COMMENTARY: Bugs on the wall in City Hall

April 7, 2008

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

There’s a tight clamp on information coming out of Atascadero City Hall, what with the FBI hanging out and all, so it’s been tough to get information out of those hallowed confines, stuff like this…. While city officials have been going 12 rounds with each other, mediators have been brought in to suppress probable knockouts.

That and other reports about hush-hush stuff going on in The Colony’s inner sanctum have been gleaned from a gaggle of reliable sources, all of whom are seeing and hearing all that we report here.

These sources include elected city officials, city employees, and a few highly connected individuals.

So what you read here has been confirmed by numerous sources, but is unverifiable in the classic news story sense. That’s why this piece is clearly labeled “commentary.”

Anyway, with national security and all, there’s a lot of stuff that just must remain secret. Or so we’re told. This is what we have now:

The ongoing FBI investigation of Atascadero’s city government is said by our sources to be focusing on possible under-the-table payoffs to, or overly-cozy relationships between, upper level city management, some elected, some not, and some private individuals. FBI officials won’t acknowledge any investigation, but sources tell UncoveredSLO.com that numerous city officials, staff, and one particular land developer have been interviewed by the federal gumshoes. City sources say they are informing FBI agents when the opportunity arises that FEMA and taxpayers really did get screwed by phony-baloney applications for the Youth Center.

The FBI’s current interest in Atascadero is just one of the city’s serious ongoing problems. Disputes between the city’s Community Development Department and management have been brewing for more than two years. A common staff complaint is that certain individuals in management demand that specified projects — some of which have been red-tagged –- simply be rubber-stamped, green-lighted.

“Things have not changed,” said one “It just gets worse every year. Staff is disgusted and disappointed.” Community Development director Warren Frace regularly reminds his minions at meetings that the Printery was in active use during the San Simeon Earthquake, even though most seasoned employees quietly acknowledge that they know it was not.

Employees allege they have been stripped of authority to do the regulatory jobs they were hired to do, and that contractors and management inform them of what projects will be approved with little or no scrutiny.

Late last year, officials hired Creative Mediations to help iron out internal problems with the city’s development workforce, at a cost of approximately $7,500. Chief Executive Officer Jesses Sostrin of that group met with staff from Community Development on four separate occasions, ending earlier this year.

The mediating consultant’s Website describes his function thusly: “When dialog escalates into argument and agreement seems hopeless, there is a way to get through it all… Welcome to Creative Mediation.”

Following the final session, McKinney, Assistant City Manager Jim Lewis, and Assistant to the City Manager and City Clerk Marcia McClure Torgerson met with other staff to discuss some of the issues raised during mediation.

“We have a culture of tell no one and look the other way,” one employee said. “McKinney was upset with staff over things discussed with the mediator. Jim gave his ‘Wade and I cannot tell a lie’ speech.”

A city-sponsored “ethics meeting” intended to foster trust was a must-attend last week for city council members and upper management staff. It quickly turned into a forum for council members Tom O’Malley and Jerry Clay to attack Mayor Mike Brennler, according to some who attended. Brennler ran for office last year on a platform of addressing corruption in City Hall.

O’Malley and Clay alleged that Brennler did not trust city staff. Brennler flushed, and O’Malley shouted, “Look at how red he is! He is angry.”

Shanks pointed out O’Malley’s body language, rocking back and forth, and suggested he was angry, too. O’Malley then became disrespectful to the facilitator.

Clay and O’Malley charged Brennler with reporting on KVEC’s Dave Congalton Show that the community center was built on a toxic waste dump. In fact, Brennler never took a stand, one way or the other. A podcast of the show in question is available on the station’s Website.

After hurled charges of mutual disrespect, O’Malley commented to attendees that Brennler would not survive the next election.

And that’s what’s been happening in SLO County’s most divisive little city.







