Mecham’s abdication cheered, chided

February 6, 2015
Supervisor Bruce Gibson Photo by Daniel Blackburn

Supervisor Bruce Gibson
Photo by Dan Blackburn

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

A bombshell announcement at Tuesday’s county supervisors’ board meeting has two of its members seething, two others grappling with their abrupt elevation to leadership stature, and its former chairman content with his unprecedented action.

First District Supervisor Frank Mecham voluntarily relinquished his chairmanship — won only last month — to fellow board member Debbie Arnold and nominated new supervisor Lynn Compton as vice-chairman. Mecham’s motion passed 3-2, with Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson sharply dissenting.

The following day, Gibson testily confronted Mecham in a county office to voice his wrath.

Mecham downplayed the verbal dust-up while acknowledging that Gibson “said what he was thinking.”

Hill was elected to become vice-chair of the board at a January meeting, but because of a procedural error — no public comment on the election issue was heard by the board — a Brown Act violation was confirmed and the matter was brought back for board consideration.

Gibson would later say he “forgot to take public comment” at the meeting.

That set the stage for Mecham’s emotional explanation of his decision, which he said was the result of weeks of consideration and was an attempt to quell growing dissension on the board — much of it centered around the public behavior of Hill.

“To me, the way to fix [the board’s fractioning] was to get the board out of the situation,” Mecham said Friday.

That didn’t stop Gibson from accusing Mecham of “taking the easy way out,” a comment he made minutes after being hit with the proposal.

Then, in a commentary written for the local daily newspaper, Gibson said of Mecham, “I put him in a position where he needed to exercise some political courage… I guess the pressure eventually got to him.”

That didn’t sit well with Mecham, who said, “I’ve been very disappointed in the actions of those two (Hill and Gibson).”

Mecham said his email has been filled with positive comments from people all over the county “who all thought it was a great thing to do.”

Gibson, in his commentary, wrote that “COLAB, the Tea Party, and miscellaneous activists had mounted a particularly vicious campaign to change Supervisor Mecham’s vote” on Hill’s vice chairman position.

Gibson’s singling out of COLAB, the Coalition of Labor Agriculture and Business of San Luis Obispo Count, nettled the organization’s spokesman, Mike Brown.

“We are not operating behind closed doors, and there is no conspiracy as Mr. Gibson suggests,” Brown said. “We did advocate that Debbie Arnold be named vice-chairman, as she’s never held a leadership spot on the board. She has mastered the issues, done her homework, and is very articulate. She’s done it with elegance and grace in the face of opposition. We sure had no foreknowledge of what Supervisor Mecham was going to do.”

Julie Tacker, a county resident who follows the activities of a variety of local government agencies, raised the issue of the Brown Act violation. She said Mecham’s “selfless decision was a complete shock.”

“When used properly, the Brown Act works,” Tacker said. “In this case, Mecham recognized the error of the previous chair, allowed the public to speak and the board responded. Public comment is intended to shape board decisions, and this time, it did.”

Tacker said Gibson and Hill “marginalize the public’s right to speak.” And she is hopeful that more people will begin to take interest in local government activities.

“I was delighted to see person after person go to the podium, many who had never attended a meeting before,” she said. “Young and old budding activists gives me hope that more people will do what I do.  Watching and participating in government is more interesting than watching any reality show.  You really can’t make this stuff up.”


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catdude

While I applaud Mr Meacham for his selfless act neutering those two arrogant stupidvisors, I fear for our county with these two dim-bulb utra-conservative women in charge, oh wait,I mean Mr Brown and COLAB… Let’s just give the county away to the developers while we are at it…LA north here we come…


Kevin Rice

You obviously forgot, it was CAREN RAY who took hordes of money from best-friend developers, and then said on Dave Congalton’s show, “of course I’d vote on my friends’ projects”.


Julie

So true Kevin.

The Fulks headline last week in the daily paper “Secretive members of COLAB use shrill demagoguery to push land development.” The real DEVELOPMENT on the horizon is all in District 3. San Luis Ranch, Avila Ranch and now Cherry Canyon = 2,700 new homes.

Development dollars clearly backed Ray, they will back Adam should he chose to run in 2016.


kettle

I found the part about:

“When people conceal their identities while spewing malice, while being bullies, they aren’t worthy of respect.”


“a hooded goon namelessly raising a fist, an avatar troll berating people online, or anonymously funded special-interest groups”


“They are cowards. We should pay them no mind.”


And yet the Trib posts another anonymous opinion article that everyone knows was not written by a “editorial board” (not even marked as such)


“We aren’t going to waste time looking back over the history of the rotation.”


“We don’t really care who is chair or vice chair; in the end, each supervisor gets one of five votes.”


Yet they very much care, they endorsed these two, they published, they supported.


It’s shamefull.


Pelican1

A classic move….Checkmate! Well done.


fhill123

Both Gibson and Hill act like despots and have received what they deserve. The lower rung on the ladder.


racket

It’s telling that Gibson is concerned about “partisanship” now that he is the minority party. Where was his concern when his partisanship held three votes?


JB Bronson

Bruce: your comment about “doing the work of the people” should include following established protocols like allowing public comment.


You forgot public comment? BS!


Either you are that much of a shyster expecting us to believe that, or that incompetent, that you disqualify yourself from being taken seriously about anything you have to say.


You and Adam have position; not to be confused with being relevant.


achillesheal

Reminds me of kids fighting in a sandbox. This is truly an embarassment – as are most elected politicians.


Play nice Bruce and Adam or your going to get a spanking.


justbeware

Gibson is showing his ugly side…again.


I watched the BOS meeting.

Gibson said he would work with whoever was chosen as chair,

but then turns around and bashes Mecham.


THIS, Mr. Gibson, and Hill, is EXACTLY why SO MANY

are thrilled with Mr Mecham’s decision to step aside for Ms Arnold.


Never in a million years could we expect Hill or Gibson to do anything

which benefitted the board as a whole.

It’s a me, me, me world for Gibson and Hill,

and more and more voters are fed up with their selfish, egotistical, rude behavior.


Good on you Mr Mecham!


mbactivist1

“Gibson is showing his ugly side…again.” Don’t you mean,”as usual”? This character is the very epitome of sleaze


Myself

I notice in Fridays fireplace starter the OPINION section of the paper again is throwing brickbats at all but gibson and hill and about how this move by Mecham has done no favors for the board,yada yada yada.

I’ve wondered for a long time how is it that this rag for a newspaper runs an opinion page that is so slanted,or has one at all, but I guess thats what we get with todays left leaning.

Also in there is a LOOONG opinion from gibson on how bad this was for everybody and he takes the blame for putting Mecham in this position and that he wasn’t strong enough to take the heat from COLAB and the general public,what an ass.


BeenThereDoneThat

Read that and felt the same way to. Got me thinking about the fact that just this morning while picking up the paper I noticed they keep condensing and condensing the paper and sections. Till last year Fri. Sat. and Sunday where the only papers of size. Now Fri. is small, today’s was small and Sunday is heading there. Pretty soon the paper and the business will be so small it will just blow away. Funny I bet no one will miss it till they go to start their fire.


fishing village

Our County and the work that needs to be done will suffer with this line up on the Board of Supervisors.and Mecham could have held his ground, if is a cryin’ shame.


Kevin Rice

Will, I certainly couldn’t disagree more. The people’s work will gain hugely along with transparency.


Kevin Rice

[Well]


Kevin Rice

Bravo!


hijinks

???!


Kevin Rice

It’s called honest reporting, as opposed to partisan dishonest brickbats.