Jerry Jones seeks Paso Robles council seat

September 21, 2012


Jerry Jones
Photo courtesy Main Street Association

With an eye on greater transparency in City Hall, longtime resident Jerry Jones filed Friday as a write-in candidate for Paso Robles city council.

He joins two other challengers, Jim Reed and Steve Martin, in the quest for a pair of council seats occupied by incumbents Fred Strong and Nick Gilman, both of whom will seek reelection. Mayor Duane Picanco remains unopposed.

Jones acknowledged inherent challenges of running as a write-in candidate. He said he decided to make his bid because he is “disturbed” by recent actions of present council members and top city staff.

He pointed specifically to the manner in which the council handled the Lisa Solomon-Chitty controversy. The former chief of police departed city employment earlier this year after being accused by subordinate officers of inappropriate sexual behavior, retaliation, and illegal management practices.

The council followed the advice of City Manager James App and City Attorney Iris Ping Yang and paid Solomon-Chitty $250,000 to “retire” after she claimed to have been professionally discredited by a string of unchallenged reports of her conduct on this web site.

To this day, no council member has made a single public comment on the situation.

“The Lisa thing was a debacle. Those kinds of things really bother me,” said Jones.

Then he learned that “four out of five of them (present city council members) would fall on the sword for him (App). I figured I could moan about it all I want, but I really needed to do something,” said Jones, who recently retired.

“City managers who have been in their job for six or more years have accumulated too much power,” Jones added. App has been the city’s top employee for 15 years.

Jones has been a resident of Paso Robles since 1944, with a stint in the Navy and a lengthy history of civic activities. He was vice president and director of legislative affairs for the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, and the chamber’s liaison with the county; and past chair of the Agri-Business Tour. He’s a retired member of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

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Anyone see that Jerry Jones picture was taken by the Main Street Association? Which has ties with the Downtown Association, and get ready for it………………………………………Mike Gibson (reason why Nemeth is not mayor). And guess who Gibson has ties with…………………………………Frank Mecham and the Wine-Os

I think 44,000 population is a good number for Paso Robles, but I don’t see that happening in the next 10or 20 years.

Paso also needs to get a lifestyle center that gives North County shoppers a place to dine and shop for clothes and not have to make North County residents drive to the Pismo Outlet Mall or Downtown SLO for clothes.

I’d also like to see Paso do what SLO did and offer stipends and tax breaks for the two big housing projects to stimulare their project (Chandler Ranch and Olsen-Beechwood Ranch). If the 46 area never sees housing development, then Golden Hills Plaza will go into bankruptcy and we will have an eyesore in a gateway into town.

Citizen…..this is page 2…sorry for the interruption….as I was saying…

I am not happy with the way the Police Chief issue was handled

I am not happy with the proposed General Fund sales tax issue (do you actually think that the roads will remain the top priority for 12 years?)

I am very unhappy about my water and sewer bill being over $200.00 (re:my first two unhappys)

(SuperDave, if you are unhappy with the timing of the crosswalks, wait until you see what the plans are for 21st street)

Paso Robles was a fun, happy small town when I was growing up, I realize times change and it will never be a small town again (to bad that the plans are for a population of 44K), but it could be a fun and happy place. I, for one, do not see that path being taken and would like to be able to do something about it…..I HAVE NO INTENTION OF RECONSIDERING, I may not winbut at least I will have given it a shot….jj


You are spot on, I wish you the best.

Sales Tax Issue…. I don’t like how Jim App has handled our money now, why would we give him more. Three years from now, the new council will be convinced to use that money for some other short fall. There is NO accountability in this tax hike. I say vote it down and force the City to do as we asked, bring us a specific use tax – Road Repair.

Police Chief…. If she was guilty, fire her; if she wasn’t why didn’t we keep her. What’s with the payoff and some lovely parting comments from the City Manager and some of the Council?

Water…. I Agee with you, at least let’s get the damn water.

City Manager…. Been there too long, thinks he’s smarter than his council. Has created a workforce loyal to him, NOT (repeat NOT) to the citizens of Paso Robles. Go get ’em at least fire a warning shot over City Hall’s bow (App). Time for change. If we don’t get App this time we’ll eventually get him. There are too many people who are disgusted with his arrogance for him to survive. He will NOT retire here.

What ticks me off is that I don’t a say on whether Steve, Jim or Jerry get in or not. I have a business in PR , employ 14 people and pay taxes, but because I don’t “live” here ( like I don’t spend half my life at my business ) I don’t have a say about who makes the decisions in this town. However “Joe Student” who goes to Cuesta and has temporary residence in PR is allowed to vote and effect the direction of this city. There is something wrong with that……………..

That’s the rules. If you want change, move into Paso, run for office, win and make your own rules.

Good luck!

Dear Jerry: Unfortunately your candidacy will serve to dilute the vote for Jim Reed and Steve Martin. People supporting the present city council members will be voting for them; you will take votes from the two newcomers–Reed and Martin.

That’s why someone on this blog asked if you were a shill for the city. Paso ran a shill in the last election who took votes primarily from Gary Nemeth so Duane Picanco won as mayor. If you do run and don’t win, but knock out a newcomer, you will be remembered as a shill in any future elections.

Please reconsider running as a write in candidate. You can’t win as a write in, and you may ensure that one of our newcomers loses.

Citizen, I’m not following you…

Last time, wasn’t it Mike Gibson [shill?] versus Gary Nemeth versus Duane [“uh…that’s news to me”] Picanco for mayor… So Gibson/Nemeth split votes, thus causing Picanco to win.

But this time there are 3 new choices versus 2 incumbents. At this point, I’d be OK with any 2 of the 3 newcomers winning; I just want Hamon and Gilman gone. It’s time for them to join their pal Lisa Chitty in ‘early retirement’ from public service.

Remember Mike Gibson announced after Nemeth and Picanco, and after there seemed to be a lot of support for Nemeth.

In Jerry Jones case, if he had announced to run against Picanco, that would have worked without harming the two new candidates. However, based on his statement, he is not going to take any votes from the two incumbents. The voters wanting new blood on the council will now have three choices, with fewer votes for each candidate. They may all lose.

I’m with you Citizen. There is not enough informed voters to “write in” for a win. The ” write-in” strategy will hurt the chances of the challangers.

Why didn’t Jones file the paperwork and get on the ballot? He would serve the community better by using his talents and energy to back/campaign for Martin or Reed.

I have to agree with you and Citizen. My first thought upon reading this story is that Jerry will cause a split vote. There simply aren’t enough informed voters for him to win and while I know many people are concerned about Steve Martin perpetuating the same old antics that the current sitting council have foisted on the citizens, giving Martin a try is better than allowing an incumbent to remain on the seat. Jerry will not take votes from the incumbents, he will take them from the new candidates. BAD MOVE.

What the hell happened to Gary Nemeth? He could have beat Picanco hands down IMO. If there was going to be a write in candidate, it should have been Nemeth for mayor IMO.

Paso Robles has a messy mess where these elections are concerned. Looks like it will be another two years before they can truly straighten it out, providing they don’t agree to give the mayor a 4 year term.

“What the hell happened to Gary Nemeth?”

No one ‘cept the guy that shaves him likes him. Gary likes one thing and one thing only….Gary

I do think that Martin would be a good choice

It will take a lot of public outreach to get many write-in votes. I don’t see a write-in candidate as a big threat. A write-in candidate actually is another indicator that people are not happy with the current city council/mayor and power structure of Paso Robles.

Citizen, I am sorry that my running may dilute the vote, I assure you that the thought crossed my mind which, in part, was a reason it took so long to fall off the fence and throw my hat into the ring. I can also assure you that I am not a shill.

I am running on my won dime, I have not asked for or accepted a dime from anyone and have no plans for a “fund raiser” (not to say that I may not need one as I don’t have a fat pension to fall back on….)

Here are some of my motovators:

I am not happy to be paying for Nacimiento water that I can’t use….(why can’t we at least use it to recharge the underground basin?)

I am not happy to be paying a fine to the state for a sub standard sewer plant

Writein, welcome to the election race. Voters need choices.

We are all encouraged by Jerry Jones becoming a candidate. Another opportunity to bring change to Paso. The only way this change will happen is for everyone who smells stink at City Hall to come together in a community effort to get rid of the encumbents, vote in the 2 new councilmen, and get rid of Jim App. No one person, candidate, or group can do it alone. The people of Paso have to want it badly enough. NOW is the time to come together for change. Speak to the new candidates, get to know them, ask them tough questions, donate to their campaigns, and VOTE for change.

