Robert Cuddy does not speak in facts

January 9, 2015
LeAnn Akins

LeAnn Akins


Perspective is a difficult thing to argue against, and that is precisely what Robert Cuddy’s opinion piece “January 1 didn’t erase 2014’s wounds in Arroyo Grande” attempts to do.

Perspective depends on a person’s opinion, which is also difficult to refute. Words used by Cuddy like disgraceful, engineered, burst into City Hall, scurrilous, mugger, stealing, wood shredder, most likely needed to go to MapQuest and rancid horse all come from a perspective, an opinion—these words are not factual, nor do they tell a truthful account of the events played out in the media prior during the mayoral election of 2014.

My perspective, having been a member of the group who worked to elect Mayor Jim Hill truly felt that, aside from “a scandal,” Tony Ferrara had overstepped the lines governing his position as mayor, on more than one occasion. People from across the city of Arroyo Grande shared their stories with committee members working to elect Mayor Hill about misguided actions as well as acts of deceit coming out of the City of Arroyo Grande—from the mayor and council members.

To correct errors in Cuddy’s opinion piece, please make note of the fact that Mayor Hill did offer a platform and it was published in CalCoast News as well as heard over Dave Congalton’s radio show.

What is also factual regarding the platform issue is that other members of the media, when approached by Mr. Hill and committee members to publish this platform, were dismissed. Another fact is that Mr. Ferrara did not, at any time publically state or publish a platform stating his agenda for the upcoming mayoral term. Mr. Hill’s platform consisted of term limits, transparency in governing decisions, and collaboration. This short list is not exhaustive, but it gives a snapshot of the platform Mr. Hill campaigned on.

I do not recall seeing one piece of documentation regarding Mr. Ferrara’s platform. I saw signs around town and I heard explanations about why city workers removed the tree from his front yard, but I did not see a viable platform coming from Mr. Ferrara or his supporters.

Could it be that the long-time incumbent underestimated the power of the democratic process, the sentiments of the citizens of Arroyo Grande, and the power of Mr. Hill’s campaign? Did he wrongly assume the election was in the bag?

Mr. Cuddy goes on to say the police “burst into City Hall.” In fact, according to police reports, officers knocked on the doors repeatedly for someone, namely Mrs. McClish, to open the door to after receiving a phone call from her husband who was worried for her safety. Not getting a response, keys were used to access City Hall to ensure their wellness check produced some results.

“Burst into” is hardly a phrase which describes the situation. Police reports are used a factual evidence and the word “burst into” was not used to describe entry into City Hall the evening of July 3.

Mr. Cuddy continues to further attempt to discredit the AGPOA by stating they were “dragged into the politics of this.”

Fact: the AGPOA took a vote of no confidence in then Mayor Ferrara as well as the City Council. They made this vote of no confidence public knowledge at a City Council meeting during public comment.

Fact: the AGPOA was disparaged by Ferrara supporters as a group using this situation to improve their chances of negotiating a more favorable contract. The AGPOA stood on its own in this situation and people who supported Ferrara used this against the AGPOA to not only discredit the AGPOA, but to attempt to discredit the entire Hill campaign.

Let us not forget the fact that chairs were removed from council chambers to limit the number of people allowed in by the fire marshal attending one particular city council meeting. Let us also not forget, at the same meeting, people were turned away by the fire marshal, even before the 140 person limit was reached.

These are facts, not merely opinions or statements coming from a person’s perspective. I was there, I witnessed both factual events.

Another fact that is lost in Mr. Cuddy’s opinion piece is that the roots of the Hill campaign were to provide the citizens of Arroyo Grande an option in the mayoral race. Mr. Hill’s name not being on the ballot is irrelevant. What is relevant is that voters were given a choice, a choice they took full advantage of at the ballot box.

Rbert Cuddy

Robert Cuddy

This campaign was not engineered as an act of retribution, an act of disregard for others, or meant to act as a steamroller. We did not “smell blood.” What we did is organize a campaign to give people a chance to vote for a change in leadership.

Fact: a majority of people in Arroyo Grande decided to elect a new mayor based on their opinions and experiences with the prior mayor and city council. Mr. Cuddy and others may not agree with who was elected; all elections have two sides, sometimes more than two. This goes back to my original point that disagreements about elections are based on perspective and opinion, not just facts.