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22 Comments

  1. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    To Don't Forget,
    You are wrong about Luna. George is the one that exposed the Wal-Mart plan. George said he had e-mails on his lab top computer and that it had an electrical short. When he was able to extract his data he produced the e-mails. I know this for a 100% fact. He never said that he didn't know about the Wal-Mart. You obviously weren't at the May 30, 2006 meeting.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    I know there are 2 distinct sides in Atascadero. Don't forget that George Luna is also involved with all of this. George was in on getting Wal Mart here and then lied about it. George conveniently had his hard drive on his computer take a dive when information was requested. Left side or right side unfortunately they are all guilty to some degree. Let's be fair for a change in Atascadero.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Mckinney is upset with staff because they do not fall in line with his corrupt desires. O’Malley is upset with Brennler because he does not fall in line with his corrupt desires. Does anyone see the similarities here? So the city tosses another several thousand dollars in city reserves at the “problem” and once again nothing is accomplished. Well no kidding! I see at least two good ole boy officials here that need to step down immediately if we want to see any kind of recovery from this escalating crisis.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    I don't know if I'm laughing harder about this story or at how angry everyone is. Why take this so seriously?Power engendars mankind. Thats why we have elections every 2-4 years.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Who could possibly be shocked about corruption, self dealing and fraud amongst those hairy palmed, intelectual dwarfs?
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    I'm so tired of Clay and O'Malley. They have both been nothing but disrespectful, winers who have undermined CC meetings, and caused distractions for the city's ongoing business. and why??? It started when their buddies didn't win the election. They have been continuously rude to Mike and Ellen and we don't have to take it anymore.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Oh Geeeez,
    I never even thought of that. I think your right. Oh brother, I hope the FBI knows something if there is something to it.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Tom lent himself $24k for the election? I wonder if anyone ever checked his trash after the election to find the empty envelope?
    Sorry folks, that is really how it works. Cash is king.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Where is Tom? Over the past 5 years Tom has taken credit for almost everything that has happened in Atascadero whether he was involved with it or not. Is Tom going to step up and take credit for these allegations? Why is it that we have not heard from ANYONE at the City? A public statement certainly could confirm or deny all of these allegations and/or rumors. Is there any leadership at all in City Hall?

  2. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Am I the only reader that took notice of the fact that Wade McKinney was angry at staff for bringing up certain concerns to the mediator? Why bring in a mediator to assisst staff to vent and then get angry when they tell the truth about something bothering them? He really should be asked to take a leave ob absence.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    he got re-elected by under-informed voters who vote for a familiar name.

    Get educated and get rid of the good ole boys.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    I'M SPEECHLESS..
    I remember reading about the parking lot. He got away with it because he legally didn't own the property once he put it in his son's name. How did he ever get re-elected?
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Insider, why call yourself by that handle if you have no "inside" facts?
    Fact – O'Malley "loaned" his campaign $24K of his own money. He hoped to get it back in big $ donations. Rottman, for example, gave him over $2K alone (a Non-Atascadero Corporation that can write the money off tax-free).
    The parking lot deal in a nutshell – he gave the title of it over to his son so he could vote for the Council to purchase it at an overpriced value. O'Malley opposes campaign finance reform so as to allow the big $$$ from outside the area to finance his Supervisor run. This is not small town politics but large corporate influence.
    Again, Rottman/WM is playing a game of Monopoly (i.e. collecting all the red cards) and wanting to change the rules so as to put a double hotel on a light blue location. Tom & Jerry been there the whole time with McKinney trying to make these backroom deals that will change the face of Atascadero for the worse.
    Changing the Sign to Macy's will still not make it compatible with the General Plan.
    Backroom deals should be exposed and squashed. Please don't try and tell me that it is an acceptable practice. This is OUR government, not just those with $.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Wade was only doing what the majority CC wanted him to do. They are his boss. Why is so much blame placed on Wade?
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    I'd say o'malley is in the hole beyond $$$ & "sense".