I for one want to vote for a “smart” council person. How about the lamebrain council agreeing to have almost a hundred crosswalks painted, just two weeks before the Pioneer Day tractors begin tearing them up. Wait a few weeks, and get a whole extra year’s life out of the expensive paint job. No common sense in City Hall. Sheez!

They wanted to have Paso look its best for the event.

This is the sign of a city council that puts how the city appears to tourists ahead of how the city functions for its residents.

I cannot think of a more perfect example of why the City Council members need to be voted out, and candidates willing to drop-kick James App voted in to the Council. The residents of Paso Robles have to come first. Wasting money to gussy up the city for a one-day event is a luxury Paso simplly cannot afford.

Unfortunately I cannot vote in your city but I have been following the antics of the current council…your citizens should support anyone other than those in power. Need I say more?

Mr.Jones —- I hope the electorate of Paso Robles takes the time to “write in” your name as a candidate for the Paso Robles City council. Mr. Strong and Mr. Gilman need to be ousted off the City council in November 2012. Good luck! to you and Mr.Reed come November. Sally, I concur with you on these two candidates for City Council. It will be a difficult task for Mr.Jones but not impossible to accomplish.

I WILL be voting for him and Jim Reed , not sure about Steve Martin. No incumbents will get my vote, that’s for certain !

One clarification , though. Regarding Chittygate, this article states “To this day, no council member has made a single public comment on the situation.” True, they haven’t commented about the actual “investigation” [what a joke] but they have publically commented about their pal, Lisa.

2 of the councilmen, Hamon and Gilman, wrote an incredibly kiss a$$, biased op-ed for the Fibune, March 28, 2012.

Fellow Rotarian and pal Hamon wrote: “Lisa is a trusted friend and I will always support her. She has protected this city with her many years of exceptional law enforcement knowledge and skillful management of our Police Department…” [skillfull management? is he JOKING?!]

And Gilman: “the on-line attacks were making it extraordinarily difficult for Lisa. Chief Solomon served our city honorably…the council never made any decision to terminate her…” [LOL it’s real honorable to have multiple men filing sexual harassment charges against you for groping them!]

Also: “we could see the toll that the rumors and mean-spirited attacks on her character — the majority of them from anonymous bloggers and other on-line sources — was taking on her…” [um…so much for free speech, right councilmen?!]

“We wish her the best in her future endeavors and know she will continue to make valuable contributions to our community…” [the most valuable contribution she’s made is that she’s GONE as Top Cop. Now, if she only returned that quarter of a million bucks to the general fund…]

There you have it. You didn’t read anything like “yeah, sorry residents of Paso. We won’t pave your streets and we’re keeping Centennial Pool closed. Your overgrown city landscaping won’t be pruned or mowed, either. BUT we’re gonna pay off Top Cop Lisa so she doesn’t sue the $%@ out of us. Oh, and we’re gonna approve her bogus workers comp claim, too. You can e-mail us, call us but it won’t matter. We’re lap dogs for Jim App and we will always obey him; he’s our master!”

Finally, in the Fibune comments section, a commenter summed it upl: “If Solomon wasn’t guilty, she wouldn’t have left…” –by “cj”, March 28 ’12

Good luck Mr. Jones. I hope you win. I really, really do.

I personally know Steve Martin. He is genuine, compassionate and a dedicated citizen of Paso. I understand the reluctance of voting in someone who has “been there”, but I think his knowledge and experience are of extreme importance. This is a great opportunity to give the city a new direction. Don’t discount someone just because of their experience… (city council 1987-1996, mayor 1988-89). We need a long-term plan, and I am for anyone who is willing to listen to the citizens of Paso to determine what that plan should be.

Thanks for the input, Mama. I’ve heard Mr. Martin speak many times and have always been impressed by his sincerity, intelligence, and humility. I’ve been on the fence but as long as I have your word that he won’t be part of a “good ol’ boy network”, Steve Martin has my support! :)

PP5, I have known Steve Martin for decades, though not closely, but close enough to know he is willing to speak for the true voice of the people. Having said that, I find it odd that I was invited to his candidate dinner to be held in SLO. I reached out to his campaign to ask WHY this dinner was not held in Paso Robles but they have not responded.

I think it important to stimulate the economy in the city in which you hope to become an elected official…

CORRECTION: the dinner in SLO is NOT for Steve Martin. My mistake. My sincere apologies to the Martin campaign for this error.

Don’t sweat it Karen, the readers of this site are used to mistakes, ask Dick Mason about that.