CAPSLO demotes Dee Torres

March 14, 2014
Dee Torres

Dee Torres

By CALCOASTNEWS staff

The embattled director of San Luis Obispo County’s homeless services was demoted earlier this week by Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s CEO Biz Steinberg.

In an email to county officials, Steinberg said she was dividing homeless services into two parts – shelter services and case management services — in “order to be more fiscally efficient, coordinate all case management services and better staff MLM Shelter and Prado Day Center.”

Dee Torres’ new position as CAPSLO’s homeless services manager comes with a more than 20 percent decrease in pay. In addition, Torres will no longer report to Steinberg, but instead to CAPSLO’s Deputy Director Grace McIntosh.

In addition, Torres’ former second in command, Prado Day Center Manager Shawn Ison, also received a “hefty” cut in pay, according to an email Torres sent employees. Torres noted that when she confronted CAPSLO Chief Operating Officer Jim Famalette about the restructuring he “was so mad he was practically spitting.”

“They gave me a big speech (one they’ve been giving me for 15 years) about my number one priority and allegiance needs to be to the ‘agency,’ ” Torres wrote. “I said it was to the clients, volunteers, staff, donors, and programs.

“I kind of knew then that they were unhappy with me,” Torres wrote.

Numerous former employees of CAPSLO have said that Torres took gift cards and other items donated to the homeless for her own use, according to declarations filed in Torres v. Brennler, CV130145 in 2013. Torres’ defamation suit against Mike Brennler, an investigator who works with CalCoastNews, was stricken by the court as an  improper SLAPP suit infringing First Amendment Rights.

In addition, Torres allegedly sold items donated to the homeless without any accounting for the revenue she collected, according to tax records.

Torres does not agree that she was demoted so that the program can run more fiscally efficient and instead claims it is because of a power play.

“They are saying it’s economics but it’s control and it’s personal,” Torres wrote. “Grace McIntosh has been working on this ever since she was kicked out of the homeless services department by Biz.”

Most of CAPSLO’s funding comes from government grants approved by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, a board Torres’ fiancé Adam Hill sits on. CAPSLO received over $60 million last year in government funding, with Hill sometimes recusing himself from the vote and other times voting to approve funding for CAPSLO.

Get breaking stories first, like CalCoastNews on Facebook.


111 Comments

  1. freshair says:

    Internet Services at Prado

    If Capslo were more professional and cared for it’s clients, then it would provide internet services to them while they lounge around all day at the Prado center. People could then search for jobs and housing and receive timely emails.

    Required login identifications would enable staff to identify and curb any abuse.

    Broadband is only available for use by staff in the manager’s office just yards away. There are two old computers there to play games on and one modern one dedicated for word processing, but it is rarely used.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

    • WalterPewen says:

      Yes, at Prado there are only two computer terminals and they are only used for games. In my observation possibly they are not helping clients access to publicly held information. Games are not going to solve peoples problems, yet that is all they have. My recollection from the 1990s is that Prado was established to help people access services, yet now as a client I’m observing great difficulty in people actually getting through the system.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. MaryMalone says:

    This article first appeared on March 14, 2014. It is now March 18, 2014.

    It is now four days since the latest scandal involving Dee Torres was published. Yet, contrary to his prior behavior, Adam Hill remains silent. Biz Steinberg remains silent.

    Interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 9

  3. MaryMalone says:

    A big thanks to CalCoastNews for exposing the many unpardonable instances of Torres abusing her power when she was CAPSLO’ s Director if Homeless Services.

    Karen Velie took the majority of the retaliation dished out by Torres, County Board of Supervisors’ Adam HIll, and their cohorts. I would not be surprised if, along the way–especially when her grandchildren were wrongfully seized by County CPS and held for months–she regretted ever taking on the heinous corruption at CAPSLO’ s Homeless Services.

    I hope this is the beginning of all of CCN’s hard work paying off, and that those associated with the investigation of Torres will get some feeling of retribution against Torres and HIll for all of the harrassment CCN has indured which occurred simply because CCN reported the truth.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 46 Thumb down 16

    • kettle says:

      “Karen Velie took the majority of the retaliation dished out by Torres, County Board of Supervisors’ Adam HIll, and their cohorts.”

      I asked and it is still going on, every day, she is being turned in by fake claims on faked reports and submittals by anonymous blowhards. Anonymous calls and emails to advertisers and supporters. Some of the trib writers and others are even helping them with emotional/facebook support against CCN. The trails are all over the web.

      I am going to match my contributions to CCN $ to $ for whomever runs against Adam Hill 2 years from now.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 9

      • Cindy says:

        Good post kettle. The upside is that these sophomoric “would be” spin mongers aren’t particularly savvy and have left their finger prints all over their “cyber campaign contributions”and other nefarious deeds. It isn’t funny but it will be fun, that day is coming sooner than later. You can take that to the bank and yes, CCN does need our support, financial and otherwise.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 7

  4. freshair says:

    2010 Grand Jury Report

    Homelessness in San Luis Obispo County: Are We Solving the Problem? The San Luis Obispo Grand Jury clearly answered, “No,” in a critical report of available services to local homeless residents.

    http://mustangnews.net/grand-jury-criticizes-homeless-care/#sthash.POFiic03.XVBl58vx.dpuf

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      That link actually provided a reasonably good overall view of the homeless situation in SLO. It offered no real solutions but that could be because such solutions are neither simple nor cheap. Thanks for providing it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

      • MaryMalone says:

        The GJ’s job is not to run CAPSLO’s homeless programs for them. It is to study how CAPSLO is doing it and then point out where the program is failing to do what it is supposed to be doing.

        Yes, “solutions are neither simple nor cheap,” but then the failures of CAPSLO’s homeless program is certainly not cheap.

