New Times reported in a cover story Dec. 18 that SLO City Park Rangers wielded chainsaws to make Eddie Tolosko’s camp of 11 years uninhabitable.
Joel Jones-Marino was one of the park rangers who worked most closely with Tolosko. He’s leaving his post for reasons unrelated to the story, but felt so strongly that his fellow rangers were being unfairly portrayed that he visited the New Times office to share his view, beyond what his supervisors could offer.
Jones-Marino said that, contrary to Tolosko’s description of events, Tolosko was well aware of what park rangers would do on the day the brush around his camp was cut. He showed 19 “Daily Activity Reports” documenting visits he and other rangers had made to Tolosko’s camp over the past year. He said the brush cutting was a last resort after Tolosko resisted all efforts to roust him.
- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- THE CULLING SLO: City Rangers “limbed up” Eddie Tolosko’s camp of 11 years, making it uninhabitable for him; one ranger says there’s another side to the story.
Moreover, he said that Tolosko’s possessions were never taken from him, as Tolosko had said happened about a year ago. Jones-Marino said private contractors working with rangers that day threw away only items that Tolosko directed them to take. Jones-Marino acknowledged that Tolosko had poor vision at the time—he was blind for a period until a recent medical procedure—but said Tolosko was aware of what was happening.
He said a tent of Tolosko’s was, in fact, discarded, but it appeared to be full of trash. He said he didn’t believe other items Tolosko mentioned, including a scooter and a generator, were taken.
Jones-Marino wanted it known that City Rangers don’t enjoy moving homeless people from the creeks, but don’t have many options while they try to enforce environmental regulations and deal with complaints passed on to them by police.
Tolosko could not be reached to respond to Jones-Marino’s version of events. In interviews, his account differed factually from Jones-Marino’s primarily in his description of when items were taken from him previously; he said they were taken without his approval.
— Patrick Howe