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.

Jorge Estrada

If money is all that counts then get ready for rump, correction, Trump.


Chump, pump, and dump !

Republicans are shtoopid !


As Jim Hill (unrelated) proved in the Arroyo Grande election, even a write-in candidate can overcome an incumbent if the people vote. Jim Hill showed AG that leadership, honesty, and character can overcome the political auction we currently have.

As far as Adam Hill, this guy is basically selling votes, it seems. According to the article, “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.”

Great reporting CCN. Horrible leadership, Adam.


Glad to see the county wants development. Hopefully they can remove this area from the list of areas prosperity forgot.


Hill raised $82,000 this reporting period -1-1-15 to 7-31-15.

Developers contributed $20,300. I wonder who contributed the difference of $61,700? I doubt it was $100 contributions from average joe voters.

Hill’s life style has improved over the last few years but his salary hasn’t increased. Lots of unanswered questions.


His wife, Dee Torres, whiped out those gift cards! Plus, her new foundation has her daughter working there and when you get a $50,000 donation from developer Grossman, yes, your lifestyle can change!

Jeanne Blackwell

Great investigative reporting.

Mitch C

I have faith in the voters of the 3rd district that they will do the right thing at the polls and replace this narcissistic, small man at the next election. I agree with Mike, hard work by the masses is more important than payoff funds supplied by those who geographically cannot vote for the person they are trying to purchase.


Mitch C – please point to the last election where the voters of District 3 did the right thing.

Mike Byrd

There are many folks commenting on this site who really want Mr. Hill replaced. If all it took were criticism he’d be history. But words aren’t enough. If any of you live in the 3rd district, for goodness sake get out and vote. Whether you do or you don’t, make a contribution to another candidate to help blunt the massive amount of developer dollars that will continue flowing to keep their man working for them. Walk a precinct, make some phone calls, pass out literature. If everyone who wants Mr. Hill gone actually does something to accomplish that it will be done. If we all just sit on the sidelines griping, we’ll just have another four years of the same.

There are two qualified candidates who have proven their independence and dedication to the public good. And there’s Mr. Hill. The choice is yours. Do nothing and you will have chosen.

Dan Carp

Point well made Mike. Thanks!


What we need is a SLO County version of Donald Trump – some bombastic, mysogynystic, egomaniacal millionaire who doesn’t need a dime from anyone, to challenge Hill and clean things up. Anyone know of anyone like that?


Trump would build out everything around. He knows how wealth is created. What you need is a balance of smart cutting edge projects, that take into account the community.

Simply refusing to develop is A) not going to happen and B) will turn slo into a haven for college kids who literally owe the community nothing and leave as soon as the degree is granted.

I’m not sure SLO is smart enough to see the choice before it. The smart people seem to have left for the bay..


The smart people have left for the bay….really? Where are you?


Ha, on the way out of this little slice of …. well you know. Soon enough you all can choose among the few (hospitality) jobs headed here.


Money won’t buy hill one bit of decency, he’s still a piece of work.