Hill to Blakeslee: “This is a new low”

June 17, 2011

Adam Hill

State Senator Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) is postponing a Paso Robles fundraiser scheduled for next week after San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill criticized the event. [Tribune]

Hill sent Blakeslee an email on Wednesday, attacking the fundraiser because it was scheduled to be emceed by Andy Caldwell, founder of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business (COLAB), an organization Hill called “hostile, secretive, and racist.”

In his email, Hill wrote that the participation of COLAB in a Blakeslee fundraiser led him to question whether the senator is really the moderate he portrays himself to be.

“This is a new low, and the saddest sign yet of where things are headed with you,” Hill wrote, also suggesting that the Republican state senator would be “pandering to hate-mongers.”

Caldwell was set to emcee the event, hosted at the Paso Robles Inn by a variety of well-known North County ranchers and farmers. COLAB has no official role in the fundraiser.

“Perhaps you don’t know about the hostile, secretive and frequently racist activities of COLAB,” Hill wrote to Blakeslee. “I wish I could give you the benefit of the doubt on this one, but this is so disappointing and offensive.”

In announcing the delay of next week’s event, Blakeslee issued a statement, saying ““I decided to postpone this event lest it become a forum for Supervisor Hill’s dispute with Andy Caldwell, which would only serve to divide our community at a time when we need to come together.”

On Thursday, Hill admitted to a reporter that the email to Blakeslee was not “the most helpful approach.”







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  1. tj says:

    The net-net of this thing is that both parties come out looking like fools:

    Hill for his attempt to smear a legitimate organization with which he disagrees by lying and attempting to play the race card when none exists.

    Blakeslee for not spending 5 minutes to do a little Google research and failing to have the spine.

  2. Mr. Holly says:

    What’s the big deal here? Isn’t Obama half white? So the impersonator wants to go two tone also. What’s wrong with entertainment? Al Jolson did a great job at it.
    Adam Hill is a little thin skinned here and Blakeslee is a disappointment to say the least.
    This should be a preview of things to come should O’Malley of Atascadero defeat Patterson in the next election. O’Malley should be coming out shortly when he stages his “Regain the County” fundraiser at the Taft barn in a few weeks. One of the keynot speakers is his buddy Blakeslee.I predict that eventually O’Malley will want to take Hill to the parking lot like he did to Brennler.

    • Cindy says:

      I don’t think Tom O’Malley can win a BOS election. I know he’s a mover and shaker, heck he even sports a pleasant personality most of the time .
      His failure to recuse himself from the Colony Square negotiations, the havoc he created with Mike Brennler and his kowtowing to the A-Town city administration just aren’t something to stick a carnation in his lapel over. Throwing his hat in the ring for a BOS chair isn’t like running for a council seat in little A-Town where you’re a long term incumbent and a GOB by nature.
      It will be interesting. I guess people were right when they said he decided to cut rank and take the gavel from Bob Kelly (who was next in line to be our mayor) because running for the BOS as a mayor sounds better than the title of councilmen. So what, he wasn’t elected mayor and he cheated on his turn?

  3. willie says:

    Since Hill is passing himself off as a white man, I wander if he has any Afro-Americans employed in his staff.
    Theres an old Proverb that goes something like this: When an intelligent man (Blakeslee) is put together with an ignorant one (Hill), there will be no peace!
    Blakeslee is smart have little to do with him unless necessary.

    • Typoqueen says:

      I am the typoqueen so I can usually understand typos but other than you thinking Hill is ignorant and Blake’s move of hiring a black face was smart movel, I don’t quite understand your post.

  4. whatisup says:

    Both Adam Hill and Sam Blakeslee need to further explain their actions.

    From this story: On Thursday, Hill admitted to a reporter that the email to Blakeslee was not “the most helpful approach.”
    and
    In announcing the delay of next week’s event, Blakeslee issued a statement, saying ““I decided to postpone this event lest it become a forum for Supervisor Hill’s dispute with Andy Caldwell, which would only serve to divide our community at a time when we need to come together.”

    What does Hill mean by this? Did he lie, because the ends justify the means and he is politically opposed to COLAB, so his solution is to claim COLAB is racist? This appears to be the case. If true, he needs to answer why a sitting SLO County Supervisor should be able to stay in office for making a slur like this for political gain.

    Sam Blakeslee needs to evaluate why he is our State Senator. Does this mean he will also never speak at an event that Adam Hill is at? Does he have any evidence that what Adam Hill said in his email is true? If he does he needs to bring it forward. After all, if COLAB is racist the public has a right to know. He agrees with Adam Hill’s email because he immediately complied with Hill’s request. So Mr. Blakeslee, what is your evidence?

