Erik Howell’s partner accused of stealing campaign signs

November 3, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-9-21-55-pmThe domestic partner of Pismo Beach Councilman Eric Howell is accused of stealing yards signs erected by political opponents of the South County politician. The alleged yard sign theft is the latest development in an ongoing controversy surrounding the California Coastal Commission. [LA Times]

Howell, who sits on the California Coastal Commission, is currently running for reelection to the Pismo Beach City Council. He must win reelection in order to keep his seat on the state commission.

In February, Howell, who is widely viewed as being pro-development, voted to fire the commission’s executive director Charles Lester, who was widely viewed as an environmentalist. The commission fired Lester on a 7-5 vote.

Howell is currently named in multiple lawsuits, one of which accuses him of 96 violations of disclosure laws. The allegations pertain to Howell meeting in private with representatives of developers and allegedly failing to properly disclose the ex parte meetings.

Erik Howell

Erik Howell

Likewise, Howell has taken heat for accepting a campaign contribution from the domestic and business partner of a lobbyist and then voting in favor of a project the lobbyist was pushing. An FPPC investigation into the matter is ongoing.

In response to Howell’s alleged misconduct on the Coastal Commission, the group Citizens for a Better Pismo Beach has launched efforts to oust Howell from the city council and consequentially the state body. The group has been distributing yard signs that say “integrity matters” and display Howell’s name in a “no symbol.”

After more than 20 of the yard signs reportedly went missing, Pismo Beach resident Ed Henry placed a sign on Highland Drive and staked it out with a pair of binoculars. About 45 minutes later, a light-colored Hyundai approached, a person got out of the car and removed the sign and drove off, Henry said.

Henry snapped a photo of the car driving off with yard sign. DMV reports say the license plate in the photo is registered to Don Stewart, who lives with Howell, Henry said.

Stewart later emailed Henry, stating he removed the signs at the request of the property owner.

As Citizens for a Better Pismo Beach complained about their signs disappearing, LA Times columnist Steve Lopez visited the Central Coast in an attempt to speak to Howell. Lopez went to Howell’s home, where he found the front door open and the councilman sitting on a sofa inside.

Howell said he was busy; then he put on his shoes, left the house and hurried across the street to his car, Lopez wrote. Howell said his campaign was going well, but he had to run. The Pismo Beach councilman then ignored Lopez’s subsequent requests for comment.







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17 Comments

  1. Josey Wales says:

    Ladies & Gentlemen,

    As we go to the polls, some final thoughts:

    NO on Erik Howell. Sick and corrupt.

    NO on Adam Hill. Sick and corrupt.

    NO on Caren Ray. Sick and corrupt.

    No on John Shoals. Sick and corrupt.

    NO on Kristian Barneich. Sick and corrupt.

    NO on Richard Waller. Sick and corrupt.

    Just saying,

    Josey

    (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
    • FreeAGCouncil.com says:

      And No on Don ( the sign thief) Stewart!

      Steve Lopez is out to get Erik Howell, and now Don Stewart.

      Quite the couple of wanna be politicians

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

    Don’t like the Eric Howell, Don Stewart, Adam Hill, Karen Bright crowd? There is a positive choice for Lucia Mar School District! Dee Santos – many years experience, no shenanigans, just plain hard work and common sense. Vote Dee Santos!

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

      Does the ‘discloser’ have attention deficit disorder to comment on a story about stolen signs to dis Karen Bright in favor of Dee Santos for Lucia Mar School Board.

      Would rather vote for hair dresser Dee Santos who has publically stated that the main reason she is running is for the health benefits, or would you rather vote for:

      Karen Bright who has worked in a school district for over 30 years, has been an elected official for almost 10 years, a certified CASA advocate for children and is ENDORSED by the Lucia Mar Teachers.

      And speaking of ADD, did Debbie Peterson’s recent robo call disparaging of supervisor Hill DISCLOSE who paid for the call and provide a call back number as required by federal law and was this action properly DISCLOSED to the FPPC.

      I hope no campaign funds for her Grover Beach City council run were used to finance the call.

      And if she hates Adam Hill so much why did she recently ask Hill to be his planning commissioner.

      Is this the same Debbie Peterson that was kicked of the APCD, quit the South Sanitation board, lost in her re-election bid to be mayor and lost her bid to become supervisor.

      I think this is a perfect example of why one who lives in a glass house should not throw stones.

      (-6) 20 Total Votes - 7 up - 13 down
      • Kaiser Bill says:

        I could care less about the Lucia Mar School board election because school boards, like City Councils in small towns, are typically rubber stamps for their Senior Administrative staff and consequently are devoid of any independent thinking. Look at folks like Jan Marx, Erik Howell, and Tony Ferrera.

        But you raise a valid point about public servants accruing benefits. Why do taxpayers subsidize the health benefits of school board members and city councillors? These are not full time positions like they are in large cities or are our County Supervisors. It is a waste of taxpayer money to provide health benefits to board members and city councillors. Sorry, that was a perk from when times were good. Many people can’t afford or struggle to pay for health care, but let’s give $10K-$15K for free to part time politicians on the taxpayers’ dime!

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down

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