CalCoastNews, the North County website known for its full-tilt hit pieces on anyone caught in their digital web, recently took a turn for the worse in their desperate attempts to flame favorite targets County Supervisor Adam Hill, CAPSLO Homeless Services Director Dee Torres, and CAPSLO, the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo, which operates the city’s homeless shelters, Prado and Maxine Lewis.
In three of their most recent bizarre concoctions, the Feb. 4 “Alleged homeless advocates accused of stealing from the poor,” Feb. 7 “CAPSLO soaking up nonprofit fund pool” and Feb 13 “Homeless money guardian unlicensed,” authors Karen Velie, Dan Blackburn and co-writer Josh Friedman accuse CAPSLO of social security fraud and, through unnamed sources, embezzlement, among a smorgasbord of claims. They fail to offer any proof of any their charges, which is nothing new for CalCoast, and they stand by their loose cannons, even though they offer no smoking gun, not even a leaky water pistol.
In the total of the three disjointed pieces only three people are actually quoted — and only with bare one-line quotes. One of those lines is from CAPSLO Chief Operating Officer Jim Famalette responding for CAPSLO CEO Biz Steinberg to questions from Karen Velie, that her accusations against Homeless Services Director Torres were “baseless innuendo not worthy of a response.” (CalCoast wrote that his comment was in response to “allegations against a CAPSLO manager.”) Famalette’s five words were pulled from a more lengthy, severely critical Feb. 1 letter from Famalette to Velie, from which she didn’t quote more or link with the story.
No wonder. At the close of Famalette’s letter to Velie he writes: “I hope you put your effort and energy into trying to champion more public support for the homeless cause in our community and really accomplish something positive!”
Minus the woefully few fragmented quotes, the stories are wholly the fabrication of the authors based on their clearly limited comprehension of how CAPSLO works. CalCoast stories, which seem to appear whenever Velie believes she has discovered a new piece to her broken puzzle, serve mainly as fishing expeditions for seriously credible information obviously lacking in her stories that would make them more than uncorrected high-school homework mixed with generous chunks of guesswork, in a weak sauce of pure venom.
Torres responded with a full, reasoned denial of Velie’s charges under the “Alleged homeless advocates” story on CalCoast’s blog (See TORRES RESPONDS ON CALCOAST below). If her direct responses modified their attack in their subsequent stories it wasn’t obvious. The authors chose to ignore it, and it was quickly buried under a torrent of negative blogs. Something plausible and rational didn’t fit their false narrative and so they blocked it out, while Torres was demeaned by CalCoast’s regular pack of anonymous bloggers for being foolish enough to appear on their blog and stand up for herself, her staff and clients.
Torres wrote, in part: “CAPSLO will thoroughly investigate any specific claim brought to their attention! To date no one, including the “reporters” listed in this story have done this. I and my organization work transparently and if anyone has specific questions, etc. – feel free to contact me directly at dtorres@capslo org. I am proud of my staff, programs, and clients and will always be happy to stand up for all of them!
“There is absolutely nothing true to this story. Poor (homeless)( Cliff (Anderson) has been victimized by this site as countless others have been. … Once again a shred of evidence has not been provided, just fake (bloggers’) names with fake claims. … I and my staff have nothing to hide. My staff and I do not take money from our clients. Our services are FREE to them. Any money they save is ALWAYS for them, to better their lives. These are the facts.”
