Battle to replace Arroyo Grande mayor begins

September 26, 2014
Jim Hill

Jim Hill

By KAREN VELIE

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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SamLouis

This thread is VERY telling! Now that Ferrara’s political reign is actually facing a threat, the number of dislike votes on every posting is going up. A good sign I suspect. It means the Ferrara camp is scared.


doglover

The City Council has NOT done what they ought to…..

APOLOGIZE for making a MISTAKE

And doing the RIGHT THING now

By putting ADAMS on leave like he should have done onJuly 4th.

ADMIT NOW that this could have been handled better and

APOLOGIZE


agag1

Then terminate Adams, with cause.


StakeHolder

Just got back from the festival and was so pleased to greet folks who showed their support. This might turn out easier than we all expected! Getting the word out is most important. Nicest thing is that people now have a *choice*…and don’t have to be victims of the current reign.


doglover

How did the parade go? Any back turning?


agag1

Folks were very respectful. Pretty quiet when council members rode by, lots of clapping and cheering for police, and some whoops and hollers for Jim.


whoswho

Kudos to the two ladies who were following Tony around with a “VOTE FOR JIM HILL”

Tony sure didn’t act like “TOP DOG” today.


dogeatdog

was told the only way we are going to get Jim in office, we have to go DOOR to DOOR.


SamLouis

I suspect that’s correct. Not only to campaign but to educate the voters on writing in his name.


roberttorrance

met a former mayoral candidate who said he did zero advertising and marketing and still got over 1k votes. im thinking between the negative press around Tony and Jim’s background and campaign there is a very serious chance here…..


agag1

Everyone interested in a change MUST do their part.

We need to speak to our neighbors, and friends. ANYONE & EVERYONE.

DONT BE SHY!!!

We MUST explain that voters MUST write “JIM HILL” on their ballot.

Volunteer to walk your neighborhood. Call for materials.

Make a sign for your yard or window, this campaign is grassroots…PITCH IN!


We don’t get many chances like this AG,

You know what they say about those who help themselves…


SamLouis

It ain’t gonna be “easier.” That’s the wrong sentiment to take right now. Hill and his supporters need to go full bore until election day.


IronHub

McClatchy columnist Dan Walters has Tweeted CalCoastNews’ first article about the Adams/McClish/Ferrara affair. https://twitter.com/WaltersBee


agag1

Oh boy, this “NBD” incident just got a lot more interesting…to a whole lot more people.

Makes you wonder if there’s something to it after all…


SamLouis

To all AG voters:


* This sordid affair and attempted coverup would not have been brought to light without CCN.


* The effort to hold people accountable would have died if the AGPD had not stepped-up.


* The prime culprit was running unopposed until Jim Hill threw his hat into the ring.


Now you have a choice. It’s in your hands…


agag1

JIM WILL BE IN THE PARADE ON SAT. JUST BEFORE THE FIRETRUCKS,

NEAR THE END OF THE PARADE. LET’S HEAR LOTS OF CHEERING!


PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE LICENSE PLATE!!


casappleton

please please show decorum. at the parade. regardless of what the current council has done…this parade is about our community and our children. I will be wearing black.


willnose

This is one of those rare times when opportunity for change presents itself. Change is necessary in order to restore trust, and effective governance to our city leadership.


The vetting process, likened to sausage making, may be messy, yet the election process will bring closure to this chapter in our city’s history.


My best wishes are with Jim Hill, or any other candidate(s). It takes a brave and gallant effort to attempt to restore normalcy to our beloved City of Arroyo Grande. Jim Hill is obviously one such candidate based on his service with the South SLO County Sanitation District!


willnose

This is one of those rare times when opportunity for change presents itself.. Change is necessary in order to restore trust, and effective governance to our city leadership.


The vetting process, likened to sausage making, may be messy, yet the election process will bring closure to this chapter in our city’s history.


My best wishes are with Jim Hill, or any other candidate(s). It takes a brave and gallant effort to attempt to restore normalcy to our beloved City of Arroyo Grande. Jim Hill is obviously one such candidate based on his service with the South SLO County Sanitation District!


roberttorrance

very rare,,,,,almost serendipitous


SamLouis

Was that the sound of Ferrara pucker?


SamLouis

AG residents now have a choice. They are in charge of their own destiny. It really comes down to three things:


* Are there enough concerned AG residents to actually get the ball rolling? Seems as though their might be.


* Will Jim Hill past scrutiny one Ferrara’s crew begins to rake the muck? He certainly looks wonderful so far but Ferrara cannot win a clean campaign and he’s going to use every dirty trick in the book.


* Just how hard are AG residents willing to work to elect Mr. Hill?


AG residents now have a choice. They are in charge of their own destiny. They should be thankful for that. They should be willing to get to work.