Adam Hill wants protection–from the public

February 24, 2011

Adam Hill

County supervisor and the current chair of the Board of Supervisors Adam Hill is seeking police protection during public comment period at each Tuesday meeting. [New Times]

Hill has asked Sheriff Ian Parkinson to station a deputy in the chambers to help maintain decorum, especially from the more vocal residents of Los Osos who regularly use the comment period to criticize board actions.

The request harkens back to Hill’s first meeting as chair in January when he announced that he would not tolerate boorish behavior from the public, including slander, threats or personal attacks.

“Johnny Law overseeing public meetings kind of sends a bad message. Don’t you think? Either the supes are afraid of the public—most of whom would snap like a twig in a light breeze—or they think sticking a cop in the back of the room is the best way to encourage civil discourse. Don’t get them wrong, though, you can absolutely say whatever you want, as long as it’s condoned by the board or you like tazers in the tuchus,” suggested New Times in its popular Shredder column.

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Prior to the New Times’ Shredder article, I wrote an article about this.

There will always be people who we disagree with. There will always be people who have comments that appear to be “ugly” and “repetitive” to some, and there will always be people who we simply want to just disappear, but we live in a democracy where people are allowed and should be allowed to express their point of view regardless of what we think.

Say what you want about people who speak about the Los Osos wastewater project, but those speakers are entitled to be free of police intimidation and viewpoint discrimination. To say that a deputy should be in the back of the room to “maintain decorum” for Los Osos speakers is, in actuality, oppressive by nature. Why maintain decorum that already exists? Decorum is present when Mr. Mecham was chair, and there was no sheriff deputy in the back of the room. Why now?

I may disagree with someone like Mythbuster about the “LONs” Walcott-ism here, but if for example, Mythbuster were to speak at a meeting and I was the chair of that board, I would not chill that person’s speech by placing an armed cop in the back of the room. Everyone deserves the right to speak without police presence unless someone poses a clear and present danger to members behind the dais and to the attending public.

Typical theatrics from a politician. Inflates his or her importance and sends a “fear me” message to anyone who might disagree with them. Very “Amurrican” approach, widely popular with cowering conservos. 1st Amendment rights now reserved for the ‘friends of’ don’t you know?

Baloney, brook! Hill is a liberal Democrat who was the elected alternative to conservative Lenthall. What a bunch of bigoted and RACIST (“Amurrican”) bull that you try to turn this into an anti-conservative line! You call ‘wiseguy’ and ‘typoqueen’ (both supportive of Hill, below) conservatives?

I referred to a prominent mind set in the country- as for Hill personally, it’s my opinion he appears to have fallen victim to that mind set. I did NOT call anyone here anything.

I’ve been a progressive all my life -and I call it like I see it. Not running for prom queen.

Brook, perhaps you haven’t seen what happens when a certain set of citizens decide to over run a public meeting. A few years ago, things got “out of control” at Atascadero CC meetings with the Wal-Mart supporters whom I might add was a small vocal group of about 15 but they were very verbal, nasty and threatening towards 3 of our CC members. They would all speak for their entire time allotment while clowning to the cameras and insulting the CC members ,as a result of that behavior, the CC finally remedied the situation by placing public comment at the end of every meeting rather than the beginning. It worked and many got tired and went home.

Nothing wrong with talking for your entire time allotment and everyone should be free to make an ass of themselves. Even those up on the dais.

Verbal intimidation is ugly – but as far as I know, it’s not fatal. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Every kid I grew up with knew that one.

Calling in the troops usually escalates things – but manipulating the public comment time seemed to have saved lives/feelings.. One does have to wonder about the leadership abilities that have to go to extremes to maintain control though.

You don’t seem to get the fact that these commenter’s are disruptive and waste every other citizens time who attend these meetings to address constructive business. In Atascadero our CC meetings were running as late as 1:AM as public comment “rhetoric” would run as long as 2 and 3 hours. It was a nightmare for the rest of the community.

In this case, not only is the above occurring but these speakers are refusing to relinquish the dais after their allotted time. If that is the case, then LE is certainly a reasonable remedy.

Cindy/Cynthia, please don’t be offended but sometimes your posts bug me. Why? Not because I don’t agree with much of what you say but because I’m a grammar snob. Your frequent misuse of apostrophes absolutely drives me bonkers. I read your posts here & on the Trib website (I assume your screenname there is “Cynthia”, right?) and your posts almost always have errors using apostrophes. A perfect example is the post above where you write “commenter’s” instead of commenters. Basically, do NOT use an apostrophe for plural words.

LOL, Thank you pasoparent5. I am not offended .

“do NOT use an apostrophe for plural words.”