From my perspective Mr. Ferrara proved himself to be a bully, a liar, someone not concerned about the opinions of others which did not align with his opinions, and someone who very much relished his position of power and used it to his benefit.

If you peel back the veil of the events as they unfolded in Arroyo Grande this past year, there is a sense of this perspective being factual, especially if you attended the council meetings leading up to the election. Let us also not forget that a council member did, in fact, state openly in a city council meeting that there had been a warning given to Mr. Adams regarding his actions towards and his relationship with Mrs. McClish prior to July 3. In addition, it was stated that Mr. Ferrara wanted to handle that situation in-house, which turned out to be ineffective (at best).

I would also maintain Mr. Cuddy that had Ferrara remained in office, he would have had a lot to prove as well. He would have to prove that he was willing to listen to people who did not agree with him, he would have to prove he was not a stooge of Steve Adams, AG in Bloom, certain members of the community at large, Caren Ray, the Wallace Group, John Shoals, Adam Hill—this list could go on. Everyone in politics has to prove something to the electorate; this is not a new reality.

My perspective regarding CalCoast News and their role in the election was not that they took language and ran with it; they provided a platform that other media sources did not provide to the Hill campaign and to people who were working for and wanting changes in leadership. They provided information to the voting public that the other media sources did not provide. They took a risk in allowing and welcoming citizens of both Arroyo Grande and the greater Central Coast to have a venue in which to voice their concerns, their opinions, and work for a change they deeply believed in. Fact: other media sources did not allow for this.

The one and only statement, in Mr. Cuddy’s opinion piece that I agree with is that the citizens of Arroyo Grande need to remain watchful. We need to be diligent in or our participation in the local politics and governance of our community. We need to take an active role in ensuring the greater good is fought for and won. We need to hold our elected and appointed officials accountable for their actions. We also need to recognize that doing so is bound to drawn lines and create fissures between people because, these actions come down to opinions and perspectives. Defining the greater good, deciding who should be elected, and ultimately what decisions should be made with regards to the governance of our city come from a place of perspective, not fact.

Making the request to move forward with governance is something that just needs to happen in the City of Arroyo Grande. The business of the city and the people must continue. This is not simply a “Buddhist philosophy” as suggested by Mr. Cuddy.

Moving forward is a choice Mr. Cuddy. If you choose not to, that is your choice. But factually, change happens naturally, whether you agree with the change or not.

The city, as a whole, will move forward, with or without you and whoever shares your same perspective—that is also factual. Another fact is that the election is over and it is time the new mayor and new council to get down to business. If you choose to sit and lament the election and the “steamroller and fringe group” who worked for change, then do that, that is also your choice. Just know the people who spoke with their voices and their vote in 2014 effected change they deeply believed was necessary.

You are fully entitled to disagree with them, but do not confuse facts and opinions/perspectives. Know your disagreement and recent rendezvous attempting to discredit the new mayor, his intentions, his abilities, and his goals, will not change the outcome of the election, or the fact that Mayor Hill has many supporters.

I respect your opinions and perspectives, but I do disagree with you.



  1. agag1 says:

    LeAnn’s op ed piece is scheduled to appear in New Times this week!

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

    Cuddy is another member of the county doosh-bag squad.

    He goes way beyond stretching the truth, to outright lying and, in the process, he defiles a magnificent victory by a write-in-candidate (our new Mayor Hill) and an loyal member of the county doosh-bag squad, Tony Ferrara.

    (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
    • marcusaurelius says:

      lol….the roster:

      big tony

      (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down
      • agag1 says:

        Your list includes A-Hill, not Jim Hill, correct?

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

    Mayor Jim Hill will be interviewed Monday, January 12, at 5:05 p.m. on News/Talk 920 KVEC radio. You can also listen live online.

    (5) 19 Total Votes - 12 up - 7 down
    • LeAnn says:

      1) I will be listening—can’t wait!

      2) I haven’t had the opportunity to meet you yet, but I hope to in the near future.

      Thank you for show! have a great day.

