San Luis Obispo County supervisor accused of threatening state
December 26, 2012
EDITORS NOTE: See Adam Hill’s email calling a state parks official contemptuous, misleading and dishonest at the bottom of this story.
By KAREN VELIE
San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill’s “scathing emails” have now caught the attention of California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.
After reviewing what she called a scathing and threatening email, Harris produced a motion asking the court to include Hill’s correspondence in the court record as part of an action her office filed against the county air district in which Hill is on the board.
Generally, attorneys tell clients involved in lawsuits not to correspond with litigants.
In mid-October, Harris filed the more than 1,800-page claim against San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) over its contentious Oceano Dunes dust rule, focusing on the alleged scientific flaws in the APCD’s study.
Earlier this year, both Friends of the Dunes and Kevin Rice filed lawsuits charging the APCD with failing to follow California laws when it passed a rule requiring state parks to reduce particulate matter blowing from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, or face fines of $1,000 per day.
In his Nov. 16 email, Hill threatens to fence off part of the Ocean Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, a state-run park. Hill goes on to say officials with state parks have treated San Luis Obispo County with “contempt,” have acted “dishonestly,” and that they are “better suited to work for the Koch brothers or ExxonMobil.”
Hill’s aggressive email undermined an APCD Board action that he participated in. Just days after the Attorney General filed its action against the APCD, its board voted to go around state parks and seek help from the Governor’s Cabinet in implementing its dust rule.
On Nov. 14, the board agreed to have the group’s chair, John Hamon, send a letter detailing its concerns.
Nevertheless, just two days later, Hill sent his alleged threatening email to APCD head Larry Allen with copies going to state parks, Secretary for Natural Resource John Laird, Senator Bill Monning, the governor’s chief of staff and a several local elected officials. Hamon, however, failed to send the agreed-on letter.
Hill’s contentious email to the state is one of several he has sent to those who question his or his girlfriend’s actions or views.
On Dec. 18, Hill lashed out at local business owner Bill Thoma for posing questions about a proposed homeless facility and seeking more detailed information from the facility’s planners. Hill’s girlfriend, Dee Torres, heads a local non-profit homeless services division, the group behind the proposed homeless center.
A few days later, Hill apologized for his attack on Thoma, promising to be more civil in the future in his dealings with the public.
Earlier this year, Hill began bullying CalCoastNews’ advertisers. Along with his requests that local advertisers not work with CCN, he falsely claimed the FBI was investigating CCN reporters for fraud, something federal officials have rebutted.
Hill’s campaign against CCN began after he heard its reporters were looking into allegations of financial misdeeds committed against homeless persons by local homeless services employees.
At this time, it is unknown what impacts Hill’s erratic communications will have on the lawsuit against the local APCD or the implementation of the dust rule.
All three lawsuits requesting that the dust rule be overturned are scheduled to be heard in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on Jan. 24.
Adam Hill’s email:
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 9:50 AM
Cc: Jenkins, Phil; Robertson, Aaron; Beland, Janelle; Larry Allen (email@example.com); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Jan Marx; Raymond A.Biering; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Regarding letter dated Oct. 23, 2012
I would like to make some salient points, and I have also included Secretary Laird, Senator-elect Monning, and the Governor’s Chief of Staff in this email (they are Bcc’ed as I only have their personal email addresses):
1. The current position of the OHV division of State Parks, which now includes suing our county’s Air District, is embarrassing and wholly undermines the Brown administration’s work on air pollution and other important environmental issues. It is my contention that OHV Chief [REDACTED] has treated SLO County with contempt, and has spoken and acted in utterly misleading and dishonest ways.
2. This position will have the effect of forcing SLO County’s hand. All along we have tried to balance the interests of the OHV recreation area with the health concerns of our residents. We believed we could mitigate the dust and keep the recreation area open. But now we will likely be advised by our counsel that State Parks’ actions have left us entirely vulnerable to a slew of legitimate lawsuits from our citizens. This will inevitably necessitate SLO County having to fence off and patrol the Le Grande tract, thereby significantly reducing the recreation area.
3. The embrace of scientific denialism by State parks is incredibly disconcerting in that it only worsens already bad relations between state agencies and local governments and because it is redolent of the worst kind of special interest politics. Perhaps [REDACTED] would be better suited working for the Koch Brothers or ExxonMobil.
In closing, I am hoping that we can arrange a meeting as soon as possible before this escalates further.
Please circulate this to General Jackson as well.
District Three Supervisor
San Luis Obispo County
1055 Monterery, Rm D430
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408