Anyone who has ever watched a San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting knows that Supervisor Adam Hill is not just a bully, he is completely unfit to be the chair of the board. His colleagues made the right decision to break with tradition and not rotate the position to Hill for the second consecutive year after hearing an hour of comments from speakers fed up with Hill’s behavior.
Being an elected official is a position of great responsibility. You are not just representing yourself; you also are representing the values of the community that voted you into office.
When I was privileged to represent San Luis Obispo County in Congress, I knew how important it was to always carry out my role in a respectful and professional way. This is what public service demands.
Supervisor Hill does not appear to understand this responsibility. His behavior reached a level long ago where he became an embarrassment to our community, which is why it’s not a surprise that he has launched a sexist social media attack campaign against his colleagues who rightfully passed over him for the job.
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Hill’s behavior toward women is particularly bad. A New Times cartoon used in the campaign depicts the board’s two female supervisors, Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton, in a subservient position at the feet of Supervisor John Peschong. This is so far out of bounds of what is acceptable, and every woman in the county should be offended by these tactics.
Hill has been embroiled in controversy since getting elected in 2009 and has been involved in many incidents that question his professionalism.
One of the most egregious accounts was brought before the board in public comment when Dick Mason, local journalist, shared that Hill had allegedly contacted Mason’s daughter on Facebook to berate her about her father’s coverage of Hill’s actions. This is clearly a man that does not understand boundaries or basic rules of decorum. It’s one thing to question press coverage. It’s quite another to bring a family member who has nothing to do with the situation into a dispute.
Hill has frequently personally attacked critics, including sending a homophobic email from his official county email address. While he is a liberal to his core, Hill has attacked both Republicans and Democrats when he does not get his way.
Worst of all, Hill has focused his ire at his female colleagues Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton. Supervisor Arnold will no longer meet with Hill in private due to his pattern of unprofessional behavior. Supervisor Compton has been subjected to personal attacks on numerous occasions with a social media campaign as the most recent example. This type of bullying toward women elected officials must be highlighted as completely unacceptable.
The role of the board chair is to run meetings in a fair manner allowing meaningful discussion of issues and giving time for supporters and opponents to get equal access to state their case. Members of the public should not be attacked for rightfully sharing their opinions at meetings. This is something the current chair, John Peschong, has carried out during his time leading the board that would most certainly not be upheld by Hill if he had the job.
For Hill to attack Peschong for his actions as chair is ironic because Peschong is clearly the better choice to run the board. Hill’s behavior is completely unbecoming of an elected official and if he was allowed to lead our county’s meetings, it would be a disaster.
Supervisors should not be personally attacked because they share a different vision for the community. You may not agree with every decision Peschong makes, but he runs the board in a fair way that is respectful of democratic debate. Don’t believe the lies that Hill would have been a better choice.
Conservative columnist Andrea Seastrand is a former representative for the 22nd Congressional District, a longtime grassroots activist and current president of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association. Her column runs in The Tribune every other Sunday, in rotation with liberal columnist Tom Fulks.