Hill rationalizes verbal assault on Thoma

December 21, 2012

Adam Hill

(EDITOR’S NOTE: On Friday, Adam Hill distributed an email apologizing for his attack on Bill Thoma, promising to be more civil in the future in his dealings with the public. That was preceded by CalCoastNews’ publication of this rambling self-justification of his earlier actions. See Hill’s comments in “Opinion.”)

County Supervisor Adam Hill issued a lengthy and impassioned apologia Thursday defending his vitriolic attack a day earlier on local business owner Bill Thoma amidst a dispute about location of a proposed homeless facility.

Responding to a flood of criticism following publication of his churlish commentary to Thoma, the District Three supervisor sent an email to himself, apparently to conceal the identity of his intended recipient.

Hill titled the email “Some salient facts regarding the proposed Homeless Services Center,” and noted, “This is all I have to say at this point on the clash with Bill Thoma. Very sorry to have created any anxiety for you.”

Thoma is out of town and unavailable for comment.

Hill’s email is reprinted here verbatim:

“A committee made up of city and county staff and homeless service providers evaluated a series of city and county owned properties for a new center because the Maxine Lewis Shelter is a dilapidated modular building that can’t properly meet the needs of homeless care and services.

“This committee spent nearly two years (2007-2009) in this process before contacting me about the county owned site on South Higuera next to our Department of Social Services.. I agreed then (May 2009) to speak with county administration and General Services about the availability of the property. Once it was determined it could be used for this important
public need, and once my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors agreed to have the property used for this, I joined a larger committee focused on planning for and entitling the property.

“As you know, in both processes, other sites and buildings were considered and evaluated. The county site on S. Higuera was deemed best and most practical each time (I had no role in these evaluations, just as I had no role in selecting the property to begin with).

“As you know, finding a location for a new homeless center is perhaps the most difficult land use related task. It is understood that a center focused on self-sufficiency services must be centrally located, but at the same time it is optimal for it to be located with the minimal amount of residential and retail areas surrounding it.

“Once we began work to plan for the property on South Higuera, we decided to publicize it as best we could so that we could receive feedback and gauge the issues of opposition. (Local media) reported on the plans and efforts, including the approvals at the Airport Land Use Commission and the city’s Planning Commission. Both TV stations also covered it extensively.

“Bill Thoma was opposed to the site, he registered that opposition at both public hearings and with the CAPSLO. It was promised and also conditioned that he would be involved/informed as efforts moved forward.

“For 16 months after the last public hearing, CAPSLO organized a capital campaign and began pursuing a quiet period fundraising campaign.  For a host of reasons, including renewed and broader opposition led by Bill Thoma, it was agreed that the public capital campaign should be delayed, better outreach efforts deployed, and revisions on design, policies, and practices should be pursued.

“There were several outreach meetings, meetings with committees of the SLO Chamber, and efforts to include more people from the business community in the newly constituted planning process.  Along with others from the SLO Chamber, Bill Thoma was included on a committee of leaders from the city, county, and CAPSLO.

“At no time did Bill Thoma express that he would always and forever be opposed to the South Higuera site. When he was told that we would make substantial changes to policies, procedures, and design, he was pleased, and when drafts of the documents were presented for input, Bill provided us with substantial feedback and suggestions.

“At the same time, Bill Thoma strongly encouraged that 40 Prado Rd be considered as an alternative. This site had been evaluated previously by city staff and some engineers from Cannon. It was determined that it had a variety of challenges hat would substantially add to the cost of development. Still, CAPSLO gathered more information. While Bill Thoma continued to insist that this site was better than the free, entitled one on South Higuera, it was explained to him that it made no sense to keep pursuing a property that would cost at least $2 million to acquire, would cost perhaps another $1 million to prepare for development, and was not zoned for a homeless shelter. CAPSLO simply does not have the money to acquire this site. Nor does the city or county have the funds to purchase this site. (Cannon provided a proposal to assess the development feasibility of the site at a cost of $80,000 for the study.)

“Despite the reality of the situation, Bill Thoma decided to re-launch his opposition campaign among the businesses in the area, circulating a flyer that is highly misleading in its claims. Bill did not tell anyone in the HSC effort, who he was putatively working with, that he would do this, and that he would do it during Christmas week.

“The holiday season is when CAPSLO’s homeless services receives nearly 50 percent of its operating funds in donations.

