Paso Robles ‘mole’ interests prosecutors

April 5, 2012

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Members of the Paso Robles Police Officers Association (PRPOA) discussed ongoing contract negotiations for several hours the night of Nov. 9, 2011, unaware that at least one city spy sat among them.

With the resulting inside information in hand, city officials later were able to manipulate and significantly affect the eventual pact, according to police union members. Those particular actions would interest prosecutors if a complaint were to be received from officers, San Luis Obispo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran said Tuesday.

Evidence of the existence of a double agent among police union ranks was contained in an email provided by the city to CalCoastNews following a Public Records Act request. City Manager Jim App wrote to then-Chief of Police Lisa Solomon at 8:37 a.m. the morning after the union meeting: “Any word from your moles about last night’s meeting?” No reply from Solomon to this specific message was included among the emails provided to CCN.

In the same email, App suggested that Human Resources Manager Marlaine Sanders already “had a list of attendees” from the officers’ meeting.

Paso Robles Police Officer Jon Tatro, a former PRPOA president, said that when when he and his fellow officers learned of the App-Solomon email they reacted angrily. Tatro said he has “long believed that (Solomon) has moles in the POA who report privileged information from our meetings directly back to her.” Tatro called the action criminal.

Union members said they have “long suspected” that city management conspired to insert one or more spies into ongoing negotiations, and believe they know the identity of at least one such person.

App insisted this week that the email was just “silly language.”

Noting that “CalCoastNews has already posted highly presumptive suppositions that I interfered with union negotiations and broke the law,” App wrote in an email, adding, “Bottom line, there was no meddling, interference, mole, or illegal activity.” He claimed he simply was inquiring “about the outcome of the POA vote.”

The group was to vote that night on the most recent offer by city negotiators regarding health benefits.

App wrote, “I sent the referenced email to ascertain the voter result (I use silly language to make light of (and) bring humor to otherwise tense situations — the receiver (Solomon) knew exactly what I meant, i.e., ‘what was the vote?’) App argued that at the time, he was “up against insurance company and council agenda deadlines” and did not want to wait to learn the outcome of the vote.

Solomon has since left the department.

Members of the PRPOA have expressed their belief that App and Solomon committed a criminal conspiracy to defraud officers of pay, benefits, and pensions, and were eventually successful in their efforts.

Gran said the act of placing a “mole” inside confidential contract negotiating sessions would probably most correctly be construed as a violation of collective bargaining laws, more of a civil issue than criminal.

“But I would be very interested in looking at a formal complaint regarding the possibility of a conspiracy,” Gran said.

In California, a complaint about an unfair labor practice could also be submitted to the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) as a possible violation of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, which governs public sector bargaining. The law requires negotiating “in good faith” and prohibits interference with, or threats or discrimination against, bargaining units.

An apparent paper trail exists to bolster police union suspicions about the alleged mole activities. Former officer Dave Hernandez, president of the police union during those negotiations, said city officials were trying to influence the association to vote in favor of a new health plan, and that the “moles” were able to change the health plan union members voted for during the meeting.

Officers voted that night to stay with their current plan, not the reduced plan offered by the city. Hernandez said. The next day, all officers began getting phone calls from a department sergeant armed with a list of all officers who had attended the meeting. He called union members “selfish” and managed to coax a vote change among officers.

“The health plan then was switched to what the city manager wanted,” said Hernandez.

“Utilizing ‘moles’ is conspiracy to commit fraud,” Tatro said. “(City officials) defrauded us out of a fair labor contract.”

Public sector attorney Martin Mayer, of the Orange County law firm of Jones and Mayer, said he’s never experienced a situation where management placed a “mole” into labor negotiations.

Mayer, noting that his firm exclusively represents the interests of municipal management, said, “This is only my personal observation, but it seems to me that this would be an unfair labor practice. It is terribly inappropriate for either side.”

Confidentiality of negotiations “cuts both ways,” he said. If such an incident did occur “it would certainly undermine the intent of confidential negotiations.”

 

 

 


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IronHub

Join CPRN2012.org to help change the direction of Paso Robles.


danika

I know you have heard a lot of chatter about CPRN2012.ORG and are waiting to see more activity. Please believe things ARE happening in the background and we are moving forward. Our organization is now being interviewed, “Googled”, “Friended”, and no doubt reviewed by those who seek to retain current power. We are working every day to bring forth change and are determined and undaunted. We will be opening our doors to you, the very community we have formed to speak for, and ask for your assistance to help spread the word. Please bring CHANGE PASO ROBLES NOW! into conversation with 5 people you know. Get them talking, become motivated, and join our efforts by subscribing on our website. Together, we CAN and WILL make the changes necessary for political and fiscal health for Paso Robles.


