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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The picture doesn’t do him any good,getting pretty chubby there and the stubble doesn’t help,looks a little like the booze is getting the better of him,must be why he’s acting stranger.

Booze or not the Bulldog Society of America wants that picture taken out of the public eye.

Adam Hill: The pride of the Cal Poly faculty.



Hey commenters don’t get side tracked by Hill or what he thinks or should we care. The point of Hayward’s article is why is the head of a nothing agency getting paid $252k base. Time to focus of getting all the top salaries in SLOCO down to under $125k and capping all the pensions at $100k.

Good read. Thanks brettmx. I think the reporter Boornstein exposed the contra costa fire chiefs with the $250k pensions from some Podunk no risk fire department a couple years ago

Here’s why fighting calipers will be an uphill battle.

All of the disgust with Hill’s actions, past and present, should send a message to those who have elected him that the power is still with the people and not with those who use their positions for self-aggrandizement. Those of you who have the opportunity to vote in his district – put your efforts toward backing a solid candidate who can beat Mr. Hill when he comes up for reelection.

As far as pensions go – heybobareebob – why are you fighting Calpers? They don’t set the salaries – they don’t determine the pensions – that comes from the employers – city . . . county . . . state management. Calpers’ job is to take that money, invest it (a job they have done exceedingly well) and then distribute it upon retirement. And remember, for every overpaid pension-holder, there are hundreds of folks who accepted a lower than average salary when compared to non-governmental jobs for 30 . . .40 years with the understanding that they would have a secure retirement. These folks are the ones who will suffer if you undermine pensions. Fight city hall – fight the high salaries and the mismanagement of government agencies. Stop blaming the average pension-holder who barely is able to break even after they retire.

Hag, you are wrong about the government paid employees making less than their counterparts in the private sector. That was true until about the mid seventies. But these days the people who perform the mundane tasks of government are better compensated than their counterparts in the private sector. And the private sector people don’t get as many paid holidays, sick time, vacation time, pensions or job security.

isoslo – it’s jhagstro . . . not Hag. But aside from that obvious misinformation, so is your across the board statement that “people who perform the mundane tasks of government are better compensated than their counterparts in the private sector.” According to the CBO as of January 2012, public sector workers with a higher education are paid less than their private sector counterparts. And since the majority of public sector workers are better educated than those who hold comparable jobs in the private sector, that disparity is even greater. To be fair, some of their negotiated benefits are better than private sector benefits, but that is part and parcel with the fact that unions, which have historically fought for private sector workers, are being decimated.

Regardless of the comparison, it is not the person receiving the average wage and benefit nor the investment agency who manages those funds who is at fault – it is the mismanagement of the agency who offers the high-priced packages in the first place. Most public sector workers do not fall within that defined category.

Bob, the way taxpayers control the Larry Allen’s of the world is through our elected representatives. Until we get rid of the incompetent Adam Hill, we are stuck with Larry Allen and his quarter of a million annual cost.

Let us not forget the adultress, Bruce Gibson, shacking his taxpayer paid for office assistant. All three of these leeches need to be replaced!

Being a New Jersey boy this behavior comes naturally like Chris Cristie from New Jersey. The only question is, does San Luis Obispoians think he is the best to represent them now? Next election maybe a yard sign that says “Elect Adam Hill the Bully” could display a more honest slogan than “I am a moderate”?

When will the next shoe drop showing how the business people in this county are being bullied by Mr. Hill. You never know if the next business person needing a county permit will be wearing a wire and create a sting operation with video from the surveillance our government has installed all over? It is time.


Maybe it Time to check into reality rehab!

I can not believe that you and one other board member have been voted into office the last

Election.Hope the people of this county will open their eyes and see what is going on in this

county and call you and your friend Gibson to the mat.

Also think the APCD should explain how and why they have so much power.

Another organization that makes up the rules to justify there existence.

People of this county need to wake up.



The balls on this guy! Talk about power going to someone’s head!

Adam you are a public figure that means people and that includes the media can criticize and even poke fun at you. Turn on Saturday Night Live and watch them make fun of the President. If he can take it why can’t you?

Pretty sure there will be no additional reply from Hill. His daddy probably never spanked him that badly.

I don’t know. I am guessing that he is the one who talked Dee Torres into that misguided suit against Brennler. He may have difficulty learning from his mistakes and may do something equally dumb like trying to sue Forbes and Hayward — if he can find an attorney as brazen and stupid as he is.

Forbes magazine would crush him like the little cockroach he is.

In the midst of all this fun I had a thought that maybe Adam should have had before exposing himself in the way he did in the New Times and in his “demand” to Steven Hayward…

Just how far will these forays into ridiculousness and pompousness separate him from his “base”, whoever they may be? Would anyone in their right political, business or community mind want to associate themselves with this type of conduct? Maybe up to this point, while it’s just been on a local level, but after Forbes picking it up…? I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of these folks runnin’ pelmet in any direction that leads away from him. And if he had any aspirations of a political life beyond SLO, well… Sucks to be you Adam!

Just sayin’….