Before the coronavirus (COVID-19) was officially labeled a pandemic, I was working on a new column that covered some of the recent issues I’ve had with CalCoastNews. Obviously, plans changed. I scrapped and rewritten this column several times.
I’ve been doing my part in self-isolating, working on a couple new projects and staying relatively low-key. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me to see if I’m okay. I’ve been reciprocating the gesture and reaching out to people, especially the more medically vulnerable people I know. It seems like everyone is in a daze, constantly trying to make sense out of everything while trying to adjust to new routines and fast-changing developments at dizzying speeds.
The coronavirus reminds me of the American comic book series Watchmen. The antagonist of the series, Adrien Veidt (Ozymandias), deploys a gigantic squid-like creature that lands in the middle of New York City. He faked an alien invasion, which killed half of the city’s population, but it united all warring countries and ended the threat of nuclear war. That was Veidt’s twisted goal, which he successfully executed.
We aren’t exactly united in the political sense, but most of us certainly know the importance of following instructions, staying home as part of an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases and deaths. and remaining ever vigilant in enacting aggressive social distancing measures. We have to do everything we can so the drastic changes in our lives are temporary and we preserve the lives of those around us. These should be our primary concerns.
But for CalCoastNews, it’s still very much about District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill.
On March 11, after the FBI searched the SLO County Government Center, Hill reportedly attempted suicide. Since then, he’s been unreachable but recovering. Without evidence, CalCoastNews and their readers speculated his reported suicide was triggered by the FBI raid itself. Readers hiding behind anonymous monikers said he should’ve “finished the job” while others called for him to be criminally charged and resign from office. And a neighbor of Hill reportedly spotted CalCoastNews’ Josh Friedman constantly circling the supervisor’s home to track his movements. They wrote an article indicating they were tracking him. That was hardly the first time the supervisor was stalked by the website and Friedman while he was accused of being AWOL.
Recently, CalCoastNews’ personal attorney Stew Jenkins is leading the charge to remove him from office by statute. In his legally nonsensical op-ed, Jenkins argues that Hill’s absence is a dereliction of his official duties to “mak[ing] decisions or sign a proclamation to take the actions needed to protect county residents in this critical time,” though responses to pandemic on the county level traditionally don’t hinge on a board chairperson’s input. For instance, in neighboring Ventura, Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties, coronavirus updates are provided by their respective health departments.
It appears they cannot socially distance themselves from their prized obsession — as if Hill’s absence is just as alarming or more alarming than the pandemic itself. Sad.
On that note, here are more reliable sources for COVID-19 news and updates:
- KEYT/KCOY News
- KSBY News
- ReadySLO.org (news and updates directly from the SLO County Health Dept.)
- San Luis Obispo New Times (updated every Thursday but reporters like Peter Johnson are constantly providing updates on Twitter)
- San Luis Obispo Tribune (paywall is lifted for coronavirus updates, but please subscribe if you like their coverage)
Aaron Ochs is the author of “Defamers: How Fake News Terrorized a Community & Those Who Dared to Fight It,” a nonfiction uncovering the defamatory, deceptive and criminal practices of online tabloid CalCoastNews. Click here to subscribe to his Patreon, check out exclusive news features and more.