Attorney questions validity of report on AG mayor

September 9, 2017

Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill

At a contentious South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Board meeting on Sept. 6, an attorney for Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill asked the board to apologize to Hill for conducting a publicly funded inquisition. [Cal Coast Times]

In a Sept. 5 letter to the sanitation district board, attorney Stew Jenkins says the investigation into Hill was politically motivated. Hill then asks the board to reject the “seriously flawed advice” of the investigator.

In March, shortly after the district attorney’s office lodged criminal conflict of interest charges against former sanitation district administrator John Wallace, two long-term supporters of Wallace asked the Arroyo Grande City Council to investigate Hill for Brown Act violations. Hill had strongly advocated for an investigation into Wallace.

“It soon became clear that the intent of the exercise was to publicly fund an open ended fishing expedition to please hidden detractors of Mayor Hill when your board commissioned that expensive law firm to conduct the vaguely described investigation of recent allegations focused on Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill,” Jenkins says in his letter.

Read entire article on Cal Coast Times.







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12 Comments

  1. discloser says:

    Eat your heart out, Pelican! Can you beat this?

    Thank you, Jeannie C. Riley – Harper Valley P.T.A.

    http://www.jango.com/music/Jeannie+C+Riley

    I wanna tell you all a story ’bout Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim
    Who had a moral conscience and a little wife called Lin
    His Council bribed some crazy gals to lie, and they all cried “investigate!”
    And they said.” We can’t let our Mayor carry on this way”
    The PI said, ” Mayor Hill, you’re talking way too much to your little wife.
    It’s reported you’ve been talkin’ runnin’ circles ‘round the board and causin’ strife.
    And we don’t believe you oughta be standin’ up for sewer staff like this.”
    Stop making us all look bad, immediately desist.
    Well, it happened that the district board was gonna meet that very afternoon.
    And they were sure surprised when the Mayor brought his lawyer into the room.
    And as he introduced Stew Jenkins, JD, I still recall the the faces we could see.
    Jim said I’d like to address this meeting of the South Slo County CSD.
    Well, there’s Mayor John Shoals sittin’ there, and seven times he’s asked staff for a date.
    And Barbara Harmon’s husband has also gone astray.
    And Mayor Shoals can you tell us why a secretary had to leave this town?
    And shouldn’t Caren Ray be told to keep her window shades all pulled completely down?
    Well, Guerrero couldn’t be here cause he’s at Harry’s Bar and needs a lift.
    And if you check out Kirsten Barneich you’ll find her ‘non-profit’ charges the City for it’s gifts.
    And the Oceano Community Services District is afraid that they’ll be the next to be hit.
    And then you have the nerve to tell me, you think that as a mayor I’m not fit.

    Well, this is just a little Peyton Place, and you’re all Five Cities hypocrites.
    No, I wouldn’t put you on because it really did it happened just like this.
    The day our mayor socked it to all Five Cities Hypocrites.

    (2) 24 Total Votes - 13 up - 11 down
  2. justice counts says:

    This seems to happening on a regular basis and never addressed. The City Attorney Tim Carmel and his sequel Heather Whitham from his office should be released and then maybe we can finally get some resolve.

    (12) 28 Total Votes - 20 up - 8 down
  3. RonHolt says:

    At the SSLOCSD meeting last week where this was discussed, a former Oceano representative to the Board, Matt Guerrero, rose to condemn Mr. Hill. He is welcome to his opinion that Mr. Hill is nearly impossible to deal with (my paraphrase of his comment), but that is all it was — an opinion. Perhaps if Mr. Guerrero was as incensed as Mr. Hill about the abuses of public trust and public money during the Wallace years, he might have been a bit more confrontational too.

    Guerrero then went on to blast Mr. Hill for not doing anything when he represented the Oceano CSD on the Sanitation District Board back during the Wallace years. Hill became aware of the problems at that time but was thwarted at every turn by Wallace crony Tony Ferrara and the Grover Beach representative(s) who were, if not cronies, snowed by Wallace and Ferrara. On top of that, the OCSD was undergoing severe management problems of its own at the time and he was thwarted by the “good-ol’-boy” network on the OCSD as well. So he gave up and later moved to Arroyo Grande where he could try again. That is not what I would call a character flaw of any type.

    I will give Guerrero a bit of credit for finally seeing the light and voting for the investigation that officially uncovered what Jim Hill and Debbie Peterson (former Grover Beach mayor) had strongly suspected all along. But it took him way too long. I suspect, but do not know, that it is because he was swayed by political forces both within the Oceano CSD and within the SLO County Democrat Party establishment. I lost what respect I had for Mr. Guerrero for his comments last week.

    (16) 34 Total Votes - 25 up - 9 down
    • Julie says:

      Matt’s claim that ” Mr. Hill is nearly impossible to deal with” (paraphrase accepted) is fraught with problems. When Guerrero and Hill were both on the SSLOCSD Board the ONLY time they could discuss or deal with SSLOCSD issues was in front of the public. Otherwise they would violate the Brown Act.

      Guerrero only voted to move ahead with the Knudsen investigation because it was the politically right thing to do.

      (7) 31 Total Votes - 19 up - 12 down
    • Snoid says:

      Guerrero condemned Hill for not doing anything during the Wallace years? That’s a load of B’shat if ever and Id be glad to shove that in one Guerrero’s face for being a lying asshat.
      Hill did everything he could to stop the waste and incompetence on Wallace’s part. Every meeting, the minority Hill was ostracised by Ferrara, Nicolls, Shoals, Seitz and who ever else was in Wallace’s financial pocket. Hill was out numbered, voted against, bad mouthed and belittled at every turn. I was there, saw it first hand along with many others, that’s a indisputable fact.
      All these Johnny come lately’s no nothing about the real facts, corruption and supervised thief of millions of tax dollars by these so called pillars of our local government. To the Ferrara’s, Nicolls, Gurreros and Wac jobs from Oceano & Grover, rot in prison, your day is coming and its well deserved.

