Gibson picks and chooses public comment

May 31, 2014
Julie Tacker

Julie Tacker


San Luis Obispo County District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson has difficulty listening to public comment. It’s been documented time and time again that as chairman of the board he has shortened speaker’s time, when customarily they are allowed three minutes.

In his first term as chairman he went so far as to force Los Osos speakers to share 10 minutes between them when bringing their multimillion dollar concerns to the board. He’s called the sheriff and had speakers removed for things he didn’t want to hear.

As painful as it may be to hear what the public might say, during this election season he’s been predictably tolerant. But at the May 20, county supervisor’s meeting Gibson revealed the ugliest side of his character, topping all other restrictions imposed on public comment before.

The meeting began with the buzz of pomp and circumstance, as countywide education dignitaries gathered in the board chambers. A packed-house of families was there to recognize the county’s best and brightest high school students as they were awarded the 2014 Richard J. Weyhrich Leadership Scholarship. A dozen or more of these deserving kids are moving on to colleges and careers, making us all proud of their efforts and looking forward to their contributions as young adults into the future.

The presentation took nearly an hour, the room emptied and a sea of green Land Conservancy t-shirts replaced them in anticipation for the Pismo Preserve item later in the agenda. Members of the public had waited an hour and a half for public comment for items not on the agenda; sandwiched in-between these important events of the morning.

Gibson, who as chairman sets the agenda, was overheard on a 20-minute break, telling (not asking) the esteemed Jeanne Blackwell, a woman whose photo graces the Women’s Wall of Fame in the lobby of these very chambers, that now her group would have to share just 15 minutes.

Gibson reconvened the meeting and announced that the anti-fracturing speakers “decided” to cut their thirteen speeches to just five (saving 24 minutes) and that combined with the other slips submitted there was approximately 30 minutes of public comment.

Not only did Gibson disregard the fact Blackwell and the majority of her group was made up of Cuesta and Cal Poly college students who had given of their time, made the effort to come to the meeting and had prepared speeches from their hearts. To that point they had sat through an hour and a half of board business and the Weyhrich scholarship presentation. Now it was all-for-not; these youth had been turned away. For some, there was disappointment on their faces; and others, first-timers, were unaware that their basic right to speak had been stripped from them.

Then when the no-brainer, feather in the cap (for both incumbents, Gibson and Supervisor Caren Ray) Pismo Preserve item came before the board, much of the overwhelming support came from some of Nipomo High School’s best and brightest who were allowed to speak for their full three minutes. Underscoring Gibson’s choice of subjects he’d prefer to hear.

Gibson, did ask the board for consensus to direct staff to go on a lengthy goose chase for information and recommendations from the Water Resources Advisory Committee and come back in the future to consider the board’s options related to fracking.

“Dr. Gibson” is a devoted oil man; retired comfortably from his first career doing research in exploration seismology for the oil industry. Many of his personal investments have been in oil company stock. Gibson is the county’s representative on the Independent Peer Review Panel for Diablo Canyon; PG&E’s nuclear power plant and is reimbursed for his travel and lodging expenses by the California Public Utilities Commission who regulates natural gas (among other things) for his “independent” participation.

Gibson’s support for seismic testing, and obsession with a larger oil industry boat in which to perform the environmentally earth damaging process is well documented. Seismic testing has parallel risks to hydraulic fracturing (underground oil well stimulation) that may also trigger earthquakes. This softball direction to staff was for the benefit of the cameras. Do not be fooled, Gibson’s allegiance is to the oil industry, not to the protection of the citizens or the water supplies of this county.

If he had supported Ms. Blackwell’s efforts he would have directed staff to craft or amend the draft ordinance she had presented to vote on the coming weeks. Seasoned activists, including myself, remain incensed that Gibson would go to such great lengths for the photo-op with some of our county’s youth and within minutes dash democracy for another, equally important, group of our county’s best and brightest youth.

It’s easy to blame Gibson as chairman of the board for this inequitable misstep, I do and he should be held accountable. Additional accountability is expected of the other four supervisors; they are Gibson’s equals. Each is elected to serve the public, and obligated to put Gibson in his place in order to see that the public, all of the public, is heard.

Gibson lost my vote a long time ago. Don’t give him yours.

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I’ve read your article and appreciate your observations. This county is facing complex hotly debated issues this year and it is difficult to wait on decisions, but part of this political process is to allow the results to surface and not force it with your own personal comments. I think we can each decide who we want to continue working on these issues on our own, thank you.

