Alleged homeless advocates accused of stealing from the poor

February 4, 2013

Cliff AndersonKeeping them homeless

By KAREN VELIE, JOSH FRIEDMAN and DANIEL BLACKBURN

(Editor’s note: This is the first in a series about San Luis Obispo County Homeless Services and the non-profit that manages the program. See Cliff Anderson’s struggles at the bottom of this story.)

Cliff Anderson lost his home in 2008 when a fire broke out in his apartment. Almost four years later and after making $41,420 in payments to remain in Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s case management, Anderson still has no home.

“They said they are going to get me into housing any day,” Anderson said last week.

However, he remains in the Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter — and nearly all of the money he’s entrusted to CAPSLO’s case management appears to have disappeared. CAPSLO’s administration requires homeless who sleep in the shelter or a car parked in their lot to make the program the payee for their government checks. Case management then keeps 50 to 70 percent of a client’s money with claims it is placed into a secure account to be used in the future to pay for housing.

Anderson’s situation with CAPSLO is not unique. CalCoastNews has spent two years investigating CAPSLO and interviewing people the quasi-public agency claims to serve. CCN has learned that CAPSLO has engaged in practices that have homeless people giving the partnership much of the public assistance money they receive, but getting little or nothing in return.

In Anderson’s case, he has signed over his disability benefits to case management for the last three and a half years, Social Security records show.

CAPSLO administration claims collected money belongs to the client, and is being saved in order to get them into housing. There is no charge for staying at the shelter.

In Social Security benefits, Anderson brings in about $970 a month; CAPSLO permits him to keep $400 per month which leaves case management owing him about $20,000.

In addition, his case manager charges Anderson $25 every few months to run credit checks to determine if he qualifies for housing, and he is required pay about $37 a month for others to manage his money.

The federal government requires that entities trying to become payees for disabled clients receiving SSI attend special meetings where Social Security officials inform them that people on SSI must spend the benefits they receive. Disability money is required to be expended each month on necessities, not saved in the bank. People on SSI can only save a total of $2,000 out of their SSI payments.

And each year, the entities, known as payees, have to confirm to the Social Security Administration that recipients have not saved more than $2,000. It is considered fraud to misreport.

An SSI recipient or payee is responsible for returning payments to the federal government after the $2,000 limit has been reached. That means CAPSLO or Family Ties, a company retained by the agency, owes the Social Security Administration approximately $37,000 for misreporting Anderson’s account.

But CAPSLO says it doesn’t owe anything. CAPSLO Chief Operating Officer Jim Famalette claims that CAPSLO’s case managers are not the payees taking Anderson’s money. Anderson and the people like him are working with Family Ties, not CAPSLO, according to Famalette.

“We do not act as a payee for those funds,” Famalette said in an email to CalCoastNews.

But Lisa Niesen, Family Ties’ owner, said her company is not the payee getting the SSI payments for CAPSLO’s homeless clients. In any event, most of the client accounts contain minimal balances, she said.

“None of the clients we have from case management have more than a few thousand dollars in their account, and most have just $20 to $30,” Niesen said.

Several of CAPSLO’s homeless clients said they do not have an agreement with Family Ties. Niesen said her company’s agreement is with CAPSLO, not the case management clients.

SSI records for Anderson list Family Ties as the recipient for his money, but when homeless clients have questions about their accounts, they are required to deal with CAPSLO case managers.

In the past two years, homeless clients of CAPSLO have approached CalCoastNews with allegations that CAPSLO case managers often refuse to return all client monies when they leave the program or sometimes give a small percentage of what they are owed. If clients complain, they are barred from receiving CAPSLO homeless services.

Several current and former case managers have also said that they believe money is being embezzled from the clients’ accounts.

For years, CAPSLO administrators have refused to respond to allegations of missing funds, or to answer questions about what happens to a client’s money if they die.

On Friday, Famalette responded, saying that the allegations against a CAPSLO manager are a “baseless innuendo not worthy of a response.”

Meanwhile, CAPSLO is working to get approval for a 200-bed shelter and an overnight parking program. The parking program eventually would accommodate 200 vehicles.

Dee Torres asks the San Luis Obispo City Council to approve more aggressive treatment of the homeless who do not enter case management.

