Did Ferrara throw Adams under the bus

November 3, 2014
Mayor Tony Ferrara

Mayor Tony Ferrara


To protect his reputation, did Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara throw City Manager Steve Adams under the bus?

The Adams indiscretion occurred on July 3. A record of the event was prepared by five police officers on July 5, the day after the July 4 holiday. On July 6, Ferrara architected the cover up of the incident.

Instead of forthrightly disclosing the incident the wheels of the cover up was initiated by City Attorney Tim Carmel’s appointing a member of his firm to administer cursory interviews of the police officers and Adams and Director of Development Teresa McClish. On July 7 the cover up began. The city staff met and a gag order was instructed not to disclose the incident.

On July 8, the council was told of the incident in closed session under the guise of California Code 54957. That it was a personnel matter not to be disclosed, thereby enforcing the cover up. The council was alleged to have been told that Adams was not guilty of any major legal infraction, just a minor indiscretion.

The fact has been acknowledged by many citizens and some council members that if the matter had been disclosed at that point, Adams would have been disciplined and would have kept his job. There would have been public embarrassment, but given the will of the council to forgive and move on, the matter would have ended and the compelling fiasco that has now been realized would not have happened.

But, the cover up continued until Aug. 19 when the incident was disclosed by CalCoastNews based on a leak from an authentic source in Arroyo Grande troubled by the closure of the incident.

All of this begs the question if Adams was not guilty why then was there a cover up on July 8? Why were the political implications not openly disclosed as provided in the Brown Act and in the resulting closed council meetings after Aug. 19, all of which has seriously offended the police? Was it because Ferrara was running again for mayor and that he was in position to become the next President of the prestigious California League of Cities?

On July 17, I pulled papers to run for mayor of Arroyo Grande. It was my intent to raise issues for discussion since there had been no past opposition against Ferrara in past elections.

I did not take seriously that I could best Ferrara in the election, but I was motivated because of the evident success defeating a tax increase on property owners through a proposed benefit assessment district for the Fire Cities Fire Authority that was unanimously supported by the Arroyo Grande City Council.

City Manager Steve Adams and Teresa McClish

City Manager Steve Adams and Teresa McClish

Ferrara became very cool towards the author, and he refused to meet with him at that time or any time subsequently. Ferrara’s wrath is well perceived by those who Tony disagrees with, not that in my case I lost any sleep over it.

In any event, I decided not to run being compelled by a number of reasons — including being 84-years-old. But I did become sensitive to the issue of Ferrara becoming the next President of the League of California Cities.

On Aug. 5, I sent the following Email to Steve Adams: “I bumped into Tony near the location of Grace Stillwell’s old house in the Cherry Creek development. (7/30/14). We talked about my running for Mayor. He answered two of my concerns: His becoming League President and the Russom incident. Tony confirmed being League President would be jeopardized if he isn’t Mayor. You advised me of this and it is a “bell ringer” for me! I want you to know that I will not be running for Mayor being satisfied because of these two considerations: The importance to the City of Tony’s League presidency and Russom leaving the PC.”

I was never informed of the Adams/McClish matter — and I should have been as a candidate! But because I was not informed, and with this experiential background, I had a certain view on the subject, an opinion framed by the questions raised herein in this document.

So, in review, one should consider these facts: It is not the alleged indiscretion that became the big issue. It was the cover-up of the investigation as to what was alleged — the secrecy and administration of the matter in closed sessions — the citation of gag orders on all those concerned — the use of an attorney that has a clear conflict being a member of the city attorney’s law firm in assessing the matter — the attempt to maintain secrecy as a “personnel matter.”

Why the cover-up if there was no problem? Why the secrecy after facts were established that there was no problem? Why wasn’t there a clear and decisive explanation by Ferrara at the time the determination was made that Adams was not guilty on July 8?

To protect his political position, did Ferrara in initiating and continuing the cover up of the event throw Adams under the bus? To answer the two questions, why the cover up if Adams was not guilty? Was he thrown under the bus? One should consider the following postulation regarding Ferrara and the situation.

To understand the answer to these questions one should give credence to the background on the political elevation of Caren Ray. This is her political chronology: First, Councilmember Ed Arnold fell on his moral sword in 2010. He was derelict and had to resign. Ray as head of the Arroyo Grande Planning Commission was selected to take his place.

Then Ray was appointed to be 4th District supervisor by California Governor Jerry Brown late in 2013 after Paul Teixeira died unexpectedly earlier in the year. Ray was appointed to serve out the remainder of Teixeira’s term, which expires at the end of this year, Nov. 2014.

But the engine supporting Ray’s political evolvement was the endorsement by Tony Ferrara, especially considering her appointment to be supervisor. But why didn’t Ferrara wish to become supervisor in Teixeira’s place, and how did that effect the probable issue of throwing Adams under the bus?

