Debbie Peterson: Sleaze, Lies, and Suicide


“My best advice is, is if you can find a candidate who doesn’t do the dirty tricks,

if you can find a candidate who’s really willing to talk on issues,

who’s really willing to tell the truth, who doesn’t run nasty ads,

go with that person, because they are a decent individual.”


-Debbie Peterson

Bump In The Road:

Debbie Peterson on Corruption in a California Beach Town



Debbie Peterson: Sleaze, Lies and Suicide In a California Beach Town


What a plot! And it’s all true.

Debbie Peterson was urged by friends and neighbors to run for City Council and later for Mayor in Grover Beach, CA. Grover Beach would appear to be a sleepy coastal town. But as Debbie got involved and invoked some common sense (not to mention a forensic audit) it became clear that corruption was rampant.

Debbie’s curiosity sent her down a rabbit hole of kickbacks, lies and outright larceny. Throw in some drugs, an FBI raid and a local history of criminality, and you have the story of this small town.

What did Debbie learn from all this?


“If the deeper you dig, the worse it gets, you’re going to find that as you keep digging,

it’s going to keep getting worse.”


Debbie observes that there are two types of people who run for public office. Those that serve and those that do it for their own benefit. Her advice to citizens everywhere, especially on a local level is to get involved.

Studies show that the happiest populations around the world are those with social cohesion, where they trust their neighbors and their institutions. In this environment, there tends to be low levels of corruption. But how do you develop those relationships in neighborhoods where one opens the garage door, drives in and closes it behind them? People don’t really interact much with their neighbors or their community.


And if we don’t interact with each other, how do we develop the social cohesion

that we need for good government?


Debbie notes that:


“If we want to be well represented, then we have to show up.

We have to stand up; we have to speak up.

We have to participate.”


Debbie’s book, The Happiest Corruption: Sleaze, Lies, & Suicide in a California Beach Town is available on Amazon.


Debbie Peterson On Corruption In a Sleepy Beach Town


“This is such a wonderful, idyllic little town and nobody wanted to believe it.”


“I always asked questions, and I’m very curious.”


“We really have almost a 200 year history of corruption.”


“What I say to people is watch, use the smell test.”


“And if something doesn’t seem right, then dig a little deeper.”



Bump in the Road

Everyone hits a bump in the road. The question becomes: What do you do with it?

I share stories about how people experience, manage and navigate life's bumps, hopefully using them as a pivot into a more conscious and meaningful life.