Mayor Debbie Peterson elected as Coastal Commission nominee

January 9, 2014
Debbie Peterson

Debbie Peterson

The San Luis Obispo County City Selection Committee elected Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson on Jan. 3 as its nominee for an open seat on the California Coastal Commission.

Less than two weeks after the Grover Beach Council removed Peterson from the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District, the county committee voted 6-1 in support of Peterson. San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx voted against Peterson saying the committee needed time to inform more applicants.

In the past, Peterson questioned the science used to promote the controversial APCD dust rule. If implemented, the dust rule would fine the California Department of Parks and Recreation $1,000 a day if it does not reduce the amount of dust blowing onto the Nipomo Mesa.

On Monday, the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club voiced their disapproval of Peterson’s nomination for the Coastal Commission seat claiming she is a “servant of the off-road vehicle lobby.”

Ventura City Councilman Brian Brennan vacated his Coastal Commission position as the South Central Coast representative, which includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Gov. Jerry Brown will appoint Brennan’s replacement.

Each county submits two nominees for the coveted position, one selected by its board of supervisors and the other by its city selection committee which is comprised of local mayors. The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors plans to select its nominee on Jan. 14.


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Here’s MY understanding of the truth. I think these items should be given serious consideration before a person like Debbie Peterson is appointed to the CC.

(Mayor Peterson, please feel free to respond in some public manner that everyone will have access to….)

– Mayor Peterson lobbied hard to remove Bill Nichols from the S.S.L.O.C.S.D. Board of Directors.

– Mayor Peterson was appointed to the SanDist Board of Directors and presented a 30+ bullet point document at a San Dist Board Meeting that clearly pointed out significant abuse of power and mismanagment of Public Funds by former District Administrator John Wallace.

– This document has never been made available to the public.

– Many requests were made at San Dist Board meetings by members of the public for a “Forensic Audit” of all charges incurred by any service provided by John Wallace, or his privately owned engineering firm, The Wallace Group.

– Mayor Peterson stonewalled every attempt to have former District Administrator John Wallace held accountable for any of his actions as District Administrator of the SanDist.

– Mayor Peterson approved a $10,000+ invoice from the Wallace Group to “return District owned property” that John Wallace had illegally removed from the Sanitation District offices……..after he had been fired as being the Dist Admin.

– Didn’t this same kind of thing happen in the City of Bell?

Mayor Peterson, I’m sure we’d all love to hear any type of public response you might want to make on these facts.

You make no sense.

If Peterson presented a “30+ bullet point presentation document” at a board meeting, then it was made public.

You finish with a reference to the City of Bell–appropriate if you are discussing the BOS I suppose, but not Grover Beach.

Sounds like you have an ax to grind, a very dull one at that if you are a supporter of Bill Nichols.


– Bill Nicolls is a good ol’ boy who let Wallace run wild.

– The Mayor didn’t need to lobby one bit, or be appointed. The Mayor sits on SSLOCSD by rule of bylaw unless she appoints someone else.

– I was at the meeting and the 30+ bullet point document was handed out to the public.

– I have a copy of the 30+ bullet point document and video of that meeting.




What is wrong with you? How can you have your facts so 100% backwards???

Because of Mayor Peterson’s actions on SSLOCSD, Wallace is gone and the district is operating in the black for the first time in two decades. Peterson pushed for a forensic audit again and again and was constantly outvoted by Guerrero and Ferrara, and undermined by staff and district counsel.


If you like the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, thank the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club. They made it happen.

location location location

it would have been assembled in the nipomo dunes otherwise,

Santa Maria would be stuck with all the siren tests lol

I’m glad you didn’t deny it.

Yes, the nuclear plant would have been in the dunes–dunes with lots of oil development as well as rail traffic and the beloved Conoco/Phillips 66 refinery, not to mention all of them OHVer’s.

Instead, those lovely nuclear domes are on the pristine Montana de Oro coastline. Thank you Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club for making that happen!

Aint irony grand?

I don’t know why anyone would give credence to this group.

well meaning smart people citizens (misdirected by the coal industry) should be very carefull when picking their fights with the likes of pge and complicit federal agencies .

Smart? How about naive and inept?

This is a common misconception. It was actually the Diablo Canyon siting for a nuclear power plant that largely made the Santa Lucia Chapter happen. The Santa Lucia Chapter came into being in 1968 after the Los Padres Chapter of Santa Barbara offered up this site to the National Sierra Club, which approved it. The San Luis Obispo faction of the then Los Padres Chapter was so opposed to this that they broke off and formed their own Chapter, the Santa Lucia Chapter. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of Sierra Club policy and decisions, but the Santa Lucia Chapter is not to blame for this one.

Oh, is that all. You just made a great argument for disregarding Sierra Club positions in general. And I’m still not buying it. The Santa Lucia chapter was in the thick of it.

Jan Marx. What a classic.

