Battle to replace Arroyo Grande mayor begins

September 26, 2014
Jim Hill

Jim Hill


Following police officer allegations that Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara participated in a cover-up over a city sex scandal, a group of city residents have announced their plans to unseat the controversial mayor.

A group of citizens seeking a “transparent and law-abiding city government,” announced Friday they are supporting write-in candidate Jim Hill for mayor. A write-in candidate’s name does not appear on the ballot, but is a candidate residents may vote for by writing in the person’s name.

Before moving to Arroyo Grande, Hill was twice elected to the Oceano Community Services District Board. He resigned after several of his fellow board members refused to investigate allegations of employee wrongdoing. Those allegations were later proven correct.

Hill also sat on the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District. At that time, he was the only member questioning if it was a conflict of interest for John Wallace to serve as district administrator while giving engineering work to his private firm, the Wallace Group. The San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury later determined there was a conflict of interest.

Hill is an engineer at PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. He has a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology from Excelsior College and a Juris Doctorate from the University of San Luis Obispo School of Law.

“Jim considers reestablishing trust in local government by providing openness and respectful, fair treatment of citizens and employees alike, in full conformance with the requirements of the Brown Act, to be a top priority,” his campaign flyer says.

While write-in candidates rarely win, candidates such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy won presidential primaries as write in candidates.

For more than two months, city official elected to ignore police officer reports that City Manager Steve Adams had lied to officers, was belligerent to employees, and had engaged in conduct that has cost other employees their jobs.

On July 3, shortly after Community Development Director Teresa McClish’s husband called 911 to report that his wife had not arrived home and he was worried because she has a heart condition, police, after knocking repeatedly, entered and began searching the darkened building. As officers yelled McClish’s name, Adams walked from his office initially lying to officers, saying McClish was not in the building.

After officers noticed a partially-dressed McClish holding her clothes in front of her chest, Adams became angry with officers, according to officer reports.

Ferrara responded by asking the city attorney’s office to conduct an investigation, which officers said was more of an interrogation aimed at silencing the police during salary negotiations.

Local developers and business owners have accused Adams and Ferrara of providing favors to friends through contracts and lax development procedures while pushing others to use their associates for engineering and design services.

For example, a recent vote to give a $70,000 a year, five-year contract to Verdin Marketing to provide Water Conservation Education to the citizens of Arroyo Grande, included discussions of the need to give a developer with close ties to Ferrara a political favor, a council member who did not want their name used said. In this case, the spouse of Mary Verdin had been a private pilot for the Arroyo Grande developer, the city official added.

After a CalCoastNews exclusive about the July 3 incident, Ferrara announced at a Chamber of Commerce meeting that the matter had been “fully investigated” and that “nothing illegal” had occurred. Ferrara and Adams also hinted that officers may have colored their formal reports to benefit current labor negotiations.

That angered officers, who last week issued a vote of “no confidence” in both Adams and Ferrara.

According to city policy, managers cannot engage in intimate relationships with their subordinates. In the past 15 years, the city has paid out more than $1.5 million in sexual harassment claims.

At 3:50 p.m. Friday, Hill is scheduled to discuss his candidacy with KVEC’s Dave Congalton on AM station 920.

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This is a WRITE IN campaign, you will not see Jim Hill’s name on the ballot. Under Tony Ferrara will be the line for a WRITE IN.

you MUST physically WRITE JIM HILL.

I got great feed back at tonight’s fish feed, walking the village, talking to merchants.

This is an up hill battle and it is possible. We need the fine folks of Arroyo Grande to decide if they want to keep a blind eye, or do we want to move forward in a positive way and put this behind us.

I wish Steve Adams and his family all the best, but I WILL NOT let you stay in office. You sir, are the one who lied, and then called our police liars, you crossed a line in my mind that should not have been crossed. Move on with your life and learn from your mistakes. And let us move on with our lives as we continue to live in this great city. It is a change in season in many ways, lets hope come spring there truly will be new life here in Arroyo Grande.


More people tonight saying there is more secrets to come out of city hall

Sad insider we want to hear from you.

Steve Adams was unusually friendly tonight at the Festival.

Go home and take care of your girls. This is going to continue to be in the news- I cannot believe you have so little concern for your family.


Sexual assault is a crime…..not sex in and of itself wherever it may take place (so long as

it’s reasonably private). There is no such thing as a sex “scandal” unless it involves

hypocrisy. The only “scandal” part is in the minds of those who have nothing much to do.




Can’t fix stupid…


hey ironyman,

What would you call applying a policy that forced employees out of their job with the city,then not abiding by that same policy that you as the city manager implemented . . . that’s the very definition of hypocrisy.


Not to mention the fact that you can’t expect a lot of privacy in a public building.


This is the first logical comment I have read.


The only way to break the leadership vacuum is to replace mediocrity with honesty, integrity and character….and I don’t anticipate that happening anytime soon.


Certainly not with the current cast of characters.

A couple of fresh faces will put our elected officials on notice…

You ARE replaceable.


Thank you to Jim Hill for stepping up to the plate to vie Tony Ferrara. I have lost ALL CONFIDENCE in the Mayor and City Council of Arroyo Grande.

My question to them all is WHY ? Why would you stand with the Captain of a Ship that has driven it aground ? His actions represent you and reflect your governing.

