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.
On Friday, I was hit with a ton of text messages at once. I can summarize what the messages were: “It was Kevin P. Rice.”
The Tribune was the first to report that Rice was the mastermind behind a bizarre and vulgar robocall that went out to San Luis Obispo County residents earlier this week. The robocall featured the voice of a middle-aged woman, enthusiastically endorsing District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill for re-election on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan while making homophobic slurs about his opponent Stacy Korsgaden.
After Korsgaden submitted a complaint to law enforcement, District Attorney Dan Dow announced his office was going to investigate the robocall in an attempt to uncover the anonymous source. This led the robocaller to walk back their incendiary message with a new call, claiming they were simply providing “satire and lampoon, not unlike ‘Saturday Night Live’ skits or ‘South Park’ episodes.” The caller denied the robocall was fake, claiming “[their] granddaddy really did receive the Hero’s Cross from the KKK.”
After news broke from Dow’s office that Rice reached out to him and admitted to his involvement, Rice told The Tribune his robocall was about “send[ing] a message to county voters” that “highlight[ed] Hill’s past ‘bullying’ of elected officials, media, and candidates for office.” That wasn’t clear in the first call, which was poorly scripted and incoherent as it lacked context. When he was asked why he didn’t disclose his personal involvement, he said it was because The Tribune would make the story about him and then “pooh-pooh the message.”
Rice would further defend himself on Dave Congalton’s radio show, echoing comments he made to The Tribune. In his defense, Rice said Hill was as evil as the KKK with his “horrendous, vile, homophobic, bigoted words and behavior.”
Two years ago, Rice — who referred to Korsgaden as a “selfish pervert” lesbian on the call — called for the San Luis Obispo History Center to…