Is Adam Hill crying wolf?

December 24, 2015

One of the photos Adam Hill included in his emails as evidence he is under a protection order.


San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill says he’s getting death threats and as a result is being protected by the sheriff’s department. Hill has sent multiple emails describing the threats and posting photos of sheriff’s department vehicles parked on a street.

But, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Commander Stuart MacDonald said that the department does not have a protective order for Hill. Persons who live in the neighborhood say they have not seen any sheriff’s department vehicles in the area. And, the department is not conducting any investigation into Hill’s claims that his life and family are being threatened, MacDonald said.

Hill did not respond to multiple emails asking him to substantiate his claims about death threats or of sheriff’s department protection.

Hill sent the emails following critical media coverage and commentary about his conduct on the board of supervisors. K-Jewel (KKJL) News Director Dick Mason reported on Hill walking out on a board of supervisors 50th anniversary presentation for CAPSLO, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo.

Dee Torres-Hill

Dee Torres-Hill

Hill’s wife Dee Torres was the director of CAPSLO’s homeless services. In 2013, CalCoastNews published a series of stories in which current and former CAPSLO employees said she routinely took gift cards intended for the needy and homeless and made personal use of them. CAPSLO administrators denied most of the allegations, but they admitted to questioning Torres-Hill about selling items donated to the homeless and not accounting for them.

In March 2014, CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill and cut her pay. CAPSLO announced the move as a “restructuring” because of financial concerns. Torres sued CAPSLO alleging wrongful termination, retaliatory firing for being a whistleblower and workplace disability discrimination. That lawsuit was settled on undisclosed terms in October 2015.

Mason also questioned money that developer Gary Grossman gave to a nonprofit that Dee Torres-Hill started.

Before she left CAPSLO, Torres-Hill started the SLO Housing Connection, a nonprofit that provides homeless services that appear to duplicate many CAPSLO services, including case management, shelter and employment services. In fall 2014, Grossman made a $50,000 donation to the SLO Housing Connection as Hill aggressively attempted to persuade members of the San Luis Obispo City Council to vote in favor of a land use change that Grossman needed to develop large parcels near the airport,

Hill responded by contacting KKJL’s station manager with threats of a possible lawsuit, Mason said.

Supervisor Adam Hill

Supervisor Adam Hill

“Adam Hill contacting our station management to complain about my reporting is his prerogative, however, he’s attacking the messenger,” Mason said. “I’m only reporting the facts. His absence during CAPSLO’s 50th anniversary presentation, his threats against San Luis City Councilman Dan Carpenter, his involvement with PB Properties and his relationship with developer Gary Grossman are all newsworthy.”

Hill also sent emails to Mason directly accusing him of lying and being responsible for threats to himself and his family.

“ ‘Oh, and Dick, if you were thinking your spreading of hateful lies has no effect?’ Hill wrote. ‘Here’s the current protection outside my house, where I live with my wife and three girls.’ ”

Hills emails also blamed CalCoastNews, Dave Congalton, host of a talk show on KVEC and comments broadcast by radio station KRPL.

“You see I got another death threat stemming from lies told by the good folks at CalCoast, Congalton, and KPRL,” Hill wrote. “There are consequences to your lies. There are people out there who are stirred up and want to hurt me and my family because of the toxic garbage you all put out there. May you and your family never experience this. Shame on you.”

Mason was not present during the call that Hill made to KKJL, he said.

“For his sake, I hope his tone with my supervisor is more diplomatic and professional than the profane diatribes he emails me.”

Dick Mason

Dick Mason

Shortly after Hill called the station’s manager, a second call came in, Mason said. A person claiming to be Maggie Cox, president and CEO of the Barnett and Cox & Associates marketing and PR firm, called. The caller said she was calling on behalf of Grossman and then repeated many of Hill’s complaints, Mason said.

Cox has since said that the call did not come from her or the firm.

“No one from Barnett and Cox contacted the station,” Cox said. “It is a lie.”

Hill also accused Mason of being the voice over on a “Fire Adam Hill” video that says Hill belittles people who cross him. Mason, who said he was unaware of the video before Hill pointed it out, said the voice is not his. A search of turned up four “Fire Adam Hill” videos. Two of the videos appear to be criticisms of other “Fire Adam Hill” videos.

At the same time, others, including public officials, have also received calls and emails from Hill and several of his supporters claiming that the media is endangering Hill’s life and should limit its reporting to softer topics.

