Officials ‘knew’ of sexual allegations against chief

February 1, 2012

Chief Lisa Solomon

By DANIEL BLACKBURN and KAREN VELIE

Allegations of sexual misconduct by Paso Robles’ chief of police didn’t surprise everyone, according to a former councilman who said today that the city’s top management and council members have known of the assertions for years.

Lisa Solomon has been accused by current and former officers and non-sworn police department personnel of improper sexual touching and other related activities, setting unlawful ticket quotas, and subsequent retaliation against those who protested.

Solomon, 43, has declined to comment on the allegations, as have all other city officials. She is Paso Robles’ first female chief of police, appointed to her job in 2007 after rising through the ranks.

Gary Nemeth, who retired from the San Luis Obispo Police Department following a 30-year law enforcement career ended by injury, said others in the community have tried to raise alarms about Solomon and her public behavior, to no avail.

“I know they (top city officials) knew about all this, and they decided to let (Paso Robles City Manager Jim) App take care of it. Big mistake,” said  Nemeth. “They ignored the signals. Their whole life should be for the health, welfare and safety of the community, and I think they’ve let us down.”

Although current council members “are very aware” of the chief’s alleged behavior, said Nemeth, “it’s an App deal… no one will speak against him. App controls the city.”

Nemeth was a council member from 2000 to 2008, then ran and lost in the past two mayoral elections, so he said he’s probably considered a “malcontent” by some.

“But I care about this community, and when the police can’t perform their job safely, that should be a big red flag for people,” he said.

The department’s officer roster dropped to 1991 levels during the past few years. And new Solomon policies pose an immediate danger to the community and to the officers on the street, according to those interviewed by CalCoastNews.

Nemeth said that particular subject was raised during interviews of mayoral and council candidates by the Paso Robles Police Officers Association (PRPOA) in 2010.

“I’m certain the subject of city and department management policies, practices, and issues were raised in detail” with all candidates as with him, Nemeth said.

The PRPOA released on Tuesday a statement calling for a “safe working environment.”

The letter — which Nemeth called “an amazing step for a police association” — called on city officials to make changes. It read in part:  “We write this letter to publicly inform City Manager Jim App and the Paso Robles City Council that they are mandated by law to provide a safe working environment for their employees. The association membership expects to be treated with respect and dignity by our administration as is expected from us.”

Nemeth said the statement “is kind of unprecedented for Paso Robles. It a huge milestone for them to do this, because their jobs are on the line. The community needs to understand this.”


105 Comments

  1. Crusader says:

    WHAT: Gathering to protest the actions of James App, Lisa Solomon and other PR officials followed by attending the Paso Robles City Council meeting. Please wear RED.

    WHY: For actions/inaction by the above that have led to less safe living conditions in Paso Robles and surrounding areas.

    WHEN: Tonight (February 7) beginning at 6:00. Council meetings begins at 7:30 pm

    WHERE: Paso Robles Library. 1000 Spring Street.

    Please bring your family, a few friends and a neighbor or two. Everyone from SLO County should take part because this effects you too!

    “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

    See you tonight!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. OldNed says:

    Because I’ve been bothered by the effort to turn Gary Nemeth into a hero for speaking out after the fact, I did a little additional digging on his positions in running for mayor in 2010. Here is his smartvoter.com candidate page from just 15 short months ago. I’ve scoured it and can assure everyone it contains no “porn links” or other inappropriate material. I’ve also scoured it and found nothing even hinting at dumpting Jim App or Lisa Solomon. Please look at it, including all the links to position papers and philosophy.

    http://www.smartvoter.org/2010/11/02/ca/slo/vote/nemeth_g/index.html

    If App really has been “running the city” and if councilmembers really have been afraid to cross him, shouldn’t ridding the city of him been one of Nemeth’s top campaign positions? Again, don’t get me wrong: If App and Solomon have done all the things people are saying they did, let’s run them out of town. Just be cautious of anyone trying to paint himself the savior in the situation when nothing indicates he lifted a finger to change it. I still wait for any evidence that Nemeth actually campaigned to replace the city manager….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 6

    • OldNed says:

      I apologize in advance for the typos and other errors.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

      • MaryMalone says:

        That’s okay. I think we are fluent in the postereze language.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • MaryMalone says:

      In a perfect world, if App was a big concern of Nemeth, yes, he should have spoken out about it.

      It’s not a perfect world, and that’s not how campaigns are run. He would have lost more votes than he gained and, in the process, drawn a great big target on himself for retaliation.

      The time to start campaigning for removal of a city manager is when one has become a city council member.

      I usually agree with you, Ned, but in this case, I see it differently. The burden of action to remove a corrupt and/or inept city manager is on the only people who can do it: the members of the city council.

      Paso Robles is turning out to be so much like the City of Bell, however, we may end up finding out that all of the council members are in on the scheme and, at this point, can’t take out App without exposing themselves to considerable risk for their own role in the fiasco.

      I really hope it doesn’t turn out that there have been the same kind of financial improprieties as we saw in the City of Bell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are.

      The council, the city manager, and the police chief all seem to believe that laws and regulations don’t apply to them. If they will participate in, or sit by and do nothing while it occurs, the kind of illegal activities, as well as harassment, intimidation, and retaliation of the PRPD officers, that we’ve seen so far–I don’t think they would hesitate to do the same or worse with PR’s finances.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 8

      • OldNed says:

        I just don’t see how the retaliation angle fits. When he ran in 2010, he wasn’t a councilman and wasn’t a city employee. In other words, he seemed to have nothing to lose from speaking out when he ran. If he had run on a dump App platform and lost votes for it, he would be in a position to say I told you so. If getting elected was more important than raising an issue he believed to be of such importance, he doesn’t deserve to be mayor any more than Picanco, who seems genuinely shocked not just by the Solomon allegations, but by everything of importance that happens in the city. Finally, I think the City of Bell comparisons are wildly overstated.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9

        • MaryMalone says:

          PR has not been a bastion of citizen activism, and I doubt many people outside of the police department and city government knew the extent of what was going on.

