Atascadero execs fleeing troubled Walmart project?

January 8, 2015

Walmart aAll Atascadero executives who participated in 2012 negotiations with Wal-Mart have now left their positions with the city. [Tribune]

Atascadero Community Development Director Warren Frace announced this week that he is leaving the city for the same position in his hometown of Paso Robles, which comes with a boost in pay. Frace’s declared departure follows Atascadero’s city manager, assistant city manager, public works director and community services director each leaving their posts in the last three years.

Debate over the addition of a Wal-Mart store to Atascadero has been occurring for the last 10 years. In 2012, the city council approved a planned development at the corner of El Camino Real and Del Rio Road that includes a Wal-Mart and an adjacent shopping center.

Litigation then delayed construction for two years, but Wal-Mart has not applied for building permits since prevailing in its legal challenge last year.

Still lingering is the issue of how the city and developers will distribute traffic mitigation costs. The plans approved for the Wal-Mart and adjacent development require the construction of nearby roundabouts to ease traffic impact to the area.

Initially, the city estimated the costs of the roundabouts to be $4.5 million. But, last year, Atascadero officials announced that the roundabouts actually costs approximately $12 million.

Atascadero has a cost-sharing deal with Wal-Mart and the shopping center developer, but the city could have to pick up a tab in the millions for cost overruns. It is unclear whether the parties will negotiate a new deal.


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SandyK

Wal-Mart sucks….’nuff said.


achillesheal

Poor people seem to like their cheap prices.


smiley

Most government employees are promoted after demonstrating a high level of incompetence. Some make lateral moves when confronted for their poor job performance but dismissal is never an option. Good thing what they do doesn’t matter or we’d really be screwed! Think I’ll go file my taxes..


whatdouno

CCN you are mistaken. They aren’t fleeing. They have simply sucked all the resources financially that they can and have moved on to bigger paychecks before their nefarious behavior catches up with them here. It’s all about the money and getting out before the public gets wise to how badly they have been screwed.


OnTheOtherHand

I am wrong in remembering that John Wallace/The Wallace Group was the source of the low-ball estimate for the Del Rio interchange improvements? If not, it makes me wonder why ANY agency in this county would not have learned by now that Wallace is not someone with whom to do business.


I gather that he is a good salesperson in that he seems to be able to figure out how to tell anyone what they want to hear to get a job. But he now has a track record for fiscal incompetence and sloppy engineering practices.


kayaknut

He also likely has a track record for nice kickbacks, and that’s why he keeps getting jobs. It not like it the elected officials money anyway.


Snoid

I can assure you its all part of a manipulated game plan and not incompetence. Bid low, get the job, and the train of never ending cost over runs, errors and changes begins, all paid for by us, the tax payer. There isn’t a job one Wallace has performed in the county that hasn’t resulted in massive cost over runs. When you have a close personal relations with every politician in the county you operate it comes with the territory. The Sanitation District, Los Osos debacle, The traffic Cluster Fxxk thats on LOVR thru the Costco area. Throw in Howdy Doody Mr Seitz as his personal corrupt “legal body guard” and there is no stopping the tag team of screwing tax payers of this modern day laurel and Hardy.


CARNAC

The Atascadero Officials and staff dealing with the Wal-Mart issue performed like amateurs. It is no wonder that all of the staff dealing with the issue have now left.


It is an insult to taxpayers that public employees who lack competence or make serious mistakes in judgment routinely do not suffer the consequences. Instead they go on to a better paying public job in another jurisdiction. If you include salary along with health and pension benefits Frace will make nearly $200K with Paso Robles. There are many private sector executives in this county who perform well and do not make $200K in total compensation.


We have a public sector pay and benefits crisis coming down the track at 60 miles a hour that will hit city, county, and state taxpayers within the next few years. I want to know where the adult leadership is to deal with this crisis at all levels of California government.


Theo P. Neustic

Bingo! There’s a reason they gravitate to the public sector.


pasoparent5

I shop at Walmart sometimes. *GASP*

There. I admit it. (BTW I also patronize Target yet I guess that somehow that’s acceptable with anti-Walmart activists.)


That being said, this A-town project was flawed from the start.


