The fight to clean up Arroyo Grande

November 21, 2014
LeAnn Akins

LeAnn Akins


I attended the special meeting in Arroyo Grande on the evening of Nov. 19 to learn the much awaited and anticipated fate of City Manager Steve Adams. While the council has placed him on paid administrative leave until a new manager is hired, there are so many things left undone with regards to this situation in particular.

The information shared Wednesday night by Councilman Tim Brown regarding Mayor Tony Ferrara’s attempts to keep information from the council about a prior incident involving both Adams and Teresa McClish alone points to the idea that this entire situation has been grossly mishandled by AG’s City Council as well as the City Attorney Tim Carmel.

Mr. Carmel should not be commended for bringing the above information to light at this late date, he participated in the engineered cover-up and has not absolved himself of anything. He has continued to play a role in our city which assists in creating a climate where people cannot talk about what they know to be true, not to mention that he has clearly given our elected leaders, bad advice.

It is time for Mr. Carmel to resign.

The fact that there were glaring omissions from the investigation points to the very apparent fact that this investigation was neither independent, nor was it impartial. An additional conclusion is that the choice of the Sintra Group to undertake this investigation was not fully vetted as originally promised by the council itself at the special city council meeting on Oct. 8.

The report from last night continues to attempt to cover up a known fact of an inappropriate relationship at City Hall. We paid for a report that is keeping the truth from being known—a complete waste of money. I have to be honest; I am not pleased with the outcome of last night’s meeting or the “investigation,” if you can call it that.

The council and Sintra should be ashamed for thinking that the report from last night would suffice and put an end to citizen frustration with the council, their actions, and their decisions. I can assure you, it has not.

While no other investigation will happen with regards to Adams and McClish, please understand that a large number of citizens in Arroyo Grande will not stop holding the current council accountable for their actions. Make no mistake about it, this council still underestimates the citizens of AG, they still think they are untouchable, they still are not listening, and they still refuse to take responsibility for their decisions. The leadership continues to try and dupe the citizens of AG, or they are still hoping we will tire of being vigilant and just go away. I can assure you that will not happen.

As Jim Hill takes the seat as Mayor, healing needs to happen in our town. However, there is much more to clean up and change as well, this disruption is bound to cause more hurt feelings and emotions to arise, but cleaning our own house must continue—even though it might hurt a little bit. In the long run AG will be better off.

I truly hope that new leadership will continue to take up the cause of transparent, honest, and open government for the sake of the citizens and the well-being of AG. We need to remain active, aware, and alert about what our elected (appointed in some cases) leadership is doing. We cannot allow the continued dismissal of the citizens of AG. We deserve better than what we have experienced over the course of this year (and prior years for some), but we need to continue to work for those changes—the fight is far from over.


Ferrara resigns tonight!


And the voters of Arroyo Grande fired him on November 4th!!!!!!!!


I find it appalling that after 40+ interviews, and two investigations,

the strongest language to come from our Council

is that Mr Adams has lost the ability to lead.

The fact that they can’t make a decision regarding inappropriate behavior

should make us all very skeptical of their ability to do much of anything.

This should have been a routine HR matter.

Yet in order to get Adams on admin leave,

it took folks in the community to express their outrage for weeks.

And to make matters worse, this entire time, Adams, Ferrara, Barneich

and her Daddy’s website have been blaming this on the POA and their attorney.

Perhaps there will be an apology given to the police at the Council Meeting on Tuesday.

The current council should take no action of any significance on Tues.

Like Adams, they have lost their ability to lead,

and we didn’t need an expensive investigation to prove it.


Adams, McClish, the Council, Tim Carmel, Kristen’s daddy and his website group should all stand up on Tues and apologize to the members of the POA.

The Sintra report said the police acted appropriately.

The same can NOT be said for those mentioned above who have disparaged the POA.

If Kristen wants to get past the toxic environment of the past several weeks, perhaps an apology is a good way to start.



I find it appalling that these investigators, will all this police experience, could not find even one employee at the local establishments visited by Adams and McClish on the evening of July 3rd, or could they verify the “one drink” statement made by Adams in the report.


You’re only going to find something if you’re actually looking for it.

Sintra was only looking for a way out for the council, apparently they found that.


