Atascadero officials attempt to filch more FEMA funds

November 5, 2009
Atascadero City Hall

Atascadero City Hall

By KAREN VELIE

There is growing evidence in Atascadero – the recollections of former elected officials, city employees, and previous reports – that shows that some leading city officials purposely lied when they reported that the historic City Hall’s foundation substantially sank during the 2003 San Simeon earthquake.

The disinformation was part of an attempt to get more than $30 million in federal and state disaster relief funds. Of that, approximately $8 million is slated for repairing the un-level foundation.

In doing so, Atascadero city officials denied the existence of a pre-earthquake study that said the City Hall had cracked walls and an uneven foundation before the Dec. 2003 quake occurred.

City officials sought federal and state aid to help repair the historic structure because of damage they said was caused by the 6.5-magnitude quake, including sinking of the foundation, bricks that popped out of the building’s façade, new cracks throughout the building, and water pipes that began to leak.

Though some of the damage occurred during the earthquake, the alleged sinking of the building as well as some of the cracks existed prior to the 2003 disaster, federal disaster officials said.

Investigators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have estimated that the cost of repairing earthquake related damage to the building at approximately $5 million. FEMA officials do not agree with the city’s claims that the bulk of repairs are due to earthquake related damage and not deferred maintenance.

Nevertheless, even though city representatives agree that FEMA is not responsible for deferred maintenance, city officials continue to claim that the building’s foundation issues, as well as other questionable repair costs, are a result of the quake and as such should be covered by FEMA at an estimated cost of $21 million.

Following the quake, the city hired a building damage assessment team that concluded the City Hall’s northeast side was seven inches lower than the high side due to earthquake-induced lowering of parts of the foundation.

Atascadero submitted their findings along with a request for FEMA funds.

However, CalCoastNews has learned because of interviews with city officials, employees, and former elected officeholders in Atascadero that a study of the building prior to the quake documents that the sinking had occurred prior to the quake.

In a June, 2003 article in the San Luis Obispo County Tribune, city officials were reported to discuss a study that says that the northeastern side of the structure was seven inches lower than the western entrance. The Tribune quoted city leaders, including then Community Service Director Geoff English, Assistant City Manager Brady Cherry, and City Maintenance Supervisor Bob Joslin, disagreed about whether the crack riddled 80-year-old city hall and if the structure was originally built at a slant.

In 2008, rumors that city officials had buried the purported report prompted former Mayor Mike Brennler to make a public records request to City Clerk Marcia McClure Torgerson, under the Freedom of Information Act, for any reports that addressed structural deficiencies in the historic city hall building.

McClure Torgerson replied that a review of Brennler’s request with all relevant city departments had turned up no documents.

“I have a strong belief the document does exist and this is just another example of the deception that I faced by certain executive managers while I was on the city council,” Brennler said.

“I do want to point out that there are a lot of good hard working employees in Atascadero but unfortunately there are some with questionable ethics.”

According to The Tribune, former City Council member Marge Mackey rebutted Cherry’s concerns that the building needed to be retrofitted, arguing that she was confident that the un-level cracked building could withstand any problems.

Following the 6.5-magnitude earthquake, the city hired a building damage assessment team that concluded the City Hall’s northeast side was seven inches lower than the high side due to earthquake-induced settlement.

Atascadero submitted their findings along with a request for funds to FEMA.

In 2006, FEMA officials said they did not “believe settlement was caused by the earthquake,” declaring it is not an eligible repair. FEMA noted that there was insufficient evidence to support the city’s claims.

In 2008, city officials fired back with an appeal in which they said the settlement damage did not occur prior to the earthquake and that professionals hired to work on the building before the disaster said there were no settlement issues.

In their appeal, City officials requested that FEMA and the state of California dole out an additional $21 million to repair the structure (generally FEMA provides 75 percent of eligible costs while states fund the remaining 25 percent). FEMA has already provided the city with more than $10 million in City Hall hazard mitigation which includes the city transforming a bowling alley into the city’s current government center.

City officials said in the same appeal that a “FEMA’s soil consultant admits that it would not be unreasonable to conclude that soil liquefaction is possible, under conditions experienced in the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake.”

Last year, CalCoastNews reported that Atascadero city officials had bilked taxpayers out of more than $4 million in disaster aid to reconstruct a youth center under the guise the previous facility had been rendered unsafe during the San Simeon Earthquake.

City officials identified the city’s historic Printery Building as the site of the municipal youth center in their application for FEMA funds.

However, at the time of the quake, the city’s youth center stood approximately a half-mile away, at 5493 Traffic Way in the old hay and feed building.

McClure Torgerson—much maligned for her closed-door policy on public records—claimed boxes of files regarding the youth center sites and the Printery Building were lost or misplaced due to the 2003 earthquake.

Brennler asked Cherry at a City Council meeting if the Printery was being used as a youth center at the time of the earthquake. Even though City Mgr. Wade McKinney continued to claim the Printery was utilized as a youth center in late 2003. Cherry disagreed with his boss and said it was not used by the city’s youth at the time of the quake.

“I have great respect for Brady Cherry, but it was very clear to me that Wade McKinney was exaggerating the use of the Printery as related to a youth center in order to secure additional monies,” Brennler said.

“I wanted to get every penny Atascadero was entitled to, but it is absolutely essential that the funding is legitimate because if monies are acquired through illegitimate means, it is a burden to state and national governments and it sets the stage for other dishonest acts that are not good for the taxpayer.”

In the destructive aftermath of fires, earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes across the country, desperate Americans rely on FEMA to help get their lives back in order. But FEMA itself may need to be rescued.

Nationwide, the program is riddled with fraud, abuse, and scandal. Fraudulent FEMA claims over the past few years have cost taxpayers millions of dollars and produced thousands of court cases.

Right now, FEMA continues to negotiate with Atascadero city officials on what City Hall damages it will pay for.

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3 Comments

  1. cheseburger says:

    What happen to David? I said,”expose the crap out of all of em!” where did he go, now? OCD is a nightmare, I would not wish that on anyone but hopefully soon to be gutted, Guth,Yudda slime, and Gearhartless, Miller the Monster and his daughter Castrating Courtney looks are skin deep,the b-tch sure chopped my balls off! And the same people city officials are in my worthless opinion, are in on it, they are all in on it. Yes all, except Mike Brennler, what a box of turds he’s up against!

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  2. cheseburger says:

    “CCN is a blog where someone’s sexual orientation can be used as a political weapon.” writes Davidbroadwater, kind of a broad statement,like David who seems to toot his own horn and come off like, “this is David Broadwater and the news.” Okay I said you were good, but don’t attack CCN because you are mad, at my opinion, just keep digging up those facts, I’m not secretly gay, and I love you! Like I said, you kick ass, and that’s a freaking compliment, stop twitching and start typing, you’ve got talent, expose the crap out of all of em, got anything on Robert M. Jones? Know where Miller is hiding now?

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  3. Karen Velie says:

    By: cheseburger on 11/17/09 [Delete]
    Now that it’s been resurrected by “cheseburger”, sorry I just couldn’t help it, I just want to know fem, or bull, or both? Or,right out of the movie’s, you just can’t handle the truth? And, nobody answered my question of , “Was he on the clock,and/or at a city function when the alleged sexual encounter happened?

