Hill blowing away field in fundraising race
August 8, 2015
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
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.
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.
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.