You need no further investigation into the night of July 3,2014. The Arroyo Grande Police Officers who responded that night completed “Memorandums” versus Police Incident Reports. Probably because that’s what they were ordered to do by either their Chief of Police, the City Manager, or the Mayor/City Council, or all of the above. They documented this incident for a reason. The Police Chief was notified that evening of the incident and I am sure the Council made aware right after that. The actions taken and paper generated over an innocent evening tea makes no sense. The decision to do it this way was to keep the incident from the public and avoid the firestorm we now see. The POA have clearly stated they thought the appropriate “Internal” actions for this Incident of Policy Violation and the Law were being taken, and this is where the problem lies (Pun Intended)

Mayor Ferrara states he believes the Police, and that if they had further information to add they have had ample time and opportunity to do so. Why should the police have to say or for that matter do anything else (other than file a criminal complaint against Steve Adams) they completed the requested statements in Memo form, it’s YOU that just refuses to accept the facts stated in ALL the Police Memos, and have elected to prematurely rule based upon an inept and UNPROFESSIONAL internal investigation that told you that NO POLICY OR CRIME had been committed, exactly how you obviously wanted the outcome to be.

If you saw those same memos that we all have (again no thanks to the City Council and Staff), before your decision to simply Reprimand Steve Adams, then you Mayor Ferrara and City Council are blind and biased and willing to allow this City Manager to Represent You to a public who finds his conduct disgusting and unbecoming of a City Representative. I just want to know WHY ? What does Steve Adams know about you that you don’t want us to know ? The whole cozy cover-up is what I question most. We know about this particular incident because somebody opened their mouth (thanks whoever you are)…WHAT ELSE has been going on ? Hidden from the Public ? Why are you so stubborn and blind from what we all clearly see?

Answer these questions logically, and truthfully instead of the ridiculous spin you keep having to take back or make a lame excuse for your inept thought process. I must say the stupid comments Mayor Ferrara has made to the media and in council meetings has built quit a war chest of evidence against your violations of the Brown Act and maybe even Fair Labor and Housing.



VAndrews, I completely agree with every statement you have made. Our leaders have lost

sight of who they serve, why they are in office to begin with, and how to do their jobs in

an ethical and forthright manner. There is no way that the paperwork generated for the

incident on the evening of July 3rd, 2014 documents a night of tea in a city building.

Our leaders need to be replace. They are jaded in their efforts to lead the city and clouded

in their judgement on how to do this. They are ethically deficient and they do not

recognize any of this.

Please log onto the Facebook page of City Council of Arroyo Grande is corrupt, read my

Open Letter, and share it with all of your friends. I have sent this to the League of Cities, the DA’s office as well as all members of the City Council.

People need to understand that there were violations of policy.


In reply to Otis. you Sir are correct if you feel that some here in arroyo grande might frown upon a citizen voices their stated opinions. Thought to be aged, senile. However, there is and has been for a longtime a need for change in administration here .I was known (before having to relocate out of state) to be called callous insulting names or treated with extreme indifference when I stated my viewpoint regarding the handling of certain city matters. In fact, denied some very pertinent rights by city employees including, but not limited freedom of speech. I will tell you after all the years(decades) of being raised and living in a.g.

some of these people are crooked as a dogs hind leg! I say thisl because I never wanted to leave here but was forced out. I wish the best of success to anyone like mr.hill stand tall and fight the battle to get in and restore that community that does deserve much better.


Jim Hill has twice stood up and said things needed to be investigated and got no where, and later it was determined Jim was correct. This is the type person I want running my city. He is not afraid to call it like it is.

AG needs to stop being complacent and stand up to corruption.


Fully creditable, experienced and “knows the territory” in AG and the whole 4th District.

I thank Jim Hill for putting it on the line, and all those who suffered the delusion — obviously out of desperation – in recommending I stand.

It is not that I am ageing, senile or uncomfortably wayward in my thinking — but I really believed we certainly deserved something better.

We have something by an order of a couple magnitudes better in Jim Hill.

He will be a great Mayor. Where do I send my campaign donation?


Otis thank you for doing what you have already done and that is standing

up Arroyo Grande and speaking for the many citizens who couldn’t. You’re

letters, public speaking and information have been eloquent and thought


And a big hearty THANK YOU to Jim Hill for standing up and taking on this

battle of cleaning house of the city’s management, Where can we send a

campaign donation?


See previous post from Mike Byrd.


call (805) 441-5133 or email to – to send donations and provide your address for lawn signs.

Help Jim stay visible!


We need elected leaders that will Vote No on Unconstrained ” Automatic Rate Increases”.

South County Sanitation, with all the well documented fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and corruption, will be waiting until After the Election to roll out their New Tax Increase.

I just do not feel that we should be required to pay the Fines, Lawyers Fees to Fight The Fines, and the Costs for all the short meetings so everyone can receive their Stipends, Overtime, and Lawyers !

Those responsible for these Illegal Actions and those responsible for wasting funds on Prolonged Costly Litigation and the Insurance Carrier should take responsibility.

These Special districts and Cities must stop these ” Unconstrained Automatic Rate Increases” and become more Accountable and Responsible to the citizens.


John Wallace was found guilty….there should be no way that ratepayers get an increase. its John..Tony..bill and caren ray and John shoals. they KNEW what was going on and did nothing


With Dan Dow now coming aboard, and if we can get Jim elected, we just may be able to expose that “club” you mentioned for all of the protections and wrong doing’s they have been covering up.

Voices count! Write your letters and get friends to vote of Jim Hill!

Jorge Estrada

It certainly reads like those currently seated on top are in for a up Hill battle.