Paso Robles claims the computer did it

February 28, 2012
Photograph by Daniel Blackburn

Iris Yang – Photograph by Daniel Blackburn

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

Paso Robles city officials have repeatedly provided conflicting crime statistics and falsified documents in an apparent attempt to bolster claims the city’s crime rate is down.

While Police Chief Lisa Solomon continues her claim that crime has been reduced under her leadership, she now admits that crime statistics she provided CalCoastNews three weeks ago were inaccurate.

And the city’s contract attorney, Iris Ping Yang, is alternately blaming a city computer, the state Department of Justice (DOJ) and unintentional human error for the string of factual discrepancies.

Solomon, faced with questions about the accuracy of data she has been providing CalCoastNews and other local media, provided a new set of numbers this week.

Crime statistics provided earlier this month by her department appeared to demonstrate that overall crime rates were relatively high before she became chief —  and significantly lower after she became the city’s top cop. That information spanned the period from 2002 to 2011 and created the appearance that crime is down 11.7 percent under her watch.

A CalCoastNews story reported that Uniform Crime Report (UCR) numbers Solomon said she delivered to the Department of Justice and the FBI did not match data reported by city officials to the DOJ. Yang blamed a new computer system for some of the problems, and indicted the DOJ for not properly inputting audited information sent them years ago by Paso Robles police.

In an email, Yang said police department staff had located the “original hard copies” of the UCRs the police department had sent the DOJ, and included those in an attachment.

“In order to obtain the most accurate information, Chief Solomon had records personnel retrieve the original hard copies from 2002 to 2011, which are enclosed pursuant to your request,” Yang wrote in the email.

However, those “hard copy” forms contain numerous discrepancies, both in crime data and in standard reporting information. On several, one being a 2002 crime report, Solomon is listed as chief even though she was not made chief until 2007. In addition, the individual whose name appears as author of several of the reports did not even work for the department during the year the report was sent to the DOJ.

Yang explained the errors by reversing her original claim that the documents were “hard copies,” now asserting that a computer scrambled data when forms were retrieved.

Terry Francke, the director of CalAware and an authority on the freedom of information laws, said that it is a crime to falsify public records and for public officials to knowingly lie in emails.

“Government code Section 6200 makes it a crime to falsify public records,” Francke said. “If it is the official charged with custody of that record falsifies it, it is a felony, if it is done by someone else, it is a misdemeanor. It is also a misdemeanor for a public official to make a statement in writing that he or she knows is false.”

If Solomon used data she knew to be inaccurate to apply for federal or state monies, the procurement could also result in criminal prosecution.

Some errors CalCoastNews reported originally, such as large discrepancies in the number of burglaries reported, have now been corrected by city officials. The numbers now mirror those reported to the DOJ. Still, in other years, crime totals have veered even further from what the DOJ said the city reported.

For example, Solomon claimed three weeks ago that in 2006, one year before she became chief, there were a total of 1,092 crimes in Paso Robles,  just two more than the DOJ’s report of 1,090. Today she insists that number is actually 1,127.


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Crusader

A Second Open Letter to Members of the Paso Robles City Council:


Not only are all five of you cowards, we are also learning that each of you lack the integrity to do the right thing. This isn’t going away. Each of you screwed-up big-time when you decided to shift your consciences into neutral. Now you’re gonna pay and it’s going to be painful for you.


Sincerely;


C.


Crusader

P.S. “And I mean that.”


C.


ON2U

Is is true that Lisa Solomon says there are no unsolved murders in Paso Robles???


http://kccn.tv/brady_death_probe.cfm


pasoparent5

This latest crime stats debacle is just problem # 4,329 since CIty Manager Jim App was hired. I don’t trust him, I don’t believe him anymore, and I’ve lost respect for him as a city employee. He has been arrogant and dishonest about issue after issue and the light of truth is finally shining on his deeds.


He was on the radio yesterday 1-2pm & I was struck by his usual condescending tone as he explained the Chief Lisa “investigation” (what a farce), the Lake Naci pipeline debacle (Paso’s paying $400,000 each MONTH yet getting zero water), the hiring of additional cops without first negotiating lower pensions for new hires, among other issues…


We can criticize Chief Lisa all we want but Jim App is the puppet master. He’s pulling the strings behind the scenes. He’s piloting the SS Paso Titantic and doesn’t seem to care that our town is steadily sinking. It’s incomprehensible that these city staffers (police chief, city manager, city attorney) can be so well-compensated yet so incompetent and downright dishonest.


danika

Lisa Solomon is the law. Jim App isn’t. Her part in all of this is crystal clear.


pasoparent5

Don’t get me wrong, danika. I’m not excusing Chief Lisa in any way whatsoever. It’s just that Jim App is her boss. The city council can’t fire her and she’s surely not gonna step down on her own accord. Jim App hired her & he’s the one that should fire her.


danika

I understand where you are coming from. Jim App needs to be terminated as does Lisa Solomon and all of the City Council for not doing their part to stop this incessant lying and covering up crap. Enough is enough.


salty

Me thinks Iris got her Ying mixed up with her Yang.


slowtime

Mayor Duane Picanco: “That’s news to me,” he said. “And I mean that.”


hotdog

What a bunch of lame ass fools up there in the back country.


