Nick Andre, the head of the SLO County Progressives and a paid campaign manager for several local candidates, led a group of 14 people into Tuesdays San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting who then refused to sit down and allow the meeting to continue. While the group blocked the speaker podiums, they held up signs in a protest against Sheriff Ian Parkinson.
During public comment, a Los Osos resident asked for more information about a proposal to spend $273,990 for the rehabilitation of five parks, an item on the consent agenda. As a staffer attempted to answer questions about the issue, Andre and the group of SLO County Progressives marched to the front of the room while carrying a naked man on a gurney, to symbolize Andrew Holland, an inmate who died a torturous death in the county jail more than a year ago.
The protesters held up signs asking Parkinson to resign and seeking justice for Holland. Supervisor John Peschong then called for a 10 minute break. Following the break, Peschong attempted to reconvene the meeting.
“We are going to reconvene the meeting and ask the folks here in the front to respectively sit down and we will get on with the meeting and allow you to comment during the public comment period,” Peschong said. “In order to be able to conduct bushiness here and hear from each of you we are going to ask you to clear the room. We will have to call you individually.”
The protesters stood their ground and the board ended the morning session and recessed until 1:30 p.m.
Supervisor Adam Hill, a member of the SLO County Progressives, then left the dais, walked to the back of the room and asked Andre how long they planned to keep up their stance and if Andre wanted sheriff deputies to break up the protest, according to a recording of the meeting by the SLO Progressives. (At eight minutes into the video, the conversation between Andre and Hill can be heard with a headset, with parts being too faint to understand.)
“How long do you guys want to do this for?” Hill asks. “Just so that we can know, cause I’m trying to get them… sheriff’s deputies unless that’s what you want.”
Andre’s responses are to faint to understand.
“Well, whatever you think is right,” Hill said. “They’re going to call the sheriff’s deputies, which I prefer not to, unless that’s what you guys want. I respect that… maybe that’s what you need to do. Do you guys want to be…?”
While he serves on the local Democratic Party endorsement committee, Andre is also a paid campaign manager for sheriff candidate Greg Clayton, district attorney candidate Mike Cummins, and District 4 supervisor candidate Jimmy Paulding.
More than a year ago, CalCoastNews broke the news to both the public and the Holland family, that Holland had died after being strapped for 46 hours in a restraint chair. CCN reporters also detailed how the sheriff’s department attempted to cover up the details of Holland’s death by dispersing false information.
At that time, the SLO County Progressives did not rally against Holland’s treatment at the jail. Several of the group’s leaders forbid members of their private Facebook page from sharing links to CalCoastNews articles, members said.
The group has denied multiple Democrats in the community who have been critical of Hill from participating on their private Facebook page.
For example, Grover Beach Councilwoman Debbie Peterson, a Democrat, was denied membership and access to the Progressives private Facebook page.
“As a life-long Democrat and fervent Bernie supporter, I encouraged 85 friends who are Democrats to support the Progressives bid to be a recognized committee,” Peterson said. “Although each of the people I recruited to support the Progressives were acknowledged, I was not. Nor was I allowed entry to their private Facebook page. I believe this is because I called out some of Adam Hill’s bad behaviors.”