Supervisor Adam Hill must go

September 28, 2016
Supervisor Adam Hill

Supervisor Adam Hill


With Nov. 8 rapidly approaching, all of the elections—national, state, and local– seem more contentious than ever. Such is the case with the local race for District 3 Supervisor where incumbent Adam Hill is facing San Luis Obispo Councilman Dan Carpenter and it is that race that seems to be generating the most attention.

In seeking a third term, Adam Hill must think he owns the seat. Yet after garnering less than 42 percent of the vote in the June 2016 primary, apparently the voters have other ideas. Despite his massive campaign war chest that has been filled with thousands of dollars by his cabal of big developers, Adam Hill is in trouble and he knows it.

 In the beginning

When first elected, Hill initially impressed me. He joined Supervisor Frank Mecham in founding the County’s Economic Vitality Commission that has done some good work over the years. In 2012, he cast the deciding vote not to gut the county’s award winning agricultural clustering ordinance, the most powerful open space preservation tool in the county’s arsenal.

That he did so against the fervent pleas of then allies supervisors Bruce Gibson and Jim Patterson, was no small act of political courage. Yet despite these promising signs, his wheels seem to have come off some time ago.

Who can forget that article that Hill wrote a few years ago in the New Times, “Who is susceptible to conspiracy theory thinking?”

Remember its opening line, “Not only the superficially educated and narrow minded, not only bumpkins with bad breath and worse teeth…” That was just a snippet of a rant that revealed a troubled mind starting on a downhill slide into a series of gaffes.

T. Keith Gurnee

T. Keith Gurnee

Whether it was insinuating himself into the debate over the management of CAPSLO homeless services after his wife had been discharged by the organization, or his tantrum in 2014 over not being appointed vice chair of the SLO County Board of Supervisors, his actions signaled he was losing it.

Hill’s shrill attacks against Cal Coast News and his attempts to blackball the publication and its advertisers have also been disturbing.

Add in 2014’s FPPC $2500 fine levied against Hill for failure to properly maintain his campaign records for his 2012 race and one would think that Hill’s chances would be a shambles were it not for the huge infusion of campaign cash from his cronies. Indeed, it is that cash from the political machine funding his reelection campaign that is most disconcerting.

Why has it taken so long for the public to hold Hill accountable for taking so much money from so many powerful interests who have so much to gain with Hill on the board?

Meanwhile, even liberal Democrats have begun to abandon Hill.

Self-proclaimed “leftist” Tom Fulks, an opinion writer for the Tribune and a key political backer of Supervisors Hill and Gibson who is apparently partially funded by Hill’s war chest, wrote of his laments in the Tribune on “Where have all the liberals gone?”

Fulks need look no further for an answer than a letter published in early 2015 by liberal attorney Stew Jenkins who stated that “Liberal Democrats increasingly find Hill’s actions so embarrassing that he can no longer be supported.”

Revealing disclosures

Later in 2015, troubling disclosures revealed Hill’s involvement as a consultant to local developers John Belsher and Ryan Petetit in advocating approval of their projects in the city of San Luis Obispo. Reports by CCN that Hill was the “sole proprietor” of San Luis Consulting with an office in the same building as Belsher and that he has apparently been helping these developers who are facing serious legal challenges is eye opening.

That Hill sits on the San Luis Obispo County Council of Governments (SLOCOG) which funnels transportation grants from the state to local governments begs the question: What kind of pressure might that exert on those San Luis Obispo City Council Members whose elections were partially funded and supported by Hill?

Would they be reluctant to turn down city development projects advocated by Hill out of fear that the reprisals of such an action might result in the loss of grants from SLOCOG with Hill on its board?

San Luis Obispo Councilman Dan Carpenter

San Luis Obispo Councilman Dan Carpenter

While Hill successfully advocated the board’s adoption of a resolution backed by the League of Women Voters calling for civil discourse in matters before the board, he was the first to violate it before the ink was even dry. At an opening event for an affordable housing project in Pismo Beach, Hill physically threatened his opponent, San Luis Obispo City Councilman Dan Carpenter.

Grabbing the councilman’s shoulder as witnessed by other attendees, a seething Hill confronted Carpenter telling him that he would “kick his ass” if he dared to talk to Hill’s financial backers. So much for the “civil discourse” he resolved to honor.

Then comes his most recent indiscretion: his caustic emails sent to members of the business community demanding heavy financial “pay to play” contributions to his campaign, or else. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. And it’s got to stop.

Approaching the Finish Line

Having started this piece back in late 2015, I have held back on publishing it out of fear of offending a powerful “ruler” of our county. After all, Hill and his henchmen like Fulks excel at making the lives of his opponents miserable. But I’ve concluded that it is a risk that I and other voters must be willing to take.

On the cusp of the Nov. 8 elections as we await the anticipated flood of Hill’s false and malicious advertising against Dan Carpenter, where do we find ourselves? It is high time for the voters of District 3 to stand up and be counted, fear of reprisals be damned. We can wait no longer.

While we can’t take the bully out of the bully, it’s time we take the bully out of politics.

Hill’s lapses in judgment have relegated him to an embarrassing political cartoon. That he has had to publicly apologize so often speaks volumes of his intemperate outbursts. Recalling one of those apologies when he said “You can’t take the Jersey out of a Jersey boy” should tell us that come this November, now is the time “to send the Jersey boy back to Jersey!”

T. Keith Gurnee is a retired planning and urban design consultant and a former member of the San Luis Obispo City Council.



