Public speaks out about Tommy Gong, County Clerk-Recorder resigning 

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors regular meeting was held on Tuesday, Jun. 8 at 9 a.m.

The meeting opened with public comment on the consent agenda, which focused on item 8, the request to recognize the Vitality Advisory Council of Oceano as a community advisory council to the Oceano area, and item 9, the resolution recognizing the potential need for renewable wind power generation.

Comments regarding the advisory council of Oceano came both in support of the new council, with members of the public stating that the previous council did not represent them as well as in opposition of creating a new council when the existing council is sufficient and also seeking more representatives so those who need to feel heard can do so by joining.

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After public comment and debate among the Supervisors, Chairperson Lynn Compton, whose district it is, spoke about her discussions with her constituents and that she isn’t surprised they feel the need to create a new council. She dismissed the misconception that the new advisory council is single-minded about the OHV riding area, and ultimately she supported the new council. Compton made a motion to recognize the Vitality Advisory Council of Oceano, and the motion passed 3-2, with Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Dawn Ortiz-Legg in opposition.

Item 9 on the agenda heard comments mainly from those in the fishing industry, explaining how detrimental this change would be to those who fish commercially off the coast. Many of the callers had felt they should have been sought out for input. Many also have already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in fishing boats, equipment, and permits to fish these waters, which would be significantly impacted by these changes.

Supervisor Ortiz-Legg pulled the item for future consideration and to look more into the eco-system, including the local fisherman, and see what impacts would be had.

The Board heard the COVID Update from County Health Officer Penny Borenstein, which began with the good news that the County has moved into the Yellow Tier, just before the tier system goes away next week. It was advised that guidance on mask-wearing, largely for those who are unvaccinated, will be coming soon and that employers should still look to Cal/OSHA for requirements in the workplace. Mega settings with upwards of 5,000 people indoors or 10,000 outdoors will still require masks.

Lastly, Borenstein stated that those who have had the disease should still get vaccinated, and there is no longer any restriction on waiting, which was put in place due to the availability of vaccines. She stated that there is clear data showing that vaccine immunity is stronger and longer lasting than those who had the disease.

The meeting opened up to public comment for items not on the agenda, which came from many residents expressing their sadness and dismay over Tommy Gong, the County Clerk-Recorder, taking a position in Northern California and many people placing blame on the recent election review and subsequent comments as the catalyst for the move.

Many other commenters discussed the increased cannabis tax, stating that it is too high and will put small local businesses out of business, with other counties being nearly half the tax rate.

Chairperson Compton, at this time, made a motion to bring back to the Board of Supervisors the discussion to name the co-located dispatch facility after Detective Benedetti. The Facility is a $30 million facility with a completion date within the next year. The motion was seconded by Supervisor John Peschong. The motion passed 5-0

Item 31, a hearing to consider a resolution directing the collection of existing service charges on the FY 2021-22, was passed 4-0, with Chairperson Compton recusing herself for unspecified reasons.

Item 32, a hearing to discuss the county growth, was discussed, and the staff recommendation was to approve the increase allowing 1129 new dwelling units county-wide. The motion to approve staff recommendations passed 5-0.

Item 33 modified language in the coastal zone land use ordinance to be consistent with the first amendment and content neutrality. The purpose was the protection of the public right of physical access to the coast.

Item 35 was a request for direction regarding conducting a hydrogeologic study of the Adelaida area. Tasks 2-8 were presented for review, and Supervisor Gibson stated that the data is critical before proceeding. Supervisor Peschong opted to make a motion to proceed with task 2 only and confirmed that they find it exempt from CEQA. The motion passed 5-0.

Item 36 was a hearing to consider the Local Agency Management Program (LAMP). Approval of the proposed County of San Luis Obispo LAMP and proposed Ordinance amendments will allow the County to enforce State regulations or standards for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems and be consistent with the County’s goal of promoting well-governed, healthy communities.

Public comment from Gary Kirkland expressed his concern, “if the ordinance as described requires septic tank business people to evaluate septic tanks, it is in their best interest to find something wrong so they can charge thousands of dollars to fix it.”

The motion passed 5-0, with Supervisor Compton stating that while she didn’t like it she will support it.

The next meeting of the Supervisors will be a budget hearing held on Monday, Jun. 14 at 9 a.m., and the links to the meeting and agenda can be found on the county website.