Alleging corruption, Grover Beach Council member resigns

February 20, 2019

Debbie Peterson


Debbie Peterson resigned from the Grover Beach City Council at the end of Tuesdays board meeting because of allegations of corruption related to the local marijuana industry. [Cal Coast Times]

After 11 years on the council, Peterson said she could no longer be part of the city’s “pay-to-play insiders game.” Peterson voiced her concerns over allegations that some council members accepted bribes for their votes on cannabis retail store permits.

“I cannot betray the trust of those who elected me by looking the other way to avoid rocking the boat,” Peterson said. “Doing so, just to get along, is complicit and would make me as guilty as those who commit the evil, or those who choose to wear a blindfold. Every council member’s first duty is to the people, to take bold action when there is no other viable option.”

Peterson also discussed allegations of public corruption related to local government agencies.

In 2013, Peterson was able to procure the votes to hire Carl Knudson to investigate alleged criminal activity at the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District. At Tuesdays meeting, Peterson voiced concerns over the efforts of local officials to curb government corruption.

“The District Attorney relayed to me that there was much more there, but his team sought only the low-hanging fruit, charging the sewer district chief executive with multiple felony and misdemeanor conflicts of interest,” Peterson said.

In 2017, a group of citizens personally funded Knudson’s investigation into suspected malfeasance at the San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority. While the SLO County District Attorney’s Office has launched an investigation, Peterson is concerned over the thoroughness of the inquiry.

Peterson also voiced concerns regarding the Grover Beach City Council’s appointments of officials who have supported criminal behavior in the past to the current sewer district and waste management boards.

“I have finally conceded that I am beat, and to continue to serve within my own council would be commensurate to complicity,” Peterson said. “Only the intervention of higher authorities – governmental, legislative, law enforcement, the courts, and the fourth estate – can make the difference now.”


Why quit?…what good can you do now?…if we don’t fight this it will get out of control….what if we all just quit?…..ahhhh what am I talking about…California is corrupt from head to toe…..if we are going to fix this state the feds will have to step in….the first place to begin is our electoral system…its been bastardized to hell….


The good done is illustrated by the amount of press coverage to the problems. None of that was achievable by 15 years of staying and fighting.


Thank you Debbie, please stay strong. Our community needs people who are willing to fight for honest government and truth. Ignore the poorly written attack from the New Times. Helios Dayspring helps pay their salaries, they have no journalistic ethics, and no sense of community. Many people in the county are aware of the corruption and the harm it is doing.

nazbol gang

Also, good job Velie for pursing this. It takes a certain amount of cojones to go against the status quo here

nazbol gang

LMAO! Politicians are resigning over massive weed corruption.

Dude weed!


Debbie, thanks for your courage and your honesty. You’ve been a long term Democrat and you must be appalled by the “New Progressive’s” takeover of the Democratic Party. Your action could lead to the fall of the local Progressive dominoes. Let’s hope so…


Yes what we need is more corruption, more convicted felons and more Russians like Washington. That’s really working out well.


Why does she do this NOW? Was there an event which put her over the edge? Why do this in public and not go to the public corruption unit at the FBI-SM? This type of attention gives corrupt officials the ability to run and cover their tracks. It’s kind of weird, really. And is she trying to innoculate herself from complicity? I think before we all do a “Smolett” over the announcement, credible info needs to be had. (and this is NOT to impugne Ms Peterson, because I do respect what this takes IF it is true). Just we need to be healthy skeptics when politicians speak.


“we all do a “Smolett”….. (and this is NOT to impugne Ms Peterson, ”

Yes it was, yes you did otherwise you would have never brought up that 100% unrelated idiot.

You admit you don’t even know what happened and are throwing shade.


I agree. The Smollett comment was repugnant. Shows you the mentality of some of these people.

nazbol gang

Yea she basically alludes that she’s been a part of it so is probably trying to bolster her image now in case any of these cities meet justice one day. It’s not a bad move. And if she’s already made enough to be comfortable and isn’t greedy it’s smart to back away and go do something else. Maybe it’s a sign the free ride is coming to an end.


Wow. So Debbie points out corruption and your response is she must have also been on the take and she doing it to protect herself. Time for a critical thinking class.


Do your homework. Look at her track record. She has been standing on principle and reporting corruption in government for 15 years.


Natural Healing Center and it’s shell corporations are now in a multi-million dollar law suite with a local dance studio who they have threatened using a variety of methods and have tried to evict so they can complete their “cannabis business plan” at their Huston Street location in Grover Beach. The dance studio has filed multiple complaints against them in the SLO Superior Court and it will be going to jury trial in the near future.


It is sad the owners of the dance studio have to spend money fighting in court, but sunshine on the issue could help others.The New Times is trashing Debbie and Cal Coast News in support of Helios. With Natural Healing Center as an advertiser, it appears unbiased reporting is a thing of the past.

nazbol gang

Good. I side with the dancers over the stoners.

And to the other commenter, yes I’ve always noticed how suspiciously pro cannabis the New Times is, and not just pro cannabis but promoting all the most corrupt and politically connected parts of the industry. I wonder who owns New Times, what their agenda is etc.


This isn’t about pro cannabis, most of us voted to legalize smoking pot. This is about corruption involving several pot growers. Helios Dayspring advertises with the New Times. Their editor has no interest in investigating the allegations of corruption, which would serve the public but could cost them revenue. While CCN reporters broke all the hard money issues, the John Wallace issues, the chief of police using tax payer money to go to Florida with his family issue, the New Times fights for the criminal or cheats until the authorities agree with the allegations. At the same time, New Times reporters attack CCN reporters. It is cute they are writing about how wonderful Helios Dayspring is. Hopefully it comes back and exposes them for promoting corruption and their failures as reporters.

Ben Daho

Debbie, Debbie, Debbie. Thank you. I’m so sick and tired of having corrupt people in positions of authority and NOTHING HAPPENS! We the people trying to be entrepreneurs in the new legal industry are shut out because of the cost that the legislature imposed. If you don’t have $100,000.00 liquid, you can’t even get the permits to become a LOCAL player in the pot industry. Now we find out that we’d need even more to pay off the locals. Remember when Tijuana had the reputation of paying off officials? Welp, grover is starting to resemble that. Sad.

Debbie, I think you need to start a go fund me and become our champion and go after corruption.


While a small group of public officials appear to be involved in the corruption like Adam Hill, Jeff Lee Carlyn Christianson, Erica Stewart and Heidi Harmon, there are many more who turn a bling eye. The only one in county government official who appears to fight for justice, and that is Debbie Arnold. People need to reach out to the other supervisors and Dan Dow, maybe they will start putting the public first.