Media collusion cultivates corruption

April 24, 2016


Let’s not parse words: the local daily newspaper is the leading cause of widespread governmental corruption so widely associated with San Luis Obispo County.

This truism was driven home Sunday morning when The Tribune’s editorial board cheerily backed Adam Hill for another District 3 supervisor’s term, ignoring an ever-growing accumulation of solid evidence that Hill is deeply flawed personally and professionally, and is on the take from local developers.

Ironically, The Tribune’s unctuous endorsement of Hill came only hours after their own reporter, Kaytlyn Leslie, wrote a front-page article about the disintegrating District 3 political campaign and the corrosive role social media is playing in that battle.

Hill told Leslie that the social media venom surrounding his campaign is “not something that we should continue to tolerate. It feels like it’s crossed the line.” He also said he doesn’t condone the negativity coming from his supporters.

I’m betting that Hill’s own Internet trolls laughed out loud when they heard that comment, knowing so well that Hill himself is the architect of the acrimony, having assembled a cabal of attack dogs to spew his poison 24-7. Because while Hill may “tsk-tsk” his trolls publicly, he nevertheless regularly passes on their hateful commentaries to his constituents using county resources.

Let’s start with Hill’s more recent antics. Did The Tribune’s board of unctuous editors take into account that this Little Man has been trying to destroy local media figures because he objects to their reporting?

Put aside his ongoing feud with this news site; if CalCoastNews was his only target you wouldn’t hear a peep of complaint from me. But his arrogant efforts to torpedo radio talk show icons Dick Mason and Dave Congalton — trying to get them fired —  because he disagreed with their on-air comments should raise a red flag or two for anyone calling themselves a journalist. Or for anyone who values a freely functioning press.

Supervisor Adam Hill

Supervisor Adam Hill

This supervisor’s behavior has gone unreported by The Tribune.

And to management at KKJL and KVEC: shame, shame, shame on you for condescending to the Little Man and allowing him to get away with his threats and badgering.

Hill’s trolls recently have aimed their bile at family members of people he considers impediments to his reelection. Several months ago, as Hill was actively lobbying management at KKJL to fire Mason, one of the supervisor’s trolls, his own wife Dee Torres-Hill, turned her rancor on Mason’s daughter, who doesn’t even live in this county.

Then Dan Carpenter, one of two remaining Hill challengers for the District 3 seat, found his own daughter’s photograph and accompanying personal disparagement posted on one of Hill’s troll’s sites.

This incident, coming literally years after Hill’s Internet blitz began, finally caught The Tribune’s attention.

The Little Man’s exploitation of opponents’ family members for political gain is nothing new.

It was first noticed last year, when Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higgenbotham withdrew from the District 3 race, saying she wanted to focus on her family. At the time, a report on this site noted that “multiple sources told CalCoastNews that Hill and his campaign have made several public records requests for information on the Higginbothams while dispersing negative claims about her family members.”

Dave Congalton

Dave Congalton

Dave Congalton’s wife has been insulted repeatedly by Hill’s trolls, and Hill has tried repeatedly to get Congalton fired.

Anyone over 40 should remember presidential candidate Ross Perot’s withdrawal from the 1992 race after threats were made against his adult daughter’s reputation. A key player in the Perot incident was San Luis Obispo County resident Scott Barnes.

A “60 Minutes” program reported that “the only source that Perot would identify for his accusations was Barnes, a former police officer who for years has been accused of fabricating stories about undercover plots and dirty tricks. Perot said in the interview that Barnes was one of those who told him of the doctored photograph.”

That apparently became the template for Hill’s scandalous behavior today.

Dick Mason

Dick Mason

But back to The Tribune, and the blinders worn by its editorial board.

Leslie’s front-page article surprisingly made clear that Hill, despite his protestations to the contrary, is backing his tawdry team’s smear techniques and assaults on the reputations of his perceived “enemies.” That didn’t sway the editorial board, which simply ignores Hill’s shortcomings. Why? It would appear the (D) after his name tells it all.

