Adam Hill gets lectured on the First Amendment

October 20, 2011

The public comment period during this week’s San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting turned into a lecture on the First Amendment for 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill. [New Times]

Hill shut down comments from Los Osos activist Linde Owen during the Oct. 11 meeting. Owen said she came to the meeting to address her concerns about a lax investigation into allegations of an inappropriate relationship between county Public Works director Paavo Ogren and former Los Osos CSD board member Maria Kelly–the official county report found “no conflict of interest.”

Owen and Hill argued throughout the entire three minutes allotted to public speakers. During the exchange, Owen’s microphone was cut off and she was escorted away from the lectern by a county sheriff’s deputy who for the past 10 months has been stationed in the back of the Board of Supervisors Chambers during public comment.

Owen and others from Los Osos returned this week to condemn Hill’s actions, many of whom cited the Ralph M. Brown Act which established rules for public comment at government meetings. Several of the speakers called on Hill, who last summer had to publicly apologize to COLAB executive director Mike Brown, to issue another apology.

“The allegations that did not come out of my microphone last week … on the combination of what happens when a CSD member takes up close relationship with the head of Public Works and they both have influence on the [Los Osos sewer] project,” Owen said. “That’s where the investigation should have gone, and anyone in their right mind would not have let this county investigate themselves.”

Hill, who is up for re-election in 2012, sat quietly through the remarks and did not comment.

When asked for a comment by New Times, Hill responded by email. “I am not much interested in spending any more time on Ms. Owen.”


Linde Owen deserves three lousy minutes to state her case. Whether or not she’s right or wrong is irrelevant. We don’t live in a police state–yet. So thanks to our awesome constitutional rights, she and any other citizen deserve the right to come before the Board of Supervisors and say whatever she wants without an armed sheriff dragging her away from the microphone. Most of us are working during those meetings anyway so it’s not like the place is packed with hundreds of folks lining up to speak. They should hold those meetings in the afternoon/evenings so working people can attend!

Another thing. Let’s get those high & lofty supervisors down on floor-level like the rest of us little people. I hate those big throne-like chairs and having them sit there, perched high above the audience gives Hill & the others a false air of superiority that’s just not deserved. After all, they’re elected officials & are OUR employees. They get paid a fair salary & benefits. They all need to be humbled a bit.


Nicely stated.

You wanna run for Supervisor? So far, you have my vote….


I agree; the right and the left come together in opposition of arrogant gummint people sitting in their lofty thrones, throwing us crumbs.


About the scheduling of the meetings…I would guess they occur during the day because, even though they are held every week, it usually takes most of the day to get through them.


He’s not the only one who needs to go.


I agree, but sadly (and like those occupy space protesters) WHO (or in their case WHAT) do we replace what we get rid of with? It’s like quitting your job before you have found another one. Not a good plan.


Very simplistic comment leading nowhere. You could say that about anyone in any election, we have a process for selecting our representatives. Flawed no doubt, but we have one. What do you suggest?


There becomes a time when voters have stand up for a principal.

If voters allow Hill to get away with this type of treatment to the people of this county, then we only have ourselves to blame when the rest of them start doing the same thing.

The very LEAST these ***holes can do is not insult and illegally have detained and removed those who appear before them with issues.


Regardless of who Hill tries to silence, the guy is arrogant and his stint as Supervisor should be over in the next election. Listening to ALL of your constituents is primary to the job, no matter if you like what they say or not. The other Supes should be embarrassed to have him as their spokesman. He was elected by default, and hopefully Ed Waage, if he declares, will win decisively. The public deserves better than Adam Hill.


I would think simple commercials with a photo of Hill and with the audio of his insulting comments to people speaking before the BOS would do the job.


Given the sum total of the history involved here, I think that the principled response would be a gracious resignation from the BOS.


Wouldn’t he have to be gracious to do that?

He is one of the more recent examples of completely clueless, non-gracious, self-serving politicians I’ve heard of in a long time.


Why the hell is he even in office!

Maybe its just a learning experience for him (and us).


Reference Hill’s comment …..

“When asked for a comment by New Times, Hill responded by email. “I am not much interested in spending any more time on Ms. Owen.”

I think there are a lot of us who think that about you too Adam.

