Is Morro Bay parks official a government troll?

February 23, 2015
Aaron Ochs

Aaron Ochs

By CCN Staff

CLARIFICATION: CalCoastNews erred when it wrote that Aaron Ochs was considering getting a gun. To clarify Ochs’ statement, he said it was recommended by an unnamed individual that he get a firearm.

Here is what Ochs wrote on social media in January: “It came to my attention that Julie Tacker and Karen Velie made a direct threat of imminent harm to my family.” Someone “recommended that I should purchase a firearm because I was ‘going to be killed.’ “

Following the unsubstantiated claim, Tacker filed a report with the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department. Tacker told deputies she had no idea what Ochs was talking about and that she feared for her family’s safety. Tacker also informed the sheriff’s department that she believed Ochs was cyber harassing her and that she felt stalked.

 

It takes a lot for a member of a city parks commission to get noticed, but Morro Bay’s Aaron Ochs puts in the effort.

Ochs is arguably the most frequent online commenter about politics in San Luis Obispo County. He contributes to multiple social media pages that give him carte blanche to post just about anything having to with his favorite subjects — CalCoastNews and any community activist who questions the actions of San Luis Obispo County Supervisors Bruce Gibson or Adam Hill.

Ochs’ online habits have now led to a rare scenario in which an organized push had arisen to oust a member of a volunteer parks commission.

Following a recent string of profanity-laden personal attacks on South Bay citizens, a robo-call made its way around Morro Bay this weekend suggesting residents ask their local representatives why a city official’s public Facebook page, calls a woman a “vindictive bitch.”

CalCoastNews has been unable to identify the source of the robo-call.

The Morro Bay City Council appointed Ochs to the parks commission in early 2014. He received supporting votes from Mayor Jamie Irons and council members Christine Johnson, George Leage and Noah Smukler, according to city council minutes.

Since then, Ochs, through Facebook and several websites, has made numerous false claims alleging specific people are felons, or diagnosed mentally ill. He has impersonated reporters. He also has frequently manipulated photos of journalists and activists on his website in order to demean them.

In a post earlier this month, Ochs responded to an allegation that he photo-shopped CalCoastNews reporter Karen Velie’s name onto an online post. In his post, Ochs admitted that he has used Photoshop to forge in the past.

“I could go back to forging documents in Photoshop,” Ochs wrote about his search for a new endeavor. “But that’s the old me. Times have changed.”

In recent years, some governments have turned to the use of Internet trolls to deflect criticism, antagonize investigative media and steer political discourse off topic. CalCoastNews has obtained no concrete evidence that Ochs posts online on behalf of certain government officials, but many county residents allege that his actions resemble those of government trolls.

Last month, activist Julie Tacker sent a letter to the county noting that Gibson had violated the Ralph M. Brown Act during the board of supervisors’ selection of Adam Hill as vice chair. As a result, a re-do of the vote occurred, and Hill lost the vice-chair seat.

Ochs then began a series of posts about Tacker on Facebook. In one of his posts, Ochs says that Tacker has made a threat to harm his family and that it has been recommended he get a firearm. On the Facebook page, Tacker is referred to as a “vindictive bitch.”

The robo-call that circulated around Morro Bay on Sunday addressed the remark.

“Bad news, Morro Bay has a vindictive liar on a parks commission making remarks on women, local businesses and individuals. Parks commissioner Aaron Ochs has a website that labeled one local woman a donkey, labeled a local business illegal, called another local woman, quote, a vindictive bitch,” the robo-call says. “This is a city official. Aaron Ochs does not belong on Morro Bay’s parks commission. Aaron Ochs is arrogant and does not listen to you. Aaron Ochs once wrote, ‘What is said during public comment is quite dumb.’ Aaron, you have posted this about buying a gun. Ask Mayor Jamie Irons and the city council why they put Aaron Ochs on a parks commission. Call the city at 772-6206. Call 772-6206.”

Cal Coast Fraud, until recently dubbed  C2F , on which Ochs calls himself the “lead contributor,” launched in early 2014 with a stated goal of shutting down CalCoastNews. Shortly after it was created, Hill began sending out Facebook messages asking thousands of people, including other public officials and county employees, to go to the Facebook page and “like” it.

The first post falsely claimed that Velie was blackmailing former Senator Sam Blakeslee. Other posts targeted KVEC radio host Dave Congalton, whom Ochs has chastised for inviting Velie and CalCoastNews reporters on as guests.

Dave Congalton of C2FOne post showed a photo of Congalton spliced together with a picture of former U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, the man known for making unsubstantiated allegations about communist infiltration of America. A caption on the C2F post states that “the red-baiting Dave Congalton” and McCarthy have a lot in common.

In 2010, California passed a law making it a crime to knowingly impersonate another person on the Internet in an attempt to harm or intimidate.

In September, Ochs manipulated a post on Reddit by putting Velie’s email on one in a series of posts discussing “sucking dick for coke.” He then claimed Velie made the post on several Facebook pages he manages, after photo-shopping Velie’s name on it.

