After 13 years of teaching at Cal Poly, English professor Adam Hill has a new calling: politics. The literature and creative writing lecturer has spent nearly a year running a campaign for the third district seat on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. If elected, Hill would represent Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Avila Beach and nearly half of San Luis Obispo.
Hill said he decided to run after several years of disappointment with incumbent Jerry Lenthall.
“It went from me being concerned to me being interested in helping anyone running against him,” Hill said. “And no one told me ‘hey I want to run against this guy.’ ”
The switch from grading students’ awkwardly written sex scenes to navigating the choppy waters of county politics has been a fairly natural one for the professor. Hill received his bachelor’s degree in government at University of Maryland, where he enjoyed the political atmosphere of nearby Washington, D.C.
Yet it has been Hill’s involvement in community service during his 13-year residency that really inspired him to take his political curiosity to the next level.
“I think this (campaign) is a natural extension of some of the public service I’ve been doing in the community,” Hill said.
Hill is the former president of the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County and is also a member of Central Coast Ag Network, League of Women Voters, Union of Concerned Scientists, National Education Association, The Tree Guild and several other groups.
If elected, Hill said he hopes to support more smart growth projects while encouraging development in already designated urban areas to avoid sprawl.
While Hill concedes there has been significant growth in the county during Lenthall’s term, he calls it “growth without any vision” which has caused problems, especially in relation to water sources.
Hill’s said he is concerned that Lenthall tries to give a partisan spin to a non-partisan race especially by inviting conservative warmongerer David Horowitz to the county to support Lenthall candidacy.
“I don’t know what David Horowitz has to say about district three issues,” Hill said. “Many of these issues don’t have to deal with democrats or republicans, it’s about what’s good for community.”
The environment is also very important issue for Hill, but he swears he’s not an “ideologue” and that addressing emissions in absolutely critical for local governments because it was mandated by the state.
Empower Poly, a coalition of 600 Cal Poly students interested in sustainability issues, has already endorsed Hill, who said he is proud to be associated with them, even if the majority of them are not district three voters.
Hill said one of the first things he would do in office is hold an economic development summit that would focus on how to better the area’s technology sector. Hill said that a better tech center in the community would help retain more students from Cal Poly and Cuesta College while increasing the number of the private employers in the area.
“The more positive things the community can get out of the university, other than students spending money in stores, is good,” Hill said.
Unfortunately, if Hill wins he’ll have to give up teaching at Cal Poly, which he now considers a wonderful escape from the stresses of campaigning.
When asked if he will give up politics if he loses this election, Hill said: “Yes, yes, yes. This has been exhausting, but it has been 95 percent fun.”
A county board of supervisors is a division of the state government that oversees local application of state law and public policy, manages unincorporated areas and approves the county’s budget.