A vandal smashed the window of San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx’s Prius Monday while she attended a luncheon Rotary Club meeting at the Madonna Inn.
It was the only vehicle damaged in the busy parking lot.
Although the mayor was quick to say she has no idea who was behind the vandalism, it occurred shortly after the City Council decided to appeal a recent ruling that could require the city to restore binding arbitration to the city's charter.
Marx reported the incident to police and also alerted fellow council members and city manager Katie Lichtig.
"When I looked at the window it was clear that it was impacted by some kind of heavy object,” said Marx. “Someone had hit it, I believe it was not an accident but a deliberate act.”
The only damage was to the car’s passenger front window. Nothing was stolen. Police said there had been no other recent reports of vandalism at the inn.
“I don’t want people to jump to any conclusions,” Marx said. “I don’t want to return to the bad days of tension in the community and with our city workforce. We have had years to rebuild those relationships, and I want to keep them that way.”
Other council members declined to speculate on the vandal’s intentions.
“It could be a complete coincidence,” said Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson. “It’s unfortunate, but without more information I don’t want to speculate.”
Binding arbitration has been a divisive issue in the city for years.
Last week an administrative law judge with the state Public Employment Relations Board ruled partially in favor of a claim filed by the San Luis Obispo Police Officers Association challenging the legality of a ballot measure repealing binding arbitration.
The presidents of the city's firefighters and police unions issued a joint written statement Tuesday expressing dismay over the vandalism to Marx's car
"We have nothing but the highest respect for our elected officials and the process they are working through. The decision to appeal the recent PERB decision was not a surprise to us," they wrote. "We understand why the City is appealing the decision, and we respect the process of the appeal. We are upset that it appears someone may have intentionally broke the Mayor's car window, and we hope that the person responsible is brought to justice."
The statement was signed by Erik Bakin, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3523 and Russ Griffith, president of the San Luis Obispo Police Officers Association.
The San Luis Obispo Police Department is investigating the vandalism incident.