You have turned out to be a huge dissappointment who apparently has become a little big for your britches.

The first ammendment is the law of the land Adam and it applies to everyone … even those who see certain issues a little different than you.


Well, we all know who Adam Hill IS interested in spending more time on. LOL


What stands out for me on that quote is that:

1. It is, AGAIN, an example of Hill insulting and dismissing a resident of the County who was simply trying to get her voice heard before the BOS.

2. It is, I am positive, an example of how he will treat EVERYONE who dares to voice an opinion in opposition to his own.

Are we SURE he was an instructor? Is this how he treated his students?


Los Osos is a bottomless pit of nuts, which is why adult supervision was imposed on them and the locals marginalized.


They have right to be a bottomless pit nuts of they so choose without people who “play grown up” trying to impose their will on them.


^^ THIS ^^



Wow, is Hill like the worst supervisor in our history or what? And I do not think he’s done falling, either… just my guess.


Yeah, Hill sucks, but he’s got his hands full with the Osos sewer interrupters. I don’t see how any supe could come away from that leach-field without smelling like dookey.

What I am saying is that even a competent supervisor would get drug down by the issue.


It’s a job that I wouldn’t want to tackle.


Perhaps that is what has changed him. I knew lots of people were really excited to have him as a Supe (all liberals, but not “whacky” ones). Hate to sound like the nosy neighbor and say “He was always such a good boy!” when the hammer falls, but that’s what it is looking like for Mr. Hill as of late.


You are wrong. Hill was elected into a position of leadership at the county level. If he cannot conduct himself with more control and class at the BOS meetings, then he does not belong there.

A voter appearing before the BOS is not expected to be more gracious and more dignified than the freaking BOS members!

You’ve got it all turned upside down, where the voters, after voting politicians office, have the role of kissing ass to them and licking up their scandals , just for the honor of having them sit up on their thrones and tolerate our presence…as long as it is like Maria Kelly, trotting her well-used wares before the BOS and praising her shack-up Ogren’s sewer vision, or as long as we remain completely silent while they railroad whatever they want down our throats.


Adam Hill’s behavior is a public embarrassment to the county, and a private embarrassment to at least one other supervisor (speaking confidentially).


Freedom of speech???? Many Los Osos residents have been at the B.O.S. meetings a lot over the last number of years and has been stated that they are one of the things that take up the most time compared to all other things going on in our county. MY GOD, how much more time to you people over in Los Osos want or need??? No Freedom of speech? Yea right, you have been heard quite a bit.


I agree w/you to a point. The Los Osos sewer debacle has gone on for far toooo long. The speakers at BOS meetings can be irritating, melodramatic and repetitive. But silencing them and denying their right to speak for 3 minutes each leads to a bad precedent. Do we really want Adam Hill or whoever’s the BOS chairman at that time to pick and choose who from the public gets to speak?


How long is “far toooo long”?

Some people consider the kind of conflict-of-interest-led fraud like the kind Ogren and Kelly pulled to be without an ethical statue of limitations.

The BOS has called the LO peeps “crazy” and “dramatic” for so long, they’ve brainwashed some of the other County residents to start parroting those descriptions. In that way, they’ve taught the many of the rest of the citizens to join in censorship of the people from Los Osos who, if there is a group of residents ever fracked over by the County and its CSD, it is the Los Osos peeps.

It doesn’t matter what YOU or the Supervisors or anyone else thinks about the Los Osos residents, their complaints, and how they make them.

Each of us has the right to communicate our displeasure at the BOS antics.

I’ve been to many BOS meetings, and it doesn’t bother me one bit when there are boisterous, impassioned speakers.

It’s called “diversity” and “tolerance.”


Calm down, Mary. I think you’re the one who needs to learn a little “tolerance.”

Apparently you didn’t read my earlier post but I’m with ya…mostly at least. I don’t want the “Los Osos peeps” to be censored. And don’t worry; I haven’t been “brainwashed” by the BOS and I’m not “parroting” anyone.

As you said, “each of us has the right to communicate our displeasure at the BOS antics” and that applies in this situation, too. Each of us has the right to agree or disagree with you, also. I think you’ve brought up some valid points but your detractors won’t be swayed when you start calling our elected officials “***holes.”


LOL, thanks for the “calm done!” I don’t know if it will help with my zero-tolerance hot-button issues, but one can always hope.