Dee Torres asks the San Luis Obispo City Council to approve more aggressive treatment of the homeless who do not enter case management.

In March, the San Luis Obispo City Council entertained CAPSLO’s proposal to increase ticketing of homeless who sleep in their vehicles without agreeing to participate in case management, which requires giving CAPSLO case management a portion of their income.

Proponents of the more aggressive ticketing include San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill. Hill is in a relationship with CAPSLO’s Homeless Services Coordinator Dee Torres. Torres and Hill did not respond to requests for comment.

When Torres brought the proposal to the SLO City Council, Hill asked the council not to heed comments by members of the public who oppose Torres’ proposal. He said that the issue of homelessness is too complicated for most lay people to understand.

Torres argued for the change, claiming that CAPSLO had already managed to get five homeless clients in the parking program into housing. One client, Gulf War veteran Kimberly Frey-Griffin, said the claim was not accurate. Though she did get into housing, she said it was in spite of CAPSLO.

From December 2011 through May 2012, Frey-Griffin paid her case manager $25 to $50 a week she earned from cleaning houses. After more than five months in the program, on her own, she found and paid to get herself into housing. When she asked for her approximately $700 back, her case manager handed her a check for $133, and then added Frey-Griffin to the CAPSLO list of housing success stories.

Nevertheless, public officials throughout the county, many of whom sit on the CAPSLO Board of Directors, are the first to applaud CAPSLO for its work with the homeless.

 

Cliff Anderson’s struggles

He is a shell of a man, 6 feet tall and only 158 pounds, afflicted with severe edema and varicose veins, he lives in unrelenting agony.

He spends his days exposed to the elements, weathered beyond his years, trying to navigate the dangerous and homeless world of violent drug addicts, the mentally ill and those looking to steal what little he has.

He is a 69-year-old San Luis Obispo native who worked as a butcher most of his life, spending about a decade employed at the United Meat Market in San Luis Obispo.

It is a difficult life at the Maxine Lewis Shelter. Staff awaken clients at 6 a.m. to do chores, and then require the clients to leave by 7 a.m. Cliff Anderson often sits by the railroad tracks waiting for the 10 a.m. bus to the Prado Day Center, where he is exposed to the elements because CAPSLO management contends there is not enough money available to open the warming center.

The Prado warming center has been open only four days this year, despite a $25,000 donation last year from PG&E to benefit energy efficiency at Prado. The money was spent installing an air conditioning unit in the staff office area.

Cliff Anderson's foot

Cliff Anderson’s foot

Anderson must be waiting outside the shelter each night at 5 p.m., even though check-in does not start until 6 p.m. Once inside, clients are not permitted to watch television except on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Conversely, the North County shelter allows their clients to watch television each evening until 10 p.m.

Anderson’s cowboy boots are worn and uncomfortable. His feet are swollen and covered in veins. Anderson said a doctor had told him to get new shoes. But he has no money.

Nevertheless, his numerous requests to case managers — some witnessed by CalCoastNews reporters — to provide some of his own money to purchase a new pair of shoes have been rebuffed or ignored. Other homeless clients of CAPSLO tell similar stories of their medical needs not being met because their case managers refuse to provide the clients own money to do so.

 

Keeping Them Homeless, the series.


158 Comments

  1. leatherpink says:

    Tell me what shoe size Cliff Anderson wears, I’ll get the guy some shoes he can wear in public and in the rough. Where to send the shoes without getting stolen from the rest of the bums living at the Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter. Along with a new pair of jeans, shirts, wool socks.

    The important thing is to get him some nice boots or shoes that he gets it.

    while I support the agressive ticketing program of people living in their trailers, there are some homeless people I don’t mind helping but the downtown bums on the daily police report creating daily crimes, those are the ones I want outta here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 10

    • Dee Torres says:

      I’ll begin by saying that I started to respond to each and every false accusation in this story but there are so many I will sum up my comments as follows:

      FACT – Cliff Anderson has not been consistently in CAPSLO services for four years, he has been in and out of our services for many years.

      FACT – In 2010 Cliff Anderson was housed in one of our permanent housing units for a little over 7 months, this was the only time any CAPSLO staff person collected any money from Cliff. Our housing units are operated under strict guidelines and oversight which is funded mainly by HUD. All clients who live in the permanent housing units are required to pay 30% of their income towards rent, which is in turn forwarded to the master landlord. The other portion of their rent is paid from the federal HUD grants. Often times we are forced to turn to fundraising dollars which come from our community to cover differences between combined contributions from the government and client. The case management services which are provided to these clients are always free of charge to them, as well as all of our other services.

