If others do it too, why was a Pismo Beach official censured?

February 23, 2021

Marcia Guthrie

By KAREN VELIE

Using the others do it too excuse, the only public speaker during last week’s censure of Pismo Beach Councilwoman Marcia Guthrie, argued against the public lambaste claiming others on the council also violate the law.

Susan Testa is more than just a friend to Guthrie, she was the councilwoman’s treasurer in her latest campaign. Also, the pair led an effort to promote a measure to stop development in Price Canyon.

Calling the censure an unfair double standard, Testa said she overheard “an extremely inebriated councilman” discussing confidential information from a closed session city council meeting with a couple from Bakersfield, saying he could help them get anything they wanted built, in violation of the Brown Act. Testa took the information to City Manager Jim Lewis, who did nothing, Testa said.

“I don’t understand why this councilperson can be inebriated in public making promises, talking about closed session items, and nothing happens,” Testa said during public comment. “It seems like a bit of a double standard and completely unfair to me.”

After discovering Guthrie violated the Brown Act and city Code of Ethics, the city placed a proposed censure on last Tuesday’s agenda. Through her city email account, Guthrie shared information from a closed session meeting with applicants for a building project. She also issued directions to city staff regarding the project, in violation of the city’s Municipal Code and Code of Ethics.

Mayor Ed Waage and Mayor Pro Tem Mary Ann Reiss recommended the council publicly censure Guthrie by removing her from her committee assignments, prohibiting her from contacting staff regarding the project unless it has come before the council, prohibiting her from giving any direction to staff whatsoever and from representing the city in any capacity.

Guthrie apologized before voting against her censure, which passed 4-1.

“I first want to apologize,” Guthrie said. “I take full responsibility for my actions. I cannot vote for this. No.”

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OnlyinSLO

There is no doubt that the City of Pismo Beach scrapes from the bottom of the barrel in their hiring practices. Everyone should remember that this character voted Kelly Gearhart as community member of the year. All of the pictures of he and Gearhart arm in arm as Gearhart ripped off over 10,000 people in the area. Obviously this City Manager’s judgement is highly impaired. As long as he is getting something out of the deal he doesn’t care who he hurts or what laws he has to violate.


obispan

Lewis is completely self-serving, disingenuous, and disconnected from the community. Everyone in Atascadero learned it and everyone in Pismo needs to learn it. And while your educating yourselves look into his history in Claremont. People like this have no business sloping at the trough to the tune of $300,000+/yr for life.


Rambunctious

Unequal justice is wrong….we see it everywhere…and its not the American way….we have to bring back the negative connotation of the word Hypocrite….


kayaknut

So for those of you who have been pulled over for speeding, has using the excuse “but officer other drivers are speeding too” worked in you not getting a ticket?


shishkabob141

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!


Cindy

Wow! The excuse is that people from Bakersfield need closed session info. Bull shit Marcia.


Julie

Two wrongs don’t make a right Ms. Testa.


commonsenseguy

Are there any public servants or representative that are led by, and stand on good morals, values, integrity, character honesty, and truth? Where is the respect and honor as individuals for the positions they all hold? How does this keep happening at every level of government? She needs to be held to the highest standards going forward along with all that represent we the taxpaying citizens that they serve and work for. Do not be afraid to call them out and make them accountable and responsible for their words and action across all political parties from D.C. to the local dog catcher. They work for us. It’s past due for Marcia Guthrie and all representatives in government to return the power to the people.