Rail spur opponents take aim at Peschong

September 27, 2016
John Peschong

John Peschong

Ahead of a San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission vote on the proposed Nipomo rail spur, opponents of the oil train project are attempting to seize on the fact that District 1 supervisorial candidate John Peschong has a business relationship with energy company Phillips 66.

Peschong has already disclosed multiple times that his political consulting firm Meridian Pacific received money from the oil company. Several months ago, Peschong stated publicly that, if elected, he would recuse himself from a vote on the project.

Additionally, California conflict of interest regulations would preclude Peschong from voting on the proposed rail spur.

Nonetheless, on Saturday, the Los Angeles Times published a commentary opposing the rail spur project, which stated Meridian Pacific received $262,000 from Phillips 66 in 2015. The LA Times published the information about Meridian Pacific after receiving a tip from local environmental activists and before giving Peschong a chance to respond.

The article described the District 1 seat as the “wild card” in an upcoming board of supervisors vote on the rail spur project. The LA Tines did not state in the article that Peschong has said he would not be voting on the matter or that both candidates for office have said previously that they support the rail spur project.

Nevertleless, Peschong’s opponent in the District 1 race, Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin, is now considering a change in position. In the District 1 primary race, Peschong received 45.52 percent of the vote and Martin garnered 35.02 percent.

The county planning commission may vote on the rail spur project at its Oct. 5 meeting. Following the planning commission vote, the project is expected to be appealed to the board of supervisors.


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20 Comments

  1. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    Let’s see: John Peshong’s company got money from the Phillips 66. He has disclosed this multiple times. He has said he would recuse himself on the vote on the rail spur because of this.

    What is the problem? Sounds to me like he is being honest and doing the right thing by the law.

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  2. SLOBIRD says:

    John Peschong is a businessman, John Peschong is a consultant. John Peschong had a job in 2015 BEFORE he announced his candidacy. Why is no questioning John Shoals, Mayor of Grover Beach and Jim Hill, Mayor of Arroyo Grande as they are employees of PG E at Diablo?

    Then, we have Steve Martin, owner of S.W. Martin & Associates, has the backing of the SLO County Democratic Party, Democratic political strategist Cory Black and several unions. Black’s company, Public Policy Solutions, contributed $2,500 to Martin’s campaign.

    A little more about Cory Black:
    He has worked for every major Democratic Presidential Campaign since 1992 including Bill Clinton for President, Clinton Gore 92, Gore 2000, Gore Lieberman, Howard Dean for President, John Edwards for President, Kerry Edwards 2004, Hillary Clinton for President, Barak Obama for President and Obama Biden 2008.

    Cory is a member of the California Democratic party Executive Board, member of the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee Executive Committee, Chair of the 33rd Assembly district Democratic Committee, member of the American Association of Political Consultants, the American Political Scientist Association and the Sacramento Press Club.

    The LA Times published the information about Meridian Pacific after receiving a tip from local environmental activists and before giving Peschong a chance to respond. Anyone want to know where this TIP came from. Really!

    Steve Martin is corrupt before even getting into office. Our future Adam Hill = Please, not the North County!

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  3. Ted Slanders says:

    Rail spur opponents, a question to you: if you’re that concerned about the rail safety in San Luis Obispo County, then why aren’t you addressing the following types of dangerous rail tank cars that occasionally go through our area as well?!

    Anhydrous Ammonia, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Ethylene Oxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Vinyl Chloride, Anhydrous Hydrofluoric Acid, Anhydrous Ammonia Metallic Sodium Chlorine, Liquefied Hydrocarbon Gas, Motor Fuel Anti-Knock Compound Vinyl Chloride, Fertilizer Ammoniating Solution, Chlorine, Anhydrous Ammonia, Sulfur Dioxide, Butadiene, Refrigerant or Dispersant Gases, Nitrosyl Chloride, Helium Hydrogen Oxygen, Nitrogen Fertilizer Solution, Ethyl Chloride.

    Furthermore, the said dangerous materials mentioned above are also shipped by tanker trucks though are area on US 101. Why aren’t the rail spur opponents addressing these dangerous load shipments as well? Is it because they do not want to make additional yard signs that would further clutter up the front yards of Phillip’s 66 rail spur opponents? Do you completely understand the term “hypocrite?”