Facts are plainly annoying and dispensable to Velie, and collateral damage is acceptable to her hardcore fans who believe that anyone on CalCoast’s enemies list earned their way, and the means justifies the end because there’s no other way to get at corrupt public officials. Many of those trampled by Velie and CalCoast in their frantic binges share the same litany of complaints about the methods and motives that fuel their extreme “gotcha!” journalism:
- They substitute accusations for facts and allegations for evidence
- Grind axes and settle scores for unnamed sources who won’t go on the record
- Smear with broad and unsubstantiated claims and anonymous-sourced allegations of felonies
- Offer a hodgepodge of half-digested, distorted facts and false analysis to support their skewed storyline
- Resort to hearsay, innuendo, insult, gossip, spin and distortion to stitch together a dishonest account, pretending to report without ever reporting
- Cherry-pick information from documents without making those documents available on their site
- Provide little or no context and a heavily slanted narrative that never changes even in the face of being clearly debunked
- Refuse to admit serious mistakes, retract or correct false stories in order to perpetuate a myth of credibility
- Refuse to act transparently and disclose their connections to attorneys and sources with a financial interest in their stories
- Refuse to explain unethical and potentially illegal conduct in knowingly creating and publishing false information
- Harass and intimidate those who do not respond to their demands for information
Standing up to Velie, Blackburn and Congalton can be costly, as some have found out the hard way. They believe that damaged lives are a fair price for others to pay for Velie’s wrong-headed wild goose chases, to which she feels curiously entitled. Apologies for character assassination are not offered to victims, their families or employers. Guessing wrong is not a crime. Public officials who don’t respond to accusatory questions face sloppily contrived attacks to coerce them to produce nonexistent proof of accusations in order to make them true. Anyone who doesn’t comply is guilty of something. And anyone who criticizes CalCoast becomes a potential target in what appears to be an endless, vicious cycle of vengeance and retaliation.
Public officials understand the scrutiny of legitimate news sources and the role of government “watchdogs,” although they don’t always appreciate it, but they are dismayed by attacks from a website with a track record of publishing anything and everything, in any form, seemingly unchecked by anyone above them and unvetted for truth and accuracy. CalCoast makes so many false allegations and unsubstantiated accusations it’s hard to take them seriously, but those public officials and public/private agencies that don’t take them seriously are basically crucified for not doing so. Now, present and former public officials are fighting back against Velie, in particular, for publishing false and defamatory material. (See VICTIMS DECRY below).
Velie has also claimed she doesn’t go after people, only what they do. Her rationale: It isn’t personal; she is just doing her job as an investigative reporter, which she claims to be because she says so, and no license is required to do the probing that investigative journalists do for a living, to say it isn’t so. Yet there is more than sufficient evidence to support the claims against her by those that have been targeted, not because they committed any provable wrongdoing, but because they got in her way. There is also plenty of evidence to support the widely held contention that CalCoast dishonestly stitches together fractured fact, rant, innuendo and accusation to spin a story that should never have been published. No one would before they started their own website.
Why does CalCoast operate this way? Because taking the shortcut is easier than the long, honest, boring, responsible way, and stirring up outrage in SLO County isn’t all that difficult. Scaring up advertising and donations from information-challenged, anti-government conspiracy theorists is how they hope to make it all pay in the end. The pressure they feel to make CalCoast work as a business, rather than as the public service they pretend it is, can be found in one of Velie’s pet gripes about Adam Hill: he contacted some of their advertisers. At the end of “Homeless money guardian unlicensed” the authors offer this commercial message:
“In a related situation, Torres’ boyfriend, Supervisor Adam Hill, has been using his elected position to bully advertisers and supporters of CalCoastNews in a campaign to cripple the website. Hill’s war against CCN began several years ago after he learned CCN was investigating allegations of misdeeds by CAPSLO’s homeless services, administered by his girlfriend. In several instances, Hill’s own emails obtained by CCN have led to cancellations of contracts with businesses advertising on the news website. Hill sent emails to advertisers claiming that CCN reporters have committed crimes. That was followed by a flurry of emails from Hill to county residents asking that they not support CCN advertisers.”
Again, CalCoast offers no evidence to support that Hill went to the lengths they describe to point out CalCoast’s deficiencies to advertisers — there is evidence that Hill is on good terms with CalCoast advertisers — but the point is that CalCoast is running a business built on rage, not reason, and burning people and trying to make a living from it is a simply a terrible business model. But it’s all about monetizing what they do, and they don’t like it one bit when the glare of scandal shines on them, their methods and motives, or when the tables are turned and now it’s their income that’s threatened. What threatens their income has nothing to do with Adam Hill, Dee Torres or CAPSLO. CalCoast’s biggest threat comes from within, from their own bad idea and trying to force it to work.
