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


First, the Tribune, and their owner McClatchy, are nothing more than propagandists for the left wing agenda. Even without its political bias it has become a sad excuse for a newspaper. Most of what it prints originate with other papers and its sports page is a joke.

Second, Adam Hill is is a typical left wing pol who thinks he is entitled to rule because he knows best what is good for the people and his corruption is justified because he is doing the peoples work. His behavior aside, he is a typical Democrat and part of the crowd who has wrecked California, as well as most major cities in the nation, and will soon have wrecked the country beyond repair,

Third, if a majority of the voters in the third district re-elect Adam Hill they are nothing more than fellow travelers who have drank the Cool-Aid.

Thomas Jefferson is spinning in his grave as we are no longer free citizens in the classic sense (the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property) and are well on our way to becoming subjects. Remember the left wing agenda can not be fully implemented without great loss of individual and economic liberty.


I support Democrat Debbie Peterson as my preferred candidate to replace Adam Hill. However it looks like she will lose to Dan Carpenter for 2nd place. I will support Carpenter in November as will many, hopefully almost all, Debbie Peterson supporters. I would be most proud of her if she endorses Carpenter, Hill is not a Democrat or Republican, he is an amoral and corrupt political animal the like of which this County has never seen before and hopefully never see again. I actually live in the SLO part of the 5th and will vote for Debbie Arnold as she acts much more like a Democrat than rich water broker/developer stooge Eric Michielssen. I got one of his push poll calls last night. When I called them out and asked who was funding them THEY couldn’t hang up fast enough, “hello? are you there?” I guess not.


Hello? Is this thing on? It is 2016 – who in their right mind still believes the media holds no bias in favor of democrats? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


I guess that depends upon which media you read/watch/listen to. I see as much or more bias towards Republicans on FOX, on EIB and most talk radio, and in a few newspapers as you see in other media outlets for Democrats. How about getting some objective coverage instead — difficult as that is to achieve?


Excellent article, as usual. Only been published for 1 day and already have almost 50 comments. Well, here is mine.

I find it so hard to believe that anyone, with even a little common sense, could believe that the Tribune would not endorse Hill. I do not know how many voters in District 3 read CCN, or even could discuss Hill and his actions over the past few years without being extremely biased; but I truly hope that there are enough sane, pragmatic, even-minded voters in District 3 that have came to the conclusion that Hill must not be re-elected.

His type of government can not be the type of government that should be accepted or tolerated in a free-society (the word ‘free’ may be a little condescending, since this county, this state, and this nation are very far from being free).

What the Tribune proved, once again, is that there exists in SLO county (and state and nation) a very huge gap between opposing parties. Just look at so many things that taken place in Washington, where one party says or does something and the other party

comes out in violent opposition (most often without even attempting to understand what was said or done). Works both ways. It is my belief that this inability for elected officials to calmly discuss real issues and come with workable solutions is why we now have a Trump or a Cruz becoming the nominee of the Republican party. God help us all!

This same type of thing happens right here in SLO county, at each and every BOS meeting. Hill and Gibson on one side, the two women on the other side, and poor ole

Frank being the fence rider.

Hill may have some bone to pick with CCN about the so- called ‘hit’ pieces. If it has only been a 100, then that is because many people choose not to say anything, if you can’t say something nice (and you would probably have to look far and wide to find something nice about Hill). Should be well over a 1000 if justice was being served.

So here we are in SLO – with Tribune being what it has always been, CCN being what it has always been; and no foreseeable way to bridge the gap.

It is a very terrible way to conduct political business (county, state, and national) under these circumstances. And so many real important issues affecting millions of people do not even get mentioned, let alone really acted upon.

Somehow, someway, saner heads must prevail. Even though the system is stacked against it – voters must make the effort to understand the candidates, understand their

positions, understand what can and what can not be done and vote accordingly.

Elected officials, such as Hill, should be removed from office for how they behave. And anyone that is elected should know perfectly clearly that this behavior will not be tolerated

from anyone else.

Get rid of Hill.


Did the Tribune foolishly endorse loser CAREN RAY for election to her appointed seat on the BOS against Compton?

I think they did.

Anyone have the facts for me?

Caren Ray has never won a race.


I believe the Tribune also endorsed Big Tony ( I got the City to cut down my tree and haul it away for $160 on a Friday night ) Ferrara for AG City Mayor in 2014 even after he colluded to keep the City Manager and female subordinate July 3rd incident quiet.


don’t you mean City Manager and female subordinate latest incident on July 3rd quiet????, since we now know there were several other prior incidents that also were kept quiet.


And for whatever reason that female subordinate is still employed with the city. We definitely need to get rid of Guthrie and Barneich this fall so we can put pressure on the current city manager to first fire the subordinate and then get control of her staff or replace them or we can replace her.


McClish does need to go.

My God, it is so embarrassing.

Isn’t it time for her to leave on her own?

and the new City Manager doesn’t even know how to pronounce her name.


Can it simply be a coincidence that Mrs. Harmon also pronounces it



The Tribune talks to its own hand. It’s irrelevant.


Communities are divided by deceitful and corrupt favoritists that come about from back-door financial influence.

The removal of Adam Hill will effectively help to restore and equalize the wills of the entire Countywide population, not by oligarchial cliques-focused government run by few-as what appears to be held by some of our local community leaders.

A true Democracy only exists when each and every individual in a community is fairly represented.


Dan Blackburn will discuss this article and related issues today (Monday) at 4:05 p.m. on News/Talk 920 KVEC AM. Listen online at

Phone calls welcome!