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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Kevin Rice

The computer did it? Isn’t that what Oceano CSD said? Ridiculous.


trebor86

The computer did it… just when some monkey sat at it banging away at the keys, confusing the data in various key documents… then pressed the print button, collated the prints, stuffed and addressed the forms and dumped them in the postal outbox


Crusader

The scary thing is that all this crap would already be quietly decomposing under the carpet were it not for CCN.


No wonder so many people have such a healthy distaste for government in general and law enforcement in particular. I’m headed in that direction myself and it’s not a good feeling.


The Gimlet Eye

You are right. It is not a good feeling. We would all very much like to feel that we have good gubmint, the best that we can get. Obviously, that’s not the case by a long shot. It’s partly our fault for not getting more involved.


Yet…..it seems that when the general public does want to get more involved and becomes more vocal about what is going on, they start taking a surprising amount of heat for it. A lot of images and metaphors come to mind; lynch mob, interlopers, trouble makers, ignorant rabble, peasants with pitchforks, etc., etc.


Still, we have no choice. We MUST get involved and insist that our representatives do the right thing, or else we will remove them from office. We won’t be idle in the meantime either!


moderator

The use of ebonics is not particularly welcome in community discussions, don’t ask why.


mkaney

ubonics.. is that ebonics in ebonics?


moderator

thanks


Cicero

So how many of the fake crime and arrest numbers were reported to state and federal agencies to justify grant funding?


Myself

The crazy part is is that the chief still isn’t put on leave, by now you would have thought that she would be standing on the outside looking in, it now looks like Mr App should go with her, and somebody really needs to look harder at Ms.Yang’s job, she needs the boot also.


MaryMalone

That’s the first thing that came to my mind.


I know the City of Bell got in a bunch of trouble for not only making up figures to file for grants, but for then–once they got the grant funding–spending it on something else.


So that’s the second part of the question: If fraudulent numbers were filed for grants, and if a grant was awarded, did Lisa Solomon spend it within the limits of the grant?


Considering the Feds are looking into Paso Robles’ FEMA grants, and PR’s non-competitive hand-job awarding of contracts to their good-ol’-toys pals. It seems the Feds want some of the money back because the contracts awarded were WAY more expensive than they should have been.


*****

FEMA may want Paso Robles earthquake monies returned

October 13, 2011


[http://calcoastnews.com/2011/10/fema-may-want-paso-robles-earthquake-monies-returned/]


*****


R.Hodin

I believe that in the case of Bell, it was the daily paper of that region (LAT) which spent the considerable resources necessary to investigate and break the story. For their efforts, they were awarded the Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service.


In our neighborhood, the print daily is more concerned with protecting the professional reputations of municipal officials.


MaryMalone

Yes, indeed, it was the LATimes who broke the story and made it into a multi-multi-part series.


That’s what brought it to the attention–I assume–of the state peeps.


The state controller, auditor and AG eventually took their turns, working both individually and together, to deal with it and bring Rizzo et al. to trial.


mtvfan

This just in! I received a copy of the final transcript from Chief Solomon’s interview with the City of Paso Robles Paid Investigator, and the report to the City Council from Jim App. Pay close attention to the detailed answers:


Investigator: Did you show your breasts to your management staff in Carmel?


Solomon: Which time? Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu (Beavis and Butthead response noises)


Investigator: Did you slide your hand down the swim trunks of one of sergeants?


Solomon: Was he the young one or the bald one? Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Did you grope your Lt’s private parts?


Solomon: Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Were you extremely intoxicated again when you did all the above?


Solomon: I can’t remember I was drunk. Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Did you tell your management staff not to report these numerous violations of city rules and regulations?


Solomon: Not that time! Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Did you direct your officers to write a specific number of tickets each month?


Solomon: Not until I was Chief. Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Do you employ a ticket quota in your department?


Solomon: I don’t but Capt. Burton does. Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Do you have a fetish for young impressionable sergeants?


Solomon: No, I don’t believe in age discrimination! Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Do your pad your statistics when you submit them to the press?


Solomon: Only to make myself look good and for no other reason! Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Do you retaliate against your officers when you don’t get your way?


Solomon: No, that takes too much time I just fire them. Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Have you ever lost or had stolen from a city owned vehicle an unregistered loaded weapon?


Solomon: Only twice, one I reported the other gun is still out there somewhere. Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Do you have friends other than head cases and drunks that can vouch for your character?


Solomon: Those are the only people that like me. Uuh huh huh! Huhuhuhu


Investigator: Chief Solomon, thank you for all your cooperation in my investigation


Solomon: You’re welcome. If you will give me the invoice for your billing hours I will hand deliver it to Jim!


Jim App to the City Council: Council members, I hold in my hand the detailed outcome of the investigation into the complaints against Chief Solomon. The report finds that the Chief was more than truthful in her answers and reasons why she acted in the ways described by so many current and former officers. You know, she has been Chief of Police for our city for about four years, and so she had 8-10 bumps in the road along the way, and so what if those bumps are three times larger than the speed-bumps on Rambouillet.


She has done such a great job that currently there are only two lawsuits pending against the City of Paso Robles, both related to the Police Department. Can you imagine how many there would be if she wasn’t doing such an outstanding job? Therefore, I find all the complaints against the Chief to be all lies and political fodder, which means they never ever happened.


Mayor Picanco‘s Response: “There was an investigation involving Chief Solomon?”, “That’s news to me, and I mean it”!


Really, one could not write a better script for a sequel to the “Police Academy” movie franchise.


