Survey avoided hard questions

May 24, 2013

Julie Tacker

Julie Tacker

OPINION By JULIE TACKER

The recent telephone survey gauging the impacts of County Supervisor Bruce Gibson’s long-term affair with his legislative assistant Cherie Aispuro also asked participants their ranking of importance on county issues.  Protecting its clean air, the plastic bag ban, the Los Osos sewer and some softball issues like potholes.

The survey failed to ask participants how they felt about the county’s handling of Aispuro’s job or how Gibson fairs on important water issues or his support for PG&E’s offshore seismic testing project.

Seismic testing is likely the largest issue to ever face this county, perhaps the state. 

Supervisor Gibson was selected to serve on the seismic testing Independent Peer Review Panel to represent all of San Luis Obispo County, largely because he holds a Ph.D. in geophysics, having specialized in seismic reflection survey techniques.  Constituents were led to believe that Gibson had their best interest at heart; balancing what he called the “moral dilemma” of blowing up the ocean with 250 decibel underwater cannon blasts against protecting all life on the California coast should a disaster at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant mirror the tragedy in Fukushima, Japan.

Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility. Dr. Gibson represented himself as the county’s foremost authority on the subject as the project rushed through its approval process.  Gibson shepherded the SLO County Board of Supervisors into formulating a position that “opposed the project as proposed” preferring it done using a larger ship, but still very much in support of the seismic testing. 

Squishy politician semantics, even project proponent PG&E, “opposed the project as proposed” seeking to blast much more area of the ocean than proposed.

Dr. Gibson admitted he had left the field of geotechnical oil exploration 20-plus years ago, yet represented himself as an “independent peer.”  Gibson went so far as to draft a letter to PG&E regarding the seismic survey design that the entire Board of Supervisor’s signed.  Some supervisor’s suggested the technical nature of the letter was beyond their ability to comprehend; jokingly they uttered they would have their college attending, ‘smarter-than-they’, children explain it to them.  Not all that funny if you think about it.

Documents obtained from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) reveal the county, at the direction of Gibson, hired two geophysicist consultants to review the seismic survey designs and assist him in writing the complex letter. 

These geophysicists consulting fees, county counsel’s time for research and review, along with Gibson’s travel and lodging expenses were billed to the CPUC; reimbursable by the $64 million to be passed through to the PG&E ratepayers for the seismic testing project. 

The county charges total just under $10,000, not a lot of money in the scheme of things, but charged to the ratepayer in the form of electric rates skews objectivity and casts doubt over just how “independent” Gibson was.  In at least one instance, Gibson’s Hyatt Regency Gold Passport was credited for his hotel stay; as a frequent guest he accumulates bonus points earning perks that benefit him personally. 

To be truly independent, the county would not have relied on others for guidance and certainly not because it was reimbursable.

At the Coastal Commission hearing in November, hundreds of people (at their own expense) made their way to Santa Monica.  As hugs and high-fives, tears and cheers roared through the crowd when the commission voted unanimously to deny seismic testing, Gibson (there on our dime), seated next to PG&E representatives and project lobbyists, turned toward the sea of suits to conciliatorily shake their hands.  Long-faced and alone he made his way out of the room toward the barrage of media staged outside.  Avoiding those celebrating, those he “represents”. 

“He who sleeps with dogs gets up with fleas.” Who Gibson sleeps with figuratively matters much more to voters than who he sleeps with literally.


Loading...

19 Comments

  1. celebratepaso says:

    Political personalities aside, the truth of the matter is that Gibson did not represent his constituents. He was too interested in self-serving. He was in the back-pocket of seismic testing all the way, along with Lois Capps. So now we know that as long as they are in office, they will be representing PG&E’s interests, not the peoples’. Seismic testing will surface again and so will rate increases by PG&E. At that time, Gibson & Capps will once again be singing their praises. Here we go again….

    (3) 13 Total Votes - 8 up - 5 down
  2. MaryMalone says:

    For those who haven’t read the book or seen the documentary, I would recommend the book/video documentary entitled “The Fog of War.”

    The documentary is pretty harrowing to watch because it shows Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (JF Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson administrations) going from your basic family man, to automobile-industry guru, to the Secretary of Defense who engineered much of the Vietnam war and made some of the most clueless and inhumane decisions on the Vietnam tragedy.

    It was extremely disturbing to see him rationalize, make excuses, and blame others for decisions he made and the influence he wielded in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

    I thought I had a pretty good grasp on how politics corrupts and dehuminizes politicians….but McNamara’s documentary, “The Fog of War,” left me speechless and profoundly depressed.

    (-2) 12 Total Votes - 5 up - 7 down
  3. obispan says:

    Not if your dog doesn’t have fleas. Julie Tacker, Bruce Gibson, Adam Hill are way too inside baseball for me. Though not largely, but partially, in political agreement with them I feel personally better about Arnold, Texiera and Meacham. Arnold in particular has to watch her p’s and q’s in a swing district. God Bless the late Howard Mankins, as well as the living Kurt Kupper and Richard Kresja for their service in always putting the quality of life, economically and environmentally, above all other issues.

    (0) 18 Total Votes - 9 up - 9 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      Obispan, I cannot agree with your linking Tacker to the likes of Gibson and Hill. There are far to many things dissimilar about Hill/Gibson and Tacker so that it makes any linking of the three illogical.

      In addition, I’m not too thrilled about Texiera. During his campaign he demonstrated a woeful lack of knowledge about basic government functions and requirements. A new supervisor has enough to do, learning from the ground up to the level needed to be a county supervisor…if he starts below what most graduated high-school students know about how our government operates, then the time and resources needed to get him up to speed is just too great.