San Luis Obispo City Mayor Jan Marx spoke with a manager at KVEC asking that the station direct Congalton to stick with non controversial topics, Congalton said.

Dave Congalton

Dave Congalton

In another email to a local resident who does not support Hill’s reelection, Hill claims Congalton has given his address out on the air and again includes photos of sheriff vehicles he claims are there as part of a protection detail.

“This is current protection needed because of another threat against me, based on lies from CalCoast and Congalton and their accomplices,” Hill wrote. “Come by and tell them about why you spread these lies … your pal  the radio host knows the address as he broadcasts it all the time.”

Congalton has regularly questioned how Hill, on a supervisor’s salary, affords a home at the country club. However, Congalton said he has never mentioned Hill’s address on the air.

“I don’t know his address,” Congalton said.

Earlier this year, a  self-described volunteer for Hill’s reelection campaign warned KVEC management that Hill’s campaign would file a complaint with the FCC and turn advertisers away from KVEC and Dave Congalton’s talk show. The “volunteer” claimed that Congalton had made personal attacks against Hill.

In November, CalCoastNews wrote a series of stories about Hill’s moonlighting for a prominent developer. Hill refused to answer questions regarding his consulting business, his ties to developers or inconsistencies in his government filings.

Instead of answering the questions, Hill posted a statement on Facebook claiming he is being targeted by CalCoastNews on behalf of his political opponents. Hill is currently running for reelection for the District 3 seat.

Get links to local political news, like CCN on Facebook.

Mike Byrd

Delusional paranoia? Maybe he actually believes what he says, even when it’s so easy to prove that his claims have no basis in reality? It’s like watching someone disintegrate emotionally right before our eyes. Honestly, I’m saddened by all this and hope he can find peace and happiness, albeit in a different occupation.


Yeah, but Mike …you have told me face-to-face that Congalton is an outright liar that overtly distorted your positions that helped to doom your candidacy in the 4th SD.

I believe you. You’re a good guy.

Adam Hill has faced this onslaught from crypto-fascists for years. You got a taste of it… the unmitigated hate and lies from really reprehensible people. Toxic spewers. You know who they are.

I don’t question your reasons for not fighting these enemies of civilization. We all have to try to live as well and as conflict-free as we can.

That being said, these reactionaries among us are enemies and ever-present dangers.

And I know that you know it, too.

Mike Byrd

One thing Adam has done is to bring people of various political perspectives to agreement on the subject of his performance. True, there have been many crude and vicious things said about him and that is unfortunate in my view. But I know many people who are thoughtful and objective, people who initially supported him, who are now saying enough is too much.

His inflammatory and degrading attacks against regular citizens (yes, I was on the receiving end of some before we’d ever met and before I’d made my mind up about him) is not okay in a public official. But of greatest concern to me is his work for and payment by developers. The fortune in developer money that has been lavished on him, both in campaign contributions and personally, is alarming to me.

So I guess my point here is, it isn’t just the rightwing side of the public body that has become fed up, though they probably tend to be more vocal, but it is a lot of us who are more moderate in our views who don’t approve of his performance. There isn’t much these days that conservatives, liberals and those of us in between can agree on but Adam Hill has become one of those rare instances when we can.


Mike …you are sincere, thoughtful, considerate, maybe ‘moderate’. A smart guy. A good guy.

The right-wing haters and their enablers TOOK you down with lies and fascist hyperbole like they always do.

That’s why I’m not ‘moderate’.

I’m a left-winger and happy to be so !

Noam Chomsky and Carl Sagan (RIP) are friends, but they’re too conservative for my tastes.

Neo-Nazi’s, Tea-Party extremists, Idiot ‘conservative’ Republicans,

…the whole fascist….echo chamber…. Right-wing Infanticidist network

wants to kill America.

And they’re fast on the way to doing so.


You wouldn’t happen to be either “dad2three” or “norske” from the old days when the Trib had a comments section would you slow? The same hateful diatribe and relentless hate monger for those who have opposite views than you? Do you channel Saul Alinsky perhaps?

As far as killing America, that’s been being done for the past 7 years by your man in the Whitehouse and his administration. Not to mention all of the progressives who are lock, stock and barrel with his cause.

You and they have killed America. It’s apparent in the acts of islamic jihad, Russia’s and China’s advancements into areas they once feared to tread, the “black lives matter” movement [unless it’s black on black crime], which has resulted on the war against Police Officers across the Country, and the fact that our economy is on the verge of total collapse.

