Did Gibson purposely doctor the agenda?

January 13, 2015
Bruce Gibson

Bruce Gibson


San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson’s last act as chairman of the board of supervisors was to shut down public comment and board discussion over Supervisor Adam Hill’s appointment to vice chair in violation of the Brown Act.

The Jan. 5 agenda, the last agenda created with Gibson as board chairman, did not include the usual public comment period as required by law. Even though multiple speakers were prepared to argue against Hill’s appointment and Supervisor Frank Mecham had already been voted in as chair, Gibson continued to lead the meeting and ordered Supervisor Debbie Arnold not to challenge his decision.

In 2016, Arnold and Hill will be running for reelection. Because of Gibson’s action, Hill will have the advantage of serving as chairman.

Gibson’s insistence that the board follow a disputed rotation allows Hill to serve twice in eight years while Arnold will not serve as chairman during her first four-year term.

Noting Gibson’s Brown Act violation, local activist Julie Tacker sent a cease and desist to the county detailing the failure to allow public comment and the absence of speaker slips in the county chambers during the Jan. 5 meeting.

County Counsel Rita Neal responded in a letter to Tacker saying the county would promise not to repeat the violation and that the board would open public comment on the item at the Jan. 13 meeting.

In addition, if a member of the board asks to agendize the appointment of Hill as vice chair in response to Tuesday’s public comment, Hill could lose his vice chair position.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The County website that archives the minutes back to mid-year 2006 was worth a look today. So, not looking at any of the videos to see what happened, the 9 agendas for the swearing in of new board that were available, only 3 of them had public comment attached to that item, 6 did not. Was there a huge outcry for those 6 too, or was this year different for some reason?

F&B you are mistaken, all BUT the Jan. 5, 2015 agenda had the language on the agenda describing how the public can speak to any item. With regard to people actually commenting the reorganizations, you’re correct, seldom (if any) did.

Remembering the Jan. 23, 2013 Air Pollution Control District meeting and the sentiment for Adam Hill at that time, leads me to believe that the public would have spoken against this Jan. 5 nomination had they had the chance — they got that chance on the 13th. They took it and convinced 3 of the 5 to agendize a re-vote.

That’s democracy in action!

Hill and Gibson were as nasty as could be suggesting a re-vote wasted the public’s time and those who spoke were “frequent commenters” and the “same faces”. Marginalizing the voter only makes it worse. These two are so disrespectful to the public. Both doinked around o their iPad’s and seldom looked at the speakers who eloquently made their case for a re-vote.

If the vote turns out the same, so be it. But, at least the public will be able to say their piece in an attempt to shape the decision.

Just wondering why someone doesn’t call these people out when they pull that kind of stuff,those public servents work for us.

Uh, Julie Tacker did call them out. And thanks to Julie and Frank Mecham, a lot of people got to speak yesterday who were previously shut out.

I was talking about those two clowns playing with their pods.

I can see clearly that Julie called them on their misdeeds.


Oh, I see what you mean, the boilerplate was missing off the agenda on January 5, 2015.

Was the 2013 APCD meeting the thing that made public comment so important to the speakers on this issue yesterday, that they couldn’t address that issue publicly before election of the Chair and Vice Chair? Or was it wanting to speak to wanting Ms. Arnold to be the Vice Chair? Or the missing boilerplate on that agenda?

(“All persons desiring to speak on any Board item, including the Consent agenda, Closed Session or during the general public comment period are asked to fill out a “Board Appearance Request Form” and submit to the Clerk of the Board prior to the start of the Board item. Each individual speaker is limited to a MAXIMUM of three (3) minutes.”)

Here is why I bring this up: I just now looked back on the video of the Jan. 7, 2014 meeting. (Yes, the boilerplate WAS on the agenda.) First there was the Election (Gibson was elected Chair, Mecham, Vice Chair, and NO Public Comment was offered. Ms. Arnold refused to vote). Then the next agenda item was the Consent Calendar, and PC WAS offered on Consent. You in fact, were the FIRST speaker on Consent, directly AFTER the Election, but there was no comment from you complaining about there being NO Public Comment offered on the Election. Why not? Why did you not make your objection then in 2014?

* Sometimes the PC happened BEFORE the swearing in ceremony, like on this agenda link below (years 2013, 2011, 2009). There hasn’t been consistency on how this was done:


I had no intention of speaking to the reorganization in 2014. If I, or anyone else, had put in a slip…as is customary…they would have been called to come to the podium.

In my experience (having attended literally hundreds of meetings) I have only spoken a few times to the organization of a Board. Generally speaking I’m OK with the choices or when I have something to say it’s about what kind of chair I’d like to see lead the agency.

Monday, Jan. 5 was awkward in that no slips were in the room and the agenda failed to have the boilerplate policy describing how one could participate. There were very many people there who probably had never been to a board meeting and wouldn’t have had a clue what to do to be able to speak). The Brown Act requires certain things be on an agenda and some of it just wasn’t on there. Eric Greening even suggested the agenda wasn’t posted in the customary location in the glass box outside the building.

Some things went terribly wrong with that agenda and how that meeting was run. Only Bruce Gibson knows if it was a series of unfortunate missteps or if was all by design. I’m just glad that Frank is willing to fix the whole mess.

oh, btw, F&B,

You’re pointing out “Public Comment” as it’s own item on the agenda, that’s for items not on the agenda. Generally “Public Comment” has it’s own number. That’s not what was necessarily missing Jan. 5. Special Meetings do not require PC for items not on the agenda, but they PC is required for any item on the agenda. The public has the right to speak during the consideration of ANY item. So, all one has to do at the BOS is put the number of the item that you’d like to speak to on the speaker slip and you will be called — these directions were not on this Jan. 5 agenda. Again, as a seasoned participant, the whole thing was weird.

Thanks for the clarifications. This was odd for sure, as is the fact that some years the agenda had a specific PC for the swearing in/election part and some didn’t. I hope that it is fixed in the future.

Gibson is such a walking, talking, pathetic doosh. He doesn’t miss a chance to screw-over county citizens.

I can’t figure out why the people in his district continue to re-elect him.

Smile4thecamera – humor us. What do you mean you can’t figure it out! Mr. Gibson has all of his ducks in a row. Most recently, every County employee was bribed with a $1,000 UNEARNED year-end bonus with the full realization Gibson will garner their votes when he’s up for reelection. Since SLO County has an over-population of County employees and they are registered to vote, contest is over before it has even started. Slam dunk. King Gibson continues his reign on the Board of Supervisors.

Neither can I. Same as we have our useless mayor and majority council in Morro Bay.They are all Gibson, Hill, and the ousted Tony Ferrara supporters. There is much more THC levels in pot these days. Might have something to do with it.