Peterson resigns from Grover Beach City Council



Grover Beach City Councilmember Debbie Peterson is resigning, citing concerns over alleged corruption in both the city and county.

BOWING OUT Debbie Peterson resigned from the Grover Beach City Council on Feb. 19. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DEBBIE PETERSON
  • Photo Courtesy Of Debbie Peterson
  • BOWING OUT Debbie Peterson resigned from the Grover Beach City Council on Feb. 19.

Peterson, who previously served as Grover Beach mayor and a City Council member, was most recently elected to the council in 2016. She announced her resignation effective on Feb. 19 in a letter sent to local media outlets. In the letter, Peterson cited concerns over "insider games" that she claimed are taking place on both the council and SLO County's sewer and waste management agencies.

"I cannot betray the trust of those who elected me by looking the other way to avoid rocking the boat," Peterson wrote.

As evidence, Peterson cites her work in hiring former IRS auditor Carl Knudson to investigate the South SLO County Sanitation District, which eventually led to the criminal conflict of interest prosecution of its former chief executive. She also mentioned the ongoing investigation into the SLO County Integrated Waste Management Authority in connection with allegations of fiscal management.

Peterson claimed that Grover Beach continued to appoint officials involved in "double dealing" to the boards that oversee those agencies. As of Feb. 20, no Grover Beach council members have been charged or named by the SLO District Attorney's Office in connection with either the closed sanitation district criminal case, or the ongoing waste management investigation.

Peterson also claimed that she resigned because of the way the council created and awarded its licenses for commercial cannabis businesses, which she characterized as "pay-to-play." Officials from the SLO County District Attorney's Office told New Times that they were not aware of any ongoing criminal investigation into the Grover Beach City Council or any of its members by the office's Public Integrity Unit, which investigates conflict of interest allegations among other crimes.

Peterson's resignation comes more than one month after the council voted to appoint a new member, attorney Desi Lance, to a seat left open after the November 2018 elections. Once again, the remaining members of the council will now have to decide whether to hold another appointment process to fill Peterson's vacant seat, or hold a special election. Δ


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