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.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Interesting thoughts…

As I have said here before, many message boards — whether on a media site or on an individual blog — are sometimes frequented by ‘anonymous posters’ and herein lies a problem. When folks where a ‘hood’ or shroud of anonymity, it tends to bring out the very worst in even basically nice people.

I would encourage everyone to post with their own name … it’s more honest.

Just for reference, ‘free speech’ and the first amendment have been widely misunderstood by a number of posters on this site … and even on the Ivy covered walls of the Cal Poly campus. Cal Poly is now a ‘yellow light’ campus from a ‘red light’ campus according to F.I.R.E. in the area of free speech and many of us hope that they will make it to the highest level… GREEN soon.

By the way, I believe the folks at FIRE will be speaking on the Cal Poly campus in February and I think it will be an educational experience for all. It may even surprise you.

Roger Freberg

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. ~Oscar Wilde

Zaphod Beebelbrox

Great quote containing much truth. Many if not most humans are afraid of telling (and hearing) the truth, so a little bit of hiding might give us more candid feedback here. But Roger has a good point, I think only two ‘posters’ use their real names here, he and Dave Congalton. I salute them for that but still see much wisdom in those immortal words from Oscar Wilde, shared with us by Zapod Beetlebrox.

Roger, yellow is not a mid-point. The light turns yellow FROM green only, and not yellow FROM red to green. In the second case the light goes straight from red to green. In order to be effective, good metaphors and similes must be concordant with reality. With your use the reader can be befuddled as to whether things are getting better or worse.

I have long been concerned about the veracity of what I read on CCN. No so much as it pertains to Karen and her editors. They are the professionals in the business and should take the necessary steps to operate in the ethics of the business. I have, however, on any number of occasions been appalled by what some of the posts have said and the accusations made in them. Yes, we do have freedom of speech, but we must guard against wondering off into the areas that might place the poster in a position of having to answer to a liable or slander charge.

Sometimes one must go out on a limb to cut down a tree, but, one must remember which side of the saw to be on when the limb falls, Karen and Calcoastnews have been and always will be on the tree side of the limb, unlike others who fell from grace by being on the wrong side of the saw.

Constitutional Freedom of the Press has a higher standard of care than

Constitutional Freedom of Speech and Expression (There are limits)

The forefathers had foresight, the journey looks like as rough ride then as well as now towards transparency.

Thought for the day…

What would news on the central coast be without CCN and Karen Valie? How many stories and issues would be left uncovered, undiscovered and swept under the rug?

Oh yes, we should all be careful… yeah yeah. However, there is value to the individual and society in taking a courageous stand and facing intimidating and threatening opposition. There is honor in turning the flashlight on and increasing transparency.

Thank you CNN and Karen for all you do!

Roger Freberg

supracharger, One last word

I understand and don’t begrudge your sentiments about CNN and you have your right to correct.

I am glad your doing it and don’t want you to change!

Sincerely, respectfully! (NOT after brownie points – too old for all that BS)


I genuinely believe what your stated about AGHS, it make sense to me.

But forgive me, I simply enjoy this site even when I get thumbs down.

Depending on the sourse, I learn a little about myself.

Thats the reason why it is good to keep in touch with humanity.

“when many of his students came here to clear his name, they clarified many facts Karen had left out (for the sake of a sensationalist article), such as the facts that there were many more students all of which had signed forms, many of whom were male, it was a cold winter day, not exactly on a beach, and all of which had been planned as one of many regular outtings by his photography class to capture the beauties of nature.”

What theses students did was a GOOD!

I believed them and and did not find the need to support them against anyone using coersion on them (but would have if needed)!

As for CCN, they let me know what was going on in the community superficially as all news media do.

willie please don’t be so fast – Fraser took a group of high school students to a NUDE BEACH. That’s what he did and that’s what Karen reported. If it wasn’t poor judgment, then why is it that the HS Principle didn’t know anything about it and immediately said that it was inappropriate?

FACT- It was inappropriate and now Fraser knows better. No where in her article did she ever give the impression that he was a pervert. That’s just supercharges own paranoia over knowing how inappropriate his judgment was.


