Hill’s support base dwindling

February 11, 2015
Stew Jenkins

Stew Jenkins


The San Luis Obispo Tribune thankfully evolved into a Liberal Newspaper after McClatchy purchased it from Knight-Ridder. Liberal or conservative, it is difficult to accept the editorial board republishing in its Feb. 6 editorial the political spin supporting New Jersey style pay-to-play Supervisor Adam Hill – who masquerades as a Liberal.

The Tribune, as a Liberal paper should have performed deeper critical analysis leading to the change in leadership on the Board of Supervisors Feb. 3.

The Tribune’s Feb. 6 editorial, which characterized Supervisor Frank Mecham’s selfless act stepping aside to elect Debbie Arnold Chair and Lynn Compton Vice-Chair with a “partisan Republican” and “tea party” manipulation, simply restated Bruce Gibson’s “viewpoint” published the same day. This completely overlooked the most important factor leading to Adam Hill’s ouster as vice chair of the Board of Supervisions – having lost the support of so many Liberal Democrats; Hill had not a single defender outside of Gibson.

Just as Republicans shed association with Supervisor Mike Ryan in 2004 for his offensive behaviors, more and more Democrats are finding it difficult to support Hill in 2015. Liberal Democrats increasingly find Hill’s actions so embarrassing that he can no longer be supported.

Certainly there were partisan Republicans ready to speak against Hill being elevated to a leadership position at Tuesday’s board meeting; but so were at least one Democratic Party former mayor, at least one Green Party activist, and a former Democratic Party nominee for State Assembly.

And the idea that Hill is working for liberal policies just doesn’t wash. Supervisor Hill is frequently perceived as driven by how his public actions will benefit him, instead of how those actions help or hurt his constituents.

Platitudes about the environment easily fall from his lips; yet his votes on development and construction appear more and more tied to whether the developers will support or hurt Hill’s political ambitions.

Hill gives lip service to helping working families. But in two terms he has yet to push for a single project-labor agreement on any of the public construction the Board of Supervisors commission. Uniquely, project-labor-agreements are the only lawful vehicle providing a public projects a bidding process guaranteeing the benefit of union-quality craftsmanship and, by mandating Local Hiring Requirements, which then multiply the public dollars spent to create 400 percent to 700 percent in new local economic activity.

The nominally higher upfront cost of a public project built through a project-labor-agreement is more than offset by the economic expansion and resulting tax revenue received by a county, city or school district constructing buildings, roads and infrastructure. Had Hill pushed for public project-labor agreements when he was in the majority more working people could afford the cost of a home in our coastal county.

Anyone who watched the February 3rd Board of Supervisors’ meeting saw that Hill lacked, and Mecham demonstrated, the selflessness for leadership.

Stew Jenkins is a former secretary and vice-chair of the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee who successfully defended the SLO Democratic Party to establish political party rights in Wilson v. San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 489; Review Denied Cal. Supreme Court; Review Denied U.S. Supreme Court; and was the Democratic Nominee for State Assembly in 2004.

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Always nice when someone from the same party steps away from an elected official when they’ve come off the rails as in the case with Hill.

We should all vote for person over party, and Stew and other Dems are putting themselves out there. It’s not popular to disagree with your party.

I realize it’s natural for SLO County residents to be democrat or republican and our Supervisors know this is one tactic that gets them to win the election but with the general trend of polarization on issues Democrat vs. Republican, Pro-tourism vs pro-resident , envirionmentalism versus manufacturing or agricultural interests. I don’t know if our local politicians can make good decisions because they don’t factor in both points of view but rather vote by their elected party stance instead. I could be wrong but it concerns me.

The parties work hard to ensure ONLY candidates who tow the party line will be endorsed. A sampling of the Dem Party questionnaire sent to Democrat candidates seeking endorsement:

Are you a lifelong Democrat? lf not, what was your registration, and how long have you now been a ‘ Democrat?

Have you ever volunteered for a Democratic candidate?

Have you ever financially contributed to a Democratic candidate?

Will you support the County Democratic Party in its fundraising efforts if youlre elected?

Will you actively campaign for endorsed Democratic candidates if you’re elected?

lf elected, would you consider qualified Democrats as your first choice for appointments to boards and commissions?

Over the last two election cycles, have you personally endorsed non-Democratic candidates? lf so, please describe.


School resources should be targeted to close the achievement gap, with an emphasis on supporting English learners, students from generational poverty, and at-risk populations

A path to legal residency should be provided for undocumented immigrants as part of a

comprehensive immigration reform.

Publicfunding for reproductive services and counseling is appropriate

Assault-style firearms should be banned

Public agencies should not privatize essential govemment services and outsource public-sector workers.

Businesses and public agencies should provide defined-benefit pension plans for their employees rather than defined-contribution plans.

All of my campaign materials not printed in-house will be printed in a union shop and will display a union ‘bug.”

lncreasing nevenue from various sources should be considered when balancing a budget.