  5. willie says:

    Hill has a slippery mouth and if you confront him, he will simply call his buddy Parkinson for more security.
    If any of you have ever gone into Blakeslee office when he was an Assemblyman, you would have seen that he employs Hispanic and Afro-American of the highest of respect on his staff.
    With Hill, you just as well put Al Sharpton or a Jesse Jackson in his place, at least they are more obvious.
    FYI, Hill has features that shows he is part black.

    • Typoqueen says:

      “FYI, Hill has features that shows he is part black”

      Gosh, what we we do without your wise and intelligent insight. I’m so glad that you pointed this out for us. Now I can see why you wouldn’t have an issue with the whole black face thing.

      • willie says:

        Typo
        I am 62 years old, I have traveled all over the world, and have lived in southern and northern Californa, Hill’s amatueur anograms are showing, I simply see it for what it is and could give a damn what anyone thinks, if you thumbs down me for my view point, all I think is I am telling it like it is and don’t care (I am too old be be conned) or BS with!)!

        • Typoqueen says:

          I don’t care how old you are, that has nothing to do with pointing out how Hill has black features, why would you do that? Do you get how bad that sounds? I know I know, you don’t care,,well good for you then you don’t care if you look a tad racist with such statements.

          I don’t do thumbs up or down so not to worry.

          • willie says:

            Typo
            Age do not make a teacher, but being observant in the past years have taught me a lot!
            Sorry I get emotional when I see BS pulled.

  6. Typoqueen says:

    After a bit of checking it didn’t take long to find the letter that Hill wrote to Blake.. This was in it:

    “I only hope you won’t be featuring a black-face entertainer impersonating the president, as Andy Caldwell featured in COLAB’s recent fundraiser in Santa Maria,” Hill wrote”

    Okay, now it’s official, COLAB is a racist org.. I know that some of you won’t will have no problem with the whole ‘black face’ thing but it turns my stomach. I guess that COLAB doesn’t have any black members. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it would be if you were an African American sitting in that audience? In this day and age Caldwell should know better.

    I’m with you Hill!

    • Typoqueen says:

      Excuse the mess of typos, must be the cold meds. (at least I have an excuse this time)

    • r0y says:

      Kind of hard for a white comedian to impersonate a black man w/o black-face (and vice-versa, if one was a black comedian impersonating a white man). Our president is black, thus the black-face. This isn’t some Sambo black-face, this is trying to look and sound like the president. Something comedians have been doing for years.

      Then again, if you really, REALLY want to see racism, I won’t stop you. Don’t think anyone can. Now, if he did a bunch of “Fried Chicken & Watermelon” jokes, then that would be flat-out racist and present a serious problem. I’d prefer to take it in context, and until we know what context the humor was in, I don’t want to scream racism at the tiniest of inklings…

    • Citizen says:

      Typo,

      This was a misrepresentation by Hill. COLAB had the comedian Steve Bridges perform at its Santa Maria fundraiser. A tribune blogger put it this way: “Steve Bridges is an American comedian, impressionist, and actor who has “developed a repertoire of over 200 impressions, including TV characters Barney Fife and Homer Simpson, broadcasters Tom Brokaw, Paul Harvey and Rush Limbaugh; his impressions of political leaders Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Arnold Schwarzenegger rapidly established him as a premiere vocal impressionist.”[1]

      In 2006 he appeared alongside the real George W. Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, mimicking him during his speech, acting as his inner thoughts.[2] –Wikipedia.

      Bridges is a well know presidential impersonator. Why Adam Hill would have the audacity to call him racist for impersonating President Obama is beyond belief. It shows that Adam Hill is uninformed. According to his logic, Jay Leno, Larry King, former President Bush, the White House Correspondents, Whoopi Goldberg, George Lopez, all the TV networks, and likely the rest of the US population are racists, regardless of their race or color”.

      • tj says:

        The question is whether he was in black-face when he was impersonating Obama. If so, it was inappropriate.

        It is certainly easily possible to impersonate the president stuttering through a couple of sentences without his teleprompter without resorting to anything regarding his race.

        • Typoqueen says:

          I agree, if he’s good at impersonation then Obama has a lot of traits that this guy could use. Obama has a distinct voice and manner of speech, the way he raises his head a bit. and yes he could make fun of the teleprompter.

          Black face is tacky and it’s racist. I’m sorry to hear that some of you don’t get that. This is a very sensitive topic and I can’t fathom why the right wouldn’t want to stay away from it.

