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More Dirt from Atascadero

I just wanted to follow up on yesterday’s posting about Atascadero and the increasingly growing cesspool that it has become. You need go no further than the brand new issue of New Times, where Karen Velie and Patrick Klemz cover the waterfront of local candidates from Atascadero to Los Osos, citing questionable behavior.

Too many juicy items to choose from. For example, Atascadero mayor Tom O’Malley claimed he knew nothing about a Wal Mart until May 2006, yet he accepted a free $500 hotel room from Wal Mart developer The Rottman Group the previous March. Or the time the city of Atascadero was looking for new digs for a city hall. There was a possible location just 500 yards from where O’Malley owned property, an obvious conflict of interest. No problem. O’Malley merely transferred the property to his son and voted, thus becoming the swing vote. Then he transferred the property back to him.

New Times also goes after Jeff Edwards in Los Osos and the No on Measure J people. It’s all juicy stuff. Read the cover story and the Shredder — this reporting is a reminder of the importance of alternative media in this town.

Remember — the Tribune can’t go after O’Malley, Jones and Kelly in Atascadero because they ENDORSED them way back in September. These are their guys — the Trib just can’t turn around suddenly and report all this negative stuff. New Times remains our best hope. Meanwhile, perhaps the Trib should consider dropping endorsements. They started in 1994 and it’s been a mixed blessing for them ever since.

  1. chuckman
    October 19, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    I just read the New Times article. Dave is right. Good stuff in the cover story. Personally I don’t give a shit about that crap hole north of the Grade, but I’m getting increasingly frustrated with the “No on Measure J” dirty tricks on Dalidio.

    I pulled this from the NT article:

    It’s difficult if not impossible to crack the LLC financial records to find out for sure if downtown business interests really are pulling the strings, but the committee itself could end some of the backtalk with a few simple disclosures. Yet, they won’t.

    A County Coalition spokesman bluffed to New Times that the committee would unveil the source of its LLC funding if the Yes on J camp did the same. Once informed that Dalidio complied with the disclosure request, No on J promptly reneged.

    But, if staff decides eventually to open those files, perhaps it can also explain why the rent for its Copeland-owned Monterey Street office fails to appear in either the “payments made” or the “non-monetary contributions” sections of the campaign finance reports. In effect, the campaign may be getting free rent courtesy of an interested party.

    Come to think of it, checking the documents from the last campaign when the matter went before municipal voters we couldn’t locate rent payments registered by that committee either.

    When approached regarding the apparent inability to account for its overhead expenses, campaign staff declined to specifically comment. Phone calls to Copeland Properties were not returned.

    One more reason why the supporters of J are calling for people to do the “fair thing.” End the secrecy. End the charade!

    Vote Yes on Measure J!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous
    October 19, 2006 at 8:29 pm

    If you want to have any credibility in your comments, I wouldn’t start-out by calling the noth county a “crap-hole”. It has a lot to offer, many new (and old beutiful million dollar homes, over 130 wineries, and is the growing spot for any new quality restaurants, etc… Wait, reading your comments and how you have written them I understand how it doesn’t probably appeal to you. See you at the Denny’s counter!!!

  3. Anonymous
    October 19, 2006 at 9:30 pm

    The New Times would have done well to also look at the campaign contributions of those officials supporting Measure J: Dave Romero, Jerry Lenthall, Harry Ovitt, and John Shoals.

    Maybe there’s nothing there, or maybe, as in the case of Lenthall (in his 2004 election campaign), he received large sums from Dalidio, Scott Dabney, Bill Bird, and others who have direct financial interests in seeing the project developed to their liking.

  4. moquiti
    October 20, 2006 at 12:23 am

    There’s no such thing as “free rent” as far as the state FFPC is concerned. I can smell a fat fine coming down from the state for non-disclosure of non-monetary donations & expenses. There’s an opportunity for “somebody” to do some sniffing.

    10-to-one that the Copelands are already getting a federal income tax break on that building, as it used to be a source of rental income, and now could very well be a write-off.

    Safe to assume that the Copelands are key backers of NoonJ. Contributing to a campaign against a project that they’ve stated in the past to be a threat to their downtown interests. At the same getting a tax write-off.


  5. Atascadero Mike
    October 20, 2006 at 4:18 am

    Today, the honorable Jerry Clay took some shots at Ellen Beraud while she was on Joe Benson’s show on KPRL. He was trying to spin the fact that she was born in Canada into some type of a negative.  He came across as moronic.

  6. SLO Travis
    October 20, 2006 at 4:26 am

    Santa Maria Bill,

    I wanted to call in today and spank you on the air, but I was too busy.

