New book exposes SLO County corruption

June 15, 2022

Debbie Peterson


Former Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson’s expose detailing the deeply-entrenched cesspool of corruption in San Luis Obispo County is finally public.

The book, “The Happiest Corruption: Sleaze, Lies, & Suicide in a California Beach Town,” details the threats and underhanded actions of former SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill and the pack of thieves, enforcers, and miscellaneous miscreants he attracted. Peterson describes Hill’s demands of her, and his full-throated threats of destruction if she did not comply.

“A must-read, firsthand account of trouble in paradise from a former mayor who spent years in the political trenches,” said Dave Congalton, KVEC radio host. “Peterson offers a much-needed primer for keeping local government open and accountable. Buy two copies. One for you and one for your local representative.”

Some highlights from Peterson’s expose:

Peterson resigned from the Grover Beach City Council in 2019 saying she could not participate in a council where cannabis permits could be purchased for $100,000, gaining her further wrath of Hill and his posse. In the months that followed, Peterson was involved in an accident she describes as a hit.

Tom Fulks, a consultant for supervisors Hill and Bruce Gibson, threatened Peterson through his SLO Sense Facebook page that he would be filming and following her if she attended a Coalition of Labor Business and Agriculture banquet, which he falsley alleged was related to the Ku Klux Klan. Fulks, Hill and Gibson worked together to demean and discredit those who questioned their actions.

At the event, a man dressed all in black with his face covered filmed Peterson walking through the parking lot.

After spotting Dan Carpenter, an opponent of Hill’s in the 2018 election, speaking to a developer, Hill told Carpenter he would take him out to the parking lot and beat him up if he spoke to one of his donors again.

Peterson also describes Hill’s propensity for destroying his detractors, including getting business owners and government administrators to fire people who questioned his actions. A prime example: popular radio host Dick Mason.

Detailing the sleazy side, Peterson describes allegations of sexual misconduct against former Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals and how Hill and his closest affiliates engaged in sexual relationships with their assistants. These sexual exploits often led to taxpayer funded settlements.

Peterson also details the efforts of Hill and his co-conspirators to destroy a local news website, CalCoastNews, its founders, and its supporters.

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Maybe I’ll send a copy to the FBI Headquarters back East to commend their local office in California for a job well done. I’m sure the local branch will appreciate the acolateds.

I find it interesting when these stories of local Progressive/Democrat corruption, all of their keyboard trolls become very quiet. That speaks loudly to the lack of character, integrity and honesty. No wonder they keep electing those of the same mindset.

Thanks Debbie, for exposing more than just those in your book. I look forward to the read.

I am a Progressive/Democrat, ever since the Republicans made a joke of the process by nominating a dunce like George W. Bush in 2000, who was corrupt as the day is long. The only true Republican nominated in the last 26 years was John McCain. He was a great leader who should have been president at some point. Unfortunately, Obama had more appeal.

Anyway, I was a critic of Adam Hill ever since his dust up with Dave Congalton (always had a lot of respect for Dave). Hill was obviously a mentally disturbed individual. He wasn’t the first with that affliction to appeal to voters and get elected.

To call Adam Hill a “progressive” is an obvious misnomer. The original progressives were men like Teddy Roosevelt and Robert LaFollette, whose main goal was to root out corruption, whether public—Roosevelt’s campaign against Tammany Hall, or corporate—campaigns against robber barons such as J.P. Morgan and mining interests in the east.

Hill was no progressive. He was an individual in public office who mirrored the life and corruption of his corporate equal, Kelly Gearhart. Of course, I doubt that Hill hurt as many people personally as Gearhart.

Sorry that you think I have no “character, integrity and honesty.” I do not feel the same about you.

So, after all that, back to the story. Do you approve of the corruption and fleecing of the taxpayer by the lies and deception of the APCD and state agencies? Can you denounce their actions and false narrative of the misinformation hoax?

All parties are corrupt on many levels. I call out the spineless cowardly Republicans as well, some locally and many nationally.

Hill not a Progressive as you state. He sure cozied up to them often and sided with Tom Fulks, Bruce Gibson, Ortiz-Legg (closer yet) and many others. Guilt by association? Isn’t that one of the Progressive standards?

Not a misnomer.

commonsenseguy :”So, after all that, back to the story. Do you approve Can you”

What part of “Please address the Policies, events and arguments, not the person.” is not clear?

Stop trolling.

Later edit: commonsenseguy : “As long as you…” No, you do not set conditions, this is not a negotiation.

Stop the personal attacks, trolling and derailing to your favorite subjects.

My mistake, I thought Commonsenseguy could stick to one subject. I was simply reacting to his calling out of “Progressive/Democrats” and labeling them as without “character, honesty and integrity” or something like that.

So, to reply to his query, even though it is off subject, I’m not sure the APCD has “fleeced” anyone. I would have to see evidence. As of now, crickets.

And, for the record, I have never read anything by Fulks and I’ve never lived in Gibson’s district (although I would probably vote for him because he was instrumental in establishing the Cayucos Land Conservancy—I’m sure even Mr. and Mrs. Commonsenseguy appreciate the open beach as they drive north past Morro Bay on Highway 1).

As for Ms. Ortiz-Legg, she got a significant number of votes so I respect the voters.

I can agree with Commonsenseguy that, indeed, Adam Hill was a corrupt individual, but, I’m quite sure that with only a smidgen of research I could come up with other corrupt local officials in the U.S. who were more in line with Commonsenseguy’s political ideology, as I understand it (though I doubt he does).

Adam Hill’s paid troll has surfaced, noting the single mention of his name in the book and responding on Amazon’s review listings as though he had a real opinion. The little twit followed Hill’s scent right to the end. You are irrelevant, Aaron, You always have been.

IronHub, I couldn’t have said it better.

I wonder what Ms. Peterson’s reaction was when she heard of poor Adam’s demise?

Wow. I had no idea Debbie Peterson was writing this.

Just ordered my copy. Thank you CCN!

maybe get the person doing the Kristen Smart podcast to start a new one on this

Great idea. Seems that many county residents don’t read or Bruce Gibson wouldn’t be getting so many votes.

I can’t wait til my book arrives! I ordered it the day Debbie did an interview on Dave Congalton. I wonder what names are mentioned in the book along with Hill. There is a culture of corruption in SLO County and they are digging their heels in; completely taking over our county AND cities. It’s sickening. It stinks and it’s getting really stinky in Morro Bay But we can’t give up the fight! I’m thankful for this book being written, and I hope it will open up the eyes of those blinded by hate-filled articles by Tom Fulks, the Tribune, and the New Times. They are all players in this and protect one another. It’s got to stop!

You’re the cop. Why not stop complaining and do something? You’ve said this kind of thing before. You’re retired. Get up off your easy chair and investigate. You’re starting to sound like the cops in Uvalde.

She puts into words that which many already know, including the FBI. I don’t if any will be held accountable. It’s the wrong political party for that to happen.