WWW. CPRN2012.ORG < ~~~~ please go here and sign up. We appreciate your support!


danika

To keep up on a related CCN story about the crime rates in Paso, my office witnessed yet another drug deal 2 days ago, in the afternoon. We have not seen the PRPD cruising thru the parking lot in well over a month. Just sayin….


Must Paso be kept safe from the “safe mode” policy of the police who protect the city?


pasoparent5

danika, I believe you 100% but you really *NEED* to keep a camcorder at your desk so you can capture these crimes on film.


danika

PP5, we have surveillance cameras installed and are/have captured a lot of interesting activities…


Dogpound

Did you call the Police? And what happened after that? I doubt you keep your eyes glued to the parking lot so there is a realm of possibility that a PD unit cruised through without you noticing. There was a pretty significant stretch of zero activity, right? What about the drug house across the street who have since been evicted? The PD gets no credit for that eviction even though they searched the house numeroud times and arrested people out of it numerous times? I will say this again and take a beating: you have little concept of “safe mode” and in fact it isbarely enacted anymore from what I heard. Just sayin…


pasoparent5

Just curious, Dogpound…are you a Paso city employee?


Dogpound

I am a concerened citizen that watched all of this unfold and was disgusted witht he character assasination that unfolded. There was so much mud slinging and pitchfork and torch arming that the true story never really unfolded. The process could not happen because people did not allow it, which is sad. I believe in due process, innocent until proven otherwise. Soloman may have done wrong and through the investigation, the truth would have been metered out she may have quietly stepped down. The firestorm and journalistic terrorism painted her in a corner. Thus the $250,000 buy out. I am just as concerned as everyone else, I just look at all of this in a different perspective, more rational. If the truth came out AND then nothing was done, then I would fire up my torch and sharpen my pitchfork and join you. Otherwise, not so much.


pasoparent5

Again, Dogpound–are you a city employee?


These allegations started to be investigated in November 2011. Lisa got canned–er, I mean took “early retirement”–in March 2012. Not ONCE in those 4 months did we hear “I didn’t do it!” from Lisa. Not once.


If I had been accused of sexually harrassing my subordinates and I were innocent, I would’ve taken paid admin leave on DAY ONE of the investigation. I would’ve wanted my name cleared ASAP. I would’ve held a press conference and said, “I cannot speak to these allegations in detail at this time, but I’d like to assure the public that I am 100% innocent and have not sexually harrassed anyone. I look forward having my name vindicated.” (Oh, and I’d wear my police uniform, not my pink Juicy Couture track suit.)


Yet Lisa did NOT publically say that. She tried to sweep everything under the rug and hope that it all just went away…like what happened when she left her loaded gun in her unlocked car and it got stolen. App and the council were afraid she’d sue so they paid her a quarter of a million bucks in hush money.


Lisa sorrowfully claims her “reputation was tarnished” and that’s why the city paid her off. Yeah right. Why doesn’t she sue CCN for slander? Why won’t she come forward and state “I’m innocent!?” Because she can’t. The truth was exposed. Lisa is gone. As danika stated weeks ago, Paso is a safer place now…not because of Lisa but IN SPITE of her.


zaphod

character assasination that unfolded… exactly what did CCN publish that was not true? inquiring minds like specific and correct replies.


danika

Again, DP, we have surveillance cameras and I CAN see if they cruised through. There is no significant stretch of inactivity when there is still activity. I consider a significant stretch to define as years, not a month. The LANDLORD evicted the tenant, not the police. The police do not hold title to the property. I have a copy of the “safe mode” document so I do know what it says. It is okay that you feel the need to push back against those who seek change. We understand it for what it is. Have a great Easter! : )


Dogpound

And I am sure you sit at your desk and review hour upon hours of video? I want to say that I am not disbelieving you, but you make it sound (an Mary Malone who has probably never been there) that this alley is a drug haven with deals goin on daily, hypodermics in the gutter, a stabbing/shooting waiting to happen. And while doing so, you make it look like PRPD does NOTHING! I know where your office is and it is very easy to drive down Spring and look down the drive way and see 40% of the issue. Turn right and look down the alley and see the remaining 60%. 100% coverage without driving down the alley. Does your video capture that?? This is a WIDE OPEN space that is easy to see. If someone is there, then drive up and talk to him/her. To say that PRPD has done nothing becasue you have not SEEN them is short sighted and unfair on your part. But then since when was this BLOG fair? (Answer: never)

The safemode document you have is a piece of paper. Big deal. How that is enacted is what matters. So much has been made of the safe mode and all it is is prioritizing calls, which EVERY PD does. Having the document in your hand does not make you an expert on “safe mode” at all. How do you know how it is enacted. Does it even still exist?