      Fact – Cliff has never paid anything to CAPSLO case managers for any of the services he has received (except for those months that he paid rent for the apartment he was living in). All of the services provided to our clients are free of charge to them, unless their living in one of the apartment units and paying 30% of their income towards their rent.

      FACT – CAPSLO is not Cliff’s payee, Family Ties receives his checks directly from the social security administration and disperses money to him each week. The money he receives is his to do with as he pleases, again CAPSLO staff do not keep or use one single cent of his or any other homeless clients money.

      FACT – CAPSLO program staff are not now and never have been a payee for any homeless client in any of our services. In regards to Mr. Anderson, Family Ties is his payee and as such they receive his money directly from social security and in turn issue him checks. Lisa was misquoted in the article and stated to me that her answers were taken out of context. Family Ties is the payee for Cliff Anderson, there’s no disputing this in fact the article itself states it, “SSI records for Anderson list Family Ties as the recipient for his money.”

      Fact- Case Management never retains any portion of a clients money. In fact, many case managed clients do not participate in any structured savings plan at all. While we do our best to provide clients with all of the core services possible in order for them to set aside as much of their income toward housing, many don’t. We require clients to save a portion of their income if they are asking to be placed on a priority bed status at the MLM Shelter. Priority bed status means that you are guaranteed a bed each night until you are housed. We require that you set aside a portion of your monthly income so that when housing is located there is money for rent and required deposits. Our goal is to enable client’s to eventually be able to find and move into afford housing.

      Fact – CAPSLO clients who have chosen to participate in our case management program and as such be placed on a priority bed status, have been depositing a portion of their income with Family Ties since January 1997 and to date no client has ever brought an accusation of mismanaging of funds to either entity. To date their have been no complaints filed with either CAPSLO or Family Ties. Both agencies are audited routinely and many systems are in place to ensure funds are saved and allocated appropriately.

      Fact – CAPSLO will thoroughly investigate any specific claim brought to their attention! To date no one, including the “reporters” listed in this story have done this.

      I and my organization work transparently and if anyone has specific questions, etc. – feel free to contact me directly at dtorres@capslo.org. I am proud of my staff, programs, and clients and will always be happy to stand up for all of them!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 49

      • gardenslo says:

        Dee Torres,
        As someone who has closely witnessed your corruption in homeless services under EOC and CAPSLO for many, many years I must say you are a liar and a thief. You and I both know that Cliff Anderson’s story is just the tip of the iceberg and there are worse things you’ve done that can come out. I look forward to CCN continuing to expose you for who and what you are.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 39 Thumb down 11

        • Dee Torres says:

          Absolutely not “gardenslo” I invite you to use a real name and contact me as there is
          absolutely nothing true to this story. Poor Cliff has been victimized by this site as countless
          others have been “gardenslo.”

          Once again a shred of evidence has not been provided, just fake names with fake claims.

          dtorres@capslo.org – goodnight.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 39

          • MaryMalone says:

            I invite you to give back the money you and your agency have stolen from the very victims you were supposed to be protecting and helping.

            Doing so, with an apology like “Oops, our bad, we made a mistake, here’s the money with interest and monetary damages for the victims” is the only real chance you have to save yourself from trial and prison time.

            Have you ever noticed how, after a woman who bleaches her hair blond has been locked up for awhile, the darker roots just grow longer and longer?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 10

          • Scarlet says:

            Wait. You say the name in the story is fake and then you acknowledge Cliff as a client? You are either not very bright or getting very bad advice. Both maybe.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

            • MaryMalone says:

              I don’t think she should be revealing ANYTHING on a public message board about ANY of her clients. I am sure there must be confidentiality clauses involved in the relationship between CAPSLO’s clients and CAPSLO’s administrators, staffs and volunteers.

              Yet here’s Dee, blab-blab-blab-blab. Just more fuel for the prosecution when this comes to trial.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 8

      • ReelView says:

        You have been stealing from the homeless for years, and your corruption has already been exposed. It’s too late, start looking for another job….after you get out of prison!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 9

      • THammah says:

        FACT – The MAX amount that SSI allows an individual to save is $2000.

