Adam Hill explains the path to civility

June 9, 2013
Adam Hill

Adam Hill

UPDATE: Shortly after Hill sent out his response, Paso Robles Councilman Fred Strong responded with an email available at the bottom of this article.


San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill said Sunday that the path to civility requires disassociating with those whose views differ from his own.

Hill’s comments were made in response to a Sunday morning email by San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx, who sent out a copy of the 2011 United States Conference of Mayors Civility Accord. The document was created in response to the shooting rampage in Tucson where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 14 others were wounded.

The mayor’s email, which was shared with 14 elected colleagues, suggested that public officials “need to work together at this time to restore our long standing tradition of collegiality and focus on conducting the business of the people to the very best of our ability.” Marx wrote the email because “at the Mayors’ meeting last Friday, concern was expressed about the lack of civility demonstrated during several recent regional meetings.”

The Civility Accord asks public officials to commit to “respect the right of all Americans to hold different opinions; avoid rhetoric intended to humiliate, de-legitimatize, or question the patriotism of those whose opinions are different from ours and to strive to understand different perspectives.”

Hill responded by email, asking that his colleagues not associate with COLAB, the Tea Party, or political activist Kevin P. Rice.

“You can’t have it both ways; associate with and take policy recommendations from people who vilify and lie, and then demand civility,” Hill wrote. “If this is a priority to some, then either disassociate from COLAB, the tea party, and Kevin P. Rice, or demand that those advisors of yours stop behaving the way they do in their newsletters, online activities, and even public comments.

“I also think running and/or supporting campaigns of personal attack and demonization lead to many ill feelings. Civility has to occur across all sectors of political activity for it to have any meaning. Otherwise you are simply asking people not to disagree with you.”

Rice responded saying that both the APCD and SLOCOG boards voted against Hill becoming the 2013 chair of those bodies because he continues to attack those whose politics do not always agree with his own.

“Hill is presuming to tell other elected leaders who they are allowed to speak to,” Rice said. “Eliminating diversity of opinion appears to be Hill’s goal.”

Less than 15 minutes after Hill sent his email, Paso Robles Councilman Fred Strong responded in an email that noted the importance of elected officials representing all of the people in their jurisdictions.

“It goes across the board between and among the elected representatives of the people in their official capacities, Strong said. “Everyone has beliefs and opinions. In this country we are free to express them and we are free to abuse our freedoms if we do not wed responsibility with freedom.

“Those in the private sector have freedom of speech which they can use to good effect or to drive people away from them. Their miscalculation as to the effectiveness of their behavior does not mean that anyone who agrees with them in principle is going to change their principles because others of similar belief behave badly. However, it would behoove those who want to be effective in their communications and persuasion to behave in a civil and civilized manner if they wish to enlarge, rather than diminish, their numbers.

“As to us, we have a deeper and more extensive responsibility as the elected representatives of all of the people within our respective jurisdictions. To be a civilization, it must be based upon civility.”




Hill’s record speaks for itself. For him to be lecturing anyone on civility is hypocritical to the point of absurdity.


“Eliminating diversity of opinion appears to be Hill’s goal.” said Kevin Rice. Get real, Kevin. I’ve never heard such self-serving mis-interpretation and spinning in my life.

Adam Hill actually said “Civility has to occur across all sectors of political activity for it to have any meaning.” That’s the obvious point he was trying to make and I totally agree.

I have attended and watched many BOS meetings. The fact is members of COLAB, the Tea Party and other conservatives are the ones who can’t stomach people who disagree with them. I’ve seen their on-line sites. They label people “socialists” and worse if they don’t agree on policy. They thrive on personal attacks. Then they claim “free speech”.

When I see some effort from the right to stick to discussing the issues and stop vilifying those with different views, I’ll listen to them. Until then, I consider COLAB, the TEA Party and Kevin Rice to be back benchers and whiners who should be ignored until THEY agree to be civil and drop all the personal attacks.



QUOTING THE ARTICLE: “You can’t have it both ways; associate with and take policy recommendations from people who vilify and lie, and then demand civility,” Hill wrote. “If this is a priority to some, Mb>then either disassociate from COLAB, the tea party, and Kevin P. Rice, or demand that those advisors of yours stop behaving the way they do in their newsletters, online activities, and even public comments.”

I guess you missed the part of Hill’s email I quoted, above.

It helps if you read the whole article and/or email.


Yes, Mary, I read the whole article. (Thanks for the pointless insult). And your quote says essentially the same thing as the quote I selected — everyone should be civil if they want to be heard.

Also, you don’t address my main point, which was Kevin Rice’s laughable spin on the whole topic: Adam Hill wants to eliminate diversity. That’s a joke.

BOTTOM LINE: Where do you stand on civil discourse? For or against.

Kevin Rice

Okay, go ahead and explain how Adam Hill wants to include COLAB, the Tea Party, and Kevin Rice in policy recommendations… (this should be good)


Oh come on. You folks tear the man limb from limb every chance you get and then you expect him to listen to your profound recommendations. How arrogant and foolish can you be?

