UPDATE 3:35 p.m. County Supervisor Adam Hill on Wednesday formally apologized for statements he made last week calling a local organization and some of its members "hostile, secretive and racist.”
“I want to apologize to the COLAB members who took offense to my recent, admittedly strident generalizations about racism,” Hill wrote in an email. COLAB is the Coalition for Labor, Agriculture, and Business.
In his email, Hill did not back away from his strong denunciations of racism. But he said he could convey those feelings in a more artful way.
“I feel strongly about the subject, I denounce it in all cases, and I’m not sorry about calling it out when I see it,” he wrote.
“However, I don’t believe broad-brush strokes are helpful in making the case. I can and will do better, because it’s an important subject that needs to be talked about openly and honestly,” he wrote.
“I can and will do better, because it’s an important subject that needs to be talked about openly and honestly,” Hill wrote.
Original story: San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill on Tuesday declined a request to apologize to leaders of a group that took umbrage at remarks he made about them last week. But he said he will meet with them in hopes of making their interplay more constructive.
Andy Caldwell of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business, a conservative rancher and business group, demanded that Hill retract or defend statements that he called malicious, libelous, slanderous and uncalled for.
He said he and his allies were initiating a Public Records Act request to look at Hill’s e-mails, adding “you don’t know what we already have.”
The remarks that triggered Caldwell’s ire came in an email to state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo.
Hill asked Blakeslee to cancel a fundraiser because Caldwell was the master of ceremonies. Hill called COLAB "hostile, secretive and racist."
He criticized COLAB in particular for having Steve Bridges as an entertainer at an event. Bridges impersonates political figures, including President Obama.
Hill likened the Obama impersonation to the days when minstrel show performers caricatured black Americans, playing on racist stereotypes and using exaggerated and insulting facial makeup that became known as “blackface.”
He said Blakeslee would be "pandering to hate-mongers" if he went ahead with the fundraiser.
But Caldwell and several other speakers Tuesday defended the Bridges impersonations as routine political humor. Bridges impersonates former President George W. Bush as well as Obama, they said.
Blakeslee postponed the fundraiser, saying he did not want to get into the middle of a fray between Caldwell and Hill.
Caldwell and others ripped into Hill on Tuesday.
Hill did not apologize or retract his remarks, and criticized racist postings that he says proliferate on the Internet, including postings that describe the first family as monkeys, and question whether the president is actually a U.S. citizen.