OPINION by T. KEITH GURNEE
The first San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisor’s meeting on Jan. 9 is now history. The selection of John Peschong as chairman of the board and Debbie Arnold as vice chair is now a fact, despite the Tribune’s advocacy for a troubled Adam Hill as chairman of the board.
While the outcome was hardly a surprise, it was a remarkable meeting for a number of reasons.
Before acting on the nominations, Chairman Peschong opened the meeting to public comment. Over 30 people testified as to who should be board chair in 2018. Not a single person spoke in favor of Supervisor Adam Hill. Could it be that the new “Progressives” have abandoned this self-described progressive?
As reported by the Tribune, the commenters “ripped” Hill as a bully, as “emotionally unstable to lead,” and for his “shameful, reprehensible behavior.” For Hill to have quietly sat there and listened to speaker after speaker challenge and argue against him had to be appalling thing to endure.
And then the supervisors voted. Clearly supervisors Hill and Gibson had to know what was coming. But instead of voting for Peschong and Arnold after the motions were made, to no one’s surprise they voted against them. Instead of recognizing reality and seizing the opportunity to begin building a bridge of respect with the board majority, they dropped right back into their traditional negativity. They just can’t help themselves.
But most stunning were the comments made by District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson. After hearing from so many people who sincerely spoke to the issue, he wryly dismissed all public comments in a manner veritably dripping with arrogance.
Thankfully, what dominated the meeting were the comments of praise for Supervisor John Peschong’s measured and respectful leadership of the board during 2017 that warranted the extension of his term into 2018. Upon accepting his nomination as Chair, Peschong’s comment that he “could disagree without being disagreeable” seemed to resonate with the crowd.
Indeed, with this kind of start, this promises to be an interesting year. Perhaps under his leadership, peace and civility might just have a chance to break out. But it will take the duo of hill and Gibson for that to happen. One can only hope, but I won’t be holding my breath.