COMMENTARY: Girl chief gone wild?
September 11, 2008
By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN
Lisa Solomon, chief of the Paso Robles Police Department, just loves to dance.
But is she dancing with the stars? Or dancing on the bars?
Dancing is what she does whenever she’s asked if she thinks there is much of a gang problem in her city. It’s what she’s doing in federal bankruptcy court while proclaiming a million dollars of debt.
And it’s what’s she’s known for far and wide… dancing on the bar at the Paso Robles Inn. There she’d be, strutting her stuff up and down the slab, and if the place was too crowded, well, a table top would do.
Admittedly, that’s a pastime she now denies as she has been elevated to the city’s Top Cop spot. But sources tell UncoveredSLO that she really can’t resist the groove. Now, though, it’s something our blue-clad spies tell us resembles lap dancing by the former beauty queen-turned-gun -toting-lawwoman. These are reported to occur at private cop parties, much to the embarrassment of most of the linemen present. (How else do you think we hear about these things?)
It almost goes without saying that a male authority figure doing the same thing would be slapped with sexual harassment allegations before his feet hit the floor. But members of the force rarely speak out against their brothers (ah, sisters) in blue. Talk of embarrassment and low morale doesn’t sound quite right coming from big, tough protectors of the public.
“I am an entertainer,” Solomon told a reporter Thursday when asked about her dancing. “As for inappropriate behavior, that is absolutely false. I have never given a lap dance or danced on a bar.” She said the stories are being spread by people “with an ax to grind.”
Nevertheless, a few bold boys in blue have given colorful and detailed voice to their frustrations, and hotel and saloon employees confirm some of those accounts.
“Oh, God,” said one bartender who has been subjected to the bar dancing. “You’re going to tell that story? She’ll be furious!”
Solomon’s penchant for dancing might be less worrisome if she didn’t also do it in order to avoid frank discussion about the city’s growing gang problem.
Claiming any such “problem” has been constant for the past two decades, and certainly has not worsened, Solomon said, “We tend to see ups and downs, peaks and valleys of activities.”
Actually, it’s easy to solve the gang problem: One just writes up incident reports to suggest “accident” or “coincidence” was responsible for a crime when graffiti or other evidence suggests otherwise. It’s easy to “address” the gang problem with tax-funded, limp programs aimed at the community’s youth, when most of the local gang-bangers are well beyond the grasp of education. And it’s easy to suggest that victims of gang violence somehow contributed to their own attack.
Solomon said her department told KSBY-TV this week that a rape victim “was not a random victim.” From that comment it was subsequently construed — incorrectly — that the victim knew the assailants.
That the victim knew the assailants is not true, the chief later said, asserting that it was not a random act. But she declined to say much more about the incident.
The victim, a woman in her mid-20s, was attacked from behind as she got out of her automobile in her own driveway, sexually assaulted with a sprinkler head. The three Latino men shouted racist slogans and called her obscene names during the attack.
Sources tell UncoveredSLO that one particular local gang is conducting “initiation” activities.
But was this violent attack a gang-related incident? Solomon isn’t saying anything about that, except that the crime is “under investigation.”
That’s reason enough, we guess, to keep all of the unpleasant news under the table. That, of course, would be the one upon which the chief now dances.