    You threw a tantrum the next day when I coined the classic comedy of the nurse needing to give you your medicine. You stated that the right just had to resort to childish name calling to disrespect the other side. You were very bothered that I would do that to you, a ranter and paranoid that does not need his medication.

    With that in mind, I believe that you have no argument to President Bush, a good leader, when you that he “must have been off his meds or not had his earpiece in” when answering a question to an interviewer.

    The fact of the matter is, that similar to the tet offensive, the enemy of the US is trying to get as many American casualties as possible to break the will of the American people to defeat them in Iraq. Like the Tet Offensive, which we killed many thousands of communists, we are killing and ridding the earth of the terrorists.

    Too bad you seem to be on the side of the communists and terrorists Bill.

  7. Dave Congalton
    October 20, 2006 at 4:44 am

    To Travis — Check out the papers tomorrow and you’ll see that a major shift is being planned for U.S. policy in Iraq. We’re no longer going to “stay the course” and will figure out some diplomatic way to cut and run. Bush is a disaster.

    To Atascadero Mike — Is that a true story? Jerry Clay called into a talk show and attacked a potential council member? How rude is that? Remember,
    Atascadero is the new Los Osos.

    Karen Velie is confirmed for my show on Friday. Read the great cover story in NT and tune in!

  8. bob from San Luis
    October 20, 2006 at 5:21 am

    As a owner/operator of a “micro-business” in downtown SLO, for myself and most likely most of the other independent business owners in downtown, Measure J if it passes is not a threat to downtown San Luis. If anybody in downtown is sweating the passage of the measure and the building of the center, it would seem to me that it would be the building owners, the landlords who we independent and the corporate businesses rent from. Perhaps if more business space is available to rent, the perceived value of the available spaces might go down. Not very likely however.
    The one thing that amazes me however is how clever a tactic it is to make someone who is rich and has some pull is able to portray themselves as being the “victim”; “… the “fair” solution…”, “… I’m surrounded by retail shopping and a freeway….”; even Dave’s callers refer to Ernie as “poor Ernie”. Very clever indeed.
    As for the hidden finances of the No On J campaign, I for one think that all interested parties should put their name on the ads if they are not ashamed of what the ads say.
    As for Atascadero, Damn! Another prime example of a connected “good ole’ boys” network gone amuck, from the reports so far. I’m looking forward to reading the articles.

  9. Anonymous
    October 20, 2006 at 7:47 am

    Holy shit, even the Atascadero News is going after these good old boys in Atascadero! They NEVER used to do any kind of critical reporting. What’s going on up there?

  10. David Broadwater
    October 20, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    Take a Stand against Corruption:
    Two compromised candidates for City Council (Bob Kelley & Grigger Jones) will be spotlighted at the beginning of Tuesday’s City Council meeting. As you may know, both have been busted by three newspapers for exerting undue pressure on City Staff to help Kelly Gearhart evade Planning Commission review of a project which violated open-space requirements by paving it over (see news articles below).
    George Luna has placed this matter on Tuesday’s agenda (see below), apparently to propose some change to the Municipal Code to prevent such future transgressions. While such a proposal deserves support, I believe it is more important for citizens concerned about the level of integrity at City Hall to ensure that these two Council candidates don’t get elected.
    In requesting this matter to be placed on the agenda, Mr. Luna wrote “I condemn what has happened here and seek remedy by asking that the Municipal Code be amended to prevent this… It takes great courage for staff to risk their careers with the city by blowing the whistle on this intimidation.”.
    Tuesday night presents an opportunity to expose how these candidates have demonstrated a readiness to abuse their power, City Staff and the Planning Commission and to break the rules on behalf of developers, behind the backs of the citizens. This Council meeting gives us a chance to call them to task for their obvious contempt for an open and honest government. It also presents an opportunity to voice support for
    Steve McHarris, Deputy Community Development Director, who stood up to Gearhart and for Staff’s commitment to a fair government.
    Mr. Kelley refused to recuse himself from the Commission’s vote on Gearhart’s violation after having lobbied Staff to keep it from the Commission, and blatantly voted to approve Gearhart’s illegal actions. In addition to his involvement in this smarmy affair, Mr. Jones also worked for The Rottman Group (“Annex”/Wal-Mart developers) as they pressured a neighboring property owner to sell his land to them (see City Hall’s “Annex” Chronology attachments).
    What will the future hold for our town if we tolerate such behavior among our elected officials? Surely, Kelley and Jones are not qualified for the Council, but, just as surely, they won’t cancel their candidacies in shame. That will only happen if a citizenry that’s had enough stands up and exposes them as lacking in the qualities we expect from our public servants. The reforms needed in our town, such as the one Mr. Luna will propose, won’t occur if we allow those without the requisite integrity to occupy positions of power. If we allow that and don’t stand up for our values now, the shame will be upon us, and we’ll reap the twisted rewards well into the future.
    Take a Stand Tuesday night against Corruption & for Integrity:
    Demand that the Council declare such conduct unbecoming of any official in our town.
    Demand a full and official accounting of Bob Kelley’s and Grigger Jones’ conduct.
    Demand that Steve McHarris receive a commendation for exemplary service.

