Hill hammers Thoma for homeless questions
December 20, 2012
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
A San Luis Obispo County supervisor lashed out Wednesday at a local business owner for posing questions about a proposed homeless facility and seeking more detailed information from the facility’s planners.
In a disparaging email, District Three’s Adam Hill assailed Bill Thoma for distributing what the elected official called a “fear-mongering flyer.”
Thoma said he was simply attempting to inform other local business people about the county’s plans for the homeless shelter’s location and construction inside a business park.
“There could be a better way to do this,” he said, “and I think it warrants an open discussion.”
The bombastic supervisor wrote in the widely-circulated email that “Thoma is determined to defeat this project no matter what… (and) has shown himself to be selfish and dishonest.”
Hill apparently was angered after seeing Thoma’s single-sheet pamphlet raising a number of issues Thoma suggested should be considered before the current plan goes forward. Thoma also contends that business owners who will be impacted by the center’s placement have not been fully informed of county plans and approvals.
Proposed location of the planned 200-bed facility is on a one-acre Higuera Street plot adjacent to the county’s Social Services Department building.
Thoma wants more consideration of a nine-acre parcel on Prado Road, behind a trailer rental outlet, as an alternate location.
“I’m not sure what set him off,” said Thoma of Hill’s outburst. “We’re not asking that much.”
Concerns raised by Thoma and a growing number of fellow local business owners include overnight campers, parking, vandalism, crime, concerns for safety of employees and others, trespassing and littering.
“We need to get more people involved to let our elected officials know this location and its terms are unacceptable,” Thoma wrote in the brochure.
In response, Hill bristled that he has “had enough of Mr. Thoma’s passive-aggressive attitude and actions” and intimated that if the project would fail, “the blame should fall squarely on the hunched shoulders of Bill Thoma.”
Hill’s broadside came after he received a copy of the Thoma brochure from Dee Torres, Homeless Services Director for the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo Co., Inc. She is Hill’s long-time girlfriend.
Several public officials, such as Hill, who have connections to CAPSLO, have repeatedly approved government funds to be spent on the organization while battling for its programs. Both SLO County Supervisor Jim Patterson and SLO City Councilman John Ashbaugh, proponents of the proposed center, sit on the CAPSLO board.
Late Wednesday, Ashbaugh responded to Hill’s objections to Thoma’s flyer by asking that further email discussions that place the proposed homeless center in a negative light not be distributed.
“I would urge all parties included in this email to avoid further email exchanges or the circulation of defamatory materials in the near future” Ashbaugh said in his email. “The circulation of a flyer opposing the approved Homeless Services Center site has caught many of us off-guard and ill-prepared to respond in any manner that is productive.”
Bill Thoma’s brochure