Opinion » Shredder

(They've got a secret)


Shhh. I have to speak quietly because I’m hanging out in Atascadero today hoping someone will blab about this whole Jim Mulhall business. What? You haven’t heard? Let me get you up to speed on the details, slim though they be.

Mulhall retired about a week into the new year so he could “take a break” and “spend  more time with his family”—seemingly noble reasons for an outgoing police chief in a city that’s more ass-backwards than a donkey walking in circles. I didn’t have any questions when this first went down. Of course it was weapons-grade bs, but what did i care? Mulhall came, he left, everyone’s happy. Or not. Again, who cares? Doesn’t affect me. Tra la la. Then the city sent out a press release detailing the terms of his settlement. settlement? Who needs a settlement to retire? Retirement is supposed to be all gold watches, handshakes, and lying to that guy you always hated about how it’s been a pleasure working with him and you wish him all the best, and no, it wasn’t you who took a crap on his lawn last halloween.

Mulhall got $126,000.


That’s one fancy gold watch—like a grandfather clock made out of a bunch of gold watches. For Pete’s sake, $126,000 is a year’s pay for a three-year police chief. And the money is all bound up in terms and agreements.

For example: “Both Mulhall and the city desire to resolve issues of any kind between them, including, but not limited to, all issues of every kind or nature arising out of or related to his employment and the employment agreement.”

Um. What issues between them?

“Neither Mulhall nor the city admits any wrongdoing, and this agreement is in no way an admission of liability by any part or that any allegations made by any party against another party have merit.”

Excuse me. Might I pipe in for a moment? What allegations? And when you say no one will admit any wrongdoing, that seems to indicate there was wrongdoing somewhere, but you just don’t want to fess up.

Basically Mulhall booked it out of the Police Department and got a year’s pay worth of shut-up money. But no one’s saying nothing about this—and they’re probably not going to.

New Times has some public records requests in for the e-mails between Mulhall and City Manager Wade McKinney, who tends to neglect the public like they were a bunch of orphans with bad breath in Dickens’ time. The city will respond by saying something like, but not necessarily, “You can cram those records requests up your pooper. Sure, we’ll give you e-mails, but they’ll be so heavily redacted and marked up with black ink you’ll think your fax machine is broken. Muah, ha, ha. I am McKinney, destroyer of records, ruiner of information!”

They’ll sit happily in their cushy leather chairs, sipping sugary strip-mall coffee concoctions, laughing themselves silly at how we can ask why Mulhall left until our faces are purple, but at the end of the day they get to say what is and is not public knowledge. Hope you enjoy your retirement, Jim. Don’t spend it all in one place.


San Luis Obispo got a B from the American Lung Association for its overall tobacco control. You heard me: a B. What do you have to do to get an A? Strategically hunt and kill smokers? They’d be easy enough to catch—with their aversion to running and all—but it still seems a bit like overkill to me. Of course, if the city sold limited-edition kill permits, we might have a quick-fix solution to our budget woes. Most dangerous game? Not with those lungs.

SLO had the highest grade in the county. Always the teacher’s pet. Second best was Arroyo Grande with a C. Every other city landed itself a D or an F, including the unincorporated areas.
Maybe it was all their smoke leaching into San Luis Obispo’s clean air that made the
lung association so stingy
with top marks.

Remember that SLO was the first place to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, and more recently banned smokers from expelling their cancer-laden breath into the air above downtown streets and sidewalks. The lung association gave the city an A in every category except for smoke-free housing. So the course is set: No more smoking in your house. Quit your bellyaching. I don’t want to hear it. The American Lung Association has spoken. If you continue to smoke in your house, we’re going to have to get hardcore to get that A.

• Police will begin pinching out your cigarette if you’re caught smoking and give you a firm public spanking.

• All cigarettes will be manufactured with a chemical that makes them taste like the underside of a pig farmer’s boot.

• Whenever someone begins smoking, city officials will strangle an otter.

• Cigarette smoke in SLO will come out pink and sparkly and all the people at the bar will point and laugh at how ridiculous you look.

• Mayor Jan Marx will tell your mom on you.

If you have a secret to tell, the Shredder will never blab. Scout’s honor. Send secrets and gossip to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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