    By: cheseburger on 11/16/09 [Delete]

    As for cheseburger’s “Broadwater has written so much, I want to here more,from, how about O’Malley?… we all secretly want to know if,” he is the feminine, or masculine one”” – I refuse to engage in this pernicious and despicable gossip-mongering, other than to challenge its perpetrators to “substantiate or retract the claims” made about O’Malley and two other public officials, as I did in my 11-9-09 “Skim the Scum” comment. None of those perpetrators have done so, choosing, instead to attack me with baseless and hallucinatory allegations. Apparently, they think CCN is a blog.”
    In response, good herbal tea? Go my boy go! just simmer down a little and keep coughing up those facts,Cheseburger is, 100% behind ya, and don’t think it’s personal, I had relationship, with a person with OCD, and it was indeed catastrophic, if O’Malley has such disease it should beclouded, to the people he represents, who write,” He’s been fastidiously on his tippy-toes for years – usually making a big deal of it to appear “clean”, make it clear that there is some doubt, as to the subjects of our representative.
    And the person, I knew with OCD, no joke, took five hour long cold showers in the middle of the night scrubbing, the skin off! Only a sentence like that, were available for the crooks!…No Joke..!!!!!
    And could give a snarl about whether or not he’s gay!!! Keep on typing, your good!

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/15/09 [Delete]
    re: cheseburger, 11/14/09, “Martin W.,on that subject, he does seem a little obsessive, huh?”, referencing Martin W, 11/9/09, “David… the ‘entire’ past and present CC, planning commission and 95% of city staff think he has a severe case of OCD amongst other problems that boarder [sic] along the same lines” – Originally, I didn’t consider “Martin W’s” comment worthy of a reply, thinking it would be dismissed by readers as patently absurd. Now that it’s been resurrected by “cheseburger”, however, I’ll respond.
    Has “Martin W” interviewed all “past and present CC, planning commission and 95% of city staff”? If not, does he claim to have contacted them telepathically? Is “Martin W”, or any of those he mentions, qualified to remotely diagnose anyone with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or any other psychiatric malady? Apparently, “Martin W” is a person with quite extraordinary capabilities, or an all-too-common proclivity to resort to cheap and sleazy personal smears when challenged with facts. Ridicule is easy, especially if done anonymously from behind a computer-screen bunker. Getting stuff done takes work. If “Martin W” has, indeed, interviewed all past & present Councilmembers and Planning Commissioners and almost all City Staff about my mental status, I would be inclined to consider that as indicative of a rather strange fascination. I guess I could feel flattered…
    As for cheseburger’s “he does seem a little obsessive” – I do spend time meticulously and tediously researching issues I speak and write about in the public arena, whether it’s a 60-page technical document, 2-page brief or newspaper article. That’s the price one pays for becoming a credible source of information on topics about which one wishes to advocate. I operate on Mark Twain’s old maxim, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – wise counsel. Take heed.
    As for cheseburger’s “Broadwater has written so much, I want to here more,from, how about O’Malley?… we all secretly want to know if,” he is the feminine, or masculine one”” – I refuse to engage in this pernicious and despicable gossip-mongering, other than to challenge its perpetrators to “substantiate or retract the claims” made about O’Malley and two other public officials, as I did in my 11-9-09 “Skim the Scum” comment. None of those perpetrators have done so, choosing, instead to attack me with baseless and hallucinatory allegations. Apparently, they think CCN is a blog where someone’s sexual orientation can be used as a political weapon. Have they no shame whatsoever?
    David Broadwater (not a pseudonym)

    By: Cindy on 11/15/09 [Delete]
    Agreed Dave, I wanted to make the point that since Pacas had recused herself it wouldn’t have mattered if Pacas or Luna raised an
    objection to O’Malley voting on the bowling alley.
    Its also my understanding that the land O’Malley owned in that area was later rezoned (commercial to residential) and he voted on that too. I don’t recall all the details because the bowling alley was a much bigger deal at the time.

    By: cheseburger on 11/14/09 [Delete]
    David Broadwater! You kick ass! I like all your views, You must not of seen the question mark! Cindy, happier days are ahead,both of you seem to have gotten to the bottom of the pit, I don’t like the property transfer one bit , and all shunangleling to do it, capricious at best. Oh if anyone wonders, George did not delete all my post on this article, I nutted up and felt they didn’t matter anymore, Martin W.,on that subject, he does seem a little obsessive, huh? Glad you fought the bad guy’s! Broadwater has written so much, I want to here more,from, how about O’Malley? Or who ever has the secrets, hell we are so into the whole thing, I know we all secretly want to know if,” he is the feminine, or masculine one,” Not that it’s wrong, in anyone’s opinion, but I’d like to know, and if were to be in these compromising situation,was it under appropriate conditions, ( LIKE AFTER THE DAY SHIFT.)

    By: Clemintine on 11/14/09 [Delete]
    Bottom line is O’Malley is crooked … but that ain’t hard to figure out. Just look at all the other sleezy stuff he has done while a council member.

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/14/09 [Delete]
    re: Cindy, 11/14/09, “Pacas had recused herself from that vote” – According to 8-3-04 SLO Tribune, Pacas & Luna voted against settling and Clay & Scalise voted for it on 6-9-04, with O’Malley recused; thus the 2-2 stalemate. Council minutes of 5-11-04, 5-20-04 & 6-8-04 show O’Malley recusing himself. Council minutes of 7-27-04 show O’Malley declaring the conflict resolved. The 8-3-04 SLO Tribune reported O’Malley received an OK from FPPC on 7-6-04 to deed the conflicting property to a family member. The 8-11-04 SLO Tribune reported he’d given it to his son.
    The 8-10-04 Council minutes and 8-11-04 SLO Tribune show that Pacas recused herself prior to the 3-1 vote to settle (O’Malley, Clay, Scalise for, Luna against). Pacas had been voting against the settlement prior to 8-10-04, and O’Malley wrote to the FPPC to try to find a way to remove his conflict, to break the tie in favor of settling. The 8-3-04 SLO Tribune reported that Scalise and Luna thought O’Malley favored settlement.
    re: “O’Malley didn’t know Pacas was going to recuse herself at the time and that’s why he put his land in his son’s name, he planned on breaking the anticipated 2-2 vote” – Agreed. So, re: “that isn’t quite what occurred”, I don’t see any discrepancy between our accounts of what occurred.
    O’Malley pulled off a sleazy ethical shell game with his property (which proved ultimately irrelevant) to which none of the councilmembers objected, and the city’s taxpayers got shafted by Harrison.

    By: Cindy on 11/14/09 [Delete]
    DaveBraodwater – “After he gave it to his 21-year old son, he voted for the settlement. No other Councilmember(Pacas, Clay, Scalise, Luna) raised ethical objections to O’Malley’s role in resolving the 2 to 2 vote stalemate on the settlement.”
    Actually (as I recall) that isn’t quite what occurred during that time. Pacas had recused herself from that vote because her employer owned property in the immediate area. Luna argued against the bowling alley settlement and even had a website with photo’s showing that the damage was the fault of the owners and not the city. The vote ended up going 3/1. O’Malley didn’t know Pacas was going to recuse herself at the time and that’s why he put his land in his son’s name, he planned on breaking the anticipated 2-2 vote.

