The Insanity of CalCoastNews


This is a screenshot taken from the Facebook page “Team Adam Hill Watch,” which was created by the Knights Templar. Remember those guys? You know, the guys that just so happen to exclusively share CalCoastNews coverage and uploaded a video that was produced and shared by the son of the site’s co-founder? They’re back, and they’ve expanded their guerilla, quasi-anonymous social media marketing campaign. Suffice to say, it’s quite disturbing. Continue reading The Insanity of CalCoastNews

More About Nothing

UPDATE: Air Pollution Control District Director Larry Allen’s letter demanding retraction was just published on CalCoastNews along with Forbes columnist Steve Hayward’s rebuttal.

Ever since District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill wrote a letter to the editor for The New Times, there’s been a fixation on the supervisor that’s truly amazing. It started as a satirical letter that colorfully identified those who are susceptible to conspiracy theory thinking, and it snowballed into an op-ed column featured in Forbes Magazine. Look at the big picture and ask yourself, “Does this really matter?” Continue reading More About Nothing

The Templar Complex

We thought we’ve seen everything. Since my latest article came out on Friday, a conversation has taken place about journalism ethics. The conversation came after people experienced the initial shock of seeing this video by the so-called Knights Templar — otherwise known as Citizens Protecting Children, Longarm Productions, Robert Bacon etc. It looks as though the son of CalCoastNews’ co-founder Daniel Blackburn either produced the video or was a collaborator. Either way, it’s not good.

CalCoastNews has not responded to the article. It appears that they have taken the approach that the problem will eventually disappear. I mean, who reads us anyway? Nothing a good, dismissive shrug can’t fix, right? But there are way too many problems here. We’ve been covering their exploits for the past couple of years, but that video — and the way it was produced and promoted — shows a serious, serious problem. We’re talking about uploading copyrighted images from blogs, businesses and news organizations without their permission. We’re talking about identity theft. We’re talking about the fact that a news site would push their work through several layers of anonymity while pretending to be part of the seething, foam-producing mob.

On Jan. 19, a Razor reader posted on the Citizens Protecting Children Facebook page the following message:

“My first question is who are the citizens behind your mission of protecting children? Besides Karen Velie’s kids what other children are you trying to protect? Can you point out any other cases of “child kidnapping” that has you concerned? Any comment on the photographs that were apparently copied and pasted from the world wide web? You do know that using others images is an ethical if not legal trespass and something no ethical journalist would do without giving attribution? Looking at this page I would have to say that this is a thinly “Vieled” page to push one agenda and it ain’t for protecting children.

Any comments at all?

And Alan Blackburn Robert Bacon’s response? “You are an enemy to the people.”

Bacon also posted the man’s Facebook profile photo on their page, writing, “You have identified yourself as a supporter of filth.”

Questions answered. See, wasn’t that easy? You cannot make this stuff up. I cannot wait until Mr. Bacon goes into Photoshop and puts a Hitler mustache on my face.

Obviously there will be more to come about CalCoastNews. There are a lot of things happening from their co-publisher being unceremoniously booted from 92.0 KVEC as a guest to pursuing San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson for allegedly changing details about a drug raid that happened on Dec. 4 last year. They sure know how to make friends.

Just ask Citizens for Protecting Children, who wrote on Dec. 28, “Thank you Dave Congalton and Dan Blackburn for bringing this to our attention.”

No, thank YOU!

An Open Letter to CalCoastNews’ Dan Blackburn

Dear Mr. Blackburn,

It’s almost been a year since you called us, rambled angrily about our coverage of your website, and called us “a couple of assholes who run a website.” In that odd conversation, you said you needed someone to read the articles to you. You were incensed because we had the chutzpah to be critical of CalCoastNews, a website that many in San Luis Obispo County now realize is a loosely constructed false narrative — that corrupts the news to expose corruption — masquerading as “on-line independent news source producing in-depth investigative news in the public interest.” Continue reading An Open Letter to CalCoastNews’ Dan Blackburn

CalCoastNews and The Exploitation of Children

UPDATE (December 16): CalCoastNews uploaded a video of the Dec. 10 rally, which included photos of the grandchildren.