        Does SSI even allow a third party to save and aid money for them or could that be construed as possibly hiding funds from SSI? Of course not, so for legality purposes this money is obviouly spent…but on what. Transparency is the issue here.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 5

        • gardenslo says:

          I wonder if there similar rules for CalWORKS cash aid, because Family Ties keeps those funds, too.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

        • MaryMalone says:

          This third-party relationship reminds me very much of CalFire and the third-party organization’s bank account they used for “off-budgeting” California State money.

          Cal-Fire is undergoing a massive investigation into this scam. In addition, California State legislators are putting together a bill to overturn the $150 charge to rural residents for fire protection, passed last year, with the argument that Cal-Fire obviously has the money for rural fire protection…they’ve just been hiding it “off-budget” in a third-party account.

          How long before we see Dee Torres in an orange jumpsuit, doing the “frog march two-step” before the cameras? And how deep is Adam Hill in this conspiracy to defraud homeless people and the federal government?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

      • MaryMalone says:

        I thought your client records were supposed to be confidential?

        And here you are shrieking like a parrot in heat some very confidential information about Mr. Anderson.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6

      • Citizen says:

        Dee Torres. You say that Anderson has been in and out of Capslo case management, but the SS administration says that his disability check goes to Family Ties and has for the last 3 and 1/2 years. He had to have gone though Capslo to use Family Ties. Did Capslo not stop his case management and stop Family Ties from managing his ss money?

        “Cliff Anderson has not been consistently in CAPSLO services for four years, he has been in and out of our services for many years”. Then why was his money taken every month by Family Ties for Capslo case management?/////?????????????????????????????????????????????????

        Your explanation is not good enough. What happened to his money????????????????????????

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  2. ReelView says:

    Wow! NOW you all get what I have been saying from the start!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 6

  3. Booty JuJu says:

    It’s pretty simple. If Mr.Anderson has been defrauded out of $40k, he needs to file a criminal complaint. Same with any and all others who think they’ve been taken by these folks. Regarding owner’s or officials of quasi public agencies being government employees as well – that’s how it works. You have an inside edge into government contracting by being an elected official, government employee, or close connections thereto and you print money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 7

    • MaryMalone says:

      Who is going to fund the legal case for Mr. Anderson? YOU?

      Meanwhile, Dee Torres and her band of merry thieves, get free legal advice and services from SLO city legal counsel.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6

  4. slocalocal says:

    I invite everyone to go the website for the National arm of CAP (Community Action Partners).
    http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/

    Although I’m sure the CCN staff has made them very aware of what is going on in SLO, I’m sure a few more shouts from the likes of us would only help get the ball rolling on a full scale investigation.

    I can hear all the scurrying around hoping to not be the last rat on a sinking ship

    On their home page is an invitation to join an upcoming Nationa Webinar. One of the main topics of the entire webinar really jumps out.
    I think CAPSLO missed the original class on this subject.
    Cut and pasted directly from the CAP website;

    February 21, 2013 at 4:00 Eastern

    REGISTER NOW!

    The Partnership invites you to attend the second National Update on the progress of Organizational Standards Development and ROMA Next Generation co-hosted by the Community Action Partnership and NASCSP.
    This event will cover new developments related to the ongoing process to strengthen organizational standards for Community Action Agencies and further refine ROMA to meet the needs of the CSBG network.The webinar is free but registration is required.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 5

    • SLOBIRD says:

      You do not understand. This is paradise, we don’t follow rules, we create the rules in Happy Ton. The City Council and the BOS are going to do exactly what they want because they are all in this together, patting each other on the back, covering up for each other’s wrong doing, condoning each other’s special “friend”, and for sure staying the Party line, Democrats to the end! Support the Democrat Central Party, Democrat Party and all the cronies associated with it.

      Dave Congalton, you need to get Dee Torres and Lisa Niesen on your show and explain to the people what this is about.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 4

      • Dee Torres says:

        As stated above I and my staff have nothing to hide. I will provide all facts to Dave and look forward
        to being invited on his show.

        dtorres@capslo.org

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 23

        • Cindy says:

          Dee, Who is responsible for setting up Lisa Niesen’s company as the payee for clients case management funds? Obviously, anyone wanting to guarantee a bed in hopes of eventually finding housing is required to deposit funds into Family Ties, right?

