Debbie Peterson was on the chopping block—or at least her seat on the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) board was—four months ago. A push to remove her from that position failed then.
But not this time.
On Dec. 16, the Grover Beach City Council voted on a variety of appointments and board seats, approving a package that included booting the mayor from the APCD board.
The vote was 4-1. Peterson herself was the only dissenter.
The APCD drama harkens back to July and August, when Peterson spearheaded an effort to repeal the APCD’s “Dust Rule” governing the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
That rule allows the APCD to fine California State Parks when and if dust blowing from the area exceeds state and federal standards. Peterson irked some of her colleagues on the City Council and APCD board by publicly circulating a petition to nix the dust rule. That petition failed.
While Grover Beach council members Karen Bright and Glenn Marshall supported Peterson during an Aug. 5 council vote on the mayor’s potential removal from the APCD board, both Bright and Marshall voted to replace her on Dec. 16. Bright will be Grover Beach’s new representative on the APCD board, while Peterson will serve as an alternate.
“Like in August, there was a lot of pressure put on the council by certain members of the APCD,” Peterson told New Times. “I believe our Grover Beach council members were pawns in their game.”
Peterson said she was disappointed at her dismissal from the APCD board, and that voting her off the board after only one year was politically motivated and unusual.
Bright told New Times that she didn’t consider her vote to be a flip-flop; she always intended for Peterson to finish her one-year term and then be replaced on the board.
Marshall said that Peterson deserved to finish her term, but added that his allegiance lies with Bright, who he feels will be a more experienced, unbiased representative.