Where do you get your news?
March 1, 2012
OPINION By GARY NEMETH
Where do you receive your news? How do you keep current on what is happening in Paso Robles and the community?
I was very fortunate recently that Dave Congalton who is on KVEC radio interviewed me and asked the listeners that same question. Dave had a response that was “get your information from various sources so you can become more informed.”
I have always subscribed to that philosophy and I try to receive firsthand information. I recently read the CalCoastNews article dated Feb. 28-28 and was shocked and dismayed that our community of Paso Robles is not as safe as I was lead to believe by our city council.
Reporters Karen Velie and Daniel Blackburn have questioned city officials repeatedly over the conflicting crime statistics provided to DOJ and our local media. I was able to look at the DOJ numbers be accessing them on the computer.
A few days ago, I attempted to search the cities web sites to research the same information, but I found that all information was down and not available. City Attorney Yang according to the article stated the problem is due to: (1) a new computer system, (2) the State DOJ, or (3) human error starting in 2002. Nowhere does Attorney Yang attribute any blame to those responsible for filling out the forms, or making sure they are correct prior to submission to the City Manager App, City Council, DOJ or the media.
I have served as a city councilman and I know that the men and women who work in IT (computer department) for the city are highly trained and very efficient. If there were a problem with the “new computer system” it would be a problem with the entire system the city uses. This would mean that it would have affected the finance department, your water and sewer bills, and potentially the city may be forced to complete an audit of the entire system to make sure of the accuracy of the billing if the computer system is compromised as attorney Yang suggested.
Did the incorrect numbers that the “new computer system” used find their way into the grants that the police department submitted to the state and federal government and is the city responsible to reimburse them for using incorrect data to obtain the grants?
Did this error start in 2002 under the supervision of Chief Cassidy and was never discovered?
It would seem that the Department of Justice would see some sign of a reduction in crime and take notice. It would seem that a nine year mistake would be highly unlikely. What did Chief Solomon do differently to reduce crime that Chief Cassidy had not done?
Did no one check these reports for accuracy prior to being sent out? The reports are shown to city Manager Jim App; the city council received them for budget review.
If Chief Solomon knows the actual numbers how did this get by everyone without Chief Solomon knowing they were wrong?
The final few questions are who signed off on these documents prior to being sent out to DOJ and the media and made public? If this is a software problem has the manufacturer been contacted and can they be held accountable? Does this spill over to other departments or is it only the police department?
As a prior city councilman I listen and speak to many different citizens in our community. They all understand that I am not bitter but I do want to make this a better community than we currently have.
I explain that we all must become better informed and be involved in what is going on. Ask yourself the same question that I ask, when is the community going to realize there is a problem?
We do have a gang problem that needs to be addressed, employee morale is almost non-existent, our city employees have been reduced by 37 to 40 percent and the council wants to increase your taxes while your water and sewer bills increase.
The article above is another example of what is taking place in our city. Become informed and get involved.
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 through 2008.
Nemeth said he has sent his opinions to other media outlets such as the San Luis Obispo Tribune which have refused to publicize his views. CalCoastNews welcomes opinions from both sides of an issue. Please include a contact phone number. Send opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org.