Hill ousted; Arnold, Compton take leadership

February 3, 2015
Supervisor Debbie Arnold

Supervisor Debbie Arnold


Amid allegations of sexism and a good old boys’ club, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Frank Mecham stepped down as board chairman in order to promote Supervisor Debbie Arnold to chair and Supervisor Lynn Compton to vice chair.

The move slates Compton to become board chairman in 2016. Hill previously was in position to claim the chairmanship next year.

Prior to making the restructuring recommendation, Mecham disputed allegations of sexism and a good old boy’s club. He said his proposal would restore an order to the rotation of chairmanships since Arnold represents district 5 and Compton serves district 4.

“I know how to fix this,” Mecham said before nominating Arnold and Compton. “I am fully ready to step down as chairman of the board.”

About 100 members of the public attended the afternoon hearing, many of whom spoke during public comment and applauded Mecham for his move. They also held signs in the audience supporting Arnold.

After public comment, the board voted 3-2, with Gibson and Hill dissenting, to move Arnold into the chairmanship and Compton into the vice chair position.

In addition to placing women in leadership roles, the restructuring of the board may shift power in the county away from liberals and into the hands of conservatives. Both Arnold and Compton are conservative Republicans, while Gibson and Hill are liberal Democrats.

Mecham is a Republican, but he has often sided with Gibson and Hill on key votes. Recently, some constituents criticized Mecham for his cooperation with Gibson and Hill.

On Jan. 5, Gibson presided over the final meeting of his most recent chairmanship. During the meeting, the board unanimously elected Mecham as chair. With Arnold dissenting, Hill, Gibson, Mecham and Compton voted to make Hill vice-chair, but the board violated California’s open meeting law amid the reorganization.

Prior to the reorganization vote, Gibson did not allow public comment, as required by the Ralph M. Brown Act. Additionally, the meeting agenda did not include public comment, and speaker slips were not available in the board chambers.

Gibson admitted responsibility for the error at a board meeting the following week. But, members of the public suggested that Gibson purposely eliminated public comment in order to place Hill in the vice-chair position without opposition.

The board then voted 3-2, with Gibson and Hill dissenting, to conduct the reorganization process a second time. Mecham said he voted in favor of a redo because he wanted to set a tone of inclusion and transparency.

On Tuesday, Gibson and Hill said respectively that they took offense and were insulted by allegations of gender bias.

“What we’re seeing here is partisanship, not gender bias,” Hill said.

From 2009 to 2012, Gibson and Hill aligned themselves with former Supervisor Jim Patterson to form a board majority. For much of the past two years, they worked with Caren Ray, whom Compton replaced in January.

Compton offered a second to Mecham’s restructuring motion Tuesday. Arnold said it was a tremendous honor to be nominated board chair.



Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

It will be sadly obvious that we will have confoosing subervisors meetings, Bruce Gibson has kept them understandable, on track, and business gets done. I’ll be watching to see how Chair Arnold can keep it all together….it may be a long year of meetings. The staff will have to help out.

Supervisor Arnold understood this:

Gibson trying to pull a fast one with regards to the water issue not being on the agenda Tues.

Way to go Debbie!

First Brown Act violation a “mistake”, second attempt, what Bruce? Another mistake?

The best part about Debbie being chair is that we now have no water problem. It will all be relegated to myth.

Well, you’re wrong. Now it will be handled in the open instead of steamrolled in the back room.

Exactly Kevin, but as you can see, many like the under the table back room deals of the good old boy network! It’s funny to watch the Left’s War on Woman!

Rich in MB–

“The Lefts war on women”? Who would you think is going to be the Democratic Party candidate for President?

Which party is attempting to tell a woman what she can and can’t do with ;her own body?

There are great and intelligent women everywhere. Many of them are on the “left” Unfortunately “intelligent” does not describe the current women on the BOS

Is this because only Dems do backroom deals, Kev? I seem to remember Dr. Ron Paul getting steamrolled by the Republican Party at and before the GOP Convention of 2012. His delegates were ignored or made “illegal” at the last minute by the Republican Good Ol’ Boys. Republicans are just as capable of lack of transparency and dirty backroom deals as are Dems. May I reference one of your supposed evil doers who is a Republican and was the former Mayor of AG.

I’m sorry, but we will still need YOURS and others’ watchful eye on the dirty business of water in North County. And as Obispan suggests, please try sticking to the facts. A lot less NC people will be thirsty that way.

QUOTING JUST DUCKY: “Is this because only Dems do backroom deals, Kev?”


If you are so biased and/or naive, your posts are not worth much.

Celeste, If that was meant to be a defense of your buddy Kevin I’m afraid it needs a bit more explanation:)) And by the way, (NO) thanks for the slap in the face. I’ll have to remember your graciousness.

Ah, how quickly we forget. Debbie said that there was no water issue. It was created by her opponent(s) to control growth. There was no overdraft, just a few dry years that would even out over the long run and everything would be back to normal. Wells go dry, that’s a fact, sometimes you have to drill a new and deeper well. The County did not keep, therefore did not have, statistics to show an overdraft. All during her race against Patterson and I heard her say these things repeatedly on KPRL and KVEC. The Paso Basin is millions of years old and has little recharge. Just like Vegas. BTW, some very smart Australians bought the rights to the massive one-shot deal Mojave Basin created when the Mojave desert was a rainforest. It was not long ago thought to be unneeded and too far from potential customers. At least the water brokers understand that it is a finite resource. The Tea Party does not.

Obsidian…don’t blame the Tea Party for all stupid thinking. They actually have done some good things.

So the deals with the Resnicks will now be out in the open? I’d like to think that you are naive but I know better. You are not naive, nor are Debbie and Lynn’s money-men.

I can hear it now ….. The people will be crying for water, and Arnold and Compton will say, “Let them drink wine !”.

Compton; “I only know of anecdotal stories of any wells going dry.”

Try looking in your own neighborhood–I can count a dozen within a half-mile of your house.

Debbie is Chair, and Lynn is Vice Chair. There is now no water problem. And those dry well properties near Debbie Jr’s house; “well” they’ll be up for sale at bargain prices!

Dumb and Dumber

Oh, but did those who voted for her realize that? Duh…NO!

1 3 4 5