Hill petitioned to move the 18th item on the agenda, the controversial agriculture cluster ordinance, to the beginning of the meeting. Hill made a surprising speech calling for the continuance of the agriculture ordinance to next year when it is unlikely the proposal will pass with Debbie Arnold on the board.

Recently, while lobbying his board peers to take action of the ordinance now, Hill said Arnold was not experienced enough to address the issue.

The complete turn-around had many observers questioning whether the board abandoned the agriculture cluster ordinance in order to shield Supervisor Bruce Gibson from public criticism over the handling of his affair with his legislative aide Cherie Aispuro. After Gibson admitted he had been having a long-term affair with Aispuro, county officials announced plans to offer Aispero a job with the county even though she is an at-will employee and not a civil servant, a move slated to cost the county $68,870 a year in salary plus full benefits.

Dozens of speakers arrived early to the board meeting Tuesday with plans to chastise Gibson during general public comment. However, after Hill changed the agenda, many left rather than wait through hours of public comment on the agriculture ordinance.

Once general public comment ensued, several speakers still spoke about Gibson’s affair and the resulting job created for Aispuro in the County Clerk’s Office. Some called for Gibson to resign, including former Congresswoman Andrea Seastrand, who said he violated the organization values of the county. Kevin Rice described Gibson as a “vile and despicable supervisor.”

But the majority of the approximately 30 people who arrived in the morning to comment on the affair and its financial cost did not do so, prompting many to question if the supervisors sacrificed the agriculture ordinance passage to mitigate public criticism of Gibson.

One week after Gibson said the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business would not succeed in its attempt to filibuster the agriculture cluster ordinance, he, as well as his colleagues, chose to postpone the item until next year when Debbie Arnold replaces Jim Patterson — and seemingly swings the board majority against the proposed ordinance changes. Hill, a supporter of Patterson who has been very critical of Arnold, even said the board should be fair to Arnold by taking on “a calmer and collegial tone.”

Patterson, who typically votes with Gibson and Hill, did not support the motion to move the agriculture cluster item to the beginning of the meeting, saying that doing so was unfair to the people waiting to speak during general public comment.

Several speakers who did not attend the meeting to specifically comment on the agriculture cluster ordinance criticized the board for its impromptu rearrangement of the meeting. Eric Greening questioned whether the board violated the Brown Act by rearranging the agenda without notice, and Julie Tacker said the process was undemocratic.

“I object to the way the agenda was shuffled, and I believe that was undemocratic and very non-transparent,” Tacker said.

In addition to shuffling the agenda, the supervisors approved a new emergency services position, which some believe was intended to provide permanent employment for Aispuro, who is working only temporarily in the clerk’s office while she remains an at-will employee of Gibson.

County Administrator Dan Buckshi said the position had nothing to do with the Gibson affair. As Gibson continues to use funds from his budget to pay Aispuro, he is operating without a legislative aide. If he chooses to hire a new aide, Aispuro will lose her job and will have to compete with other applicants to get a new position with the county.

County Counsel Rita Neal, who said during Tuesday’s meeting that Gibson did not violate any county policies, said Gibson is not actively seeking a new legislative aide.

The fact that Gibson is operating without a legislative aide also causes some to question whether the supervisor assistant position is actually necessary. They cost county taxpayers nearly $350,000 a year.


All we have as elected officals, be it federal, state, county or local government is a bunch of self serving b.s. talking clowns because we as citizens have been shirking our civic duties, not investigating who we elect and what they do.


This whole Gibson situation is so blatantly anti taxpayer and exactly what makes us hate and disrespect politicians. And for the county staff to investigate and support his actions is a dismal reflection of public servants.

Hill, who follows Gibson like a puppy dog, was so transparent in his move to skip public comment in its normal slot, a ploy to circumvent the public outcry over Gibson and his antics. The usual circumstance is to delay an issue that will be time consuming so that public comment etc. can go first.

This is a truly pitiful group “serving” us.

Where will it end?


“…exactly what makes us hate and disrespect politicians…”

You really hit the nail on the head!


Will the arrogance ever end?

Voters need to keep the pressure on Gibson…


“I object to the way the agenda was shuffled, and I believe that was undemocratic and very non-transparent,” Tacker said.

Wow…for once I agree with Julie Tacker! Shame on the Board of Supes.


—or to protect Adam Hill?


Yes, Susan Devine, Hill’s legislative assistant, left her post recently and was apparently not offered a $70K/yr replacement job …


Aispuro working in the County Clerk’s office is completely unacceptable and irrational.

There is highly sensitive information handled in that office, including private information about County residents.

Aispuro has already well proven she lacks the morals and judgment to be anywhere near such sensitive information.

Aispuro needs to be removed from County offices immediately. The best interests of two amoral employees are being put ahead of the best interests of the County residents.


Must be a real moral boaster to the other employees in Clerk’Recorder’s office who are earning approx $37,000 annually. My bet is that Aispuro is still doing Gibson’s work but at another location. If he has not advertised, interviewed or decided to hire a replacement my bet is she is still doing the job and when they go home at night they can discuss the job….


“The fact that Gibson is operating without a legislative aide also causes some to question whether the supervisor assistant position is actually necessary. They cost county taxpayers nearly $350,000 a year.”

There’s your liability County of SLO. If Gibson can do without a leg aide, then so can the rest of ’em…bye bye my Supe’s aide — good riddance Deb Geaslen! Hello lawsuit.


I’d like to think they dumped it because it did not have the support of agriculture; the people it singled out to regulate. But you’re probably closer right, they did it to take a little heat off Gibson.


The Article says: “the supervisors approved a new emergency services position” and goes on to report speculation that this position was contemporaneously created to give a job to Mr. Gibson’s legislative aid Cherie Aispuro.

The proof or lack of proof in the speculations will bear out if the following questions can be answered:

1. Does Ms. Aispuro, after a career in the Clerk-Record’s office (and then working for Gibson) have any experience or training that would make her a candidate for an “emergency services position;”

2. Will the application process for the new position be opened to all applicants, or restricted to individuals who are at-will employees of current Supervisors and former members of the Clerk-Recorder’s staff;

3. Will the County officer responsible for hiring actually hire Ms. Aispuro for the job.

Reporting speculation by those attending a public meeting serves the public, but is not enough on its own. I hope the News Media in general, and Cal Coast News in particular, will follow up to determine if the public is being served, or bilked to financially promote one supervisor’s personal needs.


I think the position will be restricted to female legal aides who have, for years, screwed Bruce Gibson.


Yes, I would think she has experience as a “services position”. Oh wait, you said “emergency services position”, so, technically maybe not depending on the job description. Why do we need this additional position out of the budget cycle and why is it offered to Aispuro? What Department is this in. who does the hiring, what is the special need, and what is the pay? By the way, the article said no cost to the County for this episode. I guess everyone’s time was free, all the meeting, reports, research, etc. You all have to understand this is how politicians think – no cost when it comes to them and their needs, a fortune when it comes to us and our needs (like mailing notices, fixing a road, etc.). Just depends who’s priority is more important, and it certainly is not that of the taxpayers.


That is because they are Equal Opportunity Employers…

Gibson is only looking out for the minorities. Of course, women are on “top”… of the list.

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