Hill holding back local Democratic Party progress

January 12, 2017
Stew Jenkins

Stew Jenkins


Editor’s note: A column by Democrat Stew Jenkins will run in CalCoastNews every other Thursday, rotating with a column by Republican Mike Brown.

One of the local Democratic Party officeholders who has generated the most consistent respect is Leon Panetta. You might hold a different view on policy or law, but you always knew Leon would tell you the truth about what he thought and how he would vote.

Leon always demonstrated that what he thought and how he voted depended on what people here needed, instead of on what Leon needed. He let all those around him, and working for him, know that integrity and trust were the most important foundation for persuading voters or other officeholders on the merits of your cause.

Adam Hill never got the memo.

Mr. Hill’s anger at being passed over, again, as San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors Chair was misdirected, again. The tea party, COLAB, and the Republic Party were not the culprit. Hill has been his own worst enemy.

To quote the Tribune article of January 9, well written by journalist Matt Fountain:

Don Stewart, chairman of the Democratic Party of San Luis Obispo County, said the party has not organized any effort to speak at the [Tuesday Supervisor’s] meeting.

“To be quite frank with you, I’m not sure Adam deserves the chairmanship — the fact that he’s willing to turn this vote into a circus,” Stewart said.

When the County Democratic Party chairman can’t even quite bring himself to follow the advice of Thumper’s mother “when you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” you know a Democratic Party officeholder has lost many of the people who know him best.

Supervisor Adam Hill

Supervisor Adam Hill

Hill’s own actions have driven more and more Democrats to drop their support of him, or to oppose him outright. Hill has demonstrated to more and more of us within his own party that he is without principles or integrity. So much so, that his flaws persuaded a Democratic former Mayor of Grover Beach (Debbie Peterson), and a registered Independent to challenge him this last election. No Republican dared run in Hill’s gerrymandered district.

Peterson would go on to receive the highest number of votes to take a seat on Grover Beach’s city council; and likely would have won the supervisorial seat had she edged out the Independent in the primary.

A couple of years ago, Hill was reportedly shopping around with Democratic club members trying to generate support to make his own run at the open Assembly seat in 2016. He had burned too many supporters, changed positions too many times, made too many irrational public statements and so obviously overreached for his own sole benefit, that Hill was passed over.

Ironically, it was his overreach in 2011 that gave the supervisorial board majority to Republicans.  In successive initiatives, California voters had taken away the power of the legislature to gerrymander assembly, state senate and congressional districts for their own advantage.

Heedless of this spirit of public reform, Hill spit into the wind; pushing a gerrymandered redistricting plan that balkanizing towns and diluted the Hispanic vote for the sole purpose of guaranteeing his own reelection in 2012, and to a lesser extent his District 5 ally on the board, Jim Patterson. The public’s predictable disgust at blatant gerrymandering ultimately put Debbie Arnold into Patterson’s District 5 seat, giving the Republican’s a majority in 2012.

Hill gave us another Republican majority with Lynn Compton’s election in 2014, reportedly recruiting Caren Ray’s 2013 appointment to the vacant District 4 seat in 2013. Ray was the Democrat (out of several) most divergent from District 4 voters.

But Hill doesn’t see that his problems are his own fault. Like a snake-oil salesman moving on to the next town, Hill has moved on to sweet-talk a new group. After years cleaving to his “big daddy” New Jersey style pay-to-play politics where money trumps principle and campaign promises, Hill is now peddling himself to the energetic new SLO Progressive Democrats as though he had been one of them all along. Hill even suckered these good folks into lining up to support him at Tuesday’s board meeting. He’ll open a few doors, funnel them a little funding, and try to say the right things for a while. But he can’t help reverting to form, and the romance won’t last once they get to really know him.

These good folks may have been surprised to see other Democrats, who know Hill all too well, speaking in opposition to Hill being put in a leadership position.

The tragedy is that the energies of local Democrats are being squandered digging Mr. Hill’s defensive trench deeper, instead of moving forward to build a whole local Democratic party bench committed to economic opportunity, real jobs, project labor agreements, freedom of speech and religion, expanded social security and health care, safe communities with equal justice, and a sustainable environment.