          I don’t believe for one single second that Karen Velie misquoted your associate, Lisa Niesen.

          I don’t believe that Karen made up fake names of people in this article either and I don’t believe that CAPSLO hasn’t had complaints from the clients.

          I would be very interested to listen to both you and LISA on Dave Congalton and I would hope that Lisa would bring along an accounting of Mr. Anderson’s funds and copies of cancelled checks that she paid to Mr Andersen. I’ll bet $ to donuts that she doesn’t show up and that makes it easy for you to say whatever you like.

          BTW – Why won’t you allow the tired, miserable clients to relax and watch TV during the evening on weekdays and why did a 25K grant go towards air conditioning for the staff offices and what sort of AC system costs 25K anyway and why has the warming shelter only been opened for 4 days this year?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

          • Dee Torres says:

            Cindy, I appreciate honest questions and will do my best to answer. We began using Family Ties 16 years ago. Often times homeless people can’t open bank accounts of their own or they’re too costly, because of past issues, lack of adequate ID, etc… Family Ties helps people who can’t open their own account and want to save money. As we know it’s not safe to carry all the cash you own on you know matter what your situation, the homeless are particularly vulnerable. My staff are not payees or money managers, we are fortunate to have an organization like Family Ties to help people in this situation and they do a stellar job. During this 16 year partnership not one credible claim has ever been made against either organization. Receipts are given for each and every transaction. These are the facts.
            As for the “fake names” I was referring to the posters not the homeless who are quoted in the story.
            Regarding TV, a movie is played every evening. We do not have cable but every evening clients discuss and agree on a movie which is played in the main room. I will say that balancing the individual preferences of 50 people each day is challenging, many people hate the noise and wish we’d never turn it on.
            As for the air conditioning at Prado, we were very fortunate to receive a grant from PG&E, to use on structural things to make the site more energy efficient. Linking this very specific grant to the warming station shows again that no credible reporting was done. We could not use that money for the warming station or any other program, if we wanted to.
            The cost of the air conditioning system I believe was actually more than $25,000, why these things are so expensive are not for me to comment on, as this is not my area of expertise. I can say that the system is set up to cool the entire site, not just the offices, and it’s important. Luckily our weather is generally nice but on those few days every year when the heat is extreme, having 100 or so bodies trying to function in a cramped setting with no air conditioning, becomes dangerous at worst and extremely uncomfortable at best.
            Why don’t we open our warming station more? The warming station activates during “extreme weather”, severe rain storms which are predicted to last 2 or more days and/or extreme cold 32 degrees or below. The other component is having available staff and volunteers.
            Lastly, as I said I appreciate honest questions and will always try my best to answer swiftly and honestly. If you or anyone else would like a tour of either or both sites feel free to contact me directly dtorres@capslo.org., Taking a tour or volunteering at one of our sites are the best ways to actually learn about our programs, as you are not getting accurate information on this site.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 20

            • THammah says:

              ” Family Ties helps people who can’t open their own account and want to save money. As we know it’s not safe to carry all the cash you own on you know matter what your situation, the homeless are particularly vulnerable. My staff are not payees or money managers, we are fortunate to have an organization like Family Ties to help people in this situation and they do a stellar job.” -Dee Torres

              Last i checked BANKS have no problems helping people open their own bank accounts or buying debit cards. Ive work in banks for 10 years and i for one know that they help every way possible to help anyone wanting to open a FREE savings and/or checking accounts that may even pay a little interest.

              Is family ties a group of money managers qualified to save SSI payments for individuals when they technically aren’t supposed to… As i said before TRANSPARENCY is key. And for TRANSPARENCY to work then PROOF must be shown.

              I’m sorry but all the good people commenting on this document are unlikely to take your word for it

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 8

            • gardenslo says:

              “Family Ties helps people who can’t open their own account and want to save money.”

              Then why do you require those who already have a bank account to put their money into Family Ties?

              “My staff are not payees or money managers..”

