Elected officials need civil discourse

April 30, 2015
Debbie Peterson

Debbie Peterson


Disrespect between elected representatives and the public has been a trend statewide.

As a planning commissioner, city council member and the first directly-elected female mayor of Grover Beach, and now as a candidate for District 3 supervisor, this has been a major concern to me.

As leaders we are held to a higher standard. If we do not model best practice, who will? The tone we set is reciprocated in public comment, spills into the community, and sets the standard for our youth.

There are many excellent local examples of public engagement, but citizens still report elected officials who roll their eyes, condescend to colleagues, staff and speakers, make personal attacks and treat any who disagree with their position with contempt, accusing them of partisanship or ignorance.

Community members ask to know their agency contact, where to find the agenda and speaker slips, the order of the meeting, when to speak, and where to see meetings online or on television. They appreciate the board responding to and clarifying their comments. They want to know about commission or volunteer openings. As the link between the board and the district they want to be heard, understood and thanked.

When we seek first to understand we work together better for solutions.

Debbie Peterson is the former Mayor of Grover Beach and a candidate for District 3 Supervisor
in the June 2016 primary



  1. NorthCountyDude says:

    Debbie you brought shit to the city of Grover Beach by trying to stunt growth. No wonder your time as mayor was short. You went against what was best for the educated voters of the city.

    (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
    • choprzrul says:

      This county has reached its carrying capacity as evidenced by our current shortage of water. As such, moving to stunt growth is the purely logical first step.

      Personally, I believe that we need a 10 year building moratorium in SLO county. Re-evaluate water resources after 8 years and decide if another 10 years is warranted. I sure would like to see such a thing on the ballot.

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  2. hijinks2 says:

    The real issue – maybe they should have a soul!

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  3. Ted Slanders says:

    As any true Christian would agree, this total disrespect from a number of our elected government officials showing discourse towards their constituency started when they removed Christian prayer from the schools and government meetings. None of this “moment of silence” crapola, where the public could be praying to another God, or god forbid, not praying at all, but thinking of what they need to pick up at the store on their way home, but Christian prayer aloud to the world’s Savior; Jesus Christ.

    “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

    (-4) 8 Total Votes - 2 up - 6 down
  4. JB Bronson says:

    SanSimeonSam-you were doing great till the ISIS comment.

    Adam Hill, Bruce Gibson, and others now defunct or soon to be, like Tony Ferrara, and some not even elected like Jim App, represent an era of arrogant, power-hungry politicians who set new standards for behaving like a narcisistic fools.

    This will be their legacy. This will not likely dawn on them in their lifetime. It has been a culture in this County for many years.

    Somebody has to shout out a call for change, and this is the beginning.

    (8) 18 Total Votes - 13 up - 5 down
    • Mr. Holly says:

      Don’t forget the self proclaimed “King of Atascadero”, Tom O’Malley, who has declared that he is the only one responsible for anything good for Atascadero. How about the $8 million blunder for the Del Rio roundabouts?

      (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
  5. SanSimeonSam says:

    You have way to high of an opinion of yourself and that of other elected officials. How dare you call yourself leaders. You lack the moral fiber, ethical decency and character required for true leadership. Our county officialdom stands as a beacon of corruption laced with individuals that should be pelted with their own filth and run out of town on a rail. You can say all that you will to get elected and i would vote for you over Adam Hill any day (but then I would vote for ISIS over Hill) but don’t dare call yourself a leader

    (-25) 45 Total Votes - 10 up - 35 down
    • pasodowny says:

      Being a leader calls for taking a stance when others simply go along thinking they are powerless. Debbie Peterson did just that with the SLO County Air Corruption Patrol District. She stood up and said, no, you can’t regulate sand dunes. She said, no, you can’t extort from State Parks and the Oceano Dunes SVRA; you, the APCD, can’t require Parks to obtain a permit to operate the park from the APCD.

      The ignorant and petty, such as Bill Nichols and of course Adam Hill, maligned her and worked actively behind the scenes to oust her because they were uncomfortable with her stance. But as it turns out, the California Court of Appeal just validated what she has been saying–that the APCD can’t require that state parks obtain an APCD permit to operate a state park, which in turn makes the APCD dust rule invalid. The end result is the county and the APCD now are on the hook to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and the dust rule will be thrown to the dust bin. Debbie Peterson saw this for what it is and took a stand. She is unquestionably a leader.

      (11) 19 Total Votes - 15 up - 4 down
    • Mike Byrd says:

      SanSimeonSam, Debbie Peterson has a demonstrable track record of standing up against the kind of politicians you describe. She is learned, thoughtful and fearless when it comes to doing what is right for the people. Though she has taken some lumps from other politicians for her principled stances, ultimately she has been proven right. In my book that’s true leadership of a caliber seldom seen these days. Don’t let your cynicism get in the way of recognizing a true leader when that person, all too rarely, comes along.

      (14) 32 Total Votes - 23 up - 9 down
      • agag1 says:

        Agreed, look at all Debbie has done to bring attention to the Sanitiation District as well.
        And Grover will be driving on some new streets soon thanks to her efforts with the bond measure.

        (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
  6. NorthCountyGuy says:

    Career-politicians (and the union-thugs of the public-sector unions) need to be tossed out of government, soonest.

    Elected officials need to be changed often, like diapers.

    Government employees need to be reminded that they are supposed to be the servants, not the masters, of the people.

    (21) 35 Total Votes - 28 up - 7 down

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