This would have been the proper time for The Tribune to take a neutral stance on the District 3 race, in view of the mounting pile of evidence that would damn virtually anyone but their favored politico.

This blind allegiance to obvious civic malfeasance in this county is the reason corruption is allowed to flourish. For this, the daily must take considerable responsibility, for nothing prevents official misconduct more than the harsh light of public attention.

Hill complains that CalCoastNews has written “99 hit pieces” about him in the last few years. Now the Little Man can round it off to an even 100.

CalCoastNews Senior Correspondent Daniel Blackburn can be reached at

Jorge Estrada

If you kill one you are a murderer, kill thousands and you are a concurred. Adam Hill walks freely among us regardless of all his bad press. He has endured YEARS of public exposure on many boards under the cloud of brutal allegations, yet no jail or censorship. I sometime have to wonder who is supporting who? At the national level, it could be argued that the RNC, by default, supports Hillary and at the local level allot of press has promoted innocent Adam Hill, how?, obviously he is not a murderer.

Thomas A

Did Adam Hill discuss murdering a CCN reporter?

Fire Adam Hill.

Jorge Estrada

I don’t really know and although he can be a horses a$$, he likely does not play horse shoes, a game that close counts.


The only remaining subscribers and advertisers to the Tribune are all democrats. So the Tribune is supporting it’s source of revenue. It’s really sad there was a day once in the past where news reporting was truly a respected unbiased profession. Not anymore it is just a way to pay the rent for the Tribune employees, they no longer care about the truth or their community.


I cancelled my script with the Fibune many years ago. Their belligerent fake reporting is nothing but fiction. There was a situation they reported on, never bothering to interview the second party. They defended the guilty as though there was no wrong doing, while belittling the innocent. Shameful and FAKE! IT changed his life and destroyed his career, over a lie!

We need a REAL printed Paper that actually investigates the stories and puts out the truth. Wish CCN would go to print. Be one of those Subscribing papers or one you can buy for $.50 at the grocery. Can you imagine how this county will change?

There are a lot of people out there elderly and such, that have no other way to find the news except through the fibune or New Times…how sad!! They have no clue on reality!

I dont even bother with the New times anymore either, I saw Mr Secret Shredder talk about Adam Hill like he was Mr Wonderful???? What the??? Secret Shredder must be Adam Hill!! Lol,

But seriously, how are the NON internet people going to know what is really happening? WE live in retirement communities, there are a LOT that have no way to know! That must be how ADD’ still gets elected. Ignorance!

the 3rd D stands for dipSheets’


Unctious could not be a better word to describe many of our local politicians–trying to sell us all a bill of goods, smiling and pretending they are on OUR side, all the while reaching around at our pocketbooks!!! Try living in Grover Beach where it’s not what the rules, laws and oridinances are but who you know and what you’re willing to do in conjuction with same officials to get what you want and to help those bullies in power get what they want!!! Many citizens live in fear of being “set up” with unfounded charges, which has happened many many times, for speaking up about our City of Grover Beach leaders conspiring with particular certain local businesses to usurp our laws, co-conspire to absolutely break the laws in favor of their sycophants, and engage in very cruel bullying behavior….Remember, The Tribune has endorsed many of these bullies in offices that are directly tied to certain of the building and development/real estate/property management/HOA community. Our city officials throughout the county favor one group over the rights of every citizen to whom they are to represent…if you don’t Pay or Play along to Get Along–you are out!! and don’t dare cross them, because they have a Vision of what they want!!!

CAVEAT EMPTOR to all who come to live in this community and who are here, Let The Buyer Beward–all is not as it seems!!!!


Another outstanding article Dan. All the more reason to vote out Adam Hill and vote in Dan Carpenter! I’m sick and tired of the nonsense. Time for it to end.


I typically start my Tribune weekend-only subscription in November and cancel it in March. You see, it’s cheaper than buying fire starter for the fire place. Newsprint is also great for wrapping fried fish and does a stellar job of cleaning windshields.

