Anti-Wal-Mart and pro open-government candidates Mike Brennler and Ellen Beraud captured two of the three open seats in Atascadero's hotly contested battle for control of the council. Mayor Tom O'Malley was re-elected to serve on the council for four more years.
The emotionally charged election was as much about the city's alleged lack of transparency as it was about concerns over the construction of a Super Wal-Mart at the north end of town. Along with City Councilman George Luna, Brennler and Beraud create a majority that opposes the construction of the super store.
"I am proud of the people who had the courage to say no to Wal-Mart," Brennler said. "Ellen and I will join George Luna as the people who will be their voice."
Beraud ran on a platform of opening city government up to the people.
"I am so excited there was so much enthusiasm for my campaign," Beraud said. "This election will really change how our community functions, and it will open up the closed doors of City Hall."
O'Malley was unavailable for comment.