      (1) 21 Total Votes - 11 up - 10 down
  4. Kevin Rice says:

    Bob Cuddy made a career of selectivity, innuendo, aspersions, and lack of facts. He is hardly a journalist himself. What an embarrassment to the Tribune—well, not really… the Tribune has no credible reputation to be lost in shame. They investigate next to nothing, know little, question even less, and re-print the bilge of the worst entrenched politicians and bureaucrats in our county.

    (16) 48 Total Votes - 32 up - 16 down
  5. Slowerfaster says:

    The problem with this article LeAnn ( and it IS opinion ) is that the ‘facts’ as you present them are selective …cherry picked.
    You have the timeline and the “Who, What, When, Where”, but leave out much of the context of the “How” and “Why”. These last two can be …usually are, the most subjective.
    You’re not a professional journalist, so
    I’m not ‘attacking’ you out of spite or other negativity. Just pointing it out.

    You appear to have formed a full picture, and jumped to conclusions despite this limited and incomplete number of ‘facts’. I doubt that any of us can ever know. I certainly don’t.

    This I not to disparage Jim Hill, either. I hope he does well, but not to get too comfortable considering the stridency exhibited by what I saw and heard from many of his ‘supporters’ in the run-up to the election.

    (-12) 42 Total Votes - 15 up - 27 down
    • LeAnn says:

      The information contained in this op ed are not cherry picked—I responded to Mr. Cuddy’s op ed. In order to give a complete picture of the facts as they unfolded in AG this past year, I would need to use much more space than any online media source would allow. The how and why you are seeking are truly subjective and I will not share information that I do not know–therefore I chose to not include any of thoughts I have on the how and why.

      I have not formed my view of the full picture by jumping to conclusions, my perspective is formed by what I saw unfold this past year—events, happenings, statements which were made, and actions which were taken—those can hardly come down to “conclusions jumped to”.

      I think if you want to look for someone who has jumped to conclusions, you can look towards Mr. Cuddy. His op ed is full of language and statements which are solely based on conclusions being drawn without looking at the big picture.

      You don’t know me. You don’t know what I know or what I don’t know. You also don’t know my ability to look at the big picture and consider all sides—which I have done. Please don’t mistake my opinions for conclusions I have jumped to without knowing where my opinions came from and why they formed.

      I understand that you don’t agree with me, and that is fine. I did not respond to Mr. Cuddy to attack him either, I presented the other side as that was clearly missing in Mr. Cuddy’s piece. I attempted to present a more balanced view of the events, without innuendo and inflammatory language. I hope you can at least respect that.

      (3) 31 Total Votes - 17 up - 14 down
      • LeAnn says:

        And Slowerfaster—I never claimed that my op ed was anything more than that, an op ed. The only thing I did claim was that my opinions and perspectives were based on facts—not drawn from other opinions.

        (5) 31 Total Votes - 18 up - 13 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          LeAnn, when someone cannot make an argument to refute your own argument, they often will resort to logical fallacies like Blaming the Messenger.

          “Blaming the Messenger” is basically saying “you [LeAnn] are correct.”

          (-2) 12 Total Votes - 5 up - 7 down
    • surferdude says:

      Let’s get that timeline right for Cuddy…a response to his op ed

      FIRST OFF, NO ONE “stole or hijacked” any election. Voters voted. Candidates won and candidates lost.

      “Jim Hill was elected mayor, defeating longtime incumbent Tony Ferrara”. One of the few accurate statements in the Bob Cuddy rant.

      Oops! he forgot the soft opening at Roberts Restaurant included only 2 city invites : McClish & Adams (could they have invited their spouses?) It was not an “official public function” In fact, soft openings are by invitation only and private.

      Oops! Cuddy forgot the extra glass of wine down the street at Rooster Creek afterwards (not a City event) where they really proved they needed to sober up in City Hall

      Oops! The AGPD did not storm City Hall. They went to City Hall, and when Adams & McClish did not answer the phone, the door, or the knocking on the windows; they searched the entire Village area because these officers were concerned for her health!

      Oops! The police NEVER saw Adams & McClish drinking the famous green tea, that was Adams sorry story only. They did find Adams walking toward them in a darkened hallway being very defensive and angry and asking them “Why are you here? and not helping to find Teresa McClish.

