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.


Amazing that a local matter has to rise to the level of the LA Times to be reported by “official media” because The Tribune is so partisan, complicit, and corrupt in their censorship of local news.


Definitely a no vote for Howell. Pro-development is not what drought-ridden Shell Beach needs. A vote for Marcia Guthrie is well-placed!


Why is the address for “Citizens For A Better Pismo Beach” in Shell Beach?


She’ll Beach is technically governed by Pismo Beach.

If Howell’s partner, Don Stuwart does not own that lot, he should be hands off on any sign.

Given they live in Daddy’s house, I’ m thinking they do not own that vacant lot!

Kaiser Bill

Because Shell Beach is just a neighborhood in Pismo and uses Pismo PD, Pismo Cal Fire, Pismo Parks, Pismo Sewer, etc.


This story would make a lot more sense if it reported whether the decoy sign posted by Ed Henry was on property he controlled, or on property of others, or in the public right-of-way.

Maybe Stewart was within the bounds policing the signs.

Without knowing who’s real estate Henry placed the sign on, we’re jumping to conclusions.


Not true. If the signs were on public property it would be the city’s responsibility to remove it. If on private property without the owner’s consent it would be up to the owner, or their authorized agent, to remove it.

Josey Wales

Ladies & Gentlemen,

It is becoming clearer and clearer that Erik Howell is corrupt.

Pismo Beach residents deserve better than someone who sells out to developers in exchange for reelection cash, and LA Times reporter Steve Lopez is right to question Howell’s integrity.

So often, we see these politician types ho have a secret agenda, and Governor Brown ought to remove him from the California Coastal Commission for his lapses in ethical behavior and the fact that his so-called domestic partner, Don Stewart, would steal campaign signs on his behalf.

DO NOT vote for Erik Howell, ever.

DO NOT vote for Don Stewart, ever.

Someone tell Erik Howell that ‘Integrity Matters’.

Just saying,



“Lawsuit seeks millions in fines from 5 coastal commissioners, alleging 590 transparency violations” Howell is one of the 5!

“McCabe’s influence also became an issue late last year when Pismo Beach homeowners who opposed a nearby residential project spotted her having dinner and drinks with Commissioner Erik Howell and the developer. Howell, a Pismo city councilman, voted for the project the next day, reversing his earlier opposition.

What the neighbors didn’t know at the time was that Antoinette DeVargas, McCabe’s operations manager and longtime domestic partner, had weeks earlier contributed $1,000 to Howell’s City Council campaign. Residents have since asked the state Fair Political Practices Commission to remove Howell from the commission”

“The most influential person on the ocastal commions may be a lobbyist”

JB Bronson

Get rid of both their asses. We cannot expect children in adult bodies to do the serious work of adults.


I’ve been following Howell’ s antics on the Coastal Comission all year. Good work Steve Lopez and thanks to CCN for shining light on the schmoozing on steroids of the both of them!

Do not vote for Erik Howell or his partner Don Stewart


Don Stewart is running for school board at the same time he’s running around removing signs from private property?

No votes for these two!