90% of the paper is wire service news and the 10% that is local is usually late, heavily edited so as not to offend the few advertisers (and certainly not their favorite pols) and typically just fluff pieces. Online news services are so much easier and most don’t try to hide their bias so you know what you are getting.

So even the fire starter doesn’t get read. I wonder how many of their subscribers do the same as I?


I get the Sunday Trib at the Dollar Store for less than cover price and usually there is a 40% off Michael’s coupon. Do the math. There are more than one uses for it.


These two comments made me LOL.


Nice work, Dan. Let’s hope District 3 constituents vote Hill out. They hold the key.


Exactly what is the source(s) of the Tribune’s clear bias in reporting/not-reporting? Now that the Tribune’s publisher is located in Fresno, I would honestly like to see CCN contact Fresno Bee president and publisher Tom Cullinan (who is also the Tribune’s publisher) and ask him what the heck is going on?

I cannot imagine the Tribune’s behavior is good for circulation numbers and advertising dollars? I also cannot imagine such hideous behavior is tolerated at the Fresno Bee? Behavior that has led to a great deal of bad here in SLO County.

C’mon Blackburn, contact Mr. Cullinan and ask for an interview…


The Fresno Bee’s editorial has always been irrelevant. The Bee always recommends the liberal democrats and the voters have consistently placed conservatives in office.


Remember the Tribulation’s collusion with Tim Covello during the Dow campaign?

Maybe we can get the same result with the 3rd District election.


How was the stroll on that low road you took, by referring to him as The Little Man?

It may be couched as an ‘editorial’ piece but you ARE the Senior Correspondent on this “news” website.

I’m no fan of Adam Hill. As a 3rd District resident, he absolutely does not represent me, but stooping to his level of school-yard name calling and bullying isn’t the solution. Leave that to his other male opponent – Mr. Carpenter has it handled.

Let’s talk (and report) about civility and the skill of inclusion instead of exclusion. Let’s start having articles and “editorials” that focus on candidates who show us the POSITIVES of their platform and plans, and enough with highlighting the never-ending NEGATIVE coming from two of the three running for District 3.

We deserve better – from our elected officials AND our sources of news and editorials.

Not a sermon, just a frustrated resident and taxpayer thought.

just the facts

Know Adam Hill is extremely threatened by Dan Carpenter, and that is why Hill has had radio ads attacking Carpenter for weeks!. Hill has his supporters attacking Dan in social media. Hill has just sent out a mailer to voters attacking Carpenter. Hill is afraid of Carpenter.

A strong candidate fights back and that strong candidate is Dan Carpenter. Bullies must be called out! They are not to be tolerated in the classroom, in the workplace and also not in a campaign for the Board of Supervisors. The 3rd district needs Dan Carpenter. Vote Carpenter in June!


A strong candidate fights back by not *fighting* back at all.

That strong candidate . . . he, or she, moves the discussion and discourse forward with civility.

She, . . . or he, doesn’t resort to the same tactics as the bully.

Being a bully to a bully is still being a bully.

Until the voters get that, we may very well replace one bully with another.

That is NOT what represents me in District 3.

If Mr. Carpenter’s supporters continue to bully me for not wanting bullying tactics in this forum and his campaign, then I have zero faith Mr. Carpenter will be anything different in the seat that Adam Hill currently occupies.

I’ll say it again. Being a bully to a bully is still being a bully.

Being a bridge builder and a problem-solver is what this fractured and disenfranchised district needs. Let us all get on board with that and the one candidate clearly fitting the role. Debbie Peterson.

The numerous Trib, New Times and CalCoast news articles keep bearing that out. Two people are fighting, have a history of civil discord and acrimony between each other AND their fellow board/council members.

Debbie Peterson does not carry that history. I hope my district does right by me and all the other residents who are getting lost in the fray of this useless peacock display between the other two candidates.


Sadly, Debbie Peterson has proven to be a loser at the polls. It’s Carpenter that’s going to take down Hill.