SLOCOG turns on Hill and picks Mecham for president
January 9, 2013
County Supervisor Adam Hill overwhelmingly lost his bid to become the next president of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments on a day he did not attend the regional board meeting.
Supervisor Bruce Gibson nominated Hill for the presidency Wednesday, but later withdrew his nomination after the SLOCOG board supported Supervisor Frank Mecham instead. Of the 11 board members present, only Gibson and San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx backed Hill.
Hill did not attend due to the flu despite being present at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
Four people spoke against Hill during public comment, including former Congresswoman Andrea Seastrand.
“Hill’s history of bullying does not make him an appropriate choice for SLOCOG president,” Seastrand said.
In the past two months, Hill sent out disparaging emails attacking state parks officials and a San Luis Obispo business owner. In a November 16 email, Hill accused state park officials of engaging in science denial, and threatened to fence off part of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. On December 18, he lashed out against Thoma Electric owner Bill Thoma for distributing a flyer that raised concerns about a proposed homeless shelter’s proximity to local businesses.
The SLOCOG board voted 9-2 in favor of Mecham, and then voted 9-2 to make Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham vice president.
Gibson nominated Marx for vice president, but withdrew that nomination as well when it lacked support. Marx initially seconded her own nomination, and she pled her case to become vice president of the regional body. The San Luis Obispo mayor argued her city often gets passed over in board leadership appointments.
In response to the public comments about Hill, Gibson said the speakers had political axes to grind. Outgoing chair Fred Strong warned speakers to address the board in a respectful manner. Higginbotham, however, said she had just completed an ethics class and that members of the board were the ones who needed to change their behavior.
Despite the lack of support from the SLOCOG board, Hill may still pursue the presidency of the Air Pollution Control District.