Tempers rise in a Hill vs. CAPSLO flare-up



It’s been a sore subject.

Homeless services provided by the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. (CAPSLO), a wide-ranging service agency that also includes Head Start and other programs, have been the subject of much controversy in recent years. Locals have flung accusations of fiscal irresponsibility, and CAPSLO has, at times, responded accordingly as spectators and participants alike try to work out the truth.

Such accusations aside, a recent flare-up between San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill and the CAPSLO Board of Directors has ended with an apology.

It started when CAPSLO notified employees on March 13 that the Homeless Services Division was being reorganized, and that three employees were being demoted, including Dee Torres, Hill’s fiancée. Torres—who was at the eye of a previous comment storm regarding the use of funds—was shifted from division director to manager and received a decrease in pay.

A few days later, Hill’s legislative assistant, Hannah Miller, attended the March 18 Homeless Advisory Committee meeting and read a pointed letter on behalf of the supervisor, calling out three senior managers at the agency.

In response, CAPSLO Board President Frances Coughlin wrote a sharp critique addressed to Board of Supervisors Chair Bruce Gibson, defending the reorganization and calling Hill’s behavior inappropriate.

Hill responded with his own letter of apology. He’s previously abstained from votes regarding CAPSLO to avoid any potential conflicts of interests because of his fiancée’s employer, and he said he’ll continue this policy.

Still, Hill has strong feelings about how homeless services are handled in this county, an issue that hit the spotlight with this recent fracas.

“Emotionally I overreacted and spoke too harshly, because it is about the real shabby treatment of somebody I love, and also I think the incredibly wrong headed moves to a cause I care a lot about,” Hill told New Times.

-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay

Add a comment