QUOTING AGAG1: “I find it appalling that after 40+ interviews, and two investigations,

the strongest language to come from our Council is that Mr Adams has lost the ability to lead.


I think we can learn a lot from that statement from Tim Brown, especially now that–right after Brown pulled his kumbaya moment (“let’s put this behind us and move on,” repeated so many times it was like a defiled mantra)–we see on the very next agenda for the city council meeting that John Wallace is up for a no-bid contract (

REALLY? For god’s sake, they didn’t even give us a chance to stand up from the bent-over position we have been forced to endure from this city council for years!

I think this is as clear as the AG mayor and city council can make it: there will be no change, and I think that goes for even after our new mayor, Jim Hill, is sworn into office.

They will continue to conspire with the likes of Ferrara and Wallace, and there will be no change….unless we recall at least Guthrie and Brown, and get rid of Carmel.

The reality is, however, even if Jim Hill introduces measures to control this the influence of the AG city council, ex-mayor, and legal counsel thugs who have, with mince-step precision, done the thugs’ bidding, he will face incredible obstacles to effecting change.

He will still have Carmel sliming around behind the scenes to benefit thugs like Wallace, the ex-mayor and the city council. As long as Carmel is the legal counsel, it will be difficult to consistently ignore his recommendations.

And with Ferrara’s co-consipirators Guthrie and Brown, and their established power over the city council, it will be extremely possible for Jim Hill to get passed new measures that will effect real change in AG.


For a list of the ways in which the Guthrie-Brown-approved “investigation” by the Sintra Group, visit a prior post I made at CalCoast News:

11/21/2014 at 2:58 pm



How obscenely stupid do these people think the citizens of Arroyo Grande are?

This entire incident, cover-up, an “investigation” has been nothing more than waste, fraud, and abuse of public facilities, resources, and funds.

The county Grand Jury should have been summoned on July 5th. (4th being our birthday)


To Mary Malone,

Steve Adams’ resignation can be read in an article on this site, dated Oct 2,


The link you provide does not include a resignation letter. Adams stating that he will resign once a replacement is found means nothing, especially in that lying cesspool consisting of Ferrara, Adams, the city council and legal counsel.

It is an open-ended way for Adams to remain City Manager.

Even the article says “Steve Adams MAY quit” (capitalization of “MAY” is mine). Do you really trust Adams at this point to perform on a statement

Ferrara finally figured it out that, if he had better quell this scandal and coverup because, otherwise, he may not be reelected.

I think Ferrara and Adams set up the “resign when a replacement is found” idea so, once Ferrara was (as he assumed) reelected, Ferrara could just manipulate it so Adams could stay in office.

Again, this url leads to a site which gives tips on how to write a resignation letter…it gives samples, too.


Sorry…here is the URL on how to write a resignation letter, including samples.


I always thought.a resignation letter should say:

Thanks for the opportunity

It was fun

See you later!

Even if Adams and McClish had nothing going on(JK) his actions deserve getting terminated.

The fire assessment, the charter city, BLAMING the POLICE and trying to turn the entire City against them to benefit the City’s negotiation tactics, on and on

What a pussy!


You are right about what is supposed to be in a resignation letter.

What it is NOT supposed to include is further pi$$ off the very residents the resignee already pi$$ed on.


I am extremely concerned with the counsel Mr Carmel has given our City Council members, particularly with respect to the recent Adams/McClish fiasco.

Had the incident been handled correctly, (perhaps with some input from the HR department), rather than relying on the less than stellar advice of Carmel, maybe Mrs McClish’s attorney would have had no reason to attend Wednesday’s meeting.

The City Attorney’s main responsibility is to limit the exposure of our City, not to try to save a bad player just because he’s a good guy. Really? (IMO a good man would have gone home to his family.)

If Mr Carmel, and our current council were indeed under the impression that McClish wasn’t going to sue us because she’s due to receive a large inheritance soon, and thus didn’t “need” the $$$, they should ALL have their heads examined.

That is THE most ridiculous explanation for their attempting to save Adam ‘s sorry @ss I have ever heard.

We should all be furious at how this has been handled, but Joe Costello, and Ferrara DID NOT act alone.