    Keep it up insider, he desperately could use an adocate right now. I don't think he will have any when the investigation is over.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    I've got an idea how about we take that WalMart and change the sign to Macy's. Does that work for everyone?
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    the real story
    your pretty funny. I stated it was not unusual for someone to shop and buy property for a future client or purpose and I know no reason this would be illegal. You have changed this to I confirmed something that I could not possibly know since I have no personal contact with any of these individuals you speak of. As to O'Malley spending his own money to run for election as to some proof of a conspiracy get real politicians do it all the time. Again you will probably never understand why someone would want to serve thier community enough to spend thier own money. Evil lurks behind every corner. What in the world was going on in that parking lot one can only imagine. So please explain exactly how O'Malley profitted right now my score card shows him in the hole 24k.

  3. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Thanks "insider" for confirming that Rottman is a front for WM. Actions performed by the CC etc. are done in our name, and I for one would prefer that they acted in the open. The records state that "Staff" asked for a bigger project above and beyond the size of the General Plan. How do you propose that we rectify their overt and illegal action?
    Economic growth should never be the number one decision. pResident Shrub uses the same excuse to ignore the Kyoto treaty – i.e. leave the mess for the next generation to clean up.
    As for not doing it for the money, why did O'Malley spend $24K of his own money to run for council? Certainly not for the glory of it – he wanted control for himself and his buddies (just check out the history of the parking lot at the Bowling Alley for a perfect example).
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    This is also about WM. If they had been honest about what they were planning from day 1 there never would have been all this divisiveness. I'm against a WM and I think it has more to do with the lies than the WM itself. McKinney, Lewis and O'Malley along with Rottman are liars and we all know it. They have been caught and they still have the audacity to try and say otherwise. It's nauseating. I’m tired of the condescending bullshit that they through around. They got away with this behavior for so long that they stopped thinking about even covering their tracks. Now the FBI is here and I say good any hit Atascadero takes now will at least put an end to the shenanigans. I’m sure there is plenty for them to look at.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    the real story
    so what. It's not unusual for a buyer who is high exposure to have someone of less notice purchase property. It keeps the price down. It's not unusual for mayors, city council, and staff to identify properties and areas to developers that would be good for the city to be developed. Perhaps you feel everything the city does to promote economic growth should be run by you for the go ahead. Unless the individuals on the CC or the City Manager owned these properties or adjacent properties or you can see some other way they benifited in a direct way your off base. Thier is no money in being on the City Council. They do it for reasons that someone like you will not understand. Money to run a campaign is not money in thier pockets its money to run a campaign. It will be shown no one either staff or City Council ever did anything to line thier own pockets and only wanted to better the City. I'm sure in hind sight some things may have been executed in a maner to provide the type of answers that were most advantages to the City. This may have been questionable but unlikely fraud. As to how much were spending on staff I agree we need to cut staff at all levels. We have these few good projects on the books and we need to make the best of them. Maybe we don't need a City Manager and an Assistant City Manager. maybe we don't need a lot of things. It doesn't make them crooks. It's just time to lean out.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    This isn't about Wal-Mart. I want a WM. This is about some dirty politics and it appears they fraudulenty received a lot of money from the FEMA funds, which are there to help those who truly are damaged and suffering.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Rdog…
    Those are my exact sentiments. Except I didn't know that Jerry's yard was a mess!! That was cute.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08

    The good citizens of Atascadero better hope and pray that Mayor Brennler will put up with this thankless job for another four years.

    He surely doesn't need the grief and personal attacks from the likes of O’Malley and Clay.

    He is determined to deliver on his promise. Support him and thank him.

    He is going to do everything he can to clean up City Hall. To bad he can’t clean up Jerry Clay’s yard!

    Good luck and thank you Mr. Mayor. You have my admiration and support.