      If Adams & McClish were DRINKING TEA, THERE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A STORY. The Police would have left. C’mon… the Police in any small town know what is going on in most neighborhoods. They are good at being discreet. If Adams was cool about the situation, the AGPD would have left, but ADAMS was NOT COOL. You think this was the first time in AG history hanky panky was going on in City Hall?

      Oops! A scandal was not born. Many people have known for YEARS about the inappropriate out of work relationship the two shared.

      Oops! Mrs. McClish’s attorney has attended City Council meetings and when that lawsuit hits the books….Mr. Ferrara and all his protection of Mr. Adams will cost the City dearly. Will she file? Adams ruined her good name.

      Oops! Mr. Cuddy writes: ” but because to a sufficient number of people, a vote for Hill was a vote against married people fooling around” How small of Cuddy. A vote for Jim Hill was a vote for anyone other than Tony Ferrara. You have placed too much emphasis on the July 3rd event – it was the COVER UP that was the story. But that is right…. Mr. Cuddy, you NEVER attended a MEETING did you?

      Oops! if you respect the Police, Mr. Cuddy, you would call them officers, not “cops”. They were not dragged anywhere. They were used by Adams & Ferrara to try and deflect the attention from the two of them to others.The AGPOA negotiations had nothing to do with the campaign.

      Oops! There was no “dirty” election. The former Mayor underestimated his opponent and LOST! Probably should have ran a campaign. IT IS OVER.

      Oops! Writes Cuddy: ” Ferrara, who spent years guiding the city, is still in shock at being steamrollered by people who falsely accused him of covering up what he believed to be a private matter” IT STOPPED BEING PRIVATE WHEN IT WAS IN CITY HALL! and BETWEEN A BOSS and a SUBORDINATE! Learn your employment law. And the shock will wear off better if Ferrara moves on.

      Oops! Hill does NOT have anything to prove other than to do his BEST.

      But you Mr. Cuddy, do have something to prove…
      Did you want to stir the pot or are you living with Aaron Ochs in a basement far from civilization?

      (16) 30 Total Votes - 23 up - 7 down
  6. Perspicacious says:

    Can someone photoshop that photo of Cuddy so I don’t have to see those chiklets every time I click on this story. Yikes!

    (2) 20 Total Votes - 11 up - 9 down
  7. marcusaurelius says:

    Good Riddance Tony Ferrara! Caren Ray!

    (23) 57 Total Votes - 40 up - 17 down
  8. SamLouis says:

    Bob “Swamp Gas” Cuddy ruined his reputation once and for all when he tried to come to the defense of Paso Robles’ former police chief, and chief scumbag Lisa Solomon.

    It was painful to watch Cuddy struggling to once again get over on his readers — I’m sure at the urging of the Tribune’s Publisher. He may well have pulled it off had it not been for CCN. It turned out to be horribly embarrassing for Cuddy and his crew and in many ways marked the upward growth of CCN and the accelerated decline of the Tribune.

    Cuddy’s comments on Arroyo TeaGate were laughable — as he is. Ignore him.

    (26) 54 Total Votes - 40 up - 14 down
    • Citizen says:

      I agree. Here is the link to the opinion piece by Cuddy in which he explains why the Tribune will not investigate the Lisa Solomon story. It seems that he asked Frank Mecham for his opinion and that was good enough for the Tribune. He neglects to mention that Frank Mecham who (“he considers a straight shooter”) was part of the ole boy crowd behind hiring Solomon without a job search–the City Council just appointed her.

      I actually sent this article to a friend/journalism professor at the Univ. of Missouri (the best journalism school in the US). He used it in his classes that year as part of his “worst examples” of journalistic practices–“refusal by the newspaper to investigate legitimate concerns”, “covering for a public official..without knowing the facts”, “attack on the whistleblowers”, “word mongering”, “flaunting incompetency in reporting”, “citing journalistic ethics for laziness in reporting” among other criticisms from the students.

      I wonder how Cuddy now feels about trying to cover for an incompetent, sexual predator (she preyed on her own staff), Police Chief.

      (22) 34 Total Votes - 28 up - 6 down

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