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Hero or hellion? 

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Remember two weeks ago when I told you the Arroyo Grande City Council asked Mayor Jim Hill to step down from the South SLO County Sanitation District board because of improprieties regarding his behavior? ("Trash talk," Sept. 14) Yeah, well now the board itself is asking him to bounce. Yikes! Clearly Jim does not play well with others!

Hill was found to have improperly shared confidential information and overstepped his authority—you know, acting like the boss of people he's not the boss of. He says this whole kerfuffle is a politically motivated attack by opponents who don't like that he's rooting out bad actors and protecting his constituents' interests. His opponents say he's a bully and a rule breaker and a toolbag.

Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals, who's also on the board, says it's not about Hill's motivations; it's about his role and responsibilities. A board needs to govern collectively, amirite?

Is this a tough call? On one hand, voters want to know their elected officials are willing to go to great lengths to be fiscally responsible and do what's right for the people. On the other, voters don't like rogue pols running roughshod and kicking up unnecessary brouhahas.

The bottom line is that Hill has done nothing to make the board he serves on more functional. In fact, his fellow board members are so tired of his shenanigans that they voted to no longer share confidential emails with him. How does that help your constituents, Jim? If you really want to represent your citizens, you should apologize for your bad behavior, follow the rules, and work to create board harmony instead of increased acrimony. Just a suggestion! I mean, you do want to be an effective leader and not just a showboat and buffoon, right?

Sure, maybe your swaggering pushiness was able to get one administrator you didn't like fired, but your bad behavior has now rendered you impotent! Your fellow board members don't want to work with you, your lawyer Stew Jenkins made you look pathetic by playing the victim card, and the dysfunctional sanitation district you decided you alone could "fix" is more dysfunctional than ever. Clap, clap, clap. Get it together, Jimbo.

Hey, I get that following the rules is hard. Just ask construction firm Stalwork Inc., which is in hot water with the city of San Luis Obispo again. Back in March, Stalwork decided it was better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission when they removed a tree without a permit. After hemming and hawing, the SLO City Council eventually fined Stalwork and the property owner in question.

Now the city is after Stalwork for painting a newly constructed building the wrong color. The building on the corner of Marsh and Santa Rosa is a dark gray (with a nice light wood accent) instead of the lighter two-tone colors that were approved.

Hey, personally I think the color looks good, but it's not what was approved. There's a fair process that was followed. Stalwork agreed to a color scheme. Then they did what the hell they wanted instead of what was approved, and now they're begging for a "modification."

Hey Stalwork, that's not how business is done! You don't go through an approval process and then ignore it and expect the Architectural Review Commission to go, "Oh, you didn't do what we approved. Instead you did what you want. OK, carry on."

If you don't have to follow the rules, why should anyone? How is your behavior fair to others who adhere to the city's process? Yes, it may be ridiculous that a paint color has put a bug up the butts of people on both sides of the controversy, but we wouldn't be in this hullabaloo if you'd simply done what you agreed to.

It's so infuriating I just want to take the morning off and go hit the links. I hear Dairy Creek Golf Course is nice ... not! Eugene Ely of San Jose recently emailed me to tell me about his vacation here, which included a round of golf at Dairy Creek, located near the California Men's Colony (CMC), across from Cuesta College, off Highway 1.

"The SLO [County] Board of Supervisors should be ashamed to be charging people money to play golf at Dairy Creek Golf Course," Ely wrote. "It borders on the criminal. The 'course' consists of 18 putting greens scattered throughout a barren, baked-out former dairy farm property."

I blame Propositions 47, the voter-approved laws that have reduced California's prison overpopulation problems. Dairy Creek has been watering its course with gray water from the CMC, but since its population has been cut from 6,000 inmates to almost 4,000, the water's run dry.

Ely went on to call Dairy Creek a "failed enterprise," but what really chaps his hide is that the county continues "to advertise this property as a highly desirable place to play golf."

The website,, indeed depicts a lush green course with rolling hills under blue skies. Seeing as how they charge $50 for an 18-hole round on the weekend, Ely's got a point. Maybe it's time to make it a free disc golf course. Or we could throw a bunch of people in prison again because ... golf! Δ

The Shredder always follows the rules (ha ha ha!). Send ideas and comments to


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