Change is a good thing and I am all for making improvements. Once all the back stabbing and mud slinging stops from people then maybe, just maybe, healing can begin.


pasoparent5

Dollars to donuts, Dogpound’s a LEO.


pasoparent5

…or Chris/Lisa Chitty.


Dogpound

Neither. See, this is what I mean. Why do I get singled out and start being accused of being “Chris/Lisa chitty” or a LEO just because I have a different take on things. Many posts ago I told what I did to do my own research on some of this. I did it because I wanted to know more about what was going on. I did not read it on CCN, nor did I profess a document I had explained EVERYTHING. I went outside of my house, away from the computer and looked with my own eyes.

As far as Solomon suing CCN, the rules are different for a public employee of that rank. They have less protection, for whatever reason, when is comes to libel (slander is the spoken word, libel the written). A line Officer probably could, but I am not an attorney so I don’t know. Or maybe I am!


paso-scott

You have good cause to be concerned about the tactics here at the bully pulpit.

There is no “other” opinion here. If you even propose that conclusions should be thoughtful, you get rude people taking shots at you.

The saddest thing is the real effect this group is having.

Paso Robles is good community. I have read some of the most absurd comparisons and faulty “thinking” on these posts.

I know, I know. I must be an idiot. I probably went to Bauer Speck.

Keep speaking your mind here. This group needs to accept that they speak for themselves not the community.


danika

Actually, Paso-Scott, we DO speak for the vast number of VOTERS in the community. Do you know how many people have joined CPRN2012.org? No? Well, I do. The concensus with the voters in our group is CHANGE must happen to keep this city a “good community”. And that change is reflective of that pesky “other opinion” shown here.


MaryMalone

QUOTING DOGPOUND:

If someone is there, then drive up and talk to him/her. To say that PRPD has done nothing becasue you have not SEEN them is short sighted and unfair on your part.


———


Listen, pal, don’t even try to make the policing of public space the responsibility of a civilian–especially a female business owner who probably would not be dressed to physically deal with the situation if their attempts to get close enough to the suspicious-acting person to talk to them went south. Ever try to run in 3″ heels and a tight skirt?


1. Advising a civilian to approach someone who is acting suspiciously, and to “talk to him/her” is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard of in a long time.

I doubt an LEO would suggest that. I would bet high on the list of an LEO’s idea of the LAST thing they want to deal with is having to go out on a call to a site where an innocent civilian has been injured or killed because they took the law into their own hands and approached someone who was acting suspiciously….especially if the innocent civilian had made multiple calls over years to the PD which had done nothing to stop a crime problem.


2. The area has been reported by Danika man, many times. Obviously, there is an issue of suspicious activity. IF the PRPD had done regular drive-bys and made their presence–and interest in the area–known, the suspicious activity would have taken itself to another area, one that is not being targeted by the police for protection.


3. The screwiest part of this whole gig is that usually, if there is one part of the population that a local PD wants to make sure is well-served, it is the local business community. Usually, when business owners complain to the city about crime not being addressed by the PD, it is not a good thing for the PD.

Yet PRPD ignores this ongoing issue which has been repeatedly reported by a credible, longstanding member of the PR business community.

What the heII is wrong with the PRPD, anyway?

Is Solomon’s hand-picked interim replacement “chief” as pathetic in leadership and protecting the people of PR as Solomon was?


Dogpound

Ok, you completely misunderstood. So put the pitchfork back. I agree I did not make that too clear. What I MEANT WAS that if a PD Unit sees someone in the alley then the PD Unit would contact that person, NOT the business owner contact that person. And again, Mary Malone, how do you know the are had been neglected!! Does she still call?? Does she?? When was the last time? When was the last time that she saw a PD car? I just find it hard to believe that if this area is such a drug haven then the PD is not hammering it. I have been to where she is talking, a few times. Everytime I was there to grab some donuts for the crew, there was no one around. No one. It looked clean. Not to discredit Danika, but I just don’t see drug deals going down all the time or fearing for ones safety in the area. When was the last time she called the PD?????????


zaphod

Who cares? Danika is not the topic


danika

Yeah, well, when you can’t dispute the topic, you have to speak to the poster.