  4. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    For years while the CC re-zoned prime commercial property to residential, Luna screamed about it. At the same time the Chamber did nothing to promote commercial business. They jumped in bed with the realtors and did relay calls for them. Luna screamed about that to. This was caused by the pro "get the biggest bang for your buck" developers an their CC buddies. Residential was more profitable and to hell with commercial. The last of the majority CC who were responsible for this were O'Malley, Clay & Scalise. Its only been 16 months since we have replaced the mojority vote. The answer is there for Atascadero and just because Wade and some CC always planned on "bailing us out of the mess they were creating" with a WM doesn't mean that there isn't another way.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    If you want to try and make this a Wal-Mart issue, then why did WM have to go through the Rottman group to buy all the property in the Del Rio area? The City Manager was complicit in helping them purchase those plots. They knew, long before they were exposed that this was happening. The Tom and Jerry show was also involved and help fund raisers with the Rottman group to get Tom re-elected during the whole initial WM coming to town.
    The good ol' boys in the town knew that this was a touchy issue and tried their best to sneak it in before anyone noticed.
    They all shared in the money that was being offered around. Other good ol' boys (including Don Messer) sold their properties to the Rottman group knowing that the big WM was behind it all.
    Jim Lewis was the direct connection to the store during this period too.
    Wade and his staff are fully responsible for putting the town on the decline. Their office has more than doubled their expenses during the last 6 years – up from about $600K a year to over $1.2M!!
    King Wade earns over $150K/year plus $500/month for a car alone – this is more than our State representative? Is he elected? Hell no, he was appointed by the ol' guard and should be removed ASAP. Only then can the real damage to this town be repaired.
    WM should NOT be rewarded by their complicity in this mess. The fact that they used a bunch of crooks like O'Malley, Clay, McKinney, and Lewis as their front men only shows how much they wish to destroy the town.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    oh and one more. Why is it all the new major tenants at the old factory outlet center tied thier leases to a Walmart store coming in. What will happen to our declining Tax base when they build the new Lowe's in Paso. I believe Home Depot is our #1 sales tax provider. We need to flow with the current a little bit. Instead of trying to paddle upstream all the time.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    I want to tell the property owner which tenant to get, what color to paint the interior, what merchandise to stock, and what prices to charge.

    I want I want I want!

    Clearly WalMart has ruined AG and Paso…or is it Atrashcadero that has ignorantly lagged behind and will be lucky to get a MethLab Outlet and a pitbull fighting arena?
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Why is it everwhere in the county where a WalMart has been put it is soon surrounded by many other retail, restaurant, and commercial enterprises? Almost all providing higher quallity and cost goods than WalMart. Why is it that every town in this county that has elected to let a WalMart in has increased its Tax Base logarithmicly. Why is it that CC members that have done thier reserch tell us it will only make a 75k difference in our yearly income When millions is the right answer. Why is it that some feel the way to get our small buisnesses to thrive is to keep WalMart out. We have by the way managed to keep them out for 40 years, the path is clear for small buisnesses, boutigue shops and Macy's. How long do we have to wait. If you were a boutigue shop wouldn't you want to be close to a store that generated the kind of traffic of WalMart and really didn't compete with the flavor of what you offer. Are we so arrogant as to think we dictate the exact store name we want. The other funny thing I notice I see a lot of retired and well off individuals standing up for the small buisnesses and working class of Atascadero but I don't see the small buisnesses and working class objecting at all to a WalMart. In fact most support it. Again lets concentrate on making it the best most attractive WalMart project in the county. Look at that store they show on oppose walmart web page. Why don't they show the submitted drawings and plans. Because they are too attractive to drive home thier point.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    I agree that Wade McKinney should take a leave of absence. He is more of a hinderance right now.

  5. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    The "overly cozy relationships" part of the investigation leaves only 3 elected officials that could be involved. O'Malley, Clay and Luna.. Which one do you think it is? out of the three there is only one of them that I can imagine.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Yes it's time for them to step aside and let yet another tribe of self dealing, inbred, pinhead, nitwits into City Hall to suck on the public teet.

