On July 7, Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson announced that she’ll be running for reelection in November.
“There are lots of things that I want to do in the next two potential years,” Peterson told New Times. “Being mayor is a full-time job, and you have more of an opportunity to move things forward than you would as a regular council member.”
When asked about the proudest accomplishments of her two years as mayor thus far, Peterson cited rebalancing the budget of the South SLO County Sanitation District and increasing the transparency of various SLO County government committees on which she's served.
If elected, Peterson said she’ll focus on moving ahead on infrastructure projects already underway in Grover: building the city’s long-awaited lodge and conference center, enhancing the reliability of the municipal water supply, and installing fiber-optic cables.
In July 2013, Peterson placed herself in the center of a tiff over the controversial “dust rule” governing the Oceano Dunes. She advocated for repealing the rule, siding with off-highway vehicle advocates who desire unfettered access to the dunes.
Peterson’s advocacy—which some considered improper—ultimately resulted in her removal from the county Air Pollution Control District (APCD) board on Dec. 16 and led to several tense Grover Beach City Council meetings.
Peterson said that residual effects from the dust rule kerfuffle wouldn’t impact her candidacy or political philosophy, but also changed her tune on the matter.
“I wasn’t looking for a repeal of the dust rule, I was just looking for installation of best practices in government, and [the APCD] is doing that now,” Peterson said. “Other APCD board members were not keen to have me around, but I don’t really have any animosity about that.”
Peterson said no one has signed up yet to oppose her, and added that the nomination period for seats on the Grover council runs from July 14 to Aug. 8. Council seats currently held by Bill Nicolls and Glenn Marshall are also up for grabs in the Nov. 4 election.
“I’ve already raised more than I did for all of my 2012 campaign,” Peterson said. “I feel like I have broad support, and I’m excited.”