“do NOT use an apostrophe for plural words.”

“do NOT use an apostrophe for plural words.”

OK, got it.

Pasoparent, please don’t read my posts, you will rip me apart. My grammar is as bad in person as it is online. I don’t even notice Cindy(‘)s apostrophes.

You’re the ‘queen’ of typos! Long live the queen!

You’re right ’bout that. It’s a crime. How are my apostrophes lookin’.

I seriously do think that there was a lack of leadership there.

It’s entirely reasonable to limit public comment to an hour, say. If someone refuses to observe their 3 minutes after a polite warning, have them removed. Set the example during the first inning of that game. Problem solved.

People who are unhappy with pending local matters can also use letters to the editor, phone calls and/or emails to officials effectively.

Many meetings drag on and on because there are people on the dais (the grownups running the town) who are either grinding axes or too dense to embrace the concept of whatever issue is before them.

Cindy-I also remember a few years back when there were a group of people that caused somewhat of a disturbance at the Atascadero CC over trees. I think it was on Encino? Do you recall that incident? Just freedom of speech, no law enforcement needed.


That said, the cost is insignificant compared to the regular costs of running the supes hearings.

What I mean is, while the board and, say, 10 staff members are waiting for the Osos Fecal Mafia to shoot their wad week after week, the meter is running on those staffers who are waiting to make their presentations or do whatever else they do in meetings.

If one cop can speed the public comment period up by making the Osans follow the Public Comment rules, then we all save money.

The sewer controversy has taken governmental disfunction to a new level of inefficiency. It takes a new level of gamesmanship to get anything done.

“That said, the cost is insignificant compared to the regular costs of running the supes hearings.”

You are so spot on with this comment.

Anyone who really wants to know how much real time and real costs are billed to taxpayers on behalf of the BOS and the rest of the County Departments just needs to request the SLO County Quarterly Budget Reports and look for your self. There in, are supposed to be itemized amounts for all categories. Look carefully at the the amounts paid out for “staff time”, O&M, the hours billed for “studies” and “reports”…

The amounts are very eye opening… And no wonder the public is upset about OT and salaries paid to our representatives…

Racket, do u live in Osos? if not, then why the name calling? Turns out we had a few retired sewer engineers here plus it’s been discovered we have more degreed folks here than anywhere in the county, thus the powerful challange to the supes and others..We had to educate them on sewer technology and ethics. Our discovery of county Shenanigans only UNCOVERED a new level of “governmental inefficiency”, it actually went much deeper, all the way to corruption. Read the current Wallace story for example.

justme: I have not lived in Los Osos since the early 80s.

My disdain for the sewer is because because I DON’T live in Los Osos, yet I am dragged into your crap-stink every Tuesday at 9:00. The sewer is a Los Osos problem, and the vocal minority, or the vocal majority, or whomever is making it MY problem.

The rest of the civilized world flushes their poop into a sewer system. Whether you peple choose to or not should be none of my business. Your sewer is wasting my fiscal resources.

You can always, well, not watch the meeting if the Los Osos people bother you that much.

If you are viewing the mtgs. constantly then why are you not picking up on the fact it was NEVER about IIF we get a sewer but WHERE.

You answered your own qyestion, you DON’T live in Los Osos, we do and so…. And I see you realize the main issue, it is crap-stink, so what’s your real problem?

You’re worried about an additional couple ‘o bucks per county citizen in additional taxes because you think we overun our time @ the podium? Were worried about many thousands of dollars per citizen over 30 yrs.

justme: I have not lived in Los Osos since the early 80s.

My disdain Osos is precisely because I DON’T live there, yet I am dragged into your crap-stink every Tuesday at 9:00. The sewer is a Los Osos problem, and the vocal minority, or the vocal majority, or whomever, is making it MY problem.

The rest of the civilized world flushes their poop into a sewer system. Whether you people choose to or choose not to should be none of my business. Your sewer issues are wasting my fiscal resources.

It’s not unusual for city and county meetings to have a deputy in the back, it happen across the country and for good reason. There are some that arm themselves at these meetings, ie Oceano,,, remember the purse lady a few months ago? There have times when people have gotten so passionate that they they lose it. A family member of mine was a council member in a small town and he was followed around the town by a man with a shotgun. But I’m not sure that the the threat of gun violence is entire reason for this action. I have watched these meeting when the speakers go over their allotted time, by doing this they are disrupting the entire meeting. The board has tried to keep decorum when it comes to LO, they’ve tried to get them to speak under the time allowed they just won’t. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal but the rest of the cities in this county miss out because of the LO crowd going on and on. I sympathize with the residents of LO but there is other county business to attend to. When the timer runs up then these people need to stop talking or be lead out of the room. If they can’t play by the rules then they need to be escorted out. Also I don’t believe that just because the supervisors are public servants that they need to be constantly verbally abused. Such verbal abuse leads to physical abuse. I’m all for this action.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame the residents of LO for their frustration, what’s going on with that sewer treatment plant is crazy.

