CPRN2012 sets candidates’ forum

October 12, 2012

A political forum featuring candidates for city office in Paso Robles and sponsored by Change Paso Robles Now (CPRN2012) is slated Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Paso Robles Inn’s Grand Ball Room.

The candidates’ forum will feature former member of Congress Andrea Seastrand as moderator, and Sally Reynolds and Kevin Rice as question presenters.

CPRN2012 chair Karen Daniels said the event will present the opportunity for Paso Robles residents to pose questions on controversial civic issues that have remained largely in the shadows. She said one big unanswered question is the reason for the large cash settlement made by city officials to former chief of police Lisa Solomon-Chitty. Citizens also want to know why city streets are in such poor condition, she said.

“This forum will give Paso Robles people a chance to see and hear from the candidates what they plan to do to change the direction of this city,” said Daniels. “We all need to pay more attention to what our city officials are doing — or not doing.”

During the two-hour event, candidates will each respond to 10 preselected questions, followed by an open microphone question-and-answer period for audience members.

Attendance is free but seating is limited to 200. Call 805-400-5652 or email cprn2012@aol.com for more information.


Seastrand , Reynolds and Rice, what a joke. A good idea gone terribly wrong.


You are welcome to start your own organization, and launch your own forum. Then you can show us all how it should be done.


I implore all attendees to not make this meeting a “boo-fest,” but a dignified gathering of concerned constituency. Let’s listen to what everyone has to say, determine how forthcoming they really are and respond accordingly. May our votes send the loudest of messages in November.


How about we let people voice their opinions in the way they believe is most appropriate.

For instance, if one of the incumbents makes a statement that the Paso Robles City Council has been fiscally frugal and responsible, and all financial transactions are carried forth in a transparent way, they deserve to be booed.

$250,000 in hush-money paid out to Lisa Solomon, and far more to be collected by her in the way of pension and medical benefits once she reaches the age of retirement (50) doesn’t sound fiscally responsible to me. In addition, the way these deals were carried out behind closed doors, and the fact that it is impossible to get information about the fiscal details of this sweetheart agreement with Solomon certainly does not ring with transparency.

The people of PR have not had a voice in their government, and their ability to have meaningful input to major decisions is nil.

At the forum the people will have a chance to ask the questions of incumbents and candidates that they have not had a chance to ask before. I’m sure the CPRN2012 folks will encourage the audience and candidates/incumbents to be polite, CPRN2012 staff can’t muzzle them.


I support the right of people to assemble and protest. However, this doesn’t sound like the intent of this meeting.

A forum setting is where people can be heard more appropriately by way of making statements that include facts, pointed questions and alternative solutions. Booing only creates a chilling effect toward meaningful dialogue and wastes everyone’s valuable time.


When have you ever heard, in a candidate forum, a candidate answer a question with statements that the candidate then gives verbal footnotes citing references? That is what they would have to do to prove what they said were facts.

I doubt there will be “boos,” but if candidates attempt to blow smoke up citizens’ collective kiester, they may hear some grumblings in the crowd….grumblings which the candidates will deserve, by the way.

This kind of feedback from constituents is something elected officials and leaders need to learn to handle gracefully. The elected politician is the one with the large side of the power gradient between elected official and constituent. They need to be able to deal with unhappy constituents, voicing their opinions in may forms, if they are going to be able to successfully represent the residents of Paso Robles best interests.



City Council member Gilman, along with Mayor ProTem Hamon, authored an op-ed piece for the Tribune in which they soundly defend–and praise!–Solomon’s work as police chief for the City of Paso Robles.

It will be interesting to hear how Council Member Gilman, running for reelection, responds if questioned about his opinion regarding Lisa Solomon’s $250,000 departure from her position as chief of police for the City of Paso Robles.



Viewpoint: Lisa Solomon’s retirement not forced

Published: March 28, 2012

By John Hamon and Nick Gilman)

Harmon praises Solomon’s “many years of exceptional law enforcement knowledge and skillful management of our Police Department.”