Good piece, Tacker. The fracking yes/no issue aside, let me focus on this Gibson’s public malfeasance in office, it freaking breaks my heart that this man squelches public speech in violation of every tenet of good government, the public meeting laws, and established California practice. This action is beneath contempt.

My personal time does not allow me time to be the leader on a crusade to punish and correct the arrogant Gibson on his use of arrogance and law enforcement to curtail public speaking.

Perhaps a public interest law firm could bring suit against him, both personally and in his capacity as an errant, incredibly arrogant tyrannical holder of public office. Evil arrogant freaking @$@#$ ! It disgraces those of us who happen to have years of honest quality (often unpaid) work in elected and appointed office in other jurisdictions.

Geez if this guy wins four more years, I’ll need an airsickness bag. It saddens my heart, Jesus it does. We can all have varying ideas about our county and issues, but NOBODY should let this tyrant back in into office. He ran for the post and must sit until midnight if members of the public line up to speak their three minutes. That’s the job, tyrant. Okay, you washed out your marriage vows but DON’T wash out your public duty vows. Get out of my sight and public office if you can’t stand the heat of public comment.

I stopped reading when this sentence came up:

“Gibson, who as chairman sets the agenda, was overheard on a 20-minute break, telling (not asking) the esteemed Jeanne Blackwell.” OVERHEARD?

You fell down before getting out of the gate. Basing your attack piece on hearsay?! He said, she said? No thanks, save it for your bunco sisters.

Your credibility continues to wane with this type of hyperbole and rehashing of the past with hopes of swaying the undecided voter. Put some teeth into this by getting Ms. Blackwell to support your hearsay…if you can. Otherwise, you’re better served talking about ISSUES and VOTING RECORDS. Ya know…f-a-c-t-s.

Really miles archer? “Put some teeth into this by getting Ms. Blackwell to support your hearsay…if you can.”

Learn to read, read to learn. SHEESH!!

I look forward to your public apology, since you clearly meted out an unwarranted lashing.

You completely ignored my point ajdury. Although I appreciate the link, but it doesn’t let her off the hook.

I owe her an apology for…what? The fact that SHE stated that “someone overheard…”, instead of quoting Ms. Blackwell? Nope.

THAT is hearsay. And that’s my point you effectively dodged.

Learn to comprehend, comprehend to learn. SHEESH!!

I watched Gibson pull Jeanne aside. After public comment I (and other seasoned activists) spoke at length with Jeanne and her kids, explaining that Gibson should not have shortened their time and encouraged them to come again.

I wrote my opinion piece on May 20; after that meeting, I used the phrase “was overheard” because I overheard him. Mr. Salmon had an opinion piece in CCN about Gibson the next day. So I waited to send mine in. I was unaware Jeanne would write her own accounting and had second thoughts about sending my opinion in to CCN after I saw what she had written (which came to me in an email before it was sent to CCN)..

I watched Gibson’s arrogance on May 22 at a Water Board meeting and later that evening at a Los Osos Community Advisory Council meeting and was again compelled to send my opinion piece to CCN.

My accounting of his treatment of Bruce’s treatment of public comment is very different than Jeanne’s. My experience watching his disdain for the public goes back to 2007 when he took office (and Cherie from the Clerks office) to the 4th floor. I even wrote about Gibson and public comment last summer when he took of the chair.

Well, the old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be…..

This isn’t a court of law we are talking about here. It is a public SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting. Public speakers are not sworn in before they give their public comment. Therefore, using the idea that what was overheard is “hearsay” is setting the bar way beyond accepted protocol….just for this one instance.

Much of what is reported by news publications is based on “hearsay.” Yet if it wasn’t for newspaper reporting on what was overheard by reporters and others, the majority of the most devastating major political scandals the American public was forced to endure because of political malfeasance would not have been stopped when it was.

These three really do think they are running an empire, and maybe they are. It seems this is the new American government starting in Washington DC, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo County and certainly with every city in this county.

And, we just continue to vote these socialists, Marxists, adulterous, hash harrier runners, ill-behaved politicians in office. Is it any wonder that politicians have such a low rating and lack of respect and trust in their offices and personal lives.

the new American government starting in Washington DC this is the paranoid style, this is the New American

I don’t like Hill or Gibson any more than you do and I am somewhat distrustful of Ray. However, you need to restrain your impulse to slam them for anything and everything under the sun. Many people don’t consider the “hash harrier runner” thing to be a big deal and I have trouble seeing how it effects Ray’s governing ability or style. Even the more serious adultery accusation with Gibson isn’t necessarily a sign of bad politics — although his handling of it was.