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/14/09 [Delete]
    re: Cindy, 11/13/09, “I agree with David Broadwater about O’Malley but at the same time, he did transfer property into his sons name just prior to a rezone…” – It was about settling a $1.3.million lawsuit filed in 2002 by Jim Harrison (then bowling alley owner, now Colony Square developer). O’Malley had recused himself from voting on the settlement until 8-10-04 due to a conflict regarding nearby property he owned. After he gave it to his 21-year old son, he voted for the settlement. No other Councilmember(Pacas, Clay, Scalise, Luna) raised ethical objections to O’Malley’s role in resolving the 2 to 2 vote stalemate on the settlement. This is all recorded by City Council minutes and SLO Tribune reports from 2004.
    Two years later, when running for reelection, O’Malley got $1,000 from Harrison. Two years after that, O’Malley voted to give Harrison a $1.5 million loan guarantee. O’Malley never mentioned his political relationship with Harrison during Council meetings on the guarantee. No Councilmember suggested that being honest about that was the right thing to do.
    David Broadwater (not a pseudonym)

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/14/09 [Delete]
    re: cheseburger, 11/12/09, “He’s [O’Malley] been fastidiously on his tippy-toes for years – usually making a big deal of it to appear “clean” yet powerful,” Broadwater wrote,I guess that would make it okay too……?” – This would be an obviously erroneous and illogical conclusion. Associating me with it would also be not only erroneous, but the opposite of my record. I’ve strongly advocated, on the public record, for the Council to set its ethical standards higher than the bare legal minimum (i.e., declaring campaign contributions from developers appearing before them as is required of commissioners). The Council has refused to do so.
    Prior to O’Malley’s 12-9-08 vote to give Colony Square developer Jim Harrison a $1.5 million loan guarantee, I exposed the $1,000 contribution he received from Harrison, which he neglected to reveal. I’ve repeatedly stood up to and given and taken the heat regarding City Hall deceit. Insinuating that I acquiesce to it is fallacious.
    David Broadwater (not a pseudonym)

    By: Cindy on 11/14/09 [Delete]
    cheseburger I don’t think “Sister George” is leaving. Don’t know if you ever saw sister George because you weren’t around back in the days of Wild Wild UncoveredSlo when they tried to allow everyone the right of free speech! It didn’t work and so this Catholic Nun with a ruler showed up named sister George. Today we just call her/him(?) “George”
    Anyways the editor George Ramos has the same name as our moderator and there is only room for for one George and I guess the editor has rank! I think Sister George should become Sister Mary Rhinoceros (sort of a take off Sister Mary Elephant . I hope George doesn’t pick something as boring or sterile as “moderator”. Lets have a forum to pick a new name for Sister George.

    By: zaphod on 11/13/09 [Delete]
    cheseburger: “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” T.E.L.
    daydreaming about fema funds for instance.

    By: cheseburger on 11/13/09 [Delete]
    George what, are you quitting, what gives, the next guy might not be so nice to the chese, I was starting to like you, tell me it not true!
    If it is,,,,,good luck my friend,,,,
    Out of the night swarm wings of bad dreams,
    but the dream net guards the way.
    Tangled in the net, dark dreams are caught
    like flies in a spider’s web
    Then softly, like the shadow of a MOONBEAM,
    good dreams drift through the hole in the center of the web.
    All night the bad dreams struggle to fight free,
    but the dream net holds them fast.
    helpless, the bad dreams Die at DAWN,
    struck by MOURNING LIGHT.
    This is also my response to Countyauditor’s reference to moonbeam being cheseburger, that was all I could come up with C.A. Take care George! You will be missed! Maybe all this fraud is just one big nightmare! I just wish, we could all wake up.

    By: George on 11/13/09 [Delete]
    Goodbye cruel world! my work here is done and one of the editors wants my user name.Thar is only room for one george on this here site(spits)and it ain’t me (Im going round back and deleting myself….)right away.
    Its been fun

    By: Cindy on 11/13/09 [Delete]
    Welcome back cheseburger. ROTFLMAO means Rolling on the floor laughing my as* off. Google knows all that stuff ;)

    I agree with David Broadwater about O’Malley but at the same time, he did transfer property into his sons name just prior to a rezone coming before the council. Then he voted a rezone for that prime commercial property into residential. Of course Jerry Clay and Wendy Scalise went along with it.

    By: Rewind on 11/12/09 [Delete]
    How refreshing for this site, someone that actually researches facts instead of just repeating accusations. Keep it up Mr. Broadwater.

    By: cheseburger on 11/12/09 [Delete]
    He’s been fastidiously on his tippy-toes for years – usually making a big deal of it to appear “clean” yet powerful,” Broadwater wrote,I guess that would make it okay too……? I wish I were the bowling alley guy! And I still need to be filled in on what exactly does, Dash mean, ” ROTFLMAO “, call me stupid, but it’s not in the dictionary and it sounds like something not to be put on a cheseburger!

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/12/09 [Delete]
    re: Michelle, 11/11/09 “first last night. O’Malley… disclosed… property close to… vote on” – This is false. While it may have been Michelle’s first time, its wasn’t O’Malley’s. He’s previously recused himself due to potential property-ownership conflicts. He’s been fastidiously on his tippy-toes for years – usually making a big deal of it to appear “clean” yet powerful, as he did Tuesday night. Whatever one may think of this councilmember, it’s inaccurate to report that this instance of O’Malley’s ethical self-aggrandizing is its first manifestation.
    David Broadwater (not a pseudonym)

    By: Rewind on 11/11/09 [Delete]
    Well I’m off to honor our Veterans. Just curious, what will all of you be doing today?

    By: Cindy on 11/11/09 [Delete]
    Too Funny….. cheseburger just contacted me and asked me to tell everyone that he will be on vacation a couple of days because George gave him a time out! He say’s he is sorry to everybody except the County Auditor”.

    I didn’t see what happened with those guys but it must have been a good one, LOL.

    By: Michelle on 11/11/09 [Delete]
    Hat’s Off to CCN. I saw a first last night. O’Malley actually disclosed that he had property close to an area that he was going to vote on. He stated that according to the rule of ethics, it was 3 times the distance from what would be required for him to recuse himself. I have no doubt that he is on his toes knowing that CCN is around and gets the word out.
    Thank You Mike Brennler and CCN.

    By: Rewind on 11/11/09 [Delete]
    I’m sure the CC was scared to death. Wassup with Mike Brennler? He looks sickly. Does he have swine flu or something?

    By: Jordan on 11/11/09 [Delete]
    Mike Brennler submitted copies of a public records request for any Rotunda Building inspection reports, to “all” the city officials at the City Council last night. He even publicly stated that one of the seated City Council members had previously informed him that a report did exist. By now I bet they have shredded any proof that might exist. Jerry Clay had his head in the sand as usual and was condescending with his statements of “show us proof”! I guess someone will have to pull out the stops at the next City Council meeting in two weeks.

    By: Cindy on 11/10/09 [Delete]
    I just watched the Public Forum at the CC meeting. Kudo’s to Mike Brennler.
    I’m not in the mood to say anything else right now (about the response) because it isn’t going to be very nice.

    By: Robert93422 on 11/10/09 [Delete]
    Thanks David Broadwater for providing the text of the June 4, 2003 Tribune report “Lopsided Atascadero City Hall Could Be Sinking.”
    Regarding the Earthquake Insurance I mentioned earlier, I stand corrected. Apparently the entire California Congressional Delegation; all 52 congressional delegates who usually can’t agree on anything forced the White House and FEMA to back down from requiring publically owned buildings to have Earthquake Insurance back in 2000. So, basically the old building during the course of repair, and when completely repaired and retrofitted would still not be insured.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/10/09 [Delete]
    CCN. You have done an excellent job on shining the light on the rats involved in this scam on the taxpayers.

    Now I wish you would also go after them on the Printary. Many dirty hands there also I suspect.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/10/09 [Delete]
    That is the article that David Broadwater posted.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/10/09 [Delete]
    The article states

    may have been out of level since the word go.

    It is an old building and could just be a case of age.

    Last and the magic bullit, the last paragragh mentions the exact seven inch settling number.

    My conclusion. GUILTY. Common Atas. CC and Administration, Cop to your lies!! The truth will set you free. Or at least maybe keep you out of hot water for FRAUD!

