We have officially moved into the Fall season. Fall is always a fun and festive season in the North County, and this year is no exception. Atascadero will be celebrating Colony Days on October 7th, but there will be many events in the next couple of weeks leading up to the Colony Days parade. I want to thank the Colony Days Committee for all their hard work to organize this historic event, and to the City for their support.

Colony Days is always a time to reflect on Atascadero’s past and share its history with friends and family.  I’m always happy to see all the young people in attendance who will grow up with a better understanding of their hometown, its origins, challenges, and successes.  Atascadero has a great story!

I had a chance to visit city hall the other day to join Mayor Heather Moreno for a meeting.  I parked near the Atascadero Historical Society building and, as always felt a rush of gratitude for all they have done over the last decades to showcase Atascadero’s history.  As I walked over to the Rotunda building, I took a minute to glance over at the Middle School campus, where two of my granddaughters were in class.  Again, I felt overwhelming gratitude that my granddaughters could have the opportunity to grow up in this wonderful community and attend school in this magnificent setting.  Entering the Rotunda through the front door, I was attracted to a display in the lobby memorializing Mayor Steve Martin who recently passed away.  Steve Martin grew up in Atascadero and though he lived his adult life in Paso Robles, his love of Atascadero is well documented.  He served 10 years as the director of the Atascadero Main Street Association, charged with improvements to the declining downtown area.

He used his experience to bring positive changes to downtown Atascadero. Working with the Atascadero Chamber and his lifelong childhood friend Mayor Tom O’Malley, Steve helped influence the Atascadero we see today.

As I rode up the elevator, I thought about all the years of true dedication Steve Martin and Tom O’Malley gave to Atascadero.  When the elevator opened, I joined the meeting and found myself looking out the window across the beautiful Sunken Garden, and to the newest development, La Plaza, built by the Zappas family.  The window perfectly framed a breathtakingly beautiful town center.  I thought of all the changes to Atascadero I had seen in my lifetime, and how many people had influenced the decisions that brought us to the present day.  From the grand colony E.G Lewis envisioned, to the incorporation of the city in the 1970’s, to the decision to restore the Rotunda building after the 2003 earthquake, to the City’s support of the restoration of the Carlton Hotel, to the cooperative approach by the school district and the various developers surrounding the Sunken Gardens, the result is stunning.

As we prepare to celebrate Atascadero my thanks to all who contributed and provided leadership to get us to this place!

-Debbie Arnold
(805) 781-1994


5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold

Debbie Arnold moved to San Luis Obispo County in 1973 to attend Cal Poly, she fell in love with both her husband, Steve, and the farming and ranching values that had been a part of the Arnold family way of life for more than 5 generations. While raising two children, she owned and operated a small business in Atascadero for more than 17 years. She then had the privilege of advocating for local families as a Legislative Aide at the County Supervisor’s office and as a San Luis Obispo District Representative for the State Senate. During these years, she worked with a broad range of community groups and interests, bringing people together to solve problems. Debbie Arnold now serves as the 5th District Supervisor for San Luis Obispo County.