SLO grants more than $200,000 to CAPSLO

February 6, 2013

Dan CarpenterThe San Luis Obispo City Council approved more than $200,000 in funding to the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo Tuesday evening after acknowledging allegations that the nonprofit is fraudulently handling homeless clients’ accounts.

The council unanimously approved $125,988 in grant funds to CAPSLO as part of the yearly Community Development Block Grant issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It also unanimously approved an additional $98,700 for CAPLSO, which will come from the general fund.

Councilman John Ashbaugh, a member of the CAPSLO Board of Directors, motioned to approve the CAPSLO funds. The council only questioned the appropriateness of granting $50,000 to CAPSLO for designs and drawing of its proposed homeless campus when a location has yet to be determined for the new shelter.

But, just before the 5-0 vote, Councilman Dan Carpenter attacked CalCoastNews for reporting that clients are alleging that CAPSLO is stealing their money.

“I’m taken back to the amount of credibility that people want to give to this one online media source,” Carpenter said. “This is one media source and its credibility to me is no good.”

Carpenter recently motioned to request that attorneys Stew Jenkins and Saro Rizzo give CAPSLO half of the more than $130,000 awarded to them in legal fees for winning a lawsuit on behalf of the homeless against the city.

Mayor Jan Marx, who cast the lone dissenting vote against the request of Jenkins and Rizzo, also defended CAPSLO.

“It’s very sad to me that an organization that is doing so much for the homeless and disadvantaged is being attacked in this way,” Marx said.


Special Election

After approving the CAPSLO funds, the council chose to hold a special election, rather than attempt to make an appointment to fill the council seat Andrew Carter is vacating on February 20.

The council voted 4-0 to direct staff to arrange a special election, most likely to occur in June or July, to fill Carter’s vacancy. Marx pleaded the other three council members to consider appointing someone over concerns that a 4 person council in the interim may lead to gridlock on important issues, like the budget.

But, Marx voted for the special election after saying that Carpenter has demonstrated trouble with comprising. Carpenter said Marx’s comment offended him.

Several local Democratic Party leaders and other members of the community asked the council during public comment to appoint 2012 candidate Jeff Aranguena and forego the special election. Aranguena, too, pled for an appointment, describing how tiring he found campaigning to be.

But, the council agreed that no candidate has a clearly compelling case for appointment and that the decision belongs in the hands of the voters.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Told you it didn’t matter what the public thought.

First, the SLO City Council is comprised of a bunch of filthy pigs. Where do they find the audacity to approve funding for CAPLSO in light of serious allegations of corruption? Common sense and decency dicate that they wait a month or two and revisit the issue after an investigation or audit is conducted.

Second, SLO City Council is comprised of selfish politicians. They voted to spend at least $65,000 to conduct an election by mail, which will prolong the vacancy until at least August. They will have to hire an assistant clerk to help the current clerk with the election. Candidates will have to raise and spend thousands of dollars to win the election. Just think about how many homeless people or hungry seniors or sturggling business owners could be helped with all of that money. If the council had simply appointed someone on March 12, the vacancy could have been filled at almost no cost in about one month.

Dan Carpenter had the audacity to state that $65,000 is not a lot of money considering the budget is $100 million. He and Ashbaugh and Carter are the worst. Carpenter and Ashbaugh do not care about the will of the voters. They opted for this election by mail because Carpenter thinks his boy Kevin Rice will win that way and Ashbaugh thinks his boy Jeff Aranguena will win that way. They should have listened to Marx and Smith and appointed a qualified candidate, of which there are several. Now those qualified candidates will never be heard. They simply can’t compete with Jeff “the money-man” Aranguena’s Democratic Party support, which will bombard people with mass mailing mailings. His lame supporters have already been hailing him as next councilmember. How pathetic! Nor can qualified candidates compete with Kevin Rice, who will use all of Carpenter’s business connections and money to run.

Folks, the game is rigged! You have been denied your voice! If Rice wins, Carpenter controls him! If Aranguena wins, Ashbaugh controls him! Game over, folks. Game over. The ship of SLO is about to sink.

