Change Paso is getting to work

April 10, 2012


There are many problems facing Paso Robles these days, and most of them have been caused by poor management in an environment where cronyism thrives, said the co-chairperson of a new group with “change” high in its agenda.

Karen Daniels, an insurance executive who has seen downtown Paso Robles’s infrastructure crumble to what she called “an embarrassment” since she opened her Spring Street office 16 years ago, leads Change Paso Robles Now, or CPRN2012, with co-chair Sally Reynolds.

Daniels cited diminished police services, terrible downtown streets, an ancient water treatment system, and a powerless panel of city council members for most of the problems.

“The city’s own objectives have not been met,” she said Monday. “Officials claim to be making efforts to maintain public dialogue, but I see no evidence of that happening. They claim elected officials ‘pride themselves’ on being available to the public. Again, not true. And they claim this is a well-organized city — the evidence speaks volumes to the contrary.”

Police services have been pared down by more than a third, with only 0.9 officers per thousand residents. By contrast, she noted, the county average is 1.8 officers per 1,000, and Pismo Beach has 2.2 per 1,000. The police department initiated a “safe mode” recently, which calls for limited response to 911 calls, and which was planned and initiated in total secrecy.

“The leadership of our department is suspect, too, ” she said, pointing to the recent departure of Lisa Solomon, the former chief of police who collected $250,000 and golden retirement benefits after news reports of her alleged sexual behavior on the job and her spotty management methods.

“Our city officials too often act autonomously, and ignore input from the residents,” Daniels said. “And there is an attitude around City Hall that the people of the city are to be tolerated, not served. Frankly, we are very tired of that attitude.”

Daniels noted that Jim App, the city’s manager, has been in his job for more than 16 years. “His arrogance is indicative of someone not realizing their place as a public servant,” Daniels said. “The people of this city run this city, and that is what these folks (currently in office) need to understand. We certainly understand it.”

“We live in a city where tourism is very important, and the condition of our streets in the downtown area is just pitiful,” she said. “While top management of the city is getting bloated, self-serving salaries, the city crumbles around us.”

Daniels said CPRN2012 will advocate that a new police chief not be hired until after the November elections, when two council members and the mayor are up for reelection.

“And we do not plan to support any new tax revenue until there are new people in those key seats of government, whom we can trust to use any new revenues in a proper manner,” she added. “Mayor Duane Picanco himself said he heard comment from citizens of Paso Robles that they do not trust their city council with their money! If the mayor can say that at a city meeting, there is definitive merit to it. We need to be able to trust who spends our money, and where it is being spent.”

The new group already has nearly a hundred members and is growing steadily, Daniels said.

“It’s quite obvious that many other people in this community share our concerns,” Daniels said. “We plan to make a huge impact. The people are the authority in this city. We are taking back Paso Robles!”

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The guidelines are clear.

Any commented can be deleted for any reason at the discretion of the moderator.

There are no first amendment guarantees.

It does seem to show what this site is about when comments that simply differ in opinion are deleted.

It shows me that only opinion is welcome here.

When is Karen Daniels available for public questions?

I would like to know how she came to her conclusions and what she bases them on.

In the last 15 years, after F. McLintocks opened let’s say, the downtown has been thriving and expanding. What part of it is such bad shape?

Does she think our police force is worse off than others in the state?

How does she feel teh water treatment plant was derailed by the Jon Borst and his group?

Does she she anywhere else, state or nation wide, where the politicians are having problems solving problems? For example, state budget issues in California, millions of people un or under employed and crime on the rise.

Pscott, I am available and have been all along. Many people have come forward to ask me questions, which I answer openly and candidly. It’s not like I am in hiding…

Where I believe anything I say to you specifically will be met with an agenda other than to gain insight and question answering, feel free to reach out to me specifically by emailing me at I will get your email and respond to you directly as you seem to want me to.

Why don’t you give your opinions first. Make sure they are sound arguments, too.

The issue isn’t whether other cities in the state are horribly corrupt. The issue is that Paso Robles’ city government is corrupt.

The current city government is far more concerned with serving their cronies’ best interests than they are concerned with serving the best interest of the citizens of Paso Robles.

They have set Paso up for a good amount of liability risk, and it will be Paso residents who pay for it.

Paso-Scott, who are you asking?

Karen Velie

Karen Velie has her email address posted to the right, under CCN Team ~~~~~>

she can answer in public, right?

complete transparency.

The questions are simple.

It shouldn’t be a problem to put the information out in public. Right?


