Rally to save Atascadero tree mural

June 29, 2012

Friends of the Tree Mural, a group of people supporting a mural on the ARTery in Atascadero, are planning a rally on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at 5890 Traffic Way.

Atascadero’s Design Review Committee has asked the owners of the ARTery to paint over the mural or pay $460 to appeal the committees’ decision.

In 2010, the city unsuccessfully attempted to ban a mural on K-Man Cycle & Run. At the time, the City Council refused to design a mural ordinance separate from a sign ordinance.

Atascadero’s Municipal Code defines signs as objects designed to advertise, announce the purpose of, or identify the purpose of a person or entity, or to communicate information of any kind to the public. It however, provides an exception for decorative or architectural features of buildings.

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I don’t really have an answer but it does seem like they may have been aware of the rules and decided to ignore. On the other hand, it would appear that they could remove the three words and then be in step with the rules so why not just do that? Personally, I like the picture and this town can use all the help it can get as far as appealing to people and making them want to visit here.

Art in community spaces such as downtown areas creates an atmosphere of sophistication and freedom of expression. An art store is the perfect place for creative expression. Why the City of Atascadero would object to a mural that is decorative and artistic is a mystery to me. I hope the City Council makes better decisions than the review committee in this matter and permits the mural to remain without further expense to the store owner.

Atascadero’s city administration pulls off yet another mind numbing stunt.

From my perspective, if you peel back the skin of the onion, you will be left with two realities.

The first is that the Design Review Committee dislikes the art form.

The second is that they are desperate for revenue. Remember they need to fund things like City Manager McKinney’s $90,000.00 vacation accrual payout, accrual that was in direct conflict with the cities own personnel rules.

To me, the mural is in no way offensive. I perceive it as depicting someone who is lamenting paradise lost, but keep in mind that this is my personal interpretation. Perhaps certain members on the design review committee saw it that way too and they were hypersensitive in view of recent Atascadero development issues.

It is ironic that Chuck Ward and Roberta Fonzi voted against the ARTerys mural, given their stances when they were proponents of the veterans memorial and dismissive of certain peoples complaints against the art form because it included weaponry.

I was in complete support of the veterans memorial, but recognized and was respectful to other peoples interpretations and comments. My main objective was to assure that agreements were in place to assure that the veterans memorial wouldn’t fall into disrepair. I feel that I succeeded in that effort.

One has to recognize that this latest event smacks of hypocrisy but alas, it is Atascadero, the same town whos CC voted Kelly Gearhart and Wade McKinney, Citizens of the Year …… and say that reminds me … didn’t Kelly Gearhart have a mural on his building on Entrada Way? I wonder if that one was approved post haste?

Ahhh, yes. I forgot to mention the EXTORTION part of the D/R committee’s rules…pay up or else!

The options are either 1) re-paint/downsize the mural OR 2) pay almost five hundred bucks to appeal the decision. What a rip-off!

Check out the members of the DRC; not a pro-government, pro-tax, pro-fee bureaucrat among them. Try to focus on the issue at hand, it’s not about collecting a fee.


Check out the “Rally to Save the Tree Mural” Facebook page. Maybe I just can’t tell from the photos, but I don’t see any advertising, just beautiful artwork.

A-town is already full of a hodge-podge assortment of businesses’ A-frame signs, banners, flags, balloons…but a colorful mural is not allowed? It doesn’t make sense.

And talk about EXTORTION! Pay us almost five hundred bucks or paint over your mural… Hopefully the city council will intercede like they did w/the K-Man mural.

I stand corrected. I just checked out the Design/Review Committee info from June 21 mtg. They have multiple measurements/photos of the mural. There are 3 words “art supply”, “framing” and “gifts” painted on the top back portion…so they should just paint over those words and leave the beautiful illustrations.

And listed in the 13 page (seriously–THIRTEEN pages devoted to this?) admin use permit is ONE anonymous complaint. The writer says the mural looks like downtown LA grafitti and does nothing to celebrate the history of Atascadero. Oh–so this colorful mural detracts from the already-blighted “downtown core”? HA HA! I guess the abandoned storefronts, boarded-up buildings, fast food joints, porno shop, thrift shops, used car/muffler shops and 4 lanes of busy traffic all shout “Colony District”, right?

