Have you donated to our December pledge? If you haven’t yet, check out the following post and chip in. Our fundraising deadline has been extended to January 15, 2018!

Local extremists are on the ropes.

Our coverage and their $1.1 million defamation lawsuit loss has put them in a downward spiral. In their time of desperation, they’ve harassed, threatened and written fake news about our readers in a vain attempt to dissuade people from reading us. Their “investigative reporting” has dried up, their readership sharply declined, and their influence on local government has largely dissolved. Their attempts to censor us, our readers and our content has only made us stronger.

We support the free press, but we also support doing free press right.

That is why we’re going in a new direction. SLO Truth is transitioning to become a news and community platform on the Central Coast. We realized that we need to evolve past the occasional op-ed column to compete in an ever-changing media landscape. During a time when news publications are faced with budget cuts, hiring freezes, advertising decline and seemingly endless revenue loss, we need to reinvent the wheel. We believe we have the right formula, given the right people want us shut down by any means.

We broke a number of stories on social media, which locally went viral.

Earlier this year, we broke the story of financial fraud allegations against Los Osos developer Jeff Edwards being involved in an alleged pyramid scheme. We also investigated the allegations and combed through all the legal documentation. As a result of our coverage on Edwards and his partner Julie Tacker, I was repeatedly and falsely reported to law enforcement by Tacker. According to court documents, Tacker specifically stated she wanted our coverage removed from the Internet.

We also provided detailed, blow-by-blow coverage from the CalCoastNews defamation trial, analyzed the evidence presented by both parties, and investigated explosive allegations. Despite personally being stalked and harassed by Velie, I personally asked their controversial co-founder questions about her unlawful transfer of assets from the plaintiff. In retaliation, Velie took me to court over demonstrably false allegations and lost. She, too, also wanted me to stop writing. Velie continues to make false allegations about us in legal documents.

Recently, we broke news that several unnamed women stepped forward with allegations of verbal and sexual harassment against radio show host Dave Congalton. This is part of an ongoing series, and we’re continuing to speak with alleged victims. Congalton has attacked us repeatedly on-air with the intent to undermine us.

If you chip in for our December pledge, it will further guarantee that we go the extra mile and deliver quality journalism, sharp commentary and breaking news to SLO County residents. With your support, we will grow better, stronger and more adept at supporting our writers.

We will not be silenced.

Aaron Ochs is a columnist, marketing entrepreneur and founder of SLO Truth. Ochs is also involved in his community as founder of Save Morro Bay (www.savemorrobay.com).

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