Thanks for all the comments.
It appears I was not all that clear in my post. Sorry about that. The structural part of the panels seems sound. No holes or terrible rust. I had it on the lift last week and it was not too bad overall.
The way the plastic rocker covers are mounted is with a relatively thin sheet metal piece that is welded to the rocker panel and that part of the panel is in tough shape. As one person astutely noted water gets between the plastic and the steel metal and it rusts.
I am not interested in doing something unsafe. I don’t want to invest more than the cost of a similar used car in better shape. I am not crazy or stupid!
I do know that state inspections can often be overly conservative, dogmatic, indiscriminate, self serving to the inspector’s employer and Dilbert like.
I believe the guy who said he glued on the panels purchased a rocker repair kit from a company that sells aftermarket body parts. I may have totally misunderstood him but I thought it was a way to repair / replace the plastic cover mounting brackets(which are welded to the rockers). I never saw it, and I am going on one conversation which he made sound relatively simple.
It may not exist as I understood it. I don’t know how to get in touch with this person for clarification. So I am posing the question here to a community of motor heads and with some luck I thought I may get some direction. Thanks to all who weighed in and thanks in advance to others who still may want to do so.