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AG Councilman Arnold has left the building. 

Arroyo Grande’s protracted civic nightmare is over: Councilman Ed Arnold has resigned. The embattled Arnold, who’s charged with felony battery and child pornography, abruptly announced his resignation at the beginning of the April 27 city council meeting.

“It’s a very sad time for me,” said Arnold. “I hope that everyone will see that I am not quite the bad guy I’m painted to be in the press right now. Until that time, I don’t see how I can effectively serve the citizens. I have now become a distraction to the city and that is not beneficial for anyone.”

After the brief resignation speech, Arnold stood up and made a speedy exit. After a quick embrace outside the chambers, he walked through a narrow side alley to a rear parking lot, followed by a gaggle of journalists.

“The story’s over with guys,” Arnold said as he walked to his pick up truck. “I’m just a citizen now.”

Mayor Tony Ferrara and the rest of the council had asked Arnold for his resignation and a discussion concerning a recall effort was on the agenda.

Arroyo Grande police arrested Arnold December 15 and charged him with burglary, domestic violence, and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with an alleged attack on his wife’s girlfriend. He was charged on April 9 with allegedly possessing child pornography and with using a minor for pornographic purposes. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The council will meet in a special session May 5 to decide how to fill Arnold’s term, which runs until 2012. The council was leaning toward appointing a new councilmember rather than waiting for an election in November. Arnold is due in court for a hearing May 5.

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