The city bent over backwards for years, doing practically whatever Walmart told them to do. There were no real negotiations; if Walmart said “jump,” A-town city leaders replied “OK! How high?!”


O’Malley, Clay, McKinney, Frace and others were so pathetically desperate to get a Walmart in their town; they should be ashamed how they were willing to throw the Atascadero taxpayers under the bus.


Mr. Holly

The town has only slipped downhill since they elected their first mayor 2 years ago. The exodus started when McKinney knew he was going to get caught, got his $140,000+ check and left town. The others saw the writing on the wall gathered their checks and left too.

Now they are back to square one. But hey have the mayor who has done everything for the success of Atascadero so there is probably nothing to worry about.


Theo P. Neustic

The city has had other opportunities with other important retailers in which they have failed at or in which the retailers have skipped the city because of their track record. The city has been in deep financial trouble for years and the “leaders” who negotiated this Wal-Mart deal were scrambling to make something, anything, work. So, not to make any excuses, but when you’re negotiating from a weak position, bad things happen.


achillesheal

Sharks negotiating with fools. Go get ‘um Walmart!


Gsan

This Walmart store will never be built for many reasons. Among them are:

• The store doesn’t fit the present Walmart strategy

• Walmart will be closing stores around the country like the one proposed for Atascadero.

• The cost of the interchange will go up so fast, even the taxpayers will come to recognize it is a bad deal. $4 million. Not enough. $12 million. Not enough. How much will it cost the latter portion of this decade? Ask the mayor when he will expect groundbreaking at the latest … and let us know what he says.


In a third world country they would make the site a park with a soccer field.


kayaknut

Just because the cost of something will go up doesn’t mean it won’t be built, the infamous CA non-bullet train was voted for at 9 billion and now sits at a minimum of 68 billion and they still are trying to built it. How soon till it hits 200 billion?


achillesheal

It likely already has. They just don’t know it yet..


kayaknut

You are right and wrong, it likely has but they also likely know it, they just haven’t given the great news to the public yet


Theo P. Neustic

The difference in your subjects for the analogy are huge. One is a private sector business that must make a profit and the other is a taxpayer supported boondoggle designed to line the pockets of select developers and building trade unions.


LameCommenter

Gsan says: “In a third world country they would make the site a park with a soccer field”.


no, they wouldn’t have the money unless they stole the land. And, Gsan, I remind you that in a third world country people wouldn’t debate a Wal-Mart, they’d sew socks at subsistence pay FOR a Wal Mart.


Now, BUILD the thing. VIVA USA ! We’ve waited long enough for the naysayers.


BTW, stop blaming A town officials…… A Cal trans sudden last minute overshoot on the needs of that overpass was an unfair last minute crazy addition which is wrongly blamed on A town officials. Build the smaller original overpass/roundabout and @#$@# the California Department of Transportation for it’s extreme, Coastal-Commission-like over reaches.


Gsan

Hello Lame,


Your grasp of the situation needs to be improved somehow in many aspects. Perhaps some of the CCN readers will help in such an effort.


One area that you might re-evaluate your thinking is the importance third world folks attach to soccer, If you haven’t visited such countries … maybe you might do that. I encourage you to study up on “futbol” in impoverished lands.


http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/02/soccer-joy/hilltout-photography#/02-rural-ghana-soccer-every-day-670.jpg


Eventually I hope you might agree with my “In a third world country they would make the site a park with a soccer field” … and devote some effort to support making the site useful.


Sadly: In 10 years it will look the same as it has for the last few years in all probability.


Lame: Don’t tell me you took the bait years ago when our officials talked about the Del Rio Walmart being right around the corner. You must know the score now.


Jerry Clay was always a supporter of things for the kids. He could come out of retirement to push through a park for the ages.


Rich in MB

I want my Cheap Stuff and I love shopping at Walmart!

Ever since Measure G passed I make it a point to not do any of my shopping in SLO City so the AG Walmart gets a lot of my business now and besides where else can I wear a shirt two sizes too small, shorts cut off up my crotch and actually look somewhat classy than at Walmart? As Thorton Mellon said in back to school, “If you want to look thin, hang out with fat people”.


Pelican1