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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This Hill fellow really needs some psychological counselling.

Can’t wait for Bluto’s 10 day waiting period is over. Has he had enough? Will he retaliate? Stay tuned.

Adam…your Delta Tau Chi name is….Bluto.

Yes, yes, Adam Hill is many things … none of them very nice. The important thing to remember is that he has no power unless he is in the majority and there hangs the challenge… to remover the governor Brown appointee from Arroyo Grande Caren Ray. Without her, Adam Hill withers away…. completely emasculated.

Support and work for one of Caren Rays opponents…. make a better SLO County.

Just for laughs, I gotta see this one more time!

Yes, far better to support the likes of Lynn Compton who uses big money backers to help her ignore the spirit of laws and work the loopholes as she parks her trailers on public property.

I would think it would be hard to claim any integrity or respect for your community when you blatantly find a way to break local campaign laws.

Good luck with that lady folks.

BTW where was CCN on that story, the Tribune found it worth discussing in a non partisan way.

Nonpartisan way? The Tribune usually coddled the corrupt establishment.

Mary, I was referring to the specifics of this case and their Thursday editorial.

I can’t say this has been the case in all history… but I can’t remember when the Tribune has ever covered anything the hasn’t supported the local power structure… even when they were wrong.

This is national news… and where is the TRIBUNE???

I can’t say it has either.

I agree that this latest Hill embarrassment is worthy of broader reporting.

Roger asks where is the TRIBUNE???

I can answer that Roger. They are still looking for the stuffed bear who was swiped from the Paso Candy shop.

What about the local network TV affiliates such as KSBY? If this isn’t local news, what is?

The Tribune is way, way too busy trying to find ways to support the Morro Bay regime whose actions have basically stopped any progress in the city and cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, with more to come.

You refer, of course, to the past Yates Council – which wasted a lot more than hundreds of thousands. They wasted many millions of our tax dollars. Thank goodness we now have an ethical Council majority that is cleaning up the mess created by the previous one,.

Yes it is far better to support Lynn Compton over another liberal lacky. We don’t need a rubber stamp for Hill and Gibson’s agenda. What we need is someone who knows business and can think outside the box.

That response indicates a general ignorance of Ray’s conduct on the BOS and purely a partisan statement.

On the other hand, supporting someone who has indicated her skill in manipulating technicalities to her advantage and showing a willful disrespect for the laws of the communities she wishes to serve, is a very strange choice in my opinion.

well….. 1inthemiddle… clearly your effort is to protect Caren Ray. I can respect that. However, she is on the wrong side of the fense and clearly — from my perspective) in Adam’s pocket.

The key is to support Caren Ray’s ( Adam Hill’s ) opponents. Both opponents clearly represent the district’s more traditional outlook on Agriculture, business and the economy and Caren Ray does not.

I am in support of reasonable dialog and reluctantly admit when I’m wrong, so . . .

As a long time AG resident, I have seen Caren Ray positively impact AG. I believe a fair shake is in order, that is true. The effort to hang Adam Hill around her neck appears to be the campaign strategy of her opponents and their supporters. While that may turn out to be a successful strategy, it sure is not a platform of substance.

If the “fence” is a party line, then again I see that as an unproductive way to select leadership, especially at the county level.

I have asked the question numerous times as to how she is in Hill’s pocket. Aside from the D next to her name, the evidence is weak at best.

Please expand on the traditional outlook on agriculture, business, and economy that Ray is out of step on. After 10 years in politics, it should be easy to compare her actions with these traditional outlooks. Additionally, perhaps you can direct me to specific actions or statements that support the statement that her opponents clearly represent these traditional outlooks.

That is almost entirely fabrication.

She had over 5 years on the planning commission including time as chair of a deadly divided and dysfunctional (ask any architect, builder, developer) when she arrived, This group was turned around to a very business friendly commission that helped lead the resurgence of down town AG. Filling that, she was appointed to council in 2010. She stood for election in 2012. With 3 seats up for election, the citizens were satisfied with the team they had and not a single person ran for a seat. So, not only was she up for election, she basically won unanimously. Get you facts right.

You clearly have no understanding of the appointment process if you think Adam Hill appointed her. After what I recall was 29 applications and interviews including a trip to Sacramento by Lynn Compton also, Ray was put forth by a nominating committee for the governors approval. This is all documented on the media if you cared to educate yourself on the process.

I’m sure Hill would like to think he is all that, but he is a small inconsequential fish in the big pond.

As far as I am aware, he was involved in promoting one fundraiser for her. He was one of many supporting the event.

I would agree, he does want her as a vote. She has shown herself to be an independent thinker if you pay attention to the BOS or the votes. Did you notice how Hill did not become APCD chair last week? Fading power? I wonder.

So, here we are again. Lots of unsubstantiated rhetoric and the “we got nothing better” ploy of trying to hang Adam Hill around a hard working persons neck.

I have a question:

Why wait and see who Adam’s opponent will be? Doesn’t that just lend to the notion that we are constantly left picking the lessor of two evils? Isn’t there another way of going about getting someone in his place, or any other member of that board, that will better represent everyone?

