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Poly teacher announces bid for county supervisor

Vowing to “stop talking and start taking action” on a slew of issues, Adam Hill of Grover Beach on Wednesday formally announced his candidacy for county supervisor.

Hill teaches at Cal Poly and formerly served as president of the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County. He outlined his positions in front of nearly 200 supporters on a sunny afternoon in front of the courthouse annex in downtown San Luis Obispo.

A vocal opponent of urban sprawl, Hill said the county must answer a key question responsibly: “How do we grow without wrecking the place?”

Hill, 41, will be running against incumbent Jerry Lenthall for the 3rd District seat on the Board of Supervisors.

That district includes Grover Beach, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach and much of San Luis Obispo.

Hill’s candidacy will set up a classic race between a controlled-growth Democrat who has lived here for 12 years and a gregarious Republican, formerly a police officer, with deep ties to the community and a large campaign treasury.

The outcome of the race could help determine how the county board will approach development and growth issues that have pitted environmentalists against property rights advocates.

Two other county supervisory races —both in the North County — will be on the ballot in the nonpartisan primary election set for June 3, 2008.

Incumbent Harry Ovitt will face Paso Robles Mayor Frank Mecham in the 1st District, and incumbent Jim Patterson is as yet unopposed in the 5th District.

Hill wasted no time telling his supporters what he sees as key issues. He also immediately challenged Lenthall to a series of 12 debates.

A central point of Hill’s platform is what he described as mistrust of county government and a belief that Lenthall is too beholden to the organizations that give him large campaign donations.

Lenthall responded that during the last election he participated in several public forums. When the next campaign begins a year from now, a number of groups will sponsor similar forums. “I look forward to participating in those,” he said.

Hill is a champion of “smart growth,” which concentrates new development in the center of a city or town to avoid sprawl. It advocates compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use, including mixed-use development that blends businesses with housing.

He also supports housing that’s more affordable for middle-class families and is on the steering committee of the Housing Trust Fund and the advisory board of the Workforce Housing Coalition.

He said the county faces a growing methamphetamine epidemic and needs to build a detoxification center.

In addition, Hill said he would work for “vibrant downtowns” and a strong tourist economy, and support small businesses and energy efficiency.

“No one will ever have doubts about my independence or have to remind me that I work for the public,” Hill said.

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