I wasn’t aware that citizens were refusing to step away from the podium when their time ran out. That is just BS and they don’t have any business thinking they deserve any more time than anyone else. If they refuse to relinquish the podium, then they need to be lead away by LE.

There was a time when I frequently had cause to speak at CC meetings in Atascadero. When I knew something would run longer than the time allotment, I would have an associate take over and finish my presentation. At other times, I would approach with 5 or 6 citizens who were in agreement and speak on behalf of all of us (each would have their name entered into the record) It would be a win/win for everyone, as I would speak double time but 5 or 6 other citizens wouldn’t speak at all, opting to simply confirm their agreement for the record. That’s how citizens with more information than the time allowed them should be dealing with this.

It’s called RESPECT and anyone that can’t appreciate that everything isn’t about them doesn’t deserve any respect, in my opinion.

Adam Hill’s request seems reasonable to me. The amount of anti-government anger and violence-prone citizens in our county is rising—just look at the comments in this forum, for an example—giving politicians plenty of reason to fear for their safety and that of the public.

I wish that I would have said this as you did rather than the book that I wrote.

Has there been any threats? Maybe Mr. Hill needs to pay for this out of his own pocket. The county can’t keep wasting money on law enforcement for bs reasons like the mmj busts in December.

There seems to be a pattern of this law enforcement presence at various meetings throughout this county. lately Sietz,Wallace and the other cronies have requested a Sheriff be present at the Sanitation District’s meetings. Considering our Sheriffs dept’s track record it seems to be a case of one criminal organization protecting the other. Interesting that if one of the Seitz brothers represent a agency it needs police protection to prevent a riot, whats that tell you.

This very much like the private elevator placed in the public building at taxpayers expense, so the BOS do not have to interface with the voters…

A little over the top considering there have been no evidence of threats or violence agaisnt adam hill or any one of the sups.

Good point, Easy. My concern is that Hill only wants the deputy around during public comment period and not throughout the meeting itself. That says he doesn’t trust the public to behave themselves.and not a good message to be sending.

The fact that these requests for “protection” at taxpayers expense without a record of evidence that they are actually needed is just another political power play.

And the fact that the cost will be paid for by taxpayers during an already monetary crisis is outrageous…

And IMHO, that is a very representational photo of Sup. Hill… Looks like a booking photo, is this a happy man confident in himself and his voting public?

Goodness graciousness — where, oh where did you find this atrocious photo of Mr. Hill? Can’t the poor man at least smile?

I don’t object to some kind of metal screener at the building entrance, just like we have in the courthouse, That makes sense. However, putting a deputy in the room seems a bit over the top. I’ve seen no published reports of violence during meetings. Me thinks someone is on a little power/ego trip.

Wait — did everyone forget the public insanity from some of these LONs (not Mrs. T) at the LOCSD meetings of 2001 – 2005? Does no one recall the threats? How could you forget Al screaming and cursing at the Board – (he is just unforgettable – shame on you)! I suggest you run yourself right down to the CSD office and check out some tapes to see for yourself. My, we seem to have some serious memory loss here in town. (Must be the water. Euuuuuuuu.)

PLEASE — view the tapes then revisit this topic. You don’t know what you are talking about in chiding Mr. Hill for requesting the sheriff.

I don’t have to review those tapes. I watched those meetings . I’ll not forget the look of disdain Rose Bowker used to give everybody opposed to what they were pushing on us. The triple team of Stan Gustafson, Gordon Hensley, and Richard LeGros railing against anybody disagreeing with them. Of course i’ll always remember Richard’s “I have f*****g balls” comment. How about those three locking out the other two Directors from attending a pre-construction meeting with contractors. Somebody actually at the door barring their entering? Forcing the Prohibition Zone into the most expensive per capita sewer in the Country right in the center of town at a location directly overlooking the Bay, houses directly across the street, right next to a Church and of course our only park.Mad? You bet we were mad.

Mythbuster – You’re talking about comments made during sometime between 2001 – 2005! Fast forward because this is 2011.

Problem is, some of the same protesters are still around and we are still talking about a sewer project for Los Osos. It wasn’t just a problem with the location you know, but the cost. This project costs the same or more, so do you see the correlation now?

Seriously?? At how much per hour? Sure, some of the comments are ugly, but police intimidation? What threats have been made?

Get off the dais, Adam! You’re time has passed. What an arrogant nincompoop!