Adam Adkisson has been a council member in the small city of Coalinga for less than a year, but he already has a restraining order against a public commenter and is collecting screenshots of online tormentors. What is transpiring in Central California?
Q: Your recent mayor, Nathan Vosburg, had a consistent grievance during his time in the mayor’s seat. How much did you agree with his complaints about negativity and non-participation by the residents of Coalinga?
A: We have a lot of issues with people getting on Facebook and spreading all kinds of lies and rumors about the city. People just take it and run with it. I understand where he’s coming from. I don’t know if I would’ve said it exactly the same way, but I share some of his sentiments.
Q: Normally we think of mayors as cheerleaders for their communities. Did it grate on you to have the mayor in public, on television, saying, “I’m sick and tired of the attitude around here”?
A: No! Sometimes we need someone to say it. People like honesty, so that’s what he gave them.
Q: At your first meeting in November as an elected council member, you said this in nominating Council Member Ron Lander to be the new mayor: “we need a mayor who will lay down the law….We need to quit having these outbursts. You have kids come in here and they have to listen to people throw around F-bombs.” Tell me more.
A: We have an issue with a few citizens who come to the council meeting and they think that certain chairs belong to them and they’ll start a fight just to prove it. We get people who come up–mainly two people–who come up to the lectern and start cussing and yelling. It just got out of control. The mayor now is gonna put an end to it and people need to act appropriately.
Q: On August 2, 2018, your council removed from the agenda a discussion about whether to allow drug testing and background checks of city council members because the city attorney advised that legally, you could not do that. This upset one commenter, who implied that he wanted to fight you.
A: He loves me. He was wanting me to go outside. He doesn’t even live in Coalinga. His mom accused me of being on drugs one time and I said that if she wanted to pay for my drug test, she could do it. If I passed, which I would, she would have to give an apology. That’s all I said.
Q: By day, you are a bounty hunter. How surprising is it that you come into contact with more people wanting to fight you as a city council member than as a bounty hunter?
A: [laughs] That’s absolutely true. It’s crazy! I never thought it would be like this but you just gotta power through it.
Q: Is this affecting the city to have people bad mouthing each other and then bringing it to the council meeting?
A: Yes, it’s definitely affected us. It needs to stop and it has for the last couple meetings. I have a restraining order and everything is going a lot more smoothly now and we hope to keep it that way. The people of Coalinga should not be afraid to come to meetings. They should not have to listen to this kind of behavior.
Q: Have you considered pulling back from Facebook to avoid the confrontations that germinate there?
A: Absolutely. I’ve pulled back quite a bit. It hasn’t really changed anything. I probably have about 400 screenshots of lies that people have said about me. It comes with the territory.
Q: Uh, yes, to a certain extent all council members have to deal with that. But you’ve been on council for less than a year and you’re already collecting screenshots of lies? That seems unhealthy!
A: They’re sent to me, so I put it in a little folder that me and my friends can laugh at. I have to have some outlet. That’s my outlet.