The merits, integrity and energies of Democratic Party candidates for city council, mayors, supervisors, and the real powers in any county, the sheriff and the assessor, should no longer be consumed by the ceaseless need to protect Supervisor Adam Hill from Adam Hill.

Stew Jenkins is a liberal San Luis Obispo County Democrat who supports the rights of working people to organize unions, the prudence of the cities and county growing the local economy through project labor agreements, the right of all people to health care and equal dignity. He is an attorney practicing in San Luis Obispo since 1978. Jenkins’ handles tax payer suits, municipal law, estate planning and family law.


Bingo! You hit the nail on the head with one swing. It’s too bad that the voters don’t get it.

JB Bronson

Adam Hill is a sick man with a self-centered moral compass. Everyone else us simply wrong.

How weak are those who voted for him.


Ditto Carlyn Christianson. The “progressive” Dems haven’t figured out that one either.


You speak like a reasoned person, Stew, unlike most of your ilk. I hope your Democrats begin to “see” as you do. We need a healthy two-party system. Unfortunately the Democrats have swung too far left, hence your party is out of touch and out of a job. Mr. Hill is its poster child. How he won D3 is beyond me.


Superb and right on article. Hill is a blight on Democratic principles. He is a phony. He is arrogant with nothing to back his arrogance up with. His wife is a perfect match. She did not give a damn about the people she was hired to help. She simply used her position for personal gain, materialistic and otherwise. These are deluded selfish people who deserve no respect in any discernible way.


Behind the times, Ironyman. They split up. Christianson’s the new squeeze.


Whoa – when did that happen?


I’m not surprised. Hill was banging a woman by the name of Ranelle Franklin for years while he was with Dee Torres. Chalk up another one for “Netflix and Hill”


Well, thank you Mr. Jenkins. You put it very well.

Hill, an embarrassment, a volatile liability, a hack enabled and emboldened by gerrymandered district boundaries, needs to go.


Please continue posting more anti- Adam Hill write ups. We clearly don’t understand CalCoastNews’ opinion of the man…


While I can understand the thumbs-down, and I do not like Hill much due to his own words and actions, I also completely get your point. I’d say it is time to stop beating the dead horse, but obviously my fellow district 3 voters do not agree with me (or CCN) and feel that Hill is just OK…

Either that or the election was rigged. I still haven’t talked to anyone who has admitted voting for the man, and my spectrum of friends ranges from radical left to almost moderate (well, by their version of moderate).


It would be interesting to see what and where in hills district was the largest vote for him as supervisor, my guess would be the San Luis area with all the Poly brats.


Both Hill and fellow north coast Supervisor Bruce Gibson should be ashamed of themselves for voting against the Sheriff’s sweetheart deal to put in a small Substation at Trilogy property at Monarch Dunes, paid for by the county taxpayer who live there and will only charge the County ONE DOLLAR a YEAR rent?! Why? Because their Supervisor voted for Someone else for chair? How in the hell did Hill win reelection?

Kaiser Bill

“How in the hell did Hill win reelection?”

Hill won Reelection because District 3 was gerrymandered to benefit Hill, as Stew Jenkins describes in his op ed. Before, this was a swing district, with a Republican like Jerry Lenthall winning in 2004 (How many people that voted for Hill over Lenthall regret that vote? I Do!)

Now more than half of District 3 is SLO City voters, typified by the SLO Progressives who attempted a show of force to help their political boss Hill win the Board Chairmanship. The votes of people in Pismo, Grover, and Avila are drowned out by liberal SLO voters.


And because the final opponent was at least as big a doofus as Hill.


He simply greased the hands that fed him….you know, the special interest pukes. Hill is a SHILL.


Because, as I have said before and Mr. Jenkins alluded to, never underestimate the ability of District 3 voters to put the wackiest candidate in office as long as he or she is a fall off the cliff progressive (not liberal). Their history speaks for itself.


There is a difference between voting for “a fall off the cliff progressive” and voting against a conservative. That is what happened in District 3. They won’t elect someone who is a true conservative (or even someone loudly supported by true conservatives). Had Carpenter not run, Peterson (a moderate Democrat) would have likely beaten Hill because of the animosity he created and because she would have been “liberal enough” for those voters who value character above name recognition.

Kaiser Bill

Adam Hill cant help himself, his behavior is genetic.