              That’s interesting considering the fact that managing clients’ money is the number one priority in the shelter’s case management program.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5

            • Cindy says:

              Thank You for your reply. You sound credible however I’ll wait for the rest of this investigation to unfold as I find it doubtful that CCN is this far off it’s mark. I’ve been reading them since the onset of this publication which started in mid 2007 and they’ve never made false accusations.

              I’m reminded of when CCN broke the Dystiny Meyers story about a video of Dystiny being beaten in the back of a truck with two LE having a coffee nearby. The spokesperson for the LE literally denied it, everyone in a position to confirm it, denied it. They didn’t say they wouldn’t comment, THEY LIED and said it wasn’t true. The ‘officials’ were so convincing, that I was ready to throw in the towel where my belief in the accuracy of CCN reporting was concerned, and we all know how that turned out ….

              Those attempting to avoid embarrassment and/or all wrongdoers have always denied the reporting of CCN but the accused have never turned out innocent. I’ll wait.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 4

            • Nancy says:

              Dee Torres, Your response about the warming shelter is utterly obtuse. Why is it OK to be drenched in torrential rains for 24 hours but not for 48 hours? Why does it have to reach 32 degrees before you open the warming shelter when 36 degrees is damn cold and people die of exposure from it. You have a lot of problems as compared to what goes on in North County and your case management is about requiring people to put their money in the FT accounts, that is a known fact and you did the same thing to people wanting to sleep in their cars. You tried to force them into joining your case management and savings program, say it isn’t true..

              I find it interesting that you have no problem coming onto this board but refuse all phone calls and interviews with CCN who would have gladly printed your side of it.

              Dave Congalton needs to get you and Lisa along with Andersen’s accounting records on his show at KVEC.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 5

        • south says:

          Dee, while I’m not a lawyer, I think if you consult one you will find that when accused of criminal and civil mischief it is not a good idea to respond directly other than to say you are wrongly accused and when the facts come out you will seek an apology and/or libel settlement.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 9

          • Dee Torres says:

            Thanks for the advice “south”, I have nothing to hide. I’m not saying I’m perfect, none of us are but my staff and I do not take money from our clients. Our services are FREE to them. Any money they save is ALWAYS for them, to better their lives. These are the facts.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 20

        • MaryMalone says:

          Oh, DO appear on radio shows. That will give more information to the prosecution on which he can grill witnesses.

          Prosecution already has a handful of posts, and in some of them you broke client confidentiality by spewing information about a client.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

      • MaryMalone says:

        Good idea, SLOBIRD. That way, Torres’ lawyers will get to review, in preparation for trial, all of the posts she has made, as well as her radio-broadcast “testimony.”

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

    • MaryMalone says:

      Oh, THANK YOU.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  5. Paso_citizen says:

    After reading this story and putting it together with all the other stuff going on it this county – may God have mercy on us all.

    And the more sobering knowledge is that things like this are very likely happening in every small, mid-size, and large city, every county, every state, and at the federal level.

    This is what we, as a people, have evolved into over the past many years. Rules, regulations, bureaucracy, one hand patting you on the back – while the other hand is picking your pocket. elected officials on the take, protecting each other, and on and on and on. And the ones getting shafted are the poor, the disadvantaged, the gullible electorate, etc.

    I must state that for many reasons, I am glad I am in my 70′s. Stuff like what has happened in SLO county on so many levels is revolting – to say the least. And most likely it is only the tip of the iceberg.
    It will take some major, major actions – probably a revolution – to effect real change. This won’t be pretty and I’m kinda glad I won’t be around for most of it. What we have seen to date (as far as real changes) ain’t nothing close to what will be needed.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 36 Thumb down 5

    • brook says:

      On the other hand, a generation or more, lacking the skill of critical thinking or the willingness to invest themselves in the effort to serve on School Boards, Councils, and Non Profits -indeed to even volunteer in community efforts, have to assume some responsibility for the state of things.

      It doesn’t require a “revolution” – but resolution. That cannot be achieved without some level of personal interaction. Our society has made “activist” a dirty word. “Those people” are scorned and ridiculed from podiums by the very people who have their hands in the till.

