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Good, but not park-good 

People in Avila Beach appreciate the work Jim Lindholm did to help get them a park, but not enough to name that park after him.

Lindholm died in January 2008 of pancreatic cancer. He was county counsel for about 30 years and started the County Counsel Office, which had been a part of the District Attorney’s Office.

 SLO County legal officials say Lindholm was also a key player in getting a park for Avila Beach. As part of a settlement with Unocal after a devastating oil spill, Lindholm helped broker an agreement to have the company provide a park for Avila Beach. Deputy County Counsel Tim McNulty and SLO County Superior Court Judge Jac Crawford went to the Avila Valley Advisory Council on Feb. 9 with an idea to rename the park after Lindholm.

“He was just the greatest guy,” McNulty said of his former boss after the meeting.

Great guy or not, he’s not getting a park.

Within minutes it was clear that neither the council nor Avila residents were going to give their blessing.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate,” council member Anne Brown said.

McNulty and Crawford stood sullenly at the side of the room with their hands folded in front of them as council and audience members said they recognized the work Lindholm had done, but there were other people more deserving of a park dedication and it shouldn’t be renamed just because Lindholm had died.

After the meeting, council chair Bob Pusanik called it “a real awkward situation” because many people played a role in getting the park. He added that many people in the community did not want the park name to give preference for one person over another.

Council members and others at the meeting said they might be willing to honor Lindholm with a commemorative plaque, but not the whole park.

McNulty said he didn’t expect the idea would spark so much controversy. SLO County supervisors will have the ultimate say, but McNulty said he and others are thinking of new ways to commemorate their friend.

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