Peschong and Nipomo win amid contentious supervisor meeting

January 11, 2017


At a particularly ugly and contentious San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, the board voted to award the chairmanship to John Peschong and to move forward on plans to build a sheriff substation in Nipomo. Supporters and opponents of the new political majority packed the board chambers.

For more than a week, the SLO Progressives rallied their members to speak out at the meeting in support of Supervisor Adam Hill getting the chairmanship. The group claims supervisors John Peschong, Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton are members of the Tea Party who are threatening the democratic process. A claim Peschong, Arnold and Compton contend is baseless political rhetoric.

“Hill is next in line for the traditionally rotational position, but the new Tea Party Republican majority is threatening to upend tradition and civility, and install one of their own as chair instead,” the SLO Progressive leadership said in a Jan. 8 email. “The chair has control over public comment on important issues like the Phillips 66 oil trains project.”

Those opposed to Hill’s leadership complained that he has been disrespectful to other board members and public speakers. In addition, several people including Stew Jenkins questioned his self-serving ties with developers.

“A man or woman whose vote is up for sale is neither a conservative, a moderate, a liberal or a progressive. Such an individual is simply corrupt,” Jenkins, a Democrat, said. “Putting such an individual in charge of what-and-when measures reach your board and in charge of deliberations, will put you, the staff and the citizens of our county at the whims of that person’s burning consumption.”

While most of the public speakers were composed during their comments, several board members raised voices and traded barbs.

Noting that a chair should treat all members of the board and public respectfully, Supervisor Arnold made a motion to make Peschong the chair and Hill the vice chair.

Gibson said Arnold had questioned the rotation three years in a row and that he opposed her motion. Gibson then blamed Arnold for the lack of collegiality on the board.

Peschong spoke briefly saying he would work respectively with all five members of the board and the public if selected as chair.

“I will not discount minority voices on this board,” he said. “That is my pledge to you, and that is my pledge to this board.”

Hill argued that the board should follow the traditional rotation. Hill then joined Gibson and blamed Arnold for the lack of civility among board members.

“This has been an difficult situation not just for the board, but a difficult situation for the public and an extremely difficult situation for staff,” Hill said. “Why are we spending so much time to stick it to someone?”

Hill also castigated Arnold claiming she was working at the behest of the Coalition of Labor Agriculture and Business (COLAB) to keep him out of chair position.

After Hill finish speaking, COLAB’s Mike Brown approached the speaker’s podium asking for a point of order so that he could respond to Hill’s comments.

“Hill castigated COLAB, we should have a chance to respond,” Brown said.

A sheriff deputy then approached Brown and escorted him out of the meeting.

“I can’t allow you to voice your opinion,” the officer said.

Outside the board chambers, Brown told the deputy that he was out of line and that his request to respond to Hill’s attack was permitted under the rules of parliamentary procedure. The deputy then let Brown return to the meeting.

Supervisors Arnold, Peschong and Compton then voted to make Peschong chair with Hill and Gibson dissenting.

In what appeared to be an attempt to punish Compton for her vote against making Hill chairman, Gibson then asked to take the approval of an agreement to build a substation in Nipomo off of the consent agenda.

Compton has worked for more than a year towards having a new sheriff substation in her district.

Approved in 2002, the Trilogy housing development includes four stages. Before the builder can move ahead with phase two, a sheriff’s substation is required. In the proposed agreement, the developer, Monarch Dunes LLC, will pay $594,000 toward a future substation in the Nipomo area.

Gibson and Hill said that the developer should pay for the entire cost of the sheriff’s substation.

Compton argued that public facility fee funds dedicated to her district had been snagged by both Gibson and Hill.

Developers in San Luis Obispo County are required to pay public facility fees (PFF) before they can get development permits. These fees are dedicated for public facilities and parks that support the residence in the area of the development, according to county records.

However, estimates are that approximately $10 million in PFF funds related to developments in Nipomo, have been spent in Gibson and Hill’s districts.

“Don’t change the subject,” Gibson said to Compton’s mention of the diverted PFF funds.

Compton argued that the 2002 agreement does not require the developer to pay any monies towards a substation and that this is a good deal for Nipomo and the county.

