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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Dave

He’s a Rotarian????? President-Elect??????


Wow. Just Wow.


justbeware

Perhaps this will lead to CCN reporting more on what’s going on in Morro Bay.

Many who post here have been asking CCN to bring attention to their city for some time now.


taxpayer

The current City Council and their decisions will haunt Morro Bay for generations to come. From moving the waste water treatment plant, to spending endless money on studies and, now, thinking that they’re going to have any influence over what happens at the old power plant property, they really don’t have a clue. This article is just touching the surface of the ineptitude of the current council. Fixed income seniors will be forced from their homes before this is all over. It would be nice if Cal Coast News would look into the goings on in Morro Bay.


agag1

Hope so. CCN, and Congalton were instrumental in bringing change to AG this past election. If it can happen here…


It certainly sounds as if there’s enough going on to justify a much closer look.

Good luck!


surferdude

And what does this person do for a living wage????


mbactivist1

… and the people booted out of power in Morro Bay in 2012, and soundly rejected by voters again in 2014 are STILL mad that they don’t run the town anymore. After such huge losses in two successive elections, one would think they’d get the message, but evidently not. Even when a CCN story has nothing to do with the Council, they work in some kind of attack on the Council members. News flash: What you’re doing isn’t working. It just makes you look like the subject of this article.


Dave

I could have sworn that the original comment on this part of the thread was someone expressing surprise that Aaron Ochs is a Rotarian and President-Elect of his club. I thought they had a Four-Way test that all members had to abide by.


IronHub

Be interesting to see if Och’s Eco-Rotary exhibits the same penchant for ignoring corruption and wrongdoing as so many SLO public officials. If you see them, ask Club President, Trina Dougherty; Past President & Project Chair, Taylor Newton; Sergeant at Arms,
 Bob Swain; Secretary, Ruth Ann-Angus: Treasurer & Int’l Chair, Ambre Amers-Otten; Co-Chairs, John Weiss, Margo Camilleri; Mary Hudson.


surferdude

I’m in shock too

Most Roatraians have a morale compass ( save Steve Adams of AG)


givemeabreak

We agree taxpayer! PLEASE CCN look into what is going on in Morro Bay!!!!

And thank you agag1. You give us hope. HOPE that we can get rid of this dishonest mayor Jamie Irons and his incestuous group that hold the throne as they were and are all dictators!


pasoparent5

Rotary has morphed into a networking “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of club. They still do great service projects and sponsor scholarships BUT the whole “moral compass” thing fell by the wayside long ago.


In Paso, Lisa Solomon Chitty is a proud Rotarian and we all know what happened with her.


racket

I imagine his FB page has received more views in the past 12 hours, than in all the prior months combined.


Our prurient interest in the odd is feeding his ego. We are feeding the troll.


IronHub

Aaron’s ego needs to know that while 20 people visit his silly page, a few hundred thousand are reading about his follies on CalCoastNews.


Maxfusion

They’re just doing what the bureaucrat does. Obfuscate, demean, and bully under the color of authority. Next question, is he doing this on the taxpayer dime. If so, fire him, which shouldn’t take more than 5 years to navigate through the web of “public employee” unions. There is a reason that even Franklin D. Roosevelt opposed bureaucrats unionizing.


http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15445


ApathyWillKillYou

We all should be very concerned that this article has shined a light on Aaron Ochs, a truly psychotic individual with obvious mental issues. His retaliatory reaction could get ugly. Morro Bay PD please be cognizant that you have a potential individual that may ‘go off the deep end’.


justbeware

This young man appears to be starved for attention.


Children sometimes do things they know are wrong,


but getting negative attention is preferable to no attention at all,


so the bad behavior continues.


I wonder if Hill, Gibson, Fulks, and the others who urge him on


are laughing at him behind his back. They get their dirty work done,


and this kid takes the brunt.


r0y

I was thinking the same thing. This kid is a perfect patsy… so deranged that one could use him to demean political “enemies” and be safely removed from the possible damage caused. Even if he “came clean” – who’s going to believe a deranged lunatic?


Excellent useful idiot if there ever was one. The dems should be proud. Well played.


agag1

Is it possible that Ochs has seen the error of his ways?


After all, he’s given up forging documents, or so he claims.


And if he’s now gainfully employed by Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson,


what more can we ask of the kid?


IronHub

Is Ochs obsessed? Soft in the head? Or paid by someone to do all this? Looks like Ochs and his handler Tom Fulks were in line for some if not all of the $62,000 in advertising expenditures that Adam Hill “forgot” to report to the FPPC. Sometimes it takes time, but the slime eventually rises to the surface. Hope you enjoy the return serve, Aaron.


MaryMalone

QUOTING IRONHUB: “the slime eventually rises to the surface…”


Or the guilty eventually slip on their own slime


slophocles

Where does Morro Bay rank now in the county as far as “whackos-per-capita”? If they’re not number one, then which SLO County hamlet is?


alensmith

Oh my god, i did not know that photoshop is is really a risk and a crime can also happned with it, I remember when he edited some of my photos on http://www.toolpic.com giving a toilet brushes in photo and posted in facebook. I can feel the pain


justbeware

Rough night, eh?


agag1

I was confused by this post initially, unsure as to whether it was sincere or sarcastic.

Perhaps others are too, but if alensmith was a victim of Aaron Ochs as the others in this story were, and continue to be, then he has my sympathy.