Gibson plants 500 trees while calling for ag moratorium

October 31, 2013
Bruce Gibson

Bruce Gibson


San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson planted 500 new citrus trees on his rural Cayucos property several months ago while pushing to impose tough water conservation measures on agriculturalists in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

Neighbors in rural Cayucos say that while they have been struggling to water their orchards because of drought conditions, District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson planted an additional 500 citrus trees on his Cottontail Creek Road ranch.

Gibson, who recently announced that he is running for a third term, placed the ranch on the market in June after his wife, San Luis Obispo physician Dr. Grace Crittenden, filed for divorce. Last November, the supervisor admitted publicly to having a long-term affair with his administrative assistant Cherie Aispuro.

“Several of my neighbors don’t have enough water for their trees,” said a neighbor who asked not to be identified because of Gibson’s position. “The new trees appear to be about two to six months old.”

Gibson’s Cottontail Creek Road property includes 800 mature, 250 mid-size and 500 newly planted citrus trees for an asking price of $2,595,000, according to the property listing.

Bruce Gibson's ranch

Bruce Gibson’s ranch

With approximately 15 acres of citrus, Gibson’s ranch would need about 30 acre feet of water a year in addition to rainfall. Irrigation experts from University of California Cooperative Extension and Cal Poly, as well as neighbors of Gibson, said an acre of citrus trees in the Cayucos area requires about two acre feet of irrigation water per year.

Six years ago, Gibson pulled 11 acres of citrus trees and reduced his orchards from 20 acres to nine acres. Several years ago, he planted two additional acres, and a few months ago he planted about four acres of citrus trees, increasing his crop to about 15 acres, according to his property listing and several neighbors.

Gibson did not respond to questions about his water usage.

His ranch has two wells — one onsite and one on a neighboring property owned by the Whale Rock Reservoir, according to the listing and the reservoir office.

Upon the creation of Whale Rock Reservoir in the 1960s, four neighboring properties with wells that would be influenced by the water table received specific water rights, Whale Rock Reservoir Supervisor Noah Evans said.

Gibson’s offsite well is allotted 15 acre feet of pumping a year. The well is metered and monitored by Whale Rock staff.

The household well on Gibson’s property is not metered. It is also unclear whether the permit for the household well places any restrictions on the owner’s ability to pump water.

Following a CalCoastNews request, San Luis Obispo County Environmental Health Services staff could not locate the permit for Gibson’s household well in its database. But, Environmental Health supervisor Richard Lichtenfels said he would try to provide a physical copy of the well permit in the future.

Earlier this month, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors extended its urgency ordinance that restricts water use in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. The basin spans most of Northern San Luis Obispo County east of Highway 101 and includes rural Atascadero, Templeton and Paso Robles.

The ordinance, which lasts until 2015, prohibits new development in the Paso Robles basin that uses more water than it saves.

Gibson led the effort to adopt the ordinance and initially called for water usage restrictions twice as steep as what the board adopted. He said the water moratorium was necessary to stabilize the basin.

Opponents of the moratorium argued that their property values would plummet due to the ordinance prohibiting them from planting on their undeveloped properties.

The supervisors have not restricted water usage for additional areas of the county impacted by the drought and the lowest year to date rainfall in recorded history.


I’m expecting to see equal writing space given to a snarky hit piece on Muril Clift the other candidate running in District 2. If one is not written, gee, I guess we can guess why. C’mon CalCoast – be evenly mean so that you don’t look so freakin’ transparent!


Well maybe if Gibson didn’t keep screwing up, CCN wouldn’t have so much to write about.


Oh, you mean like if he would change his politics CalCoast would leave him alone? I get that already.

Well, it is up to the results of the ballot box, right? Trash taking here may make you feel better but don’t count on results there!


I agree. Can’t believe that so many people keep putting this fool back in office. Guess he is proving the old adage about fooling some of the people ALL OF THE TIME!

Yea just because people put someone in doesn’t make them good. Politicians are good liars, so your point is moot.


QUOTING BTDT: “Can’t believe that so many people keep putting this fool back in office.”


I can understand why people keep voting for him and why he is still in office.

It is his public actions using his power to, overall, advance protection of the environment is the reason. People are worried about the degradation of our environment, the rampant over-development for our resources, and the quality and quantity of our water and air resources if voters don’t clothes-pin their nose and vote for him.