Carmel is a key player in the bad choices our City Council has made.

For the time being we are stuck with the rest of them, I am however, willing to see if they straighten up their act under new leadership.

I feel Jim may well be able to talk some sense into at least a couple of them.

I hope Jim Hill appreciates the efforts being made to clean house a bit before he steps in. What’s not to like about a clean house? It’s the least we can do for someone willing to take on this mess!


Happy Saturday :

After watching tape and reading trib, my questions are

1) why was previous incident handled by Mr. Carmel?

2) When did mayor know of prior incident?

3) did anyone understand the legal explanation given by Carmel regarding brown act?


Same to you DaddyO

Here are my answers to your questions

1.) Mr Carmel will say “personnel matter, can not discuss” –a dodge

2.) Mr Carmel has advised me (Tony) not to discuss as this is a personnel matter, BTW–MYOB–another dodge

3.) No, no one understood, so why are we continuing to pay Mr Carmel for his shoddy council, which seems to involve the taxpaying residents of AG taking it in the chops time and time again?

By now Carmel should be able to see the writing on the wall, hopefully without Ferrara and Adams he will get the idea of what’s to come and take his leave.

Answer this,

Why did the council agree to a raise for Mr Carmel AFTER the incident, knowing that they had knowledge of a prior incident being handled “in house”?

Mr Carmel should pay Mrs McClish’s settlement.


Mr. Carmel’s description flys in the face if you look at the description of the consent agenda.

Mr. Guthrie, KB and Carmel all agreed that no votes are taken in closed, just a temperature reading and then they bring it in on consent.

Consent is stated to be” regular routine items” like Adams and Carmel’s raises?

Noe of the investigations or non investigations were ever voted on in open session so they must have been voted on in closed.


Which is what was suspected all along!

Who’s surprised?

I would submit that Carmel’s “playbook” for our council is a lot more costly to AG residents than that of the alleged POA one.


idder I don’t like to criticize peoples opinions but I would observe that mary is an angry bidder person yhis does not help in any way solve current problems


Certainly, based on the actions of our Mayor and council, you can understand why residents are angry and bitter.

They have not been acting in the best interest of the residents, they acted to save Steve Adams, and hide the fact that the Adams/McClish affair was not only known, but ongoing for quite some time.

Certainly Mr Adams contract contains enough teeth to have terminated him with cause.The council’s non action has now opened the door wide for Mrs McClish and her we-all-knew-it-was-just-a-matter-of -time-lawsuit.

If our council was acting on the advice of Tim Carmel, his contract should be terminated.

This is not the way to handle an improper manager/subordinate relationship, we should not be paying Carmel to represent us in such poor fashion.


There is a difference between “bitter” and “outraged.” Many of those posting here are outraged…that does not mean they are “bitter” (or “bidder”).


The issue is Ferrara and the mess he and his hand-maidens in the City Counci, as well as the legal counsel and city manager, Steve Adams.

The issue is not your imagination of the personality of a poster you have never met.

What you are doing is called “blaming the messenger,” a form of “ad hominem” logical fallacy.

This type of logical fallacy is used by those who cannot construct a logical argument.

For further information, see:


Tuesday afternoon,

We’re just beginning to see, now we’re on my way

It doesn’t matter to us, chasing the old mayor away.

Something, calls to us,

Jim Hill is drawing us near, we’ve got to find out why?

Those gentle voices we hear, explain it all with a sigh.

We’re looking at ourselves, reflections of our mind,

It’s just the kind of day to leave the old mayor behind.

So gently swaying through Arroyo’s new found love,

If you’ll just come with us you’ll see the beauty of

Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, afternoon,

I’m just beginning to see, now we’re on our way.

It doesn’t matter to us, chasing the old mayor away.

Something, calls to us,

Jim Hill is drawing us near, we’ve got to find out why?

Those gentle voices we hear, explain it all with a sigh.


If you find yourself whistling or humming this Moody Blues classic all weekend, it’s only natural. It’s like hearing…”It’s Small World.”


Good grief, so many cynics…so little time.


they are just upset and are taking it out your creativity.


If not for a bit of levity, life would be….so “Tony-like.”



You’re at it again.

Your soundtrack is almost complete

Thank you.