        CAPSLO needs to either figure out how to run homeless services so that the homeless are actually benefiting and moving towards personal housing, or hand off the program to another organization that has a better track record than does CAPSLO.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  5. Mr. Holly says:

    CAPSLO has a budget of around $60 million. The last enumeration in the county was for a little under 3000 homeless people. You have to ask yourself what is wrong here? Where is all of the money going? CAPSLO needs to be completely reorganized from top to bottom.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 27 Thumb down 10

    • unlisted says:

      According to CAPSLO’s website (www.capslo.org/about-us/funding), homeless programs represented less than 4% of their budget for the year ending 3/31/12. That’s $2.3 million for homeless services, not $60 million. Sure, $2.3 million is a good chunk of change, but not that much to assist almost “3000 homeless people,” the majority of whom have addictions and/or mental illness.

      BTW, most of CAPSLO’s funds are for Head Start and other pre-school programs in 10 counties from Monterey to San Diego, and not just SLO.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

      • DennySLO says:

        And of that 2.3 million, half goes to salaries!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7

        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          Where would you expect half of a budget for an organization that provides services to go? (The same would apply to schools, police departments and, for instance, a private company such as a housekeeping service or a doctor’s office.)

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

          • MaryMalone says:

            I would certainly expect over half the budget to go towards homeless services!

            I owned a service-oriented business for over 20 years, and my business would have either failed, or my clients would have received shoddy services, if half of the business’ budget went towards paying employees. If I provided shoddy services, I would not have been in business for over 20 years.

            I also would question whether it is routine that more than half of a police department’s budget goes towards salaries. When you consider the huge and costly agency infrastructure a police department’s budget has to cover, no matter how large the department, the salaries for police personnel would have to be huge to make up half of the operating budget.

            There are always outliers, of course (i.e., the City of Bell), but those are outliers and not the norm.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

            • Shocked in MB says:

              You need to understand how “grants” work. Every dollar is designated for specific purposes only. Money for Headstart cannot be used for anything but a specific purpose in the Headstart program. None of those dollars can be used for Homeless or anything else. Homeless gets its own dollars just for that use.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  6. Citizen says:

    Goodness gracious me. It was only in 2013, that CAPSLO cleared themselves and their employees, including Dee Torres, and Lisa Niesen (Family ties) of all wrong doing.
    http://www.capslo.org/images/pdf/homeless/2013_homeless_division_review.pdf

    Now they restructure and demote Dee Torres. I see a lawsuit coming from Dee Torres.

    After all, she was cleared by CAPSLO of all charges brought to light by Cal Coast News, so she must have done something else between that time and now to deserve a demotion (according to CAPSLO).

    I think the incompetent Biz Steinberg who can’t properly supervise her own employees and then covers for them, should resign. The “holes” in the homeless division review are obvious.

    For example, the review states “Clients using case management
    are not forced to save a certain amount. Their savings goal is based on their income level and their expenses”.

    In reality, the clients wanting housing help had to sign their SSI check over to Family Ties who received and automatically deducted that “certain amount” from the check for savings and gave the remainder to the client. Unfortunately, this system did not allow for emergency expenses for the client. Not even for one pair of new boots. Not even with a doctor’s note that the client needed new boots to resolve problems with his feet. Not even though the money was the client’s money.

    Biz Steinberg showed her hand in this “homeless services review”; she will cover up for any misdeeds of CAPSLO to protect herself, and she allows her staff to show no mercy for clients.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 35 Thumb down 9

    • freshair says:

      Ethical Standards? Lol.

      The Conflict Resolution Form on the last page pits victims of conflict against one another and relieves the staff from ever having to monitor the behaviors of clients. The resolution is to provide both parties with a suspension notice.

      Thus, Della Wagner and Shawn Ison, managers at the night shelter and day center, have very little involvement in enforcing the rules, and yet both receive a modest salary.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

    • MaryMalone says:

      QUOTING CITIZEN: “Now they restructure and demote Dee Torres. I see a lawsuit coming from Dee Torres.”

      —-

      The Dee Torres who would steal the gift cards meant for her homeless clients and then sue those who caught her at it seems to be the Old Dee….the Dee who had a County Supervisor, Adam Hill, in her hip pocket and the full support of Biz Steinberg and CAPSLO behind her.

      It appears that the Old Dee Torres is a thing of the past. I don’t see her being able to rally her usual patsies who, in the past, seemed to spend a lot of time making her self-created performance problems go away.

      In the past, Torres never had to make obnoxious public comments about those who had taken steps to hold her accountable for her performance at her job. She had Adam Hill and his cadre of paid hacks to do it for her.

      The fact that Torres was so desperate as to publicly attack her new supervisor indicates to me that her fiance, Adam Hill, will no longer be playing his traditional role as rabid bulldog whenever Dee’s scandals get outed.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  7. freshair says:

    Integrity

    The key word here is Integrity, hijinks, or the lack thereof, as demonstrated by Famalette’s leadership.

    Capslo literally drives people nuts in order to profit from clients becoming disabled and qualifying to receive Social Security Disability. That’s the best I can put it.

    The night shelter and day center are realistically harsh INSTITUTIONS by definition. Dee was perfect for the role, firing employees on the spot who disagreed with her and kicking out clients for complaining, which then denies people access to having a meal served by People’s Kitchen, who can’t possibly feed all who are hungry. If you ask me, Mary Parker is in on this.

    Will Grace change all that? One can only hope. Nothing yet has changed as far as I know. Both facilities are akin to Auschwitz. That’s how awful they are. Together with People’s Kitchen, they control and manipulate the less fortunate in our community, and continue to receive hefty support by the BOS and City Council to boot.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 30 Thumb down 8

Leave a Comment