      I would hope that all those who read and react here at CCN also interact in the real world as activists. If not now, when?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  6. SLOTRUTH says:

    It is interesting to note that the owner/president of Family Ties, Lisa Niesen, is also the manager of the SLO County Office of the Public Guardian. She is a county employee, who also runs what seems to be a for profit business. Family Ties does almost exactly the same thing as the Public Guardian office. Very simplistically, each entity collects Social Security disability checks for people who are deemed not able to handle their own money, and then pays the bills for these people. This seems like a major conflict of interest.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 4

  7. JB Bronson says:

    65 comments and no mention of Biz Steinberg as head of CAP-SLO. Hmmm. Either she knows nothing about the years of fiscal manipulation at this agency, or she knows all about it. Which do you choose to believe?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 4

    • MaryMalone says:

      If she doesn’t know about it, she is incompetent and should be fired. If she is competent, then she needs to be made a target of the investigation, along with the rest of the frauds involved in this embezzlement scam.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  8. Willow says:

    To HML: “impeach” is not the correct process – it is “recall”.

    Not sure what the SLO City recall process may be, but State of California recall rules allow for recall 6 months after being (newly) seated; and no laws have to be broken for elected officials to be recalled – all that’s needed is for the People to be dissatisfied with the official (since they serve at the pleasure of the people who elected them). The cost for printing, and counting the recall ballots is born by the city/district that is holding the recall – it comes out of the city or county district’s budget. People often reject the notion of recall, saying it “costs too much” – but NOT when you consider the cost of keeping unworthy louts in office and having to live with all their bad regulations and demoralization of the community.

    If SLO City residents want to run a recall and citizens in Hill’s & Gibson’s County districts want to run a recall, why doesn’t everyone get together and have them all at the same time – might save costs on printing/mailing/counting the ballots.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 35 Thumb down 3

  9. taxpayer says:

    Once again I ask, where is the San Luis Obispo Grand Jury? In the case of Gibson, Aispuro, Hill and Torres there needs to be a full scale investigation of all their emails, accounts and everything else that affects both the taxpayers and the homeless. Enough is enough. I would hope that, at the very least, the other Supervisors will speak up and agendize a discussion of a long series of incidents that leave the public wondering if they can believe anything they are being told. There are some good people on the Board. It’s time for them to step forward and speak up for honestly and decency in local government.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 63 Thumb down 4

    • panflash says:

      Several people have alluded to the annual SLO County civil grand jury with regard to this CAPSLO issue as well as the on-going Bruce Gibson saga. Just a quick note of clarification: First, basically, the jurisdiction of the annual County grand jury is on civil matters, while criminal matters are generally referred to specifically-appointed criminal grand juries. It is possible that a criminal grand jury or other such criminal investigation will be initiated on either or both of these issues.
      Second, the cycle of the annual civil grand jury is based on the state/county fiscal year- that is, July 1 – June 30. The first order of business of each civil grand jury is to decide which specific issues to study, and issue selection is concluded by September/October. Then the next five to seven months are spent intensively examining those specific issues. Then the following three months or so are spent drafting and re-drafting the report findings on each issue, culminating with the public issuance of their findings just prior to the expiration of their term in late June.
      As this is already the first week of February, the current grand jury is probably already beginning to wrap up the study of each of their issues and entering the report drafting stage. Bottom line: if they haven’t already, it is almost certainly too late for this current civil grand jury to take on either the CAPSLO or Gibson issue, much less both.
      However, the good news here is that, in about a month or so, the County will begin the process of soliciting prospective members of the 2013-14 civil grand jury. That new grand jury will then be appointed probably in May, and then the process will begin for that new group.
      So here’s what you can do: First, watch for the forthcoming ads soliciting grand jury members in the next few months, or just call the County Clerk’s office directly, to volunteer for the 2013-14 grand jury. If you are selected, you will then be able to actively push for selection of your preferred topics of investigation. Second, if you do not volunteer or are not selected or cannot serve for some other reason, you can submit a letter directly to the new grand jury immediately after they are seated to request that they examine an issue of importance to you. The grand jury is required to keep your letter confidential.
      Be advised that the civil grand jury is statutorily limited in its powers, and its deliberative process requires a great deal of time, energy and patience. But if you do feel strongly about these two issues, or any other such issues, this is your chance to step to the plate and work hands-on to address matters of importance to you and to our county. Go for it- the County in some years has a paucity of applicants for the grand jury- you might just get selected. But also be aware that you will be required to keep all proceedings of the grand jury confidential, so that would limit your posting and public discussion of the issues and proceedings.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

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