Wrong: use the contact link for email, ask away. No hijacking the entire thread with off topic questions CCN provides the news CCN is not the news, topic derail deleted.

ccn doesn’t provide the news. ccn provides an opportunity for certain-like minded people to vent and pat each other on the back.

Simple disclosure is what is asked for, that’s all.

Keep in mind people, If everyone in this country back in 1776 were a bunch of sheep-ple, we would still be under English rule. We need to change the environment around here.

How? No one will step up to run against Duane? Duane for Mayor again? really?

Patience, grasshopper…

It’s a small miracle Duane is our Mayor. A few electins ago, rumor has it a very high ranking City Official buried / deleted some pretty incriminating emails written by a Mayoral Candidate (running against Duane) and forwarded to every single City Union Employee. But not until they had all been sent, of course! Emails where said Mayoral Candidate reminds City employees he was a life long City public servant / employee and he will remember their support at the bargaining tables. The emails were apparently squashed when they were determined to be….. ILLEGAL!!!

NO KIDDING! How long did that take Iris to determine? Long enough to FIRST MAKE SURE all the emails had been sent to every City employee! Mayoral Candidate had some major support from a very high ranking City Official as the Candidate was rewarded with the Police Officers Union support, Fire Fighters Union support and every City Union Employee’s support, too! Gee, how did that happen? (Except the Candidate lost the election by a few votes anyways). The Candidate also lost appointment to the CC by Council vote, most likely because the CC Members were informed of squashed / deleted emails to City Union Employees. Some very high ranking City Official was almost certainly complicit then and should have been fired by the new CC. He wasn’t fired. Iris was probably consulted with then, too. A certain high ranking City Official is looking complicit now on more than one front / issue. Will the CC fire him? No, “the sky is falling”, “he knows where the bodies are buried”, “one hand washes the other”. See No Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak No Evil”.

“There is nothing to fear, but fear itself”. FDR.

On another note, not so sure who is the answer as Mayor. Please, no life long public servants need apply, that’s for sure.


Please put names and faces to all this crap you have made us aware of.

WE will post it on the CPRN2012 WEB site so paso citizens can see it.

Will help us make responsible decisions who to vote for armed with some truth

NO more carreer politicians

After attending or listening to more PRCC meetings over the past 20 years than I care to remember, my one single common belief remains the same: King James App runs the City of Paso Robles with an iron fist. He is the King, the City is his Kingdom, the Council Chamber is his Court. The City is his personal playground, personal business enterprise and his personal fiasco to rule. He doles out the budgets, he calls the tunes with the Department Heads and they play the music he requests. Department Mangers that disagree with the King don’t last long…….it’s “off with their heads” and believe me, those heads role the second the King decides. The poor members of the Council take the heat, but the real decisions are made prior to the Council Meetings; and the decisions are made by our City Manager. I hope CPRN2012 focuses on the real cause of our City’s demise…….Nero App. He fiddles around while the City burns. Too bad App wasn’t in the tub with Solomon, we could have gotten rid of 2 birds with one stone. I’m afraid App is alot like Mayor Dailey, in Chicago: App is too smart for those that know where the guilt and or blame lies and his tenure / reign will outlive everyones. Vote Steinbeck and Strong out of office. Gilman knows App is the problem, Gilman doesn’t have the 3 votes to toss App out. Grow a pair guys, vote with Gilman to toss App.

QUOTING SHERLOC, 3:28 PM: “Too bad App wasn’t in the tub with Solomon, we could have gotten rid of 2 birds with one stone.”

Oh, I wouldn’t be surprised if App had been in a hot-tub or two with Solomon. He just wasn’t in the hot-tub in the taxpayer-paid Super Bowl extravaganza when Solomon ordered all of her subordinates to get in the hot-tub.

MaryMalone: I never thought of that…… would certainly explain the large,

gift wrapped check for $250,000.00 along with reciprical non-disclosure agreements……..App and Iris really pulled the wool over on the City Council………maybe Lisa had already “pulled some wool” of her own over on App….. the plot thickens……

Do we KNOW he wasn’t in that hot tub extravaganza?

Have been reading the many comments concerning CPRN2012, its leaders, the issues that are being raised and what, for the vast majority, seems to be resounding positve feedback from many citizens. I, too, was at the last city council meeting and I have the opinion that what was raised by Sally Reynolds was exactly what needs to be raised. Anyone who took Civics 101 in high school would have to acknowledge that what has happened (and is know happening) in Paso Robles is simply no way to run a city. City council meetings are EXACTLY the place where questions need to be asked – and answered by Mr. App, the city council, and others that we, the citizens, have entrusted

with our money. If any of those who will be up for re-election in Nov, can not, or refuse to, answer the questions raised – then the only conclusion that can be drawn is that they are not the ones that should be running this city. Government at any level (Federal, state, or city) is of the people, by the people, and for the people — Not of one person, by one person, and for one person (and his minions).

