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.

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Robert Cuddy writing untruthful, nonfactual editorials and opinions has been going on for many years! And Why the Tribune has the Factual Nickname – the FIBBUNE. I personally knew people he has misrepresented. AS only ONE example, Mr Cuddy wrote an article years ago, accusing and stating lies as facts without even the consideration of a phone call to the person he wrote about! He had no clue about the true facts of the story, nor did he bother to find even partial truths for his story. He is the laziest writer I have ever seen. Nor does he care who he hurts in the process. Mr. Cuddy does not hold water as a “journalist”, rather a fictional writer. Several instances of misrepresentations, I don’t even bother to read his BS anymore.

In fact, he seems to think the Write In Jim Hill Campaign stole the election.

Over 3,000 people privately voted for Jim Hill with no coercion, force or pressure.

All the voters in AG wanted was a choice.

The ballot box is harsh truth.

Kinda regretting Jim Hill did not ask the clerk recorders office to tally all the ballots. That way TF could maybe get over it easier when the numbers were larger than published!

Don’t you think it is funny for someone to think they can steal an election? It is almost like Ferrara, or his supporters think that the Mayor’s seat actually belonged to Ferrara. I just find that interesting. How can you steal something that doesn’t belong to anyone?

Old “Swamp Gas” strikes again.

I share Leann’s smug expression when I hear an orchestrated clan of public speakers attack a project while sitting on a pile of their opinions. Yes we are entitled to air our opinons but the final analysis can only be based on facts not emotions.

I was part of that “orchestrated clan of public speakers” and I can assure you that my math was solid and so were my facts. Nothing in my recent op ed piece is smug—it is factual. Opinions are based on things like, “oh that is a pretty design”, or “I don’t like the stone chosen for the decorative driveway.” Most of us talked about codes, requirements, and facts and figures which put a damper on staff reports lacking accurate information. Maybe you should review the speakers statements during the meeting—I am sure, if you pay attention, you will walk away with a different “perspective”.

Thank you, LeeAnn. Someone needs to deal in teality. Now that he is no longer a reporter it seems Mr. Cuddy is no longer hampered by by those pesky facts.

Were you thinking back to that story of drinking green tea?

I can not agree more with your statement, “the citizens of Arroyo Grande need to remain watchful”, with recent events in and around Arroyo Grande it is clear Mr. Ferrara is still trying to control events, using “his” people who are still in place to do his wishes, we must be very watchful and as “his” people show their true colors they need to be held accountable and replaced. One by one we can return local politics to the voters instead of the elite.

LeAnn, thank you for so eloquently stating the truths. As another member of the Elect Jim Hill committee, I know how much effort went into running an honest and ethical campaign on our part. Of course we would not expect that from the “other side”, as the city has evolved to being run as they please, not according to rules.

I also want to point out the rumor that Jim Hill refused to debate with Tony Ferrara. I can state that NO ONE ever approached Mr. Hill for such a forum. At the time he filed papers, the public forum at the Regional Center was past. I attended that meeting to hear the new candidates for council seats speak. I did also notice that Tony felt it not necessary to be part of the process, or even attend this event. Even though he was running un-opposed at that point, he still owed it to the voters to provide his stand on issues.

Arroyo Grande voters did a good thing on Nov. 4th. It is time to “clean house” and start new. My best wishes to our new City Council members. I am looking forward to positive changes for the coming year!

LeeAnn – I just hugged your face and knocked my glasses off somewhere. That was so so well written and spot on. Thanks for never backin’ down girl!

Where can I read Cuddy’s original “stuff”?

Stunned, pick up this week’s copy of New Times. And, feel free to let the NT know how you feel about this propaganda piece!

Thank you. I’ll do it right away.

Thanks LeAnn

Thank you Leenn a well reasoned, non-mouth breathing response to Mr Cuddy’s opinion piece was needed to set the record straight.

What I can’t help but notice is how the main stream media in town (of which Mr Cuddy is a card carrying member) STILL can not bring itself to admit what went down in AG. Now taking this fact into play…what else is the local main stream media totally blowing? How can we have any trust in them and their opinions when they can be so wrong on such a simple matter as the AG scandal and then election? I submit that we can’t, they know this, and are therefore out on the attack while they see their lights dimming.

Tony Ferrera needs to find a new path in his retirement.

Perhaps a Carnival Cuisse of senior singles?????

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