Adam Hill lobbies SLO Council members
November 10, 2014
By KAREN VELIE
The day before San Luis Obispo City Council members are scheduled to make a decision on disciplining Councilman John Ashbaugh for violation of the state’s open meeting law, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill lobbied the council to drop the issue.
On Sunday afternoon, Hill called and emailed council members asking them to accept John Ashbaugh’s apology and to take no further action. Ashbaugh, a political ally of Hill, faces possible censure, condemnation by the council, or an investigation by the San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury for violating the Ralph M. Brown Act and disclosing confidential closed session discussions.
“While the whole episode was unfortunate, we all know that in the heat of debate, at times our emotions can get the better of our judgment,” Hill said in the Sunday email to the council. “We are human. We make mistakes. Councilman Ashbaugh has apologized several times for his comment, so please do not blow this out of all proportion.”
Following months of lobbying by Hill to have the council override the airport land use commission, the violation and an angry tirade by Ashbaugh appeared to have had the opposite effect, and the override failed. Council members Daniel Carpenter and Kathy Smith voted against the override, which needed four votes to pass.
An override of the airport land use commission would allow for high-density residential development on the south side of town.
One of the projects in the area is developer Gary Grossman’s bid to build high-density housing on the property he has in escrow with rancher Ernie Dalido. A high-density development would be much more profitable for Grossman than the mixture of residential and retail currently approved by a vote of county residents.
Grossman has donated large sums of money to county supervisors Hill and Caren Ray and several city council members who voted in favor of the override.
Both the airport commission and the aeronautical division of CalTrans have hinted at suing the city over the proposed developments because of safety issues. Carpenter, at a public meeting in October, questioned how a vote to override the commission could legally impact the city .
Nevertheless, if the council votes to censor Ashbaugh by forbidding him to vote on the issue, it is unlikely the airport override would garner the votes necessary for passage.
On Nov. 7, San Luis Obispo activist Kevin Rice noticed the council in writing that if it overrides the airport land use commission he plans to mount a challenge via a referendum.
Monday’s council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
Ashbaugh’s violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act:
Ashbaugh’s outburst at Council Member Carlyn Christianson: