Official: PR citizen action dangerous

May 2, 2012

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Fred Strong

The city of Paso Robles faces only one big fiscal threat these days, according to city council member Fred Strong — and that’s the people of Paso Robles.

Strong summarized his philosophy in an email to a resident last month who had asked the official if bankruptcy is in Paso Robles’ future. (CalCoastNews is not identifying  the citizen with whom Strong corresponded; Strong, however, sent copies of his response to the entire council, Mayor Duane Picanco, and others.)

Strong wrote, “At this time the only danger of the city going into bankruptcy is from citizen actions and initiatives which have been, or are, proposed without assessing their unintended consequences.”

That appeared to be a direct reference to a newly-formed citizens’ action committee called Change Paso Robles Now, or CPRN2012, said Karen Daniels, a downtown business owner and chair of the non-profit group.

She asked Picanco and the other council members if they agreed with Strong’s assertion, and she suggested to Strong that he should explain or disclaim the comment.

In a string of emails that followed, Strong claimed he was referring only to “state” actions. Strong wrote to Daniels on May 1, “Although I’m unable to find our original correspondence on this computer, I believe this [issue] related to suggestions made to me that [mismanagement and overly-generous pensions] in the city would eventually bankrupt Paso Robles. I indicated that we already had (and are) addressing that issue and there was considerably more likelihood that citizen actions would bankrupt us” rather than mismanagement and benefits.

“I must clarify what I meant by ‘citizen actions,’” he continued. “That was based upon my interaction at all government levels and the misunderstood ‘initiative process.’ Initiatives were created so that citizens could correct situations which the government, especially at the state level, refused to address or correct.”

Daniels, who raised the issue Tuesday at a council meeting, told Strong in an email that “the comment you made…was pretty clear. I didn’t misunderstand it; I didn’t amend or otherwise alter it in any way. It didn’t mention all the things you have now expressed in your retraction or clarification of the statement you offered in a previous email. It did not mention the state nor offer any further explanation other than your precise view.

“Having discussed your statement with several others, we all came to the same conclusion:  you would blame the citizens of Paso Robles for their own actions and initiatives, and absolve the city administration from any wrong doing should the city fall into unintended financial hardship: bankruptcy.”

Daniels added, “I feel you made that bold statement to put us in our place. But what I don’t understand is why the city council turns a blind eye to the obvious: [City Manager]  Jim App needs to go. But the entire city council seems to stand behind him.  As long as he remains the city manager, the community will be divided, and will continue to push for change of those who administer their city.”

Strong, in a final missive to Daniels, wrote: “I would never have said ‘the citizens of Paso Robles’ could cause a bankruptcy of the city. Nor would I ever absolve the city council of responsibility for those things under its control.”


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pasojim

Many citizens are becoming aware of a heinous , vile agenda our elected representatives at all levels of government are using to remove us citizens from our civil liberties and personal property rights we are all endowed with by our constitution.


Agenda 21.


Strong recently looked at new legislations laced with agenda 21 principles and refused to decline the legislation because there may be a couple issues he might be in favor of.


Strong would rather support regulations that will remove you from the rights bestowed on you by your constitution because there might an issue he agrees with, rather than protect the personal liberties of the people that gave him their votes.


Strong has been in our government far to long and his influence is directly responsible for the problems we face in our city today, he must go.


The Gimlet Eye

Well said, pasojim. There are a hell of a lot of politicians at all levels who need to be purged. They are obviously working against our best interests.


Paso_Guy

“[City Manager] Jim App needs to go. ”


Seems like the simple solution is to vote in the three CC who will go for a replacement. Anyone running? Anyone besides Nemeth thinking of running.

Time is truely running out.


Does fighting with Fred Strong advance the ball to this end?


The election will be here before you know it and the status quo will no doubt remain as is.


As I sit on the sidelines, that is how this all looks to play out


danika

Yes, there are other candidates coming forward.


Paso_Guy

how about some names?


OldNed

Good point. We are reading and hearing a lot about change, but we don’t have anyone who is stepping up to challenge any of the incumbents. I’d like to start reading about specific people with specific ideas instead of platitudes about making the city a better place.


danika

Old Ned and Paso_Guy, CPRN2012 does not support or endorse any candidates. Names are not ours to give. When they decide to announce their candidacy, they will do so and you will know.


