What is going on in Paso Robles?
February 15, 2012
OPINION By GARY NEMETH
I attended the council meeting on Feb. 7 as I wanted to receive firsthand information on what the community wanted to convey to the council. I was able to ask questions of both sides, which I found very informative.
My disappointment was that the city leaders felt it necessary to have 1/3 of its Police force there. This is “not occupy Paso Robles City Hall” just simply a showing of a request of fair and balanced investigation.
I had expected a larger turnout at the meeting to promote rebuilding public services and only 40 residents attended. I am not sure if citizens failed to show up and speak their mind because of last Tuesday night’s meeting, that meeting was a sellout crowd, packed by city staff and strong supporters of Chief Lisa Solomon. I believe our council and city manager are out of touch with our community on so many issues and this is but one of the many that shows poor judgment.
On July 5, 2011, I wrote a letter stating App and council knowing best turned away a very wealthy business, as it did not meet the approved Town Centre plan and informed them to look elsewhere. President Obama and Democrats, Governor Brown and Democrats, App and the city council want to increase the tax we already pay even higher.
At home, when your family budget is short, you must make tough decisions. Not so with government. App and council will tell you how bad off they are. They need more of our money to spend because App and council know best how to spend it. They raise taxes and fees and reduce services. The meeting of Feb. 11 confirmed this.
Another example in 2011 where the Paso Robles council/Manger App are following the management style of Pelosi as witnessed in the recent sewer rate and water treatment jokes. The due date passed by the state was Nov. 1 or face $10,000 fine each day if not fixed.
The city hired a consultant; App provided numbers, recommendations and suggestions for years to obtain option for the council. During those years the council asked no questions, received no briefings, and at the last minute prior to deadline had but one option that APP said was the staff option. Two councilmen (one up for reelection) wanted to pass the single option with the statement they can change it later if needed. Just like Pelosi, pass it now and read it later. At the last meeting October 18, App said there was not enough time left to have additional options, cost too much money, and other excuses. The council had years to review the consultant results/ask questions but left it to App.
Who is running our city? Can we afford these poor decisions, blindly following the recommendations of App?
This election year the council/ App want to increase your taxes, they want a meeting to explain the problems they created stating the problems can only be fixed by raising your taxes. We know the problems’ because we live them every day. The council has gotten us into this mess by following App, voting in his recommendations and cuts in programs and services. The council’s number one priority is to provide for health, safety and welfare for its citizens.
As you read the forecast you will understand the concerns did not develop overnight, the entire council was warned about this over the last two election cycles, but they chose to ignore those warnings. Now they want to raise your taxes to get them out of this mess that they voted in at the Feb. 11 meeting.
Now we need 15 police officers, eight fire fighters and 20 general employees, almost all line level and middle management positions.
Why did the council/App agree to these reductions in your safety? Was it so you had no choice but to vote to raise your taxes? Or did they not know how dangerous these reductions would be. This council/Manager App have served long enough to have improved our city, instead they have run us into the ground. Now they want us to pay more.
What can we do? Citizens don’t elect App, attorney Yang, or Solomon. Some citizens elected Picanco, Strong, Steinbeck, Hamon, and Gilman. When changes are made, make them by changing our council, in turn they vote to change top management. Distractions start by attacking those who ask question, the decisions or lack of decisions made, and by following recommendations of App.
Picanco, longtime downtown businessman, eight year planning commissioner, 20 year city councilman, mayor, stated the recent concerns are a complete surprise to him. Steinbeck, when asked by a citizen, stated he agreed with the Bob Cuddy opinion, and with App/Yang recommendations. Strong followed App/Yang written recommendation and if asked on the street will provide you with a copy of the letter he carries with him. Start by asking questions, getting involved and remember who is up for reelection Picanco, Strong, Gilman.
Gary Nemeth retired from the San Luis Obispo Police department following a 30-year law enforcement career. nemeth sat on the Paso Robles City Council from 2000 throug 2008.