Support Karen Velie

December 20, 2010

If you’re a regular reader of CalCoastNews, then you probably know that Karen Velie is in the process of being sued. If you don’t know, then check this out.

As I write this, a process server is on a countywide hunt for Karen to serve her with the official papers. Roger Freberg was already served and it’s only a matter of time before Unny Mennon, Robert Koob, Cal Poly, and the California State University Trustees receive theirs — Karen is in pretty good company.

There’s one major difference, however. Karen doesn’t make the big bucks of a Cal Poly provost, nor does she have access to legions of attorneys like the CSU folks. CalCoastNews remains a shoestring operation and the rest of us volunteer our time so that Karen can survive and bring us the unparalleled local investigative reporting that has become CalCoastNews.

Is this a serious lawsuit? In my personal opinion, no, but what the hell do I know? I do know this — even a silly and questionable lawsuit needs a formal response. Karen has to retain an attorney and, more to the point, she has to fork out a few hundred bucks in filing fees in an attempt to get this case tossed out of court.

So we’re trying to throw together something that I’ll call the Karen Velie Legal Defense Fund. You can look on the right hand side of our main page and see the PayPal button — just takes a couple minutes to make a donation: $10, $25, $50. Whatever you got, we’ll take. If you don’t want to use PayPal, then email me privately at and we’ll make other arrangements.

CalCoastNews is approaching its third anniversary and Karen and George Ramos are just coming off that eye-opening four-part series on Kelly Gearhart. Nobody else in the local media is providing this level of investigative reporting. However, it often comes at a price and we need to stand behind, in front, and next to Karen as she deals with this impending lawsuit.

Join me, please, in making even a small donation to the Legal Defense Fund. I thank you in advance for your support and wish you a most Happy Holiday.



Dave Congalton is Contributing Editor for CalCoastNews.

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This is really a point of inflection for the future quality of SLOC news. If Noori prevails in his SLAPP suit, we’ll see other losers lining up to spin the wheel. That will no doubt lead to CCN’s quick demise.

If that happens, SLOC news will plunge back into the black waters of a horribly inept and inbred county-wide news reporting system. We are just beginning to climb out of the muck now. Let’s not slide back into the journalistic dark ages championed by rags like the Tribune.

I just read this article, and I have a few comments about it.

Journalists have the freedom of press, but the way CalCoastNews does news is problematic because there is very little attribution to sources or further reading. They don’t even write, “sources say…” or give readers context as far as not interviewing the accused/opposing party and asking them for their side of the story — and right there, that’s disingenuous. If you want to talk about investigative journalism, you have to understand that investigative journalism requires no stone to be unturned.

For full disclosure, CalCoastNews wrote an article about my site, and I disagreed with the article’s premise. I spoke to Ms. Velie personally about the article, and from what I gathered, I think she’s a nice person, but she leaves a lot of stories unpolished. I believe that if Velie did her due diligence and was more thorough with the article on Mohammad Noori, then she wouldn’t be in this position. I support her right as a journalist to defend her article in the court of law — as she definitely should — but this should serve as a teachable moment to cover stories with precision and uncover sources so that readers can make a more informed decision about the subject matter.

Oh Razor, you could use a good sharpening. Karen always and I mean ALWAYS contacts the so called opposition or the individuals that she is writing about. You will note that in every article she states that either they refused to comment or did not respond to several attempts to contact them by e-mail and telephone messages. Most of them run away and duck for cover when she gives them a heads up on what she has uncovered and gives them the opportunity to reply. Probably because they know she is right about what she is reporting in my opinion.

I also remind you that no story goes up on this site without approval from George Ramos who is a highly experienced (years with LA Times) investigative journalist and editor with 3 Pulitzer prizes hanging off the corner of his resume. If her story isn’t sound and her sources are not numerous and reputable, then he doesn’t allow the story to go to press. You don’t always know what evidence they might have that they don’t mention because they protect their sources.

You may not agree with my opinions but if Karen writes it, then it is true.

Your comments are well constructive, intelligent and sound rational.

It is just my opinion that you need to know a little more about CCN and Velie.

The context of your post indicates to me that you do not (respectfully).

The context of your post tells me more about you than CCN or Velie.

(Note: The thumbs down button is on your lower right for your convience)

Your post is appreciated and respected (by me)

I don’t like my stories “polished”, thank you very much. I like them factual and informative. You know, the ones Karen writes. Yours are rather…you know.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Fedup’s comment (12/21 at 7:44) about the pick-and-choose moderation on this site. I strongly support Karen Velie’s efforts, as long as she stays out of people’s private property, including their trash cans, and objectively reports more than one side of the story.

The “hero” in all this isn’t any one person (although Karen does single-handedly carry this Web site). There ought not to be any “Norma Rae” self-glorification here, but truth itself. TRUTH is the real hero. The reporters are (hopefully) the public servants who do their homework to convey it. If I am to assume anything, it’s that Karen would agree with this mentality.

And if moderation is going to be consistent about deleting off-topic posts, then may it be done without preference over one for another. This alone would lend CCN as much credibility as Karen’s awesome investigative abilities. Can I get a witness?

How great to hear that Ms. Warner is finally heard.

And right here is where I will jump in-MLW here- You folks got alittle different picture of Kelly Gearhart and his crew because of Karen/Dave/and a Poly student who got a bucket of bugs from me-I have been able to get NO legal help/no nothing from anyone in this county-that is until I spoke to Dave and Karen.Kelly and Tamaraand San Luis Trust ripped my future to pieces and no one gave a damn.Not the Trib or either.I want people to understand that Kellys problems were NOT caused by a crummy economy-he was CAUGHT because of it.He has turned the last 35 yrs of my life into a lie and Karen has given me a voice.Kelly did not have to do what he did-he thought he would GET AWAY WITH IT FOLKS-That ‘s all that ever mattered-Kelly getting his way and keeping his circle of support intact –At least now he is more exposed-Maybe Ohio will pay attention-Thank you Karen-from the old nut in Creston

CCN and Karen have exposed many individuals for wrong doing. She has never made anything up and works very hard at getting the facts before she prints them. I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who are pleased as punch to hear that she has been named in a law suit. When I consider the 1000’s of citizens that she has served and kept informed, I realize that her impact has and will serve us well into the future. Regardless of how well Karen might have lined up her ducks for this day, she still has to pay filing fees and it gets expensive. When she puts out a big story against some of the local Goliath’s, I notice that he advertising suddenly drops off and then it picks up again later. That is the price she pay’s to bring us the truth.

I just hit the PAYPAL Button,

Thank You CCN and Karen Velie


What first bought my diversion to CCN was the French hospital and Costal Cardiologist report.

Since that report I have seen improvements in CC Cardiology and French hospital or more sensitivity towards consumers/ patients.

I am a cardiologist patient.

Since that report, two physicians at a well respected hospital in LA (NOT SLO) were prosecuted for unnecessary open heart surgery.

CCN does have an affect in improving things without most people realizing it.


Clarification, I am not saying CCN in general is a villian to politicians or businesses.

A true administrator or a true manager with take into “some” consideration of public gripes to improve upon.

CNN gets a good random varity of pubilic polls.

In a late 1960 math class, I remember one of my professors saying the best poll (at that time) used by businesses was the Gallup Poll because they do random instead of selective polling.

Random is more honest then selective.

Thanks for the thumbs down.

For sure I must be doing something right!

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you

This whole legal defense fund seems strange. Why are you soliciting the public for money? I’d assume the owner of a newspaper that takes MIGHT have insurance for this.