John Ashbaugh apologizes for lashing out, again
March 6, 2016
In response to concerns by several San Luis Obispo residents about demands new development could have on the city’s dwindling water supply and overtaxed infrastructure, Councilman John Ashbaugh lashed out at his constituents.
On March 2, Bob Shanbrom emailed city council members and management staff asking why his “months-longstanding questions on water issues” had not been answered. Specifically, Shanbrom wanted to know what data city staff had relied on when calculating the city’s water supply and why the city was not spending more time on the issue.
“I am a citizen of this city and I have a right to know about my water supply,” Shanbrom wrote. “I am profoundly disappointed in a council that will agendize utility box decoration but that refuses to agendize the water issue and that seems so incurious about this most-critical question. Frankly, this has a bad odor about it.”
Ashbaugh responded to the email by Shanbrom and another by Allan Cooper claiming their concerns were foolish and delusional.
“Please know that Bob Shanbrom has spoken out -foolishly, i.m.h.o. – against the City’s request for our proportional allocation of the unallocated water in Nacimiento,” Asbaugh responded on March 4. “By her statements at the WRAC 9m Wednesday, Christine Mulholland seems to agree with Bob in this misperception that there’s no “wet water” in Naci to be allocated. Christine, Mila, Richard Schmidt, Allan Cooper, and now even Stephen Hanson are all allied in trying to deny the reality of our new general plan.
“Treat them with respect, of course, but realize too that they are going to distort any data given by staff for their own purposes, especially in the upcoming election.”
On Saturday, Ashbaugh apologized for his statements.
“For all those who are receiving this email, I regret the choice of words that were used in my pre-dawn message to our staff earlier today,” Ashbaugh wrote. “It’s my fervent hope that a productive dialogue can occur, and that all parties feel that their questions are answered fully and accurately. For that to happen, all of us need to listen as well as contribute constructively to the dialogue that shapes our response to this drought.”
Mila Vujovich-LaBarre accepted Ashbaugh’s apology while reiterating concerns about the council’s vote to approve land use changes without properly vetting concerns for public resources and safety.
“I will not go into a long-winded discussion of how the approved San Luis Obispo City Land Use Circulation Element (LUCE) showed little regard for transportation, water availability and airport safety,” Vujovich-LaBarre wrote. “What I will say is that I appreciate Councilman Ashbaugh’s recent apology to Bob Lucas, Allan Cooper, Bob Shanbrom, Steve Hansen, Dr. Brodie and me. We do have a water crisis in the City of San Luis Obispo.”
In 2014, Ashbaugh also apologized for his angry tirade against council members Dan Carpenter and Kathy Smith who voted against the override of the airport land use element. After Smith left the council, the override passed by a 4-1 vote with Carpenter decenting.