Opinion » Letters

The real story about Ellen Beraud's vets memorial vote


In response to Al Fonzi's latest op-ed, "Vets are angry," (Feb. 6) and the fearmongering and absurd mailers Atascadero residents are currently receiving ("Why did Ellen Beraud oppose honoring our veterans"), I'd like to make a few things clear. Firstly, Al Fonzi donated $250 to the PAC responsible for the mailers, "Friends of Veterans in San Luis Obispo County, Primarily Formed to Oppose Ellen Beraud for Supervisor 2020," so we can assume based on that public donation information and the content of his article that he supports their political mission.

The event that Al's unfocused op-ed and the aforementioned political mailer both demonize is then Councilmember Beraud's 2007 vote not to authorize the construction of the Faces of Freedom memorial in Atascadero. I'd like to inform your readers of the actual context of her vote. When I read the council meeting minutes, it became clear that Councilmember Beraud's "no" vote was contingent upon the fact that the public arts committee tasked with providing guidance to the council regarding adopting plans for public arts projects had voted 4-1 in opposition to allowing the memorial project to proceed.

Their justification? It was ugly; please find a new artist to plan something less hideous, as we approve of the idea of a memorial, just not this dumpster fire of a statue.

Councilmember Beraud cited their recommendation as the reason for her vote, stating that public works require public input (not a terribly revolutionary stance for a public official). She was outvoted, and now we've all got to drive by that absurd eyesore with its ridiculous font every day.

Al Fonzi should consider whether supporting shady PACs that send out hit-piece political mailers, both monetarily and in meandering op-eds, is an appropriate way to demonstrate the patriotic values he attests to hold so dear. The least we can hope for is a little integrity.

Shane Eaton


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