    By: insider on 11/10/09 [Delete]
    What more do you need as proof the city knew the settlement had occured prior to the earthquake?

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/10/09 [Delete]
    Behold the Smoking Gun:
    Six months prior to the 2003 earthquake, the SLO Tribune reported that Atascadero officials knew about the City Hall foundation tilt. Below is the 6-4-03 article retreived from the SLO Tribune archives by searching for “Atascadero City Hall” (http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=list&p_topdoc=91).
    David Broadwater (not a pseudonym)
    Tribune, The (San Luis Obispo, CA)
    June 4, 2003
    Section: A-Section
    Edition: Tribune
    Page: A1
    Lopsided Atascadero City Hall Could Be Sinking
    One Side Is Seven Inches Lower
    Cracks Are Visible
    Freddie Yap
    The Tribune
    Atascadero’s historic City Hall could be slowly sinking.
    While city staff can’t agree on whether the iconic domed building is actually dipping into the ground just yards away from the manicured green lawns of the Sunken Gardens, the possibility has some officials worried.
    Noticing growing cracks in the walls and doors not closing, the city recently called in a Paso Robles company that props up sinking buildings.
    A quick survey showed that the northeastern end of City Hall sits seven inches below its western entrance.
    “That’s what really alarmed us,” said Geoff English, deputy community services director. “Potentially, the costs here could be enormous.”
    But others won’t yet call those more than normal wear on a building that is more than 80 years old. And they say that without records it’s impossible to rule out that City Hall was not originally built level.
    The imposing 75-foot-tall building was built in 1918, five years after the founding of the Colony of Atascadero. Its Renaissance Italianate dome, round windows and Greek columns are distinctive features in the heart of a downtown the city is trying to revitalize.
    “I think it’s the most beautiful building in the county, Hearst Castle aside,” said Marge Mackey, historian of the Atascadero Historical Society.
    The building is featured in the city seal, on the masthead of the Atascadero News weekly paper, and in a marketing logo created by the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce that recently won a national design award.
    “It’s the heart of the city,” said Alexis Curtis, a resident of 30 years.
    The tell-tale signs of potential problems appeared gradually in the north side of the building. Mackey, a former councilwoman, first found several cracks on the walls in the 1980s, but nothing was done about it, she said.
    Over the years, a few cracks have appeared or widened while a 4-foot-long bump has emerged on the floor.
    “Every once in a while, the doors don’t close anymore,” said English, a veteran city official of 13 years.
    On a recent tour of the building, English referred to a 2-inch long crack in a concrete door frame and said, “That, when I first started here, was just a hairline crack.”
    The problems seem to have gotten progressively worse in the last few years, he added, saying he believes these are signs that the building is settling.
    But Assistant City Manager Brady Cherry said it’s premature to conclude that City Hall is sinking, adding that some of the building’s problems could simply be related to its age.
    Bob Joslin, the city’s building maintenance supervisor, said it is unclear whether City Hall even started level because the building was constructed so long ago and no records were kept.
    The city plans to hire a structural engineer, who could carry out detailed studies as early as fall, Cherry said.
    Meanwhile, Cherry said there is a larger issue the city is not addressing: the need to seismically retrofit the building. While the facades on upper floors received some reinforcement in the 1980s, more work needs to be done.
    Estimates are not available for City Hall. But 1995 estimates of retrofitting needed for the nearby historic Printery building exceeded $1 million.
    Mackey is confident in the stout building’s ability to withstand any problems, real or imagined.
    “I’m not terribly worried,” she said. “I think the building will stand for a very long time.”
    Freddie Yap covers Atascadero for The Tribune. He can be reached at fyap@thetribunenews.com or 781-7858.
    TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO BY DAVID MIDDLECAMP – The western entrance of Atascadero’s City Hall is seven inches above the northeastern side, surveyors found.

    By: Cindy on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    chese I think we can save the beautiful Rotunda building and still watch the “defrauders” go down, hahah. We are all waiting for the FBI to act and it sure does seem to take a long time. I see one of our city attorneys is stepping down. I hope they replace him with someone who has a background in large scale white collar crime. I still think there is more money to find, it just doesn’t add up. 12% annual interest just wasn’t high enough to pay it all out like they claim.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    Well being that it was/is an unreinforced mansonary building, maybe it wasn’t/isn’t insurable, until it is retrofitted.

    By: Jordan on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    I would think that insurance is the least of our worries. I’m surprised the building wasn’t insured to begin with.

    By: Robert93422 on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    The City Hall is in a known earthquake zone. Sometime BEFORE the “repair work” (what ever that may be determined to be) begins, an EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE POLICY is going to have to be in place. Just wondering what the annual cost of such a policy would be on a nearly 90 year old structure of such size?
    Is there an insurance person reading this that can comment with some numbers?

    By: CitizenB on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    The City should be able to go after some grant money to save such a historically important and architecturally distinctive building. If it is not on the National Register of Historic Places it should be, and they can link to a lot of money sources through that.

    By: hotdog on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    I think that building is a masterpiece, I hope they don’t tear it down. We have all too few fine old buildings like that around here, we are becoming a strip mall. I would like to see a quality estimate on making it safe; we should honor and save our historic buildings.

    By: Cindy on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    Regarding the City Council meeting tomorrow night. I have spoke to a couple of individuals who have a great deal of experience at addressing concerns (such as this recent item) in a public forum. It doesn’t matter who brings the item up, it just matters that someone asks the questions. CCN has broke this story, there is no question that our city officials knew about this pre-existing condition and attempted to file a false claim to FEMA. On that we all agree. I don’t think anyone is attempting to garner a Claim to Fame for addressing this sad situation.

    By: Jordan on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    So unless Atascadero officials defraud FEMA, the citizenry can’t save the historic Rotunda Building. I think not, I have a better idea, install a knew City Council and replace some city officials.

    By: Gsan on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    Robert: Sensible idea to tear it down.
    Rebuilt: Who would use it?
    A large hologram of the building in the early evening hours would probably be just as useful as a retrofitted/repaired/redecorated structure.

    By: Robert93422 on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    The focus of the article is about city officials not being honest about the earthquake related damages to Atascadero City Hall. By now it is apparent to all that the foundation problem pre-dates the December 2003 earthquake event and would not likely be an eligible item for FEMA funding.
    Moving on to actual funding, a minor correction: FEMA cost share is 75%, the remaining balance is 25% which MAY be paid by the state, the state and the applicant or the applicant themselves. It depends on what the state determines their participation will be. FEMA funding does not go directly to Atascadero but rather to the State of California, Office of Emergency Services (OES) which would disburse the funds as work is completed. OES would monitor progress.

    It has been nearly 6 years has passed since that old building has been occupied or had any form of regular maintenance done on it. Perhaps its time to think about tearing it down.

    By: Nancy on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    Laura may be right. I can see the set up coming now. Broadwater will be knocking Velie while running with the true essence of this article, FEMA fraud.

    By: Laura on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    Don’t be fooled by Davidbroadwater. He is here to troll and gain attention for himself because Karen has some city officials cornered and David knows it.
    What DB forgot to tell you all is that you all better recognize him because he demands attention, if anybody is going to get any attention for this story, it is going to be him. He plans to get his name in the paper over this story. He tells you all (3 times) that he sent copies of the TT articles to Velie (even though she already had them). He keeps saying that because he is looking to take some credit for this story. He plans to make a big deal about katmello’s post and spread it around so that he can drag his name into this story by hook or by crook! Whatever it takes he is trying to push his name to the forefront. TROLL.