    It seems as though the faction against the Phillips 66 rail spur are conveniently not mentioning the additional precautions that are in effect at this time in oil train shipments, and the most important one being that all oil tank car trains are to be operated at 40mph in urban areas. In the rail spur opponents “the sky is falling” treatise, they never mention the newer elimination of the risks for a worse case oil train scenario that the Department of Transportation has initiated as of May 1, 2015. The DOT has initiated new rulings for the improved safety of transporting crude oil by rail which are significant and extensive changes subsequent to the notable past derailments.

    The safe transportation of ALL hazardous materials in bulk by rail and cargo tanker truck is a priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation. There are an estimated one million daily shipments of hazardous materials transported in the U.S. via rail, truck, air and waterways, and 99 percent arrive at their destination safely without any incident whatsoever.
    http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/osd/calltoactionsummry

    Phillips 66’s crude oil tank car fleet consists entirely of post-October 2011 CPC-1232 tank cars, and are not the DOT-111 tank cars that are always shown in the fiery crashes that opponents like to insidiously use to make their point. The CPC oil cans are based upon stronger design standards recommended by the Association of American Railroads. Those design standards feature stronger baffled fire retardant hulls and reinforced valves less likely to puncture or leak in a derailment. Furthermore, these specific tank cars have tight lock couplers like on passenger trains that keep the cars together if they ever do derail which enhances safety.

    New tank cars constructed after October 1, 2015, which Phillips 66 plans to use, are required to meet even stricter safety requirements with the new DOT Specification 117 design for oil transfer shipments. The newer safety performance criteria is described in the following link:
    http://www.transportation.gov/mission/safety/rail-rule-summary

    The irony is that when the Southern Pacific Railroad was still running their trains through this area, and within their freight train consists, were class 1 explosives, class 3 flammable and combustible liquids, class 4 flammable solids that were spontaneously combustable, that if derailed and exploded, they would make the Bakken Oil train explosions in the past before stricter regulations, look like a Boy’s Scout picnic! Where were the yard signs in opposing these more dangerous rail and truck shipments back then? In the good ol’ days, ignorance was bliss?

    What is the outcome if the rail spur initiative is voted down? Yes, a “plethora” of oil tanker trucks transporting the same oil upon US 101 going through San Luis Obispo County. The rail transporting is the safer option by far. Do the simple math.

    You will NEVER eliminate all risks in life, therefore, in the same vein of oil train shipments relative to a rail spur opponents car, then just park your car and start walking, and this is barring the use of Phillips 66 gasoline for said car. Get it?

    (21) 27 Total Votes - 24 up - 3 down
  4. obispan says:

    Sounds like Phillips 66 might have shot themselves in the foot adding to Peschong’s coffers. If the makeup of the board remains the same, with the exception of the open seat, the vote could well be 3-2 with Peschong and 2-2 if Martin doesn’t do a calculated political flip-flop. 3-2 wins, 2-2 fails.

    (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
    • How’d you get that? Peschong’s already gone on record he’s recuse from the vote. Martin’s the liability if elected. And flip/flop Martin’s already demonstrated when months after being elected Mayor of Paso, he runs for Supervisor. What a disgrace to his mayoral campaign supporters that he’d turn around and put Paso taxpayers on the hook for a new Election if he wins supervisor. Peschong has clear principals, he’s lived in this community despite operating a successful business that offers him options to live anywhere, and he’s running to help curb the tide of relentless, ongoing graft by California Democrats.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  5. Pelican1 says:

    Lets see if I get this…NO off shore drilling, NO nuclear energy, NO on shore drilling, NO wind farms, NO solar farms, NO tankering, NO pipelines, NO rail transport……and now, NO business relationships with energy producers.
    CAVES FOR SALE….INQUIRE WITHIN….must see to appreciate. Clubs included.

    (26) 36 Total Votes - 31 up - 5 down
    • Ted Slanders says:

      Pelican1,

      Do your caves have “oil” based lamps?

      The oil spur opponents just need another excuse to eat pizza at their rallies, where they are far from reading actual facts relative to the totality of this rail spur initiative.

      (12) 16 Total Votes - 14 up - 2 down
  6. kayaknut says:

    So let’s get this straight, it’s a problem when a candidate has a relationship with a company that is proposing a project but not when sitting county supervisor Adam Hill has many relationships with developers or when Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals sits tight with PG&E, hmmmmm seems a little two sided.