The original post on Reddit does not include Velie’s name, Ochs then claimed Reddit administrators provided him a post showing Velie’s email address on the post that he photo shopped.

Ochs ohot shoppedSeveral SLO New Times editorial staffers appear to have fallen for the ploy.

“It’s sort of like the drunk, belligerent animal at the watering hole at this point; someone’s got to take her down for her own good and for everyone else’s,” SLO New Times Editor Ashley Schwellenbach wrote on Facebook under Ochs impersonation.

SLO New Times cartoonist Russ Hodin regularly gives a thumbs up to Ochs’ Facebook posts, including a recent one that falsely claims an 81-year-old man who chastised Hill at a board of supervisors meeting is running an illegal real estate business.

In addition to competing media, several public officials affiliated with local governments where malfeasance has been verified regularly participate on C2F. For example, after several articles on CalCoastNews presented evidence that Oceano’s former general manager Tom Geaslen was overpaying himself, he was fired for cause. At that point, several Oceano board members began participating in C2F.

Oceano Director Matt Guerrero, an attorney who has applied to the governor for a judicial appointment, gives “thumbs up” to many of the articles that falsely claim reporters and activists have committed felonies such as blackmail, extortion and terrorist threats. Director Mary Lucey demeans Tacker, while blocking her through Facebook so that Tacker cannot see her posts, Tacker said.

“Ochs’ belittling the public in this way is not only extremely unprofessional and unbecoming of a public official, it may deter people from speaking out on real issues,” Tacker said.  “I hope the City of Morro Bay takes a good look at their choice of representatives on the Parks Commission.”

On Monday, the city received multiple calls asking about Ochs position. Morro Bay City Manager David  Buckingham said Ochs’ position on the parks commission is not in his purview and that the council will look into the allegations.

Ochs, who is also the president elect of the Morro Bay Eco Rotary Club, did not respond to questions from CalCoastNews.

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Myself

This little man is reading from the same playbook as adam hill.

I’ve seen comment about this charactor before but didn’t know he was on a board in MB,he needs to go but I can tell his buddy the mayor most likely won’t dump him.


Pelican1

Aaron, despite everything you’ve come to believe, three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.


joseywales

he is a steaming pile of dog shyt, figuratively speaking, of course.


agag1

Unbelievable…. absolutely unbelievable.


When they say, “you can’t make this stuff up”,


this must be what they’re talking about.


Is this type of behavior not criminal in some way?


joseywales

dude has serious mental issues.


Pelican1

I challenge anyone to check his credentials and while doing so attempt to validate with facts, some of the outrageous statements and comments he has made over they years.

Research his educational back round and family ties and it will become quite clear why he’s a perfect fit for Morro Bay


miles archer

I speak for many MB residents when I say: “Sir, take your ignorance and go piss up a rope”.


Pelican1

OK Miles, provide all of us with Aaron’s resume so we can better understand why you, and apparently you alone support him. Don’t forget to include his Ad nauseam, nonfactual commentary that has been so pervasive for the last decade.


MaryMalone

I don’t think he is a perfect fit for anybody or any group. This little man

might just go postal.


RU4Real

It seems to me that the “victims” of Ochs “publication” could file for a “restraining order”, because as I see it, what Ochs is “publishing” would come under “Cyber-Stalking”and/or

“Cyber-Harassment”. Just print out the egregious things he’s posting & that certainly would show proof of a “cyber-crime”.


willnose

As I see it, Ochs is calling the kettle black (Robocall, CCN posts), if the soot fits – wear it!


pasoparent5

Ask Antonio (Tony) Prado–formerly of the Trib–what he thinks about trolls.


Remember the Trib’s resident troll “top?”


TOny Prado. Yep.


Rich in MB

Why doesn’t someone make the obvious connection here…Ochs, Adams, Hill, are all Liberals and folks, this is how the liberal fascists work. They use Saul Alinski methods to attack and attempt to discredit those that they view as a threat, that challenge their world views. You don’t debate then, you attack them! It’s what Hill, Adams and Ochs are doing and someone need to stand up tell these fascist liberals that we are not going to take it. We will not be intimidated into backing down, shutting up, or pushed from the public square by their hate!


bobfromsanluis

Fascist liberals? Really? Do you even know what fascism is about? Do you really understand what traditional Liberalism is? Cognitive dissonance is the ability to hold two thoughts that are pretty much polar opposites together as some sort of “thing”; liberalism is about as far from fascism as one can get. Mussolini was the person credited with fascism being equated with corporatism; a melding or coming together of business interests and government operation that is enabled by a compliant if not enabling media to establish a totalitarian state that does not tolerate any criticism of the way government operates by anyone. Liberalism is a means of engaging as many people in the act of governance as possible, a means of inclusion in the political process that stresses that the more citizens involved in the process, the better. Input about how best to implement various ideals and plans can be debated to death in the process, but outlawing or not allowing dissent is the last thing that liberalism strives to achieve.