    By: MartinW on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    “Over the years, I’ve confronted O’Malley and Clay (and other councilmembers and city staff) numerous times in the public arena about their official conduct which I found deficient, destructive or ill-advised, and have testified numerous times before Sarah Christie and the SLO Co. Planning Commission attempting to influence policy.”

    Yes David spreads himself around, the problem is that the ‘entire’ past and present CC, planning commission and 95% of city staff think he has a severe case of OCD
    amongst other problems that boarder along the same lines.

    By: Michelle on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    DAVID BROADWATER: “Without a doubt, though, I’ll extend a single-finger salute to the slime-balls slinging this fetid slop.”

    How dare you? Who do you think you are to talk to me like that? If you want to come around here and name call because someone started a rumor make sure you call out the right people. I suggest that you go back and read my posts again you idiot. You can take that salute of yours and pick your nose with it.

    By: insider on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    I thought I would never say “I agree with Broadwater” but I am.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    The thing that would really stink out of all of this tho, is that the powers that be would probably go after this faster (slander) than they would the fraud of the city business dealings or the fraud of the local Hard Lenders.

    By: dhgscw on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    David Broadwater said: Skim the Scum!

    Right on David. Folks, slander lawsuits are making there way through the court system right now. Be aware of what you print – you may be in court trying to defend yourself from it. Also, you cannot hide behind the name you use on the post.

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    to Nancy on 11/8/09
    re: “I e-mailed CCN and asked them to post a link to the TRIB article… They… said there is no link because the story is archived and must be purchased. They said it also wasn’t ethical or appropriate to scan the story onto the CCN site because it belongs to the Trib and is for sale (only).” – Balderdash, poppycock and hogwash. I bought both SLO Tribune articles and can use them as I see fit as long as I correctly attribute the source. They’re my property now. CCN is in possession of both articles which I provided to Velie today. Nothing prevents CCN from providing its readers with with access to the articles. Resistence to doing so raises questions about CCN’s veracity.
    If CCN persists in obstructing access to these articles, I may post them in comments, as a service to CCN readers. I’ve avoiding doing so, so far, due to their length.
    David Broadwater (not a pseudonym)

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    to Michelle re: “playing with semantics Mr. Broadwater?” – Nope, just trying to ascertain the facts.
    re: “company… obviously reported on the tilt” – An assumption without any evidence of any such report.
    re: “company would have wrote up their findings and submitted it with an invoice” – Another assumption (seemingly reasonable) without any evidence of the existence of either.
    re: “article Velie cites is proof that there is a written document that notes the 7inch tilt prior to 12/22/03” – Nope. The SLO Tribune article Velie cites contains no such proof. The article reports that a “quick survey” found the tilt and that a company was “called”, without indicating any relationship between the two events, or that a report was produced.
    to Laura re: “company went out to estimate a repair cost… would have prepared a report” – Another assumtion, without any evidence that any company visited the site or made any report.
    Reasonable assumptions can serve as useful hypotheses and open up productive lines of inquiry. The assertion that the implied and inferred report exists is theoretical, not conclusive. Just because we assume it is reasonable that something occurred doesn’t mean it did.
    David Broadwater (not a pseudonym)

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    Amen brother.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. What somebody does behind closed doors is their business as long as it is legal. Wether I agree or others agree with or not on the morality of whatever, is none of our business as long as it is legal and doesn’t affect the performance and carrying out of what job in Gov. it may be.

    I state the last as the Wilcox thing in SLO did affect her job.

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/9/09 [Delete]
    Skim the Scum!
    Unsubstantiated and vicious smears perpetrated by CCN “members” upon public officials appear to be rampant and unmitigated on this blog. This is an affront to those reading comments for relevant information and perspective, a detriment to the credibility and value of this blog, and contrary to its “Comment Guidelines”.
    Over two recent days (11-6&7), three “members” have smeared two elected city officials, and one appointed county official, with slurs on their reputations based on sleazy sexual and racism assertions. These calumnies have been directed at distinct and named individuals, and do not refer to their official conduct.
    Atascadero Councilman Tom O’Malley is accused of closeted homosexuality.
    Atascadero Councilman Jerry Clay is accused of closeted violent racism.
    SLO County Planning Commissioner Sarah Christie is accused of screwing her boss.
    None of the “members” posting this vile drivel offer any evidence or mention any sources for their assertions, yet they call for these official’s removal based on them.
    I challenge these “members” to substantiate or retract the claims cited above. I challenge all “members” to demand they do so.
    Over the years, I’ve confronted O’Malley and Clay (and other councilmembers and city staff) numerous times in the public arena about their official conduct which I found deficient, destructive or ill-advised, and have testified numerous times before Sarah Christie and the SLO Co. Planning Commission attempting to influence policy. I’ve never made an assertion I couldn’t substantiate, and won’t ever do so. I’ve never commented on their personal behavior in a public arena, such as this blog, nor will I.
    I’ve also never seen these three twisted sisters (katmello, Nancy, Michelle), whoever they are (hiding behind pseudonyms), down in the council chambers putting it on the line when it counts. To say that their behavior is beneath contempt would exempt it from the repudiation and condemnation it deserves. Their attempts to discredit others with sleazy slurs are counter-productive and self-destructive. Their absence from those chambers shows a lack of conviction. They sling crap from behind a keyboard, but won’t risk real involvement (commonly known as chicken-shit). They smear themselves with their own putrid crap.
    There are plenty of valid reasons and means for taking assertive and effective political action, but the slurs cited above (and excerpted below *) are not among them. I emphatically disassociate myself from the scum-bags posting the personal smears cited above. I challenge all CCN “members” to do likewise. It’s time to take out the trash.
    katmello, Nancy, Michelle – Put Up or Shut Up.
    BTW, I think maybe I’ll let O’Malley, Clay and Christie know about the slanderous material posted on CCN…
    Maybe I’ll just write Sister George at george@calcoastnews.com, who moderates this blog according to the Comment Guidelines.
    Without a doubt, though, I’ll extend a single-finger salute to the slime-balls slinging this fetid slop.
    David Broadwater (not a pseudonym)

    * EXCERPTS:
    By: katmello on 11/6/09
    Tom “Don’t hate me cause I am secretly gay” O’Malley needs to be brought down by the citizens of Atascadero. … and Jerry “I wish I could club me a colored person” Clay…
    By: Nancy on 11/6/09
    … This gay stuff about O’Malley has raised a few eyebrows and a few people talking. Do you know the circumstances by which he was found in a compromising situation with a man and who the man was?… we have to get rid of O’Malley and Clay. …
    By: Michelle on 11/6/09
    … this is about deception. O’Maley puts himself out there as a church going heterosexual “family man”… if he has perpetrated this shrade [sic] all these years…
    By: Nancy on 11/7/09
    … O’Malley was once caught in a compromising situation with a man…
    By: Nancy on 11/7/09
    … The chair of the county’s planning commission Sara Christie is sleeping with her boss who runs the coastal commission…

    By: Laura on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    “the City “called” a company specializing in foundation repair”
    Michelle is absolutely correct. This company went out to estimate a repair cost to the foundation, that’s what a “company specializing in foundation repair” does, Mr.B . They certainly would have prepared a report pointing out the 7inch slant and detailed the cost to correct that slant along with the cracks.

    insider, you said you had the name of the company or engineer, WHO IS IT ?

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    To the blog troll. You have never heard of someone seeing an opportunity after the fact??

    By: Rewind on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    I heard it from a reliable but anonymous source that city hall was indeed tilting before the earthquake. To take advantage of that fact, the evil city management arranged for the San Simion earthquake to happen so they put in a FEMA claim. I think Gearhart had a hand in it as well because he hoped to get the repair contract. These dispicable city managers will go to any length to get what they want.