          For Nemeth to make any net vote gains by bringing up the subject, he would have had to spend considerable time educating the public about it. And since there were no articles written about it at that time, he would have had little second-party verification that would carry weight with the voters, or other reference, to back up his claims.

          In general, although voters DO take in negative campaign advertising if it is repeated often enough, they don’t like it, especially if there is no reference or second-party verification.

          If he (or anyone else) was to run for council now, they would have a lot more luck making the Lisa Solomon debacle an issue. The groundwork has already been laid. The candidate would be seen not as initiating negative advertising, but campaigning against the negative results of the current city council and government administration.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7

        • Bookworm says:

          Gary Nemeth just did not fit in with the good old boys network. I recall reading between the lines during his campaign and thinking that he knew about all of the stuff going on behind closed doors and hoped to make changes. Could he really have showed his hand before being elected? I doubt it. You can see the power people have been pulling the puppet strings for a long time and an outsider like Gary Nemeth would have had a tough time if he revealed all that he thought at the outset. What about Frank Mecham? He must know what is/was going on? Where does he fit in all of this?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

          • OldNed says:

            You read between the lines? Oh brother.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

            • MaryMalone says:

              Ned, I think we all read between the lines. That is simply deduction.

              If we didn’t read between the lines, with the exception of CCN, reading the local news would be as relevant to figuring out local politics as would be reading a Jane Austen novel.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • tellthetruth says:

      Nemeth is an opportunist who is just looking for an issue to run on. This will allow him to throw mud at the current council then stand back and claim to be the one who can “clean things up.” I wouldn’t buy what he’s selling on this issue.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  3. slorealitycheck says:

    Her and her husband, Officer $h1tty of SLOPD, I mean Chitty, are questionable people with a skewed moral compass. They both believe they are above the law. It’s scary! They’re scary! We need an outside group to investigate the both of them.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 55 Thumb down 6

    • manyworries says:

      Thanks for mentioning her husband slorealitycheck. He’s equally as dangerous as her. I am one of his victims. Yes, he does believe he is above the law and to date he’s gotten away with it. They both need to terminated, investigated and stripped of any future benefits. THEY ARE SCARY :(

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 3

      • standup says:

        He screwed me out of money too with his t-shirt business. I hope the whole lot goes down. She can go shake her breasts elsewhere.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 3

        • slowtime says:

          If he screwed you there, watch out for him here!
          http://www.portapartypics.com/Porta_Party_Pics/Welcome.html

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

          • Kettel says:

            Administrative Contact:
            CHITTY, CHRISTOPHER
            Paso Robles, California 93447
            United States

            Cops renting out a party photo booth, what could possibly go wrong there.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

            • slowtime says:

              Alot can go wrong. Follow the Facebook link; interesting.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

            • MaryMalone says:

              Oh lord, can you imagine the kind of photos that would be taken by a police chief who has such poor judgment she would actually, a) order her subordinates to accompany her in a hot-tub party and, b) then grab one of her subordinate’s hoo-hoo while the other subordinates looked on?

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

              • slowtime says:

                There has to be pics from the booth somewhere. Now that would be “juicy”

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. Karen and I will discuss this wild week tonight on Dave Congalton’s 920 KVEC Home Town Radio show starting at 6:05 p.m.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

    • manyworries says:

      Is there any way to hear it again? I’m bummed I missed it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

      • Typoqueen says:

        Yeah, in a day or two you can go on KVEC’s website and listen to it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  5. Crusader says:

    WHAT: Protest gathering prior to next Paso Robles City Council meeting. We will also attend the city council meeting.

    WHY: To protest the horridly unacceptable behavior of Police Chief Lisa Solomon, City Manager James L. App and others that puts our local community in danger.

    WHERE: 1000 Spring Street Paso Robles, CA (Paso Robles Government Center)

    WHEN: Tuesday, February 7th beginning at 6:00 pm. City council meeting begins at 7:30 pm

    SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: Please wear articles of RED clothing (hats, shirts, coats, etc.) as forms of unity and protest. Bring your own protest signs if you like.

    REFERENCE: http://www.prcity.com/governme

    “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Please join us and bring a friend or two!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3

    • Typoqueen says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating Click here to see.

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 46

      • Spirit Filled says:

        Why don’t we quit the foreplay and get to it. Outside agency to prove or disprove the allegations would be the proper thing to do rather than just beating your chest and not backing up the negative opinions with proof. Thanks, now I feel better.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  6. nancy33 says:

    My advice, if you live in Paso, watch your back. Not sure if it’s too safe to be protesting. Not sure what we are up against here. Do the officers who are speaking up need protection?
    Thanks for reporting on this CalCoast news.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 5

    • Crusader says:

      Actually this is a time to take a deep breath and step-up to the plate. A lot is on the line here. The behavior of App, Solomon and others has had a truly deleterious effect on the City of Paso Robles. People live measurably more difficult and dangerous lives because these pieces of garbage have chosen to serve themselves rather than the citizenry. Just think of the kids who join (or are threatened by) gangs because Paso Robles has an incompetent Police Chief with a mixed-up set of priorities. Being silent right now could lead to another decade or more of societal erosion to the City of Paso Robles.

      “I’m made as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

      See you this coming Tuesday night around 6:00 at the Paso Robles Library. Please wear RED and bring a friend or two!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 4

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