Remember the date — March 18, 2014 — the day Orange County Register sold out and abandoned its LONG-held Libertarian traditions established by its founder Raymond C. Hoiles generations ago. The Hoiles family sold Freedom Communications and the Register to two journalism novices in 2012.
Brian Calle, the Register’s Opinion Page Editor, allowed this garbage on his page his morning: Less-bad option for higher gas prices in California (outside Paywall here). It rationalizes a lesser-of-two-evils tax policy. In part,
Given the negative impact that AB32 is having on energy costs and the state’s economy, and the questionable claim that it will have any significant impact on improving the local – much less the global – climate, the 2006 legislation should be repealed. Unfortunately, the political reality is that this is not going to happen anytime soon. The question, then, is which method of dunning taxpayers for dubious environmental reasons is less detrimental: cap and trade or a new gas tax. At least under Mr. Steinberg’s measure, two-thirds of the revenue would be returned to a sizeable portion of taxpayers, which is probably a better use for the money than any the Legislature would otherwise put the fuel cap-and-trade funds toward. Thus, this may be the less-bad of two unpalatable options for drivers and taxpayers.
The struggling Register of even a few years ago would never have taken such a gutless, ineffectual position on a major tax increase, and especially one being promoted by a fraudulent out-of-control agency as Mary Nichols’ CARB. And they certainly wouldn’t have given a backhanded compliment to a Democrat weasel like Darrell Steinberg.
Former Register Editorialist Steve Greenhut jumped on it right away via Facebook:
Greenhut, his old (now retired) friend John Seiler and the late Alan Bock ruled the OCR’s editorial pages years ago (before Calle, whose byline we’ve seen only once since Kushner hired him) and would have set the building on fire if anyone had written such crap when the paper was an intelligent, thoughtful read. And we’ll predict it will only be a few days before the OC Business Council’s fatuous Lucy Dunn, also a State Transportation Commissioner, gets more than a few inches in the Reg’s diminishing editorial pages to support Steinberg’s latest tax proposal. Dunn, and her friends at the OC Taxpayers Association, have become frequent proponents of new taxation which always finds its way to the State’s real governors, the public and private labor unions. Her contributions are unwelcome and unnecessary, but apparently it’s copy that Kushner needn’t pay for.
From a “hard news” standpoint, consider these two stories, also from the 18th, on the latest shenanigans of failed 2012 AD72 candidate, Los Al Councilman Troy Edgar, and his reprehensible political consultant, Brett Barbre:
Disqualified candidate sues to be on ballot in clerk-recorder race — by the Register’s journeyman political writer Martin Wisckol, but oddly placed outside the paper’s Internet “pay wall” so it might be read by non-subscribers.
Clerk-Recorder Candidate Sues Elections Chief — from the union-funded online-only Voice of OC by former Register investigative reporter Norberto Santana and his colleague Nick Gerda.
Both pieces impart the same basic information, but the VoOC has about double the material, background and facts — as well, it includes a useful video obtained from the Registrar’s office with a minute-by-minute analysis of Edgar’s ridiculous beef, and a link to his two attorneys’ 11-page lawsuit (note that Assemblyman Allan Mansoor’s Chief of Staff, Chad Morgan, is one of the lawyers). The Voice also offers some background, likely accurate given their experience, on Barbre’s real political and financial motivations.
This isn’t the first time that Voice of OC reporting has run circles around the Register. Considering they’re FREE and don’t HIDE behind a paywall, we can easily ignore that the majority of their funding is coming from Nick Berardino’s OCEA. Norberto Santana runs a fair enterprise, and since we understand where his backing comes from, it’s easy to spot any prejudices or leanings. To his credit, these are rare.
We’d hoped with the Kushner takeover that the Register might be reborn, or at least spiffed up. As we wrote last October, he wasted no time in nearly doubling his print subscription rates after blocking free access to the paper’s abysmal, unsearchable website with the Paywall. There’s been no noticeable increase, in quantity, quality or timeliness, of local news coverage in the Reg. It’s website doesn’t come close in quality or usefulness to its competitors like the LA Times. Calle’s opinion section has noticeably decreased in pages since last year, with the content becoming increasingly bland and non-topical for an Orange County audience. The Voice of OC has become as adept at covering government corruption in the County as the Register has NOT, causing a long-time subscriber like me to wonder just what I’ve been paying for?
The OC Weekly, a long-time local media survivor, has had the Register on death watch for some time. It looks like it’s time to join them.