Felons, investigations and residency issues mar SLO County politics

October 30, 2020

Mayor Jeff Lee

By KAREN VELIE

With many divided along political lines, felons, people charged with misdemeanors, others under investigation for corruption and a mayor who has not lived at her city address in six months are on ballots in San Luis Obispo County.

In San Luis Obispo, incumbent Mayor Heidi Harmon’s seat has three challengers, including downtown business owner Cherisse Sweeney. While Harmon is an ardent supporter of local Black Lives Matter protesters, Sweeney is focused on supporting businesses amid the pandemic.

During a spat of political mudslinging, Harmon supporters claimed Sweeney rented a home in SLO to hide the fact that she lives in Avila Beach. After operating a business in SLO for 18 years, in September, Sweeney moved from just outside the city limits to the Laguna Lake area.

In an ironic twist, even though Harmon filed for office noting an address in SLO, she does not currently live there. She moved out in March, but plans to move back after the pandemic ends, Harmon posted on social media.

City attorney Christine Dietrick said as long as Harmon plans to move back to her home in SLO, it does not matter where she is currently residing.

In 2019, Debbie Peterson stepped down from the Grover Beach City Council after accusing Mayor Jeff Lee of corruption. Lee referred to the “allegations as unfounded and specious.”

In early 2020, city sources said FBI agents raided Lee’s home. Lee declined to comment at the time.

However, Lee recently responded to an email from a constituent asking if the FBI had raided his home and if warrants were served. In his reply, Lee confirmed the investigation.

“While I am not at liberty to answer your question directly, I can share that whenever someone makes an unsubstantiated allegation, in this case regarding cannabis activities within Grover Beach, law enforcement officials need to go through a routine investigative process,” Lee wrote in the Oct. 1 email. “I am cooperating with the process and am confident that it will be resolved in a timely manner.”

Lee’s opponent in the mayoral race, Elizabeth Doukas, is facing misdemeanor disturbing the peace charges regarding a chirping alarm system.

Elizabeth Doukas

Doukas’ neighbors reported the alarm would beep loudly when movement was detected in the candidate’s backyard. After Doukas’ electricity went out, her alarm system reset to a default setting with a chirping sound, Doukas said.

After finding an officer’s business card at her door, and calling to find out what the issue was, it took Doukas three days to have a repair man reset the alarm. As a result, prosecutors charged Doukas with four misdemeanor disturbing the peace charges.

Doukas is fighting the charges, noting she never received any notification as required by the municipal code and that she believes the charges are politically motivated.

A 44-year-old Grover Beach City Council candidate has a long criminal history that required him to register as a sex offender for five years.

In 2003, Fred Buenrostro’s estranged wife accused him of rape. He pled guilty to corporal injury on a spouse and for violating a restraining order, and was sentenced to 75 days in jail.

In 2010, one of Buenrostro’s cousins reported he had raped her after they stopped by Mongo’s Bar and Grill in Grover Beach for drinks. He pled guilty to false imprisonment with an enhancement for causing great bodily injury. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail.

Buenrestro is one of nine candidates running for two seats on the council.

Of all the communities in San Luis Obipso County, Oceano residents appear to have elected the most felons to their community services district board, two in the past 10 years.

April Dury is one of six candidates running for three seats on the Oceano Community Services Board. In 1999, she was convicted of embezzling money from an animal hospital in Reno where she worked as a bookkeeper. After serving about a year and a half in prison, Dury spent five years on parole, according to court documents.

There is little chance we will know the election results on Nov. 3. Because of California voting regulations, which allows ballots arriving until Nov. 20 to be counted, it could be weeks before we know the winners of each race.


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OnlyinSLO

Of course Dietrick is going to back Harmon. Harmon lets her and the other idiots at the top get away with anything they want. Dietrick should actually read the law, rather than making up lies that fit her agenda – freedom to come and go as she pleases, and huge pay raises. The rest of the top br-ass at the City enjoy coming in late, working out during the day, long bike rides during the day and leaving early daily – 40 hours, more like 25 where they might work and 15 that joe tax payer pays them to recreate and party.


Julie

Thios Oceano Board members were Mary Lucey and Rick Searcy. But, what’s current is the Oceano Board President, Linda Austin, is under investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission. It’s difficult to own almost 30 properties in that tiny town and not run into a conflict — those conflicts are the premise of the investigation.


Additionally, the Arroyo Grande Mayor (who didn’t have to run because she threatened her potential opponent) is currently under investigation by the SLO Co. DA’s office for deleting her text messages during a public records request — what is she hiding? * A bit of history not to forget is the felonious AG Councilman Ed Arnold’s shenanigans.


And….another agency beginning to make news is the San Simeon CSD who has two current, two past and it’s GM all under investigation by the FPPC. Not too mention pissing off Hearst Corp.


womanwhohasbeenthere

So – Did Mayor Harmon file for re-election claiming to live at a certain address when in fact she was living elsewhere, possibly not in the city? If she was not living in the city for a minimum of 30 days prior to filing, she may be ineligible to run. She will also have deliberately falsified her nomination papers on which she declared her residency under penalty of perjury under the laws of California.


LeroyMoo

What does the pandemic have to do with Heidi not living in SLO? It’s reminiscent of distancing oneself from Leprosy. It seems like fraud to live outside the city you want to govern and submit an affidavit and artifact that states you conveniently live inside the city limits. Literally there is no sunset date on Covid-19 which means Heidi may never move back into SLO.


obispan

By all accounts Jeff Lee took $100,000 cash for cannabis permits, Heidi Harmon doesn’t have any other income other than her mayor’s stipend (yeah right) and, like her opponent may or may not live in SLO proper, and the OCSD needs to be dissolved and functions run by an established County infrastructure that is not completely and openly corrupt.


Eyes Everywhere

Did Heidi move in with Quinn???


charger805

Good grief, Grover Beach is a freak show. A chirping alarm seems like nothing in comparison to FBI investigations and a couple of rape allegations.


obispan

Not a freak show, highly organized corruption like in the numerous small fiefdom cites of LA County.