SLO grants more than $200,000 to CAPSLO
February 6, 2013
The San Luis Obispo City Council approved more than $200,000 in funding to the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo Tuesday evening after acknowledging allegations that the nonprofit is fraudulently handling homeless clients’ accounts.
The council unanimously approved $125,988 in grant funds to CAPSLO as part of the yearly Community Development Block Grant issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It also unanimously approved an additional $98,700 for CAPLSO, which will come from the general fund.
Councilman John Ashbaugh, a member of the CAPSLO Board of Directors, motioned to approve the CAPSLO funds. The council only questioned the appropriateness of granting $50,000 to CAPSLO for designs and drawing of its proposed homeless campus when a location has yet to be determined for the new shelter.
But, just before the 5-0 vote, Councilman Dan Carpenter attacked CalCoastNews for reporting that clients are alleging that CAPSLO is stealing their money.
“I’m taken back to the amount of credibility that people want to give to this one online media source,” Carpenter said. “This is one media source and its credibility to me is no good.”
Carpenter recently motioned to request that attorneys Stew Jenkins and Saro Rizzo give CAPSLO half of the more than $130,000 awarded to them in legal fees for winning a lawsuit on behalf of the homeless against the city.
Mayor Jan Marx, who cast the lone dissenting vote against the request of Jenkins and Rizzo, also defended CAPSLO.
“It’s very sad to me that an organization that is doing so much for the homeless and disadvantaged is being attacked in this way,” Marx said.
After approving the CAPSLO funds, the council chose to hold a special election, rather than attempt to make an appointment to fill the council seat Andrew Carter is vacating on February 20.
The council voted 4-0 to direct staff to arrange a special election, most likely to occur in June or July, to fill Carter’s vacancy. Marx pleaded the other three council members to consider appointing someone over concerns that a 4 person council in the interim may lead to gridlock on important issues, like the budget.
But, Marx voted for the special election after saying that Carpenter has demonstrated trouble with comprising. Carpenter said Marx’s comment offended him.
Several local Democratic Party leaders and other members of the community asked the council during public comment to appoint 2012 candidate Jeff Aranguena and forego the special election. Aranguena, too, pled for an appointment, describing how tiring he found campaigning to be.
But, the council agreed that no candidate has a clearly compelling case for appointment and that the decision belongs in the hands of the voters.