But I would also caution that those who have the power in this city did not get it because of stupidity or

lack of determination. They got it by knowing how to manipulate people to do what they wanted them to do and having the majority of citizens not really care. They are, most likely, fairly adept, at undermining people, getting information (good or bad) on anyone showing a little chutzpa, and using that to get them to toe the line. Along this line of thought seems to be the real possibility that there is

and will continue to be, a concerted effort to undermine CPRN2012. Given that moles where placed in certain meetings – it should be no surprise that moles will be placed in CPRN2012 (or attempted to be) by those whose positions are most in jeopardy. Damaging or misleading information can kill an organization such as CPRN2012 before it really gets going. Note that Mr. App, Mr. Harmon, et al are on record as believing that damaging and/or misleading information is what caused our illustrious Police Chief to take a quarter million dollars of our money and just fade away. I would still like to know why they didn’t offer her the same quarter million (or more) to stay and fight these ‘damaging and misleading’ informations – since, by their own public statements, she was the

the ‘best’ of the best – an outstanding person, a brilliant police chief, above all reproach. How could they possibly let such a person go??

In a free society, comments by such responders as BCP and 4Paso are to be accepted and even encouraged – it is their right. But CPRN2012 needs to be aware that efforts are being made and will continue to be made with the one goal of discrediting this movement. Arrogant, power hungry, people will do anything and everything to hold on to what they have – say anything, promise anything.

But they will also have others do the dirty work. Probably the best guage of just how many nerves are being touched will be the increasing negative responses, the ‘concerns’ about what candidates are being supported by CPRN2012, who is funding this organization, etc.

CPRN2012 should make it exceedingly clear that they support NO ONE and will support NO ONE for

any position in city government. This organization should be about change, not about any candidate.

I wish them all the luck in the world. They have decided to take on a task long overdue, but they are up against people and a culture that will fight with everything they have to hold on to what they have.

We realized going in to this we would ruffle feathers, create discomfort, and possibly make enemies. We knew certain media would likely jump to protect their interests in the current “powers that be” running the city by creating scandal, misdirection, rumors and finger-pointing. WE KNEW THIS.

“THEY” would be shocked to see the level of support we have. We grow stronger every day.

Please keep watching. Keep contributing info. Keep supporting us.

We will continue to question boldly and push onward for answers and accountability. Our mission is clear and resolute. We will bring Change to Paso Robles.

Danika, in this Jerry Brown legal motion against the City of Bell [ ], starting on page 47, is a letter to the Bell interim city administrator, Pedro Carrillo, from Bell’s citizens’-action group, BASTA.

I think it is an excellent example of a citizens’-group letter to a city-government official in which requests are made in an assertive, yet polite, way. They are very specific about records they want, and changes they want to see occur in the City Council meeting–to better facilitate participation by the citizen attendees.

For each request, they include an indication that if the city cannot or will not perform on the request that they provide an explanation why.

Anyway, the tone of the letter kind of reminded me of how you are able to directly, but nicely, state things, without allowing the “nice” part making the reader think you are weak.

Thanks, MM….appreciate the tip.

We support no candidates. Our mission is very focused on changing Paso Robles. PERIOD. We are working very hard and we have so much to do. The TRIB news story trying to infer CCN is part of our group just because he gave a web domain to the group is INSANE. Both Karen and I pride ourselves with being honest and above board on everything we are doing with CPRN2012. We have doubled our

supporters in the past two day and we have been invited to speak with several groups in Paso Robles that want to find out more about us. The group has never been stronger than it is today. We have not even started with getting the real exposure of CPRN2012 to the people of Paso Robles. We are listening to the residents and they are speaking to us. We have received cards, thank you letters, and many offers of donations.. Note to Trib, you cannot deter us. We are sorry that your paper is jealous of the CCN indepth reporting but please do not take it out on the people of CPRN2012.. We have work to do.

Why isn’t your group called improve paso or evolve paso? Who appointed you to decide our city needs you to change it?

What are your qualifications to judge, and solve, the problems facing city government?

It seems there is a strong relationship between this blog and your group. Please describe, in detail, what it is exactly.

What are you trying to accomplish and how do you propose to get there?

PS, seriously? I would yawn but I won’t bother to waste the effort.

