Between Two Extremes, There is a Path Forward

Aaron Ochs
4 min readJan 17, 2022

Author’s Note: I was asked by a local publication to pen a political column. I sent in the following column draft, but never heard back. Instead of letting this column fall to the wayside, I decided to publish it.

Recent controversy surrounding the redistricting effort in SLO County has revealed deep, extreme partisanship from both ends on the spectrum. Yet we’re also seeing the benefits of supporting a moderate and even-keeled approach to solving a big problem. These particular set of circumstances are a far too common occurrence in our county.

Last week, SLO County Citizens for Good Government (SLOCCGG), a nonpartisan and not-for-profit organization filed a lawsuit against SLO County in an attempt to overturn the Board of Supervisors’ decision to adopt a radically gerrymandered map. On Dec. 14, 2021, BOS voted 3–2 to approve the “Richard Patten Map,” which gives a clear partisan advantage to Republicans. The map also breaks up long-standing communities of interests, and deprives and delays supervisorial elections — creating needless chaos and confusion for all Central Coast voters.

According to SLOCCGG, their organization raised more than $200,000 in donations from over 1,000 community members within the first two weeks of fundraising. That effort is unprecedented. It’s unprecedented due to a number of factors: the level of community outrage, the amount of money raised, and the incredible efficiency of specific goal-oriented, nonpartisan problem-solving.

Before SLOCCGG was formed, there was outrage and disarray coming from both political parties.

Under the leadership of Rita Casaverde, SLO County Democratic Party has turned into a tribalistic, progressive circus filled with unresolved anger over Republican leadership, social media memes, randomly assorted hashtags, and an obsession with “wokeness” that seems more performative than compassionate. The party acts more like a high school political club with fluffy ambitions than an actual political organization with consistent messaging and actionable plans. In a clear attempt to mobilize young voters into action, they’ve adopted a very casual, Rebel Without a Cause-style aesthetic that undercuts and alienates seasoned Democrats.

Aaron Ochs

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