    Or, stay home and let the rot infect our body politic even further…

    If not you, who? If not now, when?
    Forward this message at will.
    David Broadwater

  11. SLO Bear
    October 20, 2006 at 11:45 pm


    Please keep the heat on these sleasy ocal politicians. These guys need a good, swift kick in the rear!

    Also, tell Tom I heard the new Wal-Mart might have a private dining area.

  12. Anonymous
    October 21, 2006 at 9:44 am

    When I moved up to Atascadero last year there was something about this place that seemed off yet strangley familiar. DeJa Vu? And then it hit me…I had moved to Mexico (or at least someplace similar to a third rate banana republic)! And by Mexico (or any third rate banana republic for that matter) I am refering to the local politics. All we need now to round out this lovely scenario are for the local constabulary to start hitting up the locals for bribes.

    Bribes, “mordida”, grease, call what you want. I guess that’s what it’s going to take to get anything done around this pueblo/colonia.

    Wal-Mart aside let’s just look at the matter of the local roads here. Wait what roads? I meant to say ruts. Let me get this straight. I’m being assesed property taxes and yet my neighborhood streets look like…well, if you’ve ever had the dubious pleasure of driving around here you’ll know what I mean. I’ve spoken to visitors from down in the deep south (that place that calls itself Orange County. Another hole, but I digress,) and they comment on how on one of their visits to family members the roads were washed out. What was this bergs solution. Traffic cones! Yes, traffic cones. “Okay, Gramma, here comes the fun part! Mom’s going to go in the mud ’cause there is no road. The rain washed it away. WEEEEEEE!!!”. Out of masochistic curiosity I contacted the city department in charge street maintenance. No live person to get answers from, but I left a message on their answering machine letting them know I wanted to know why the surface streets were in such a state of disrepair. They got back to me in person (that was nice) and explained why my neighborhood surface streets looked like the streets of Berlin in 1945. The obvious explaination was not enough pesos to go around. And something about the County and the City. The streets in my neighbor hood (and in about 15 others) being different, etc., etc., yada-yada-yada. Needles to say I had to break out the waders and snorkel. The icing on the cake was the idea of getting the neighbors together and hiring a company to resurface the streets!!!

    Yet. The city can pony up for a youth center! Let me get this straight. I’m paying a nice piece of change in property taxes, yet the city services are joke. Atascadero, you want a joke here’s one for you (from George Carlan) “@&#* the children!” Fix these damn streets.

    Now about the matter of Wallie World, aka Wal-Mart. I have suspect it’s a done deal and we’re going to get it wether we want it or not. Personally, I don’t really care for the place. Politics aside, I’d rather fork over a few extra bucks and know I’m getting a quality product. All this has done is not only get people riled up but exposed the foul perversion that is Atascadero politics.

    Needless to say it’s apparent how I will vote this coming election. Like all citizens in third rate banana republics, it’s time for there to be a coupe de etat… at the ballot box.

  13. Brooks Wolfcastle
    October 21, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    Atascadero has plenty of room for a dozen Super Walmarts.Rezone some land and start building the sonsabitches, look at the tax revenue for the city.

  14. REDLEG
    October 22, 2006 at 10:22 am

    “Third rate banana republic”? Yeah, I guess that’s a polite way of putting it.

  15. travis in SLO
    October 23, 2006 at 4:01 am

    Dave, waiting for that article that says there is a major shift and Bush is cutting his losses and running from the islamos in Iraq. Sorry DAve, haven’t seen it yet. I have read that they are reconsidering the strategy, but they have been re-evaluating and adjusting ever since General Tommy Franks did the masterful invasion.

  16. Bob from San Luis
    October 23, 2006 at 7:48 am

    Travis: Here is the article that you were waiting for. It starts off with this:

    AMERICAN forces are negotiating an amnesty with Sunni insurgents in Iraq to try to defuse the nascent civil war and pave the way for disarmament of Shia militias, The Times has learnt.

