Letters to the Editor

Deal was not a deal

I find it appalling that the city of Atascadero was so negligent when accepting cost estimates for the Del Rio Road intersection improvements. A $7.5 million mistake on an initial estimate of $4.5 million is more than a goof — it’s a monumental blunder. Yet city officials accepted the cost estimate from Wal-Mart’s engineers without asking hard questions.

The city then signed a contract with Wal-Mart and the Annex developers that holds each responsible for no more than $200,000 of the added costs. The remainder of the $7.5 million cost overrun will be borne by the city of Atascadero. What a deal for a multinational company that counts its profits in the billions — and what a sham for the taxpayers!

Two years ago, Planning Commissioner Len Colamarino was the only Atascadero official who voted against the contract with Wal-Mart and The Annex because he thought the financial terms of the contract were unfair to Atascadero taxpayers. Len was right.

When millions of dollars are at stake, we need an elected official who asks hard questions before approving staff recommendations. And we need someone with the backbone to say “no” when a deal is not a deal. We need Len.