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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HarryMalone

I find it very interesting that Aaron Ochs once altered a picture of Gibson and Hill with the intent to purposefully demean and degrade.


Equally interesting is that at one time Aaron Ochs liked and supported CalCoastNews.


One can only deduce that this about face was motivated by the root of all evil… $$$$$.


Since his integrity can be sold to the highest bidder I wonder what his going rate is?


He may want to contact Lois Capps for further employment in his ‘specialty’ of deception, slander, libel and hypocrisy.


wineguyjc

What qualifications does Mr. Ochs have to be a Parks Commissioner? Based upon his linked site he took some classes on the law, journalism and other classes at Cuesta and Allan Hancock. So with that he is qualified to be a publisher, a journalist and parks commissioner while living at home with mommy and daddy at what 30 + years of age. Well in Morro Bay I guess that any idiot can secure a high ranking position!

His admissions for doctoring up documents for release as genuine facts, plus this article puts an end to what little credibility he had. Maybe he will crawl back under that rock where he belongs. No integrity and no character at all.


Pelican1

Crawl back under a rock…or septic tank?


BaseballFan56

What makes anyone a journalist, other than the drive and desire to do it??? If you say a “journalism degree” I can show you a thousand with one doing nothing journalistic with it! If Aaron found the time and resources to create his own online news site, and take the time to create content for it, who are we to say otherwise? By the same token the beloved and hysterically pathetic FogCutterNews.org should be burned down and discarded for it’s outlandish hate-mongering and name calling. Yet, when Bill Pierce, Dan Reddell, Homer & friends were calling council names and creating lies everyone simply laughed along in blind obedience like lemmings to the cliff. Pen in hand, ready to sign anything to keep a shred of power.


IronHub

BaseballFan56 — Yours is an odd response. Here’s a partial translation of your phrase “Found the re$ource$…” Those came from Adam Hill, Tom Fulks and very likely PG&E through the unpleasantly biased Tom Jones. A journalist is one who practices something called the “truth,” and this is not a word with which any of the Ochs family members are familiar. Aaron’s site is simply an extension of Hill’s and Gibson’s political hit machine… it is not “news.”


ToHellinaHandBasket

Ditto Rambunctious. Well said BoxOf Rocks! [love that Screen name]. I’m on board.


It is sad that the political spectrum has become what it is today, whether it be at the very top [WH], State, or local. We are all pawns of the out of control self idolizing government that the writers of OUR CONSTITUTION could never have imagined. Herewit:


http://constitutionus.com/


Civics 101. Unfortunately, WE have become such a divided Country because of the very people we elect to work for us. “We the People”.


ToHellinaHandBasket

Such a sad lost person.


Aaron, may I make a suggestion? Ask Jesus Christ into your life. He will help you with your problems as no earthly man can. Because Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.


May the Lord bless you and find favor with you to bring Glory upon His Name.


Certainly, you can do better than what you’ve been up to. Just think of it? After all, Jesus called upon Saul of Tarsus while on the road to Damascus after watching over and abetting the stoning of Stephen. Being blinded by our Lord, he went on to bring the Gospel to the Gentile. You..and I.


The Lord could use you in a great way also. Let Him. Stop being a hater.


Btw, you’ll find the account of Saul’s conversion in Acts 9 of the Bible.


Good reading.


mkaney

I realize that he makes a lot of people angry and knows how to incite situations and then turn it around people, but some of the comments people are leaving are not displaying any greater level of maturity and are going to turn this into a ridiculous hateful mudslinging match. There are plenty of specific details of his behavior to be discussed without attacking him with the kind of mean comments that a true schoolyard prick would use (like wetting the bed, etc..)


Continued use of Aaron as a punching bag by commenters is also going to simply reinforce any negative views of those who aren’t sure what to think of CCN and its merry band of commenters, which I am happy and proud to be associated with.


If you have facts, and experiences, share them, but *in my opinion* people should lay off the random cruelty.


justbeware

Agreed mkaney.


My concern is what I see as the exploitation of this young man by those using him for their own selfish motives. How much of his behavior is a result of the input he receives fro Hill, Gibson, Fulks, Guerrero, etc?


It is my understanding that this family has an extensive history of mental health issues.

