SLO City councilwoman accused of conflict of interest

September 17, 2019

Councilwoman Andy Pease


San Luis Obispo City officials have suspended a plan to phase out the use of natural gas appliances while they look into allegations Councilwoman Andy Pease violated conflict of interest rules. [Cal Coast Times]

Two weeks ago, the council voted 4-1 in favor of an ordinance and energy policy that would ban natural gas fittings and gas-powered appliances in new residential and commercial buildings. The city provided developers two alternatives: they can transition an existing gas-powered building into electric only or pay in-lieu fees.

Attorneys representing the Utility Workers Union of America fired back with saying that because of the economic impact to Pease’s business, she is and was disqualified from “voting upon, deliberating, or even being present for the council’s consideration of the clean energy policy,” according to a letter from attorney John J. Davis, Jr. Pease is a partner in Balance Green Consulting, a company in line to financially benefit from the city’s proposed energy policy.

“Because Ms. Pease is a professional who specializes in clean-energy consulting, and because she is also a highly placed insider in the city’s political and administrative structure, the new clean energy rules will drive a great deal of business to her architectural firm,” the letter says.

The union members are asking the city to vacate its Sept. 3 vote on the clean energy ordinance, which requires a two-thirds vote. Councilwoman Erica Stewart cast the lone dissenting vote against the ordinance.

In response to the letter, city administrators postponed the final approval of the ordinance to provide time for the Fair Political Practices Commission to weigh in on the allegation of conflict of interest.

“Public officials are expected to know the fundamental laws that govern their behavior,” Davis says in his letter. “Unfortunately, neither Pease nor her colleagues recognized this very serious legal and ethical problem.”

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We deserve better than self-serving council members who line their own pockets by making decisions which hurt the rest of us. The whacky SLO city council is caught hopelessly in the trap of partisan politics, and taxpayers deserve better.

Recall Andy Pease.

Andy appears humble and honest to me. I speculate that she was so caught up in the narrative that she didn’t think her business would profit.

My gripe is with perpetuating fear and using children as the shield. It’s pretty simplistic to primarily blame humans for impacting the climate when contemplating solar flares and deviation in the earth’s orbit are manifested in the Antarctica and Arctic ice swells. These celestial forces seem to be neglected from the links the pro climate folks post here.

This No Gas Code certainly isn’t a safety issue for homes, because you don’t see the fire department instigating the Reach Code.

The No Gas Reach Code is a result of fear of projected future hostile earth environment. Heidi herself has stated this is for her kids (where ever they move to in the world that they can afford) and that they (the council) just have to do something about climate change. This equates to a futile spit-balling from council members that aren’t competent enough in energy delivery to even serve on the MBCP board as experts.

Ultimately, if the Reach Code’s collateral effect is harmful or unsustainable there is no graceful recovery plan. This is purely irresponsible.

Since it doesn’t make economic sense today/now, this ordinance is against SLO middle and lower class residents affordability. A natural gas generator somewhere tonight is ramping up for the evening peak.

There are is no mechanism to measure improvement from the Reach Code or the actual environmental impact. There are projected goals that don’t measure the total gas burning displaced to powerplants in other counties. BTW, here’s a New Times article on how Cal Poly kids figured out that the Reach Code is not environmentally friendly now or in the near future..

You said, “It’s pretty simplistic to primarily blame humans for impacting the climate when contemplating solar flares and deviation in the earth’s orbit are manifested in the Antarctica and Arctic ice swells. These celestial forces seem to be neglected from the links the pro climate folks post here.”

Nevertheless, the increased warming we are seeing is “primarily” because of humans pumping billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere over the last few hundred years. The evidence continues to mount everyday, so what are you talking about?

The last article is particularly prescient because it explodes the myth that the sun’s cycles will somehow cause global cooling—seemingly a theory now being touted by climate deniers. Of course, many deniers, such as Congressman Graves from Louisiana, are now basically admitting that anthropogenic global warming is taking place but that the U.S. can do nothing about it because it is really China and India who are the real culprits. I see this as a move forward, actually, because at least some in the Republican Party are admitting that man is the root cause of climate change. One step at a time, I guess.

I appreciated the last article at, Thanks. The second link you provided actually makes the best point, “Ironically, the only way to really find out if phenomena like sunspots and solar wind are playing a larger role in climate change than most scientists now believe would be to significantly reduce our carbon emissions. Only in the absence of that potential driver will researchers be able to tell for sure how much impact natural influences have on the Earth’s climate.”

So, basically it’s all speculation without a mechanism to prove it.

Whenever someone spouts Root Cause, my radar goes up. RCA is great for equipment failure, but only goes for low hanging fruit. Causal Preconditions such as used in HFACS is much more comprehensive when gauging human failures and is the methodology used by NTSB and DOE for investigations to find the multiple organization, supervisory and individual preconditions/causes.

The futility is that CalFire will be stepping up their prescriptive burns. This is fact if you play the latest SLO APCB meeting video. I wholeheartedly agree with CalFire that Back-burning and prescriptive burns are necessary. I’ve read where Wildfires alone contribute to ~40% of CO2. Even from this biased link that fosters the man-made CO2 argument:

“California fire experts estimate that the blazes that devastated Northern California’s wine country in October 2017 emitted as much CO2 in one week as all of California’s cars and trucks do over the course of a year. ”

So, I have to agree with Congressman Graves. Go after gross polluters like China/India and then force CalFire bombers to go fly in over 30mph winds rather than remain grounded. Don’t punish SLO home dwellers in the pocketbook to prove you are “wook” to progressive power grab propaganda.

I take the label “progressive” as a high compliment—Teddy Roosevelt was always one of my heroes—even though I voted Republican for about 40 of my 50 voting years. It’s just been in the last 10 or so years that I’ve come to the conclusion that the Republican Party is solely out to protect the very richest among us, and by sticking their head in the sand about climate change they are doing nothing more than protecting big oil.

