Letter by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly to SLO County Social Services Director Lee Collins
December 4, 2013
OPINION By ASSEMBLYMAN TIM DONNELLY
Dear Director Collins,
It has come to my attention that allegations have been made that San Luis Obispo County Child Welfare Services seized the grandchildren of Karen Velie, a respectable local publisher, in retaliation for her news agency conducting an investigation into alleged abuse of power by county agencies.
Aside from the trauma inflicted on these children, especially during the holidays, this apparent act of intimidation is in violation of TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 241 ; “If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same…”
As a California State Representative, I have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and of California against all enemies foreign and domestic. In addition to the freedom of the press, the United States Constitution requires that legal proceedings be fair and that the accused have an opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away their life, liberty, or property. Indefinitely removing children from their loving family without proof of a wrongdoing is unfair and an abuse of power.
Please explain by what authority this action was taken. Having a dirty house is not a crime and I am convinced that these children would be best served by a prompt and permanent return to their family. Numerous studies have shown that the stability and love that children receive in their own homes can never be matched by a faceless government bureaucracy.
Due to allegation of misconduct against the county, and the apparent connection to the seizure of the children, these children need to be returned to their family immediately unless proof exists that a crime has been committed.
I hope this troubling episode will be quickly resolved and will seek steps to ensure this never happens again in our state.
Thank you in advance for your prompt and thorough reply.
Assemblyman ; 33rd District
Tim Donnelly is an assemblyman representing California’s 33rd district and is currently running for governor.