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Gibson holds over Anderson 

For the crowd of Bruce Gibson supporters huddled in an automotive garage on the north end of Cayucos, Election Night offered steady reassurance.

Sneaking out ahead 52-48 with the absentee count, Gibson slowly widened the margin to claim a 13-point victory over former Morro Bay mayor Rodger Anderson in the contentious District 2 supervisor race. The final tally arrived just before 11 p.m.

In his victory speech, Gibson demurely jeered an advertisement that called into question his status as a farmer and painted the candidate as an "oil baron."

The 11th-hour flier, issued by his opponent, mentioned a chunk of Chevron and Conoco-Phillips stock owned by the candidate in 2005. Gibson voted on a project involving the California-based Chevron in February, a move that would have spelled a potentially illegal conflict of interest if Gibson had not dealt the shares a month before.

"That was a smear campaign, but it didn't work," said the supervisor-elect. "You try to go negative with no substance ... this is the wrong district for that."

Though it was a low-traffic Election Night for the county, the evening witnessed a fairly anti-climactic end to two intrinsically linked races the terse battle for District 2 and the scuffle over Measure J. Gibson strongly opposed the Dalidio initiative, while Anderson supported it.

Yet, from a greater scope, the supervisor race also represented a fight for control of the board overlooking a politically balanced county. Shirley Bianchi often occupied the left end of a seesaw, with James Patterson nearby, Harry Ovitt and Jerry Lenthall across the plane, and the moderate Katcho Achadjian firmly planted above the fulcrum.

Liberals particularly North Coast conservationists feared that a successful bid by the more development-friendly Anderson would upset this balance.

"My record is one of concern for the environment, concern for the community," Gibson said. "I think my voice would be more like Shirley [Bianchi]'s than Rodger's would have been.

"The voice for those kinds of issues needs to be on the board."

Bianchi formally endorsed Gibson throughout the race. The outgoing District 2 supe showed up to lend her final show of support and congratulate him on the victory. Bianchi held the seat since 1998, serving as a planning commissioner for eight years before that.

"She's an inspiration to a lot of folks in District 2 me included," Gibson said. "She's a woman who has accomplished a lot. I'm proud to have her endorse me. I'm proud to know her, and find out what is on her desk."

One of the things on Bianchi's desk proved a source of many headaches to the local lawmaker and virtually every official involved: the Los Osos sewer controversy. Gibson announced no position on the debate over engineering solutions, but recognized the challenges of presenting a project that would garner a favorable 218 vote among the economically diverse and traditionally finicky district ratepayers.

"It's going to be a big thing in the next few years," he commented. "We need to pick the best alternative and get it done. It's easy to talk about and hard to do."


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