      We are facing some serious issues regarding water and how it is used for agricultural interests. With Texiera’s long history in local farming, he comes on board with a vested interest in avoiding the kind of challenges agricultural interests are going to have to face in the future…especially the next decade.

      (-7) 15 Total Votes - 4 up - 11 down
  4. rogerfreberg says:

    I have always voted for folks that I thought might be good enough to invite into my home and meet my family… there are fairly few of those around nowadays.

    It does help explain all the lying that goes down as ‘truth’ nowadays.

    (6) 16 Total Votes - 11 up - 5 down
  5. smiley says:

    What a pathetic country we have become that so many of our elected leaders are openly involved in scandalous situations and continue to draw a fat paycheck and all the benefits. A quarter of a million people in SLO county and look who we wind up with. What the hell, we look better than New York City, they got the original Weiner.

    (9) 25 Total Votes - 17 up - 8 down
    • Pelican1 says:

      Politics breeds mediocrity.

      (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        Politics breeds cronyism, corruption and narcissism.

        (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
  6. takemeout2theballgame says:

    Julie’s point here appears to be about Gibson’s politics, shifting the subject away from personal matters. Gutsy move. Clearly she’s not afraid to face criticism. Would you be so bold?

    The points she makes about seismic testing are well taken. The whole County was against that project, yet Gibson pushed for it. That alone should cost him his seat.

    Moving Cherie downstairs, upstairs, playing games with public funds — just foolish on Gibson’s part.

    Elevate the debate. Let’s talk issues.

    Thanks again Julie, for shining a light on things the public doesn’t know are going on right under their noses.

    (22) 52 Total Votes - 37 up - 15 down
  7. spiritpen says:

    Many questions, many conflicts – investigate Seismic-gate!

    Because Pacific Gas and Electric basically fund the entire county of San Luis Obispo, (a clear conflict) our leaders have turned a blind eye to the terrible danger of the Diablo Cove Earthquake fault that runs directly beneath Unit 1 of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

    PG and E went ahead with a staging portion of seismic testing (implanted healthy sea otters with electronic listening devices in their stomachs and have stated they will never be removed!). This staging was done with 64 million dollars in rate payer increases released by the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) because the office of Sam Blakeslee (owns the patent to the seismic testing – a clear conflict) misled the CPUC, telling them a Blakeslee bill had mandated seismic testing. That bill had been vetoed by Arnold Swarzenegger.

    *How independent could the IPRP be, when Sex-ervisor Gibson (got caught having sex at work on a desk) sat on the panel but also sat on the Boasrd of Supes that got to vote on the seismic project? A clear conflict. When will PG&E be held accountable for that 64 million? For the otter implants without waiting for regulatory approval from the Coastal Commission? Many questions, many conflicts. Blakeslee, Gibson, PG&E, CPUC- it’s time for a full investigation into who knew what and when. And it’s time to shut Diablo down.

    Joey Racano
    On Facebook: stop the diablo canyon seismic testing

    (-20) 50 Total Votes - 15 up - 35 down
    • spiritpen says:

      BTW: To all the haters who gave my comment a thumbs down- ‘Piss off! love joey xoxoxo (jealous bastards).

      (-32) 44 Total Votes - 6 up - 38 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        For the love of god, don’t take it personally. This is a message board…they aren’t your bestest friends in the whoooooole wide world.

        (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
    • obispan says:

      “Sea otters with electronic listening devices in their stomachs”? I’m thinkin’ that if CCN is not asleep, or in on it, I will leave them to investigate.

      (-8) 8 Total Votes - 0 up - 8 down
  8. SLOBIRD says:

    Julie is paying her own way, is not a politician (at least yet), and he not sleeping around on the County dime. I will suppose Julie over Gibson at this point. Gibson has had his time, is old, reliving his youth, is immoral, dishonesty, out of touch and only has the support of the demorats, environmentalist, and his mentor-in-chief, Miss Shirley who still supports her fair haired boy because his actions are “personal”. Shirley, they are personal and no one cares who he sleeps with except for the fact that it is a County employee, his administrative aide, and the actions of costing the taxpayers, other employees and legal staff with their little bait and switch trying to move her to another department and back and not being honest about it IS our business, not that he was married, she was married, they both committed adultery, and did it for years… Yes, it is our business!

    (12) 50 Total Votes - 31 up - 19 down
    • Pelican1 says:

      I would hardly characterize Julie as “paying her own way.” The citizen of Los Osos, the county, and the state have paid, and paid dearly.
      :”Immoral dishonesty” applies to both parties.

      (18) 46 Total Votes - 32 up - 14 down
      • obispan says:

        That’s her whole point. If you’d just give her a fat government job on her terms she’ll go away. Yes immoral dishonest does apply to both parties. The conservatives frequently piss me off, but not as much as the entitled liberal elite. My liberals are Janice Peters or Roger Anderson, take your pick to replace Gibson.

        (4) 16 Total Votes - 10 up - 6 down
        • Pelican1 says:

          Well, I don’t believe either one did a terribly good job in Morro Bay.

          (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          I think you’ll finally have a clue about the impact of politics on the masses when you cease to see things using a palette of conservative-v.-liberal.

          (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down
          • obispan says:

            And you’ll finally have a clue when you learn the difference between romanticism and realism. They teach classes about this in college, I took one. Or you can just use common sense.

            (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down

Comments are closed.