    By: Nancy on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    I e-mailed CCN and asked them to post a link to the TRIB article when this story came out last week. They replied and said there is no link because the story is archived and must be purchased. They said it also wasn’t ethical or appropriate to scan the story onto the CCN site because it belongs to the Trib and is for sale (only).

    By: hotdog on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    All these white (and some blue) collar criminals are equal opportunity thieves, they’ll steal from anyone. Their priest, family, friends, the elderly and the naive-as well as from seasoned investors, realtors, lawyers and others. I think the stepmom got the shaft in the Tasty Freeze debacle, which left about 30 other investors devastated. This was perpetrated by Gearhead, Miller, Brard and the title company who all conspired to defraud us by filing false papers, submitting false appraisals and ‘selling’ this project to three different entities!!!
    Oops, off topic. But just more evidence of the seething criminality emanating from Atascadero and Paso.
    There are many hard money lenders in SLO, perhaps all of them are having problems because of the bad economy and/or mismanagement. But not one word of fraud.

    By: Michelle on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    “Whether a “study” she cites (documenting the sinking and its existence prior to the 12-03 earthquake) exists is not made clear by either article. The 6-4-03 article states that the City “called” a company specializing in foundation repair and that a
    “quick survey” revealed the tilt.”

    What are we doing here, playing with semantics Mr. Broadwater? A professional company was contacted and obviously reported on the tilt. Doesn’t matter if you call it a report, study, survey or finding. This company would have wrote up their findings and submitted it with an invoice. The article Velie cites is proof that there is a written document that notes the 7inch tilt prior to 12/22/03.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    Cindy.

    Yea he got into his stepmom for 600k.

    By: Cindy on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    DavidB says – “What these articles do demonstrate, however, is that a number of top City officials knew, and were concerned, about this tilt six months prior to the earthquake, and that one official said the City had neglected seismic retrofitting of the building. The earthquake obviously damaged it, but using U.S. taxpayer money through FEMA to repair this tilt would constitute clear and blatant fraud.”

    So does this mean that I’m off the hook? Dave are you going address this at Tuesday’s CC meeting? I was actually going to give you a call because your better at this stuff than I am.

    By: Cindy on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    How heart breaking, I copied this post from the hadd site.

    To Kelly and Tamara Gearhart

    “It’s really something to read all this stuff now and think to myself–took ’em a long time to get that info — Those two screwed me so bad, I don’t have lawyer money– Is there a lawyer out there who would like to represent his step mother —I was the only” mom “he had for many years and after his Dad died he apparently felt free to ly and steel from me to the point that I am losing everything.”

    By: davidbroadwater on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    re: “CalCoastNews has learned… that a study of the building prior to the quake documents that the sinking had occurred prior to the quake.
    In a June, 2003 article in the San Luis Obispo County Tribune, city officials were reported to discuss a study that says that the northeastern side of the structure was seven inches lower than the western entrance.”:
    Some facts:
    There are two SLO Tribune articles regarding the tilting foundation of the old City Hall, “Lopsided Atascadero City Hall Could Be Sinking, One Side Is Seven Inches Lower, Cracks Are Visible” (6-4-03) and “No Place Like Atascadero’s City Hall” (6-19-09). Both are available from the SLO Tribune archives ($2.95 a piece). The author of this post possesses both. Velie’s piece refers to the 6-4-03 article.
    Whether a “study” she cites (documenting the sinking and its existence prior to the 12-03 earthquake) exists is not made clear by either article. The 6-4-03 article states that the City “called” a company specializing in foundation repair and that a “quick survey” revealed the tilt. The 6-19-09 article mentions a “report” about the tilt, but this may refer to the prior SLO Tribune article, to which it refers. Neither article cites any “study”, or any documentation, about the tilt. While such a study or document may exist, the articles do not verify that. Implying or inferring their existence based upon these newspaper articles is misleading and erroneous.
    What these articles do demonstrate, however, is that a number of top City officials knew, and were concerned, about this tilt six months prior to the earthquake, and that one official said the City had neglected seismic retrofitting of the building. The earthquake obviously damaged it, but using U.S. taxpayer money through FEMA to repair this tilt would constitute clear and blatant fraud.
    Ms Velie should attach a link to these SLO Tribune articles to this blog entry so that readers can read them for themselves. I have sent both articles to Velie with that suggestion. I will not post them to comments due to their length (over 1,000 words total).
    I have repeatedly publicly confronted City officials regarding inappropriate official conduct, but have not done so, and will not do so, without evidence. Therefore, I will not make the allegation that “Atascadero city officials denied the existence of a pre-earthquake study that said the City Hall had cracked walls and an uneven foundation before the Dec. 2003 quake occurred.”, as Velie has, because I’ve seen no evidence of such a “study”.
    David Broadwater (not a pseudonym)

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    Cindy.

    Yes. The City did the repairs that they would not allow the owner of the bowling alley to do. Hence he sued them for that reason and won.

    Then they need a building because of quake and now it is o.k. to do repair work which was not o.k. for the previous owner.

    So besides not letting the previous owner not do what they did, they also cost the taxpayers of Atas. in excess of a million dollars because of their arrogance.

    By: rukidding on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    Google gearhart hadd for info

    By: Cindy on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    BTDT – If I’m not mistaking the city did do the repairs to the bowling alley. I remember laughing to myself when they described how they had to block off the creek and catch a bunch of creek critters (like fish) and keep them protected. I thought it sounded like a fun/funny and well deserved job for them. I guess it was part of the environmental protection requirements that they hate so much.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    O.k. I go back to my original question. I looked again at HADD’s site. This is a site for building deficiencies. Again I don’t understand what they have to do with monatary fraud?

    And yes I understand all about Kelly. As stated he is into me for money just like others.

    Another thing going back to city and their shananigens. Anybody remember how their present City Hall location was unsafe and not legal to encroach on the creek when it was a private business (bowling alley) but now o.k. seeing as it is the city.

    Atascadero needs to clean up City Hall. The Printary, City Hall past and present. Way to many questionable things going on.

    By: Michelle on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    Cindy is right. This has been reported to the FBI, I know because I reported it myself. I also know that they read the Cal Coast News Site and the blogs, they have even gathered some useful information from these blogs before. I report this stuff to them anyway just for an ounce of good measure.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    I checked out Hadd’s website and am a little confused. It looks to me like a site to file complaint about defecient building.

    I don’t see anything about monatary fraud. Did I just overlook it???

    By: Cindy on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    For those of you that missed cheseburgers earlier post. Those of you who have been ripped off by Kelly Gearhart should go to http://www.hadd.com/node/1563 (don’t worry chese, this link doesn’t include all your personal info!, (you are fun/funny:)) There should be literally 100’s of complaints about Gearhart and there are only 6 (cheseburgers being #6).
    rukidding – Sure I can do that and you can all watch it on TV! Heck I never had a cover to begin with.

    By: rukidding on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    cheeseburger
    Everyone has been defrauded over the issue of this particular blog-the City of Atascadero regarding the Rotunda building.
    I feel for you and everyone else who has been defrauded by the local hard money people-they all should be in jail. This particular blog regards Atascadero and the Rotunda and that affects all tax payers.

    By: rukidding on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    Cindy,
    You attend Atascadero City Council meetings and have voiced your views in the past. There is a City Council meeting this tuesday, why don’t you just attend and ask the city manager the question directly. All of the bloggers can watch it on tv and/or you can report back to this blog.

