Itís mid-January and the dog, between psychotic episodes pursuing imaginary gophers in my front lawn, just used the rake handle for a toothpick. Itís not even Monday and Iím in a perfect mood to express some curmudgeonly opinions about the state of our community.
The issue of Walmart continues to crop up from mystified citizens who still believe that city governments build businesses. For the record, the city council voted 5-0 last year to approve construction of a Walmart at the north end of town. It is bogged down not by city intransigence but by the lawsuit filed by opponents to Walmart and most anything else being built in Atascadero. A judge will hold a hearing in March and he will make a decision if the suit has merit or not.
Once that hurdle is passed, if the judge rules to allow the project to go forward and if ó a big if ó the opponents donít file an appeal, some time this year Walmart might decide to pull their building permits and start construction. The city leaders have no real control over this process; this is California where environmental law suits created an abundance of millionaire attorneys courtesy of our legal system and you get to pay their bills. Meanwhile, the city continues to lose half a million dollars a year in tax revenue, not to mention lost job opportunities in a tough economy.
To our local merchants, I will ask you this: why does everyone believe that if every merchant puts out a temporary advertising banner that anyone will notice it? Right now our city is beginning to look like a clothesline full of sheets flapping in the breeze in a housing project.
There must be some type of voluntary happy medium that can be reached to meet your advertising needs without diminishing the appearance of our commercial districts.
Finally, whatever happened to retail clerks using the word sir or maíam? A year or so ago I wrote about not calling me ďdude.Ē Well, ďbossĒ doesnít work either or ďhey manĒ etc. You get the point. Itís up to managers to train their employees in simple courtesy, not to mention adding a little class. We may live in a small, rural community, but we donít have to present a small town caricature to visitors.
Al Fonzi is a retired Army Lt. Colonel and career intelligence officer with more than 30 years of service. He is a self-described conservative and active in several political organizations. Fonzi first moved to Atascadero in 1972.For the complete article see the 01-30-2013 issue.
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