O’Malley threatens mayor with alley brawl
May 23, 2008
By KAREN VELIE
Atascadero City Council member Tom O’Malley challenged Mayor Mike Brennler to handle a dispute regarding council procedures his way, man-to-man out in the parking lot, said numerous attendees of Thursday’s “public trust and campaign reform workshop.”
During the conciliatory-turned-contentious meeting, O’Malley interrupted and argued with a speaker during public comment. Brennler asked O’Malley to let the speaker finish. When it appeared O’Malley couldn’t hear the mayor over the altercation, Brennler began waving his hand at the council member.
“If you don’t stop shaking your hand at me, we are going to have to meet out back in the parking lot,” O’Malley is reported by numerous witnesses to have said.
O’Malley did not respond to requests for comment.
Late last year, the council voted to hire a mediator at a cost of around $9,000 to oversee a series of meetings designed to help city leaders develop skills needed to foster publics trust and confidence. At the first meeting a few months ago, O’Malley is reported to have hurled insults and argued with Brennler and Tom Shanks, the mediator.
Shortly before O’Malley’s latest threat, Suzy Anderson, a member of “A Better Atascadero,” — a political action committee — accused council member George Luna’s wife Ursula of taking certain actions during an election eight years ago.
George Luna said he was not going to listen to “lies,” and walked out of the meeting. Anderson later said she was not speaking on behalf of her group.
Following lunch, Luna returned, and Brennler asked attendees to follow meeting decorum and refrain from personal insults and requests for fist fights. Shanks put a limit on public participation, and the focus turned towards public finance reform.