John Shoals exposes sanitation district to litigation

September 26, 2016

Ron Arnoldsen


The settlement of the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District’s ongoing issue with the State Water Board has brought calm and clarity to the district, right?

On the contrary, Oceano Community Services District Director Mary Lucey made many false and defamatory statements recently in postings on social media. Mayor of Arroyo Grande, Director Jim Hill asked for censure of Lucey in order to protect the district and several employees who have been libeled by her statements.

The censure was an attempt to correct the false statements concerning the performance of the facility, the performance of district employees and personal attacks on district employees.

John Shoals, Grover Beach mayor and and district chair, presided over the meeting though he was never in control of the meeting. Please go to to see this meeting for yourself.

Shoals had the chance to do the right thing and protect the district as well as the district’s employees from potential litigation. However he would not second a motion to censure Lucey.

Shoals has become so polarized in his alliance with Lucey that he cannot put the ratepayers of the district as his first priority. He has the knowledge and tenure concerning the district to know what is the right thing to do.  However, he cannot separate his personal alliance with Lucey.

Lucey stated that she has the right to make statements on social media concerning an employee because he is a candidate for public office.

This is definitely not the case when you are a board member of an organization and you are posting personnel and personal information of an employee of the organization.

It would seem clear to me that the district administrator, the district’s legal team and other board members would find this a clear and present threat to the district’s reputation and an invitation to possible litigation.

Additionally, there were two other issues that had caught the blind eye.

1) The district administrator has leased an office trailer and placed it on the district’s grounds without a permit. Wouldn’t you think this would have been an obvious step? Wouldn’t you think legal council would have caught this bonehead move? Wouldn’t you think a “recovering planner” such as Shoals would have caught the mistake or advised ahead of the administrator’s expenditure of district funds?

2) An employee’s email had been leaked to Lucey; protocol is that if one board member receives correspondence from the district, all board members are to receive the same. This violated every security precaution the organization may have. Besides this is ethically disgusting.

It is clear that the sanitation district needs new leadership on its board of director. As mayor of Grover Beach I will put the interest of the rate payers ahead of personal interests.

Ron Arnoldsen is a former Grover Beach mayor who is currently running against John Shoals for the mayor seat.


Lucey’s behavior is abhorrent.

Shoals allowing her to carry on is inexcusable.

Legal counsel’s failure to interject and stop the public airing of personnel issues is grounds for terminating his contract.


Dr. Arnoldsen sat on the San District board back in the ’90s and early 2000’s when it was well run. It wasn’t until John Shoals and Tony Ferrara came in that the plant and $11m circled the drain. Dr. Arnoldsen has both the history and the proven track record to call out Shoals.

Shoals is a power hound, a hypocrite and a coward. At the meeting referenced in these posts Director Hill made a motion that Lucey’s (inaccurate and inappropriate) statements be repudiated, which Hill explained meant to correct any factual errors. Shoals ignored the motion until reminded by counsel that it was on the table and then refused to second it. It therefore failed. Shoals then proceeded to direct staff to review, correct, respond to (repudiate) Lucey’s claims.


Did you get the feeling I did, Shoals nor Lucey knew what “repudiate” means?

i.e. re·pu·di·ate verb: refuse to accept or be associated with.

Must see TV. Let the voters be the judge…see here:


DR.Arnolsen is a Professional. Not a game player. Not a attention seeker. All business! For the people the citizens of the community. This is a man that pays attention to the task at hand. Listens,analizes,cares and without a doubt is professional full tilt all the way.


Has anyone else noticed that Lucey stands but does not place her hand over her heart during the flag salute?

Not sure what that means, but I find it interesting.


Not only does she not cover her heart with her hand during the pledge, she recites the pledge leaving out “under God” and says “and Liberty for some” instead of “all.”

I’m not sure what any of it means. I wonder if she changed up the the oath of office?



Until the mid-fifties invoking the sky fairy was not required while reciting the pledge of allegiance.

The make America Graters would have us believing that our Nation has gone downhill since the fifties.

Could there be a cause and effect relationship?


She doesn’t place her hand over her heart because she doesn’t have one.

Josey Wales

Ladies & Gentlemen,

It is clear that politician John Shoals s part of the problem, and will never be part of the solution.

I support John Arnoldsen for Mayor of Grover Beach.

People like Mary Lucey, John Shoals, Caren Ray, Adam Hill, Bruce Gibson, Tony Ferrara, Kristian Barneich are not fit to hold public office, and taxpayers lose if they win.

The above people cannot put the public trust as a priority over their personal interests, and we will constantly be disappointed by their lack of political courage.

We should have known with John Shoals scandal with the Fair Political Practices Commission that he lacked the integrity necessary to govern, and PG&E ought to be embarrassed to be associated with someone like Shoals.

PLEASE vote Tuesday, November 8th!



Thanks Dr. Ron for this OpEd, your point “Wouldn’t you think a “recovering planner” such as Shoals would have caught the mistake or advised ahead of the administrator’s expenditure of district funds?” is so apropos. This administrator, Gerhardt Hubner, jumped the gun on getting himself an shiny new office at ratepayer expense. Shoals admitted he new the trailer was coming, yet FAILED to warn Hubner (protect the ratepayers) that a permit was necessary for such a land use. Doh!


I agree completely. After reading the article by Ms. Lucey I was left stunned by her lack of professionalism, knowledge, and journalism. Her complete lack of knowledge regarding those things of which she spoke was astonishing. She needs to do her homework.


I attended this meeting and everything you said in this article is true. Mr.Shoals must step down and the citizens of Grover Beach must rethink allowing him the privilege of leading their city. Mr. Shoals YOUR TIME IS UP!!!

Mitch C

Dr. Arnoldsen is and always has been a doofus. I have no opinion of the San District, I have just watched the Grover city council for quite a few years and formed my opinion thusly.