I neither disagree or agreed.

I do respect the fact that supracharger rationally and constructively presented his point of view.

I am happy to see young children manifest or express something they feel is not correct.

I don’t believe everything but for sure I do want to hear everything, I want to know everything.

Cindy I like to hear it all for a poster so I can see, even if unpleasant there may be some valid overlooked points. If it is maliciously underminding or intoxicated muddering I usually have a whole baggage of unpleasant things to return but I know for a fact I am on the moderator’s “S” list from past doings. Because I enjoy the interaction on this site, I have to respect “other people” expressing their differing view points. I may not agree or disagree, I usually say something when I strongly believe or disbelieve.

Just a couple of thoughts. I assume (maybe incorrectly) that Karen set up CCN as a legitimate business entity, either as a corporation or LLC. I also assume she has a business license and fictitious name permit to operate within regulations. I must also assume she has acquired the appropriate level of business liability insurance (which always includes civil torts such as defamation) and has disclosed to her insurer the nature of her business. If any of these assumptions are incorrect, then Karen a) needs her head examined, and b) may be out some cash.

However, e-journalists like Karen, while being held accountable for their words, should not be intimidated into being quiet. She should contact the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco ( ASAP. They are a group of attorneys that defend defamation suits against journalists and bloggers – for free. This should be a slam dunk for them and a hefty anti-SLAPP action against the plaintiff. Check out their site – lots of very good information.

Public figures who are also government employees have a very high and difficult burden to overcome to successfully win a defamation case. I predict a successful defense for Karen in this case.

A word of warning to everyone else. Watch what you say online. Unless you are using sophisticated IP masking hardware and software, your identity can be revealed and you can be named in the law suit at a later date. Most of these suits contain Jane and John Doe defendants that can be outed during discovery.

Professional Liability is excluded on a Business Liability policy. Giving one’s professional opinion requires Professional Liability. Your insurance tip of the day…


That is very true, it can happen!

Thought is interesting, if they were to do so they may be opening a whole new can of worms on themselves as well.

Another interesting thought is , if it went through, it would be a test to see

which direction the first amendment can be moved on this type of public forum by theses sour attorneys, politicians and business individuals.

We would have to be (punished) running time and expense to get the order quashed.

Incidently, I know I generalized (idiot shooting from the hip) about attorneys negatively but there are good professional ones here.

I could not help but to give second thoughts on this.

I am retired, I listen to radio talk shows and watch various sites (occassionally participating).

In the daytime I am more rational and constructive.

In the evening I sip a cup of wine or two (cardiogist recommended) and occassionally get wamped out by the moderator for shooting from the hip in absurd generalizations.

It is truely enjoyable, entertaining, interactive, and for me healthy to let go at times.

I can’t help but to think that one purpose of getting such a list is to find out who is really expressing what they really think about them or merely someone enjoying the same (1st amendment).

In my case its both, especially so because I am retired!

Can you imagine the attorney selectively hauling us in for examination!

Some believe this is what the powers that be (both private and government) want to do to control the internet and other media.

George Orwell 1984.

This would actually be corruption and communism in disguise.

I see no problem quashing the subpoena!.

I see many good reason to support CCN

Again CCN is not for everybody, I enjoy it, I will support it!

Professionals have to prepare for these things. Whether it be savings, insurance or exercising judgement, Karen had choices to make. She went out on her own. She published stories that, while true, were prepared in a possibly less than professional manner. She made a bed, now she has to sleep in it. Perhaps if she had made a decision to work for a reputable news source, she would be better covered. The problem is the reputable new companies felt she was too loose with the facts (even if they are true). I suspect this is also the reason they dont publish the same stories. If you are going to be a big enough girl to publish shock news stories, you better be a big enough girl to stand up for yourself. If she did nothing wrong, she has nothing to worry about.

File an anti-SLAPP against this guy. It worked for a friend of mine – twice. The guys who were bullying her backed off immediately

I am happy to help Karen out. I do have one question…did she not think her articles would someday bring litigation and prepare for it?

How do you prepare? Could you do anything other than set aside money for the eventuality?