    But keep WalMart out because someday Disney and Apple will come in and really do justice to that premium site in our unique and wonderful hamlet.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    There is no proff that the allegations of "payments under the table, etc) involve Tom O'Malley. His behavior (and jerry Clay's) towards Mike Brennler is inappropriate and counter productive but thats all there is right now. Lets not jump to conclusions.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Considering the allegations that have been made it's time to take some positive action in Atascadero. The town has become completely non-functional. The City Council needs to place the City Manager on administrative leave or take other appropriate actions. It appears that his presence has deadlocked the functioning of City Hall. Serious allegations against Tom O'Malley have been brought up. His reported actions at the "mediation class" appears to be from someone who is desperate. It might be time for Tom to step aside now and let the City attempt to regain some creditability.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    I don't think any stores except WM will come right now. We have to let this "blow over" and after the dust settles, the people can ask for some honest analysis of the commercial development situation. Atascadero is doing something wrong, somewhere.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    We should continue to turn up our noses at the $1 million per year and the jobs a WalMart would provide and insist on the Nordstrom, William Sanoma, aroma therapy, yoga type tenants that we deserve.

    If we want them, don't they have to come?

    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    How can you tell when Tom O'Malley is lying? His lips are moving!
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    We might actully have to let Wal-Mart in as a result of all this. I'm serious. I would like to see something else done at the corner of Del Rio but it looks like we are getting in pretty deep. It might be time to consider that a change in direction might be necessary when this is over.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    To all you conspiracy posters:

    I got your back…O'Malley and his minions have no chance as long as I'm in the air!
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    In my past blogs over the last few months I have stated that the City Management and the Council was either incompetant OR corrupt. I have been criticized by many for my past staements and now I apolgize to everyone for being wrong. They are neither. Unfortunately it appears that they are both Incompetant and Corrupt. I have been an insider and the truth is now coming out. Don't forget to include ALL of the coucil members who have been involved in these actions which includes GEORGE LUNA also, believe me he is right in there with them.

  6. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Tom O'Malley's behavior has been so damagingly disrespectful for soooo long, the only one who will have difficulty getting re-elected will be him! He reminds me of a 2 year old with a bad tantrum after his mommy didn't give him what he wanted, but worse! What a disgrace to Atascadero.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    This story was obviously intended to poke fun. Perhaps the behavior at city hall has been a bit peculiar but they are under pressure. I've always thought well of Tom O'Malley and I'm not going to pass any judgements until the investigation is complete. Lets see what comes out of all this.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    O'Malleys behavior is very telling. He is angry at Brennler because Brennler is "on to him". It's not the staff that O'Malley is worried about Mike not trusting. O'Malley has (had) bigger political plans.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Brennler will be re-elected. O'Malley will look good in prison blues. He lied about Wal Mart. I suspect he's lying again. He pretends to be the people's servant, but we know the political animal he truly is.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Did you all notice the part about Jim Lewis giving everybody the "Wade and I can not tell a lie " speech?
    and… the CD Director continuing to tell his staff at meetings that the Printery was an active youth center at the time of the San Simeon quake? It's just one continuous line of BS after another. No wonder they are all standing in it knee deep. That can't be very comfortable.
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    This story reminds me of the Jerry James cartoon. The one where Tom O'Malley and Wal-Mart were in bed together and Wade McKinney was in the middle dressed up as a condom to give them protection (LOL)! I wonder if this could have any relevance to the cozy relationships that the FBI is investigating? That would be really funny
    By: Anonymous on 4/8/08
    Insider really does make sense. I'm not big on a Wal-Mart myself but with the economy down the drain, I am thinking that we might not have the staying power. Unfortunately the city management was working with the Rottman Group at least a year asissting them to acquire all the contiguous lots for Wal-Mart. We may never know what would have been possible. WM now owns the land and will hold onto it rather than sell it to another developer. It sounds like the city is in all sorts of trouble including a future financial crisis.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    This City needs a solid tax base. WalMart is a tax base. They attract volume. They attract other stores. Other stores don't run from them they run to them. We don't have the option of picking a store they pick us. The elevations WalMart provided are as nice as any WalMart anywhere. If we want a better selection of opportunities then holding WalMarts feet to the fire to provide a quality development is the way to get there. Many stores have locating in the area of a WalMart as a requirement of thier market plan. I believe all of our CC are good people that are just hooked up each pulling in opposite directions. We need to get it together and make solid fiscal decisions. We are in a resession that may last a year or so and take another year or so to stabilize after that. Lets get our spending under control and our income up. Atascadero is very geograghically centered from many nearby communities and the del rio center could be an excellent draw. This could have a great positive impact on the down town in particular. Macy's and Norstroms aren't coming but we might get a Penny's and a Outback. I'm way less concerned about the in fighting and more concerned about our success and survival.

