SLO County supervisors argue over racism resolution

June 6, 2023


San Luis Obispo County supervisors argued on Tuesday over a resolution denouncing racism after multiple public speakers objected to the vilification of Templeton and of the importance of freedom of speech.

Supervisor Jimmy Paulding asked for the resolution condemning racism and hate speech. His resolution focused on an incident where one man pepper-sprayed people with different views and another when four men hung a racist and antisemitic banner, both of which occurred on an overpass in Templeton.

Supervisor Debbie Arnold said that while everyone should condemn racism, she opposed calling out Templeton.

“It does not help to react to something divisive,” Arnold said before making a motion to adopt the ordinance with the removal of the paragraph about Templeton.

After knocking concerns about the First Amendment, Supervisor Paulding said he wanted keep the references to the Templeton incidents in the resolution.

“This action takes a step towards unifying our community,” Paulding said. “I think this resolution is drafted appropriately.”

Supervisor Bruce Gibson agreed, saying he wanted information about the banner included, but agreed to remove the location. Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg agreed they should remove the reference to Templeton.

Supervisor John Peschong, who is from Templeton, noted that officials from the CHP and Caltrans said the four men who hung the white pride banner were from Tulare, and that they traveled throughout the state with the same banner. After denouncing antisemitism and racism, Peschong noted people have a First Amendment right to voice their views.

The board then passed Arnold’s amended resolution, with Paulding and Gibson dissenting,

Unaware that Ortiz-Legg had not voted with him, Gibson attempted to make a motion to pass the original resolution, but Peshong shot him down saying Arnold’s motion had passed 3-2. Gibson then asked Otiz-Legg if she voted for Arnold’s motion.

Following a short break in which Gibson allegedly chastised Ortiz-Legg, she came back with a request for a reconsideration of the resolution. Ortiz-Legg then made a motion to adopt the original resolution with one change, remove the reference to Templeton.

Her motion passed 3-2 with Peschong and Arnold dissenting.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Once again Jimmy Paulding demonstrates tremendous courage and leadership, representing all those who decry racism in our community, despite the low-down personal attacks from those who think and, unfortunately, act differently and want to create rancor and discord in our community. Thank you, Mr. Paulding for standing up for what’s right.

Why is it every time I see a picture of Jimmie, I need a shower.

I take away two obvious conclusions from this article.

Little Jimmy is quoted as saying “This action takes a step towards unifying our community.” A resolution to ignore the first amendment and severely limit free speech is “unifying”? says unifying is “to make or become a single unit”. But, to Little Jimmy and those of his ilk it means “to become a single unit agreeing with me.” I don’t think unity of thought can ever be achieved (at least I hope not), nor can it be legislated. I know it cannot be achieved using Little Jimmy’s definition.

Ortiz-Legg appears to be nothing but a “yes-woman” and sycophant for Gibson, and she can’t even follow her instructions. They had to recess so that Gibson could chastise his subordinate for her mistake (I hope he didn’t say anything hateful to her). Then they had to figure out how to fix her failure to follow instructions. The instructions were pretty simple, and she couldn’t get it right. Dementia? Corruption? Stupidity and corruption often look the same.

The First Amendment does not protect against condemnation, which this resolution represents. The resolution is a condemnation of antisocial or racist expression (protected speech) and an assertion of common values. Perhaps the “last individual” doesn’t share those values, hence their handle?

Any government entity, establishing what can, or cannot be said publicly, violates the 1stA.

Historic human morals, have always dictated that hateful words or actions must not be condoned.There is no need for government to interject.

Supervisor Paulding didn’t also want to name specifically South County, home of cross burnings and Tweaker Beach? That is surprising?? Tweakers are horribly racist as a whole. Naming Templeton exclusively seems crazily selective.

Agreed. Completely ignores facts about where the offensive people were from but then focused on the city where they chose to hang their banner. Had it been on a 5 Cities overpass, maybe he wouldn’t be…such a politician…about it.

I’m happy to see that our supervisors are earning their recent fat pay raise.

Maybe next time they’ll pass a resolution stating that hate is only appropriate if Gibson’s lead isn’t followed.

I went back and watched this discussion. Was I the only one to think Supervisor Legg was a bit “confused”? Is she OK?

Well, that’s as good an indication as any that Gibson pulls the strings of Ortiz-Legg. And for what? The motion was the same if it was Arnold’s or Ortiz-Legg. Gibson’s pettiness is typical of him, but as ever out of place and upsetting. And irony drips here: As they are arguing about how to address an expression of racism in our community, Gibson’s misogyny runs rampant. He is malignant.

there’s not a board of 5, its a board of 1.

I feel far safer now…..thank you supervisors. This decision rivals the works of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.