Supervisor Adam Hill demands Forbes Magazine retraction

January 22, 2014
Adam Hill

Adam Hill

By KAREN VELIE

Battling back against a storm of negative publicity following a Forbes Magazine commentary, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill has demanded a retraction from the national publication.

Hill accuses Forbes columnist Steven Hayward of making up information and ascribing false motives to Hill’s letter to the New Times last week. In the letter, Hill ridicules people in the community who speak out against or question government.

Hill even suggests Hayward was compensated by someone in San Luis Obispo County to write the Forbes’ article. In the past, Hill has made spurious claims that CalCoastNews reporters have been paid by his opponents to write articles about him, and pay sources to lie.

Hill’s email requesting a retraction:

“Mr. Hayward:

“Re: your latest Forbes column, doing some actual reporting and fact-checking is greatly encouraged. Also, you should not purposefully misrepresent things as you do in this paragraph about me:

“’If you pay attention and complain about this kind of rule, you tend to get the kind of response given last week by the incoming chairman of the board of the APCD, county commissioner Adam Hill. In a letter to the editor of the New Times, the local ‘alternative’ weekly, Hill makes clear that he views all critics of unaccountable bureaucratic rule as ‘conspiracy’ mongers:

“Now nowhere in my letter to the editor (which is black humor and has nothing to do with APCD rules) does it say I am referring to ‘all’or ANY ‘critics of unaccountable bureaucratic rule.'”

“You made that up, ascribed false motives to me, and in doing so, have potentially defamed me.

“While the timing of your column suggests you were coordinating with some SLO County folks, and that you may have even been paid by one of them to do this hit piece on our county gov, our APCD, and me, what I am asking for is a full retraction and an apology. If you cannot make your arguments in a factually responsible manner, you should not be writing such columns. I hope to hear from you and/or your editors within ten (10) working days.

“Adam Hill”

Hayward’s Jan. 21 email response:

“Dear Supervisor Hill:

“It certainly takes some moxie to complain about being libeled after your New Times screed describing a good portion of your fellow citizens as, among other things, people who “use cats as food tasters.” I gather you are unfamiliar with libel standards for elected officials by opinion writers, or are unacquainted with the way in which, for example, H.L. Mencken or James Wechsler routinely described elected officials decades before New York Times v. Sullivan, but in any case you may wish to check with the county counsel about the prospects for your cause of action. I’m sure he or she will laugh as much as I have over the notion.

“Perhaps you can clarify then: exactly who do you have in mind with your letter to the New Times? Would you care to name specific individuals, or a more specific description of the type of person you have in mind? It appears from the ellipses that the New Times may have edited your letter (or is that your standard punctuation?). Lacking this specificity, I see no reason whatsoever to qualify my characterization of your views and motives, for in my opinion it is accurate. If you’d care to send me the original unabridged version, I can assure it gets wider distribution than the New Times can give it. I note that this is not the first time remarks like this from you have been broadly controversial, and by all means I would delight in bringing you more national attention.

“In 15 years of working around government officials in Washington DC, and five years doing the same in Sacramento, I have never seen such tawdry expressions of contempt for fellow citizens from an elected official as is manifested in your New Times letter, and I note this not the first such public communication from you that has this tone. There is no possible ‘context’ that can redeem language of that kind.

“You observe that the ‘timing’ of my column suggests coordination, and further you allege that I may have been paid by someone there to do so. (Another irony failure on your part, but never mind.) I am paid by Forbes and Forbes alone for my articles, like my similar articles that have been solicited over the years by the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Wall Street Journal (etc. etc.), along with numerous magazines going back 25 years now. But if I had collaborated with local people on the substance of the story, so what? I see there is more than one part of the First Amendment that you don’t respect — free association.

“For the record, I am working on a chapter about the SLO APCD for a forthcoming academic book about local bureaucracy, so I am starting to pay closer attention to things. And very much looking forward to the additional material your prospective chairmanship is likely to provide.

“Finally, the imperious tone of your closing demand that you receive a response ‘within 10 working days’ rather makes my point better than I could have made it myself, and I thank you for yet another revealing display.

“STEVEN HAYWARD”


187 Comments

  1. Slowerfaster says:

    The writer is a polemicist goon that gets paid by an economic royalist rag.

    That Adam Hill’s ‘tongue-in-cheek’ comments in a small alt-weekly on the other side of the continent spurred a response from a mercenary hired gun says more about THEIR fear and paranoia concerning the revelation of true motives.

    IF one is known by the enemies they attract, then Adam Hill should consider this a badge of honor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 24

    • south says:

      What a laugh! A politician writes an opinion that gets picked up and made national news. That never happened before. Get a life Slowerfaster, or is this Adam? I did detect similar writing styles – over the top metaphors, good punctuation and chemical imparement noted by the “IF” when no emphasis is required.

      Nevertheless, when one puts pen to paper, or words to a media, one should be able and willing to back them up. Mr. Hill’s response to criticism was to chide those who couldn’t detect his dense humor.

      If Mr. Hill was actually submitting his piece as humor he should have prefaced it as such since there was no humor in it. However, since he is a writer and possibly submitting it to the New Times annual Bad Poetry contest and may have prematurely sent it, I will grant him a pass as it was truly post-marathon-sock quality stinky poetry.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. NewsBreak77 says:

    http://youtu.be/huQS5FHjrVA

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

    • kkeene88 says:

      Perhaps Mr. Hayward could focus on the activities in Morro Bay and the write an article about what is occurring there with the irons, c. johnson and smuckler regime.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

    • blondehare says:

      I’m sure that nut job Hill plagiarized that from some other right wing coo coo, but if he didn’t, it shows he’s nuttier than a squirrel’s hidden stash.
      Their AQMD does nothing, but are paid more than the head of the entire Federal Bureau?
      This needs to go to the Los Angeles Times, or Channel 7…or something.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  3. pasodowny says:

    Adam, PT Barnum, if he had the chance to witness your clown act, would take back his comment regarding bad publicity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

  4. templarlaw says:

    http://youtu.be/u_5ZsSHkMSk

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

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