Council goes forward with a working document for a 2024 Federal and State Legislative Platform

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. The hybrid meeting was held in the City Council Chambers.

The agenda for the evening was passed unanimously.

At the beginning of the meeting, City Manager Jim Lewis introduced two new members to the Atascadero City team: the new city attorney and the new chief of police. 


“I am thrilled with the new members of our team. Critical positions, a city attorney and a police chief,” stated Lewis.

David Fleishman of Richards, Watson & Gershon will be stepping into the role of City Attorney. He previously had a law firm in Atascadero and raised his children in the school district. 

“Having a local attorney, we’re very grateful the council selected a person who understands Atascadero, loves Atascadero, and has an office in San Luis Obispo, which is tremendous,” added Lewis.

Fleishman has served over 40 agencies in California and specializes in general law and advising city governments. He is currently the city attorney in Pismo Beach and is retiring from a role as city attorney in Solvang.

“I am glad to be back in the community where I raised my family and where I had my law firm for many years,” Fleishman said. “I’m glad to be part of the Atascadero community again. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the city. I hope I will be able to live up to the task that you have assigned me.”

Next, Lewis introduced new Atascadero Police Chief Daniel B. Suttles. Suttles will take over the role after over a year of interim police chiefs holding the position, most recently retired chief Joe Allen. Suttles will officially take the position on Jan. 8, 2024, with a 20-year career in law enforcement under his belt. 

His most recent position was Chief of Police for Bear Valley Police Department near Tehachapi. Before that, he worked for the Glendale Police Department as a patrol officer, S.W.A.T. in the Field Services Division, detective in the Investigative Services Division, Sergeant of the Patrol Bureau, Financial Crimes Unit, and Internal Affairs, and then got his tenure as Lieutenant — Patrol Commander.

“Prior to that, he served our country valiantly; perhaps he’ll tell you that story sometime in the United States Marine Corps for eight years. He learned a lot about leadership, courage, and service,” added Lewis.

Seventeen people from the community interviewed Suttles over the course of a day, and it was unanimous that Suttles should be the one to take on the chief of police position.

“Mayor, City Council, thank you very much for having the confidence in me to choose me to come and take on this challenge,” Suttles said. “Thank you very much for that. I also wanted to say that the process of hiring can be very stressful, but the professionalism of the staff was extremely welcoming. I already feel like I’m part of the team, and that’s really nice to step into.

“I’m excited that I get to join a team that is so well established and a team that’s worked so hard for the reputation that they have. I think that my job is just to help foster and create an environment that allows great people to do great things.”

The meeting then went into a Legislative Update on the 2024 Federal and State Legislative Platform. Jason Gonsalves gave the update. He stated that there is a projected $68 billion deficit for California. Jim Lewis then took over the presentation after Gonsalves left. Lewis shared with the council his reason for presenting a Federal and State Legislative Platform. Those reasons being: 

  1. It’s a transparent document telling residents what the council is fighting for at the state and local levels.
  2. It’s a tool for lobbyist Gonsalves to have when having conversations in Sacramento.
  3. It gives the council members a chance to weigh in on the legislative platform.
  4. It also includes information from city staff to keep the council aware of what they’re monitoring and concerned about.
  5. It allows the city to act quicker at times than they would through the normal legislative process.

After the council discussed the document presented, it was decided that the Federal and State Legislative Platform would be used as a working document with additions made next year. The motion passed unanimously.

The meeting then went into a Public Hearing on the 2024 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Draft Recommendations given by Public Works Director Nick DeBar.

“Tonight, we’re going to review the applications that were received for Atascadero’s share of the CDBG,” said DeBar. “The CDBG for community development activities must meet at least one of three national objectives. Benefit low to moderate income persons, aid in the prevention or elimination of blight, and also address urgent needs that pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community.”

It is estimated that Atascadero will be allocated $134,205 for their CDBG.

In the Public Facilities and Housing Projects category, $87,233 was allocated to the City of Atascadero for the Viejo Camino Sidewalk and ADA Improvements. In the Public Services category, $7,631 was allocated to the El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO), and $12,500 will go to the City of Atascadero’s Youth Activity Scholarships. Funding going to the Administration (20% of the CDBG max) is $17,447 to the SLO County Program Administration and $9,394 to the City of Atascadero Program Administration. The motion passed unanimously. 

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m.