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Letter: Personal attacks are a waste of effort 

To the editor,Letter to the editor

Councilman Kelley’s letter “Atascadero politics is all about power and control” was an effort to divert attention from the fact that his own candidate for Mayor of Atascadero, Nic Mattson, has not attended city council meetings for months which led me to question his commitment to the job he seeks.

The rest of Kelley’s letter, a personal attack on yours truly, is a wasted effort: I’m not on the ballot. It’s about as effective as shooting BBs at an alligator, something I did as a kid on the Tamami Trail in Florida at age ten, fortunately ignored by the alligator.

Like most political venues, Atascadero politics is less about “political machines and power politics” and more akin to herding cats. Working as chairman of a political party distinctly qualifies one as a “cat wrangler.” A large part of what I do is to prevent circular firing squads among political activists and attempting to present a united front in the face of often determined opposition. Presenting multiple candidates from the same political persuasion to vie for the same seat is counterproductive and an open invitation to an outside challenge. To those concerned about political parties involvement in “non-partisan races,” the reality is that in California, due to the proliferation of regional boards and commissions that often overrule local jurisdictions, virtually all offices are “de facto” partisan in the arena of public policy.

Regarding Councilman Kelley’s recollection of our meeting around mid-summer, he is somewhat off the mark in the details of what was said, which I firmly believe he believes to be true. Therefore I will simply ascribe his mistaken impression of what was said to his advanced years in age.

I told Councilman Kelley that if he desired to run for his own seat he could expect to receive support from the Republican Party and that if he chose to run for mayor two years hence, when there may be open seats along with the mayor’s position, it was likely he would receive support for that position as well. I also told him it was not the policy of the Republican Party of SLO County (RPSLO) to support challenges against incumbents unless that incumbent had committed some gross breach of electoral folly against Republican interests or candidates. Furthermore, if O’Malley had decided not to run and Kelley decided to run, he could likely expect support from the Republican Party if he requested it. He was non-committal as I recall but shortly thereafter he informed us that he wasn’t running for any seat, including his own. Even more surprising was his revelation that he intended to move to Oregon after completion of his current term of office in 2016 and has subsequently had a “For Sale” sign in front of his home.

Kelley brought up several other points, such as support for Measure J. At the time of our meeting in mid-summer, the RPSLO position was to oppose Measure J and the candidacy of any Republican who supported it. That proved to be impractical when it became apparent that several otherwise stalwart Republican elected officials had already supported the measure and their position was in line with views of their local constituents. Consequently, in September the RPSLO County took an official position in opposition to Measure J but left it to local officials to vote their conscience on the issue without sanctions.

Kelley addressed a contribution I made from personal funds to O’Malley’s campaign, which is my right. He implied it was tied to the Republican Party of SLO County, which it was not. The RPSLO has not made any contributions to any specific local campaign in this election although we do provide get-out-the-vote and logistical support to local candidates, such as allowing them to place their campaign materials in our headquarters.

This race isn’t about who controls the politics of Atascadero as the informed voters of this city are, as always, in charge of who represents them but it is about demonstrated commitment among the candidates and who has proven their dedication to the city. The question is, will the people of Atascadero recognize and honor those who have done so?

Al Fonzi
Atascadero resident and Chairman, RPSLO County

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the A-Town Daily News wrote and edited this article from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@accesspublishing.com.

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