It is believed that Ferrara chose not to pursue the appointment to Teixeira’s term because of its short duration. That it would by necessity be subject to reelection as has now occurred.

Ferrara as vice president of the League of California Cities appears to have had a larger plan. He had indulged in a higher threshold of politics with the league — such as hobnobbing with the Senators Boxer and Feinstein — and he apparently relished the psychic gain of politics by becoming the president of the California League of Cities, a position he attained on Sept. 19 during the League’s 115th Annual Conference and Expo in Sacramento.

Apparently, Ferrara’s ambition to attain the league’s presidency became a major factor in his wish to not have any circumstance interfere with this ascendancy. He wished to run unopposed to retain his being mayor of Arroyo Grande — being mayor a mandatory requirement if he was to become president of the league. And he appears decisive by using the cover up in not exposing the indiscretion of Adams given that it would reflect on his greater ambition to become President of the league.

It is highly probable that he appears to have thrown Adams under the bus to achieve his greater ambition.

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  1. SamLouis says:

    I’m currently hosting an on-line 2014 SLO County and State Election chat room at http://us19.chatzy.com/75172998174442 Come join the political chatter.

    It’s 100% anonymous and 100% free.

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. Pelican1 says:

    Jim’s paid his dues
    Time after time.
    And as Tony will lose
    he say’s committed no crime.
    And bad mistakes ‒
    they haven’t been few
    Jim had his share of sand kicked in his face
    But He’s come through.

    We are the champions, my friends,
    And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
    We are the champions.
    We are the champions.
    No time for losers (you know who you are)
    ‘Cause we are the champions of the world.

    Jim will take his bows
    And his curtain calls
    Jim’s brought us his name and integrity and everything that goes with it
    We thank you JIm

    But it’s been no bed of roses,
    No pleasure cruise.
    I consider it a challenge before the whole city of Arroyo
    And He ain’t gonna lose.

    We are the champions, my friends,
    And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
    We are the champions.
    We are the champions.
    No time for losers
    ‘Cause we are the champions of the world.

    We are the champions, my friends,
    And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
    We are the champions.
    We are the champions.
    No time for losers
    ‘Cause we are the champions.

    (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
  3. MaryMalone says:

    I didn’t notice anything in Ferrara’s match.com page about throwing Adams under the bus.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  4. Pelican1 says:

    Let’s go vote’n now
    Everybody’s learning how
    Come on and safari with me
    (Come on and safari with…)

    Early in the morning we’ll be startin’ out
    Some neighbors will be coming along
    We’re loading up our woody
    With our ballots inside
    And headin’ out singing our song

    Come on voters wait and see (vote’n safari)
    Yes I’m gonna (vote’n’) take you vote’n'(vote’n safari) with me
    Come along all voters wait and see (vote’n safari)
    Yes I’m gonna (vote’n’) take you vote’n (voten’ safari) with me

    Lets go vote’n now
    Everybody’s learning how
    Come on and safari with me
    (Come on and safari with…)

    At city hall we’re cleaning house
    We’re gonna get rid of the old
    No longer can our votes be bought and sold
    We’re going on safari to the polls this year
    So if you’re coming get ready to go….

    Let’s go vote’n now
    Everybody’s learning how
    Come on and safari with me
    (Come on and safari with…)

    They’re vote’n in Arroyo now
    They’re kicking out the manager too
    I tell you the people have had enough
    It’s getting crazier every day
    City Hall has become a zoo

    Lets go vote’n now
    Everybody’s learning how
    Come on and safari with me
    (Come on and safari with…)

    (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
  5. B Spencer says:

    As someone who has followed this story since it became public knowledge, I and many others are excited by what we have accomplished in such a short period of time.
    We have worked incredibly hard to promote a new choice for Mayor, Jim Hill. We have worked hard to support a candidate we know is qualified to lead Arroyo Grande, and we are so grateful Jim volunteered for this difficult Write-In campaign!
    It has been my pleasure to get to know Jim and win or lose, it has been a great experience meeting other members of our community who are concerned with what is happening in our city.
    We must stay involved from here on out so our elected officials know we will not tolerate their self serving actions, and they will be held accountable.
    They represent us, they work for US!
    For far too long we have been too trusting, and they have taken advantage of that trust.

    It is time for change, please Write-In Jim Hill for Mayor. Let’s get Arroyo Grande moving in the right direction once again, we deserve ethical and honest leadership.

    (15) 19 Total Votes - 17 up - 2 down
    • doglover says:

      Opposition in an election of a public policy maker creates CONVERSATION.

      The Jim Hill campaign has accomplished this.

