APCD board rejects Hill’s bid for chairmanship
January 23, 2013
The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District Board chose Supervisor Paul Teixiera over Supervisor Adam Hill to serve as its chair for 2013 following heated debate about Hill’s recent behavior.
Hill served as vice chair in 2012, putting him in line to become the new chair. But, many members of the public spoke against his nomination, and six board members voted it down, creating a six-six deadlock. The board then unanimously elected Teixeira.
Hill’s failed bid to become chair marked the second time in January that a regional board rejected Hill serving as its leader. The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments chose Supervisor Frank Mecham over Hill to serve as its president earlier this month, despite Hill serving, too, as vice president of SLOCOG in 2012.
Teixiera, who is now chair of both the Board of Supervisor and the air district, voted in favor of Hill prior to his own nomination. Many people expected Teixeira to side with Mecham and Arnold, forming a conservative majority of supervisors.
But, Teixeira has now voted in favor of Hill and Supervisor Bruce Gibson for prominent county leadership positions since the formation of the new Board of Supervisors. Teixeira voted earlier this month to elect Gibson vice chair of the Board of Supervisors, aligning him to serve as chairman in his reelection year.
Public comment on the air district chairmanship lasted about an hour, consisting almost entirely of speakers criticizing or supporting Hill. The majority of the board members also addressed Hill directly after Gibson nominated him to become chair.
Both public speakers and board members who did not support Hill’s nomination discussed an email Hill sent in November to public servants across the state disparaging officials in state parks. Attorney General Kamala Harris filed Hill’s email as evidence in her lawsuit against the air district over its Oceano dunes dust rule.
New board member Supervisor Debbie Arnold voted against Hill, citing the email as her reason for doing so.
“That email could possibly be used to adversely affect the outcome in a lawsuit,” Arnold said. “Also, the negotiations with state parks could be adversely affected by emails such as this.”
Hill defended his actions in a last minute plea to become chair.
“Speaking up for what’s right is something that is really the reason why I’m here,” Hill said.
Hill also said that the debate over his nomination damaged “collegiality and public trust.”
Several speakers from the Nipomo Mesa, who support the dust rule, spoke in favor of Hill’s nomination.
After the board deadlocked on the vote to name Hill chair, Morro Bay Councilman Noah Smukler nominated Teixeira. The board unanimously elected Atascadero Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi vice chair after its unanimous vote for Teixeira.