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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Speaking of “Hill” and “Retracting” can only make me wish that one “Mr Hill” had “Retracted” one generation ago!

Blahhhahahahahha, hahahhhaahhaha – Take that Adam Hill. I can’t stop laughing. . As for you Larry Allen, can’t wait to see your agency go national, in the news that is, you stinking viper.

This is too fun and the comments are outrageously funny. Thanks Steve, CCN and the thread participants, you made my week.

Every day I read or see things that reaffirms the statement ” I love my country but fear my government”.

Assuming the post is legit, Larry R. Allen (Air Pollution Control Officer) in San Luis Obispo county has to make you smile.

In a move that certainly sounds self-serving if not “Save-my-job” , he makes the most amazing claim:

“Contrary to your claims, local air quality would not be nearly as good as it is today without the efforts of our agency and our many partnerships with local business to help achieve and preserve clean air. ”

Well, lets not get in the way of facts… but our beautiful red sunsets in America are courtesy of China’s industrial production blowing in. With apologies to the perennial Nipomo Dunes nutters…. who claim much pollution from off road vehicles… there is virtually nothing going on in this county.

In any event, I look forward to reading the promised chapter on the Air Control District that our Forbes writer is developing.

Thanks for the laughs Adam and Larry… say hello to Mo for me!

Oh My Lord! Adam, Adam Adam! Do you not see that you bury yourself with these outrages outbursts? The New Times letter was down right scary. No sense at all, dark humor is the least of it, to know he actually thinks like that? To conjure up those specific thoughts makes me scared for our county even more. BOS save yourselves quick before Mr. Hill degrades you even more!

This last letter to demand an apology? Where is OUR apology for his insane rantings?

Say all that you will about Adam Hill, but Steven F. Hayward is a certified Tea Party hack who fudges the facts to score a point. I’ve got not use for the guy, and automatically doubt his credibility on anything he may say. COLAB, Tea Party, right-wing hack who is in it for the cash. No thanks.

I haven’t read anything by him before but could believe that he is what your say. However, that doesn’t automatically negate his point in this article. If he is getting the facts wrong about APCD, he should be challenged on them.

After reading Hill’s New Times rant, I came to the same conclusion as Hayward did about his attitudes. If we are all wrong in interpreting Mr. Hill’s views, perhaps he should take remedial courses in writing with an emphasis on clear communications. (I suspect that he might not even have to pay tuition if he took them from Cal Poly — they have to be a bit embarrassed at having a Poly professor unable to communicate at a level expected of a Sophomore.)

Adam, pick up your pacifier, wipe it off, and stick it back in your piehole. You brought a knife to a gunfight!

Not a fan of either individual but can’t wait to read the chapter on SLO APCD in Hayward’s new book…

As to where CCN got their information-THEY’RE A NEWS ORGANIZATION, PEOPLE!

Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do?

No, this isn’t what they’re supposed to do. They are supposed to report the news, not be the news. Leave that to a drama llama like Geraldo Rivera. As much as I dislike Mr. Hill for obvious reasons and sympathize with Ms. Velie’s struggle against a county government out to crush her, the situation has long since deteriorated from journalism to personal vendetta. Mr. Hill is right to question whether coordination exists.

Sarah Bellum, I guess all I can say is, love your sense of irony.

CCN is reporting the news Sarah. Forbes has an article out about SLO county (that’s our county by the way) and it is directed at Larry Allen who is the director of the APCD (that’s our APCD) and Adam Hill (who is a mentally ill elected supervisor in our county). THAT’S NEWS GIRL.

SLO County is in the national media Sarah, that’s news, get it?

Thank You CCN for keeping us informed considering that I got a call from my brother about an hour and 45 minutes ago, it was about guess what? Yup, he asked me if Atascadero was in SLO county? He subscribes to Forbes. I was happy to know exactly what he was talking about since it is local news that I should know about.

OK, one last try. CCN reports that a writer from Forbes mentions SLO county in a column. That’s news. CCN obtains and reprints a private exchange between a notoriously gaffe-prone hothead county supervisor (who just happens to hold a grudge against CCN) and said writer from Forbes. That’s not news. That’s piling on.

You’re entitled to your opinion but I’m finished with you as I hope others are. It’s clear to me that you’re trolling here.

Do not feed the trolls.

That’s a long ways from trolling and holding an organization up to the claims it makes about itself seams reasonable.

If by trolling you mean openly questioning whether I, as a reader, am being manipulated by a news organization catering specifically to the prejudices of a bunch of kneejerk reactionaries, then yes, I’m trolling. Or as I like to call it, “critical thinking.”

I think your critique is biased. Critical thinking should allow the person who is doing it to REALLY look at both sides. I don’t believe that you are doing so. I think your perspective is from the far left.


Whenever an elected politician speaks as derisively as Hill did about his constituents, that is newsworthy and something about which news publications should publish.

Hill’s bad press is due to his own bad behaviors. Don’t like it? Talk to Hill about it. Don’t criticize the messenger for reporting on HIll’ s inexcusable behavior.

Sarah Bellum anonymous media critic says: “No, this isn’t what they’re supposed to do.”

Lol, it’s 2014 it’s a common refrain used to suppress the real news by casting aspersions (fud) and bringin up the possibility.

“Mr. Hill is right to question whether coordination exists.” Because that is what He is doing with his long term effort to close CCN. Not a surprise he is thinking about it.

Steven Hayward is a local boy and a right-wing hack.

No surprise there. This is purely a partisan bashing. So new. And, so worthless.

Partisan? You don’t have to be a conservative to conclude that the letter Hill wrote to the New Times was nasty, contemptuous, and just plain weird. Hill is in big trouble this time and so, most likely, is his pal Allen.

I’m pretty liberal on most issues, and do not agree with all of Mr. Hayward’s political views, but he is right on target with what he said about Hill and the APCD, and I am very glad he decided to expose some of the awful stuff that goes on in our corrupt little county.

If Hill were a decent human being your arguement might have some crediblity. However, since Hill’s abnormal and illegal practices transcend political affiliation I can only think that you have bet on the wrong horse. The democrats need fresh blood, not perverts like Hill and Gibson.

S.S. Sam,

Illegal practices? Why isn’t he in handcuffs? Or, charged with something? Why is it that practices which you and your ilk may not like are so often called illegal?

Abnormal? As compared to what? The bulk of the posters on this site?

Pervert? Sounds defamatory to me. Any evidence to offer that Hill is such? I doubt it. But, a whole boatload of anonymous people will “like” what you say.

Btw, Cuesta is just starting a new semester. It offers many sections of Critical Thinking.

Sticks and Stones…..

my reply was to bmax..

OMG, You posters have me in stitches. The truth can be so comical at times and 90% of you posters have the comedy act down. I really have been laughing non stop for the last 10 minutes just reading these comments and puns. This is by far one of the funniest threads I’ve ever seen here with the non stop humor.

Carry on and thanks for getting me to laugh about this travesty of a supervisor. Geeez, you just have to love Steve Hayward.