Arnold appoints planning commissioner and aide

January 3, 2013

Debbie Arnold

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor-elect Debbie Arnold has appointed her representative on the Planning Commission and her legislative aide. [Tribune]

Arnold, who will be sworn in on January 7, named North County real estate broker Don Campbell to the Planning Commission and named former aid to State Senator Sam Blakeslee, Christine Robertson, her legislative assistant.

Campbell’s appointment to the Planning Commission creates a 3-member majority with ties to the real estate industry. Paso Robles broker Jim Irving represents County Supervisor Frank Mecham on the commission, and Arroyo Grande realtor Tim Murphy represents Supervisor Paul Teixiera.

Arnold is expected to join Mecham and Teixiera to form a board majority that is more approving of development than the previous majority of supervisors Jim Patterson, Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill.

Campbell, who replaces Patterson’s appointee Dan O’Grady, graduated Cal Poly and taught agriculture at San Luis Obispo High School. He also owned a ranch sales and property management firm and was a founding member of Heritage Oaks Bank.

Robertson, too, graduated Cal Poly, as well as the London School of Economics.

Prior to the election of Patterson, Arnold served as a legislative aide for former Supervisor Mike Ryan. Arnold also served as a field representative for Blakeslee.

The Board of Supervisors will meet for the first time in 2013 on January 8.


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Well….I live on the Carrizo Plain, and was on the side of the ‘solar farms’….up until they started hauling

water into the valley to support the project. What happened to all of the water the county and the ranchers and the solar farm representatives assured us was out here & able to support such large-scale development of these industrial parks?? That is why so much ag land was taken off the market forever. Since the “professional” and “experts” and SLO County employees & agencies looked at us in the face and lied to us out here on the Carrizo Plain….I do not trust those invested in the land and property business. In 10 years…none of the solar farms will have much to offer once they have completely depleted the aquifer. Then, I will have some disgusting ruins to look at. Thank you SLO County and those land experts.

What water are they hauling to the solar sites? The Topaz site provides its own water. Are you sure you aren’t seeing empty water trucks driving to the site to then be used to fill-up with water on-site? Second, the solar sites don’t need to use hardly any water after the building is completed. The reason the water is needed during construction is to keep the dust down per enviornmental laws. Go to the Topaz Solar Farm website. Incidently, the Topaz plant is about to go live and send its first electricity into the grid. When completed it will be the World’s largest on-line solar plant.

They have been hauling hundreds of thousands of gallons from Kern County. Bob Hampton and the Cooper family, along with the Twisselmans have been selling water to Topaz and the other solar “farms”.

Those trucks are empty when they come back down the hill to Kern Co. I am a CalOSHA inspector and talk to the truck drivers down in McKittrick.

They will be using water after construction is completed. Weren’t you at any of the pre-building meetings? Did you NOT hear them openly discuss this issue at those meetings? OK…then you know how much water they are using. If not…go to the website dedicated to that information. SLO Co. had it last.

Incidentally, or coincidentally, you sound like a hack for the solar “farms’. I work for a living…what do you do?

Congrats Debbie and we welcome you aboard. The voice of reason and business will be good to hear. Jim Patterson had 8 years and not much was done to smooth the path for business or reason, lots of enviro and feelings tho…

what is anybody’s take on Arnold? does she or will she stand up to Hill and

Gibson? I dont know much about her. Does she have a backbone?

Are you kidding ?

Arnold is an ignoramus with an ego the size of a whale ! A classic “Peter Principle” porch climber that advances through association.

Her backbone IS her brain !

So Debbie Arnold has a big ego. Bigger than Hill? Or Gibson? I think not. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, both reasonable conservatives and liberals pine for the days of Hans Heilman and Howard Mankins on the right and Kurt Kupper and Richard Kresja on the left. Nobody on the political spectrum had anything negative to say about the character of any of the four. Politically? Just our democracy at work. So what if her PC appointee is a developer? The left appoints environmentalists, and we all know how both will vote. I’m no fan of excessive regulation or red tape but what I will judge Debbie Arnold on is not selling out our quality of life to developers or transferring the cost of infrastructure improvements to local taxpayers. Those of us who grew up here are getting our first exposure to traffic circulation failures and street crime.

Just one persons opinion and a shallow one at that. She a long history of public service with positive results. Stop the name calling and rhetoric, look at some facts and history for a change…

The sound we will hear is not a voice of reason, but that of a rubber stamp.

People with direct business ties to the real estate industry should be banned from being voting members on these commissions. Inherent conflict of interests.

It’s all about the money, favoritism, and a continuation of the good ole boy network.