ApathyWillKillYou

WAIT A MINUTE… HOLD THE PHONE….


If the “CITY COMPUTER IS SPEWING OUT MISINFORMATION” then what about other data like…


city employee and council salaries (City of Bell)


city attorney compensation


sewer and water bills


account payables and receivables


employee vacation/sick time accrued and benefits


etc, etc, etc.


Yang has now publicly ADMITTED there IS A COMPUTER PROBLEM…


Therefor a COMPLETE INDEPENDENT AUDIT is in order!


slowtime

Good point. Open the books. Computers dont make “selective” mistakes. Lame ass excuse. Garbage in, Garbage out. Lies never hold water.


HarryMalone

Message to James App, City Manager of Paso Robles and the ONLY one that can directly terminate Lisa Solomon’s employment as Chief of Police of Paso Robles.


SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE FIRE THIS OBVIOUSLY INCOMPETENT EMPLOYEE?


Maybe YOUR job too!


slowtime

Harry, Won’t happen anytime soon. I heard App today at noon on KPRL. He was asked about this investigation and gave it 30 more days before any answers. I think he referred to it as an “inquiry” into the Chief, wtf ever that means. Anyway, you could tell he was in support of her. It is a big club in City management.; i’ll cya if you cover mine.


pasoparent5

Yep. Interesting thaton the air, he mentioned that “some of these allegations supposedly occured over five years ago…well, I don’t know about you, but I can’t hardly remember things from last week…”

OH, Mr. App. I get it. You’re saying the cops must be lying? The incidents were just soooo long ago that they didn’t even happen?

Well, trust me, Mr. App. If some overweight boss had groped me in a hot tub, I would remember that forever. Five years, fifty years, whatever. That stuff just doesn’t disappear from one’s memory.


Crusader

It’s going to take at least 30 days to find a way to get Swallowman on disability…


willieslo

In the absence of any Administrative, criminal action or lawsuit,

Plus all the media to blame, she can easily go out on disability,

with a higher pension and workman’s compensation.

Lastly she can blame the public for the stress.

That is what App mean by “30 MORE” days before he can give an answer!


pasoparent5

She could *accidentally* trip & fall on a stage while attempting to sing the national anthem. Her back injury could lay her up for a good 6 months or so while the council scrambles to find a replacement. She’ll go quietly w/a fat pension & semi-tarnished repuation still intact…sort of.


MaryMalone

I think maybe less than that. After all, Iris Yang should be able to just reconstruct the fraud that the City of Bell used to hire their police chief, after he had been let go on workers’ compensation AND was collecting disability at the same time.


MaryMalone

App serves at the pleasure of the city council. They tell him what to do, and he does it.


So, until the city council members instruct him to get rid of solomon, App is not going to get rid of her.


pasoparent5

Mary, that may happen in some cities but Paso’s government does not work like that. Jim App & the city staff have, at least in the last 15 years, been the driving force behind many decisions. This council is an elected body but the *real* power brokers are *not* elected. The city council does *not* tell Jim App what to do; it’s the other way around. Not that I think it should be that way but it is.


MaryMalone

It may look like App and the city staff are making the decisions, but the only decisions they make are the ones that have to do with how the policies dictated to them by the City Council are implemented.


Really, however, the staff (city manager and others) have a lot of power about how the city’s people experience the decisions that have been made by the city council.


But the underlying reality is this: if the manager pisses off the city council, they can fire him. Also, if any of the manager’s staff pisses off the council, the council can instruct the manager to fire the staff member.


pasoparent5

Sorry Mary, not to argue the point to death but I’ve followed pretty much every city council mtg since 2000 and no, the city council in Paso is *not* dictating anything to Jim App.


Whether it’s “smart growth” policies, the Lake Naci pipeline, the construction of the sewage treatment plant, water rate increases, approval of a gazillion housing tracts and commercial developments…it’s been App & the city staff who have brought forth recommendations to the council and 90% of the time, the council goes along w/staff recommendations.


Sure, they may put off a vote now and then or yeah, Picanco headed up the fireworks fundraising effort, but any decision of long-lasting importance has been initiated by App & the staff, not councilmen. Strong likes to strut around like he’s an expert on everything and Picanco toots his “I’m-a-fiscal-conservative” horn all the time but unfortunately, they’ve shown themselves to be incompetent and just more members of Paso’s good-ol’-boy-network.


NONE of them deserve re-election and I hope the voters wake up & oust Strong, Hamon and Picanco in November!


TypoKing

Yang and Solomon are in contempt of the public’s trust to a major degree.


“The computer did it… give me a break…

the dog ate my homework and the checks in the mail and…


What it really is…


TWO SETS OF BOOKS… one for the public that bolsters the lies and one for the DOJ.


TypoKing

One more thing…


Solomon evidently reported the correct crime data to the DOJ which is the public record so she is off the hook prosecution wise.


False reporting to CalCoast News because of a computer error is immune to prosecution (at least with Shea in this county).