CalCoastNews and the Wounds That Never Heal

UPDATE (August 18): CalCoastNews published a new article that revisited the subject with Almirol. We’ve compiled a list of updates that we believe our readers should know about:

  • There is no state or federal investigation into Family Ties or CAPSLO. Shortly after this article was published, we spoke to a representative of the Office of the Inspector General. An agency CalCoastNews once claimed was looking into the allegations. “There’s no merit to the allegations,” said the representative in June. Since then, there’s been no attempt to re-open the investigation
  • In their recent article, CalCoastNews, once again, refused to disclose Almirol’s criminal record. We personally forwarded the article to Karen Velie, Dan Blackburn, Josh Friedman and Dave Congalton. We didn’t receive any response back, but Velie later stated on Congalton’s radio show that Almirol had a criminal record. She subsequently dismissed our article on Almirol as a “rant.” Given Velie’s apparent admission of reading our article, it’s probable that the non-disclosure was intentional
  • Sources close to Almirol stated that he spoke to CalCoastNews exclusively because he felt Torres was responsible for his inability to visit China. CalCoastNews was made aware of Almirol’s motives prior to the article being published, but they failed to disclose them. For example, Almirol posted this on his publicly accessible Facebook profile on March 20 (as of August 18, the post is still available):almirol
  • CalCoastNews has refused to redact the names of minors involved in a domestic dispute. In their recent article, Velie has refused to redact the names of Ms. Torres’ children. It is common practice for journalism sources to redact the names of minors involved in criminal and civil proceedings. Readers have e-mailed CalCoastNews with requests to redact the names, but they refused to oblige. Previously, Editor Bill Loving told Congalton that Torres’ children could be subpoenaed to testify because of gift card theft accusations made against them. CalCoastNews has repeatedly exposed children to ridicule, contempt and threats made by their readers

UPDATE (March 23): On the March 22 broadcast of The Dave Congalton Show, Karen Velie dismissed our reporting and subsequent reported opinions as “diatribes” and accused us of being hired by Supervisor Adam Hill. The statements made by Velie are resoundingly false and indicative of her reporting ability, which we’ve covered on The ROCK previously. The podcast featuring Velie’s accusations is available for download here.

UPDATE (March 22): CalCoastNews is now officially soliciting donations for their CAPSLO articles under the allegations . In their March 22 article (“Support CalCoastNews”), they write, “Whether it’s a non-profit misappropriating donations [our emphasis], a developer misusing investor funds, or a chief of police abusing her men, CalCoastNews is watching out for you. Support CalCoastNews by advertising, supporting our advertisers, or through your donations.” It’s worth noting that CalCoastNews has not confirmed any of these instances through supporting evidence, only allegations.

On March 3, we released our findings on CalCoastNews’ ongoing “investigation” into CAPSLO, Family Ties and SLO County Homeless Services. Despite coming to a rather subjective conclusion, the analysis we conducted was objective. The more we found out about this site, the more it concerned us. Since we published our article, we’ve received a lot of feedback from people who were targeted by this website. Most of the feedback was positive and some of it, of course, was negative — and understandably so. For a little over four years, CalCoastNews has appealed to a loud bastion of readers who are clamoring for hard justice in the name of “investigative journalism.” It appeared that suddenly there is another local website that investigated their reporting — ours — and we determined their reporting to be fraudulent and deceptive. We questioned something that their readers believe to be a wholly altruistic pursuit for truth. On March 18, CalCoastNews, once again, reaffirmed their conclusions — with a very dark, sadistic twist.

Continue reading CalCoastNews and the Wounds That Never Heal

CalCoastNews’ Fraudulent Reporting on SLO Homeless Services

CalCoastNews is a local website that people in San Luis Obispo County are talking about for different reasons. People associate CalCoastNews with investigative journalism. Some believe that they are doing something good by uncovering corruption in a community where there are often a lot of unanswered questions. Readers who support CalCoastNews are satisfied to have their questions answered by a site that rarely goes beyond presenting allegations and anecdotes. When we reported about them, we received an incoherent phone call from the site’s co-founder — who only heard of the articles but didn’t actually read them — and a lengthy, emotional rant from a local radio host who refused to utter our name in a vain attempt to skirt his “equal time” pledge. Why are they so afraid?

Continue reading CalCoastNews’ Fraudulent Reporting on SLO Homeless Services