It is his constant self-serving, I-got-mine-who-cares-about-you and distracting (and expensive) scandals that make, at least this voter, often consider where is the tipping point for when, even with his support of the environmental issues, our county would be better off without him.


Well Said. His political views are generally in line with the majority of voters in his district and they won’t vote for someone who has radically different views. If those who oppose him are smart, they will support someone who is at least moderately environmentally-orientated and moderate on most other issues in the county as well. Otherwise, they will continue to beat their heads against the wall in District 5.


District 2. Debbie Arnold is District 5.


Lynette, there was a time when I held Bruce in high regard specifically related to his involvement wit Los Osos. Unfortunately, that doesn’t trump his lack of moral character regarding his personal life.To me, character is everything.

This latest, most questionable decision to plant more trees in a period of drought raises some serious concerns as to his ability to exercise good judgement.


Fine. They you won’t be voting for him in the next election.

But really, it is his land, he has 5 acres less trees than he started with. Are you trying to tell him how to run his business, or if the ranch sells, how to market his property?

He has a measured allotment from the Whale Rock well and the secondary well has no regulations on it. One piece of anecdotal evidence by a un-named person who doesn’t like Gibson is what this story is based on. Sorry. Paso isn’t Cayucos no matter how hard CCN wants to spin it to be so.


“Oh, you mean like if he would change his politics CalCoast would leave him alone?”


Misdirect. Try again.

His environmental support–at least when he is in the public’s eye–are good.

His hypocritical “sewage politics” approach to application of what he demands from others is what stinks.


His ranch is pretty much out in the open! It’s being listed for sale! So to say this was done not in the public’s eye is riduculous. He has done nothing wrong, but you are trying hard to make a case for that. And it’s not working. You and CCN are so transparently trying to manufacture raw meat for the Gibson haters. Save your sentiments for the ballot box.


That’s another thing.

Having his property up for sale is another indicator of Gibson’s “sewer politics.”

He’s doing a “dump-and-run” deal, where he can take a dump and then leave the rest of us to pay for it later.

This is all about sustainability of resources. We cannot afford to have such a self-serving, unethical political bimbo in office.


Don’t blame the messenger. Blame the person who is being criticized.

If you don’t like to have to constantly wipe up Gibson’s sloppy seconds, then that is your problem.

But it is not the fault of CCN for writing about it.

Lord, Richard Nixon would have LOVED to have had you as a supporter.


We aren;t talking the “some trees from a long time ago”. Who does this type of side-winder crud? Except someone self-indulgent, self serving, greedy etc….I can only assume anyone who votes for him is either accepting special privileges or has no clue what he is up to.


The link explains Gibson’s philosophy on ethical governance


Unfortunately, Gibson, as county supervisor, has the badge he needs to get all kinds of special treatments from county government officials, including county legal consel.

It is the timing of his planting of the trees that is especially galling. It is a slap in the face to the people in Paso Robles, and a true example of Gibson’s “I-got-mine-who-cares-about-you” mindset.


I guess he considers himself privileged. He certainly thought that a marriage contract didn’t apply to him so why would he think that water conservation is any different? Rules are for the rest of us, not him.

LOL, I’m reminded of the SLO CC and their trash cans….. Not quite as serious but the point is made. Do as we say, not as we do.


Oh good grief. Half the people married now have been married before. Are you condemning that huge population too?


Even though only a minority of those on their second (or more) marriage cheated on their spouses to end their first one, I agree that it is not in itself a reason to condemn someone. However, the use of political power to avoid legal repercussions for having a relationship with an employee and excessive generosity with public funds as part of that action is a concern.

It is not just the carryover from his personal life however that makes me think that it is time for Gibson to go. It is the arrogance that he demonstrates whether in dealing impatiently with critics in a public forum or through hypocritical actions like the one mentioned in this article that give me pause. If I were a District 5 voter, I would be looking for a replacement even if it meant voting for one with substantially the same basic political positions.



“…the use of political power to avoid legal repercussions…?” “…excessive generosity with public funds as part of that action…?”

There were no legal repercussions as nothing illegal was done, and those raising the big, continuing stink were the ones causing the use of public funds. Who paid for those hours and hours spent by staff locating e-mails and in the end NOTHING compromising was found? Well, we paid for that, not the person making the endless requests in their personal vendetta against Gibson.

