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Five candidates for Atascadero City Council answer the Chamber of Commerce questions on Thursday night

As a City Council candidate for Atascadero, I’m proud to give our community an enthusiastic option with real solutions to Atascadero problems. With a focus on ensuring public safety and security, economic development and strength, and municipal accountability, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves as a member of the Atascadero City Council and get to work for four years of effort to change our luck as a community.

Growing up in Atascadero, from 1978, I know that Atascadero has been considered the red-headed stepchild between Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. What challenges that posed for us also gave our locals the grit to be survivors. But if 2020 has taught us anything it is that survival is not the answer for a city with the potential we have, between two monuments to economic development and planning that Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo have proven to be. We are more than a bedroom community, and I’m ready to help guide Atascadero to its promise.

In 2016, I ran for Mayor of Atascadero on the same platform I have now. Not much has actually changed in four years, but there has been some improvements. The Zappas family effort to develop La Plaza continues to stand as the single-most important element of our downtown and has provided us with a glimpse of what we can call a “vision” for Atascadero. Terrie Banish has pushed the marketing and events for Atascadero to create and expand events that improve our annual calendar. Now it is time to sink our teeth into what private industry or industries will be the provider of our head of household jobs.

Vision is important for our community, and not just a dreamy “utopian” vision, but a grounded and reasonable vision — the kind of vision that can see things coming and help prepare for the future.

In 2016, I warned about the impact our downtown would see after expanding our Junior High School to a Middle School and adding more kids to our downtown area each weekday as three schools — the high school, middle school, and Fine Arts Academy — poured into the downtown. In 2019, we saw the eventuality that led a local dentist to announce on social media that the Centennial Plaza bridge area that cost our community hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvement was unsuitable for kids and families. The unsupervised convergence of transients, drug users, vandals, and teenagers created an overwhelming and dangerous environment that caused the Atascadero Historical Society to close temporarily, damage to our community assets, and real human risks of drugs and violence.

I had called for additional police presence in 2016 to attend the downtown area during those high-traffic times. The executive directors at the City repeatedly told me there was no real issue. Well, it became a newsworthy issue that got the attention of local media.

We don’t have to be a reactionary community, but it takes a bit of extra effort to get over the hump of being behind to getting ahead. Getting ahead, and creating results is what I’ve made my name on. All the projects, groups, businesses, and organizations I’ve leaned into have produced results because I don’t stop pushing until we get there.

If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting. I’m volunteering my time to the City Council for the sole purpose of getting results that can change our course for the future. I can do that in four years of City Council work and continued leadership among our local organizations and businesses.

When you cast your vote for Atascadero, make sure you vote for Atascadero Strong. Vote for Nicholas Mattson.

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