Brennler, Luna won’t run again

August 1, 2008


Atascadero Mayor Mike Brennler won’t seek a second term on the Atascadero City Council because of health concerns.

And council member George Luna said he will also retire from the council

Relatively unknown before his first attempt at public office, Brennler ran for a two-year seat promising to address local corruption. With three seats up for grabs in the 2006 election, he tallied the highest percentage of votes.

“From day one I’ve always known I was in a position, if I was compromising my health or the welfare of my family, I would have to leave the public arena,” Brennler said. “Politics is an ugly business.”

During his tenure, Luna voted to make development pay for itself and for downtown redevelopment. He approved the Atascadero Road Plan, and was involved in balancing the city’s budget and avoiding municipal layoffs in the early 1990s. Luna has been a majority favorite during the past decade.

How might these changes affect Atascadero? Let’s recap the past few years:

April 2006: The Rottman Group announced plans to build a super Wal-Mart at the corner of El Camino Real and Del Rio Road;

May 2006: City officials denied prior knowledge of negotiations with the box-store giant;

June 2006: Opponents and proponents of Wal-Mart began a battle that still rages today;

July 2006: E-mails leaked to the media reveal city officials and staffs were negotiating with the retail giant in 2005;

November 2006: Newcomers Brennler and Ellen Beraud, along with incumbent Tom O’Malley, won seats on the council. Advocating transparency in government and reform, Brennler and Beraud immediately encountered a volatile opposition;

January 2007: Prompted by Brennler and Beraud, the council voted to televise council meetings. In prior years, Luna’s motions to televise gatherings were always unsuccessful;

June 2007: Brennler asked law enforcement to investigate whether developer Kelly Gearhart committed fraud in not paying development fees. Gearhart is currently a defendant in a lawsuit alleging he bilked investors out of money;

February 2008: City Attorney Brian Pierik informed Brennler the FBI is investigating the city. The ongoing FBI investigation is said by sources to be focusing on possible under-the-table payoffs to, or overly-cozy relationships between, upper level city management. The probe reportedly includes both elected and non-elected officials and some private individuals;

May 2008: At a “public trust and campaign reform” workshop, O’Malley challenged Brennler to handle a dispute regarding council procedures “out in the parking lot.” Council members and a few citizens engaged in frequent heated disputes ranging from arguments about Wal-Mart, to battles over council decorum.

Three seats will be open in the November election.

Tags:, Atascadero, brennler, election, Luna



  1. ccn_debate says:

    Member Opinions:
    By: Anonymous on 8/26/08
    QUITE HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!
    By: Anonymous on 8/24/08
    Missing Trader Joe's should have been a wakeup call to the city of Atascadero. Why would any business want to come to a town that a) can't figure out which direction it should go, and b) savagely attacks anyone who tries to lead. The city council is in complete disarray, unable to agree on even the simplest, non-partisan issues, like building a veteran's memorial.

    I would sooner start a business in Kettleman City. At least there are probably fewer meth labs there.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 8/23/08
    By: Anonymous on 8/23/08
    Dave…? Dave's not here right now….
    By: Anonymous on 8/22/08
    Pam pass me that fatty. OK David. Stop whining Turtle your next.
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    Good idea. O'Malley must be loaded with the psychotropics he administered while working for Mental Health Dept :)
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    Here's an Idea. Lets have random drug testing for all City Council members. I wonder if Ellen and Pam would agree to that. Better than that campaign reform garbage. Roll me another fatty while we wait the results.
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    You seem to be the one full of hate just like the rest of your ilk. Hate is an awful thing to carry around with oneself. But that does explain the sour look on all of your faces.
    If Luna, Brennler & Beraud when they were elected, would have addressed the problems facing the city instead of their selfish agenda. There never would have been any of this mess.
    All Brennler and O'Keefe have been focused on is finding someone to send to jail.
    They could care wether the city lives or dies.
    How sad is that.
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    to Insider: Hate them as much as you claim to hate Brennler/Beraud – dumba**
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    I'm no real estate agent but you sure hate them don't you?
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    Grumpy again eh?
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    to Insiders Pain

