Stop blaming Arroyo Grande police officers

November 27, 2014


We have a potentially paralyzing issue in Arroyo Grande that may have a significant effect on Mayor-Elect Jim Hill’s future administration and work with the council.

That issue is outgoing Mayor Tony Ferrara’s continued animosity directed at Hill and the Arroyo Grande Police Officer’s Association, as evidenced in his interview with the Tribune on Nov. 26. Ferrara is quoted saying, “A perfectly functional, ethical, and effective city council and city government has been hijacked by a rogue police union and a group of individuals with self-serving agendas.”

Commenting on Hill’s formal acceptance of mayor on Dec. 1, Ferrara said, “And in my view that is not cause for celebration or ceremony and certainly not one that I want to participate in.”

Ferrara implies he will continue to be active along with his supporters in the future.

And there lies the issue of his animosity towards the police officer association and that of certain council members, such as the princess Kristen Barneich, who was reportedly hostile to Hill supporters and the police officers’ association as exemplified by her father’s (Chuck Fellows) web site.

Further, it is reasonable to be believe Ferrara’s story line is the one he gave to the California League of Cities as an excuse for his losing its presidency.

I am frankly very uncomfortable proceeding without “smoking out” and discrediting Ferrara’s bitterness — as particularly employed against the police officers’ association.

Ferrara’s political hostility towards Hill and his supporters may be explained by the fact that some, like past mayor Mike Lady, who was no buddy of Ferrara’s, coming to his aid, because of his not liking Hill and his wife. That is an unfortunate political manifestation. This is a factor Hill and his supporters must live with.

Ferrara’s ridiculous claim there was no coverup was directly contradicted by Councilman Tim Brown’s confession at the Nov. 19 council meeting. The fact is that by Ferrara’s strong influence the council accepted the original investigation on July 8 that Adams was innocent of any infractions and confirmed that gag orders were issued to quiet the matter.

Here is the net of the issue as I see it: Should we let the issue regarding the police officers’ association stand?

There is no formal written report regarding Government Code 54957 (a law that requires must government actions be conducted openly) items to the council. There should be one.

Where Sintra orally praised the police during a council meeting, that record should be formally established that Ferrara is wrong in saying, words to the effect, that the write-in election of Hill was caused by “a rogue police union” that framed Adams indiscretion.

During the Dec. 1 council meeting confirming Hill, should we address this matter in public comment with the objective that the council should set this straight — and that those who will not — such as the Councilwoman Kristen Barneich– should resign?