Publisher Karen Velie has waged a very public war against the SLO County government, SLO County Police Department, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO)  — anyone who, she claims, is part of a vast conspiracy against her grandchildren being placed into foster care. Continue reading CalCoastNews and The Exploitation of Children

CalCoastNews and The Sobering Truth

UPDATE (August 27): The New Times has published Velie’s police report. Their staff writes, “There are a lot of opening lines in this story” in their article. That’s an understatement.

UPDATE (August 25): The New Times published a memo to the San Luis Obispo City Council by SLO Police Chief Steve Gesell, who reiterated information presented in this article. Dated August 23, 2013, the memo states, “[Statements made by Velie claiming she was targeted due to her position as a reporter for the Cal Coast News] are false and the Police Department is releasing the following information in order to provide accurate factual background as to the events leading to Ms. Velie’s arrest.”

On August 13, CalCoastNews (CCN) Publisher Karen Velie was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.  The timing was impeccable. Around that time, Velie and CCN posted a flurry of blog articles micro-scoping District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill and his fiance, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo Homeless Services Director Dee Torres. Then, news broke. According to a tentative ruling issued by SLO County Superior Court judge Barry LaBarbara, CCN private investigator Mike Brennler‘s comments to Torres’ ex-husband — about her allegedly stealing gift cards donated to CAPSLO — was constitutionally protected.

So what’s the takeaway from all these developments? According to Velie, Adam Hill and CAPSLO masterminded her arrest.  Continue reading CalCoastNews and The Sobering Truth

Laughter is The News

Read Aaron Ochs’ guest column in the July 2013 issue of Information Press here

Shortly before midnight, around a time when people are caught in a purgatory between complete exhaustion and insomnia, two shows on Comedy Central are aired. Every weeknight from eleven to midnight, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart/John Oliver and The Colbert Report offer more news – that’s digestible and more intellectually satisfying – than what CNN broadcasts within 24 hours. However, they are purely comedy shows that harness the power of satire to compress very serious issues – with sometimes severe ramifications – into an hour of belly-bursting laughs. By the end of each show, we are enlightened. By learning and appreciating their craft, we are able to absorb knowledge more objectively and thoroughly than getting our news from mainstream journalism.

Continue reading Laughter is The News

CalCoastNews and the Civility Police

UPDATE (Sept. 28): Kevin Rice spoke to Razor Online and provided more insight into the allegations made against him and elaborated on incidents that we covered. See below.

On June 12, KVEC 92.0 Hometown Radio host Dave Congalton invited former San Luis Obispo City Council candidate and trusted CalCoastNews contributor Kevin Rice, along with Publisher Karen Velie, to discuss the importance of civility in public affairs. In reality, the focus was on District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill and his opinions about civility.

Hill sent an e-mail to elected officials about the 2011 United States Conference of Mayors Civility Accord, which was a response to the 2011 Tuscon shooting. Shortly after the e-mail was sent, Velie published an article about it on CalCoastNews. From there, ironically, “civility” was used as a weapon by people criticizing the supervisor. This is irony at its worst.

Continue reading CalCoastNews and the Civility Police

Crazy Calhoun and Libel

Ann Calhoun
Ann Calhoun

Former Sun Bulletin columnist Ann Calhoun has been one of my favorite subjects to write about. She and former reporter Ron Crawford were the news sources in Los Osos before The ROCK came into existence. When I lived there, people would consistently refer to them as news, even though they produced mostly opinionated columns about the wastewater project. Now that the project is underway, their relevance has dissipated with the exception of a few lengthy, rabble-rousing articles by Crawford. Recently, Calhoun took on a subject that I’ve recently become very familiar with, but apparently she wasn’t familiar with the actual details. Then came the irony.

Continue reading Crazy Calhoun and Libel