San Luis Obispo County was once called the most corrupt county in the State, and based on the scandals that keep popping up in county and city governments with unnerving frequency, with public trust in government at an all-time low, some residents believe “the most corrupt” moniker still rings true today. And perhaps it does. How will we ever know?
Along with the vanishing newspaper has come the grim reality of the one newspaper town, the one TV station town, where local media remains the only way to keep politicians honest and public officials responsive to the community. Where media fails to hold politicians to their promises and keep public officials honest — or worse, works at their beck and call – corruption is inevitable: when no one’s watching, dishonest politicians and public officials tend to get too comfortable.
When the limited local media is tethered to the county, when real, independent, in-depth reporting has been all but abandoned, without the checks and balances provided by a responsible media, abuse of power becomes easier and more likely. It is into just such a vacuum, during the historic decline of print publications everywhere and the rise of blogs, in the void left by those who quit doing their job for one reason or another, that CalCoastNews surfaced online in 2008.
Because the Tribune and New Times dropped an important part of their mission — investigative journalism, hard political analysis — CalCoast and Congalton have been able to run their attacks under that fallen banner, and some people respond to it. After all, the county needs real investigative journalism and political analysis, and CalCoast offered a glimmer of that hope in the beginning. Since their heyday of the Karen Guth, Kelly Gearheart and Wilcox/Edge scandals, that hope has vanished. Even if they haven’t already arrived at the bottom of their lows yet, and there are still more false bottoms yet for them to fall through, even if they keep pretending to play out the game, the bottom is clearly in sight. It is the best kept open secret in town that CalCoast is the North Korea of local media wannabes, and they have already established that they will not change course or go quietly. They can’t be wrong.
CalCoast’s chest-pounding wouldn’t be so troublesome if it was just on a website, but they found an eager partner in longtime KVEC talk-radio host Dave Congalton, a SLO fixture who regularly showcases Velie whenever a “hot” new story is posted online. Congalton was formerly a CalCoast Contributing Editor. He is no longer listed on their masthead, but his close connection to Velie obviously remains very much intact. When she is challenged on the air he is quick to defend and protect her against all callers, making a mockery of his advertised slogan of fair play and equal time for different sides. While providing the hyperbolic Velie a platform helps spread Cal Coast’s feverish message through the county and draws the kind of attention Congalton covets, her baggage has also brought unwanted scrutiny to how he uses his show to wield his petty wrath and rattle his cage for attention, and to the sometimes disdainful way he treats callers who disagree with him or Velie. Along the way, thanks to his association with CalCoast, Congalton has made a few new listeners; at the same time, thanks to his association with CalCoast he has lost many more by defending open-ended accusations and allegations without proof, kicking ethics to the curb, settling scores on the air and burning bridges for so little in return.
So now SLO has a double problem. The cracked investigative team of Velie and Blackburn, who claim to be in the business of busting crime and corruption, aided and abetted by Congalton, have attempted to fill the vacuum with their hard-punching yarns. But they need their yarns to sell, to pay off like slot machines, in order for them to succeed in their chosen business, which is to keep doing what they’re doing do — and that’s where they went terribly wrong. That makes them pump up the sex and scandal in every story, plump them up with steroids to make them more appealing for market, for the fatter the bird, the more money it will bring. These tabloid tattlers have to sell or they fail completely, and they have to sell fast because it’s that new brand of fresh out-of-the-oven disposable “hot” journalism and it only lasts a little while, becoming less and less true over time. That’s not the product real journalism produces and not how real journalism pays, by the yarn. The second part of the problem is that the county is still searching for the real investigative journalism it so badly needs. The missing media still hasn’t been found.
Victims of False Reporting Decry CalCoastNews, Congalton Abuses
Exposing corruption in government is a good idea – where it actually exists, but using the tools of corruption to expose corruption where it doesn’t exist has thrown a spotlight on the mounting innocent casualties caught up in the desperate scorched-earth campaign waged by Karen Velie, Dan Blackburn and Dave Congalton.