Adam Hill was actually elected, and re-elected, by a majority of voters in his district who like his positions, policies and ideas. That’s something you have yet to experience.


Doesn’t matter now. Adam was elected under the guise that he would represent his district. Now the truth stands in his own words. He WILL discriminate! His personal attack agenda’s show his true colors. Sad for SLO and the BOS. Just leaves us with even less respect.


Adam Hill, like Debbie Arnold, was elected on the basis of advertised policy positions. Ms. Arnold ran on a platform of less regulation. Do you really think she should change that because some people or groups in her district want MORE regulation on a particular issue?? No way. If she did, COLAB and the TEA Party would probably call her a traitor.

Ms. Arnold, just like Adam Hill, will stick to the positions they ran on and won majority support for from their constituents. That’s our system of representative democracy.


Adam Hill won his election with 58.5% of the vote. As an elected official he has a responsibility to still listen and RESPECT the other 41.5% of the voters in his district as he is suppose to represent them all, not just the developers and other contributors, but all citizen. Well, at least that is how civilized people do it in a democracy!


If you don’t like Adam Hill being criticized for his behavior, then you should go talk to him about it.

Blaming those who criticize him is just a shameless attempt to shift blame to the victims of Adam Hill’s relentless tyranny and abuse of power.


Mary…this a comment site. You make your comments I make mine. I may disagree with you, but I would never tell you to stop commenting.


Grow up. My post didn’t indicate you shouldn’t post whatever you want. My opinion states that you should go to the source of the problem (Adam Hill) with your complaints.

Only Hill can change his behavior.


There is no requirement for civility when speaking. That is because–as we see with Adam Hill–the definition of “civility” can differ from person to person, place to place, and some unethical politicians will abuse their power to whine about public comments not being “civil” as a means to silence them.


I heard part of Kevin Rice’s interview on KVEC this afternoon and I don’t think he was spinning anything.

And–to the contrary of your assertions–if anyone “thrives on personal attacks,” it’s Adam Hill.


The fact is members of COLAB, the Tea Party and other conservatives are the ones who can’t stomach people who disagree with them. What a load of horse s**t, you cant be serious? Bar none in y50+ years of life I have never seen a bigger bunch of whiney, HATEFUL, retaliating, self serving, lying and far to often anymore violent bunch of hoodlums as the majority of today’s democratic and liberal gangs. You people scream the country is divided, well my friend you are the reason we are divided.


So much for civil discourse. LOL


There is no requirement for civil discourse.

If you want to set up a strawman argument, you might want to try a little harder because your strawman has so many holes it might as well have been made of swiss cheese.


Like the old saying goes; “It takes two to tango”! If we are divided it is because both sides have chosen to “pull on the rope”. adam hill is a disgrace to all politicians. Most are ok with just doing what they get paid to do (no, not there salary), adam has to tell everybody that disagrees with him that he is going to #$%^ them! We are divided because that is the way the $$$ folks want it, things stay the same, nothing gets straightened out that is crooked!


Looking at the record of Mr. Hill, from his personal relationships (left his wife and children for another with no money, overdue utilities, etc), to his belittling demeanor of the public citizens who have a right to speak at a BOS meeting and be listened to with respect and integrity, to his behavior and spanks in running for public office, and to his attacking and threatening upstanding community constituents who disagree with his ideas reflect that this man is unfit to participate in a free society and may have mental and/or emotional major issues that should be addressed by a trained professional. What is more amazing to me is that Dee Torres has put her children and career in line with this imbalanced person. What does that say about her? Anyone left still supporting these people???


I’m inclined to believe that the dialog here is doing nothing to reduce tensions or improve civility. It appears that everyone is more interested in advancing a personal political viewpoint than in contributing to an improvement in the political “cimate” in the decision making process. Anonymous comments give people cover to be extreme, and sarcastic/mean, in their viewpoints.

For those who really seem more interested in national agendas I would recommend three publications that can be found both on-line and in nearly every Senate and House office as well as cafeteria on The Hill in DC: The Hill; Politico and Roll Call. Have fun.

While process is important I’m really more interested in achieving positive accomplishments. Does anyone have anything that helpfully addresses the specific situation covered in this story?


Yes, have Adam Hill resign. By the way, you forgot your name… lol


This message board system is one associated with a new outlet. It is similar to other similar message board systems.

All of us would like to achieve “positive accomplishments.” We don’t always agree with what “accomplishments” are “positive,” and that is where disagreement of opinions occurs.

Your idea that CCN should somehow change what is a basic message-board environment into something that serves YOUR own desires, making CCN’s message board different than other similar discussion venues, is absurd.