OldNed

That’s fine. I’m not casting aspersions on you or your group. I just hoped someone would be stepping up by now, with our without affiliation with your organization or any other.


danika

Understood. We do have people requesting our endorsement for their candidacy. We decline.


I have no doubt you will begin seeing names very shortly.


Cindy

Glad to hear that perspective candidates are asking for your endorsement. While CPRN2012 does not officially endorse candidates, perhaps you will reconsider as the election approaches, after all, as a citizen you and Shirley will both have a personal opinion?


The great thing about CPRN2012 is that the complacent citizens of Paso Robles are currently focusing on issues surrounding who, what, where, when, why and how much did it cost us taxpayers. The efforts of a home grown grass roots watch dog committee who is for the people and by the people can be a powerful force to recon with in light of the concerns that plague the PR local gov or lack there of!


I think there will be plenty of informed citizens who come out to support the new candidates and volunteer on the campaign committees. Its all about wanting change and people up there seem to want it. Paso-Jim worries too much ;)


That reminds me, I promised to get CPRN2012 a disk of all the PR residents who have voted in the last two elections plus any new PR residents who are registered voters. I’ll be in SLO on Monday so I will pick that up and hopefully, CPRN2012 will agree to share that info with any candidates that CPRN2012 supporters are campaigning for ? Sorry that I forgot about getting that for you.


danika

Cindy, no worries. We are happy to be the benefactor of your efforts and have no problems sharing info with ALL candidates.


danika

Personal opinions are allowed and not outside the realm of possibility.


pasojim

Paso_guy

I agree with you entirely, and can tell that many of us that respond to these issues do as well.


My question to you and any others that agree is this:


Where is the organization we need to use to get our representatives elected. Anytime somebody gets elected to anything, they always have an organization behind them. If they don’t there isn’t much chance of being elected


Where are the people who will put up yards signs, pass out literature about our canidates, make phone calls, donate money to mail correspondence to voters etc. etc.


With an organization like this I believe it would be just as easy to campaign for three people as it would be for one


One thing is for sure, the people we need to remove all have these organizations behind them.


Does anybody have any information about such an organization I can get involve with?


WE need to get going now.


Paso_Guy

I ‘m under the impression that this is what your CPRN2012 is all about.


I find it very confusing that you, with your involvement would ask such a question.


IronHub

Paso Robles mayor and 2 city council seats. Candidacy deadlines: July 16-August 10, 2012 – Declaration of candidacy and nomination period. August 15, 2012 – Extension period if incumbent does not file by August 10. Only applies to candidates other than the incumbent.


http://www.prcity.com/government/departments/cityclerk/elections/index.asp


pasojim

Don’t be confused,


CPRN2012 has made it clear it won’t be endorcing candates as an organization, that is up to us individually.


CPRN2012 main pupose is to arm us with information and to educate us, and it is doing a great job of it.


But we all have to become milti-taskers,


We can rely on CPRN2012 for the truth and information. but individually we must come up with our own candates.


WE can stand back and wait for someone else to do it, or we can get involved and do it ourselves.


At least this election we can at least make the decisions who we want to represent us armed with truth.


danika

We do not endorse or campaign for any candidate. PasoJim apparently wants to join a group that focuses on the campaigns themselves.


danika

Jim, CPRN2012 is not a group that will support/endorse a candidate and we cannot put up yard signs, pass out campaign literature, make campaign phone calls, etc.. We can certainly speak to the issues that promote the need to change the current City Council. Our focus is narrow and we have spoke to this many times.


While I appreciate your views are defined by wanting to be candidate specific, we represent the community, NOT the candidates. We encourage people to file and announce their intentions to run. We encourage you to join us at the city council meetings and present challenge, as we have.


viamagnolia1

WOW, PasoJim Really?????????


whatdouno

Perhaps you should stop “sitting on the sidelines”. It is part of the biggest problem the residents of Paso have. Everyone expects someone else to fight for their rights!


Paso_Guy

Ok


Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.

Amen


Cindy

Time is not running out. Yard signs and all the campaign brouhaha aren’t even allowed until the day after the filing deadline has been met. Its not uncommon for those who are considering running for office to delay their announcements until the filing deadline approaches. I have seen candidates throw their hats into the ring on the last day before the deadline and I have also seen candidates retract their notice of candidacy on the last day (after certain contenders made announcements to run for office).