Since the launch of CalCoast’s website in 2007, Velie and Blackburn have had their hits and misses in their well-known attack campaigns against public figures and public officials marked for wrongdoing. Though they don’t publicly admit to their mistakes – Velie admits to having been sued for libel several times – or they blame the source when they do lay a giant rotten egg, CalCoast’s misses far out-number and outweigh their hits, and when they do miss they leave a lengthy digital trail of false allegations, unsubstantiated accusations and damaged reputations. The glue that seems to hold all their stories together: vengeance. Those questioned who conform to their slanted narrative and those who refuse to respond to their demands both become potential targets.
In their reckless pursuit of public officials to expose, without weighing the consequences to reputations ruined when they’re wrong, CalCoast has exposed itself as a vendetta factory, cranking out frontier justice as self-appointed judge, jury and executioner without offering any hard evidence or even a belated get-well-soon card for guessing wrong.
Now local public officials, some who have been or still are targets of the wrath of Velie and Congalton and have the scars to prove it, are fed up with CalCoast’s false reporting. Despite the threat of retaliation that keeps people from speaking out publicly, some are willing to come forward because they believe the rest of the story, the truth, needs to be told. And they are almost as critical of radio talk-show host Dave Congalton, former Cal CoastNews Contributing Editor, who promotes Velie for any ratings bump that controversy stirs while using the bully pulpit of his show to mistreat guests and callers, and lash out and denigrate those who challenge Velie or provoke his ire.
Here are some unedited comments made to The ROCK:
JIM FAMALETTE, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, CAPSLO
“On January 30th, Biz [Steinberg], our CEO, received an e-mail listing allegations and questions from a reporter at Cal Coast. For the sake of openness, I am attaching a copy of that e-mail. Biz was participating in a National Conference on Head Start in San Diego at the time and requested that I handle the response. She notified the reporter that I would be getting back to her.
“I reviewed the questions and responded to the reporter on February 1st;.. My response is also attached for your view. I understand we have been a frequent target of Cal Coast over the years and there has never been a claim substantiated. I should note my tenure with the agency is about 15 months. Please note in my letter, I specifically offered to investigate any claim they presented to us. Instead of course, they chose to run their blog article on Monday, February 4th, without attempting to seek any facts.
“Unfortunately, some of this material started to be presented to City, County and State officials. We understand in some cases, by Cal Coast themselves. At that point, Ms. Steinberg crafted a statement which was sent to all of those public entities. I have also attached that statement as well. As you know, the City Council denounced their charges and asked for specific facts again. The blog has shown itself not to be very objective, and in fact, it would appear has some personal reasons to continue to disparage Ms. Torres, our homeless director.
“We understand that the blog is possibly influenced by a former employee, who has been out of our agency for several years. We are also aware, that the blog has in the past, represented comments from another homeless advocate, who is seeking to try and receive public funds.
“The actual information presented on the homeless clients is very selective and not truly focused on the “whole story”. We are careful not to discuss these clients personal information in the public, because quite frankly, it is unethical. I can assure you we keep accurate case management files and remain open to investigate any specific claims which are presented to us.
“Earlier this year, the Cal Coast News tried to challenge our policies, procedures and rules for operating the Maxine Lewis Shelter and Prado Day Center. We provided information to both City and County staff who concurred with our handling of the operations.
“In our opinion further public debate is not necessary, in fact, it just makes the blog known to more than the few people who follow it.
“It is extremely frustrating for a dedicated group of people who spend their days working to help the less fortunate in our community, to have to waste our time and effort defending ourselves from those who ultimately have their own interests at heart.”
DAN CARPENTER, SLO CITY COUNCIL
“Cal Coast News continues to report unsubstantiated allegations regarding CAPSLO and the misuse of client funds. If anyone has factual information regarding misappropriated funds I would encourage them to contact myself and/or the proper authorities immediately. Until then, I would urge this online media source to refrain from reporting accusations about an organization that provides many valuable services to our homeless population.”
“I’ve participated in Dave Congalton’s show many times over the years as both a guest and a caller. It’s Dave’s show and he gets to make the rules including when to be dismissive and end the calls with his listeners. I’m well aware of that when I participate. It was most frustrating not being able to finish my comments directed at Ms. Viele (Cal Coast News) as it would have provided the listeners with a better understanding of my overall concerns with the situation. The overwhelming response from the community has been dismay with the lack of respect afforded me as a caller. Dave has since invited me to come on the show to present my point of view which I’ve respectfully declined. Based on his actions, it remains questionable whether I’ll participate as a guest or caller again in the future.