Stop the hate and learn tolerance dude. Afterall, isn’t that what you and your ilk tell conservatives to do? Hypocrite!

Obama is a puppet. George Soros is the puppet master.


Stop lying.

It’s the radical left that so strongly supports infanticide through the horror that is abortion.

Further, your continued use of invective says a great deal of negative things about you…


Very nice retort Mike to the obviously hate filled and I would suggest shit stirrer that is slowerfaster. Surely a very sad and angry person.


No one should want a sociopath as their Supervisor. That’s just common sense. A question to ask is whether or not you would want your child to grow up to become someone like Adam Hill? If not, vote him out of office.

Kaiser Bill

“Adam Hill has faced this onslaught from crypto-fascists for years.”

Here it is. The Hill narrative of running against mythical brownshirts to cover up his awful record. What exactly does fascism have to do with a County Supervisor who largely makes mundane decisions in areas like land use and water policy? Wonderful obfuscation, Hill would be proud.


Go Dan Go! Time for a change and not HOPE and CHANGE!


I don’t know if he is crying wolf, but he certainly is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and the people of this county should beware of false prophets.

Adam’s only remaining defense mechanism is to issue idle threats. He’s a drowning man to whom no one is willing to toss a life preserver….and it’s his own damn fault.


Nice politically-motivated media move Adam. But it appears to be backfiring on you.


A couple points, please, on this excellent and important reporting:

(1) Dick Mason is one of the most professional, honest, and ethical newscasters around. He’s been in the business for decades. I’d put him right up there with King Harris when it comes to broadcast journalism. He sticks to the facts. What he did in this case was totally legitimate reporting. Why Adam Hill would call KKJL management to complain (and threaten) is beyond me, but it’s similar to the campaign mounted against me last spring by Hill supporters when they created the fictional “Jenny Herzog” to go after me with emails to KVEC management, threats of a press conference and public protest, etc. There is a pattern here, folks.

(2) I have never, EVER, revealed Adam Hill’s home address. I don’t know it. All I know is that he rents a house in the San Luis County Club neighborhood. My repeated question is how does a county supervisor making $85,000 with an unemployed wife and three kids, afford the rent on a home in that expensive neighborhood? It is a legitimate question, Adam.

(3) I want to be fair to Mayor Jan Marx. Her comment about my show was made to our program director when the mayor came over to Cafe Roma recently to be part of a remote broadcast. Her point to my boss was that I should be doing more shows like this and not all the “toxic stuff.” It’s her opinion and she’s entitled to it. My point back to her was what has she said to “the other side” about toning down their rhetoric? Has she seen the emails from Adam Hill that far too many of us are subjected to?

(4) So I put the challenge out to New Times, KSBY, and The Tribune. When will our news colleagues come forward? Or is it OK with you that local journalists and talk show hosts are threatened with their jobs for daring to report and comment on a controversial supervisor? When will you start looking at this supervisor and his boorish behavior with a more critical eye, rather than just turning over your Opinion page to him whenever he experiences a rhetorical bowel movement?

And what, oh what, does it say about someone who will create a completely false story about death threats and police protection to get public sympathy as he runs for re-election?

When does it stop, Mr. Hill?

Welcome to our world, Dick Mason. Can’t wait to see who comes after you next: Tom Fulks or Aaron Ochs.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Dave Congalton


Dave Congalton: Your show is great and very open minded. And I shop at your advertisers … Spencer’s specifically because of your show!

Mr. Holly

This must be part of the game plan for re-election. Wasn’t it Caren Ray, Hill’s buddy, who claimed that her house had been shot at during her election campaign. I guess whatever it takes to get attention.


Merry Christmas to you and Charlotte as well! May 2016 bring good tidings to you both!

Mr. Holly

The best statement is from Jan Marx asking the station to stick to non-controversial topics.

Are you kidding me? Jan and Adam, as the old saying goes, if it’s too hot in the kitchen get out. That would be one of the best Christmas gifts that both of you could give to San Luis City and the County.


Basically, Hill is trying to stifle free speech. Plain and simple.


This is just getting stupid!


Sounds like the walls are caving in around Hill….he certainly deserves to be replaced by anyone else on the Board of Supervisors. The man is unstable and may need the services of Transitions Mental Health.


What a pair of criminal losers. Uck.


Let’s just hope jon that the daughters are taking notes and that they will one day as they get older be examples of what their parents are not.

1 2 3 9