I suggest you go out and talk to the farmers about climate change if you are so suspicious of scientists. They will tell you that there is far less winter chill than in years past, crops are blooming earlier than ever and prolonged summer heat waves and droughts only exacerbate the issue. I’ve talked to almond farmers who fear the future of their crops because their experts have told them that their yields will continue to fall as climate change increases.

But, anyway, keep tilting at your windmills. There are still many among us who will always be suspicious of science. Of course, as rising sea levels continue to wreak havoc in California and billions of dollars are spent to mitigate the disaster, your opinion may become a relic of the past.

You are no Teddy Roosevelt.

That is for certain. Just an old farmer who probably spent too many years behind the wheel of a tractor, so never mind my rantings.

I farmed alfalfa with my dad, raise pigs and steers in my teens. I own a small ranch with 150 avocados right now, so I know which years we’ve had freezes. You are straying from my point which is how much climate change can be attributed to humans (as we Kubota drivers are convenient scapegoats). Why penalize people with a Reach Code work-around fee or excluding one functional source of energy to a home?

As progressives target a carbon tax in the future to offset the guilt of living in metropolitan black-holes of energy consumption, just know they will waste the carbon fees collected on other agendas. CalRecycle still has to get gap funding every 6 months for the bottle/can program and the majority of the recycle centers evaporated.

Sounds like you defected the Republicans due to Trump. My Trump vs Democrat analogy is the Rodney Dangerfield character vs the Ted Knight character in Caddyshack.

“Humble, honest”… and stupid. Prohibiting natural gas appliances in SLO not only means ramping up gas plants in Utah at 35% thermal efficiency, but the flaring off of even more wasted gas at oil production facilities. The SLO Progressives goal is to make the problem worse and highten the crisis.


If Councilwoman Pease had any public ethics, she would resign from office.

Andy Pease KNEW she had a conflict of interest, but could not restrain herself from voting on this matter, which she knew would enrich herself and her employer. This is textbook Government 101, and we see a lot of this self serving behavior from those who serve with Heidi Harmon.

As a council representative, Andy Pease turns a blind eye to all public input except that from her whacky progressive friends, and voters should remove all 5 of these misguided public figures at the earliest possible time. Harmon, Gomez and Pease are among the worst ethical violators of the public trust, and our city is in bad shape because of it.

Dump Harmon and Pease, not clean natural gas.

I have known Councilmember Andy Pease for many years and consider her a friend and colleague. Her ethics and character are beyond reproach and to see that so many are willing to anonymously shame her for trying to make positive change makes me sad. Andy and I may not always agree, but we are willing to share our ideas and hope for a better future in the sunlight of public discussion, rather than in the muck of a backstreet alley forum.

Rather than gripe about how everyone else is taking away your freedoms, how about you stand up and engage in a positive way. Councilmember Pease has and I salute her for it.

Andy Pease did not care that aside from three people, every resident that spoke to the council was opposed to banning natural gas. She refused to listen to a Cal Poly professor explain that this was not a good plan, and that it would increase carbon. All the while she will make more money for herself.

People have stood up in a positive way, but the Pease Harmon council cares not for the wants of the public.

Jordan, it appears you are assuming things: “All the while she will make more money for herself.” How do you know this? Because a union spokesman said so. That doesn’t make it true. It’s actually hard to identify how she would make more money out of this — the energy calculations already required by the state send business to her firm. The new city rules don’t appear to change that in any way. Be ready therefore to be disappointed by the FPPC review. But then I guess we can all shout about the corrupt FPPC.

I’m sure she’s a wonderful, caring, ethical person.

I take issue with your statement: “but we are willing to share our ideas and hope for a better future in the sunlight of public discussion, rather than in the muck of a backstreet alley forum.”

If you call the censored, controlled and contrived 2 minutes of “sharing” at city council meetings “sunlight” and “public discussion” then you’ve drunk a bit too much koolaide from recycled petroleum products.

What we say here is free speech. It’s also public and anyone can read it, day or night.

In fact, I’d argue that our discussions here are far more relevant and informing than the crap they pull at the CC meetings.

We are “standing up” in the only way we can…..the local government has gone rogue and serves outside, monied interests. Are you one of these?

Mr. Wynn is an architect and was on the Architectural Review Commission. He was a vote developers & architects could count on to approve these awful, ugly, tall buildings we are seeing go up & the sprawl of soul-less housing developments. He’s contributed to the degradation of our formerly charming city & part of the sell-outs who are the only ones appointed to committees & commissions by the present mayor & council. He should be ashamed of himself.

The foxes are guarding the henhouse.

“Public officials are expected to know the fundamental laws that govern their behavior,”

You would think.

How long before city council ban water connections to dwellings? After all, it’s a fragile resource so we shouldn’t be letting people squander it away, right?

I say 4 years. Water is such a precious resource in our state. We can’t have people drinking it. The state needs it.


What? Did you miss that meeting? Was noticed as “council discussion of water policy.” Already done.

Isn’t it a conflict of interest for mayor Harmon to have a seat on the Board of Directors of Monterey Bay Community Power?

Nope. Its green. She’s with the good guys.

Its only a conflict if you’re with the bad guys, like petroleum or nuclear, or big-firewood.

No, it is not. elected officials make up their board and are not compensated. Cities and counties vote to join MBCP and then have a say in the direction of the organization. Don’t you WANT representation on the board??

kiml79, actually she is compensated, $100 per meeting — at least monthly, it seems. This is NOT expense reimbursement, it’s pay.

Is she going to ride her bike to get there? Maybe she can telecommute so she doesn’t add to air pollution.