Local group sparks recall attempt against Bruce Gibson



Second District Supervisor Bruce Gibson is less than a year into his fifth four-year term. He's weathered a vote recount process, and now he's facing a recall attempt.

On Oct. 27, a group called the Committee to Support the Recall of Supervisor Bruce Gibson served the supervisor a notice of intention to recall at his residence.

In a press release sent to New Times, the committee claimed Gibson must be recalled on grounds of violating his oath of office to the U.S. and state constitutions, a sense of contempt for "forgotten" taxpayers in the county, verbal abuse and mockery of speakers at the Board of Supervisors meeting, and a misrepresentation of the county's legislative platform at the state level. The committee didn't respond to New Times' request for comment.

Gibson told New Times that several points raised in the press release are a "collection of misrepresentation, lies, and political grievances."

"I would emphasize that two of the main proponents of the recall are candidates [John Whitworth and Bruce Jones] that I defeated in elections last year," he said via email. "Apparently, they're looking for a do-over."

CONTINUED PUSHBACK Second District Supervisor Bruce Gibson claimed that former opponents John Whitworth and Bruce Jones are the “main proponents” behind the effort to get 7,500 signatures to start a recall process against him. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • CONTINUED PUSHBACK Second District Supervisor Bruce Gibson claimed that former opponents John Whitworth and Bruce Jones are the “main proponents” behind the effort to get 7,500 signatures to start a recall process against him.

A representative of the 2nd District since 2007, Gibson returned as the area's leader in late 2022 after a narrow victory, albeit in a different landscape. The adoption of the since-withdrawn Patten map redrew Gibson's district, elbowing out Los Osos and Morro Bay while pulling in Atascadero, Templeton, San Miguel, and Lake Nacimiento. Gibson ran against retired Templeton doctor Bruce Jones. Thirteen votes put Gibson over the edge, but that victory met a hand recount request filed by San Miguel resident Darcia Stebbens.

The SLO County Clerk-Recorder's Office affirmed Gibson's win after the recount and took Stebbens to small claims court for unpaid fees stemming from her request. Stebbens still owes the office almost $5,000 and awaits a trial de novo hearing on the case.

At the Oct. 31 Board of Supervisors meeting, she approached the dais during public comment to play a video clip of Gibson speaking at a Sacramento press conference about an amendment to lower the voter threshold for raising taxes.

"I wanted to speak on perspective and representation," she said at the meeting. "Elections have consequences and selections have dire consequences. I have a video I'd like to show you concerning one of our supervisors who's representing something from this county that is opposed to what he's speaking about here."

In the video, Gibson expressed his support for Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) 1. It reduces the voter threshold for special taxes from a two-thirds majority to 55 percent.

"The two-thirds threshold has throttled crucial housing and infrastructure projects that we need to solve critical problems," Gibson said in the video.

He illustrated that with an example from SLO County—the half-cent sales tax measure called Measure J that failed to pass in 2016 despite more than 66 percent of people voting in its favor.

"That failure cost us. It cost us $25 million a year in sales tax revenue, it cost us almost another $1 million a year of augmented gas tax, and it has cost us tens of millions of dollars in grant funds that we would have otherwise qualified for if we were a self-help county," Gibson said in the video. "The ACA 1 is not a radical idea. It simply aligns the voter threshold at 55 percent, which has been in place for schools for quite some time, and we don't hear complaints about that, and the schools have been successful."

The supervisor's support of ACA 1 appeared to make his detractors fearful of a repeal of Proposition 13. The 1978 amendment values property at its 1975 fair market value and restricts annual increases in property taxes with inflation in mind. The recall committee's press release claims that ACA 1 would destroy the benefits of Proposition 13, adding that Gibson's support for it is contradictory.

"This is in complete opposition to the SLO County Board of Supervisor's unanimous vote in February 2023 to continue its support of Proposition 13 as a part of its state legislative platform," the press release stated.

Whitworth, one of Gibson's primary opponents, also gave public comment claiming that even "progressive liberals are angry."

"They've signed petitions and they're gonna sign petitions. We need 7,500 [signatures], we're gonna get way more than that," he said. "Prop. 13 ... that is what people are angry about and you supporting the repealing of 13 is really what they're angry about and that's why the recall will be successful."

In the committee's notice of intention to recall Gibson, other allegations included an abuse of power by "getting rid" of former County Administrative Officer Wade Horton and replacing him with a "crony," and remaining silent on the "bribery, extortion, and corruption" of late Supervisor Adam Hill.

Gibson shot back with a filing of his own to the County Clerk on Oct. 31, stating that he expects the recall attempt to fail.

"They're MAGA fanatics and this is just what they do," Gibson wrote in his answer to the notice. "[SLO County] voters are smart and they'll see through this vain attempt to nullify last year's election."


Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Add a comment