Hill blowing away field in fundraising race

August 8, 2015
Supervisor Adam Hill

Supervisor Adam Hill


San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill, who is wooing developers, has nearly 10 times as much cash in his reelection war chest as his District 3 challengers have combined in their campaign accounts.

In the first six months of 2015, Hill raised more than $82,000 in cash contributions for the 2016 race, according to his campaign disclosure form. As of June 30, Hill’s campaign had a cash balance of nearly $103,000.

Former Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson, who is challenging Hill, finished the first half of 2015 with a cash balance of $9,665. San Luis Obispo Councilman Dan Carpenter, also a candidate in the District 3 race, had a cash balance of $901, as of June 30.

Peterson raised $13,893 over the first six months of the year, and Carpenter raised $5,049. Both candidates loaned $3,000 to their own campaigns, and the loans are included in their fundraising totals.

Most of Hill’s top donors are developers, and several live outside San Luis Obispo County. Hill received donations from as far away as Phoenix, Arizona.

Dan Carpenter 6

Dan Carpenter

Other sizable contributors to Hill include local unions and Democratic politicians on the Central Coast.

Hill’s top donor is developer Gary Grossman, who contributed $5,050. Grossman, the president of Coastal Community Builders, has donated previously to Hill’s campaign and $50,000 to the nonprofit of Dee Torres-Hill, the supervisor’s wife.

Grossman is trying to develop the 131-acre Dalidio Ranch in San Luis Obispo. Hill has lobbied the San Luis Obipso City Council to change city planning rules in order for Grossman’s development to get approved as envisioned.

Pismo Beach realtor Jason Blankenship and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers each donated $5,000 to Hill in the first six months of the year.

Blankenship owns a realty company. He is also a developer with Innovative Housing Solutions, a company that has developed homes all over SLO County.

Santa Barbara-based Somera Capital Management contributed $4,000 to Hill. The company is developing a downtown Pismo Beach lot into a 104-unit hotel with retail and dining space.

Somera Capital Management is also trying to develop a 23-acre waterfront parcel in Avila Beach, where it plans to build a boutique hotel.

Debbie Peterson

Debbie Peterson

Postcard Properties LLC, also based in Santa Barbara, is partnering with Somera Capital on both projects. Dana Severy, the owner of Postcard Properties, donated $500 to Hill.

Hill’s fifth largest contributor is listed as Danielle Marman, of West Coast Turf in Palm Desert. Marman is now Danielle Scardino, the wife of developer John Scardino, according to the couple’s wedding website and online profiles.

John Scardino, a Westlake Village resident, is involved in the Trilogy homes project on the Nipomo Mesa. John Scardino gave $750 to Hill during the first half of the year.

Westlake Village companies All Wired Up Electrical Services and Direct Management Solutions also donated $1,000 each to Hill’s campaign.

Several other developers and development firms have already contributed at least $1,000 to Hill.

Jamie Kirk, who owns Kirk Consulting, gave just $300. Kirk was the planner paid to promote the conversion of the North County Pasolivo olive ranch into an entertainment venue.

Twelve days after Kirk donated to Hill’s campaign, Hill voted in favor of the Pasolivo project. Prior to the donation, Hill had said he supports an event ordinance to limit entertainment venues in the county.

Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham dropped out of the District 3 race last month. Higginbotham raised $5,876, as of June 30, and had a cash balance of $3,316.

Multiple sources told CalCoastNews that Hill and his campaign made several public records requests for information on the Higginbothams while dispersing negative claims about the mayor’s family members.

The primary election is scheduled for June 7, 2016.



  1. smile4thecamera says:

    Hill should be ashamed of himself – wooing out of town developers. We have no water to develop anything more for awhile! Hill is one of the reasons our local jobs get sucked up. When these developers come in from out of the area, they bring with them their good ol’ boy network of other out of town tradesmen who under-bid everyone here. Then after they are awarded the job, they change order it to death and it ends up costing what the local guys bid it to be in the first place.

    Don’t vote for this guy!

    (17) 25 Total Votes - 21 up - 4 down
  2. Rich in MB says:

    Brought to you by the Democratic Party…looking out for the Middle Class Folks…ha ha ha…you suckers.

    (13) 27 Total Votes - 20 up - 7 down
  3. citygirl says:

    HIll is the best candidate money can buy!

    (11) 19 Total Votes - 15 up - 4 down
  4. Paso_citizen says:

    Even a blind man in a dark room could see this for exactly what it is.

    Another example of ‘contributions’ given to a candidate for the very purpose of buying
    that politician. If anyone thinks that Gary Grossman does not fully expect to be ‘paid’ back for his large ‘contribution’ – then I have beach front property in Arizona that I will sell for less than $1.00 an acre.

    This is by no means limited to SLO county. It is a very apparent practice at city, county, state, and federal levels.

    That is what politics in this great country has become. And is one of the reasons we have presidential contests that start about 1 week after an inauguration and go on and on and on.

    (31) 37 Total Votes - 34 up - 3 down
  5. Ron says:

    I have a question.

    Ya know, according to Hill’s filing report, he paid his FPPC fine of $2,500 with campaign funds.

    On page 39 of the report, it reads, “Payments Made: Fair Political Practices Commission/paid FPPC Fine # 14-595/$2,500.00”

    And, according to the CCN report at this link:


    … that fine stemmed from “a random audit conducted by the California Franchise Tax Board on all 2012 San Luis Obispo County Supervisor candidates last year revealed that Hill failed to timely report fifteen payments of $500 or more, totaling $68,058.73.”

    But, if you check out the FPPC’s “Restrictions on Contributions” manual, at this link:


    … it reads:

    “Fines, Penalties, Judgments, and Settlements

    Only the following fines, penalties, judgments, and settlements may be paid with campaign funds:

    – Parking citations received while performing political, legislative, or governmental activities.

    – Fines assessed in relation to situations in which the use of campaign funds to pay for an attorney is allowed (discussed above).

    – Fines imposed for late filing of campaign statements and Statements of Economic Interests (Form 700).”

    And then that’s it. I’m not seeing, “failure to timely report fifteen payments,” on that list, well, unless Adam’s calling “failure to timely report fifteen payments,” “late filing of campaign statements,” but, if you ask me, that’s quite a stretch.

    So, that’s my question: Why was Hill allowed to pay his FPPC fine with campaign contributions?

    It doesn’t sound like that fine was eligible.

    I’m just curious, because, you know, what’s the point of fining a sneaky politician for being sneaky on his campaign contributions, if said sneaky politician can just pay the fine with his sneaky campaign contributions?

    I mean, where’s the stick in that? Why even fine? What a waste of time.

    (17) 27 Total Votes - 22 up - 5 down
  6. Pelican1 says:

    Hmmm…interesting headline.

    (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down

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