It would be like me going into McDonalds and saying I agree with fast-food being affordable and available at so many McDonalds outlets, but I believe a positive accomplishment would be for McDonalds to stop serving hamburgers, frech-fries, and other heavy, greasy and unhealthy food….and then tell the McDonalds customers–who go there because they prefer McDonalds type of fast-food–that if they want the type of fast-food McDonalds sells the customers can go to three fast-food restaurants with which I am familiar.

How about if YOU don’t like the discourse on the CCN message board YOU go to one YOU do like? Advocating everyone else go to the trouble of finding a new message-board system they like because you don’t like this one is just plain strange.


Great example of inaccurate, over-the-top personal attacks. There are plenty more on this string. And you don’t see why civil discourse becomes difficult?


Come on Adam…you can dish it out but you can’t take it??


There is no requirement for “civil” speech here. This message board is better than most but it is no different in that participants express their views in the way they wish to express them.

It is up to the moderator–not you–to decide if the comments are unsuitable for the message board.

In addition, members of the public posting on a public message board and a county supervisor expressing himself in board meetings, emails, and other official capacities are completely different situations. We have the right to expect our county supervisors to act professionally when conducting county business (and using county resources).

Adam Hill just cannot take criticism for his offensive behavior and comments. He very much exhibits the behavior of the “omnipotent child”….he thinks because he is so special that he can do whatever he wants and no one has the right to criticize him. The fact that Hill is an adult AND a county supervisor makes his behavior just that much more odious and inappropriate.

In fact, considering the power he wields as county supervisor, his “omnipotent child” routine is just plain dangerous.


Mental issues that should be addressed by a trained professional? I think that describes Debbie Arnold and anyone else who believes in the Agenda 21 conspiracy BS.


…and anyone else who believes in the Agenda 21 conspiracy BS.

Fixed it for ya!


…and anyone else who believes in the Agenda 21 conspiracy –is– BS.

Fixed it for ya!


Spoken like a true Conservative Tea Party Representative. This is an unfair remark place by someone who is either a friend of the ex Mrs. Hill or just made it up.


My above statement went out to SLO Bird in regards to Hills personal relationship. Not my business, or yours.


Considering the information that indicates Hill has abused his position as county supervisor to both advance the career of his floozy AND try to derail the criticisms against her for her performance at her taxpayer-funded job, it definitely IS our business.

If you want to fund Hill’s floozy, write her a check.


He chose to be a polluting politician in this County, therefore what he does definitely affects us, including his morale compass. What slum bag does that to his family and go ahead, defend him and Mr. Gibson and his government paid floozy, show us your morale compass.


Being a Liberal in many ways and a proponent of some form of Socialism myself (police, fire, military,

medicare, social security ALL elements of Socialism) I type here before you to say Hill is punk phony

liberal incapable of putting a coherent idea together.

Kevin Rice

Well, I did try to inform 3rd District voters…

Tune in to Congalton 3:30 p.m. on Wed. to discuss this further. Meanwhile, you may wish to email the representatives that received Adam’s email and let them know your thoughts:

“Marx, Jan” , “Aida Nicklin” , “Bruce Gibson” , “Debbie Arnold” , “Debbie Arnold” , “Debbie Peterson” , “Frank Mecham” ,”Fred Strong” , “Jamie Irons” , “Paul Teixeira” , “Shelly Higginbotham” , “Tim McNulty” , “Timothy Gubbins” , “Tom O’Malley” , “Tony Ferrara” , “Ron DeCarli” , “Steve Devencenzi” , “Pete Rodgers” , “Rich Murphy” , “Geiska Velasquez” , “James Worthley” , “Sue Hall” , “Barbara Troyan” , “Larry Allen” , “Ashbaugh, John”


He’s a big man. Clearly he is “taking one for the team” and diverting attention onto himself to keep the rest of Dem Central in the shadows. His string pullers realize his career is over, and are using him to keep the heat off Gibson, the SLO city council election, or ???.


“Dem Central,” if it is smart, is distancing itself from Adam Hill just as fast as they can.

He is a liability for anyone with whom he associates.


What makes you think Gibson isnt washed up also. We aren’t going to forget Gail Wilcox or his current fling and the money they have cost the taxpayers. We are not going to forget the persecution of Dan Devaul to systematically eliminate options for the homeless so that he and his buddies could steal money from them selling diapers, promising housing and the like. He must be on the way out. SLO voters are clearly stupid but we can’t be that stupid


Or just an egotistical fool who has let a little power go to his head. Maybe an only child? Or just a bully who never learned to listen in class? Or just an embarrassment

to the people who voted him into office?


Too funny. You can’t make this kind of stuff up.

If you are an Adam Hill supporter, and this doesn’t make you question your support at a fundamental level, then clearly you are letting your partisanship obscure your judgement.

Jorge Estrada

It certainly appears that Hill is fighting an up hill battle on a slippery slope in the foot hills.


QUOTING ARTICLE: “San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill said Sunday that the path to civility requires disassociating with those whose views differ from his own.”

I always considered Adam Hill to be a bubble-head. Little did I know that he wanted to be a bubble-boy.