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.
This week, we learned Oceano Community Services Director Cynthia Replogle was blocked from serving on any committees. Her colleagues pointed to disagreeable comments she’s made about the district from behind the dais, with her constituents and on social media. That shouldn’t be a problem. Ms. Replogle has always been outspoken about the local issues, and I argue that being critical of the government she serves absolutely deserves to be recognized, not prohibited.
But I was surprised to see Los Osos resident and self-described “government watchdog” slash “community activist” Julie Tacker weighing in on the issue.
In an op-ed published on CalCoastNews, Tacker bristled at the New Times’ Shredder referring to her “activism” — with regard to the latest controversy in Oceano — as “incessant crap-stirring,” adding the publication allegedly tried to quash her free speech. Recently, Tacker announced that she filed a formal complaint to compel the district board to walk back their decision.
For all intents and purposes, Tacker is right. Ms. Replogle shouldn’t be barred from serving on committees or taking on committee assignments because of her criticism of the district. But Tacker, of all people, should sit this one out.
The first time Tacker indicated she wasn’t a fan of free speech was about a decade ago. At the time, she applied to volunteer for the Los Osos Community Advisory Council. After the council voted by majority to reject her application, she called me, crying. She wanted me to compile a list of names and personal addresses of every board member who voted them down and criticized her record. Specifically, she wanted me to create a “hit list.” I declined.
Around the same time, Tacker expressed anger over claims made about her and her partner Jeff Edwards on a site called Los Osos Sentinel. She wanted to know the source behind the website. She said to me, “Dead men tell no tales, and when I’m through with [him] he won’t be telling any more of them.” I found her comments threatening. Then she asked me how I could “remove” the website from the Internet and its “slander.” Tacker denied making those remarks years later, telling law enforcement that she once…