Everything in Atascadero would be peachy keen if it weren’t for four pesky citizens attempting to derail the recently approved Walmart/Annex project, according to the spectacle that was Sept. 11’s City Council meeting.
With amped-up patriotism crackling through the crowd, council members, city officials, and residents spent two hours on good news. They honored Dave Guerena for heroism in the face of an apartment complex fire on July 14 and volunteers for their support during Fourth of July events. They presented grand plans for a big new library and praised the council for creating a business-friendly environment that courted a new hotel and allowed private enterprises to come together and build a public bocce ball court.
Mike Casey, a member of a local ministerial association, led the public comment period with a long prayer—in Jesus’ name—thanking God for the courage, intelligence, and leadership of city officials.
Things got a little uglier later in the evening, however, when the city read and discussed its stern response to the lawsuit from Save Atascadero, a group that alleges improper oversight of environmental impacts relating to the proposed Walmart center.
Officials said they were disappointed a handful of residents would stand in the way of a majority that overwhelmingly supports the project after seven years of public debate. Council members remained united and determined to win the lawsuit, which they described as “frivolous.”
The lawsuit could delay construction for up to two years, according to City Attorney Brian Pierik.
“We did our job, and we did it right,” Mayor Bob Kelley said.
Clad in an American flag dress shirt, council member Jerry Clay asked Pierik to read aloud the names of citizens behind the lawsuit. They were Tom Comar, Gloria Boyd, Madeline Rothman, and Ron Rothman.
During public comment on the item, town folk described the foursome as “hypocritical” and “evil” before suggesting that the city counter sue.