Home > Uncategorized > Helping the Mayor Improve His Memory

Helping the Mayor Improve His Memory

Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley was on my show last Thursday, slipping and sliding all over the place on the subject of Wal Mart, insisting that the city had not been in negotiation with the big box super giant. He tried his best to convince us that everything had just happened suddenly.

So check out this email from Wade McKinney, Atascadero city manager, sent on September 7, 2005:

“I met with Greg Albright of Cal Trans trying to work our a better,
cheaper, faster way to do the PSR’s and we are working on it. I don’t
know how much has been collected in the impact fees, although I know we
are far short of the funds for an interchange. Walmart is expecting to
deal with the Del Rio interchange and pay impact fees. I suspect we
will get some meaningful improvements in that area.


September 7, 2005.

I stand by my original statements. Something stinks in Atascadero. If you want a Wal Mart Super Center, don’t try to sneak it in. Have the courage of your convictions and engage the public in meaningful dialogue.

  1. Anonymous
    July 10, 2006 at 2:20 am

    How can you tell when a politician is lying?

    His lips are moving.

  2. Bob from San Luis
    July 10, 2006 at 4:00 am

    Wow, I’m shocked, shocked I tell you…. who would have thought that that bastion of retail virtue would even consider some possible “back room” type of dealings.
    On a serious note, if I were involved with the No Wal-Mart group, I would be considering legal action against the city council members for a potential violation of the Brown Act. I listened to most of the segment that the Mayor was on, and it sure sounded to me like he was claiming that there had been no negotiations with or concerning Wal-Mart. If the Mayor is up for re-election his foes seem to have some ammunition to question his ethics in office. I do find the apparent lying or “misconstrued” remarks unpleasant and would like to have the Mayor explain his actions and words.

  3. Charlie in Atascadero
    July 10, 2006 at 5:40 am

    I heard most of that Wal Mart segment and it was clear that Mayor O’Malley was trying to avoid being pinned down about what he knew, and when he knew it, concerning Wal Mart.

    I agree with Dave: Be honest with the people and present the facts. If you’re telling the truth, people will listen.

    It makes me sad to live in A-town.

  4. Anonymous
    July 11, 2006 at 1:05 am

    Whats that old childrens ryme ….liar, liar pants on fire !

    One controversy after another and now we what appears to be solid evidence of dishonesty. It’s time to sweep corrupt Atascadero politicians out the door.

    Our town deserves better.

    Atascadero Mike

  5. Anonymous
    July 11, 2006 at 1:13 am

    This guy spent over an hour on KPRL today, trying to convince the public he has an open and honest administration. Like I alway say, If you feel the need to tout you integrity, you likely don’t have any. Atascadero badly needs new leadership.

    North County

  6. Anonymous
    July 11, 2006 at 1:21 am

    Is Wade an at-will employee? If so he should be dealt with as other dishonest employees. I hope the city council has the strength to do the right thing. If not, there is an election in November. I say it’s time to clean house!

  7. Anonymous
    July 11, 2006 at 3:54 am

    Whose Wade? And who is he writing this email to? Sept. 05 Tom O’Malley was NOT the mayor, but rather a regular counsel member for the city of Atascadero. If you are assuming that he as a counsel member was aware of this email, then you must also assume that all counsel members, including George Luna, were also aware of… what? Wal-Mart asking Cal-Trans questions about an intersection they were interseted in? What’s the point of this email. Seriously Dave, with all the hype I expected a bigger smoking gun from you

  8. Dave Congalton
    July 11, 2006 at 4:19 am

    Dear Anonymous,

    The email speaks for itself. Wade McKinney is the city manager and in September of 2005, eight months before the current mayor claims to have even heard of Wal Mart coming to town, the city manager already has plans for Wal Mart to pay for the interchange.

    Do I actually need to connect the dots for you? This email underscores that city officials have been dealing with Wal Mart in secret for a long time. How can you not see this?

  9. Diane
    July 11, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    The Mayor claims to be doing so much for the city of Atascadero except looking into what people are up in roars about. Why would a Mayor who cares not read, watch, or ask about Wal-Mart. He said he has not looked at anything yet. This is a sensitive issue that bothers a lot of people in his community; he should be all over it. Oh yeah, elections have to happen first! We have got to get him out.

  10. Anonymous
    July 11, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    Wendy Scalise was the Mayor. Luna was the City’s rep to SLOCOG and that is probably why he is asking about the interchanges. Luna already is on record as saying he was informed in May 2005 by staff that a Walmart might be coming. He also has said that he met in August with O’Malley and the Rottman Group and they mentioned Walmart. When I asked him if the rumor was true, Luna said that is what he had heard but he had no confirmation.