While there are a few parallels between the actions of Ochs, Supervisors Hill and Gibson, you really have to stand back and examine their “liberal” credibility; as I have stated here many times before, to spout off a few liberal sounding platitudes does NOT make one a liberal. If Supervisors Hill and Gibson were truly liberal, they would be for everyone joining in the political process, not limiting the input by the general public.


And a real nice touch by throwing in the Rights’ favorite bogyman, Saul Alinski; I’m sure you got a few people agreeing with you that everything being done is right out of the infamous “playbook” of radicals. Grow up.


Kevin Rice

That’s why I’ve endeavored to use the term ‘progressive’ in place of ‘liberal’ in most applications. I believe traditional liberalism has devolved into an entrenched mindset that is no longer liberal by definition. Many ideals have actually become orthodox (conservative). With that in mind, use of the term ‘fascism’ can be properly applied. There are most certainly a plethora of corporate-progressive issues, “green” for one. Consider the corporate money behind Feinstein and Boxer.


Liberal means open-minded and/or loosely applied rules. I don’t see that with the modern progressive environmentalist. It’s become secular religion. Not “liberal”. Very “conservative”, actually.


Anyway, food for thought. I’d like to hear your thoughts.


Mike Byrd

Political and party labels simply don’t apply any longer. Politics has become an industry rather than a public service and governance nearly extinct. “Liberal” and “conservative” are merely epithets hurled back and forth across the great chasm that has opened between us. The Democratic party of Roosevelt and Truman exists only in name, not in soul. And the Republican party of Lincoln and the first Roosevelt, well, we know what it has become.


My fantasy would be that a new generation of leaders would emerge that was sincere about working for the public good; leaders like those who succeeded in breaking up the trusts and forming the unions against great odds. Of course the political system that has evolved (devolved?) will, by design, never allow that.


MaryMalone

I’m sad to read your statement about using the term “progressive”

instead of “liberal.”


And it proves my point about some of those in the “progressive” camp:

Progressives are often liberals who the nutball portion of the conservative

group have bullied into even changing the name of their political

affiliation.


In other words, they are liberals without balls.


OnTheOtherHand

As long as self-styled liberals back people like Feinstein, Clinton and (unfortunately) Obama, RichinMB has somewhat of a point. These politicians and many more in the “establishment” part of the Democrat Party (as well as many of the GOP) are corporate socialists which is bordering on fascism. The biggest difference between mainstream Dems and Reps is which industrial cartels they favor most and even that isn’t a big difference since both are totally in league with Wall Street and the other big financial institutions.


I used to consider myself a liberal on many causes but the meaning of the word has changed in the past couple of decades. Part of it is due to its redefinition by conservative talk show hosts who use it as a term of scorn for anyone who disagrees with them on most issues. But part of it is justified by the co-option of the Democrat leadership by big business money. The sad part is that rank and file Democrats who honestly support many liberal causes don’t even realize what has happened because they are fooled by the political rhetoric of their “heroes/heroines”.


I would agree with RichinMB that Gibson, Hill and their close supporters do act like fascists at times. The mistake he makes is in assuming that all people who call themselves liberals are from the same mold. And it is his “attack, don’t compromise” attitude that they use to (wrongly) justify their behavior. It reminds me of the tribal quarrels in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. One group never forgets or forgives what the others did to them, they just get revenge. They have long memories for their “enemies” attacks on them but short memories for the things they have done to their “enemies”.


Rich in MB

I know I’ve hjt a home run point when bobfromsanluis nuts up….my work here is done. Paycheck please.


TacomaRose

Rich: Dont paint with such a broad brush. There are a lot of liberals who deplore what Hill, Gibson, Ochs et al: are doing. As for me I am a moderate in every sense and I wont hesitate in equally chastising the “right” side of the equation when they resort to bullying and such. It doesnt matter what side of the political arena your on, no one should support crooked politicians and their operatives. I hate it when party followers say “Well he/she may be a crook, but they are our crook” This logic screws us all.


ajdury

Don’t know ya Tacoma but I totally agree on your post above me.


I’m a “traditional Liberal” who is gravitating towards Moderate.


The overall system is borked and that’s my political agenda now.


Don’t cheat me, don’t cheat my neighbor and don’t cheat my fellow man.


Just stop cheating us all. I don’t want “my” crook or “their” crook or “any” crook.


I also don’t want bullies, a$$hO/3$ or jerkwads reigning supreme. Not at our different local CSD levels, our local city council (and their appointed advisory council levels), and even our Board of Supervisor levels.


My personal Supervisor, Adam Hill, is notorious for stifling public comment and public access. That’s not the government I choose. Is it yours?


z

Sorry but your overly broad brush fails, because criminal behaviour, misogyny, power tripping asshole’s and more cross all boundaries and party lines.


It’s not the label or party, it is about what they do.


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