A reckoning for Councilman John Ashbaugh

October 29, 2014
Councilman John Ashbaugh

Councilman John Ashbaugh


In the aftermath of San Luis Obispo Councilman John Ashbaugh’s public tirade that included violating open meeting laws, San Luis Obispo City staff announced plans to discuss the violations at the Nov. 10 council meeting.

Following months of lobbying by several developers and San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill to override of the airport land use commission, Councilman Dan Carpenter wanted clarification of the issue in open session before making his decision. Ashbaugh then violated the Ralph M. Brown Act by chastising Carpenter for not asking the city attorney questions in a previous closed session meeting.

The Ralph M. Brown Act was enacted in 1953 to insure that deliberations by government officials be conducted openly while permitting public participation. Closed session meetings are only permitted in order to privately discuss threats of legal action, employee discipline, and salary or payment negotiations. It is a violation of the law to discuss closed session negotiations outside of closed session.

Nevertheless, Ashbaugh chastised Carpenter for not having addressed his concerns in an earlier closed session meeting, violating the confidentiality of the closed session.

Ashbaugh’s violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act:

Ashbaugh was pushing for an override of the airport land use commission that would allow for high-density residential development on the south side of town. One of the projects in the area is developer Gary Grossman’s bid to build high-density housing on the property he has in escrow with rancher Ernie Dalido. Grossman has donated large sums of money to supervisors lobbing for the override and several city council members who recently voted in favor of the change.

Both the airport commission and the aeronautical division of CalTrans have hinted at suing the city over the proposed developments because of safety issues. Carpenter questioned how a vote to override the commission could legally impact the city at the public meeting.

Amid Ashbaugh’s tirade, Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson attempted to calm him down, Ashbaugh responded by screaming at Christianson.

Ashbaugh’s outburst at Christianson:

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  1. agag1 says:

    After listening to Mr Ashbaugh on Congalton’s show yesterday, there is one thing for certain…this man simply enjoys listening to the sound of his own voice.

    (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down
  2. brettmx says:

    I got quite a laugh this morning seeing none other than Council Member Ashbaugh and Mr. ,”Off the Rails” himself, Adam Hill having coffee this morning at Black Horse. I guess if you are looking for advice on how to implode and then apologize Supervisor Hill certainly has a lot of experience.

    Council Member Ashbaugh here is a bit of advice. You quite likely are the smartest person in the room when teaching History to college students but as a member of the City Council it would be far better to realize that that might not be the case. Instead of working up your “lesson” you’re going to give after the public has spoken on an agenda item it would be far better for you to listen and maybe even ask a question or two of the speakers. You’d be surprised that the public just might know a lot more about an issue than you do. You’d be well served to stop “teaching” and start listening- even when it’s not what you want to hear.

    (18) 22 Total Votes - 20 up - 2 down
    • October says:

      I remember calling former Mayor Allen Settle years ago to give him my opinion on something, and he proceeded to give me a 5-minute lecture on why my opinion was wrong. I don’t know who makes a worse politician – lawyers or professors.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. SamLouis says:

    Take a step back and look what Ashbaugh did. He knowingly violated the Brown Act. Then he apologized and asked for forgiveness (without displaying any contrition whatsoever) while the Tribune did its best to make him look like the good guy and Carpenter the bad guy. What a load of crap.

    You’re not fooling anyone, Ashbaugh.

    (31) 35 Total Votes - 33 up - 2 down
    • agag1 says:

      The Trib isn’t really fooling anyone either.

      (20) 24 Total Votes - 22 up - 2 down
  4. Cindy says:

    Just got a chance to watch the video. Is it possible that he has developed a biochemical disorder? He is hearing voices in the second video and the way he is acting is clearly off balance. I think he may have a psychosis, he truly appears to be having symptoms.

    (21) 29 Total Votes - 25 up - 4 down
  5. Pelican1 says:

    Is it just me, or most all of our governing officials exhibiting an unprecedented level of frustration and lack of decorum when they are conducting official business?
    Is it the TV cameras? Perhaps the fact that social media has changed the playing field? Or maybe it’s the fact that the public isn’t going to take it anymore…at least without a fight.
    At any rate, it’s sad to see the deterioration of the very institutions that have made this country great.

    (14) 24 Total Votes - 19 up - 5 down
    • SanSimeonSam says:

      Assbaugh is merely trying to push the agenda of his master Grossman. He is not very subtle and clearly unstable. Clearly the puppet strings are strung a bit too tight. Grossman needs to fund a different Lackey.

      (21) 31 Total Votes - 26 up - 5 down
  6. agag1 says:

    OMG, just listen to this man.
    I…I….I…I…I did this, I did that, you could or should have done what I did, blah, blah, blah.

    Good heavens, I feel sorry for you SLO!

    (45) 49 Total Votes - 47 up - 2 down
    • Dexter says:

      nice observation “I did this, I did that, look what I did” He is SLOs version of Tom Omalley

      (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
  7. wineguyjc says:

    Truly, this is all a broken record or a re-run of a re-run. What else is new? Asbaugh is a crook and feels that the rules and laws are for the little people, end of story. However, it is nice to Ashbaugh get his in the press on-line.

    (29) 41 Total Votes - 35 up - 6 down
  8. ironyman2000 says:

    In his early SLO political days, Ashbaugh ran for every office he could think of: Congress,
    County Supervisor…….EVERYthing. His unblinking goal was to get elected to something and
    managed to insinuate himself into photo ops involving actual DemPoliticos. They were
    obviously embarrassed. Ashbaugh would kiss off radio and other interviews because he “had
    to make a couple of calls”. He finally managed to get elected to a city council on the coattails
    of knee-jerk liberals (I am a liberal but not a knee jerk) who got flummoxed.
    Ashbaugh is an immature, shallow fool who is apparently now losing his cool. Sad.

    (31) 43 Total Votes - 37 up - 6 down
    • Dave says:

      Not true. Not even close to being true. John ran for state assembly in 1992 and 1994, losing both times. He then ran for city council, winning and then winning re-election. So his overall win-loss rate is 50%. He never ran for Congress. He never ran for supervisor. No need to make stuff up about the guy.

      (5) 41 Total Votes - 23 up - 18 down
      • agag1 says:

        Yeah, he looks bad enough all on his own, no need to help this fool along!

        (24) 32 Total Votes - 28 up - 4 down
      • Pete says:

        Thanks for the facts, Dave. The down votes show we have some folks here unconcerned with the truth.

        (9) 19 Total Votes - 14 up - 5 down
      • ironyman2000 says:

        You do not know of what you speak dude, I was there and saw it. You are a
        latecomer with a silly partisan loser comfy pillow beneath you.

        (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down

Comments are closed.