  11. Anonymous
    July 12, 2006 at 12:54 am

    When WM came to Arroyo Grande it was in a cloak. A retail development with Target as the anchor was approved by the council. The council said that the developer (fronting for WM) later came to them and said that the anchor would be WM instead, and need a biggger store. The AG council caved because of fear of litigation with WM… WM saying that the council couldn’t withdraw the approval to develop. No matter what happens, WM and their legal staff are going to be several hundred percent quicker and tougher than local politicians. If voters don’t like being outgunned because their representation isn’t up to the task, then maybe we will have to change the way developments are reviewed and approved.

  12. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    July 12, 2006 at 2:23 am

    What the heck. I don’t like Wal Mart one bit. I went to the Paso store by accident and I have two words for the people who shop there. HELD BACK .

  13. Anonymous
    July 12, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    In regards to the approval of the Arroyo Grande Wal-Mart…so isn’t the extact opposite happening in Atascadero? The developer hasn’t gone to the city pretending to have a different anchor in order to get approval, they sold the land to Wal-Mart and announced they sold the land to Wal-Mart. It has not been rezoned yet, and everyone knows who they are dealing with. If my memory serves me correct, that is exactly what the Atascadero council members said they wanted during the May 30th info meeting…to know for sure who the primary anchor would be before they would be approving any development. I also remember the speaker for the Rottman Group saying Wal-Mart might purchase the property. Seems to me if there were some backroom deal or some kind of cover-up, then the developer would be doing the same thing in this case that you’re saying was done in AG but that has not happened. If the developer could have secured an anchor that was less controversial I’m sure they woud have done so, or if they were trying to pull a fast one would have pretended to do so. I understand the anti Wal-Mart folks being unhappy that Wal-Mart owns the land, but please keep in mind the city does not control the selling of private property. Either this land will get rezoned to accommodate a Super Wal-Mart or it won’t; but I fail to see where the Rottman Group or the City of Atascadero has not been forthcoming.

  14. Anonymous
    July 13, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    Definition: “Politics”
    Let’s break it down…
    First “Poly” latin for many and second “Tics” blood sucking bugs. Tada! Politics = a bunch of blood sucking bugs!
    Atascadero! Enjoy your new supercenter! Remeber, by the time you can identify a problem it’s already too late to do anything about it!

  15. Anonymous
    July 13, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    When are you going to let your listeners know that the email you presented was a response from Wade McKinney to Councilman George Luna. Luna is the one that asked a question about WalMart. You left out George’s question. When he was asked to explain this at the July 11 City Council Meeting, he said it was a question he was asking after the August meeting with the Rottman group where WalMart was named as one of several possible anchors. How in the world does this indicate in any way that Mayor O’Malley was lying? You are right, something does stink, but it’s not in Atascadero. This is not honest, open or transparent reporting.

  16. Dave Congalton
    July 14, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    To the last Anonymous posting:

    The only issue I want from the McKinney email is the date. It doesn’t matter who it was sent to, or if there was a question being asked. All that matters is that Atascadero city officials were actively planning for Wal Mart at least as far back as September, 2005. The date is on the email. It is a smoking gun that can’t be denied.

    Check out the new issue of New Times for moe.

  17. Anonymous
    July 15, 2006 at 4:59 pm


    “A smoking gun that can’t be denied”???…Gimme a break. This isn’t even a water pistol. Just because George Luna used the name “Wal-Mart” instead of “primary anchor” and therefore Wade McKinney responded with the name “Wal-Mart” instead of “primary anchor” means nothing except that Wal-Mart was someone considering the land, something that everyone disclosed at the May 30th meeting. I think what’s more interesting about this exchange is that George Luna’s only concern seemed to be impact fees and who will pay them, no mention of not supporting a possible Wal-Mart.
    If the city of Atascadero had anything to do with this deal, don’t you think they would have insisted the sale wait until after the November election? Politically, there is no advantage to this happening now instead of early next year; if anything just the opposite. No, the dots don’t connect.

  18. Anonymous
    July 16, 2006 at 1:20 am

    No one knew that it was going to be a SUPERWALMART and require a rezoning. The dots are still connected!

  19. Anonymous
    July 16, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Whether it is a Super Wal-Mart or a regular Wal-Mart, it still needs to be rezoned. Targeting that intersection for a retail development was done years ago and is part of public record; cities do this sort of thing all the time. But the city is not a developer, they don’t seize private property just because they think a shopping center is best for that location. It takes someone, like the Rottman Group, to come in and purchase the individual parcels, do all the necessary studies and request a zoning change. That is the process the city is in the midst of right now. If the city decides the project is not what’s best for Atascadero, then they don’t have to approve the zoning change. It’s that simple.

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