    By: Cindy on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    There are certainly a few frustrated bloggers here that have been ripped off in the local ponzi schemes and blow off steam on these threads. If wanting to grind up Kelly Gearhart and Jay Miller and put them in a slab of concrete makes them feel better then I say let them vent.
    As for the latest “attempted” FEMA fraud, the FEMA people know about it and so does the FBI. The FBI takes information but doesn’t give any information back. This story is more about city officials trying to defraud FEMA, not that they managed to do it.
    Who do you want us to complain to, the officials who did it? CCN gets the word out, its up to the citizens to consider who they are voting for.

    By: ThomasPaine on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    This could have been such a good site.

    By: rukidding on 11/8/09 [Delete]
    Are any of you poster going to address the story? Is there fraud involved with the Rotunda? If there is, is anyone going to do anything about it or just blog?

    By: sharibaby on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    You guys should filch some FEMA funds because this website is a disaster.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    You know there is only one thing with grinding up pieces of S*it and putting it into concrete. Then you have sh*tty concrete, which is crocked, lets off a bad stench, and will go bad in a short while, and also will probably cost way more than it is really worth. ;-)

    By: hotdog on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    Cheseburger wants to grind up all the crooks and mix them in the foundation. I agree, but it is a cruel thing to do to innocent cement!
    Anyway, if done with volunteers (I know of 5,000) then perhaps Mr burger and I could have the concession stand, we’d be perfect! It would be a fine event, with everyone cheering the final demise of our local mafia. I’m sure we could ‘entice’ gearhead to come back, one last time…

    By: insider on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    BTDT. You’re Right I’m wrong. There I said it.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    Insider.

    O.k. you got me. I was just doing quick math and knew it had to be less than an 1/8 over distance I stated. I went back and refigured. It is 1/32 over 200 feet. Which comes in at 6.25 inches of drop. Close enough. No place near the 1/2 you state.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    Longtime.

    It is a disappoint that you have gone back to being a troll. You started that way a long time ago, then got better. I sure hope you aren’t reverting back to that. I think you could over much more to the conversation.

    By: George on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    What dhgscw said.

    By: Cindy on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    Like I said, I’m not going to put much weight in katmello’s post. Granted, it’s intriguing but there are no specifics to follow up on.
    If kat has any real information for us then he/she should contact Karen and let her investigate it.

    By: Longtimelocal on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    This has got to be an all time low. . .even for the usual band of posters to this site. The money you must spend on tinfoil hats must be astronomical!

    By: Cindy on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    I think the city should hire BTDT and cheseburger to give us all an assessment on the rotunda footing and a contract to repair it. I bet we would all get a much better deal from BTDT and cheseburger than through any contractors the city hires.

    By: Nancy on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    If O’Malley was ever caught with one or any of our local dirty developers it would be a bigger deal than the Wilcox scandal. If he has a closet lover that has benefited from city deals then I want to know about it. O’Malley has done dirty deals and voted on projects that would benefit him before. He even put his property in his sons name so he could vote a good deal for himself.

    By: insider on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    1/8″ over 200′ equals 2.08″. It would be something under 1/2″ per foot if continuous.

    By: Nancy on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    katmello’s post from previous thread:
    “Wow, sorry, but who cares. If you start putting politicians in prison for lying, then we will need another dozen or so more prisons. In the scale of lies, this one rates pretty low to me. I can name plenty of current and former local politicians who fudged on their forms and/or did not live where they said (Peg Pinard, Jerry Lenthall, to name two).

    The chair of the county’s planning commission Sara Christie is sleeping with her boss who runs the coastal commission. Katcho has been catting around for years and passed off an ex-girlfriend to Harry Ovitt. The husband of Pismo’s Mayor gets pulled over for drunk driving once a month, and the husband of Pismo’s vice Mayor was once busted for growing a pot farm in Price Canyon. Atascadero’s Tom O’Malley was once caught in a compromising situation with a man. Sheriff Hedges, aside from his bugging and wife-slapping hobbies, beds bimbos every chance he gets.

    And so it goes…..
    And so it goes…..

    Nothing different here than anywhere else. those who think our county is worse than others have not paid attention to what goes on in LA or Orange County.”

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    Here is a question I have about the possible settleing. Is this seven inch drop off sudden near the one side? Or is this gradual from one side to the other.

    If this is gradual (which I think it is)then looking at the numbers (7 inches) which would be a drop from one side of the building to the other, which I would assume is at least 200 feet across, by my math that calculates to less than 1/8 of an inch drop per running foot from one side to the other. That is not bad.

    Also if this is the case, I would assume that with the grading that they were probably capable of in the 20’s and the leveling, I bet this would not be out of line with the standards of that time.

    Chese your the concrete man here, correct me if I’m wrong.

    My feeling is, it may have always been this way and Atas. officials are latching onto this, to make arguement for their bull.

    By: dhgscw on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    I ask, what could ‘gay’ possibly have to do with this discussion? Shameful.

    By: Rewind on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    I can’t believe this site. Someone starts a rumor that someone is gay, people repeat it over and over, them you idiots start to believe it.

    This site is gay.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/7/09 [Delete]
    People. Cheseburger is right.

    What does O’Malley being Gay have to do with sh*t! It is private. If he does something in private that breaks the law (i.e. like the possiblity of the cops in SLO at the boarder) then it is our business. If not then it is not.

    Possible Gay or bi-sexuality is not a crime last I checked. Maybe a moral disagreement but that’s it. Go get um CHESE!

    By: Cindy on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    katmello is the only person that has made these accusations. I’ve never heard any of this before and it doesn’t sound like anyone else has either. katmello has been asked for details on more than one occasion and has failed to provide any proof like when, where, who? Anybody can make an accusation about anyone. katmello is a “hit and run” poster around here. I’m not putting much wait in what kat says.

    By: Michelle on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    cheseburger, I haven’t interpreted this as gay bashing. My sense is that this is about deception. O’Maley puts himself out there as a church going heterosexual “family man”. He is married with children, if he has perpetrated this shrade all these years then he is one big big Hugh chameleon. We have a right to know who is representing us.

    By: MartinW on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    Big_Smiles, Your amused about what poor Jerry thinks, I can just imagine poor Peggy!

    Katmello has stirred this pot but good. She did a post a couple of weeks ago with some inside information that I know to be factual. She threw me for a loop with that piece on O’Malley though.

    By: BIG_SMILES on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    I’m sure poor Jerry Clay is having a conniption over the idea that O’Malley is ‘BI’.

    I’d like to see the Rotunda repaired and I would like to see something done about the Good Old Boys. They managed to take control again, not that they ever were eradicated. It would be nice to see some honest people step up comes election time. Nothing will change if the candidates don’t run. We are stuck with those who wanted ‘in’ but not those who would be best for Atascadero. One thing I am certain of, anyone who is backed by the Buban gang is indeed (to quote another poster here) a “wack job”.

    By: Laura on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    AA101, I was discussing this possibility with a friend just the other day. She pointed out that I should go back and look at the CC meetings when Mike Brennler was seated. I laughed so hard and I will quote her, “Heck yes it could be true, he has many traits, just look at what a raving bitch he was when Brennler was around”.
    He does throw pissy fits and he never shuts up either. So, yes I think it’s true.

    By: AA101 on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    What’s with this Tom O’Malley stuff? Is it possible that he’s in the closet with a wife in the kitchen?