We can all piss and moan all day long, and nothing will change here. Nothing will be done. It never really is, at any level. We’re all so used to corrupt politicians and many (especially around here) are so ideologically programmed that NOTHING “their guy” (or gal) does is wrong or bad, it’s always “the other guy” (or gal). I cannot even have a civil discourse with most of these people (especially if they’re left; the ones on the right are almost as bad, but the lefties take the cake on this, IMHO). Once we lose the healthy discourse, we lose the civility. When the civility is gone, we’re done for.

There are so many low-information voters in these parts that the BoS will continue to get (re)elected and even Marx is able to win another term as mayor! Let’s face it, we’re done and it’s just the downward spiral to turd-world status that we’re beginning to see.

But this digresses from the latest SMOKE of gun-control. Better sensationalize another shooting, or else the plebes might see the emperor has no clothes.

Funny, IMO it is the “righties” who are the most obnoxious.

For instance, when you go into a Starbucks in the morning to have a cup of coffee, it isn’t a group of loud-mouthed, uninformed liberals who are yelling conservation in which they focus on insulting liberals. That would be the nincompoopery on the right who is doing that.

Told you in the last story, this backroom deal was done long before any public awareness was realized.

Just a sad, sad state.

So what else is new with the way the City of San Luis Obispo does business. The council’s minds are normally made up prior to any public hearings. Please don’t tell them anything they don’t already know!!

Let’s demand a refund!

Plus accumulated interest for at least the past five years!!

Better, refuse to pay your taxes!

Dee Torres and Lee Niesen need to be removed from their positions until this issue is straightened out. Every second they are in their offices gives opportunity for destruction of evidence and other documents.

Here are a few contacts I rounded up. Note that Laurel Weir is not only on the Oversight Council, but she also is the Director of Policy for the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, in Washington, DC.


CAPSLO (Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Inc.)

1030 Southwood Drive

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

General Inquiries: (805) 544-4355

Fax: (805) 549-8388

Biz Steinberg, Chief Administrative Officer: (805) 544-4355 x102

Grace McIntosh, Deputy Director: (805) 544-4355 x185


Frances I. Coughlin, President Low-Income Representative North County, District V

Santos Arrona, Vice President Private Representative Director C

Rob Garcia, Secretary / Treasurer Private Representative Director E

Christine Johnson Public Representative Morro Bay

John Ashbaugh Public Representative City of San Luis Obispo

Dee Lacey Private Representative Director A

Mary Ann Reiss Public Representative City of Pismo Beach

Sandee Menge Low-Income Representative Central/South County, District III

Debbie Arnold Public Representative County Board of Supervisors

Margie Perez-Sesser Private Representative Director D

Carlos Sosa Low-Income Representative Coast, District II

Brian Sturtevant Public Representative City of Atascadero

Gary Jordan Low-Income Representative North County, District

Abby Lassen Attorney Legal Consultant

Mical Bovee Private Representative Director B

Linda Hogoboom Low-Income Representative South County, District IV



Laurel Weir, Policy Director

National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Washington, DC

1411 K Street NW, Suite 1400; Washington, DC 20005

Phone: (202) 638-2535

Fax: (202) 628-2737

Laurel Weir, Coordinator:

SLO Homeless Services Oversight Council

“Contact Us” form:


Jim Patterson

Jim Guthrie

Dan Carpenter

Shelly Higginbotham

Bill Nichols

Nick Gilman

Lee Collins

Jeff Hamm

Fred Chaney

Tina Salter

Grace McIntosh

Scott Smith

Patti Diefenderfer

Anneka Scranton

Thomas Clough

Mary Parker

Bob Kelley

Carol Hatley

Andrea Devitt

STAFF MEMBERS (as of 1/18/12)

Morgan Torell

Tony Navarro

Sandra Hernandez

Kim McCord

Ken Trigueiro

Abby Lassen

Dee Torres

Martin Meltz

Rev. Cynthia Rae Eastman

George Leage

Rick London

Jim Copsey

Art Apruzzese

Rod Youngquist

Rick Gulino

Emily Jackson

Amy Gilman


Keep in mind that Dan Carpenter has been on the board of Friends of Prado Day Center and volunteers at CAPSLO. He is a major part of this problem.

