SLO County Planning Commissioner's Facebook posts spark countywide reaction

Posted at 6:09 PM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 22:27:28-05

A San Luis Obispo County planning commissioner has removed some politically-charged posts from his Facebook page.

But those posts have already sparked quite the conversation across the county with some community groups demanding 4th District Planning Commissioner Jim Harrison be reprimanded.

"It is unfortunate that people have resorted to this type of public expression of their anger and that goes for both sides," said Alice Leal, Nipomo resident.

Harrison is under fire for sharing what some deem offensive posts on Facebook.

There were multiple posts up at one time this past Friday, but they have now been taken down.

One of them was a meme depicting U.S. House Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Nazi uniform.

Harrison also shared an image that depicts a donkey with a swastika, an obvious jab at Democrats.

Nipomo residents KSBY spoke with Monday said everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but those in public office should use caution when expressing them

"My personal opinion I can keep to myself or voice to my friends but I don't need to put it on social media to where now you make people mad at you," said Jerry Davis, Nipomo resident.

With the current political climate, they say it's best to steer clear of anything that divides our community even more.

"You have to have a difference of opinion. Expressing it like Harrison did is not appropriate either, but there is just no more discussion anymore. It just seems like there is animosity on both sides," Leal said.

Some on social media said Harrison crossed a line and should pay the consequences.

Others see nothing wrong with the content of the posts.

KSBY did reach out to Harrison for comment but he did not respond to our messages.

Harrison was appointed to the non-partisan position back in 2015 by Supervisor Lynn Compton.

KSBY also reached out to Supervisor Compton but were not able to speak with her. A member of her team said she was out of the office.

Harrison was named Nipomo Citizen of the Year for 2019 by the South County Chambers of Commerce for being involved in various community events and initiatives.

On Monday, a coalition of community groups sent an open letter calling on the South County Chambers of Commerce to rescind the honor and asking Compton to remove Harrison from his job with the planning commission.

The letter was signed by Bend the Arc: Jewish Action San Luis Obispo, R.A.C.E. Matters SLO County, The Diversity Coalition of San Luis Obispo County, the JCC-Federation of San Luis Obispo, People of Faith for Justice, and The Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Centra Coast (GALA).

It says, "Like all of us, Mr. Harrison is entitled to his political opinions and we take no issue with him on that account. Political agreement is not a requirement for public office or public acclaim. This demonstration of hatred and bigotry, however, should be an immediate disqualifier."

To read the full letter, click here.