Former Grover Beach mayor resigns amid sexual harassment determination

December 5, 2019

John Shoals


A former mayor of Grover Beach sexually harassed women at his job with Santa Barbara County, including one employee he would ask to stand up and turn around so that he could gaze at her body, according to county records. [Cal Coast Times]

In May, a coworker reported John Shoals, a supervising planner who started working for Santa Barbara County on Aug. 13, 2018, for creepy behavior that made her feel uncomfortable. Initially, Shoals had been the complainant’s direct supervisor, but not at the time of the complaint.

Specifically, the woman alleged Shoals regularly asked her out for drinks, would ask her to stand up and turn while he looked her up and down, would make sexually inappropriate comments, and would leer at attractive female staff and customers, according to county investigation records.

Investigators then interviewed the complainant, four witnesses, and Shoals.

“One time Ms. (redacted) wore a more revealing top, Mr. Shoals reacted in a creepy way,” according to investigation notes. “He said she had a cute outfit and asked her to stand up and looked her up and down. He was extra flirty and leered at her.”

On other occasion, Shoals talked about his out-of-town exploits and asked inappropriate questions.

“He has told her inappropriate stories about being out of town drinking and turning down propositions,” according to investigation records. “He asked her if she had tattoos and where they were located.”

Another employee, who was directly supervised by Shoals, confirmed many of the allegations. In addition, the witness voiced additional concerns about Shoals.

“Mr Shoals leers at certain staff and members of the public, and looks them up and down,” the witness told investigators.

Another female witness, who also reported to Shoals, said he ogled the complainant and that his behavior also made the witness feel uncomfortable.

“At a more recent meeting, Mr. Shoals and Ms. (redacted) disagreed on how to handle a project,” according to investigation records. “Ms. (redacted) left early. As she passed by, John touched her and said, ‘You are being a trouble maker today.’ “

Shoals adamantly denied many of the allegations, while admitting to asking the complainant out for drinks.

“He said he would apologize if he caused Ms. (redacted) any distress,” according to investigation records. “Mr. Shoals says he does not believe he harassed Ms. (redacted).”

Even though Shoals argued that many of the sexual harassment claims were false, a July 23 investigation report found that the allegations were credible and that the evidence supported the complainant.

“The Equal Opportunity Office has finished an investigation of the complaint filed by (redacted) with the Santa Barbara County Equal Opportunity Office filed May 23,” according to a letter the county emailed Shoals on July 24. “The material allegations were substantiated.”

Facing termination, on Aug. 1, Shoals resigned his supervisory position with Santa Barbara County.

Shoals was first appointed to the Grover Beach City Council in 2000. In 2008, Shoals was elected mayor. Amid allegations of corruption regarding his and another council member’s votes on marijuana dispensaries, in 2016, Shoals did not run for a council seat.

Kevin Rice

So what? We’ve known this for YEARS!!!


The Care and Feeding of Sociopaths:

1. Create a position of power over policy and people that can be exercised by a single person according to their personal desires and ego. Government works great, but the C-suite of the right company will do.

2. Separate all metrics of performance and fiscal soundness from the job description. IE, the sociopath gets paid the same whether he runs his company into the rocks or not and suffers no retribution of any kind……this definitely favors a government job.

3. Open a wide door for bribes, kickbacks, conflicts of interest and pay-to-play so that the sociopath can add to their wealth and stroke their own ego through vice, lying, corruption, etc.

4. Insure that the sociopath’s employment contract is such that they can get away with almost anything AND maximize their power, influence and conflicts of interest in order to enrich themselves.

5. While not always necessary, adding the benefits of use of deadly force and general immunity from breaking all laws will keep your sociopath happy and stimulated.

6. Ideally, every city will have several places to breed sociopaths so that they can find and use eachother for blackmail, protection, corruption, cover-ups, and scapegoats. This functions as a graft multiplier AND an insurance policy against whistleblowers.

The above is pretty much the job description of government and police, which is where we find the highest concentration of happy, healthy, wealthy sociopaths.

You’re welcome.


Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person, with all the shady and possible criminal things John Shoals has done in the area he likely thought he was like Al Capone, Untouchable.


Too much Adam Hill, Caren Ray, Tony Ferrara, John Wallace Syndrome?


And it’s not going to stop anytime soon. Few pay attention to city/county politics, and Shoals is one of a select few in this position and I could name them all.


Once again CCN is doing the almost impossible job of trying to air out the rot we’ve been living with.


Didn’t John Shoals work for Santa Barbara County 20 years ago, and resign before getting fired for sexual harassment?

Didn’t several Grover Beach employees report sexual harassment in 2010, but while some quit, no problems for John Shoals?

Didn’t PG&E drop John Shoals several years ago, though “cough cough, ” not sure if it was over sexual harassment?

Didn’t John Shoals march in the Women’s March, with his good buddy SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill? Adam Hill divorced his wife earlier this year and is now having an affair with his administrative assistant. Another opportunity for taxpayers to pay for a man’s sexual cravings.


You may have Adam Hill confused with Supervisor Bruce Gibson, he divorced his wife and married his administrative assistant, who he had been having an affair with, and who last I heard was still working for him and as such is getting a taxpayer funded salary.


Actually, as I hear it, Hill is emulating his buddy Gibson who got away with it and doing the same himself.


What, this catches anybody by surprise? Prior to hiring, Santa Barbara couldn’t spot the predatory nature of this guy from the extensive writings that are out there? I’ve never met the fellow but could easily predict his predatory financial behavior would port over to his workplace behavior. How long did PGE cover for this man?

My condolences to anybody he victimized. Bet he seeks a wrongful termination settlement next.


He resigned before they had a chance to fire him. So no lawsuit.


And pension is tact, not that being a convicted criminal effects a public sector pension.


It happened at the city as well when he was there. This dog won’t change his ways.

Another pal of Adam Hill is feeling the pinch, now let’s hope it’s Hill’s turn soon.

Jorge Estrada

“This dog won’t change his ways”. Sorry but I got to think about that statement.


He had male colleagues on the City Council who referred to him as a “hound dog”. Female council members were embarrassed by his activities at out of town League of Cities conferences and dinners because they liked and respected his wife (clearly more than he did). He usually had a floozie on his arm – if looks permitted he would tell all that the arm candy was his “cousin.”


Wow, San Luis Obispo better snap this guy up quick, before some other city gets him!


LOL. The scorpion replies, “I couldn’t help myself, it’s in my nature”.

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