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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The RECALL of Christene Fellow Barnich needs to start NOW.

The MOMENTUM is there.

She was NEVER elected and her actions on the council are further proof she does not represent the majority of citizens in AG.

She is a Tony CLONE.

With a council majority of Hill, Harmon and ??? AG can take its city back.

I believe the recall process also allows for a replacement candidate in the same process.

IMO Mike Byrd or Otis Page would make for good government.


I don’t think she is a clone. I think she is Ferrara’s toady. It will be interesting to see if she continues to fetch and carry for him now.


Harry….its time to heal the scars….fact get the recall…..give the counsel a chance to do what’s right without Tony.

very good thinking, …. now that would be change!!!

I just heard from Julie Tacker:



Just spoke with a person at the League of CA cities, it was the same person I spoke with yesterday but now she is saying his term as president does not end until his term as mayor is up on Dec 1st. She also confirmed he is in Austin, TX and the league is paying all his expenses. She said he does not get to pick to resign, when he in no longer mayor he is also no longer president of the league. She said he could leave earlier at his request, she also said he cold have opted not to attend the conference.

dang it “could” not “cold”

You Folk’s did a great job! Now stay the course ,keep Popping your leader’s inline,and the new Party of the WE Want something Else Party will grow, and soon People will see Change!!

If this can be done on a local level think of the power you can have ,Who’s next the Gov.of calif. I would think he could be toppled over too?

Think about it,

WE WANT SOMETHING ELSE! started with a few people.. keep it up people.. Move the rest of the would be so called mountains.. of Non Functioning people,lead fallow or get out the way… Speak softly and carry a big stick as you have, a good kinda change!!

Clean House!!! Bye Big Tony , thank you for your time, and my self I will be taking your framed letter off my wall, when I left ARC in 2005. Tony I respected your work in the past but you brought the shame ,on the City of Arroyo Grande.

Cheers People!!

QUOTING AGDUDE: “You Folk’s did a great job! Now stay the course ,keep Popping your leader’s inline,and the new Party of the WE Want something Else Party will grow, and soon People will see Change!!”


I don’t see it as the “WE Want something Else Party,” but–in a broad term–I think most of us want accountability from the politicians we elect to office.

Well, look what I found….


League of California Cities president may lose post

To our loyal Citizens: please stay engaged, now more than ever. There is so much that needs to be addressed in a more responsible manner.

This is the last sentence from my very first post, written 2 1/2 months ago: “At last count, the City of Arroyo Grande is 0-3 at the ballot box which includes two police station bond measures which both failed, and a fire tax assessment which failed even after the City voted “yes” with all of their own properties. With the way this city has conducted itself over the last several years, it’s likely going to be 0-4 anyway come November regarding the Charter city issue. Keep going down the road your going, and 0-4 might be a sure thing….”

It got much worse obviously, since the City is now 0-6 (Ferrara got removed from office by a last minute write-in candidacy, and Costello did not get re-elected).

All five drastically underestimated and flatly ignored the voice of our Citizens. Shame on all of them, their job performance is the only true culprit to blame. During the last several months it has been nothing short of disgusting. There has not been ONE SINGLE THING they have handled correctly, and it continues to this day.

To Guthrie / Brown / Barneich: in terms of your future political viability and continual flirtation with a mounting desire to initiate recall efforts, do you really want to go 0-9?

Between now and tomorrow night at 6pm, PLEASE take a long look in the mirror and ask yourselves:

– Has the City as a whole acted ethically?

– Have I acted ethically?

– With the massive number of mistakes that have been made, what am I going to do about it?

– Do I really 100% believe what we have asked, and are going to ask, our Citizens to believe?

Keep going down the road your going, and 0-9 might be a sure thing….

Dear SadInsider,

You are clearly working under harsh conditions and for that I am sorry. There is also clearly so much more going on than some of us know. We are hoping to learn more from you so we can continue to help make change.

Please continue to reach out.

To add to that , ask them selves, did we act as the people wanted, do they take pride in what they have done, others may seen you much more self centered…less focused on the good for others.. sad ..

People like myself , would of listened to other’s your actions, need to be for the good of others, that’s why you should be in office not for your ego.. people in arroyo grande remember,how you act, and where your heart really is,

Like the Tin man, I’m not sure you have a heart!

