Write-in Jim Hill wins Arroyo Grande mayor’s seat

November 18, 2014
Jim Hill

Jim Hill


Amid allegations of poor leadership and abuse of power, write-in candidate Jim Hill has scored a stunning victory in the Arroyo Grande mayor’s seat, trumping incumbent Tony Ferrara by 95 votes, according to unofficial results released by the San Luis Obispo Clerk Recorder’s Office on Monday. Ferrara is newly elected to the prestigious post of president of the California League of Cities, a long-sought title he now will be forced to abandon.

Following police officer allegations that Ferrara participated in a cover-up of a city sex scandal, a group of concerned citizens asked Hill to run for mayor. Those citizens then ran a four-week campaign that included papering Arroyo Grande with hundreds of neon yellow hand-made signs.

In response to the campaign, without being approached, local business owners donated approximately $6,000 to elect Hill. Many of those donors accused Ferrara of abusing his position as mayor and financially harming their businesses, campaign staff said.

On July 3, a late night rendezvous at Arroyo Grande City Hall involving two city officials ended abruptly when emergency workers, responding to a 911 call about a missing spouse, discovered City Manager Steve Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish in the darkened building.

Two months later, the police officers association took a vote of no confidence against Ferrara and Adams. The officers said city official elected to ignore allegations that Adams had lied to officers, was belligerent when discovered, and had engaged in conduct that had cost other employees their jobs.

After much debate, the city council voted to hire the Sintra Group to investigate the July 3 incident and how it was handled by the city.

At a special meeting on Wednesday, the council will discuss the possible dismissal, discipline, or release of Adams. The council will also review the Sintra Groups investigation report.

According to a summary released Monday, even though multiple employees told the investigators that there was more than a working relationship between McClish and Adams, the investigators could not find substantive evidence of a romantic relationship. They did, however, question Adams’ leadership.

“Adams, in his position as city manager, should have been aware of this perception and should not have perpetuated it on July 3,” the report says.

On Dec. 1, Hill is slated to be sworn in as mayor. As a write-in candidate, Hill’s name did not appear on the ballot. Nevertheless, he won with 3,090 votes while Ferrara received 2,995 votes.

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Ah, Tony. For lack of a small dose of humility.

Somehow, the League seems cleaner today.


Imagine being part of that group and its president not only loses an election, but does so over a gov’t sex scandal. It would make me wonder if I wanted to retain my membership.

I wonder if Ferrara will still attend their meetings to schmooze with his former colleagues?

Oh yeah

Gonna miss Wednesdays show ,

Just my opinion here….

I think he lost because of his ham-fisted attempt at a coverup of the sad, trysting duo, Adams and McClish.

In today’s world, most folks are somewhat tolerant of a sexual indiscretion, as long as it doesn’t break any personnel regulations or policies. It is always the coverup that brings down a politician.

Of course, Ferraro’s abusive treatment of AG’s residents just further fueled the bonfired.

And the overpriced purchase of buddy Nick’s city hall…

And the sanitation district/John Wallace fiasco…


WOW! This is the best election news seen in a long while. A HUGE thank you to the

voters of Arroyo Grande and the many people that made this happen.

I am ensuring that the elected officials in Paso Robles are made perfectly clear as to

what took place in AG. They, and the leaders of other cities, need to know that given

the right set of circumstances – voters can and will take action.

As I have commented before – maybe, just maybe, this win by a write-in will be the

just the beginning for some real, measurable changes in many cities in SLO county.

Again, HOORAY!!

Steve Adams brought so much embarrassment upon A.G. that the mayor for over a decade was toppled by a write-in. A tea party that ignited a revolution. Will the council fire him now? I doubt it. Ferrara is immune to shame and ethics.

I think having Adams’ position at AG discussed in a closed meeting on Wednesday could signify that Ferraro wants his city council members to vote yes on a golden parachute for Adams.

At this point, it could be anyone’s guess.

Can’t put anything past ’em.

Teresa was heard singing this song last night at Tony’s farewell party….


What a coincidence!

I heard she was singing this song on July 3, in a darkened office, with Steve Adams:


“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

—Theodore Roosevelt—

Jim wins by 95 votes. There are still 900-some ballots that the bubble wasn’t marked that could have his name on them.

Astonishing win for Arroyo Grande!

OMG, I knew it was going to happen…but I still have tears in my eyes.

Out of all the elections I’ve worked for, this one means the most to me, because it is proof that–after all of the muck we get dragged through in politics–it is still possible for the good-guy underdog to win, even when faced with extraordinary obstacles.

Thank you Jim, so much, for being willing to be our candidate, and thanks to the activists who worked on your campaign.

We have made history here, and I could not be happier.

Thank you Karen Velie for all your outstanding work, without all of your hard work and excellent articles many people would not have known about all the crap happening in our fine city of Arroyo Grande! All your digging, phone calls, and fact finding payed off. Now when the rest of the story comes out we will truly be able to clean up our city and take it back to where Arroyo Grande should be….Thank you!

Thanks to Dan Blackburn, too. He brought all of his considerable experience to this fight, and we are the better for it.

And thank you to all the commenters from Sad Insider to Pelican who have made us rush to our devise to read your insight and maybe your humor too!

The truth will set us free.

Big Tiny and Old Joe are out.

One more to go…. CARMEL!


When you really think about this whole situation, you can’t help but be amazed at what a small group of motivated individuals can accomplish. Congrats to Jim and everyone who helped to make this “dream” a reality for the residents of A.G.!