MaryMalone

When a PD clears out a drug house, they are doing their job. When they allow a dangerous situation to continue for months and months, during which time the PD wastes resources on public-relations’ events, they are not doing their job.


Yes, it is grand they DID their job in that instance. But they cannot pimp that one success for years and use it to negate the fact that DRUG ACTIVITY IS REGULARLY OCCURING IN A PARKING LOT RIGHT NEXT TO A PLACE OF BUSINESS, AND THE POLICE ARE DOING ZIP ABOUT IT!


A lot of these public relations events are wine-industry tourist-related. That kind of activity is grand–but the PD’s resources should not be wasted on those efforts.


Besides it being just plain WRONG, it is criminally negligent to try to lure unsuspecting tourists into PR, where drug activities occur in the light of day–next to a business–and where gang- and drug-related activity has escalated in the recent past.


Most cities want to support the businesses they have, and draw new businesses. Most cities know the existing businesses in town need to be able to operate in a safe environment if they want to draw new businesses.


Paso Robles seems to want to use their PD to promote-by-ignoring dangerous conditions in public spaces, while focusing the police dollars on pom-pom waving, public-relations events.


No offense to the appearance of the PRPD, but I’m sure if the city wanted to recruit a bevy of pom-pom waving cheerleaders for PR purposes, they could do a sight better (and a lot cheaper) than using PRPD uniformed officers.


danika

Oh, those darned insurance companies, huh?


Every group policy has an “open enrollment” period that gives time to make changes to the existing, renewing policy. That period generally extends to 30 days AFTER the effective date. Companies make sure they get the members insurance renewal offer out over 30 days prior to the renewal date, giving well over 60 days to make change to the new term of coverage. Now, I wonder the date of renewal for the insurance health policy in question. Knowing that, you would have a better idea if the urgency was in fact due to that pesky “insurance company deadline”.


standup

Oh come on App, a silly email. My ass. You damn well know you are a fraud and had a mole in there. How about a lie detector test? You pass, you stay. You fail, you leave and do not pass go and collect 250k. Put up or shut up!


pasoparent5

Honestly, I think Mr. App could pass a lie detector test, no problem.

If you’ve listened to him through the years, you know that he is very arrogant and condescending but he can also be quite convincing. I didn’t say truthful…just convincing.


MaryMalone

I am re-watching Season 1 of “The Game of Thrones,” and one of the characters tells her young son to not worry about something embarrassing to the son because, when he became king he would be omnipotent, whatever he SAID was the truth would then BE the truth.


The Arrogance of Omnipotence…somehow that reminds me of Mr. App.


Cindy

I loved “The Game of Thrones”. I know exactly which episode your talking about. They really made the audience hate that kid, the more we get to know him, with each passing week, the more we (at least I) would like to see him die a horrible death ;)


Thank goodness that we don’t really have Kings in this country but only, “wana be’s” and “think they are’s” and App has reigned too long. OFF WITH HIS HEAD, I tell you ;)


MaryMalone

That statement, about the king being able to change the reality of what happened so that future generations will see it as the truth, told to the new king Joffrey by his mother, was fracking eerie.


It was watching a young man-king being groomed for a life of irreponsible sociopathic abuse of power.


I think App has the Joffrey Syndrome. He thinks by hiding and deleting email he can change history. But all it takes is an IT tech to step in, and the emails can often be retrieved.


Manwhile, App has left evidence of his attempt to coverup what he and others in the PR city government have done. By issuing that proclamation that emails were to be deleted after 3 months–he is directing employees to destroy public records.


Even City of Bell’s Mayor Rizzo was more savvy than that.


MaryMalone

Couldn’t App simply refuse to answer any question that PR city attorney, Iris Yang, said pertained to confidential employee information? Or are employee confidentiality regulations suspended during polygraph tests?


MaryMalone

My hero.


Dexter

So ……………… App insisted this week that the email was just “silly language.”


My guess is this is part of why Solomon gets a cool quarter million bucks in hush money. She would have known whether it was silly language or not.


pasojim

All this talk of app suing the city if he got fired got me thinking. app against iris ying yang and his legal machine of questionable ethics. I gotta believe yang knows where all his dirty laundry is.


I would pay for admission to that show.


MaryMalone

Just my opinion here…there will be no “show” between Yang and App.


I think, when we expect honest things from dishonest people, it is highly likely that we will be disappointed. In addition, we may end up suffering more harm than if we had remembered that the dishonest will–as long as it benefits them–usually act dishonestly.