I know I do, and people remember me in Arroyo Grande, they know I care.. If you are polite,and respect other’s you will get that same feeling in return..

If you have a true pure heart people will see it! You can not fake,your true feeling..sooner or later you will be seen who you are!!

In the past few weeks other’s true colors shown through, and about 3100 people did not like what they saw… more change will happen! you will see..

Well good on ya AG! Just don’t let the Los Osos syndrome happen. New people can make big mistakes. Keep a sharp eye out and question everything!

Anyone know if the reason Mr. Ferrara is not expected to be at any meeting on Wednesday is because he is attending the Congress of Cities and Exposition in Austin TX, getting one last time for the taxpayers to foot his bill?

You got it kayak!

One more snooze on us!

So I wonder if today while he is schmoozing he begins today by saying “Hi Tony Ferrara, president of the League of CA cities” and following the certification of the election he changes to “Hi Tony Ferrara, disgraced and replaced president of the League of CA cities, and soon to be former mayor of Arroyo Grande”??

My guess…probably not.

For heaven’s sake, the man has an ego the size of Jupiter.

Come on the size of Jupiter pales in comparison to Mr. Ferrara’s ego. Try the entire Milky Way, the galaxy not the candy bar.

Well, you know how I hate to exaggerate….=)

Check out this excerpt from today’s Santa Maria Times:

“Ferrara said he doesn’t plan to contest the election results and expressed grave disappointment in the loss, with much of that emotion aimed at his opponent.

“Mr. Hill did not have the courage to face me in a head-to-head race,” Ferrara said. “Instead, he hid behind an unethical and vicious write-in campaign. It is consistent with his established pattern of behavior. I have served the citizens of AG for 18 years. I am very proud of our staff and the collective accomplishments of our council. It saddens me to see this happening to our community.”

I was hoping that Mayor Ferrara would take the high road in defeat. Very sad to him lash out like this, but also quite revealing.

Good grief, if Tony had a brain, he’s take it out and play with it. This is EXACTLY why he lost.

A vicious write-in campaign. No Ferrara, you didn’t face Jim Hill—you sat on dias attempting to dictate to people and the outcome of the situation that you are partially responsible for.

The campaign was effective—this campaign was run ethically, this campaign had momentum–don’t blame your non-campaign on Mr. Hill—blame your non-campaign on you and your inability to see the truth; the truth being that you have lost sight of what it means to truly lead a community. You have focused on giving your friends and associates advantages that others do not have the opportunity to indulge in, you have looked out for your interests, and you have fostered a climate of “follow the leader or else”.

I understand defeat is difficult to take for anyone who looses an election, a battle, a game, or contest, but Mr. Ferrara, you have to understand that the people have had enough of your domineering, tyrannical, and unfair form of leadership. You should also keep this in mind–no one likes a sore loser.

Or a bully!

No one likes a bully.

Arrogance and being a bully, that is what people voted against.

Poo poo

Someone placed a temporary campaign sign in the Cal Trans right of way.

Chances are you can put up a sign right in front of a cop car!

Get over yourself Tony. Stop blaming others.

This has always been about you.

You do not play well in the sandbox and the kids in the neighbourhood DO not like you.

What a tool!

Wah! Wah ,

Big Tony has turned into Big Baby

Good riddance!

Wow. Character is everything. For the first time in his adult career, Tony wont have the power of any governmental agency behind him. It took the people this long to figure out his true character and ability to manipulate, but the people are better off for Tony being out. Like a kid not getting his way, his true colors on display at this advanced age. Good Riddance.

It is not at all surprising. Take a look (or a listen) to Ferrara’s comments. They are almost always negative and he is almost always on the attack.

I responded to that article and Ferrara’s quote (which was used in a large text box at the beginning of the article…..GRRRR). It has been at least two hours and I have yet to see it posted there.

Just imagine how different everything would be right now, if only Adams had said this to McClish on July 3:


The salient point of this whole mess might just be that it could easily have all been avoided if any, or all, of the players involved had just simply done the right thing at the right time.

Sometimes “the right thing” is the hardest thing to do. But that’s what makes true leaders.