  7. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    To Concerned..
    Lighten Up and read the commentary again. It's funny, its damn funny. Can you even picture that meeting with the mediator and certain CC acting up. Sometimes you just have to laugh. There is nothing we can do about the out come of the FBI investigation. It will be what it will be. We will all survive it, trust me.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    Atascadero is a beautiful town with open space, lots of trees and lovely large homes. We have clean air, low night lighting and low traffic levels. It's a great place to live. The people are polite and our strets are safe.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    Nothing will help Atascadero as long as Clay and O'Malley remain on the CC. They have been furious every since the people voted in Mike and Ellen. Up until the last election O'Malley and Clay had control of the council. They got cocky and never thought the people would start "blowing off" the Good Old Boys in favor of Good, Clean, Open, Honest, local Government. Hold onto your horses boys because the people are about to do it again!
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    The notion of Nordstrom or any other A+ retailer opening in Atascadero illustrates the depth of delusion of the local drunken, sister shagging citizenry.

    Porn shops won't even locate there.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    This isn't funny. This investigation has taken a turn (according to uncovered) and has become about more than FEMA fraud. Now who has done what? I'm tired of all this sneaking. Atascadero is a mess and its not funny, its our home.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    If I didn't know this was a real story I'd think it was a movie.Uncovered keep the comedy coming. I feel sorry for Mike having to take these clowns seriously.

    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    I just looked at the Creative Mediation site and it really does say:
    “When dialog escalates into argument and agreement seems hopeless, there is a way to get through it all… Welcome to Creative Mediation.”
    This whole fiasco sounds like Disney Land and has me laughing my buns off.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    I imagine that when Tom O'Malley reads this he will be "rocking back and forth" again!
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    If Mayor Brennler decides to run for election in November, I'll bet $$ to donuts that he wins by a land slide.

  8. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    Bear3 your idea of a Nordstrom and Macy's as an anchor is great. Although NONE of them will even consider coming to Atascadero as an anchor. These stores tend to go where people want them and where they can make a profit. The roadblocks that are put up for development in Atascadero are so bad they all tend to go north or south with the exception of Wal Mart and you can see what has happened to them. Go to City Hall, and if the FBI or Treasury Department doesn't have staff tied up, go thru the records and see how long it takes the projects in town to get approved-check Colony Square, Lube-n-Go almost any Gearhart project and see how long it takes from inception to current status-years and years.Time is money. Now, reading this article one can assume that the horror stories of obtaining project approval and permits in Atascadero are true with possible corruption inviolved. It's time that the cesspool at City Hall gets cleaned out and a new fresh approach is made.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    The staff and some CC have been caught lying more than once. Why should Mike trust the staff? Sounds like that meeting was a joke. Sounds like they are frustrated because Mike is living up to his promise rather than turning a blind eye.
    Kudos to Mayor Brennler.

