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Governor to fill SLO supervisor seat now vacant after Adam Hill's death

Courtesy of Adam Hill campaign
The late county supervisor Adam Hill at the Pismo Preserve, a place he helped protect as open space..

Friends, colleagues and even California’s governor are mourning the sudden death of San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill, after he was found dead at his Shell Beach home on August 6.

Hill was first elected to the county board of supervisors in late 2008. During his time in office, Hill was known for his work in mental health issues, having struggled with depression himself, and his passion for advocating for the homeless.

“Without Adam I don’t believe we’d be where we are today,” said 5 Cities Homeless Coalition President Michael Byrd.

Bryrd said without Hill, the nonprofit would not have recently been able to purchase a Grover Beach church property, which will soon be transformed into a homeless services hub to help people transition into affordable housing.

Byrd says Hill was a big advocate in helping get people off the streets.

“To say Adam cared would be an understatement,” Byrd said. “Adam was passionate about helping people, about lifting them up and making their lives better.”

The executive director of the Land Conservancy of SLO County, Kaila Dettman, said Hill was instrumental in supporting open space, through projects like the Pismo Preserve and renovating the historic Octagon Barn.

“He advocated for funding at the state level on our behalf. He brought individual donors to the projects to help,” Dettman said. “He told me one time the Pismo Preserve was one of the things he was most proud of. He really has left a legacy through those projects.”

The death of Hill leaves a vacancy on the five member board of supervisors. The last time this happened was in 2013 when supervisor Paul Teixeira died from a heart attack.

“The governor at that time filled the slot,” said John Connerly with the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party. “There will be politics to deal with.”

Connerly said per state law, an appointment to fill Hill’s seat is in the hands of Governor Gavin Newsom.

“The governor will have the option of either appointing someone to fill out the term, or have a new election,” Connerly said.

Connerly hopes people, whether they agreed with Hill’s politics or not, will remember him for always speaking his mind.

“If the folks who didn’t agree politically with Adam are thinking of him, I think they can value his honesty,” Connerly said. “That's what you want in an advisory, We can have advisories and not be enemies and I think Adam was part of that school of thought.”

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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