  1. tomsquawk says:

    lots of talk no action

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. How did Adam Hill ever get elected? When will voters, regardless of any party and those Decline to State get sick of the constant graft by California Democrats? Adam Hill is a taxpayer liability like these losers…
    * “Carbajal lead the successful charge to approve a highly questionable billionaire’s bailout on behalf of Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso, who is unto shopping malls what Walt Disney was to theme parks. To induce Caruso to do what he’d already promised and pledged to do anyway ​— ​namely rebuild the long-dark Miramar Hotel on his own dime ​— ​the county supes passed an ordinance designed to give Caruso $15 million worth of bed-tax rebates spread out over a 15-year period. That equates to about $1 million a year, though Caruso’s own projections suggest it’s considerably more.” July 2012 Carbajal is now running on the Limo Lib ticket for California Congressional District 24. Vote Justin Fareed for Congress!

    * Commerce councilwoman faces state’s largest-ever penalty against a sitting local elected official ~ “California election regulators are proposing the largest-ever financial penalty against a sitting local elected official in the case of City of Commerce Councilwoman Tina Baca Del Rio, who is accused of illegally transferring campaign funds into her personal bank account, among other violations.” July 2016

    * Ami Bera’s Father Pleads Guilty to Campaign Finance Fraud
    “Prosecutors say Babual Bera funneled more than $250,000 into son’s campaign coffers” May 2016

    * Ex-South El Monte Mayor Luis Aguinaga is free till he pleads in bribery case, judge says
    August 2016

    * A guide to Leland Yee corruption scandal: ‘Shrimp Boy’ to guns ~ March 2014

    It’s not about Republican or Democrat. It’s about right or wrong. Vote Dan Carpenter for District 3 Supervisor.

    (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
    • RawHoney says:

      Interesting information about Los Angeles

      Adam Hill may be one of their cousins as he has and does questionable things in this county.

      After Watching Adam Hill for nearly 8 years I am convinced that his agenda is bad for the 3rd district voters and also bad for all county residence.

      He did all he could to be against Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Instead of advocating for Diablo he worked against it. How is this good for San Luis Obsipo County?

      I hope everyone reading this is on board with voting Dan Carpenter as 3rd District supervisor.

      We need a person with character and Dan has plenty of character.

      Hill out and Carpenter in!

      (9) 9 Total Votes - 9 up - 0 down
      • 2California says:

        Character determines how I vote. Thanks for this information so I can make an informed decision. Looks like Carpenter has integrity, and that gets my vote.

        (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
  3. Pelican1 says:

    If you choose to vote for Adam Hill in the upcoming election you will doing nothing more than reinforcing failure, incompetence, corruption, and unprofessionalism.
    It is of course your right and responsibility to vote the way you so choose…let your conscience be your guide.

    (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
  4. ajdury says:

    I live in D3. Adam Hill is my ONLY (sole, single) elected official to turn to and I can tell you that he has utterly failed.

    Adam Hill does NOT represent me. He represents nothing that I consider my hometown of SLO county to be about.

    I’m not paid by any entity to endorse him or not endorse him. I don’t know (as far as I know, given all the pseudonyms and sock puppet handles on this site) any one of you.

    I’m just talking me – a resident of rural Arroyo Grande (the OTHER rural AG slice) and Adam Hill is nothing positive about my hometown. He has got to go.

    It’s no secret that I fully supported Debbie Peterson (and still do in her desire to be on the Grover City Council) when she ran for D3 SLO Supervisor.

    Now it’s Dan.

    I can support Dan because he’s looked me in the eye. He has listened to me and my neighbors. He is learning that there is a whole section of D3 (the south county) that always gets the short shrift. Dan is traditionally a SLO City guy but he does know we south county folks are paying attention as we decide our vote.

    Adam Hill won’t look me in the eye. He shirks me every chance he gets and now he has taken to publicly demean me, on his own and through his “blogger” friends.

    That is not the representation I want nor need. Our well water is getting poisoned, city water is in jeopardy and the quality of our local life has been given over to the almighty “tourism industry”.

    #AdamHillDoesNotRepresentMe and I very much hope YOU, the voters, take umbrage at his style of governance. It is utterly egregious and downright hateful.

    (17) 23 Total Votes - 20 up - 3 down
    • 2California says:

      I’m tired of hate in politics. Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I’m in for giving Carpenter a chance to fix this county if he’s interested in finding solutions as Supervisor.

      (9) 9 Total Votes - 9 up - 0 down
  5. Josey Wales says:


    It is clear that Adam Hill must go. Corrupt.

    Caren Ray must not be reelected. Scandalous.

    Kristien Barneich deserves to lose. Loser associations.

    Bruce Gibson is corrupt sexual harasser. Next time.

    John Shoals is a shameful PG&E shrill.

    Can you think of any others who we must rid from public service?

    Just wondering,


    (17) 23 Total Votes - 20 up - 3 down
  6. SLOBIRD says:

    Adam Hill has had a lot of support from PGE (Diablo) in the past but now with Diablo on the move I suspect that will be some pulling back in their support (financial funding, attorney services, unions, etc.) You only need look at his income ($86,500 before taxes) as Supervisor and then his lifestyle to know that their is some subsidizing going on somewhere.

    Let us not forget he impersonated his political opponent in the last election with a phone call, he was accused of manipulating polls in the last election, he character assassinated so many people like Karen Velie, Bill Thoma, Liz Steinberg (EOC), Dave Congalton (KVEC), etc. You only need to go to SEARCH on this site and key in Adam Hill and see all the articles that have been written regarding his issues, transactions and threats.

    His medication has obviously been working of late, but one never knows the if and when as we have seen with so many tragedies in our society the past several years.

    (16) 22 Total Votes - 19 up - 3 down

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