    By: insider on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    How many millions have we thrown down this black hole while the City lets an over paid book keeper advise us on structural issues and assures us that FEMA will ultimately pay the majority of the costs of this brand new shiny old building. I wish Karen would of stated how much the City has spent to date. Is it 10 or 12 million. How much are we commited to by having signed contracts with the Architects and Engineers. The council was obviously impressed with the size of the set of plans submitted for phase I. Unfourtunately my experience is the bigger the submittal the greater the costs. And FEMA wants to pay 5 mil of the 30 the City wants from them. When anyone questioned the cost projections by the Architects they basically told the council that we have no choice we are required by law to restore the building. Bullsh@t. We are the goat and the Architects take home a nice fat paycheck when this turns to dust.

    By: Nancy on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    katmello, You really should contact Karen. I know she would be interested in talking with you. This gay stuff about O’Malley has raised a few eyebrows and a few people talking. Do you know the circumstances by which he was found in a compromising situation with a man and who the man was? Everyone knows that we have to get rid of O’Malley and Clay. They cause an uproar every time they don’t get their own way. They also spearheaded the crazy ABA gang and tried to get Mike Brennler off the City Council. They are both an embarrassment.

    By: rukidding on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    Think about it, a 7″ drop in the foundation. Funny that there is no reported evidence that shows the tremendous damage that would have occurred to the foundation if that had happened. There is NO significant cracking anywhere in the foundation that would have occurred if that happened. Think about it 7″, where is the SIGNIFICANT cracking that would have occurred? My guess is that over the years the building may have settled a little bit, just like every other building. And then back when it was built it was probably constructed out of level. Another scam.

    By: katmello on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    Tom “Don’t hate me cause I am secretly gay” O’Malley needs to be brought down by the citizens of Atascadero. He combines every awful and annoying characteristic of a politician wrapped inside the saggy sack of an aging boot-licker extraordinaire.

    Keeping him and Jerry “I wish I could club me a colored person” Clay in office will only lead to more bad publicity and crooked doings for a city that deserves better.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    PaulJones.

    Yea the one on the Rotunda and Kelly buying is a new one on me. Not saying it wasn’t possible but I never heard him mention it. My business dealings with him was such that I only talked to him sometimes about once a month.

    I do know about the screwy dealings on the printary, as I had talked to him before and after that happened and knew that was a screw job the city was trying to put to FEMA, on the claim that is now the new community center.

    Absolute Bulls**t (on citys part) if you
    ask me.

    I would not be suprised at all that the Rotunda is questionable. I have been all over that building doing work in the 90’s in crawl (attic) spaces that you wouldn’t believe the condition. Have been in the basement to the roof. Very questionable.
    Heck their maintance supervisor at the time told me that place always kept him busy keeping it from falling apart.

    By: insider on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    Here’s a question. What is the Citys proof the building was level before the earthquake?

    By: Rany on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    Heather Morino : “doesn’t seem to get whats going on, either that or she has her own agenda.”
    Thats because Morino is one of the ABA ‘wack jobs’. Its all about who knows who and who can do what for who, reality isn’t part of their picture. Clay, O’Malley and Fonzi all think she is wonderful. Sure she could easily be an at large appointment, HA.

    I’m not sure what Kelly thinks of her, he tried to distance himself from Buban, Jackson and the rest of that crowd.

    By: PaulJones on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    BTDT, I meant to say, “were you aware”.

    Jordan, Speaking of Planning Commission meetings. I have noticed a rather odd individual on that commission. Heather Moreno doesn’t seem to get whats going on, either that or she has own agenda. Who was she appointed by or is she possibly an at large appointment? I can’t fathom the latter to be the case.

    By: dhgscw on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    AL said: “Just pile all the North County crooks on the high side or better yet prop it up and bury them under the low.”

    Now that is a creative solution to the problem. Like hitting two birds with one stone.

    By: Jordan on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    The current “temporary” city hall is standing on prime commercial property. The temporary city hall should eventually be developed as commercial property to generate sales tax revenues.
    As far as I’m concerned, the city staff is expected to return to the original city hall as soon as its been repaired. No excuses. They should also be doing something about the staffs budget. They have nothing to do as evidenced by the plan comm meeting agendas. Its time to downsize again.

    By: Al on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been standing 187.27′ tall since 1173. In the 1990’s it was straitened some and deemed safe for another 300 years. The Rotunda tilt is certainly less radical. Just pile all the North County crooks on the high side or better yet prop it up and bury them under the low.

    By: PaulJones on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    BTDT, Considering that you knew Gearhart, where you privy to the rumor that the city had planned on selling the rotunda to Gearhart? Contrary to what the public was told, it has been long known/obvious that the city staff never planned on moving back into the building. Even if the rotunda is repaired it will never be Atascadero City Hall again. Wade and friends aren’t about to give up the cushy new digs. It was all about leverage to buy out the previous (bowling alley) owners under the guise of settling a law suit that the city could have easily prevailed in.

    By: insider on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    The building may or may not have settled more. Maybe it evened out. Who would know without a bench mark survey. I think for the City to imply that the building was completely level prior to the earthquake and it all happened during that eathquake stretches their credibility. It would take a complete idiot to think that. I know you would never convince an engineer of that concept. Also the fact that the City says there has never been a study or a credible engineer that has even cast an eye on that foundation is equally absurd.

    By: Cindy on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    insider – If the building settled over the years due to soil conditions wouldn’t you think it would have settled more after the earthquake, yet this doesn’t seem to be the case? Will the city still be able to repair the building without the added FEMA funds for the foundation?

    By: SarahO on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    AGAIN! I guess the embarrassment for the last FEMA fraud wasn’t enough for our city leaders and citizens. I suppose they figured that they got away with it and so, why not try it again. The people at FEMA already know our leaders are liars and that’s why FEMA didn’t believe them about the foundation. Sure it’s always nice to get free money especially when its out there for the taking. I’m pleased that there are FEMA funds to assists with disasters. If people would just stop lying and cheating each other, and that’s what they are doing, there would be so much more for the rest of us. Why don’t our city leaders understand this?

    By: insider on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    FEMA will not pay for retrofit. They will only pay for restoration to pre earthquake condition. The building was unlikely built on a slant. It is more likely the building settled unevenly over many years due to soil conditions.

    By: Cindy on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    cheseburger- Can the city still repair (retrofit) the Rotunda without having to correct the slanted foundation? I should think they could but it will probably cost more. Still whatever the cost for a retrofit will be paid by FEMA so the repairs should still be able to go forward, right? I sure hope so because I would hate to see Atascadero lose that beautiful building. As to the Printery, after we received the FEMA money we should have kept the building and repaired it. Gearhart was already blowing the whistle on the city for the FEMA fraud, maybe because he thought the money for the building should have gone to him. He claimed that the city had asked him to push back the escrow so that they could claim the funds! What a mess they made getting involved with “fatboy1” (yeah, that was his e-mail handle and code name).

    REWIND – For once I have to agree with you. I can’t imagine what the heck Marge M was thinking to make such a foolish statement.

    By: Michelle on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    rukidding, I also didn’t mention Roberta Fonzi who has a tendency to vote opposite of Ellen Beraud. I have no reason to believe that they were aware of the previous engineering reports. It’s also been mentioned that Mike Brennler already addressed the problem and got no where because the existence of the report was denied. This story appears to be the first proof that has surfaced regarding this issue. I’m sure the Mayor will now address it.

    By: BeenThereDoneThat on 11/6/09 [Delete]
    Mister dilusional. Try this one on for size.

    The escrow for the printery closed a day after the quake. The city then takes four to seven million for it claiming a rec center there.

    O.k. fine then use it to REBUILD IT. But no the money gets used down the street on a totally new and different project, while the Printery still sits in a screwed state.
    Mr. if thats not fraud I don’t know what is. Maybe you should spend less time here on these posts bashing others and contribute something useful. Or

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