Do what is right for Arroyo Grande

October 31, 2015
Arroyo Grande City Council

Arroyo Grande City Council — Barbara Harmon, Tim Brown, Jim Hill, Kristen Barneich and Jim Guthrie.



I am coming late to this party, but I am ready to “stick my head above the trench” on the present ridiculous Arroyo Grande Council members Kristen Barneich, Barbara Harmon issue regarding Mack. Why?

First, some background:

Barneich endorsed the  high density East Cherry project — joining the endorsement of projects concept with Councilman Guthrie — in July 2014.

In the summer of 2014, Randy Russom, the lead architect on the project, pitched a proposal to the AG City Council. Russom at the time was an AG planning commissioner while his significant other, Caren Ray, was getting large political donations from the project’s developer.

This Council action was prejudicial in endorsing the scope of the project before it was ever heard by the Arroyo Grande Planning Commission. But a serious conflict issue existed.

Barneich and Guthrie ignored Russom’s conflict  introducing the project while as an employee of the consulting firm working on the project.

Barneich and Guthrie do not have “clean hands” on conflict issues.

Besides all this — legally, executive authority for the city only resides only with the council. How can there be conflict when no executive authority exists?

John Mack always disclosed his closeness and interest with the project — and his expertise was important in its assessment.

Is Nick Tompkins a darling of Barneich, Harmon and Guthrie? How much has he and other developers contributed to their election campaigns?

The issue is not being friendly to developers. The issue is doing the right thing for the City. And this issue is being mangled!

Something stinks here — and it isn’t Mack who I do not know and have never met.

LeeAnn’s article has a lot of meaning for me.

Otis Page is a citizen of Arroyo Grande.

Find out what your neighbors think, like CalCoastNews on Facebook.


What I think is so crazy is the council is wasting time on THIS issue when there are more important things they should be worrying about.


Will someone please explain why Lenny Jones (who has been sitting in jail for 10 months with NO bail) is still AG’s citizen of the year, yet our city council may vote to remove Mr Mack as a commissioner even though the FPPC has decided he’s done nothing wrong???

I realize the council can not strip Lenny Jones of his title, that is up to the chamber, but what does this say about how OUT OF CONTROL CRAZY the council is to consider removing Mr. Mack?

Mack was one vote, he was not the deciding factor.

NKT was perfectly comfortable asking for his project to be denied by planning, he knew he’d secured the votes. I don’t recall that Guthrie has ever voted against one of his projects.


Correction: Mr Jones has only been in jail 6 1/2 months with NO bail, not 10.


Commissioners are volunteers.

Applicants have the right to appeal any commission decision to the Council.

NKT was not interested in working with the Planning Commission.

He knew he would get his wishes granted by Barniech, Guthrie and Harmon.


To determine whether an official has a conflict of interest many factors must be analyzed. For example, is it reasonably foreseeable that the official’s interest will be affected by a particular decision?

Mack’s home is 1,000 feet from the Courtland Project (customarily 500 feet is the rule for disqualification from a vote). Mack quit claimed the property to his partner; insuring there was no conflict. The General Plan and Specific Plan amendments made for the project to “fit” in the city were specific to the 4 acre Tompkins parcel and do not apply to Mr. Mack’s (former) home. No conflict.

Will the decision have a significant monetary impact on the financial interest or is the impact minimal?

Mack’s benefit/detriment from the project is immeasurable. No conflict.

Will the decision affect the official’s interest differently than members of the general public? Mack’s benefit/detriment differs none from the impact to his neighbors. No conflict.

Is the official even making a governmental decision?

Mack serves on the Arroyo Grande Planning Commission; which is advisory only. The City of Arroyo Grande’s Advisory Body Duties & Responsibilities are as stated below:

“Advisory bodies have the authority and duty to consider, advise, and/or recommend to the City Council or city manager regarding its area of interest. These recommendations may encompass, but are not limited to, programming of improvements, land acquisition, development or ordinances, and development of public interest. The advisory body shall have other authorities and duties as the City Council may, by ordinance, confer upon it.”

Mack’s vote (unanimously with this fellow commissioners) to deny the Courtland Project, at the request of Mr. Tompkins, was not a “governmental decision”. No conflict.

The effort to remove Mack from the Planning Commission from this fabricated “conflict” is a modern day witch hunt (Happy Halloween) and a royal waste of the council’s time.


The Planning Commission terms are up on January 31, 2016…really, just weeks away. What’s the rush in removing Mack, he’s already been exonerated by the Fair Political Practices Commission.


Council meeting is Nov 10 at 6PM, city council chambers.


thumbs downers discouraging participation?



Because they like the corruption just the way it is.


Otis, thank you for your comments regarding this issue, so many people are asleep, me included regarding Their City and it took you and LeeAnn to bring to our attention what is going on. I support Mr. Mack staying right where he is as he is a very important non paid person to the commission. I am not surprised by Barneick or Guthrie but I am by Harmon as this goes against what she campaigned on…No Special Interest.I guess that it is time to go back to the city council meetings to hear for myself what our council members are agreeing to and to hold them accountable to their campaign promises.Let all the light on every decision made in chambers come forth, no back room deals we will not stand for it in THIS city.