          @ Citizen, are you trying to say that Leno, King etc have done black face. I’ll bet my last penny that you are wrong and that they wouldn’t approve of it.

        • Citizen says:

          He wears some kind of face mask and uses make-up to impersonate all of his characters, from Clinton to Bush to Obama. He is nationally accepted for these impersonations, and previously impersonated Bush for COLAB.

        • Citizen says:

          From the New Times article June 1:

          “But COLAB’s membership, at least on its board, is no secret to local politicians. And here they are, at least according to COLAB of SLO County’s 2009 tax filings, which were the most recently available:

          • Alan Volbrecht: V.P. and senior aviation consultant at Aero Tech GeoSystems, Inc., in San Luis Obispo.

          • Jamie Kirk: founder of Kirk Consulting.

          • Todd Smith: associate planner with Cannon Associates.

          • Steve Arnold: past president and current director of the SLO County Farm Bureau and owner of Pozo Valley Vineyard.

          • Chris Darway: also a past president and current member with the Farm Bureau.

          • Mike Fuller: former Arroyo Grande city councilman and current financial advisor and branch manager of Raymond James Financial.

          • Ken Dewar: president of J.B. Dewar, Inc., “the Central Coast’s leading distributor of highest quality fuel and lubricants.”

          • Jeanne Helphenstine: a Realtor with South County Realty.

          • Alex Alexiev of Templeton.”

        • tj says:

          I just checked out Steve Bridges Obama impersonation – there are clips on YouTube as well as of his appearance on Leno: http://stevebridges.com/obamavideos-leno.html

          I didn’t see any blackface just some makeup to make his complexion darker and his ears bigger – no different than you would see on Saturday Night Live.

          Summary: There is no issue here – Just Hill injecting his partisan politics trying to intimidate and smear a legitimate organization that doesn’t share his views.

          • r0y says:

            It doesn’t matter. There are people who have been conditioned to flip out at the mere mention of racism. Especially if the alleged racist has differing political views.

            But it makes them feel good, and that’s all that matters.

          • Typoqueen says:

            You’re right, I watched that clip and he wasn’t doing black face. If that’s the extent of it then I’ll take back my words and I’ll admit that Hill and I were jumping the gun and over reacting. I’ll have to look into it more and see if he really has done black face.

            • r0y says:

              So you’re saying you jumped in screaming racist without looking into it? That’s kind of been my point all along…

              • Typoqueen says:

                No, I’m not saying that. After giving this a little thought, I still feel it’s in bad taste. It’s not the typical Al Jolson black face but it’s still not necessary. I just feel that if this guy was good at what he does then he wouldn’t need to offend others by doing his somewhat black face act. When the topic of racism comes up though, you can always tell who the racists are in this group. You might have your faults r0y (your main one is being a conservative) I don’t put you in the racist category. But there are some here that really display their ugly side of seeing people of color as if they are inferior.

                So no, I still believe that his act is at the very least in bad taste and perhaps spiked with racism. I do agree with your sentiment about this being a divisive news piece.

        • Citizen says:

          Sierra Club Officers according to their web site:

          Chair. Melody DeMeritt . Cal Poly teacher and former Morro Bay Councilperson.

          Vice Chair. Greg McMillan . Building contractor (energy efficient) and rancher/olive grower.

          Cal French . SLO native and Sierra Club member for 42 years.

          Steven Marx . Cal Poly professor and husband of Jan Marx, SLO Mayor.

          Pat Veesart . ECOSLO Director and former Planning Commissioner for both the City and County of SLO.

          Jono Kinkade . Activist with Think Outside the Bomb, a national anti-nuclear youth network.

          Liz Tracy . A recent Cal Poly graduate and avid hiker.

          • r0y says:

            Lol, ONE person (Greg McMillan) who does not suck off the government’s teat….

      • Side_Show_Bob says:

        Quote: “Why Adam Hill would have the audacity to call him racist for impersonating President Obama is beyond belief. ”

        It’s what Liberals do so well. It’s what they live for.

    • Typoqueen says:

      willie, you sound crazy. I might be wrong about Blakeslee but it wouldn’t be a stretch to see that you are demonstrating racism by your continued obsession with Hill’s race.

    • r0y says:

      I’d have to agree with typo on this, willie. I’m not sure what you meant to say. ??

  7. r0y says:

    Ah, a good old divisional news piece… keep us hicks fighting each other so we don’t notice how we’re all getting screwed by the elites. Nice.

    Keep arguing with each other, it’s proven so helpful in the last hundred years, no?

