I thank The Tribune for endorsing my Atascadero City Council candidacy. I am responding to Atascadero Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi’s Oct. 27 Viewpoint. Her attempt to blame Wal-Mart opponents for causing a project delay when, in two years, state requirements supposedly increased the roadwork costs needed at the Del Rio Road freeway interchange from $4.5 million to $12 million is preposterous. Her strained effort to excuse gross negligence by Atascadero city officials, including council members, is belied by the Sept. 23 City Council meeting staff report. At page 61, the major factors explaining the inaccuracy of the lowball 2012 estimate are listed:
1. Increased costs to bring soil.
2. Increased right-of-way costs.
3. Need to widen bridge for sidewalks.
4. Increased contingencies.
5. Failure of original estimates to include costs for design, inspection, document preparation, permitting, materials testing and other “soft” costs.
Nowhere does the staff report dare claim that the $4.5 million estimate was anywhere near accurate when accepted but then became inaccurate by $7.5 million in two years because of changes in state requirements.
If Ms. Fonzi expects voters to swallow that implausible proposition, she is again relying on an unrealistically low estimate — this time of the intelligence of her constituents.