“This is something Nipomo needs,” Compton said. “We had money diverted, so don’t mess with this.”

After the heated exchange between Gibson and Compton, Hill joined in claiming Compton was compromised because she had shared a meal with the developer.

Compton said she had met with the developer over a hamburger, which she said she purchased, to discuss the biggest project in the county.

Both Hill and Gibson argued that Compton was lobbying for the developer and appeared to be in his pocket.

After a contentious argument, Compton, Arnold and Peschong voted in favor of the sheriff’s substation agreement with Hill and Gibson dissenting.

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If Hill is such a bad actor how bad are the people who support him? How corrupt is this County? There seems to be no end to it.

As a concerned resident and taxpayer of this county, I am worried about the leadership of this Board if Adam Hill were to be chosen as Chair.

Many critical issues confront us: the heavy losses of revenue if the Dunes are unnecessarily highly restricted, the closing of Diablo Power Plant, and the possible closing of the Phillips 66 plant. And then, we have Measure J rising again within two year- and there are rumors to alter Proposition 13 and increase property taxes. Some of our leaders out there want to reach into our pockets down to our socks. We must not let that happen.

The future of this county needs wise leadership and not someone like Adam Hill who has been in the pockets of developers and is now involved in a lawsuit.

For the Board Majority to conduct their business they need to have one of themselves as Chair. And, Guess what ! This is what it means to have a Board Majority!

In my opinion, for the sake of the Board Majority, John Psechong of the 1st District was the best choice for the new Chair. He is a very smart man and will do a great job as Chair. He has had a lot of experience! As part of the new board majority, John Psechong said at the swearing in that he was committed to “a smaller more efficient government, lower taxes, and more personal freedom.”

John ran on those three issues and that’s how he is going to govern. Therefore, I trust John as chair and so do many others. That’s my man! And, I believe he will do an excellent job leading this county!

Adam Hill cannot lead with the new Board majority. He is in the minority with current legal problems. He would be what one would call a “spoiler” in dealing with critical County issues.

Re: Sheriffs Substation

Was a Community Facilities District formed so all the residents benefiting from the substation could take advantage of Mello-Roos bonds to build specific infrastructure? I know nothing about this but allowing the developer to only put up a portion on the parcels it owns doesn’t seem right. Educate me.

It is time for the County Democrat machine to realize that integrity and character matter when putting up people for office. I would support many of the same policies that Hill and

Gibson do (acts motivated by corruption excepted) but I have trouble supporting people who are condescending, arrogant, dishonest and basically bullies when they get in power. Civility matters and it is not just a buzz word to me.

Great news, congratulation John. Hill and the smug Gibson deserve it!

Finally, Bruce and Adam are neutralized.

Some of their supporters were shocked to hear how really bad Adam Hill is.

Big mistake Tom Fulks asking them to come and defend Adam for Chair. So many of your people did not know what a difficult and rude and bully Adam Hill has been and will be again. So I think this was great too bad you did not have all of your 200 followers. They too would have been further educated on why Adam Hill should not be chair.

Thank you all for your words and the opportunity to hear what so many have experienced and on camera if you ever watched the old BoS meetings.

Go Peschong and congratulations for being a real Supervisor not just a puppet for Adam and Bruce.

When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)

“To he11 with the people, give me more money” Adam Hill (1966-20??)

The crybabies on this board are blind and hypocritical. No wonder why a lot of your candidates you were most passionate about got their asses kicked. Hill and Gibson are combing over the numbers and details in order to protect the tax payers. If the roles were reversed this situation you crybabies would be holding Compton’s feet to the fire and praising Hill and Gibson. Be real.

`Hill and Gibson are combing over the numbers and details in order to protect the tax payers.“

Actually I think they are protecting and promoting those members of the community who are and have been greasing their palms….not the taxpayers.

Hill and Gibson, the hypocrite twins. This county is upside down and inside out. Hill and Gibson bully and name-call like the Trump worshipers they are.

Shhh, you’re not supposed to reveal their secrets like that. Just because they use the same political tactics as Trump doesn’t mean they want to be known as his minions.