What a hypocrite he is. He was appointed with the help of Kevin Rice in 2010 but voted against appointment of a qualified candidate at the last city council meeting. He thinks an election by mail will help his puppet Kevin Rice get elected. What a bunch of good ol’ boys and how they line up to help each other. So disgusting!

Often where there’s smoke there is often fire!!

Is it true that there’s a catered dinner at the CAPSLO meetings? If so, what does that cost and where does the money come from?

They don’t concern themselves with the cost, and from the taxpayers

The charities racket is indeed enriching. Hijinks is right, CDBG money can indeed be used to fix things like sidewalks but I’m not so sure it can be used for this purpose.

A lousy $224,000 will do nothing but pay for CAPSLO staffers. It isn’t enough money to even begin to make a dent in the homeless problem.

They also dug up $98,000 out of I presume the general fund. Seems SLO City like all municipalities has money stashed away in reserves that they can dish out whenever they please.

Morro Bay Council gave CAPSLO $10,000 of its CDBG money. The rest they plan to use fixing things like sidewalks and city-owned public facilities.

CDBG money is supposed to be used for specific purposes and require some reporting to the state by the city on how the money was spent. The city maybe should have earmarked that money for something like food, to be given away to the homeless. Or warm clothing and longer hours at the Prado Center, or something else that cold be audited for how it was spent. This money will disappear into CAPSLO’s multi-million dollar budget.

I worked for the old Economic Opportunity Commission’s weatherization program. We went out and worked on all the dirtbag houses, apartments, trailerrs and such and made people’s lives a bit more bearablee.

It was a very satisfying job and got me through Poly. The old EOC was all about helping people and to an extent still is as CAPSLO. Biz Steinberg had just been hired when I was there.

But the organization now seems to be more about money and fighitng a political battle with this focus on the homeless services, whicch is just one program in CAPSLO.

Perhaps it’s just perceptions because the homeless issues are front page news, but CAPSLO is much more than that, and does a tremendous amount of good in the entire county. Too bad to see its reputation being dragged through the mud but if the homeless are indeed complaining about being ripped off, then Rizzo and Jenkins might have another lawsuit to work on.

If these allegaitons are true, then it’s time for CAPSLO to clean house.

As for an audit, the State Attorney General seems to be fearless in going after wrongdoers. I wonder if she is as energenic when it’s a charity? An audit is indeed called for.

Time for CAPSLO to come clean.

Quoting Niles Q: “They also dug up $98,000 out of I presume the general fund. Seems SLO City like all municipalities has money stashed away in reserves that they can dish out whenever they please.”

In addition, if they are like other local government agencies, they get franchise money for public services from contractors (like trash collection). Usually, that money is supposed to go in a separate account, with enough reserves held so that, if an emergency occurs and the city has to take over trash collection, money will be there to do it. However, only a certain amount of money can be held before it starts to look like a slush fund to the State. So the local government agency can use the excess reserves for projects that are related to the franchise. For instance, they might use it for education on solid-waste issues, such as the benefits of recycling, etc.

It depends on the city regulations, but most local government agencies with which I have been acquainted have been set up like this.

It would be interesting to get hold of documents regarding the contracted relationship between the City of SLO and CAPSLO….

CDBG monies have specific purposes and limitations on how they can be used. I’m not positive about this, but from what I can recall, they have to be spent on things like infrastructure, fixing up streets, ,repairing water lines, drainage, and such in specific neighborhoods with the right mix of income levels, preferably a low income neighborhood, in order to improve the quality of life for those in the neighborhood.

Now does that mean it’s OK to spend CDBG grant money on homeless services? I honestly don’t know.

Iam sure the state agency that hands out CDBG money and oversees how it is spent would have something to say if this money is improperly spent. That’s of course if that agency isn’t asleep at the wheel.