    • hotdog says:

      I agree. But we may disagree on who the elites are. Nevertheless, you have an excellent point and I am sure that big power is running us this way and that to hide which way they are running. We may never know, and as you said it’s worked for them for the last hundred years. I might be so bold as to say deceit and deception has been with us since the beginning of time when this (our) cunning species got here. I think we are the only species that takes more than it needs…

      Though I am extremely partisan and have very strong ideas I would bet almost anything I could get together with my opposite and we would agree on many things, after a long chat. But the ‘powers’ rile us up so much we won’t talk, so we can’t agree on anything and maybe say, “what the hell, I think those other guys are manipulating us”! One of these days (Alice!) we might just talk and figure this out. The big shots will be in big trouble if that ever happens.

  8. SLOBIRD says:

    So now we have government telling us who and what can be talked about when organizations have gatherings, pressure our rights to choice of organizations of support, pressure those who don’t agree with your political viewpoints, pressure those who disagree with your choice of policy. This is why this type of orgranization is critical to remind us that this is the U.S. of America, we still have a democracy and you don’t have to agree with me but respect my choices of no harm. COLAB IS NOT A RACICT ORGANIGATION AND SHAME ON HILL FOR THIS STATEMENT!

  9. hotdog says:

    Colab states on its site that it is a Santa Barbara organization yet Caldwell is always commenting to our supes up here. Their site site lists no members, managers, directors or staff. In contrast the Sierra Club lists their board of directors by name; I don’t have time to check the two million other organizations in the country. I used the Sierra Club since they are probably hated by Colab as a bunch of nuisance commies. The Sierra club is populated by people who have no interest in making money off the environment-in contrast to Colab.
    Colab is certainly somewhat secretive. I don’t know about the other charges but it would have been better if Hill had explained his concerns in detail.

    • SLOBIRD says:

      There is a COLAB SLO COUNTY – found through google… Look a little harder because they are a good resource to inform yourself about what is happening with property rights – some good some bad! Nothing wrong with this organization unless you think the Farm Bureau and other agr organizations or also bad for our community.

      • hotdog says:

        Actually I do have issues with the Farm Bureau and many ag organizations. But that is political (they always support the worst candidates for any office) and we are talking really about Hill’s comments and if we think they are appropriate. Depends a lot on Colab and what we think of them. I posed the obvious question earlier than many posters have ignored-what if Colab was a racist organization-should Hill complain about that? Does he have a right to complain? I think we all do.

        • SLOBIRD says:

          THEY ARE NOT RACIST! Show/tell me how this got started other then with a statement for a supervisor trying to make a name for himself and his future. SHOW ME THE FACTS!

        • Disgusted says:

          “I posed the obvious question earlier than many posters have ignored-what if Colab was a racist organization-should Hill complain about that? Does he have a right to complain? I think we all do.”

          Show my your proof that COLAB is racist! Where’s Adam’s proof? Sounds more like libel on Adam’s part to me. And as a public srrvant, he represents all of us and has no business making such accusations. And what right does he have to butt into Blakeslee’s FUNDRAISER?
          Hill is out of line on so many levels here. I just hope he has worthy competition in his next election.

        • hotdog says:

          Read my comments again. I never said Colab was racist, and in fact I have absolutely no info they are. I just said what if a KNOWN racist organization was given the opportunity to be involved in Sam’s gig (like Sam or not he is a very credible person and our fairly elected Senator) then wouldn’t that be something to talk about? What if a member of the Klan (we probably have them here, plenty of racist stuff going down over the last few months) was involved here, and Sam didn’t know it, would have been incumbent on all of us to inform him and/or complain about it.
          I have a feeling Sam might not have know that Caldwell is pretty controversial and not the best choice. Just like me, and you, here on this site, raging at each other. That is our right.

          • Disgusted says:

            I’ve read all of your comments, from saying COLAB probably thinks the Sierra Club are nuisance commies. ag groups always support the worst candidate, ag and business types hate labor people and other unsubstaniated garbage. Where do you get these idea/lies? And you reprimand FineWine for calling Hill a racist, yet you have no problem with Hill calling a whole group of preople he doesn’t know racists. Libel is not a right.

