Why is Adam Hill silent on firing of Coastal Commission director?

February 17, 2016
SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill, Dee Torres, developer Gary Grossman and Pismo Councilman Erik Howell.

SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill, Dee Torres, developer Gary Grossman and Pismo Councilman Erik Howell.


A week has gone by since the firing of the Executive Director of the Coastal Commission, and no public comment by Supervisor Adam Hill whose district includes the coastal zone from Montana De Oro south to the Oceano Dunes. Why are you silent, Mr. Hill?

Late last Wednesday, after an all day meeting in Morro Bay with more than 1000 people attending, the commission emerged from a closed-session to announce it had voted to dismiss Dr. Charles Lester. All of the speakers spoke in support of the state’s most important guardian of sensitive habitats and public access to the coastline. Thirty-five former Coastal Commissioners, including San Luis Obispo County’s own Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, wrote in favor of Dr. Lester’s stewardship of the fragile California Coast.

For the many environmental and community groups that support the Coastal Act, firing Dr. Lester creates a major political rift over development and access on the 1,100 miles of coastline in California.

Avila, Pismo, and Grover Beaches are all coastal communities that may face significant development impacts from this back room decision made by a slim 7-5 majority of the Coastal Commissioners.

Erik Howell, Pismo Beach city councilman and Coastal Commissioner, led the charge to remove Dr. Lester, stating that “a lack of communication and needless delays on projects in the coastal zone” were reasons he voted to dismiss the commission’s Executive Director.

After his dismissal, Dr. Lester told the LA Times that “This commission seems to be more interested in and receptive to the concerns of the development community as a general rule. There is less focus on how we can make decisions to implement the Coastal Act.” The San Luis Obispo Tribune even awarded the commission a “boatload of brickbats” for the secretive firing, calling it “arbitrary and at odds with public opinion”.

It should be noted that Mr. Howell is an avid supporter of current 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill’s reelection. He is listed as an endorsement on Mr. Hill’s website, along side many developers.

It’s no secret Mr. Hill has been a supporter of substantial development throughout his district, including Avila and Pismo. Just look at his campaign financial disclosures – every major developer has made substantial donations. Could it be that Mr. Hill had some influence in Dr. Lester’s demise?

It appears convenient to have an impediment like Dr. Lester removed so his financial supporter’s projects could move through the process with less scrutiny.

Why hasn’t Supervisor Hill addressed this publicly, explaining to his constituency in these coastal communities why he supports this decision or doesn’t? Is he playing politics again to get reelected?

So, where do you stand on this Supervisor Hill? Do you support your good friend and campaign endorser Erik Howell and his development backed colleagues, as well as yours, in the firing of Dr. Lester, or do you stand behind the thousands of 3rd district residents, including myself, that want the coastline protected from irresponsible development?

Your constituency awaits Supervisor Hill…….if you can’t answer, I am sure the electorate will on June 7.

Dan Carpenter is a San Luis Obispo councilman and a candidate for the San Luis Obispo County District 3 supervisor seat currently held by Adam Hill.


I’m confused.

I mean, here, we have Dan Carpenter, coming across all enviro-guy, with takes like “sensitive habitats,” and “significant development impacts from this back room decision,” and “the thousands of 3rd district residents, including myself, that want the coastline protected from irresponsible development,” but, if you check out the “Debbie Arnold for Supervisor 2016” campaign contributions statement, we see, “Dan Carpenter, Council member, City of San Luis Obispo, $149.00 (to date).”

Welp, nothing screams, “significant development impacts from this back room decision” more than Debbie’s “Yes” vote on the (failed) Las Palitas quarry, after a huge majority of her constituents begged her to vote “no.”

So, again, I’m confused: Is Dan Carpenter, like, Joe Environmental/Slow-Growth Dude (as his editorial suggests), or is he Joe Construction/Development Guy (as his Arnold contributions [plural] suggest)?

And, if it’s the former, then what’s up with the “Debbie Arnold for Supervisor” financial support?

Uh, “your constituency awaits” your answer, Dan.


Unfortunately for Dan, I don’t think the District 3 seat matters too much anymore to the folks with deep pockets. With District 1 most likely going to Peschong after Mecham’s retirement, it will be 3-2, repub supervisors to dems.

Hill and Gibson can squawk all they want, but they will be powerless.

Rock Quarry will happen.

Water Decisions — whatever Big Grape wants.

Environment; Smironment!

This is why Grossman is starting to contribute to Arnold as well as Hill.

If Peschong was in danger of not taking District 1, you’d see a lot more bankroll headed Carpenter’s way.


Boy, this picture brings to mind the wonderful story of Caren Ray and the SLO Hash House Harriers Club. I wonder if any of these party buds ever belonged to such a club. Interesting family setting!


Arnold takes Grossman money too. What gives? Maybe a little trade off? I get delidio and you get your rock quarry?

Thomas A

Straddle, Adam Hill openly lobbies for developer Grossman, who pays Adam quite well, on the record. Adam Hill openly lobbies for BP Companies, his undisclosed business partners. Can you say Arnold lobbies for Grossman?


Aren’t all politicians bought and paid for? Doesn’t Arnold openly lobby for the rock quarry? Isn’t Arnold Big Grape?

I don’t see why Hill is any worse than any of the other Supervisors. He obviously doesn’t have the best decorum in meetings, granted, but if Arnold and Hill both taking Grossman $, why is Hill worse?


Welcome to SLO Politics 101!


Eric Howell also needs to be replaced. He talks (whines) out of both sides of his mouth but is basically a Grossman minion.


That’s a foursome alright and I don’t mean golf!

Jorge Estrada

Because he is needs the distance before he can strike.


Excellent observations Mr. Carpenter. Let us not forget that Adam’s partner in slime, Bruce Gibson. Bruce is quite covetous (an appropriate term considering…) of a position on the Coastal Commission. He could be quite useful to developers on the coast. And it’s not just the coast. Bruce is likely getting some back channel coin from the Resnicks for instigating Paso Robles water district mess/give-away. Look behind the curtain, past the fat man, and you’ll find Gibson.


Photo Creep Factor level 10