    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    Tom O'Malleys behavior isn't surprising to me at all. If you can't find something that someone did wrong then make something up. This is the same tactic his friends Buban and Jackson used when they tried to "recall the b's". Everyone knows that Mike never said the Youth Center was toxic. No one said it was toxic. It was questioned for good reason and all Mike did was review the reports. O'Malley and Clay are both loose canons lately. Mike is not responsible for the FEMA fraud. That all happend on O'Malley and Clay's watch.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    Insider sounds like he has a plan. I don't know about the Wal-Mart part though. There are no great clothing stores in Slo county. There is room for one. Something like a Nordstrom or even Macy's would act as an excellent anchor. The best we have is Gottchalks down in SLO and that is limiting. I don't think anyone has ever been honest about what is available if Atascadero tries. The Good Ole Boys have a deal with Rottman and Wal-Mart.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    The CC need to join forces for the sake of the City. We will be facing BK if they don't start working together. The following actions could save the city. 1) Get honest about the printery and the rotunda. It is what it is. If necessary take the money that is appropriate for the rotunda and return it to the Feds for the printery funds if they were wrongly aquired. 2) Proceed with the WalMart. In this economy no one but WM could even consider proceeding. This will be a strong addition to our comunity and will provide a income stream to keep our planning and building departments in place. 3) Either eliminate consultants from the planning and building budget or reduce staff at once. 4) Review all other department budgets and make a min. 15% reduction in all departments. 5) Under no circumstances give, provide, or loan money to the Colony Square project. We are not developers. This project is allready overburdened by pie in the sky planning. If anything let the developers make changes to improve thier profits. Use the funds in redevelopment to plan a real parking structure of at least three levels behind the carlton. 6) Approve the Rite Aid project I'm sure what they bring back will be just fine. We are very lucy to have so much new construction being planned and all the work Cal-Trans has done and is doing. Tighten your belt everone else is. Keep your eye on the ball CC.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    This is Atrashcadero we're talking about, right?

    Is it really any surprise that they are bottom rung in every category except wife beating, meth taking, corruption, moaning, sister shagging, stabbing and pissing up the wall?

    Lock it down, napalm it and start over.

    But don't build a WalMart because they deserve so much better.

  9. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    Finally, somebody namely the FBI and the Treasury Department is bringing the truth out about City officials and management. They argue of who will or will not be re-elected. If the citizens are smart they will not re-elect any of them. They are all turning the good deeds of many over the years into making Atascadero not only a failure but possibly now a corrupt city. It's well documenmtated that they have lied to us and have cheated us.It appears those who have been in place the longest, Clay, O'Malley, Luna and McKinney are having some "heat" put on them for their actions in the past. They are pointing the finger at Mike Brennler, though I'm not a supporter of Brennler, I praise him for supporting the investigation. Without his support we all would still be treated like mushrooms-kept in the dark and fed full os S__t. With his short term in office he is not responsible for initiating the investigation. The FBI and the Treasury Department are inquirying into those that apparently lied and robbed from all of us when they defrauded FEMA out of over 4 million dollars. The seriousness of this investigation can be noted by the close to $90,000 attorney bill for the city for the month during the investigation. I really feel sorry for the majority of the City employees who have had to work under these people and who are now expected to lie for them. They all have too much character to lie for these scoundrels.
    I would support Mike Brennler in any action that he takes to start cleaning things up as he promised during the last election. Mike can take care of City management and the Community Development Department and we can take care of the rest of them come November..
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    If Atascadero has to pay back 4 million we are going to have a big problem. Rather than working on the finance problem it's just been politics as usual.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    We can not afford the cost of this FEMA money. The printery was at least misrepresented. Does the city have the money to return to the Feds for that. Please lets not get so caried away with the nessesity of restoring the rotunda that we commit fraud in the process. Take the legitmate resources available, take a picture and hang it inside a new modern version that reflects the history of city. We were 500k over budget a month ago 1 million over a couple of weeks ago. If anyone really took a look at the current budget and the speculation of permits in the next two years it would be clear before another 2 months pass they will update our shortfall to 2 million. Lets not add to that with this FEMA scam.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    This is very disturbing news. It sounds like city Hall is about to blow it's roof off. What in the world is the Matter with Councilman O'Malley? Something is up and I think it's more than the FEMA fraud.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    Oh Geeez,
    This is just too much. O'Malley sounds like he is desperate. I wonder if he is one of the elected officials that the FBI is investigating for "cozy relationships" LOL
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    Mayor Brennler most certainly will be re-elected. He is doing a good job and City Hall is getting the overhaul that is needed. The Tribune can't keep Atascadero in the dark forever.
    By: Anonymous on 4/7/08
    Could it be that the FBI just making its rounds before knocking on a business door in Paso Robles?

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