Gilman voices his sympathy for Solomon because she didn’t like the message-board criticisms of her, and says, “I have had, and still have, the utmost respect for Lisa and the way she ran the Police Department.”



I’ll look forward to seeing you bring it up.


LOL. I tend not to participate in public forums. My “high-spirited” form of discussion isn’t appropriate for that type of venue.

I do often attend political forums, but it is to observe and learn.


This forum has the real opportunity to be much more informative than last Tuesday’s early morning meeting put on by the downtown folks. Everybody who really, really believes that Paso Robles has some serious issues that our current City Council has failed to address should attend.

From my view, it is critically important that the questions being asked of the candidates are phrased correctly. And that it is known, upfront, that each candidate has a specific time in which to answer. And the moderator needs to keep tight control on the meeting. Fred Strong often times has the habit of answering every question with a list of all the things he has done for Paso, all the committees he is on, or how he is in constant contact with state and federal people to get more grants. He needs to answer the question posed, not give a political speech.

As to Mr. Jimmy App’s possible attendance. If he does, he should not be seated anywhere with direct eyesight to where Strong or Gilman are seated. For those who have attended many CC meetings and looked closely, you may have noticed that quite often the CC member will glance over at Jimmy as if to get

approval for what they are saying or to get ‘directions’ on what to say.

I look forward to this forum and hope that there is enough time at end of the 10 pre-selected questions to have some other questions or follow-up questions asked by the crowd.


QUOTING PASO CITIZEN: ” Fred Strong often times has the habit of answering every question with a list of all the things he has done for Paso….”


I find this quote to be both funny and pathetic. He’s an incumbent. He should be able to answer basic questions about a wide swath of issues facing Paso Robles. How could he have sat through all those meetings without becoming informed such that he can answer campaign questions?

PasoCitizen, out of curiosity, is Council Member Strong at least honest about what he’s done for/to Paso while on the City Council?


Mary Malone, I can answer that. I have met with some of our Council Members over the past few months and attended most council meetings. The ones I didn’t attend, I listened to on KPRL.

I can tell you all the council members are good decent people. I do not like focus on Tourists over Residents. In fact I hate it. These council members represent the citizens of Paso Robles

NOT the visitors of Paso Robles. Because of this, I feel Paso needs change. Any seated council must represent and take care of the needs of the residents first and foremost.

As for Fred Strong, his heart is in the right place but his focus is way out of line in my opinion. He belongs to every committee he can get on and is spending his time trying to get money back the Feds or State took away. He is also looking for grant money to help fix the infastructure of Paso Robles.

I feel Mr Strong should have looked at where we are and FOCUS on how to help manage the money we do have instead of waiting for feebies from the State or Federal government. He spends IMHO way to much time on committees and not enough time on Residents needs. Listen to the people Fred. They have been very outspoken about what they want and you need to spend more time listening to the people who will vote for city council in November. i think you missed the boat Mr Strong.


Viamagnolia, thanks for the insight on Mr. Strong. I agree with you regarding the focus of Strong (and, IMO, the rest of the City Council) being misplaced. They are not serving the people, but serving themselves and their cronies.

I don’t agree with the statement that they are “decent” people. “Decent” people do not allow the serious failures that the council and the city manager have conducted.

“Decent” people, who have the power to make it stop, do not allow city police officers to be sexually harassed and wrongfully terminated by their police chief..

“Decent” people, who have the power to make it stop, do not allow a police chief to concoct and institute illegal ticket-quota policies where the residents they are supposed to be the ones the police protect and serve turn into the ones who become the subjects of the police department’s harassment.

If any of them cared one bit about the citizens they are supposed to serve, the council members would have drop-kicked James App years ago. Instead, the council members have embraced App’s style of leadership-by-crony, and the citizens of PR are the ones who have suffered because of it.

Think of the $$$millions of taxpayer money that have been wasted benefiting the city council’s cronies instead of serving the people.

No, in my opinion, none of them are “decent” people. They are all cheap dime-strore hucksters who have willingly allowed Paso Robles and its people to suffer while their cronies become enriched.


