It took over a month to get information from Paul Gallegos. Information that legally should have been provided within 10 days.
When Paul Gallegos fired Gloria Albin Sheets, he said it was because he had "lost" a grant. When Nandor Vadas left the DA's office, Paul said it was because he had "lost" what sounded like the same grant.
Did he lose the grant? Did he lose two grants? Or was it the same grant? Had he lost the grant at all? Or is he still receiving the grant? And if he is, is he fulfilling the requirements of the grant?
Speaking on KINS/Talk Shop, Paul talked alot about grants - that using grants was to subsidize yourself, grants being the icing on the cake, he'd like to see more and more funding from the General Fund to reflect the community's commitment to the office, but that doesn't happen, which he blames on the Board of Supervisors... says when he came in the office was 60% grant funded, and that he has set about to "systematically wean" ourselves from that... "some we try to hold on to" says they are all so competitive... in other words he rambled around, but generally gave his new spin on why he lost the grants.
He says that the Domestic Violence/Victim Witness grant was held onto longer than they should have, "should've weaned ourselves long ago"... Speaking of the Victim Witness Advocates he had so callously thrown under the bus, they're "tough to come by," but said that "when they are grant funded you can't use them the way you want to.." said that Phil Crandall at HHS said he could "throw you something for a year... see what you can do..." and that "now we can use them as we need them..."
By his own account, his office is 60% funded by grants. It is incomprehensible to me that a department head would even consider "weaning" himself from 60% of his budget.
I have alot of friends who have applied for grants over the years, they faced a steep learning curve, but they learned the ins and outs of grant applications, and they were largely successful. Here, you have a man who took over a department that was SIXTY PERCENT FUNDED BY GRANTS, existing grants, grants the office had been receiving for 10 years, 12 years. It's not as if he HAD to go out and secure new sources of funding. But once your budget is cut at the County level, and once you have "lost" a grant, one would think you would go out looking for replacement money. Apply for new grants. Reapply for the ones you lost. Fix whatever you did wrong on your applications.
Any good department manager would fight for his people, fight to save his programs, work to ADD to what his office had. At the very least he should have worked to replace what he "lost."
It appears that he didn't do any of those things.
BUT - he DID spend an awful lot of time trying to come up with ways to fund his PL suit. Detailed elsewhere on this blog, he was given a plan of action by his campaign backers, Salzman's Plan (see read first on this blog), and he took that plan all the way to the Attorney General's office.
I wanted to know if he really lost the grant, I wanted to know how many grants he lost, if any.
On April 3rd I filed a Public Records Act Request with Paul Gallegos' DA's Office.
By law, he had 10 days to give me the information I requested.
On April 14th, I was notified by his office that he was invoking his right to a 14 day extension, because the records I asked for were not readily available. "Due to the volume of records in your request and shortage of staff necessary to comply, we are invoking our right to an additional 14 days in which to respond to your request." This, even though the material I requested should be a simple matter of copying materials that were readily available in files, as they would have been prepared in order to apply for grants, and kept as records for the grantors. He failed to mention at that time that any of the records in question would be denied.
He failed to deliver those materials on April 28th.
On May 4th, I was notified by his office that part of what I asked for was available, but that he was withholding information on the Spousal Abuse grant and the Statutory Rape grant due to pending litigation. He claimed he had run it by County Counsel.
"The records do not contain documents from the Spousal Abuse Prosection Program or the Statutory Rape Vertical Prosecution Program. These documents are the subject of pending litigation and per advice of County Counsel and Government Code section 6254(b) we are not able to disclose at this time. We will be happy to provide them once the lawsuit has resolved. Please let us know if you wish them to be provided at that time."
Because the files I had requested were not prepared as a result of pending litigation, but rather for the granting agencies to which he was applying, he had no legal right to withhold any of the information I asked for. So, I asked again. This time I cc'd the Eureka Reporter.
On May 5th, Gallegos responded that he had turned it all over to County Counsel to decide.
County Counsel decided to give me all the information I asked for. All 1,664 pages.
My Public Records Act Request, and Gallegos' response is posted as the FIRST COMMENT on this post