Supervisor Adam Hill demands Forbes Magazine retraction

January 22, 2014
Adam Hill

Adam Hill


Battling back against a storm of negative publicity following a Forbes Magazine commentary, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill has demanded a retraction from the national publication.

Hill accuses Forbes columnist Steven Hayward of making up information and ascribing false motives to Hill’s letter to the New Times last week. In the letter, Hill ridicules people in the community who speak out against or question government.

Hill even suggests Hayward was compensated by someone in San Luis Obispo County to write the Forbes’ article. In the past, Hill has made spurious claims that CalCoastNews reporters have been paid by his opponents to write articles about him, and pay sources to lie.

Hill’s email requesting a retraction:

“Mr. Hayward:

“Re: your latest Forbes column, doing some actual reporting and fact-checking is greatly encouraged. Also, you should not purposefully misrepresent things as you do in this paragraph about me:

“’If you pay attention and complain about this kind of rule, you tend to get the kind of response given last week by the incoming chairman of the board of the APCD, county commissioner Adam Hill. In a letter to the editor of the New Times, the local ‘alternative’ weekly, Hill makes clear that he views all critics of unaccountable bureaucratic rule as ‘conspiracy’ mongers:

“Now nowhere in my letter to the editor (which is black humor and has nothing to do with APCD rules) does it say I am referring to ‘all’or ANY ‘critics of unaccountable bureaucratic rule.'”

“You made that up, ascribed false motives to me, and in doing so, have potentially defamed me.

“While the timing of your column suggests you were coordinating with some SLO County folks, and that you may have even been paid by one of them to do this hit piece on our county gov, our APCD, and me, what I am asking for is a full retraction and an apology. If you cannot make your arguments in a factually responsible manner, you should not be writing such columns. I hope to hear from you and/or your editors within ten (10) working days.

“Adam Hill”

Hayward’s Jan. 21 email response:

“Dear Supervisor Hill:

“It certainly takes some moxie to complain about being libeled after your New Times screed describing a good portion of your fellow citizens as, among other things, people who “use cats as food tasters.” I gather you are unfamiliar with libel standards for elected officials by opinion writers, or are unacquainted with the way in which, for example, H.L. Mencken or James Wechsler routinely described elected officials decades before New York Times v. Sullivan, but in any case you may wish to check with the county counsel about the prospects for your cause of action. I’m sure he or she will laugh as much as I have over the notion.

“Perhaps you can clarify then: exactly who do you have in mind with your letter to the New Times? Would you care to name specific individuals, or a more specific description of the type of person you have in mind? It appears from the ellipses that the New Times may have edited your letter (or is that your standard punctuation?). Lacking this specificity, I see no reason whatsoever to qualify my characterization of your views and motives, for in my opinion it is accurate. If you’d care to send me the original unabridged version, I can assure it gets wider distribution than the New Times can give it. I note that this is not the first time remarks like this from you have been broadly controversial, and by all means I would delight in bringing you more national attention.

“In 15 years of working around government officials in Washington DC, and five years doing the same in Sacramento, I have never seen such tawdry expressions of contempt for fellow citizens from an elected official as is manifested in your New Times letter, and I note this not the first such public communication from you that has this tone. There is no possible ‘context’ that can redeem language of that kind.

“You observe that the ‘timing’ of my column suggests coordination, and further you allege that I may have been paid by someone there to do so. (Another irony failure on your part, but never mind.) I am paid by Forbes and Forbes alone for my articles, like my similar articles that have been solicited over the years by the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Wall Street Journal (etc. etc.), along with numerous magazines going back 25 years now. But if I had collaborated with local people on the substance of the story, so what? I see there is more than one part of the First Amendment that you don’t respect — free association.

“For the record, I am working on a chapter about the SLO APCD for a forthcoming academic book about local bureaucracy, so I am starting to pay closer attention to things. And very much looking forward to the additional material your prospective chairmanship is likely to provide.

“Finally, the imperious tone of your closing demand that you receive a response ‘within 10 working days’ rather makes my point better than I could have made it myself, and I thank you for yet another revealing display.


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HAHAAAHA the truth hurts Adam …HAHAHA

Thank you, CCN, for running both sides. It is great that you provided both emails in detail; you prove the worth of CCN over and over when you publish such detail.

Unfortunately for all residents, while Adam Hill is a goof and a bully and might soon leave public office, he will STILL for a while be enacting stupid things, will STILL for a while be the pawn and buddy of Gibson, and he will likely STILL remain on some board or some post where he can foist his lunacy, bad judgment, and expenditures (and those of his girlfriend) upon the residents and taxpayers of SLO County.

So how did CCN come to possess what appears to be a personal email from Mr. Hayward to Mr. Hill? It does, in fact, suggest collaboration. Not that Mr. Hill isn’t positively Nixonian in his paranoia, but dirty tricks work both ways. While Mr. Hayward’s column was a good read, he worships a little too faithfully at the altar of Saint Ronnie for my liking.

