Straight-Talking Former Mayor Pens Memoir That Teaches Readers How to Spot Local Government Corruption

LOS ANGELES, June 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As a former mayor, council member, planning commissioner, and an advocate for good government with a propensity for "telling it like it is," Debbie Peterson spent years serving communities, seeing people’s needs go unmet because of gross misappropriation of funds. With her new best-selling Amazon book The Happiest Corruption: Sleaze, Lies and Suicide in a California Beach Town, Peterson has combined insider political analysis, breaking-news thrills, and a historical account into a true-crime story that follows determined citizens who worked out how local government corruption happens, how to spot it, and how to fix it.

Peterson says, "This is insider crime history — my account of politicians, government officials, developers, contractors, and cannabis kings who operate a criminal machine that streams through my small county. It is bankrolled by public funds, campaign donations, and pallet loads of cash generated by the most valuable crop in the nation. As the mayor of a friendly little beach town, my story should be a happy memoir. Instead, it evolved into a sinister citizens-turned-spy suspense epic of bribery, extortion, dark money, and death."

Peterson has been interviewed by everyone from the Los Angeles Times to the BBC and Script Networks. In an interview, she can talk about

  • How a beach and vineyard paradise Oprah once called the Happiest City in America came to be riddled with corruption
  • How to fight City Hall
  • The one American value that unites us all, regardless of race, religion, or politics
  • Whatever happened to government by the people
  • Women’s often-overlooked role in politics

"After reading this book, people will know how to beat City Hall at its worst and how to be City Hall at its best," Peterson says. "Most important of all, communities will now know how to be sure their hometown doesn’t become the next Happiest Corruption in America."

Praise for The Happiest Corruption

"A must-read, firsthand account of trouble in paradise from a former mayor who spent years in the political trenches. Peterson offers a much-needed primer for keeping local government open and accountable. Buy two copies. One for you and one for your local representative." – Dave Congalton, KVEC Radio host

"Bringing the message of being a good citizen to more people is a noble task, indeed." Valerie Cassity, owner/editor, Costa Creative Services

"Debbie Peterson is civic-minded and has pledged countless volunteer hours to work on city councils and other community service orgs. She is committed to positive change." Sharon Biddle, publisher, The Real Estate Book

About the Author

Debbie Peterson is the former mayor of Grover Beach, Calif. She is the host of the new weekly podcast "The Corruption Chronicles" and is the author of three other books: Local Government 101; How to Beat City Hall; and 365 Ways of Good Govern-ers. Her businesses have included retail cafes, specialist bakeries, a trucking company, and distribution outlets in Scotland and London that grew to 95 employees and $7 million in annual sales in 1992. She studied journalism, radio-TV, and public relations at California State University, Fresno, and the University of Idaho.

Contact: Debbie Peterson at (805) 550-4490;

SOURCE Debbie Peterson