Former mayoral candidate files complaint against city manager
–Michael Rivera, a former candidate for mayor of Paso Robles, recently filed a complaint with the City of Paso Robles. Rivera accuses City Manager Ty Lewis of injuring him at a Nov. 6 city committee meeting.
The complaint reads:
City of Paso Robles Police Department
900 Park St., Paso Robles Ca. 93454
Attn: Police Chief Damien Nord
Please receive this letter as my formal complaint and statement against City Manager Ty Lewis.
On Nov. 6, I arrived at Centennial Park Meeting to attend a Homeless Committee Meeting. I was asked to attend by Mr. Ron Cuff a member of the committee, who could not attend as he had to be in Phoenix Arizona. I agreed to attend. Mr. Cuff also mentioned that others had attended the meeting in the past who were not on the committee. There are several email messages in my possession from Angelica Fortin to Mr. Cuff then from Mr. Lewis to Mr. Cuff indicating I was not welcome at this public meeting. The City Council Members I believe according to Mr. Lewis were also BCC’d in the email string.
Why Mr. Lewis had a problem with me attending this “public” meeting I am unsure since other “non” committee members from the public had been at prior meetings. It was made clear that I would only be their to take notes and give Mr. Cuff an idea of what occurred at this final meeting of this committee.
When I arrived at the location Ms Fortin said as I entered the room “Mr. Rivera what are you doing here your not supposed to be here”, or something to that effect. I was of course surprised and made it clear to Ms Fortin that this was a public meeting in a public building and I had every right to be there. She then left the room.
I then went and sat down next to the “witness” a committee member and someone I knew from a previous committee at the Paso Robles school district I was on. We began chatting and after about 10 minutes from my discussion with Ms Fortin Mr. Ty Lewis came in and came directly at me aggressively with a big grin and said Mr. Rivera you didn’t get the message and what are you doing here or something to that effect. I said it was a public meeting in a public building and I had every right to be there. He knew I was there on behalf of Ron Cuff.
After a couple of more verbal exchanges he then came toward me grabbed be by the shoulder he continued squeezing my shoulder very hard after which he let go and slapped me very aggressively on the shoulder. This shook me up of course. As Mr. Lewis was walking away looking at me he said “I don’t appreciate you spreading rumors about me not living in the city.” I responded saying what on earth are you talking about? He then said your address is all over the internet another obvious attempt at intimidating me. What did Mr. Lewis mean by that comment?
We exchanged a few more words at which time Mr. Lewis retreated and spent the rest of the meeting directly behind where I was sitting. This was to ensure I knew he was right behind me and close and another attempt at intimidating me. After witnessing this whole thing the witness looked at me and asked “what was that all about”? I said he has a problem obviously with my being here. I then told the witness that my shoulder really hurt. After a few minutes the witness was asked by Mr. Lewis to go outside to speak to him. The witness returned a few minute later and again sat next to me.
I am a 70-year-old man and do not tolerate being physically abused by a much younger person like Mr. Lewis or anyone for that matter. My shoulder still hurts but my physiological condition after this is worse. It is outrageous that the City Manager of our city, who is the former Police Chief, would lay hands on a citizen! This cannot be allowed to stand. This man broke his oath he swore and allowed his obvious personal dislike for me to cloud his judgment and he needs to be held accountable for the physical assault on me and his obvious attempt to intimidate me. I ran for mayor of this city in the last election and received thousands of votes. The people of this city deserve better than thuggish behavior coming from city hall which casts a shadow on all the people working at the city.
Paso Robles, Calif.
CC: SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow CC: SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson
Reached for comment, both City Manager Ty Lewis and Police Chief Damien Nord forwarded the request to Paso Robles city attorney Elizabeth Wagner Hull. She replied:
During the public comment section of the November 7 City Council meeting, Mr. Michael Rivera alleged that City Manager Ty Lewis made physical contact with him during the City Homelessness Strategic Plan Working Group meeting on November 6. The city is actively reviewing the allegations made by Mr. Rivera.
As background, the Homeless Strategic Plan Working Group consists of approximately 35 stakeholders, including representatives from nonprofit organizations, other government entities, residents, and members of the education and business community. These stakeholders were specifically invited to participate in the development of the strategic plan based on their background and connection to the topic of homelessness. The Working Group has held a series of working meetings and a series of public meetings where the general public was specifically invited to provide input. The meeting on Nov. 6 was a working meeting of the Working Group to review the final draft of the plan.
This incident is currently being investigated by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Department and the city is cooperating fully with that investigation. Because the investigation is ongoing we cannot discuss this matter until the investigation is concluded. If anyone has information they would like to share about this incident please contact Tony Cipolla, SLO County Sheriff Department, at 805-781-4547.
Elizabeth Wagner Hull
City of El Paso de Robles