By KAREN VELIE
A Jimmy Paulding campaign consultant aggressively trolled San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Lynn Compton’s campaign after Compton organized a GoFundMe page for a Nipomo family who lost their teenage daughter in a fire, motivating other trolls to attack the grieving parents. The consultant is now claiming foul, after Compton blocked her on Facebook.
Following the death of a teenager during a devastating house fire in Nipomo, Compton, who knew the family, organized a GoFundMe page. At the time, multiple journalists, including a Tribune reporter, asked Compton to comment. She refused and directed reporters to contact the teen’s family.
Paulding’s paid consultant and Tribune columnist Sandee Hunt-Burns then attacked Compton claiming her support was a publicity stunt that took Compton away from her role as a county supervisor.
“So disgusting,” Hunt-Burns posted on Facebook. “Do better. Performance activism and fishing for votes off a death is just reprehensible.”
Several local trolls then attacked the teen’s parents, one questioning their faith and another, Atascadero City Councilwoman Susan Funk’s husband Gordon Fuglie, falsely claiming the teenager did not live with her parents, according to the Facebook posts.
Under laws that public officials could not block commenters on their social media pages, trolls could completely take over a candidate’s page. In 2021, a court ruled campaign pages are not public forums and that candidates can block specific people from commenting, permitting Compton to block Hunt-Burns.
Hunt-Burns then contacted the county, leaving a voice message falsely claiming she was a Tribune reporter and that she had been illegally blocked, Compton said. SLO County Counsel Rita Neal rejected Hunt-Burns’ argument.
“I use my campaign page to inform prospective voters,” Compton said. “But Jimmy Paulding’s paid campaign consultant had attempted to hijack my page in an attempt to continue Paulding’s misinformation campaign.”