Stick to the issues of what they have done and promise to do in their official capacity. There is plenty of that and going for the unrelated and/or trivial name-calling makes you look like a partisan hack who can’t find enough important stuff to criticize.

QUOTING OTOH: ” Many people don’t consider the “hash harrier runner” thing to be a big deal and I have trouble seeing how it effects Ray’s governing ability or style.”

Just as many people DO view the hash harrier scandal and Ray’s adulterous affairs to be important, perhaps even more view as important the Bruce Gibson nookiegate and risking taxpayer-funded liability for Cherie’s ongoing employment (with Gibson being her one and only “supervisor).

Gibson’s heavy-handed, illegal handling of the public comment portion of the BOS meetings also puts us at risk for taxpayer-funded liability should any of the prejudicial discrimination in which commentators he allows to speak longer than others ends up going to court.

Adam Hill’s nincompoopery and frequent flaunting of regulations regarding conflicts of interest in aiding his own floozyie’s career can also put the taxpayers in jeopardy for paying the legal fees should his behavior be brought to the courts.

Finally, ALL of this slimy behavior of Gibson, Ray and Hill are a reflection of their own integrity (including their integrity in their actions in office). It is not possible to separate such bad behavior in private life from bad behavior in public office.

And don’t forget it was Gibson who, knowing his cronies on the air district board (Marx, Smuckler, and Costello) were on vacation, decided that he and his poncho sidekick, Adam Hill, would be on vacation to, prevent a quorum and avoiding votes on air district board business. He is smart, I’ll give him that. But it is sneaky, controlling, my way or the highway, grudge-holding smart. Never is it let’s do this because it’s good for our county smart. His insincerity is on display when you consider how he used his smarts for big oil and now coddles the sierra club and also aspired to be on the Coastal Commission. Or look at how he pointed the drought finger at north county, fanning distracting flames of blame while his own county dried up. Bruce Gibson is divisive and not good for our county.

Don’t forget that when these two slime balls were playing hookie from that meeting,adam hill was meeting the now newest addition of slime to the BOS at a coffee shop that very same day.

And said Adam Hill met with new slime addition (Ray) when his fiance, slimy Dee Torres, was on the other side of the country and Hill was supposed to be taking care of her sick daughter.

ITA. Gibson has a long history of unethical behavior as county supervisor.

As my mother used to say, “A skunk can’t change his stripes.”

Maybe he has been reading biographies on how to become a dictator or emperor.

The people of the 2nd District made a huge mistake when they didn’t elect Rodger Anderson back in 2006. They passed up a person with impeccable integrity, a willingness to listen to both sides and experience being the best Mayor that Morro Bay ever had. The voters fell for Bruce Gibson’s platitudes hook, line and sinker. They passed up a man who had no future political ambitions except to do what was right for the people in this county. It’s a shame that the 2nd District isn’t represented by someone with the ethics and morality of someone like Rodger. They don’t come along very often.

Yes, Rodger Anderson was an excellent mayor and he was also the one that irons asked to be mentored by, however, irons then decided to ignore all of Mr. Andersons guidance and proceed blindly down the path to Morro Bay’s ruin. Mr. Anderson was Morro Bay’s

best and irons is by far the worst.

Sad that someone like Rodger Anderson and Irons, would be mentioned in the same public comment. Rodger Anderson has class and integrity. It is understandable why someone with zero experience (Jamie Irons) would ask one of Morro Bay’s most well respected Mayors, Rodger Anderson for guidance and mentoring, as Irons knew he was and is in, way over his head. Clearly due to Irons’ ego, perhaps guided by his pal Walter he chose to ignore a past leader, that was highly respected in our community. Such a pity as we the citizens must now pay for Iron’s lack of experience and arrogance via our wallets.

As a footnote, sorry if there are misspellings or my grammar is not up to par, as I am on a boat doing the best I can. At times my phone takes over!.

I totally understand. My kindle keyboard is possessed by Satan.

Julie, your opinion piece convinced me, great piece on nonfactual ruminations. I will definitely vote for Bruce Gibson!

Gibson, Hill and Ray what a group to draw to. The three of them lost my vote long ago too.