Bwah! Hill loses vote; cancels trip with chamber

June 21, 2017

Supervisor Adam Hill, photo by Daniel Blackburn

By KAREN VELIE

County supervisor Adam Hill dropped out of a planned trip to Colorado with members of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce after local business leaders failed to support Hill’s attempt to redirect county budget priorities.

Chamber officials had planned the Denver trip in conjunction with the new direct air service now being offered by United Airlines. Hill and fellow county supervisor Debbie Arnold were slated to be on the flight, as part of a strategy to build ties with the Colorado business community.

Hill’s decision to stay home followed his failed attempt, along with Supervisor Bruce Gibson, to derail a collaborative effort to implement affordable housing policies. Hill was the lone dissenting vote as the budget was approved Tuesday on a 4-1 vote.

During the meeting, Hill and Gibson again expressed their anger that the board majority did not agree to scrap long-term plans to change housing policies. They argued that spending $1 million on planning policies would have no impact on affordable housing.

“To provide the political pork has positioned us with moving ahead without an aggressive housing policy,” Hill said.

For several years, the county has participated in a collaborative effort by a group of organizations including the Board of Supervisors, the Builders Association, the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Vitality Corporation to improve accessibility of affordable and low-cost housing.

In the budget, the supervisors had set aside $250,000 to go towards farmworker housing, $500,000 for rezoning properties to residential and $250,000 to revise the county’s secondary dwelling ordinance following a state mandate requiring the change.

The group had finished the study process and is now planning to implement the changes.

On June 8, six days before the budget hearings were to begin, supervisors Hill and Gibson announced plans to divert $5 million, including the $1 million for the affordable housing policy collaboration plan, to nonprofit builders such as People’s Self-Help Housing or Habitat for Humanity.

Hill and Gibson claimed the $1 million to the collaboration effort was for studies and that by giving the money to the nonprofits, the county would be helping the poor transition into home ownership.

Shortly after the board majority voted against Hill and Gibson’s proposal, Gibson sent a letter to the San Luis Obispo Chamber and the Economic Vitality Corporation asking them to denounce the group’s collaborative low-cost housing efforts in favor of their plan.

After the letter failed to garner support for Hill and Gibson’s plan, Hill, who had RSVP’d his intention to go to Denver earlier this month, changed his mind and told chamber officials he would not be going.

Arnold still plans on making the trip.







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16 Comments

  1. Niles Q says:

    Hey, if he’s not going, can I use his ticket? I’m sure taxpayers paid for it anyway…

    (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
  2. demiseofslo says:

    He looks like Squidward

    (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
  3. UncleCharlie says:

    “Hill and Gibson announced plans to divert $5 million, including the $1 million for the affordable housing policy collaboration plan, to nonprofit builders…”

    Funding “non-profits” = political patronage and personal wealth.

    (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down

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