    That is just the first paragraph of a two page article that details negotiations that are underway right now that will change the course of what our mission in Iraq is. Every single war, police action (Korea) or military campaign ends when the paper work is done. There are details that are negotiated as to how the military goes about standing down, every single time, from our War for Independence, the Civil War and even WWII had formal surrender negotiations where we spelled out that the Japanese had to recognize that their emperor was “only” human. Read the article, we will change the course of what we are doing in Iraq, be it because President Bush finally recognizes that “stay the course” isn’t working or it will happen when the Democrats take over Congress and reclaim oversight on the executive branch.

  17. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    October 23, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    Travis, don’t waste your time responding to Bob.

    Bob will make a false claim, such as Clinton did not claim that Saddam HAD WMD’s and berate you for it. When you prove him wrong with facts, as I did in Dave’s “are they off now” blog, Bob will not respond.

    I guess Bob sits in this micro business selling hot dogs to Mr. Copeland and cannot respond if the actual facts go beyond his downloadable pocket talking points he recieved from the democratic party. Sorry Bob, but I have tried to debate you with integrity and factual support but you are not up to the task.

    Have a good one.

  18. Rich from Paso
    October 23, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    I will respond to Bob, New Tone. Bob: Stop with the equivocating already! Every freaking Democrat has campaigned, like the good Ms. Beery, for an immediate and unconditional surrender of Iraq to the terrorists in an effort to protect all our poor helpless defenseless soldiers from further attack. That is what the Dems want in a nutshell. George Bush is “staying the course” in Iraq but with a different tactic to achieve the overall strategy of victory in Iraq. That is what separates Conservatives and Bush from yellow-bellied liberals: Bush and Conservatives will settle for nothing less than victory, liberals have no idea what the word “victory” means.

    As for amnesty for Sunnis: So what? We need something to make the fighting stop right? As I have said before: a war continues so long as the enemy is willing to fight it; we cannot unilaterally declare victory and have that be all there is. If amnesty is what makes the Sunnis go home, so be it. That will just leave the al Qaida types that will be needed to kill and they will be easier to locate without all of the background noise of the Sunni insuregency to complicate matters. So there.

  19. Patrick Klemz
    October 23, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    “Dave Romero, Jerry Lenthall, Harry Ovitt, and John Shoals.”
    -anon 2

    Anon 2,
    We checked Romero and Shoals. Ovitt and Lenthall are not running for office in this election, so they were not part of the 58 candidate field.

    You’re right.

    Nice blog.

  20. moquiti
    October 24, 2006 at 12:45 am

    Measure J = Lenthall’s “play” for his “pay.” He knows who butters his bread.

  21. Bob from San Luis
    October 24, 2006 at 4:33 am

    New Tone: Okay, you want to know why Bill Clinton claimed that Saddam had WMDs? Because Saddam would not let the UNSCOM inspection team into Iraq to verify if Saddam had them or not, so Clinton took the responsible position of assuming that there were WMDs there and took action accordingly. Here is a link to a report of a speech Clinton gave to the American public in 1998. Had weapons inspectors been allowed in then, perhaps we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in in Iraq now.

  22. REDLEG
    October 27, 2006 at 8:33 am

    How is it that the subject is about Atascadero and somehow or another it gets sidetracked. What do Measure J, Clinton, Iraq, WMD’s, etc. have to do with the shennanigans going on up North?

  23. Rich from Paso
    October 27, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    All things relate to Clinton, WMDs, Iraq, North Korea and anything else that is bad for Bush. Actually, Dave posts what interests him (no criticism there), not what is current in the news so something that interests us out here in the blogosphere has no outlet for what is current, that’s why the detours, at least from my POV. Valid point though.

  24. Anonymous
    November 1, 2006 at 3:04 am

    Every once in awhile I check your site to see what lies you are telling about Atascadero. Here are some biggies! Tom’s son does own the propery – no he did not transfer it back. There was no hotel room. You consider yourself an investigative reporter? Check your facts. It would be a great loss to Atascadero to lose someone as energetic and positive as Tom. Great strides have been made under his leadership.

  25. Anonymous
    November 1, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    I wish O’Malley would show some leadership and spend 1.5 million to improve the property across from my son’s property. It is all in the family.

  26. REDLEG
    November 7, 2006 at 11:59 am

    I just realized that a couple of weeks before the current election that someone broke out the cold patch and started filling in the pot holes in Atascadero. Let’s just say that Mr. Malley’s will only last as long as the cold patch holds out, or until the first rains, whichever comes first.

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