The “strong relationship” between CPRN2012 and CCN is (come on a little closer so I can whisper this to you)…we are all part of the CCN community, just like you are when you post too. We also post on The Trib and other news sites. I, myself, am Danika62 on The Tribune. I have hundreds of posts there. I have no more of a “strong relationship” here as I do there or anywhere for that matter. In fact, the very first spark of the life of CPRN2012 was right from a comment I posted on the Tribune, not CCN. If you choose to dispute this, you can find it easily enough there.

We are not “judging”; we are bringing the voice of the majority (you do understand this concept, yes?) to bring change in our city government. Exercising our right to speech, to vote.

We have posted many times exactly what our mission is and how we propose to achieve it. Perhaps we just aren’t sayng it slow enough for you? I suggest you go to and check it out for yourself.

Life is busy. Most of us don’t have the time or ability to run our city safely and efficiently. That’s what our top city employees are supposed to be doing, those receiving six-figure salaries and enjoying ultra-generous benefits and retirement packages. It is not unreasonable, we believe, to expect that our city of Paso Robles be governed and managed by our employees in a legal, efficient, civil and cost-effective manner.

But our public safety departments, particularly our police, have been decimated by secretive staff cutbacks, hobbling the ability of a smaller force to maintain safe streets. An atmosphere of fear and intimidation prevails at City Hall. Too many public employees have forgotten whose tax dollars pay their salaries. Our city streets and other infrastructure are crumbling. And perhaps worst of all, our top municipal employees, and those individuals we have elected and entrusted to current City Council positions, have failed to defend the precious, hard-earned reputation of this proud city.

Sorry, of course I am soooo stupid, I can’t find a proposed solution anywhere in this. Could you please use some of your enormous intellect and point it out.

How are you going to raise money to hire more police? What specifically is wrong with downtown and how are you going to fix it? Who is going to replace current leadership? Are you going to limit the scope and power of city council/city management? Who is going to make the decisions when we have no leaders?

Have a good evening, PasoScott. I hope you rest well.

You seem to demanding answers to your questions and you ask in such a demanding way, kind of like being a bully, or a tyrant……….

You fail to realize that CPRN2012 is having the same problem getting questions answered with App and the CC, only they are asking much nicer. “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Thomas Jefferson.

Let the people organizing CPRN2012 have some time to establish their platform, your CC has had years to fix the mess at City Hall, yet they have done absolutely nothing. It is time to change our leadership, the wolves are living among the shepards.

I am demanding answers.

A legit PAC should have them.

Paso-scott. The group just started. They are still in the gathering information or investigative stage. The people in the group are Paso citizens just like you. They are not politicians, and this group is not their full time job.

I was glad to see that some one besides me had noticed that Jim App rules with an iron hand. I have heard city employees say things like ” I can’t comment on that, I work for the city” on some very minor issues completely unrelated to their work. I would guess that App doesn’t put up with any dissent, or even any alternate ideas unless he asks for them.

When you start your own group, you can name it what you want.

If you are succesful in ousting the council, app and the other leaders what do you propose then.

How wil the problems get solved?

Who will be making the decisions?

What do you want to see their direction be for Paso?

Paso-Scott, it seems to me you are saying there are no problems in Paso Robles and that sort of sounds like “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”….. in the midst of a tornado. You need to face reality: the CC is a bunch of old guys with different agendas, thrown into the same room every other week to listen to Staff reports, which are slanted, maligned and drafted to please the Head Honcho. The CC pretends to discuss and or question the wisdom of the issue at hand, but it would be much better if all 5 guys had a brain, or some courage, or a heart. Paso Robles has become the Land of Oz.

When a change is needed and finally suggested, you run around saying “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”…..Please understand, Jim App is not the only professionally trained City Manager in the United States. Far from it. He may have the least amount of credentials as compared to other City Managers for a City our size. He is easily replaced by someone with much better training, a much better background, much better manners and a much needed improved demeanor as a public servant and a City Official.

Your banter is comical in the face of what the issues really are. Please keep it coming, I need to laugh and you supply plenty of fodder.

Why would you think that?

I am saying if you are succesful then what?

I am not clicking my heals and definitely not chicken little. I understand your points, but disagree. However, I am asking what you propose to solve the issues you claim are not being solved. That seems very simple.

You don’t like the council and app. OK. What if you don’t like the new people? What if they do stuff you don’t agree with? How would they agree with you, if you don’t say what you want the solutions to be?

I am sure there are plenty of trained professions in many positions like city manager. OK. He may have more credentials than other people in his position. So what? If he’s not getting it done, get rid of him. What should his replacement do to get it done?

I would ask these questions of myself if I were getting rid of a manager I had in a department or location of a business I ran. It makes sense to have a plan for change after changes are implemented.

