Did Atascadero councilwoman’s husband assault a 13-year-old?

June 6, 2024

Gordon Fuglie and Councilwoman Susan Funk


The controversy over whether or not locals should ride dirt bikes in the Salinas riverbed exploded into a criminal complaint against the husband of Atascadero City Councilwoman Susan Funk for allegedly assaulting a 13-year-old boy.

Children have ridden dirt bikes in the riverbed for decades in the area behind The Lakes of Atascadero, a residential community. Multiple homes in The Lakes  back up to the water district utility road and riverbed area, including the home of Councilwoman Funk and her husband Gordon Fuglie.

In April, during a city council meeting, several people complained about motorcycle riding along the riverbed arguing it endangers public safety and the ecosystem. The city then decided to rein in the prohibited activity.

“As stewards of our community, it is incumbent upon all of us to uphold the law and protect the natural beauty and safety of our surroundings,” the city stated in an April news release. “Together, we can preserve the integrity of the Salinas riverbed for future generations to enjoy.”

Even so, children continued to ride in the riverbed, with many of the homes having gated access to the area. During the same time, several residents noted there were officers who did not agree with the prohibition.

On April 22, Gordon sent an email to City Manager Jim Lewis and Councilwoman Funk complaining about the continued riding in the riverbed.

“In the wake of the Atascadero Police Officer’s Association’s announced resistance to the Atascadero Police Department’s renewed efforts to stop illegal trespassing on Atascadero Mutual Water Company and city land, I have learned that this activity has resumed,” Fuglie wrote in his email. “The ongoing situation has been monitored by Atascadero equestrians who use the corral along Ferrocarril. They have had numerous unpleasant encounters with the motorcycle trespassers for years.”

In his response, Lewis said the city does not have the resources to police the riverbed.

“As you well know we have a small staff, limited resources and a very large work plan established by the City Council,” Lewis wrote in his May 3 email. “We do not have the resources to do this work nor is it in the work plan. Perhaps you just came across a new passion project for yourself!”

It appears Fuglie took Lewis’ passion project comment further than expected. On May 5, Fuglie confronted two helmeted riders, a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old, who were headed home after a ride. The 12-year-old lives next door to Fuglie.

Fuglie screamed at the boys and jumped in front of them, the boys said. He began lecturing the boys before allegedly punching the 13-year-old’s helmet.

“Then he begins to lecture them on the ‘law’ getting in their faces and tries to take pictures of there tags slapping their arms away so he can take a picture,” Pete Martin, the father of the 12-year-old, wrote on Facebook. “Then, out of nowhere, he punches my son’s buddy hard on the side of the helmet out of anger and then walks away.”

Martin and Fuglie had a loud argument over their fences before the police were called.

“End result, nothing was done because police didn’t witness it,” Martin wrote. “Parents of my son’s friend might be pressing charges on Gordon for hitting a minor.”

The victim’s parents did file a report.

The next day, on May 6, Fuglie sent an email to Lewis arguing the children exaggerating the encounter. Fuglie then provided his take on the encounter. He says he did take photos of the boys, but did not block their path.

Fuglie claims the boys began using foul language and calling him names.

“I became frustrated, frightened and angry,” Fuglie wrote in his email to Lewis. “To end the tirades coming at me from my right and my left, I placed the palm of my hand on the protruding bill of the helmet of one of the riders, pressing his head some inches further away from me. I did not punch or slap him.”

Councilwoman Funk said she has not and will not contact the police department about the incident, and that her position on the City Council did not impact the police investigation.

The police department investigated the altercation and sent a battery report to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office for review, said Atascadero Police Commander Jeff Wilshusen.

“On behalf of myself and my family, I do want to say that I am disappointed that an action taken by my husband in good faith devolved into something unforeseeable,” Councilwoman Funk said. “I’m also disappointed that the incident and the way it has been dramatically mischaracterized by others have contributed to further polarization in our community in these already-challenging times.”


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OMG, I thought that was a nickname.

Back in the day I hit a golf ball into a yard next to the #2 hole on the course that I was playing and I was with my father in law and 2 brother in laws. I heard it bounce and bounce and bang, clang and I tired to sneak up on it and the man yelled out “I have your ball if you want it back” I said “I am so sorry, I will pay for any damages.” and he replied “We bought the place knowing the risks” He went on to explain that “These people that want to live in an area that was once accessible to the public and then want things to change Just for them.” Nothing was damaged. I like living here but wish I could record the conversations I hear. Some people should not play golf.” He said some people are cussing and throwing clubs and this is hole #2″

Gordon Fuglie, sick old man, picking on teenagers.

Leave the kids alone! So what if they ride in the riverbed, where else should they ride? I am sure They are not devastating the environment! Over zealous neighbors need a life! Instead of fretting about kids being kids! What did Fuglie expect? That the kids would get off the bikes at his beckoning and apologize for doing what others have done for generations? He came across as a threat! Terrorizing and assaulting young teens? The minute the cops told him to handle it….(big mistake on their part), he thought to himself the “King of the riverbed”. Stay home, turn on the game, or put your energy somewhere other than harassing kids. The minute you started yelling at those kids, you gave yourself up as one unable to handle the situation.

If he indeed did assault the kids then this guy is the central coast dirtbag of the month and definitely needs to be prosecuted. C’mon man! What kind of grown man hits some kids for having fun outside?!?!?

Before “The Lakes” track homes were in that area, it was the best place to ride in A-town. We called it “Kaisers.”

The pattern where people build or buy homes adjacent to an airport, riverbed, equestrian acres, dragstrip, etc. and then complain about noise never seems to never end. They are making some very effective electric dirt bikes these days, would riding those be acceptable to the anti motorized crowd as a form of fun and exercise for young people ? Riding a dirt bike on a track is a workout comparable to or even beyond playing full court basketball or midfield in soccer. Kids staying active outside, and learning to maintain their own machinery is a good thing, especially compared to searching for “likes” , screwing around with tic toc, or playing GTA from a gaming chair. These two losers need to drop the get off my lawn mentality, or put a for sale sign up.

Lock him up. Fuglie ought to do time for attacking young boys.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ranked California second in terms of total reported ATV accident deaths from 1982 through 2015. According to the Commission, there were 703 deaths during this time span. On public roads, there were 26 fatalities from 2012 through 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Good clean fun. Rural Californians doing what they do and dying from it. Leave them be. I’m surprised they were wearing helmets. I sure hope the poor baby survives the head smack, it must have been painful.

Complete over reaction. First by Fuglie for trying to police these boys and getting physical. Second by the parents for making an issue out of pushing or slapping their precious child’s helmet. Third by the boys for arguing with the old coot and being disrespectful.

And now the city manager and DAs’ office are involved.

COME ON MAN can’t we get along?