Totally expected that Arnold would do this.

Just as people who live near a coast should be banned from the Coastal Commission, or those that breath frombeing ona clean air board????? Both sides do this to their favor, so why is so bad now but not bad when Mr Patterson did it?

Oh bullhockey ! What a stinking pile of red-herrings. A developer on land use commissions is nothing more than a lobbyist. They will always vote with their own pocketbook. Rife for corruption and greasy palms.

How about appointing career criminals and mafioso to crime commissions ? They certainly are well informed on the subject.

Elected officials should not be making these appointments anyway.

Let qualified individuals fill out a resume, like any other job applicant. Then have a review process composed of non partisan volunteers, such as retired judges and other peer review professionals.

Take the politics OUT of it.

So lobbyist are bad when they are oin the other side but not when they are on your side?? Why is that? Just like appointing a person who committed fraud by not paying his taxes to be treasury secretary.

Let retired judges serve on review panels???? Because why, judges don’t have biases??? Try again.

Again why it only bad when it’s the other side is doing something and not the side you are on?

I congratulate you on your self formed opinion that you are quite skilled by constantly introducing straw men.

and I congratulate on your expert ability to avoid the facts, that something is only bad if the other side is doing it but when our side is.

I’ll go Yoda on you:

“Talk ? How to, do you know ?”

Is that more comprehensible ?

Real estate agents make MONEY from their occupation, and the planning commission approves subdivisions, new developments, new everything on the land that REAL ESTATE AGENTS SELL! That’s the difference. Most of us breathe air (are you perhaps an exception?). It’s unclear how voting to protect air quality makes money for the people so voting. But it’s absolutely clear that any real estate agent on a planning commission is voting all the time on things from which she can make money.

Can you tell me who then would build the hospitals, medical centers and shopping malls that we all use everyday? I can assure you that it would be no one with any ties to Hill, Gibson or Patterson.

Now that the new Obama tax plan has been signed I guess more non-producers will be recieving additional benefits since these people that take a risk with development may be making more income and consequently will be subsidizing those that choose not to work for a profit.

“Can you tell me who then would build the hospitals, medical centers and shopping malls that we all use everyday?”

That’s not the point. Yours is another false argument. Of course, the businesses and people engaged in these activities would continue to do so, and continue to make their profits.

They just would not be in the middle of decision making for civil projects, where “sweetheart” deals are all too appealing and common.

The “Obama tax plan” is another straw man that has nothing to do with business nepotism on the SLO BOS.


I think the opposite. I think people who work/live/invest in real estate are much more tuned in to make rational decisions regarding land use. I think who we want to exclude are the blue-sky idealists with no practical experience, regardless of whether they are pro-regulation or anti-regulation.

Most Realtors have an acute knowledge of land issues as they deal with them full time. Don Campbell has been a Realtor for many years. His last 10 years plus have been spent full time in viticulture and farming, his true passion. Don’t just simply place him in the category of your definition of “ties to the real estate industry”.

As CALCOASTNEWS writes, “a board majority that is more approving of developement than the previous majority”, in my opinion is unfair scare verbage.

I see the likelyhood of a board majority that will be more objective, more concerned about protecting the rights of owners, and will make every effort to avoid wasting finite tax dollars.

It would only be “scare verbage” to those who are very anti-development. It is a fair description of the situation.

I am not sure that someone connected to the real estate industry would be “objective” on such matters because “objectivity” requires generally agreed-upon, underlying beliefs and similar goals. When it comes to development — particularly in coastal zones — that is a rare situation. The activity of developers over the past 10 years (particularly all those mentioned in the numerous scandals covered by CCN), makes me skeptical about the integrity of the profession (especially in North County) .

However, I am willing to give Campbell the benefit of the doubt until he establishes a track record.

I agree that there have been and will continue to be bad apples claiming the title of developer. Nobody likes these people and they seem to hide under the cloud of inflation, not today’s environment. Earning credibiliy is always a rational policy and I respect anyone for requiring that.

Over in the Fibune comments section, they are bashing Arnold’s selections due to their experience in land use issues. Go figure.

What a nice photo of Deb. So much better than the one the Trib posted.

What did you expect from a newspaper that is the platform for the Good-O Boy system. Never a bad story on Gibson, Hill, Patterson, Wallace, unless forced to by other investigating sources

You never see her photo in profile. Looks like a darn can opener or a parrot impersonation !

It’s the whiny voice I find irritating….along with the ‘holier than thou’ attitude !

Do you actually read the shite you write? You only state personal opinion accordinbg to your personal beliefs, look at Ms Arnold long history of public service instead…