“While it is regrettable that the focus has come down to a personal clash between Bill and me, I believe that despite the sincere and substantial efforts made to include Bill in the efforts to better plan for the HSC and to better address the associated problems with homelessness in our community, including the business park, at no time was Bill acting in good faith. It now appears that including him only further empowered him in his opposition.” Adam Hill

(Updated Dec. 22 to incorporate mention of Hill’s apology.)


Not quite sure how it works but how much longer does Hill have on the board?


He has four more years, unless he is recalled. Which isn’t a bad idea


So the 40 Prado Road property would cost about $2M plus another million to prepare it for development? That’s a lot of money but that property will never be cheaper then it is today. Maybe it’s time to pass the hat to all the fat-cat, white-haired liberals? I’m sure the property owner is ready to deal…

Beware of one thing though. Before buying the property please make sure there won’t be any forthcoming lawsuits over the high tension power lines that run over it. I would hate to see staffers and clients suing left and right claiming the EMF from the power lines is making them “sick.”

Thoma is an electrical engineer. He should be able to talk to this matter.


Your concerns are reasonable but the property is large enough to develop far enough from the power lines so that they wouldn’t have any actual effect.

The problem is that perception can trump reality in a courthouse. A “good” lawyer can select and sway a jury to believe that someone is responsible for a problem that has no relation to their actions. Mr. Thoma’s electrical expertise would only serve to make him an expert for one side in a law suit. The other side would find an “expert:” to contradict him.

Hill’s arrogant attitudes not with-standing, he may be right about the viability of the property for the purposes due to economic concerns. I really don’t know. But I am not going to automatically dismiss his viewpoints simply because he has the personality of an over-entitled bureaucrat.


I will be glad to “automatically dismiss his viewpoints simply because he has the personality of an over-entitled bureaucrat”.


While it’s certainly not his responsibility it would be interesting if Mr. Thoma would identify some potential funding sources for this chunk of land.

I would also like someone to dig into the history of the existing lot and determine why SLOC never built upon it when they have long-term leases for office space adjacent to the lot.


The Flipune is reporting it as an “apology.”

Until this evening, I did not know the word “apologia.”

Hill definitely performed an “apologia,” not an “apology.”



In the Tribune article, they have a link to an editorial Hill wrote apologizing to Thoma.

I stand corrected. In the editorial Hill wrote for the Trib, he apologized to Thoma. In the email he sent to himself (as quoted in the article above), he issued an apologia.


When Adam Hill issues an “apology”, it isn’t an apology, it’s an excuse. He must be an only child. He seems to think that if he throws a tantrum and stomps his feet he will get his way. I only hope that these long winded threats and apologies aren’t being done on county time and on county email. The arrogance of this little man with a comb over is really getting old.


Whatever it was, it most certainly was not sincere.


Mr. Hill forgets that he is an elected servant to the people. The people are not his servants. He behaves

as if he can say and do whatever he wants. Bill Thoma is an outstanding citizen. He lives his life with

integrity. The same can not be said of Mr. Hill. Bill Thoma’s contributions to this city and county far exceed anything Mr. Hill could ever hope to accomplish if he had ten lifetimes. Hill and Gibson – two snakes in

the grass. One would hope that this county could do better when selecting leaders.


I listened to Adam Hill speak once. I thought he was an a-hole then and I still do. More and more.


We’ve become so partisan, we can overlook any flaw, so long as the candidate is on “our” side.

I sort of question whether Hill has any supporters anymore, but if there’s one out there who can explain why Hill was a better choice than Ed Waage, I will thank you for the enlightenment.


Hill could save some time if he’d think before he speaks. Apologies get old. was he always a rude little guy?




Just one small point. This free property that Supervisor Hill and others speak of is not technically free. It has value and could be sold regardless of how the County came to own it. The County could sell the property and purchase another raw parcel, multi family apartment complexes, a motel, or other housing throughout the County if they so chose.

I would suggest that purchasing already built housing (multi family apartments, mobile homes, cohabitation prefabricated housing) throughout the County would be a better alternative to addressing the homeless population then their concept of building a very, very expensive institutional type housing units.


Yikes. I bet John Wallace has his corrupt little mitts in the proposed project.


I’m not sure but I’m guessing that COLAB probably likes A. Hill.

Every time he has another public meltdown, they get another 20 members.

Another one of Patterson’s “unintended consequences”