“There were a couple of points that I would have made on the Congalton show had I not been cut off. I think they are relevant and had they been exposed, it might have explained my position better:
“It’s important to recognize that CAPSLO in independently audited twice every year. Those audits are made available to the City Council and general public. How many audits do the naysayers want? 3? 4? 5?, and at who’s expense? I was and continue to be satisfied with the validity of what is presented in these audits. Also, Ms. Viele (Cal Coast News) has launched unsubstantiated allegations at the City of SLO and its supporting organizations for many years now. How long does she get to cry wolf?”
TONY FERRARA, MAYOR OF ARROYO GRANDE
“I’ve known Dave Congalton for many years. He established himself as a promoter of local organizations, charities, and community events, through interactive radio. His show has helped many in the community raise funds and become more visible. Today, however, his show has verged well beyond the boundaries of “hometown radio.” His affiliation with Karen Velie and Cal Coast News is the root cause of this. Dave says “it is important to shine the light on local government.” I agree! But that is not what Velie does. As a guest on Dave’s show, Velie doesn’t hesitate to spew forth venomous criticism of every organization and person she’s comes in contact with. In most instances, she doesn’t verify the credibility of her sources and relies on incomplete or inaccurate information to bend her story in the direction she wants it go. I have personally observed her do this on several occasions, as have many others who have been victimized by her false reporting. CCN could emerge as a more credible website without people like Velie who feel compelled to spin gossip instead of accurately reporting news. As for Dave, he knows how I feel about this. I still believe he can recover from the barrage of criticism he’s receiving for legitimizing Karen Velie and Cal Coast News. He can accomplish this by holding her accountable for her gross inaccuracies, and for the damage she has done to the reputations and character of the people she’s falsely accused. If Dave wants to examine local government, then he should do it directly with the agencies and people involved in the issues of the day. Let them come on the show and answer questions. Karen Velie is and will continue to be looked upon as someone who places the credibility of Dave’s show and KVEC Afternoon Radio in jeopardy.”
SLO City Councilman Dan Carpenter Learns How Not to Call Into “The Dave Congalton Show”
When SLO City Councilman Dan Carpenter called in to the show on Feb. 7 to refute Karen Velie’s account of a conversation they had regarding her loose allegations against CAPSLO, Velie interrupted him to argue her version and Congalton rudely piled on. Here are excerpts from that debate. So much for fair play and equal time:
Velie: “You said it (action on the CAPSLO allegations) had to come from law enforcement, and you also told me in that same conversation, you said that stuff on the (sewer) spill, even though there were emails and pictures to prove that spill, it didn’t matter because no one had been arrested yet and you didn’t think they were going to be, and you didn’t think this (CalCoast story about CAPSLO) was going to go anywhere.”
“Karen, that’s an absolute lie. That is not what I said,” Carpenter responded on the air. “I told you, when you have enough evidence and you give it to me, I will follow through with it, but I’m not going to sit by and let allegations and accusations go by without any proof. I cannot do anything with it. It’s possible what you’re saying is true, but I cannot do anything without any proof…
Congalton: “Well let me ask…”
Carpenter: “Let me finish…”
Congalton: “Okay… all right.”
Carpenter: “I talk to many homeless people on the street. I work very closely with the overflow shelter and many of them are in case management. I have their confidence that if they had something that was not right in their case management program they would bring it to me knowing I would do something about it. That’s how close a relationship I have with many of them. But Karen, that’s an absolute lie. I had told you on the phone, any evidence you have I would be happy to take it to the authorities…”
After further verbal ping-pong with Velie and Congalton, Carpenter tried to explain why it was necessary for the city to provide annual funding on time: “We cannot simply hold up funding for an organization that provides many services to our homeless individuals just because there’s allegations out there. It’s not fair to them. What is going to happen to our homeless individuals if we cut off the funding? It’s just not fair when you only have accusations. I need more proof.”