    • Typoqueen says:

      I recently saw a meeting where Hill brought up the same point regarding the Sierra Club and the openness of thier organization. Hill was very direct and very frustrated. He said ‘why are all these other non profits required to show who their officers are but COLAB isn’t?’. One of the other supes objected to Hill’s request to find out who the officers were but it didn’t stop Hill, he was going off on this guy during the meeting, Hill was a tiger and I liked it, he demonstrated that he has backbone. On that point I agree with Hill. Non profits should be open, after all it’s our taxes that are funding them. The guy (can’t think of his name) at the meeting is a bit slithery IMO. Caldwell is very very very very conservative and I feel that he uses COLAB as platform to vent his political views. On his radio show he speaks more about the terrible liberals than he does about issues regarding AG. If they are going to be a non profit then they need to be open,,period. Once in awhile I’ll throw on the radio show and I get the COLAB newsletter in the mail. I don’t read the news letter as I usually can’t get past the first paragraph of lib bashing. Caldwell’s COLAB thing really is just a political platform, he is very ultra conservative, just about as right winged as they get.

      That being said, I haven’t seen anything racist about the group. If Hill has some proof of that then he should provide it. I don’t like COLAB or Caldwell but I hate to throw out the race card without a bit of evidence.

      • FineWine says:

        Typo non-profits like COLAB are not funded by taxpayers. They are funded by donations provided by members, same with the Sierra Club. They have a right to privacy because government officials like Hill could and do use there power in order to discriminate against them and even worse in some cases by having them arrested. Hill wants to know so he can take them down!

        • Typoqueen says:

          http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/business-structures/non-profit/non-profit-disclosing-financial-records.html
          “Non-profit corporations must submit their financial statements, which include the salaries of directors, officers and key employees to the IRS on Form 990. Both the IRS and the non-profit corporation are required to disclose the information they provide on Form 990 to the public. This means that non-profits must make their records available for public inspection during regular business hours at their principal office”

          Sorry but your argument doesn’t hold. One Hill’s beefs with COLAB is that they won’t disclose their officers and finances. They should do just that. There is no way that the ultra conservative group could fear being harassed more than liberal groups. If they are doing everything above board then there is no need to worry about arrest, especially in this very conservative area. That’s just silly.

          COLAB is a 501c that means that they are tax exempt, that means that we are flipping the bill for their ‘nonprofit’ contributions, they aren’t paying taxes on their donations. If they are getting donations for political activities (which I’m pretty sure they are) then I want to see the records. I believe that COLAB is probably breaking a few laws in regards to its’ 501c status. I’m surprised that Hill hasn’t taken judicial steps to shut them down.

          • FineWine says:

            That’s just wrong! I am sure COLAB has followed all current laws. Everything submitted to the IRS is not public info. Hill wants the info to hold it against them for things like projects and and government jobs!

            The people who donate to COLAB pay taxes on that money! They are not 501c3 where the donations are deductible. To spell it out for you. You are WRONG! The tax payers do not support COLAB. Get your facts straight!

            • NorCoMod says:

              FineWine is correct. COLAB SLO is a 503 c-6 non-profit intended for mutual benefit groups. Deductions to the organization are not tax deductible. And they do not support any candidates as an organization.

              The directors list was kept confidential because of fear of retribution from county staff & management. If you think retribution from SLO County staff does not exist for applicants, vendors or consultants,you’re uninformed.

              • Typoqueen says:

                If the directors are in fear of disclosing who are then they sound pretty shady to me. ANY org that is doing things on the up and up has nothing to fear. That’s crazy, absolutely crazy. I’m not a member of the Sierra club but our local SC is in a very conservative area. If there was a problem with retribution then an org like the Sierra Club would have more to lose then than COLAB. This nonesense about not disclosing their officers is slithery and makes one believe that they are up to no good. I’m not just saying that because I’m a bleeding heart, I would feel this way no matter what the org is, This sounds ever so KKKish, they are the only org off the top of my head that hides their identities.

    • Citizen says:

      Better read up on the new National Sierra Club–political and catering to government grants with major donors not listed. Bad example.

      • hotdog says:

        Off the point and a stretch. Hill was looking for members, not donors. And I’ll bet Sierra Club donors are easy to find, nothing to hide about. What are the members of Colab hiding? I wonder if there are any labor members since ag and business types hate labor people aside from using them to make more money.

        • NorCoMod says:

          Are there any labor members? How about more than 700 members of the San Luis Obispo County Builders Exchange? How about the IBEW?

          There are labor members, in fact they outnumber the Ag & Business people.

          Their occasional fundraisers and mixers are open to the public. Attend one of them and listen to their message. I know you’ll be surprised who you see there.

          • Typoqueen says:

            I might be wrong on some things regarding COLAB but one thing that I’m not wrong about is that COLAB is more a political group than a group interested in AG or labor. When you read their news letters you can see that their main interest is to promote the Tea Bag message. By thinking that they are promoting or helping the AG/labor community is simply wrong.