Often on message boards I see posts where the author tries oh-so-hard to be intellectually superior (which they interpret often as taking a “midline” stance even though it is clear that one side is terribly in the wrong, and that what that side is doing is dangerous) by seeking to appear more lofty and above it all (which they interpret often as taking a “midline” stance even though it is clear that one side is terribly in the wrong, and that what that side is doing is dangerous).

I come from a more proactive school of thought. There are times you have to call an ***hole and ***hole. It serves to encourage others who would like to be more aggressive in their opinions, but who are a little timid to say what they really mean. It also sends a message to the ***holes that at least one person is on to them and not too timid to call them on it.

At this point I’ve reached the zero-tolerance level when it comes to government officials (using the power we give them when we vote them into office) demonizing the citizens who have the guts to stand up to them. This callous and lordly treatment of the citizens they govern is endemic in our government and acted out by its officials, and it is both a sign, and a result, of the disregard they have towards the people they are supposed to serve.

We learned so very well with the Nazi rise to power in Germany that there are some “slippery slope” deals about which we cannot afford to be mealy-mouthed.

Bullies will continue to bully until someone stands up to them. If you try to reason with a bully, you will (by not standing up to such antisocial behavior) entrench their behavior and give them a reason to continue it.

That’s just the bully mindset–anyone who does not forcefully stand up to them is seen as condoning the bullying actions. They view timid-speakers as not worthy of their concern, and often will tolerate their presence because being surrounded by reasonable people sanctions the bully’s activities. How bad can the bully’s actions be when there are reasonable people still attempting to reason with him?

Paavo, Kelly and the BOS–they all represent this principle. Their weapon is the public officde to which we elected them.

When it reaches the point where they use the Brown Act like it was toiletpaper, and conspire to pass a multi-multi-million-dollar project onto a small group of people… and then abuse their power by using a police officer to forcefully remove someone who simply wanted their three minutes of public comment–I think it’s time to develop a ‘zero tolerance” for this type of behavior.

Have you ever been forcefully removed from a meeting? Surprisingly, I haven’t. Lord knows I’ve tried. However, I know many who have, and while it does make many more resolute in their cause, there is always a bit of intimidation factor that is left behind. It is a real mind-frack, and it is long-lasting, too.

Nobody should feel intimidated by attempting to speak their opinion before the BOS.

The way they treat the Los Osos peeps, especially Hill’s treatment of Owen last week, is one of those moments where we have to take off the gloves and declare zero tolerance.

Because we can be assured, if they get away with using an armed guard to take out one constituent who simply wants to be heard for her three minutes, and use as an excuse that “they are Los Osos nuts,” then the next time you or I seek to simply made our opinion known before the BOS, they may attempt to marginalize us by the same treatment.

You know the “First they came for…..Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” statement?

It addressed the Gernan “intelligent” class who did and said nothing while the German Nazis targeted one group after another.

Part of my family history runs through the horrific Nazi period in Germany. I was raised to learn well from the lessons that occurred, and work to ensure it does not happen again.

Throughout history, the most heinous regimes started locally, and increased their choke-hold on the citizenry by small steps. That’s a lesson we have been taught repeatedly throughout many civilizations.

I’ve taken a zero-tolerance to certain types of government behavior, especially locally because that is where it is the most easily countered. I see the BOS behavior (Hill specifically, but the others by their mute approval) as a very dangerous indication in the shift of power in our county.

But, thanks for the “calm down,” anyway. I see your opinions as being mostly reasonable. So your advice will be filed into the cranial file where, hopefully, it will serve a usefull purpose in the future!


So they’ve been there a lot, have they?

WELL, TO FRACKING BAD. Perhaps if the Supervisors would fracking MAN-UP and quit wiping up the sex scandals tied to massive conflicts of interest, resulting in $$$multi-multi millions in fraud, the Supervisors wouldn’t have them back every week, ya think?

Just because Ogren gets to screw one of the Los Osos residents doesn’t mean he automatically gets to screw ALL of the Los Osos residents with his Sewer Vision and back-dating of contracts.

This “investigation” was a fracking SCAM…a hand-job of a report from a clueless administrator. That alone should get Hill recalled and Grant fired without pension or benefits.