SLO History Center needs to get back on track

July 27, 2018

Opinion by A.Z. Duesenberg

Open letter to SLO County supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton:

I am writing due to the deplorable state of the History Center of San Luis Obispo County which is largely funded by SLO County taxpayers. The History Center has experienced some difficult times in the past, but nothing as severe as today given their current personnel crisis.

Things are now so bad at the History Center today that I’m beginning to question two things.

First, are the historical materials entrusted to the History Center being archived in a professionally suitable manner? One that will guarantee the resources for future generations?

Second, what are taxpayers really getting for their money? Where does it actually go?

The problems in my opinion are manifold, beginning with a politically partisan and activist board of directors who are working to steer the History Center away from its stated mission and into a political action committee to suit their personal political choices. A highly divisive executive director (who was fired last week) that simply lacked the ability and background to do the job. Outside pressures from at least one wealthy benefactor driving the SLO “Wine History Project” which impacts all of the History Center. The inability to retain capable staff (two valued members quit last week), plus a number of other factors.

Please consider initiating a financial and operational audit of the History Center. Based on the findings, I would then ask for the county’s assistance in removing the partisan political influence from the History Center’s current board of directors, and for help recruiting a solid, new executive director.

If the County doesn’t step in and help, things will never really improve.

Thank you for your time. You were both chosen to receive this email based on your reputations for fairness and your ability to get things done.


Is there an echo in here? Seem to be ginning up controversies among yourselves. Join and voice complaints to the board.

George Bailey


I think Mr. A.Z. Duisenberg makes a good point!

The SLO County History Center has failed in it’s core mission, and allowed the progressive mindset to infiltrate their board of directors.

As a 401 (C) (3) nonprofit, the SLO History Center is legally required not to use their organization for political purposes, but clearly the liberals do not care enough to respect the laws.

SLO County DA Dan Dow ought to launch a criminal investigation into the top administration as well as the board of directors. The History Center takes more than $110,000-a-year of taxpayer funds, and taxpayers deserve better than a nonprofit which breaks the law.

Boycott the SLO History Center.



Hey A.Z., if the History Center receives public funding, then it should be subject to investigation by the SLO County civil grand jury.

The 2018-19 civil grand jury should be impaneled by now and should now be identifying potential subjects for investigation.

You may want to contact the grand jury and request that they choose the History Center as one of their investigation subjects.


Unfortunately the local Grand Jury is a Civil Grand Jury and really has no legal power to do anything but make a recommendation. There have been cases where people just ignore them and there are no consequences.

With the appearance of a increase with criminal activities in the County I would suggest the the the judgers or the powers to be initiate a Criminal Grand Jury and start going after all of the abusers and criminals in the County.


Yes, I’m well aware of the limitations of the civil grand jury. That’s why I specifically referred to the CIVIL grand jury, because the matter that has been reported so far refers to almost-certain misbehavior, but not necessarily (yet) criminal activity. But we as private public citizens do not have the direct control over criminal investigations by governmental officials as we do with misbehavior investigations by the civil grand jury.

If the civil grand jury investigates the History Center and identifies several elements of misbehavior, their resulting report can be used by the Board of Supervisors as legitimate reason to reduce or eliminate County funding to the Center. Such an investigation can be initiated by private citizens on the grand jury upon request of concerned public private citizens.

If you also want to see a criminal investigation of other matters by the District Attorney’s office, fine- go ahead and request that. And if the civil grand jury investigation uncovers any potential criminal activity on the part of History Center officials, that can be specified in the civil grand jury report and they can recommend that the DA’s office also conduct a criminal investigation into those findings.

Private citizens have direct input into civil grand jury matters. Investigation of criminal matters is primarily dependent upon government officials.

So, rukidding, if you are aware of criminal activity on the part of History Center officials, then go ahead and report that to the District Attorney’s office and request that they investigate. But, in the meantime, the civil grand jury can immediately begin investigating the already-identified misbehavior and possible inappropriate use of public funding for political purposes by Center officials.

There’s no reason why both cannot, and should not, be done.

George Bailey


I agree with both RUKidding & PanFlash!

Lock them up!

Cut their funding to nothing!

Restore the once-proud SLO History Center to its rightful place!

Demand ALL the SLO Progressive lawbreakers resign from the HC Board!

The SLO Board of Supervisors needs to act!