(Coupe of shekels sent, and encouragement for others to do likewise.)

Most attorneys especially the big guns, already have a powerful case against someone before they even hear about the facts! All it takes is money and you can sue anyone for anything, noone is that pure!

In KV business there “will always” gonna be someone whoses not going to like what she reports or comment on!

You mean kind of like the way Karen writes articles about people on this site without gathering any real facts or evidence? Seems she writes whatever she wants about people without considering the potential consequences of her lies and exaggerations. I’m honestly surprised she hasn’t been sued already – is this the first time? I remember that article she wrote about Mr. Fraser of AGHS supposedly taking a few female students to a nude beach, making it sound as if he was a pedophile. Yet, when many of his students came here to clear his name, they clarified many facts Karen had left out (for the sake of a sensationalist article), such as the facts that there were many more students all of which had signed forms, many of whom were male, it was a cold winter day, not exactly on a beach, and all of which had been planned as one of many regular outtings by his photography class to capture the beauties of nature. That’s just one of many articles I’ve read on this site where Karen has no regard for the discovering truth, and only seems to care about rumors and gossip from a handful of “anonymous” sources. There is an enormous amount of bias on this website, most of it directed at people who the supporters and writers of this website personally don’t agree with. Why is this a purported “news” site at all?

I don’t disagree with you.

I don’t whole heartedly believe anything said or reported from any source.

I don’t agree with every bit with what Rush Limbaugh say.

I don’t whole heartedly believe everything the government or law enforcement say.

I am entertained by it and when I disagree I have said so and been bashed royally!

I am sometimes corrected and enlightened by feedback.

CNN is not for everyone.

To willie, I remember that article and I took a lot of red on that one, I want to set you straight on one thing you don’t even have to have money to sue anyone.

“All it takes is money and you can sue anyone for anything”,

Wrong, low income bracket, no filing fee’s no motion fee’s no nothing, just fill out a form the American way and sue the same day, if you can read a book and type you can write file and be granted a default, if the other party doesn’t respond, just ask Gearhart about the one against him.

If I were Karen I would not of touched that story with a ten foot pole in the first place, but know, here are her options.

1. Hire an attorney

2. Represent herself and file a counter complaint, at the time she file’s her answer or she will loose the right to file a counter complaint, she could demure the complaint, but as I did they will just “fix” the complaint in a first amended complaint. I say turn about is fair play Karen you hurt no one, facts are facts, file your answer and sue them back, you have enough friends and we will all help you!

Thank you chese,I might be an old salt but I am never too old to learn, appreciate

Right on willie, and I must correct myself, I meant the story about pirates cove, I would of backed out of that one, because the students were not there to see naked people, if you remember that article upset me very much for I grew up camping there with my parents in the 1962, all the hundreds of times I went there, I never saw anything that alarmed me. And to RogerFreberg, my cover has been blown for years, I’ll use my real name if they will let me change it, I tried once ,”not allowed”! Good luck Karen, and everyone being sued frivolously! Back to willie I don’t vote here no red from me and I like your opinions! One thing if we all did away with the voting maybe some of the trolls would not post, just an idea!

Its okay chese

They’re distractions are not my focus

Another way I look at it is, the thumbs down from them (not everyone) tells me I must be doing something right!

I have issues with the Nazi, book burning, Moderator of this site who deletes legitimate posts that he doesn’t agree with or that offend his political sensibilities.

I disagree with you so I gave you a thumbs down.

I disagree also and I don’t vote here, I get deleted more than anyone right moderator? And I don’t whine like a baby! It is their right to delete it’s their site, num-nuts.

Its okay, I sometimes realize I make mistakes and shouldn’t shoot from the hip. Probably won’t be the last time, call it a bad habit. Thanks for the red reminder.

“rumors and gossip from a handful of “anonymous” sources. ”

Sez “anonymous” commenter.

Also the parking lot above the nude beach is where all the real urban primate love fest events are. I no longer take visitors there, after the last time with the photographers running out of the bushes with undone pants etc.

Insurance can be purchased for this type of possibility. That is how you prepare and is the foundation of insurance.