Read the memo. It doesn’t sound like it was even written by an average citizen. It mentions RDA funds and I seriously wonder if A-town city staffers Callie Taylor (associate planner) or Alfredo Castillo (asst planner) had someone write the anonymous complaint e-mail just so they’d have something to do!

BTW: the Design/Review Committee consists of Roberta Fonzi, Bob Kelley, Chuck Ward, Christian Cooper and Susan DeCarli.

LINK pdf

Funny. Read the memo. Evidently you have a reading comprehension issue. Page 1 said that staff supported APPROVAL of the AUP. Nowhere did it mention RDA funds. So if staff supported it, than logic says the Design Review board denied it, which means they went against staff’s recommendation. So if an average citizen didn’t write the thing, I think they can understand the difference between a recommendation and not following said recommendation. And FYI, the average citizen’s reading comprehension level is at a 5th grade level, so kudos on defying that.

In the Atascadero News, the artery owner said “he was aware of the need to get the permit”. So if he was aware, than that means there was a possibility it could get denied, which means there may be a consequence. That consequence is now he has to appeal it, or paint over it. So if you do something illegal, and know there is a consequence, than should you man up and face the consequence? I like murals. I think they add character to our towns, especially the painted utility boxes in Downtown San Luis and other murals I have seen in LA and the Bay Area. We should definitely have more than of them, but we live in the mother may i state of California, where we have to basically ask to sneeze. If we don’t like it we can move or petition to change the laws.


Evidently you didn’t read Page 7 of the 13 page staff report.

The anonymous e-mail says, “The RDA MONEY was meant to improve communities and prevent them from looking like ghettos”…

I apologize for using the word “memo” instead of “e-mail”. Thanks for your kind words. Have a great day!

Page 7 is an attachment to the Staff Report, not written by the staff person or person(s) in this case. It’s an email from “anonymous”. The context of Staff’s recommendation for approval had nothing to do with the RDA. It is just an attachment of a email they received from some concerned citizen, probably what started it all. And thanks for the FB link to the “Rally to Save the Tree Mural”. Glad to see civil discourse is still alive on both sides and the train wreck of a rally started thanks to a few rabid posters. When a poster says “WHAT THE CITY OF ATASCADERO IS DOING IS NOT ATTEMPTING TO REMOVE A SIMPLE MURAL. THEY ARE NOT ATTEMPTING TO CORRECT A WRONG. THEY ARE RAPING YOU. ALL OF YOU. i read the letter that moron wrote to the city bitching about the beautiful work on the building. i know it didnt take much pressure from the idiot to get the “authorities” all riled up” is this really helping the cause? Probably not…

The city of atown has a long and well known history of bizarre ordinances and selective enforcement. Signs or perceived signs have always been the whipping boy for any person with a gripe…

Wake up and smell the coffee. Many towns do things that you perceive as “bizarre” but are in fact local politics. You want to talk about “selective enforcement”, look at who can and who cannot have illegal signage in SLO, or conduct illegal street businesses, or construct illegal housing units. Plus we have to PAY for the dancing fat women on cubes on Monterey Street. At least in A-town the controversial art is not publicly funded.

I believe in freedom of speech and being able to express myself. Cover it up and follow the process.

How about the City come out and help you “choose” what color to paint your house, or car, or “help” you choose anything else you do that the rest of us can see?

To an extent, that is the case, The City “helps” you “choose” how big your house can be, how far it has to be from neighboring properties, how high and where fences can be, and in historic districts, yes, what color you can paint your house To what extent is up to you. You are the City. So stop spewing like a Tea Party nut and participate in the process.

Looking at the mural, then reading the ordinance; it seems like the City is in the wrong. If it isnt against the law, it just isnt. You cant make crap up. If this is so bad, I think the majority of residents would have allowed an ordinance to be passed prohibiting it. This seems like the offended minority trying to fit a block into a round hole.