Ochs may well believe he is in control of his situation, but to what degree? Certainly not all of his actions can be blamed on others, but, it seems like a switch has been flipped in this kid, and I wonder how much those urging him on, are responsible for it.


mkaney

I agree with the things you said.. but if someone may suffer from mental health issues, it’s probably not a kind nor productive thing to make comments about them wetting the bed and all other manner of things unrelated to the issue at hand.


taxpayer

It’s probably not a good idea for the Morro Bay City Council to put him on one of the boards representing the City of Morro Bay either.


givemeabreak

taxpayer….there you go again making sense of everything! When are you going to learn that the “senseless” do not have the ability to make “sense”?


BaseballFan56

Are we all ready for the guilt and heavy burden of shame if Aaron takes these comments to heart and takes it too far? If he is as unhinged as everyone here says he is, how stable will he be with over a hundred comments by people calling him names?


wineguyjc

So he has mental health issues, then he is definitely qualified to be on a commission and council locally! Mental health issues are not an excuse for what he has been doing, nor does it eliminate liability.


mkaney

I am not claiming them to be an excuse.. but there is a fine line between criticizing someone and bullying someone to the point that they might harm themselves or others. I can’t stand the guy, but people should demonstrate a little bit of wisdom in choosing what they focus on.


justbeware

No excuses, but maybe a bit of explanation?

I don’t believe Ochs is acting alone, therefore, whoever is working with him should be held accountable as well.

We need to look further than Ochs, he’s along for the ride.

Someone else is driving the bus.


May be a good idea for Rotary to screen their applicants a bit better from here on out.

If Irons and others are his supporters/followers that says a lot about them.


givemeabreak

I predict he will be one of those guys that become unhinged and go on a shooting rampage. He is CLEARLY not stable!


ShootTheMessenger

Mkaney I see you comment on CalCoastFraud was deleted.


Little boy Ochs can sure dish it out but can’t take the heat.


mkaney

Yeah as all my comments have always been, and now I have been blocked. I left two comments, both of them within generally accepted guidelines of public discourse. One of them included a list of examples of Aaron’s heinous prersonal attacks and 100% completely unsupported claims about people like Blakeslee and Velie. I’m glad someone saw at least one of them.


What is so FREAKING irritating about these people (by that I mean Ochs, Hill, and associates) is how they have statements on all their pages about how they respect all views etc etc. and they ALL erase my comments every single time, no matter how civil or polite. And where possible, some of them also report my comments to various authorities and forum administrators..


As much as I try to remain objective and not get melodramatic, it is beginning to at least appear that they may actually be sociopaths. They pathologically lie and misrepresent, and then seek to not only control the conversation to eliminate dissent but even seek to cause trouble for dissenters. If no one is looking or they could pull something off anonymously, nothing seems beneath them.


Rambunctious

A government troll is just another word for a brown shirted boot licker…Maybe it’s time for this one to go home. Just click your heels and repeat after me Ochs…there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home. Here comes my phone call Jamie…is it ringing yet?


givemeabreak

hahahahahahahhahaahha…..call Jamie…….or Noah, or Christine. What a joke!


marcusaurelius

wow. this turd who claims to be objective and independent seems to be quite the polarizing figure between the extreme left and everybody else.


BoxOfRocks

Aaron Ochs I hope you read every word of the article and every word of the comments.


You need to know that you deserve to be treated in the same manner that you have treated others so viciously and unfairly.


You need to know that there are hundreds of people that support CalCoastNews and there are very few that support you.


And those that do support you like Mary Lucey, Kenny McCarthy, Dave Wilcox are nothing to be proud of.


You need to know that you are being used by your handlers and they will drop you like a hot rock the moment the light of day shines on them. Which is coming sooner than later.


You need to know your vicious diatribe only makes CCN stronger and you weaker.


You need to know that your talents are being wasted on a cause that will only bring you ridicule, disdain, and possible jail time.


YOU NEED TO GROW UP AND GET A LIFE!


Rambunctious

Well said…


Pelican1

The kid is a legend in his own mind. The only critically acclaimed thing he is, is a certified nutball.


givemeabreak

Yes , just like his mother. (sorry mom)