Are SLO County Civil Rights Groups Lazy, Complacent or Afraid?

Aaron Ochs
5 min readApr 29, 2020
Women’s March San Luis Obispo

Prior to the state launching their stay-at-home order, I reached out to several civil rights organizations in San Luis Obispo County regarding the homophobic and obscene robocall by Kevin P. Rice that he delivered to residents in late February. The impetus to reach out was fueled by Rice’s call-in appearance on the “Dave Congalton Show” and Congalton’s oddly lackadaisical condemnation of Rice’s actions. What I ultimately got was either radio silence or comments from board leadership that they don’t want to get involved.

Though I support the work that organizations like Women’s March San Luis Obispo and GALA San Luis Obispo do, my frustration over their reluctance to tackle relevant local issues remains palpable.

I operate in the same social circles as volunteers who are actively involved in many of these organizations, including our local chapter of the NAACP, Bend the Arc and Rise SLO. The individual and group conversations I’ve had with these volunteers over the years clearly show a consistent pattern of unrest within these organizations and politically motivated reluctance to address the growing toxicity in our local elections. Every four years, we deal with the usual suspects trying to influence elections, but these bad actors attempt to stoop lower than the previous election. Yet not a peep about these issues are publicly discussed nor do these groups issue a public statement.

Rice’s robocall not only “satirically” impersonated the KKK to smear a Jewish County supervisor (District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill), but in the same call, he targeted the supervisor’s female political opponent and her sexuality (Stacy Korsgaden). There was absolutely no basis for these attacks. This was the kind of call that would stoke the ire of civil rights organizations in any other county. Clearly, this was a discussion that lit up local social media, especially when it was revealed that District Attorney Dan Dow would investigate the call.

In early March, I decided to write a letter to 920 KVEC’s parent company American General Media about issues involving Congalton show and Rice’s misconduct. I included a provision in the letter that stated anecdotally — and only anecdotally because volunteers associated with the groups I mentioned earlier were discussing the…

Aaron Ochs

Author, artist, advocate and entrepreneur from Morro Bay, California.