    Defending lawsuits is what the City Attorney is for. Not pet projects for Smokey the Bear. I hope now that he is a lame duck the City Manager and City Attorney will just choose to back burner his bull.
    By: Anonymous on 8/21/08
    I'd love to see the City Attorneys bill on this Campaign reform crap in addition to the consultants that were hired on for that feel good thing of the Turtles. I can't even think of the name of it but its the deal where O'Malley "threatened Smokey" What a waste. Can we put a stop to these consultants now! How much will this bully cost us just in the time he has left. He should step down at once. If he's been forced out because no one can take his arrogance and bull crap good riddance. I drove through Santa Cruz yesterday. What a dump for the most part. Perfect place for the Turtle. Looks like a pot smokers paradice. Maybe we should get a one way bus ticket for Ellen and send her on her way with a nap sack and a beach bike. You can't tell the bums from the residents up there. We stopped for gas and while we were fueling a women who we assumed was a resident or visitor came up to us bumming money. No way would I want our town to become anything like Santa Cruz. This is the community the Turtle suggest could be a blueprint for Atascadero. Brennler today the Turtle tommorrow!

    (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  3. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 8/20/08
    To Insider:

    As mentioned after your post, you give Brennler way to much credit for creating the legal fees. Massive attorney fees were going on long before Brennler showed up on the scene.

    O'Malley, Clay, Scalise, Pacas and even good ol George had there hands in the matters that caused citizens to file law suits against City. The imminent domain issue across the street from the Carlton is a perfect example.

    The only thing Brennler did is help turn over the rock that caused the many cock roaches such as Insider to run for cover.

    We need more people like him in the Government.
    By: Anonymous on 8/19/08
    You give Mayor Bumbler way to much credit!
    He was put in office by the war machine of the Atascadero Homeowners Association and Oppose WalMart. It wasn't because of his vast experience, but maybe those that put him in office thought the whole town was corrupt.
    It was orchestrated by Ursala and her gang along with Comar and his.
    Clandistine, unidentified participants with money coming from the wacko envirogroup and the unions.
    They are afraid to stand up and be indentified in the light of day.
    I wonder how much money the mayor has cost us by telling the city attorney to "look into that"?
    By: Anonymous on 8/19/08
    to Mike Brennler

    Thanks for distoying Atascadero and creating the need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. I imagine the new City attorney just loves your ass.
    By: Anonymous on 8/17/08
    Maybe if everyone starts working real hard on their permits, maybe, just maybe they can get them issued before the June 2010 extension date. Maybe!
    By: Anonymous on 8/17/08
    Sure is quite here!
    Let’s see if we can get it stirred up?
    I would like to see the Grand Jury brought in to investigate the Planning Dept. It has been an open secret that they have conspired to financially impact or break most everyone that came in there with a project or even a small permit.
    Their small-minded, jealous of everyone, jealous of success attitude has contributed greatly to the demise of this city.
    IF you had kind of confrontation with them, their method was to “loose” or “bury” your file. Then, when they found it, they would make several corrections to your plans.
    Then when you brought them back, they would either make several more corrections or loose or bury your file again. This would go on and on.
    They do not know the meaning of the word HELP.
    When Warren Frace came before the CC meeting Tuesday, telling everyone how great he and the city were going to be for extending the permits till June 2009 I wanted to puke.
    What a hypocritical person, his staff is the reason for most all the permits being late.
    I hope that who ever gets elected will interview all of those that have requested any kind of permit in the past 4 years and take note of what they have gone through.
    And for all of you who have lost money in the Hard Money debacle, in Atascadero, you can blame a lot of it on the Atascadero Planning Dept. and what they didn’t stop the Planning Commission did.

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down

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