Velie pressed Carpenter to call Social Security and ask them to determine if it was fraud or not, and he replied: “I’m not making allegations. I’m not asking on hearsay… Karen, you’re making the accusations, you make the phone call. I’m not going to follow up on all accusations… I can get accusations from anybody… You follow up, provide the evidence, and I will take actions.”
Congalton: “OK, Dan, I going to do you the biggest favor of your political career, I’m going to stop you right now and thank you for calling in. Thank you.”
Congalton to Velie: “I did him a big favor by hanging up on him. I saved his political career…” He chimed in again moments later: “To be diplomatic, I think that… no, I’m not going to say anything. No, no. Just, I thought it was an unfortunate response by Dan Carpenter. He probably would have been better off not calling in.”
“Yes,” agreed Velie. “Yes.”
Congalton later invited Carpenter back to the show to air his point of view, but Carpenter declined. Congalton then tweeted: “Dan Carpenter calling in about Karen’s allegations about CAPSLO: “Show me the proof and I’ll start an investigation.” WHAT?!!!!”
Congalton is the author of the self-published book “The Talk Radio Guest Book: How to Be the Perfect Talk Radio Guest.” Written by the perfect talk-radio host.
CAPSLO’S Dee Torres Responds to CalCoast’s Accusations… on CalCoast’s Blog
On February 5 CAPSLO Homeless Services Director Dee Torres blogged under CalCoast’s story “Alleged homeless advocates accused of stealing” to respond directly and openly to the website’s charges. Her comments, which thoroughly debunked the false story and were ignored by its authors, have long since been buried under bloggers comments. We republish them here in the interest of truth and accuracy:
02/05/2013 at 9:47 pm
I’ll begin by saying that I started to respond to each and every false accusation in this story but there are so many I will sum up my comments as follows:
FACT – Cliff Anderson has not been consistently in CAPSLO services for four years. He has been in and out of our services for many years.
FACT – In 2010 Cliff Anderson was housed in one of our permanent housing units for a little over 7 months. This was the only time any CAPSLO staff person collected any money from Mr. Anderson. Our housing units are operated under strict guidelines and oversight which is funded mainly by HUD. All clients who live in the permanent housing units are required to pay 30% of their income towards rent, which is in turn forwarded to the master landlord. The other portion of their rent is paid from the federal HUD grants. Often times we are forced to turn to fundraising dollars which come from our community to cover differences between combined contributions from the government and client. The case management services which are provided to these clients are always free of charge to them, as well as all of our other services.
FACT – Mr. Anderson has never paid anything to CAPSLO case managers for any of the services he has received (except for those months that he paid rent for the apartment he was living in). All of the services provided to our clients are free of charge to them, unless their living in one of the apartment units and paying 30% of their income towards their rent.
FACT – CAPSLO is not Cliff’s payee. Family Ties receives his checks directly from the Social Security Administration and disperses money to him each week. The money he receives is his to do with as he pleases. Again CAPSLO staff does not receive one single cent of his or any other homeless clients’ money.
FACT – CAPSLO program staff is not now and never have been a representative payee for any homeless client in any of our services. In regards to Mr. Anderson, Family Ties is his representative payee and as such it receives his money directly from Social Security and in turn issues him checks. Lisa was misquoted in the article and stated to me that her answers were taken out of context. Family Ties is the payee for Cliff Anderson- there’s no disputing this. In fact the article itself states it, “SSI records for Anderson list Family Ties as the recipient for his money.”
FACT- Case Management never retains any portion of a client’s money. In fact, many case managed clients do not participate in any structured savings plan at all. While we do our best to provide clients with all of the core services possible in order for them to set aside as much of their income toward housing, many don’t. We require clients to save a portion of their income if they are asking to be placed on a priority bed status at the MLM Shelter. Priority bed status means that a client is guaranteed a bed each night until he/she is housed. We require that a client aside a portion of his/her monthly income so that when housing is located there is money for rent and required deposits. Our goal is to enable clients to eventually be able to find and afford housing.