You have no idea what you are talking about in what you call impatient dealings with critics. Gibson removed rude people yelling from the back of the room. He is civil to those same speakers although he has EVERY reason not to be.

There is nothing hypocritical in the actions described in this article either. Clearly Paso and Cayucos have different issues no mater how much you would like to conflate them.

And, BTW, Gibson is in District 2.


aaahh, finally some relief for Jamie Irons from the scrutiny of the masses…

Jorge Estrada

From what I read in this article Mr. Gibson has reduced his originally purchased orchard by 25%. That said, I must be clear that I am not on a Witch Hunt and kudos to Gibson for protecting his entitlements. What I find to be unreasonable is his willingness to champion an attack on the rights of owners elsewhere in our county. Whether it be he or someone else to lead this attack, the responce should be a fierce objection through ajudication. Everything else is gossip, negligency, and a classic example of not putting your money where your mouth is.


You may be unaware that new trees require more watering for several reasons. One is their root systems are new and smaller and absorb less water so require more watering, older trees have larger root systems and so are able better absorb water so less watering is needed.

Or it could be that you simply do not want to ever believe Mr. Gibson can do anything wrong.

Jorge Estrada

The article read that he once had 20 acres of trees and today he now has 15 acres of trees. He planted 500 new trees but there is no refference to the age of the trees he pulled. This is what I have to go on.

As for Mr. Gibson’s willingness to squelch ag in the North County– This article infers that Mr. Gibson has a well that is affected by Whale Rock Reservoir, that which is a party to the San Luis Obispo’s water supply. Is there a conflict of interest by Gibson’s vote to improve to San Luis Obispo’s taking water from the Salinas River, that which may affect Gibson’s specified take from Whale Rock? There is a very real connection, intended or not.


When are you to get off that topic? The Salinas Reservoir is sustainable, it takes nothing from the Paso Robles or any other downstream basin (live stream rules). The water could be used for summer recharge but that wasn’t why it was built 60 years ago. You might want to pay to install the gates and use that water for recharge but you want to pay nothing and continue to build houses and plant vineyards in an unsustainable manner. I can understand you being mad that SLO controlled growth to accommodate 1960’s water supplies while Paso is determined to subsidize developers in the process of becoming West Bakersfield (see police logs).

Jorge Estrada

First the topic of water flows in many directions and the Dam was built 70 years ago, at a time when war money was building dams and sewers and so on, a war time budget that many cities benefited from.

Consider Camp San Luis Obispo, blessed with many year round springs in the adjacent Santa Lucia. This divirsity would more than sufice for the Camp but the City of San Luis Obispo needed water to grow, guess what.

After that war arena, while people were still hiding in the jungles not knowing the war was over, San Luis Obispo had title to the permit for the appropriation Salinas River water.

Now there is Lopez, Naci and Whale Rock to add to their inventory. This will afford much VERTICLE GROWTH for the Incorporated SLO, as for the individual remotely affecting SLO’s hydrology, expect a battle.

Don’t kid yourself thinking that a seven mile lake does not affect the down stream basins. The good news is that San Luis Creek may get upgraded to a River, especially if everyone flushes together.


Gibson is going to out-run Adam Hill for title of “Conflict of Interest Kid” at this rate.


The rights of a few bloated landowners do not surpass the future of our state.

This is an issue of sustainability of our water resources, which will directly impact the survival of our state.


“Do as I say, not as I do…” Typical bully.


Couldn’t locate Gibson’s permit. What a shocker!

Please tell me this man will not retain his seat in the next election. We can do better!


Well, well, well, I’m surprised no Cheri trees were planted.


Some trees were planted a long time ago


Pelican1 and kayaknut are clever. A nice chuckle for some of us.

But don’t let humor lessen the focus to run this bully of an elitist creep out of public office. He’s damaged our county. Oh, to bring back the days of “fault” divorce laws, so Dr. Grace could clean him out and leave him living in a refurbished Airstream in a trailer park.

Many good posts have been made, particularly the one about him ignoring a marriage contract. This scoundrel has courage to hold court at BOS meetings and not resign and skulk off as he should. He is undeserving of the office he holds, and cheapens it with each meeting where he fails to rise, thank the voters, and step down.


Fear not….my method is to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity.

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