This is true with a local agency government “crime family” and their consigliores. They most frequently work for the best interests of the “crime family.”


We saw this in the City of Bell–the fact that Yang was part of the City of Bell “consigliore” law firm should give us a strong clue as to how she will act with App when it is time for the Paso Robles “crime family” to, again, lighten its burden of corrupt nincompoops.


Based on what we’ve seen before, there will come a time where App has to be “solomonized.” In this context, it means “termination with enough money to buy his silence and future cooperation.”


Like they did with Solomon, the City of Paso Robles “crime family” will allow App to write a self-serving revisionary letter of resignation, will receive hush money in the form of a ridiculous payout, and Yang–as she did with Solomon’s hush-money buy-out…will sign off on it.


Yang could have taken down Solomon, but she didn’t. That’s because Solomon was part of the Paso Robles government “crime family,” and, as such, as little damage as possible was done to Solomon, with enough financial benefits to limit the “crime family”‘s future damages.


pasojim

MaryMalone,

Of course you are right, I just found myself daydreaming for a short time.


Actually, app likes all this talk of lawsuits, It is the system he has created.


Anybody that has the un-fortunate experience of getting SLIMED by some of apps irrational city policy’s knows that the typical city response is “So Sue Us”.


He knows not much ever get solved when the courts get involved, Lawsuits just cost a lot of money (that doesn’t come out of his pocket), takes a lot of time, and most citizens can’t match the city’s deep pockets. Case settled.


I think should be against the law for city employees to use city funds to pay attorney fees in the first place. Their job is to see to it that this kind of non-sense doesn’t happen in the first place. (Sorry about that, I guess I am digressing).


At the risk of over simplifying things, we have the opportunity this fall to replace 3 of the people we elect to look out for our best interest.


These people don’t get that many votes, Spending our valuable resources (time and effort) to elect responsible representatives, would be a much more direct way to make change that needs to happen.


Let app operate in the system he designed.


The rest of us can start fixing our city.


danika

WELL SAID, Jim!!!


MaryMalone

QUOTING PASOJIM: Anybody that has the un-fortunate experience of getting SLIMED by some of apps irrational city policy’s knows that the typical city response is “So Sue Us”.


I’ve often thought that PR’s city motto should be “Paso Robles: San Luis Obispo County’s Answer to the City of Bell.”


However, I think your statement would make a good alternative motto: “Paso Robles: So Sue Us.”


jackal

How in the Hell does App still have a job? This guy is slippier than a greased pig. Let’s put that hard hitting journalist, old Bob “Swamp Gas” Cuddy on the case to find the truth. Yeah right.


opentruth

My phone has no problem uninstalling Apps, just wish Paso Robles was the same.


MaryMalone

Yeah, but often there will remain a ghost of the app that will, periodically, cause problems.


studioclubnews

yup MaryMalone, this OM permeates throughout the city. It has been run so long by these good-ole-boy/girl types that the Chamber, tourist bureau, Main Street Assoc., Midstate Fair Grounds, all have the same mode of operating…very closed door, “moles”, conspiracy against new people that come into town, etc etc


IronHub

It’s funny how so many people in Paso Robles believe in a closed door “conspiracy” policy for those who are not part of the inner circle. It’s not funny, however, that this is absolute fact. Go to CPRN2012.org and join if you really want to help initiate change in this city.


mtvfan

All this police labor organization (or just one member) has to do is say they want an investigation into this. At this time the sergeant who went from member to member changing the vote to endorse the new health plan will have to explain why he or she did this.


I can’t see the benefit of why the sergeant would do this on his/her own because the existing plan was most likely better for all sergeants and the entire police union. My guess is that the sergeant received some type of direction from a police department supervisor, and they would have to explain who gave them this assignment.


Things to ask this sergeant:


1. Do you personally like paying more for health coverage?


2. Do you personally like paying more for health coverage that provides less benefits?


3. Why would you take this upon yourself to help reduce health benefits/coverage for all of your union brethren, some possibly with existing or pre-existing health issues that now will receive less health coverage?


4. WTF were you thinking?


This is just another example of how the City of Paso Robles is really out of control from the top down.


inmyopinion

It all starts at the top and Sh^&*( rolls downhill. App is the PR Czar and All else are his scapegoats. Not that they didnt have their faults but he would never take responsibility for anyting he did or had his hand in. He would toss his own mother under the bus to save his arse. World’s biggest LOSER.