I don’t believe in make changes then develop a plan. It’s that simple.

So if you have them propose them, if not there is nothing I can do…it just leaves me with no faith in what you are doing. If you are who you claim to be, then people in Paso not having faith in your movement should mattter or it’s hypocrisy.

I realize that CPRN2012 is just starting and things take some time to get going and organized.

I’ve always thought that one of the many problems with government is that it takes big money to get elected to public office. I think it would be nice if you could set up a candidate forum where prospective candidates can post on a blog on where they stand on their postions and members can ask candidates questions . It would be good way for candidates to get their views out without special interest money that makes most candidates so out of touch. Of course, it should be open to all potential candidates.


QUOTING PASO CITIZEN: “But I would also caution that those who have the power in this city did not get it because of stupidity or lack of determination. They got it by knowing how to manipulate people to do what they wanted them to do and having the majority of citizens not really care.


I totally agree with this statement, PC.

Getting citizens involved, and keeping them involved, in local politics, especially with the seductive nature the heavily-TV-covered national elections exert, can be a challenge.

There is plenty in PR government actions to make residents outraged, especially if they are property taxpayers.

The trick is to ID the target group, select an issue that will motivate that group, put together a very short information statement that informs but doesn’t overload, then come up with a memorable, short slogan/meme that, when the people see or hear it, the outrage and desire for change is again triggered. Then provide many, many “prompts” by using the slogan in different formats–but always a recognizable image, layout, etc. The design is so important because the viewer/reader will make many interpretations of who you and the issue are just by the layout, colors, etc.

Tricks, manipulation….this is a very strange. How come you don’t ever talk about improving things?

I would love to have coffee with you sometime, when would you like to meet and talk about your ideas?

LMAO…MM, I think Paso-Scott is trying to woo you away from me!

MM improves the CCN community just by her posts. She is very well researched, spoken, educated, and likely a “snappy dresser” too! ; )

You talk a lot and insult anyone who thinks differently.

But I really don’t see you taking on any challenges. You skirt them. You dismiss them.

But no real answers. No responses with substance. Constant unopposed statements, but nothing else.

Now you sound like Fred Strong………Lead, follow or get out of the way. MM, danika and everyone else, start a sign off to all posts, a slogan if you will: DUMP APP!!! DUMP IRIS!!! DUMP STRONG!!! DUMP PICANCO!!! DUMP GILMAN!!! DUMP STEINBECK!!! CHANGE PASO ROBLES NOW!!!

I really sound like me.

I am not a councilman.

I hate propaganda. I detest the idea of political change in the name of “the people” that excludes “the people”.

It’s pretty simple.

The tactics that have been employed I do not agree with. I believe in due process, innocent until proven guilty and then a suitable punishment.

We have seen witch hunt, mob tactics. I don’t like it.

He whines too much for me. Can’t stand a whiner.

To Danika …… One man or woman with courage is a majority —- Thomas Jefferson — 3rd President of

the United States. I added “woman” to his slogan. Thank you! for standing up for the citizens of Paso Robles when other citizens fail to take any actions at all. Paso Roblans need to wake up to a better



My parents raised me to “pick my battles” and this one is 16 years in the making. I have posted my issues on CCN and the Tribune for a very long time now. Your comment above came as reinforcement and I cannot tell you how much it meant to me. THANK YOU.

“One man or woman with courage is a majority” —- Thomas Jefferson

I bet he didn’t say that at 4:00 AM, after a 16-hour day.

Did they even have 4:00 am when TJ was Prez?

I hope we continue to investigate the various issues that have come about and brought up this well storm in Paso…the water issue, the hot tub chief of police, covering up the hot springs by the library, the construction going on now down town, why people trying to produce events in this town are shut down by the City Council and the Chamber, the can of worms is open so lets get more worms out in the sun light…

Sorry, forgot…add the serious problems going on with the school district, how the Mid State Fair Grounds are run, and be good for CPRN2012 to throw out more issues to be discussed and further researched.

SCN, we will absolutely add your concerns to those of our other members and get answers. Thank you.

One last thing–

I think app and the city council should not go forward and/or commit to any new projects until after the election.

Once they really GET IT, that their time in office is short, I would be afraid there would be pillaging of city resources, to themselves and/or their cronies, that would match that which occurred when the Mongol hordes’ invasion of China and southeast Asia.

They should not be contracting city services, or anything else. Clearly, there is much public sentiment that indicates the PR residents don’t trust their city government with city funds.

The city rushing to contract out services to themselves and their cronies would just provide more evidence of their self-serving abuse of their access to public funds, and feed the fires of those who are calling for criminal investigation of the city government.