Why not make a concerted effort to find someone who all of you, or at least the majority, would feel comfortable with in his seat? Someone who you feel represents the community and would translate that into truly representing its, the residents, values and goals. Step away from “true politics” for once, leave party parasitism at home and FIND someone who’ll do the job elected to do.

Identify a person, whoever it may be, do your do-diligence in examining his or her background and abilities, then lobby that individual to run with your full support… The Community’s full support.

I’m not a politically moxie person, at best am very pessimistic about politicians as a body, but it seems to me that sitting around and waiting to let someone pick you out is a train wreck waiting to happen. Be more proactive and less reactive…

Just sayin’…

Sounds a lot like someone we having running our Country right now….

I am a Democrat. I won’t vote for Lynn Compton because:

1. She is too far to the right for me.

2. I don’t like those contributing to her campaign.

3. She parks her enormous political van, with a huge picture of herself and a political message, in the middle of either the WalMart or Albertson’s parking lots. She leaves it there for most of the day and sometimes the night. Come on, pay for your political advertising. Don’t park a public eyesore publicity van in a public space.

I also am becoming disgruntled with Mike Byrd’s robocalls. Doesn’t he realize that NO ONE likes to receive robocalls? If he is this insensitive towards the will of his constituents on robocalls, I don’t think he will be any more sensitive to his constituents when it comes to serving them if elected.

We can all agree on the goal of helping Supervisor Adam on the Hill very impotent! In fact, the more impotent the better.

By the way, “inthemiddle” obviously isn’t. Defending Adam Hill by discrediting any of Adam’s buddy Caren Ray opponents is a mere distraction.

I wonder if INTHEMIDDLE would care to share Who they are??

I can agree that whatever influence or effectiveness, actual or hoped for, which Adam Hill may have possessed has now declined to the point where he is of little value to the constituency. Something I would not want to see for any supervisor because the people are the ones who get hurt.

I’m sure you will never find me defending hills behavior in my posts here. On the other hand, I will tend to rally against unfounded rhetoric, misrepresentations, or manipulation a of fact. (Noting that I have allowed myself to write that way, rarely, but undeniably).

I’m far from liberal, but I don’t think narrow minded partisanship is the way to a effective representational government.

I was not trying to distract from Adams foolish behavior any more than your suggestion of attacking Ray was intended to.

You started the subject. I presented well known evidence within the community of questionable behavior of one of the candidates you encouraged support for. I don’t see where that is inconsistent with the discourse.

My anonymity is for self protection. There is history of personal attacks by people associated with these boards and by Mr Hill. I care not to engage in that with either.

You take a very strong position by defending Adam’s ally Caren Ray, you should identify yourself…

Anyway, Anonymity is like a mask or a hood allowing people to behave badly.

I clarified my position in an above post so I will save my hunting and pecking and refer you to that.

To what end would I identify myself?

Forgive me if I have behaved badly, my goal is civil discourse with a focus on critical thinking.

Oscar Wilde: Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth

Anyone know where the supervisors sit on the dias? Who sits in the middle?

Roger, I’d like to hear your answer regarding inthemiddle’s question.

“Please expand on the traditional outlook on agriculture, business, and economy that Ray is out of step on. After 10 years in politics, it should be easy to compare her actions with these traditional outlooks. Additionally, perhaps you can direct me to specific actions or statements that support the statement that her opponents clearly represent these traditional outlooks.”

I don’t think think the question is discrediting any of the opponents in fact it’s a great softball question that you should be able to knock out of the park, so to speak.

Adam and Dee

Went Up The Hill

To Fetch Yet Another Anxiety Pill;

Hill Fell Down

And Broke His Crown

Torres Came Tumbling After

Good one, freshair :)

This is the best, as it has clearly places Adam Hill on notice.

““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.”

It’s time for “The Little Wienie” (thanks laughlines) to start behaving if he can. He isn’t going to be re-elected to the BOS and the APCD is about to get re-vamped big time. Adam, Larry and a few Mo’s are toast.

“This is the best, as it clearly places Adam Hill on notice.”

Sorry, no edit key, darn it.

In the words of the infamous Dean Wormer…”Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life.”

Mr. Hill: zero, point zero.

For a elected official to post a letter as he did in the New Times and to expect no comments from the public is un real the dumb ass fell right into it and hopefully all the individuals who voted for this piece of work now can see what he is really about what a douche bag

The oft-pointed-out problem is that the individuals who voted him in know he’s a douche bag, and they are willing to overlook it as long as he is carrying their water.


The douche-bag tolerant are the biggest threat to the sanctity of the voting process.

Five Cities Fire Authority and the NEW Fire Tax- Is a step in the wrong direction that will create just more of a burden on taxpayers for Early Retirement Pensions, Retiree Health Benefits, and more High Salaries. This “ulimited” Tax Proposal just opens the door to more taxes on some of the most disadvantaged communities in the County of San Luis Obispo.

Clearly, the purpose of the Fire Authority was to Increase Taxes and remove the Pension Burden from local cities. Bait and Switch politics. Let the voters decide if they want lower cost CalFire or 5cities.