      What was initially outrage over the lack or morale policy at City Hall grew to be an outpouring from the community of unhappiness and unequal treatment by City Hall.

      Be proud Jim Hill campaigners. You were creative, public in your passion for change and extremely hard working.

      THANK YOU CCN for your eager coverage of the campaign.
      Post election interviews will not be granted to the Tribune.

      And remember….No one like a bully!

      (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
  6. Pelican1 says:

    To everything – turn, turn, turn
    There is a season – turn, turn, turn
    And a time to every purpose under heaven

    A time to be born, a time to die
    A time to plant, a time to reap
    A time to kill, a time to heal
    A time to laugh, a time to weep

    To everything – turn, turn, turn
    There is a season – turn, turn, turn
    And a time to every purpose under heaven

    A time to build up, a time to break down
    A time to dance, a time to mourn
    A time to cast away stones
    A time to gather stones together

    To everything – vote, vote, vote
    There is a .reason -vote, vote, vote
    And a time to every purpose in Arroyo Grande

    A time to vote for change
    A time to refrain
    A time you may embrace Jim
    A time to refrain from embracing Tony

    To everything – vote, vote, vote
    There is a reason – turn, turn, turn
    And a time to every purpose under heaven

    A time to gain, a time to lose
    A time to rend, a time to sew
    A time for love, for out with the old
    A time for Jim, I swear it’s not too late!

    (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
  7. dogeatdog says:

    I wonder where Tim Brown will be tomorrow night? I doubt he will come by Jim Hill’s party, he wants to stay friends with the liberals right to the end. I would beat my home he will be in Caren Ray’s camp kissing Tony’s ass and towing the line. Costello will be there too.

    So sad Tim did nothing to campaign this round, he must just EXCEPT to be elected again. It is sad when people don’t work for the votes.

    I know why Costello does not do it, he has Tony backing him with his supporters. Tim has no excuse and he looks bad doing nothing.

    He might have spoken up once or twice about the investigation, but that was it. He did not fight his position like I would have liked him to. He just was not strong enough, and so he looked like he just towed the line for Tony.

    So much for standing out, that is what I am looking for, excuses do not equal my vote.

    (13) 19 Total Votes - 16 up - 3 down
    • ajdury says:

      Tim Wrote on his FB page that he will be at the same location as Caren Ray’s party – Rooster Creek in the Village, ‘natch.

      He also wrote that he plans on walking down to Jim’s party location also. We shall see.

      (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
      • agag1 says:

        Although Tim has not supported Jim in any way to my knowledge, he will of course be welcome at Jim’s campaign party since the Hill campaign is open to all!
        We’ve been called misfits, rancorous, a small divisive group of malcontents, and who knows what else. So what?
        We are a group of folks who have come together with the hope of bringing change to AG. Does anyone care what party we are affiliated with? Absolutely not!
        Right is right, and what’s happening in AG is WRONG!
        The fact that we want our city officials to be honorable, ethical and working for the citizens rather than using their positions to benefit themselves personally is NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK!

        Write-In Jim Hill for Mayor, fill in the bubble.

        (17) 21 Total Votes - 19 up - 2 down
        • AGDUDE says:

          Tim Brown works for the State ,what would you People expect, You may still Recall Tony, From the Mayor on Down ,these people Should be kicked out of office .. “You” are IN the Tony Club or “Not” .. Recall him , Or Shut Up and enjoy the Ride!.. and move on..

          I’m shocked.. AG should move on , We all love AG, and sooner or later, these City,state,county Payroll People ,Blood Sucker will Be out of office..Sooner I hope!

          Good Job People ! AGHS Class of 1981, Paulding Class of 1976.

          Onward Upward!!

          (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
    • snooky156 says:

      Tim Brown’s vote is one of five on the council. He has been in closed session meetings, he has been around AG for a while, and he has to weigh whether his actions will bring unwanted impacts. If he trusts the process, and if the people of AG uphold their part of the deal, Tim Brown can have a bigger impact in the future and others on the council will step up to support him. But, with Ferrara running the city council meetings, and with the politically corrupted City Manager writing reports and recommending council actions, the best thing for Tim Brown to do is wait.

      (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  8. Fleet says:

    I have been out of town since 10-28. I was told today that my Jim Hill signs have been stolen.

    (19) 25 Total Votes - 22 up - 3 down
    • doglover says:

      Yeah but please do not complain.

      We will leave that to the frightened fringe Ferrara group.

      (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
    • Fleet says:


      (18) 20 Total Votes - 19 up - 1 down
    • agag1 says:

      Join the club Fleet.
      One Ferrara supporter has been VERY busy, not campaigning for her man,
      but un-campaigning for Jim Hill.
      Nothing positive to say about your guy apparently equates to
      ripping off the other guys’ signs.

      (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down

Comments are closed.