People often announce their candidacies late for many reasons. Sometimes people decide to run because they aren’t satisfied with the options that the ballot will afford them. Sometimes they know of an excellent individual who is considering running for office and they wait to see if that person will step up. Sometimes they just want to handicap the line up as a comparative to their personal skills and abilities. The deadline to file isn’t until the second week in August.


There will be plenty of citizens offering to serve, you’ll see. 2012 is going to be a wild election year for Paso Robles. So much will change, so much is at stake, and App and his cronies, don’t and won’t know where to hide their heads. I predict that it is going to be a CPRN2012 LANDSLIDE.. I really do.


danika

I agree with you Cindy. We are in for interesting times ahead. : )


Paso_citizen

When they hold the next backwards bicycle race, Fred will take 1st place. He is now back pedaling as fast as he can. I seen the email that was being referred to and there could be no doubt on what it said about the citizens actions. If now Fred wants to say differently or say he can’t find the email, then so be it. I suppose it got inadvertently erased, ala Nixon’s tape from Watergate days.


danika

It is important to note I did not speak to Fred Strong when the email first emerged. I took it directly to Mayor Picanco and asked him in an email to advise if the other city councilmen felt the same. I received no response from the Mayor.


Days went by.


I then 2nd requested Picanco, letting him know I would take the exchange to the media if I did not hear from him immediately. He did not offer a timely response again. He sat on his response until Monday, nearly a week and a half later, and coincidently, the day before the city council meeting. The response he offered was void of a direct answer to my very direct question. This came as no surpise. I then asked him in an email to please have Mr. Strong retract his statement and warned for the 2nd time that this being brought to the public would not sit well. I strongly urged that Mr. Strong speak to his comment. We all say things we do not really mean in the heat of the moment. In the interest of fairness, I felt I should at least allow Strong to apologize for his strong comment and offer explanation. Mr. Picanco’s response lacked any answer to the question asked nor any response to Mr. Strong’s comment. Then came Mr. Strong’s afternoon email, hours before the City Council Meeting. He did not admit to saying it, he did not retract it; he hinted that I had created it. Admittedly, this annoyed me. I then sent the entire email exchanges to CCN as it seems they are the only way to get to the truth in this city. Other media were given the same opportunity to respond.


What you see in the above is evidence of a City Council that is blatantly dissmissive of its people. They can control all, say all, and feel the people are the patsy to their poor fiscal management.


We cannot allow this to continue.


There can be no action without the people of Paso Robles coming together and taking back their city. I urge you all to join CPRN2012 and send your responses to Mr. Strong’s comment above directly to the Mayor of Paso Robles, Duane Picanco. His email address is: Dpicanco@prcity.com.

PLEASE do this.


To the entire city administration of Paso Robles: I am NOT going away. I am not backing down. I will stand firm in my pledge to do all I can to bring change to Paso Robles and help the citizens take back what has been taken from them…control of their city.


For those who do not already know this, I am Karen Daniels, Chair of CPRN2012. You can email me directly at CPRN2012.gmx. You can leave me a message at 805-400-5652. I will personally respond to all messages and emails directed to me.


Thank you for your support.


OldNed

Once again, old people with old ways of thinking. This city needs leaders with new ideas and new ways of addressing the city’s problems. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying we need leaders who are young in age, just thinking. I’d be happy with a 90 year old mayor as long as she didn’t wander around town looking like a lost soul, as our current mayor is prone to doing. Strong and Picanco are embarrassments in my opinion.


standup

Well Mr. Strong, it seems to me that you don’t like people questioning the local government. Well, I have news for you. You and the rest of the council are a bunch of blubbering idiots for paying the ex chief 250k of our money when she created her own problem. You guys are a bunch of patsies and you know it. Grow a couple and quit caving in to Jim App’s poor decisions.


pasoparent5

Arrogance + incompetence + stubborness = Fred Strong.


OldNed

Don’t forget the bad mustache. It’s just the icing on the cake. Or, I suppose, the icing on the upper lip. My personal view is that getting rid of Strong and Picanco is more important than getting rid of App. With those two replaced with people who think clearly and watch out for the best interests of the city, App’s power will be diminished until the time he can be replaced without another big payout for a former city employee.


slowtime

What a piece of work this man is. This “Club” disguised as City Admin needs to be disbanded.


SuperDave

Comments fired off in anger will quite often be remembered longer than a civil answer would have ever been. City officials should remember correspondence is sometime a public test of your private thoughts. Beware the snappy answer!


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