Agree. “Decent” people do not do what the Paso Robles CC has done. They look out for the concerns and problems of thier citizens – this should be thier 1st, 2nd, and 3rd priorities.

Oe can only hope and work hard to ensure new council members are elected in November.


Yep. Decent people don’t let Jim App leave a supervisor accused of sexual harassment in their position (e.g., Lisa), while the investigation is going forward. If there is enough evidence for an investigation, it’s absurd to leave the accused to roam the halls during the investigation.

It was Jim App’s direct report for goodness sakes, he should have taken some accountability for not even having a clue what his Chief was doing!! IT WAS COMMON KNOWLEDGE, IF HE DIDN’T KNOW HE SHOULD HAVE.

Decent (and competent) people would have given App SOME Reprimand!!

Ahh?… but watch. Fred Strong will be there after the votes are counted.


What’s pathetic is Strong being re-elected.

It’s his ego that makes him want to be on every committee.

And…. It’s not that Jim App manipulates him that is sad, it’s that Fred doesn’t know that Jim manipulates him and laughs at him behind His back.

Pathetic is a good description.


Wow. Apt reply and so unfortunate. Spot on.


PasoCitizen, feel free to email your question suggestions to me at CPRN2012@aol.com.


The focus of the questions will be for the crowd. We have alotted 45 minutes to the audience for open mic. If we only get to 6 questions for the candidates that were pre-known to them, that’s a sacrifice we are willing to make. This forum is specifically for the PEOPLE and their being able to speak is what this is all about.


QUOTING PASOCITIZEN: “As to Mr. Jimmy App’s possible attendance. If he does, he should not be seated anywhere with direct eyesight to where Strong or Gilman are seated. For those who have attended many CC meetings and looked closely, you may have noticed that quite often the CC member will glance over at Jimmy as if to get approval for what they are saying or to get ‘directions’ on what to say.”

Maybe we can install a Blink-O-Meter for the forum….to catch them sending secret messages coded by numbers of blinks.


The sad thing, though, Mary, is that I’ve witnessed this firsthand, and it’s hugely obvious.


I don’t doubt your word about secret cues one bit. I’ve seen it when I worked for other local government agencies, and it does seem like James App has his hand up the backs of the council members, just like a puppeteer has his hand up the backs of his puppets.


This made me laugh out loud. Think about it, at least puppeteers try not to move their lips, Jim is so arrogant he doesn’t even try to hide his lips anymore.


LOL–you mean, like he’s saying “IX-NAY on the OTE-VAY”?


It’s great when someone steps up and takes the lead like this! Good luck, and your hard work is much admired. Hopefully the election results will show how engaged the PR citizens are.


Might I suggest that someone with a decent camera video it and put it up on youtube?


The entire event will be filmed and available on our website, CPRN2012.org.


Too bad City Manager Jim App was appointed and not elected.

He’s the one I’d really like to hear from at a candidates’ forum.

App seems to be the one who’s behind-the-scenes, making decisions. He’s been “managing” this city into the ground and if he were “managing” a private company this poorly, he would’ve been fired long ago.

Thank you, Ms. Daniels for organizing this event.


PP5, it is my pleasure to bring the event to the people of Paso. Don’t be surprised if Mr. App attends…I won’t be! ; )


Maybe App will bring his “lovely meter maid” as his date.


Have the incumbents indicated that they are willing to participate?


I will be able to advise who has committed on Monday. Think of it as a “cliffhanger” ; )


It is going to be a fair and balanced event, with the citizens getting ample insight and opportunty to directly question their candidates at open mic. I encourage EVERYONE who feels the need for Change to Paso Robles, to attend. Seating will be first come, first serve, so PLEASE come early.

Please email me with any questions.

~~~~ Karen Daniels, Chair CPRN2012.org


Good on you!

I hope people take your heed to come early. I would hate to see a group of good old boys/girls get all the good seats like they did for the Chitty meeting just before her downfall.


“The good seats” are going to be everywhere, trust me.