FACT – CAPSLO clients who have chosen to participate in our case management program and as such be placed on a priority bed status, have been depositing a portion of their income with Family Ties since January 1997 and to date no client has ever brought an accusation of mismanaging of funds to either entity. To date there have been no complaints filed with either CAPSLO or Family Ties. Both agencies are audited routinely and many systems are in place to ensure funds are saved and allocated appropriately.
FACT- CAPSLO will thoroughly investigate any specific claim brought to its attention!
FACT – CAPSLO will thoroughly investigate any specific claim brought to their attention! To date no one, including the “reporters” listed in this story have done this. I and my organization work transparently and if anyone has specific questions, etc. – feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am proud of my staff, programs, and clients and will always be happy to stand up for all of them!
Dee Torres says:
02/05/2013 at 10:29 pm
Absolutely not “gardenslo” I invite you to use a real name and contact me as there is absolutely nothing true to this story. Poor Cliff has been victimized by this site as countless others have been… Once again a shred of evidence has not been provided, just fake names with fake claims. email@example.com – goodnight.
02/05/2013 at 10:20 pm
As stated above I and my staff have nothing to hide. I will provide all facts to Dave (Congalton) and look forward to being invited on his show. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dee Torres says:
02/06/2013 at 6:52 am
Thanks for the advice “south”, I have nothing to hide. I’m not saying I’m perfect, none of us are but my staff and I do not take money from our clients. Our services are FREE to them. Any money they save is ALWAYS for them, to better their lives. These are the facts.
02/06/2013 at 7:55 am
Cindy, I appreciate honest questions and will do my best to answer. We began using Family Ties 16 years ago. Often times homeless people can’t open bank accounts of their own or they’re too costly, because of past issues, lack of adequate ID, etc… Family Ties helps people who can’t open their own account and want to save money. As we know it’s not safe to carry all the cash you own on you know matter what your situation, the homeless are particularly vulnerable. My staff are not payees or money managers, we are fortunate to have an organization like Family Ties to help people in this situation and they do a stellar job. During this 16 year partnership not one credible claim has ever been made against either organization. Receipts are given for each and every transaction. These are the facts.
As for the “fake names” I was referring to the posters not the homeless who are quoted in the story.
Regarding TV, a movie is played every evening. We do not have cable but every evening clients discuss and agree on a movie which is played in the main room. I will say that balancing the individual preferences of 50 people each day is challenging, many people hate the noise and wish we’d never turn it on.
As for the air conditioning at Prado, we were very fortunate to receive a grant from PG&E, to use on structural things to make the site more energy efficient. Linking this very specific grant to the warming station shows again that no credible reporting was done. We could not use that money for the warming station or any other program, if we wanted to.
The cost of the air conditioning system I believe was actually more than $25,000, why these things are so expensive are not for me to comment on, as this is not my area of expertise. I can say that the system is set up to cool the entire site, not just the offices, and it’s important. Luckily our weather is generally nice but on those few days every year when the heat is extreme, having 100 or so bodies trying to function in a cramped setting with no air conditioning, becomes dangerous at worst and extremely uncomfortable at best.
Why don’t we open our warming station more? The warming station activates during “extreme weather”, severe rain storms which are predicted to last 2 or more days and/or extreme cold 32 degrees or below. The other component is having available staff and volunteers.
Lastly, as I said I appreciate honest questions and will always try my best to answer swiftly and honestly. If you or anyone else would like a tour of either or both sites feel free to contact me directly email@example.com., Taking a tour or volunteering at one of our sites are the best ways to actually learn about our programs, as you are not getting accurate information on this site.
02/06/2013 at 9:02 am
I can’t begin to speak about corruption or misdeeds done by others in our county or anywhere else for that matter. All media outlets report on these things. I can only speak for myself and my programs. There is no stealing, all of our programs are free to our clients, etc… I honestly have said all I can and CCN has provided no evidence of stealing because there is none. End of story. I understand that this posting can go on endlessly but I’ve got to get to work and can’t continue repeating myself. Again, anyone interested in learning actual facts about my transparent programs has a standing invitation for a tour or I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Booty Ju Ju says
02/06/2013 at 9:17 am
Jeebus. If people have been defrauded and money stolen – file a criminal complaint. How complicated is that?
Dee Torres replies:
02/06/2013 at 9:32 am