Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill are a disingenuous duo in need of baby pacifiers

Sharp divisions have arisen between the conservative majority and liberal minority on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. From left, Adam Hill, Lynn Compton, John Peschong, Debbie Arnold and Bruce Gibson.
Sharp divisions have arisen between the conservative majority and liberal minority on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. From left, Adam Hill, Lynn Compton, John Peschong, Debbie Arnold and Bruce Gibson.

The not-too-dynamic duo are at it again. With their latest “Minority Report,” published by The Tribune last weekend, San Luis Obispo County Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill leveled another venomous diatribe against the board majority. But they did so by accusing the majority of Gibson and Hill’s very own shortcomings.

Pouncing upon Supervisors John Peschong, Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton for the recent $8 million budgetary error is only the latest ploy in the blame game of this disingenuous duo. The truth is that nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than stooping to their level, the members of the majority have chosen to rise above the fray. But lest the public starts believing the Gibson/Hill propaganda, leave it to someone who respects that majority to expose the errors of its would-be tormentors.

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After Gibson and Hill claimed the board majority had “left the administrative office adrift” when Chief Administrative Officer Dan Buckshi left for a more lucrative position and was “taking too much time” finding an interim CAO, the other three supervisors joined Hill and Gibson in appointing the current interim CAO, Guy Savage. Savage was the last man standing at the time, and the only person Gibson and Hill ever wanted for the job. And under whose watch was this pricey mistake discovered? Guy Savage, the very person Gibson/Hill wanted to appoint to the job.

Instead of blaming those members of the board who had nothing to do with this mistake that Gibson/Hill propagated, why don’t they own up to their responsibility for it?

NEW_gurnee mug
T. Keith Gurnee Barry Goyette

The duo’s “minority report” goes on to blame the majority for other problems the duo themselves caused. Blaming Lynn Compton for leading the charge for a $1.5 million allocation to South County Parks — only after Gibson/Hill participated in plundering nearly $10 million of public facility impact fees collected in Compton’s district — was the height of hypocrisy. The “pork-barrel funding” was expropriated by Gibson and Hill from the South County to fund projects in their own districts back when they were in control of the board.

Blaming Debbie Arnold for increasing the county’s budget for rural roads continues to stick in their craw. Ironically, in the same issue of The Tribune as the Gibson/Hill “minority report” was a major article reporting on the poor state of roads in our county. Looks like Arnold is trying to solve the problem rather than exacerbate it.

The board majority’s decision to allocate funding to the county Flood Control and Water Conservation District was a wise one after the voter’s defeat of the North County Groundwater Management District. Before the vote on that district, Gibson and Hill avowed to abide by the results of that vote, only to break that promise by asking the state to intervene in managing our groundwater resources. Did the duo really think we needed such a top-down, over-regulatory approach run by a dysfunctional state government?

Gibson and Hill then castigated the majority for their cautious approach on cannabis regulation, by claiming that the majority “tore apart the thoughtful work of staff” on the ordinance. Isn’t it the board’s job to properly study and evaluate staff’s work?

Peschong, Arnold and Compton have spent hundreds of hours studying a subject they were previously unfamiliar with, handling it as carefully as should be expected from a concerned majority charged with protecting the youth of our community.

By contrast, Gibson and Hill have become the primary boosters of cannabis. With their Wild West “let cannabis be” approach, perhaps their position is being guided by the promise of lucrative political contributions both now and into the future.

Finally, accusing their colleagues of “reflexive ideology” and “political dogma,” I know of no two public officials more befitting of those terms than Gibson and Hill. Their studied antagonism toward supervisors Peschong, Arnold and Compton has rendered Hill and Gibson little more than whining political eunuchs.

Instead of accusing the board majority of their own failures and shortcomings, couldn’t they make any effort to help peace break out? I often wonder what would happen if they were to calmly reach across the aisle to Peschong, Arnold and Compton to offer a little support for the betterment of the entire community.

Alas, they seem content to be flame-throwing outliers more interested in notoriety and grandstanding than their ability to properly benefit their districts.

If they continue to shoot off their immature, ideological mouths, it won’t be long before someone tries to stuff a pacifier in them.

T. Keith Gurnee is a planner and urban designer who once served on the San Luis Obispo City Council while a student at Cal Poly.