Maybe CCN asked Mr. Hayward to be copied on any response, or maybe Mr. Hawyard published his response somewhere.

Hayward sounds pretty impressive to me. I found the following description he wrote of some of his qualifications:

“I am currently the inaugural visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and teaching in the political science department. From 2002 to 2012 I was the F.K Weyerhaeuser Fellow in Law and Economics at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC, and senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco. I have also taught at Ashland University in Ohio, and have been the William Simon Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Public Policy in California.”

I would say Hill picked the wrong guy to mess with :)

Gee, it would sure be nice if this guy would look into some of the other awful things that go on in this county and write about them. National attention just might pressure the bad guys into behaving better, or it might pressure outside agencies to go after them.

Mr. Hayward is demonstrably the better writer.

Well here is a plausible to how CCN could have got. Mr. Hayward is obviously following local goings on. When queried (Googled) a lot of stuff about local politics, brings up CCN. Is it not possible that he could have contacted CCN and asked if they would be interested in a copy of email? Do you not think that papers and other journalism has done this before? I don’t think it is as nefarious as you may think.

That’s exactly what I think happened. It appears that Mr. Hayward contacted CCN in an effort to “get” Mr. Hill. Not that our esteemed supervisor doesn’t deserve it, of course. And yes, I consider it nefarious.

But I don’t think Mr. Hayward has to get Mr. Hill. Mr. Hill is doing a good job imploding all on his own.

On that we agree!

I see no evidence that Mr. Hayward’s original story was aimed at “getting” Hill. I think he just found a great example of a really bad local politician – one that fit nicely into the subject matter of the book he is writing.

Oh Sarah really now, It is CCN who broke the Forbes article at the local level . How did they know about it so fast, maybe they found it surfing the inet as they do every morning or maybe they were contacted based on the fact they have run many of their own stories about Larry and the APCD. Steven did say that he is doing research for a project so perhaps he contacted CCN based on their previous investigations into the APCD and the faulty science the APCD employed out on the mesa. Either way, it’s ALL ETHICAL.

No doubt CCN staff requested any future correspondence surrounding the article. It’s NEWS, it’s local news and yes, Hill responded as a public official and what he has to say for himself is for public consumption.

While I don’t support Mr. Hill at all, I can’t mock him for crying that CCN and Mr. Hayward are out to get him when, in fact, they ARE out to get him. Note carefully that I don’t question how CCN obtained Mr. Hill’s correspondence (though I’m curious whether it was sent from his personal or his county account) but how an apparently personal email from Mr. Hayward came to be in CCN’s possession. You see, just because Adam Hill is a boor doesn’t mean that we get to torment him in just the same way. As we were taught many years ago, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Sure you don’t support Hill.

But by bringing it up YOU are questioning how CCN receved the email, it is a indirect troll at CCN.

You seemed to have missed the possability that Mr Hayward shared them. Does that make too much sense?

“doesn’t mean that we get to torment him in just the same way. ”

But he gets to toment citizens of the county? Thats called a double standard.

Kettle, meet pot.

First off you contradict yourself. You say that you don’t question how CCN obtained his correspondence then go on to say how did they get it. So which is it. Do you or don’t you question it? Second your simplicity of two wrongs don’t make a right. We are talking about an elected official that has had a lot of goings on in the last few years. Taxpayers paying this man have every right to know if he is running afoul of his office. Notice I said office not personnel life.

You’ve got a problem with reading comprehension, don’t you? I don’t care how CCN got Adam’s letter to Steven. I do care how Steven’s response got back to CCN. Read carefully before picking a fight.

Not picking a fight. Trying to understand your thought pattern through your not so clear writing.

O.k. so Steven presented his response to Hill to CCN. So what. He may have been doing that for clarity of both sides, because if he didn’t then someone would be complaining that both sides weren’t presented. Never can make people happy.

Excellent response Mr Hayward.

Is Adam Hill actually implying that there is a conspiracy against him? How ironic and utterly amusing……

I should just laugh but I can’t, this guy is a freaking county supervisor.

Steven is my HERO!!!!!!!!!!! His first paragraph response. If you have a hard time understanding Adam, in a nice way he told you to F**K OFF!!

Then in the second to last paragraph, saying he looks forward to Adam providing more material. That is sad (on Adam’s part) but DAMN it made me laugh.

And then he wraps it up with the last paragraph. STEVEN YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!

Hill you are a bully and you again prove your aggressiveness or contempt for anyone that doesn’t march lockstep with you. You sir are not a man but a coward.

I demand that Adam Hill retract his ignorance and stupidity. Oh wait, that’s his god-given right to be ignorant and stupid.

Adam Hill had his lunch handed to him by the Forbes writer.

STEVEN HAYWARD – You are awesome. Bringing this crook down to size is probably the most wonderful beginning of my new year. What a complete horses arse Adam Hill is and his girl butts up real good behind him. I am looking forward to more pieces from you in the future. JMO


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