      (9) 23 Total Votes - 16 up - 7 down
  4. Jorge Estrada says:

    Sadly this is common in our county, the abuse of public funds. One example is the various water districts that have hired lawyers ($$$$$$) in their challenge against private property owners. They simply can’t stand property owners quieting their title to assert their right to reasonable use of the water beneath their land. For some reason they feel the need to spend your money to fund their lawyers to conduct what is in essentially a land grab. It is that ridiculous and the rate payers need to open their eyes or their check books because there is no middle ground on this one.

    (23) 35 Total Votes - 29 up - 6 down
  5. Otis says:

    The background on the matter as stated by discloser is factual and true, but does not capture the belligerence and rudeness of the group trying to convict Hill. A once respected Arroyo Grande citizen exploiting the Brown Act and a sitting Council Member are apparent key figures that suggests a wider conspiracy that is wrong in every particular in the administration of a cruel political tactic to disgrace Mayor Hill, the largest vote recipient in the last election!.

    The Hill investigation was legally flawed in not providing Due Process to Hill. The investigating attorney argues that Hill’s lawyer would not make him available for an interview. Jim Hill in being denied Due Process is certainly under no obligation to be interviewed by the one hired to convict him. And that was the apparent goal. Why?

    Hill was never provided a specification of the charge made against him. To convict Hill was the goal as evidenced by the fact the investigation attorney – the proverbial “hanging judge” — seeks to subject its convicting recommendation as being “attorney-client privilege and work product privilege” in a matter that is clearly in the public domain. The only party that should allow “confidential” treatment is the one being convicted, Jim Hill.

    The Arroyo Grande City attorney should be admonished for framing the investigation ignoring Hill’s rights.

    No budgetary provision was made by the City Council for Hill’s legal defense. But the investigating attorney seeks additional funds for the burden inflicted by additional discovery forced by Hill’s antagonists in this matter. A full disclosure of the contract with the investigating attorney should be made public.

    The City Attorney and Management are also wrong for allowing the investigation to proceed in its discovery without being disciplined to stay within the budget allocated of $15,000. The City’s management and Council is responsible for these errors.

    Hill’s reputation and excellence shines brilliantly even when tarnished by a political tactic to destroy him

    (6) 14 Total Votes - 10 up - 4 down
  6. PismoPat says:

    This case is one for the voters to get rid of the corrupt politicians who supported the investigations. Grover City and Oceano voters need to step up.

    (32) 50 Total Votes - 41 up - 9 down
  7. George Bailey says:

    Folks,

    I think it’s obvious that Caren Ray and Adam Hill are behind this effort to discredit our Mayor, Mr. Jim Hill. They are incensed that Mr. Hill has received the people’s support without being beholden to the Democrat Party machine.

    I say Mr. Hill ought to sue these political hacks and bring this whole fiasco to light.

    (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
  8. Pelican1 says:

    Jim’s attorney should demand letter, rather than a request for an apology. However, by asking, he opens the door for legal action should they refuse to apologize. WELL PLAYED JIM….always the gentleman.

    (5) 15 Total Votes - 10 up - 5 down
  9. discloser says:

    This case is one for the attorney general and the Fair Political Practices Commission. The Arroyo Grande City Council and the South SLO County Sanitation District board majorities, most of whom are political allies and friends of John Wallace, have conspired to destroy the reputations of the three witnesses (Mayor Hill, John Clemons, and Amy Simpson) most able to shed light on Wallace’s malfeasance. Had they intended a fair evaluation of legitimate concerns, the AG Council and SSLOCSD board would have provided to Mayor Hill the charges being investigated, those making the charges, would have interviewed the Mayor, and given him an opportunity to respond – all part of due process.

    Not only have the AG Council and SSLOCSD board majorities sought to obstruct justice, they have used public funds and staff resources to further their personal political interests.

    (56) 80 Total Votes - 68 up - 12 down
    • Otis says:

      The background on the matter as stated by discloser is factual and true, but does not capture the belligerence and rudeness of the group trying to convict Hill. A once respected Arroyo Grande citizen exploiting the Brown Act and a sitting Council Member are apparent key figures that suggests a wider conspiracy that is wrong in every particular in the administration of a cruel political tactic to disgrace Mayor Hill, the largest vote recipient in the last election!.

      The Hill investigation was legally flawed in not providing Due Process to Hill. The investigating attorney argues that Hill’s lawyer would not make him available for an interview. Jim Hill in being denied Due Process is certainly under no obligation to be interviewed by the one hired to convict him. And that was the apparent goal. Why?

      Hill was never provided a specification of the charge made against him. To convict Hill was the goal as evidenced by the fact the investigation attorney – the proverbial “hanging judge” — seeks to subject its convicting recommendation as being “attorney-client privilege and work product privilege” in a matter that is clearly in the public domain. The only party that should allow “confidential” treatment is the one being convicted, Jim Hill.

      The Arroyo Grande City attorney should be admonished for framing the investigation ignoring Hill’s rights.

      No budgetary provision was made by the City Council for Hill’s legal defense. But the investigating attorney seeks additional funds for the burden inflicted by additional discovery forced by Hill’s antagonists in this matter. A full disclosure of the contract with the investigating attorney should be made public.

      The City Attorney and Management are also wrong for allowing the investigation to proceed in its discovery without being disciplined to stay within the budget allocated of $15,000. The City’s management and Council is responsible for these errors.

      Hill’s reputation and excellence shines brilliantly even when tarnished by a political tactic to destroy him

      (18) 32 Total Votes - 25 up - 7 down

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