Why would you want “more applicants” who have no idea about the position? Oh, I know. You would rather have someone who is ignorant and malleable on the Commission, and not someone who has a strong record of coastal access advocacy (aka, Mayor Peterson).

BTW: That Adam Hill pendant looks just stunning on you Jan.

By how I live, the carbon foot print I generate, my landuses, the creatures I protect and acknowledgement for the good things about the Sierra Club, yes I am an enviromentalist.

That certainly does not mean that I support all of the Sierra Club’s formal statements and no one should. For this reason I can support Debbie Peterson, my beleif is that she is a real vote for objectivity, not a familiar note copied from some crony’s desk.


QUOTING JOSE ESTRADA: “…she is a real vote for objectivity, not a familiar note copied from some crony’s desk.



I understand your opinion, but on this we disagree.

I used to be a member of the Sierra Club (and WWF), but they lost me in their dishonesty when they just aligned with leftist ideology over real conservatism (nature conservatism is real conservatism).

I don’t mind ideological organizations (I belong to both the NRA and ACLU – they are honest about who they are); Sierra Club, like the Republican and Democrat parties, was hijacked years ago and decimated (as both political parties have been).

Basically, if the Sierra Club is AGAINST it, I am for it. Not always, but that’s the general rule of thumb. They burned a lot of trust in the past.

Honestly, who cares what the Sierra Club thinks. Debbie is quickly learning how to beat these anti-everything folks at their own game. Moonbeam had better appoint her.

For as much as I think the Coastal Commission is one of the many unneeded bodies that just adds to the bloated bureaucracies that is California, and should be dissolved, in part to reduce costs, it seems our elected officials have no desire to do that and that we are forced to have it, so someone the Sierra Club disapproves of is likely the best choice.

Yes. It would be so much better if public access to our beaches was restricted by private development, and that toxic runoff were encouraged to rid the waters of loud marine mammals.And who doesn’t like a beach that is covered with broken bottles, cigarette butts, oil stains and hypodermic needles? Enough with the “Coastal Cleanup,” I say!

Why, if not for that socialist Coastal Commission, Highway 1 could have been a superhighway by now, enabling thousands to view glimpses of the ocean between private homes and highrises at a brisk 65 mph. All of those boggy wetlands could be filled. No more dirty steelhead and salmon clogging our streams. Off-road enthusiasts could bang around on the dunes at EVERY beach, and all those families and sunbathers would be wise to just shut up and get out of the way. Goodbye, little birdies and fishies. Buh-bye, sea otters and plovers and rockfish and grasses.

Hello, Haiti.

Sorry, Kevin, this is the very sort of “Coastal Commission can do no wrong” attitude that has turned so many people against this agency. It has far overstepped its original intent and has become nothing but a hardcore bigoted agency that treats a homeowner who needs to make repairs or add on a room as though he were a multi-million $$ corporation seeking to develop a 500+ room hotel and pave over every inch of beachfront. Enough already! No one wants to see wall to wall housing and commercialism along the coast, but common sense and perspective are sorely lacking in this agency.

I think Debbie will bring this sort of common sense perspective to the body if she gets a seat on it. And no, I do not have any property in the coastal zone.

Well said!

I think Debbie is a tool to be used by groups who have an agenda.

I also think this SLO county nomination is a buy-off to shut her up. She is against the very things the Coast Commission is charged to promote. She is an inappropriate selection, IMO.

You really don’t know what you’re talking about.

The Grover Beach events over the last few months demonstrate that the Mayor is very much an independent thinker and doer. Some may say too much so, and that is their right. But you speak from ignorance. The mayor is nobody’s fool.

I don’t think Kevin is espousing “…the very sort of ‘Coastal Commission can do no wrong’ attitude…

I read Kevin as saying that the Coastal Commission has greatly contributed to protecting our coastal environment. No where does he indicate he is in lock-step agreement with everything the CC does.

When are you leaving?

That’s a rather exaggerated response. Sadly, the original intent of the Coastal Act is often lost in translation. The Coastal Commission has the obligation to work with local public agencies to ensure compliance with the Coastal Act An assumed dissenting view does not render the commission incapable of doing their job.

It’s like the ADA – one of the worst things to pass (signed into law by Bush 1). Great idea, sounded nice, everyone felt really good about how awesome and tolerant they were, etc. etc.

However, the reality of it sucks for most everyone involved. Bad ideas wrapped in political correctness to feel good. A lot of that going on lately.

Guess you don’t expect to need to get around in a wheelchair anytime soon. When and if you do, I’m sure you’ll come to appreciate what a ½” maximum threshold, or a 6% maximum slope actually mean.

We’ve created a world that’s challenging for many to navigate. Not out of spite, but because we just didn’t think to consider them. The fact that there’s law determining the design of public and accessible spaces & buildings, even though it brings considerable expense, should be something we can be proud of, as it reflects compassion and consideration for those in our society who have largely been invisible.

As for the cost of ADA-required upgrades to existing businesses, I’d very much support no-or-low-interest loans to cover those costs.