    (34) 56 Total Votes - 45 up - 11 down
    • rukidding says:

      Welcom to San Luis Obispo County and it’s 7 incorporated cities.

      (20) 28 Total Votes - 24 up - 4 down
    • RonHolt says:

      To be fair here, AG Mayor Jim Hill is also a PG&E/Diablo Canyon employee. PG&E seems to be pretty good about keeping out of local politics and allowing its employees to engage in politics as they want. The only conflict for either Shoals or Hill would come if something came before them in their respective offices that was directly related to PG&E. I would hope that both would recuse themselves if that occurred.

      (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
      • kayaknut says:

        Don’t forget the developers, Adam Hill refuses to recuse himself when he should and even helps with their PR to get what they want, the question is what does Adam Hill get in return, a house, care vacation or just cold hard cash????

        (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
        • SLOBIRD says:

          You only need to look at his life style to recognize the gifts. Even his wife, Dee Torres-Hill benefits, a $50,000 donation to start her own homeless organization (no board members – all quit except her daughter, City of Grover Beach donation without any vetting of legal paperwork, the cars they drive, the location of their County Club house, etc. His salary at the County is $85,450 (before taxes) and $137,439.90 (includes $45,385.66 in benefits and $6,570.00 in other expenses) according to County 2015 records.

          (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  7. jimmy_me says:

    Textbook corruption. People running for office can easily be bought. Yes, what he did is not illegal, but it’s highly unethical. Hey Peschong, here’s your new campaign slogan: “Vote Peschong: the best supervisor that money can buy!”

    (-19) 61 Total Votes - 21 up - 40 down
    • rukidding says:

      “not illegal, but highly unethical” quote directly out of the Fair Political Practice Commission testing book. O’Malley in Atascadero has bragged that he has 13 letters from the FPPC that allows him to be unethical when voting on issue brought before him. Where is the difference between the two?

      (6) 20 Total Votes - 13 up - 7 down
  8. Ricky2 says:

    This is a weird story. First off, the LA Times piece is reporting, not commentary. Second it is not by, nor about, project opponents, but about the project’s approval process. Third, the business about Peschong is buried in a single paragraph towards the end of a very long story about the project — it’s hardly the meat of the story — and it’s not criticism, but factual reporting. While the reporting seems superficial and fluffy, it is legitimate reporting. So what’s the beef?

    (14) 36 Total Votes - 25 up - 11 down
    • Russ J says:

      LA times reporting? I think over the course of 2016, there may be 2 stories that qualify as “reporting”. The rest is bleeding heart spin from people whom occupy an alternate universe.

      (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
    • LA Times hasn’t reported in ages. It’s a propaganda tool for the Democratic Party. Even FedUP Dems (Sanders supporters) don’t take LA Times seriously. That’s a stretch to call advertorials and bought for click-bait in LA Times ‘reporting.’

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • Sounds like Peschong did the right thing. Too bad LA Times doesn’t get right from wrong.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  9. CARNAC says:

    This just shows how the left, in concert with the leftist media, plays the politics of personal destruction. Funny that this well known fact is resurrected in an LA paper a few weeks before the election and now Martin is “re-thinking” his position.

    While most of the rest of us are making our livelihoods in the real economy, the left and those who earn a living from the leftist political enterprises pursue an agenda against what they consider demons and devils including oil. The left is relentless in the pursuit of their agenda and the elimination of opposition.

    As recent as the 1960’s California was one of the best governed states in the nation and had the best infrastructure in the west with our roads, dams, power generation, etc. Now California has fallen behind in providing the basic services of government to its citizens.

    John provided professional services to a legal and well run enterprise on the central coast delivering a product we need, and for that he is castigated and made out to be a villain. That is a sad state of affairs and does not bode well for our politics.

    The issue of the rail spur should be fairly debated on the merits or lack thereof – without personal attacks on individuals involved in the process. From the start John indicated he would recuse himself from any votes on the matter.

    Lastly, if the left could turn a switch today and implement their agenda completely the living conditions in California would become unbearable and the economy would shrink to the point that thousands of citizens would be unemployed and driven into poverty.

    (18) 60 Total Votes - 39 up - 21 down

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