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Supervisor Hill says critic has 'bad crush' in online comments 

SLO County 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill is once again drawing criticism over his online comments and emails, with a longtime critic claiming Hill attempted to smear him by using homophobic language.

click to enlarge WORDS WORDS WORDS SLO Supervisor Adam Hill took to social media to claim that a longtime critic of his has a same-sex “crush” on him. - FILE PHOTO
  • WORDS WORDS WORDS SLO Supervisor Adam Hill took to social media to claim that a longtime critic of his has a same-sex “crush” on him.

Keith Gurnee, a SLO County resident who's written several opinion pieces critical of Hill, said Hill mocked and tried to discredit him by implying he had a gay crush on him in comments on Facebook, Twitter, and email.

The acrimonious back-and-forth began after Gurnee wrote multiple op-eds about Hill in early November, including one published in The Tribune titled, "Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill are a disingenuous duo in need of baby pacifiers." Hill responded to the article in a Facebook comment, characterizing the multiple opinion articles Gurnee had written over the years as "Valentines" and "dozens of obsessive 'I want you's.'"

"[Gurnee] has a bad crush on me and no matter how many times I tell him he's not my type and that he should maybe try Grindr," Hill wrote, referencing a popular gay dating app.

After reading the comment, Gurnee, who is heterosexual and married, fired back at Hill via email Nov. 9, calling Hill's language "disgusting" and "delusional."

"I do not take your comments as bashing me, they're bashing gays and that's a shame," wrote Gurnee, who does not live in Hill's district. "How can you stoop so low as an elected public official to throw such offal?"

In his response, which was sent from his SLO County email address, Hill referred to Gurnee as a "little minx" and suggested Gurnee "look for love in the right places."

"I tried to let you down easy but you crave something that I won't and can't give you," Hill wrote.

Following the exchange, Gurnee sent a letter to the county Board of Supervisors condemning the remarks, calling for Hill's resignation, and questioning the supervisor's bona fides as a liberal supporter of SLO's LGBTQ community.

"Calling me a homosexual in an effort to stigmatize and demean me should be viewed as a direct slam to those in the gay community," Gurnee wrote.

The letter did not come up for discussion or action during the board's Nov. 14 meeting. New Times reached out the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of SLO (GALA) for comment on Hill's remarks, but the organization did not respond.

Speaking to New Times, Hill said Gurnee's characterization of his comments as gay bashing was "ridiculous," and indicated that he supported LGBTQ rights and causes for many years both before and after being elected supervisor. He characterized the comments as attempts to show that Gurnee was "a joke."

"This guy's a joke," Hill said. "I'm just going to joke with him."

Hill tied Gurnee to a group of vocal critics that he says have been personally attacking him and his family for years. Gurnee's op-eds often appear on CalCoastNews, a local blog that has written critically about Hill and his wife. Those attacks, Hill said, have been taking a toll on his family, particularly his wife and stepdaughters.

"I'm struggling to try and make things as safe as possible for them, but there's no end to the madness," he said. "No end to the spite."

In responding to that spite, Hill said that he could be "pugnacious," and said that fact that he fights back isn't a "shock" to anyone who knows him. Still, Hill appeared to have some regrets about his exchange with Gurnee.

"I regret that I reacted at all to any of these people," Hill said. "Especially a blowhard like him." Δ


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