Cindy

Hhehehe, good one, Did anyone besides me think that somehow, this is a post that we would have expected to read from “highdude”? Not that I’m knocking the guy in anyway, I enjoy his posts but this just seems to fit with a good bong hit…….


JackR

Another example of what happens with budget cutbacks. You end up buying a cheaper computer and not having anyone do regular maintenance which causes the inside components to start breaking down and begin to change data in memory and output inaccurate data. Yeah, that’s what happened. The city should have been using CPU-lube and done some routine scrubbing of memory too to remove any bit buildup in the data channel. Luckily they’ve now found the problem.


interest

CPU-lube…..probably got misapplied at our new Public Safety Center….sorry, couldn’t help it.


Your talking about experienced management decisions. When the economy slows, money slows. An experienced thoughtful manager leads, anticipates, prioritizes, and proactively accommodates change. It doesn’t appear that we are doing that very well. In example the disarray found at the PD, the Nacimiento water project, our sewage treatment mess, now our city computer systems. We will see what’s next and find out where our best city employees are. Seems there is potential for the suffering to continue and lots of opportunity for Dan and Karen.


MaryMalone

Don’t forget the capybara. Where the heII’s the capybara?


jarhead

That was the chief in drag at her favorite watering hole


MaryMalone

Woah. That’s scary.


MaryMalone

I think the problem is they bought themselves a cheaper attorney who can’t keep up with the crap the city’s council and its employees pull.


pasoparent5

LOL Mary! Yep! Poor Iris mistakenly thought she was leaving the big city problems behind her & settling in darn near paradise! Too bad Paso’s turning out to be “Bell North”!


mkaney

“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.”


Well, I hate to break it to you all, but then we’re going to have to go after about 90% of city officials countrywide, 90% of state officials, and 100% of federal officials. Some of them will be harder than others, because they are smart at about making the paperwork trail consistent, and many will have the computer excuse to use… however, I have seen officials knowingly encourage the use of computer data which they knew to be incorrect, or at least silently eliminate anyone who wouldn’t play ball.


This garbage has been going on for years. Misrepresentation, by law enforcement in particular, is simply par for the course.


It’s nice that you guys caught Paso, but like Bell it’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s time for people to wake up and look around at our criminally corrupt society.


The Gimlet Eye

Well said, mkaney. Welcome to the Gangster State.


pasojim

If us citizens can’t or won’t clean up the cesspool in our own city government, what chance do we have to stop the self-inflicted suicide of our nation?


The Gimlet Eye

Slim and none, unless you use the right tactics.


Citizens have to wake up and realize that governments are not infallible. They make mistakes and can get OUT OF CONTROL.


Citizens should be controlling their governments, not the other way around.


Since MIND CONTROL is so obviously a critical element in politics, citizens need to turn the tables on public officials who abuse their powers and control their minds.


Surround their offices with signs, songs, dances, chants, taunts, etc. Camp out on their doorsteps. Follow them wherever they go, get in their heads, draw cartoons of them, unfurl banners with your battle cry on them, open websites and harangue them, conduct press conferences, have mock trials, write limericks about them, line the streets with protesters….


There is NO DEFENSE against this type of attack. Don’t let up until they are gone.


MaryMalone

I think if a few Paso residents made flyers and put them up around the city, it might draw the interest of other city residents.


Printing up business cards with just an interesting lead-in and then a link to CCN would also be another way to start making a visible presence to the resistance movement in Paso. You can get “business cards” printed up free at a few sites online. One is vista. There are others. There is usually, on the back of the card, a phrase that has the website’s url.


Business-card sized “info protests” are great to stick in the border of mirrors in restrooms, or in other areas where a smaller card would be more likely to stay up for awhile (or taken by someone who wants the info).


Something I did during the 2008 election was make up label-sized presidential-campaign graphics, which I printed on avery-type labels. I stuck one on every piece of mail I sent, and on a few other things, too =)


For examples of how graphics can be used on labels and business cards: http://www.scribd.com/doc/83820246


MaryMalone
MaryMalone

QUOTING ARTICLE: “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.


What a dumb **ck. It seems pretty obvious that solomon, or someone associated with the City of Paso Robles, tried to forge “original hard copies” of the data submitted years ago, but was too stupid, or too lazy, to use the names of the actual “police chief” and “author of the report” for these forged documents.


Another possibility is that solomon had to use her own name as police chief because she did not believe the actual police chief at the time the “original hard copies” were made would not go along with the forgery.


I’m betting that, not only is the “police chief” at that time unavailable to rubberstamp the newly forged documents, but the “author of the report” is also either no longer working for the city or is unwilling to co-conspire with solomon/yang/seitz/app/whomever to submit forged “original hard copy” documents to the press and, perhaps, to the DOJ and State, as well.


As the old saying goes, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.


eradicate ignorance

I always thought the butler did it. I guess things change.


crazyone1

Back in 2010 one of the Parks employees at the city of paso robles was put on immediate administration leave pending an investigation involving solicitation of sexual favors from a transient. Why is Lisa Soloman treated any different? Is she above the law? Is she in this “good ol’ boy” network? I guess its just good old hipocrisy and double standards. Upper management can do whatever they feel like with no consequences as long as they’re bowing down to their almighty Jim App.


MaryMalone

QUOTING CRAZYONE1: “Is she above the law?


Certainly, she acts as if she is a “top.”


Crusader

The chief definitely looks strap-on ready… If they make harnesses her size that is…


Mr. Holly

Looks like everything may change here shortly. Solomon should end up being the transient and she can do her soliciting out in the open at all of her hangouts. That is unless she is restricted from whatever injury she will be reporting shortly in order to get that medical retirement.