Regular OCP Blog readers have observed we usually preface anything we use from the Voice of OC as attributed to the “union-funded” Blog. It’s important to understand that the Orange County Employees Association at least partially funds their operation, although no one’s ever learned how much — the union won’t announce it and there are no web links between the two. The Voice does not sell advertising, and lists sponsors including the AP, Californians Aware, HealthyCal.org, California Watch and PBS SoCal. Per its website, it appears to have at least seven staffers at its Santa Ana office.
A number of well-known Democrats are members of the Voice’s Board of Directors — folks like UCI Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, former State Senator Joe Dunn and “Southern California Super Lawyer” Wylie Aitken. The Voice’s Editor-in-Chief, Norberto Santana was an excellent investigative reporter at the OC Register for years (where he’s never been adequately replaced). We’ve also been very impressed with reporting from the Voice’s Tracy Wood, David Washburn and Adam Elmahrek that’s reached much further into certain local issues the Register never has.
For the past few weeks, Santana has been appearing on Real Orange, Orange County’s only regular television newscast. It’s usually a good pairing, especially considering the paucity of TV news for low-information voters with any focus on the OC, but we were troubled with his first story from last night’s session, Friday on PBS: Moorlach Considers a Run for Governor.
Santana was discussing the surprise 2/13 leak of County Supervisor John Moorlach’s interest in running for Governor. But it took no time at all for him jump on Moorlach’s County pension — an issue that the OCEA and its neanderthal leader Nick Berardino has been goading him about for years. Santana first said Moorlach was going to run for Governor — no, he’s considering it. He then said Moorlach’s “weakest point” was his own pension, the “most lucrative” of the five Supervisors. Santana didn’t fail to mention that Supervisors Bates and Nelson are not taking pensions, and Spitzer and Nguyen have the “lowest pension benefit” of the remaining Board members. Santana said Moorlach was “leading from the rear” and would take a lesser pension when other County employees do. He predicted Moorlach would be running a “low budget” campaign as he wasn’t a good fund raiser — that’s subjective as we’ve saw him be quite successful at raising money for his first Supervisorial campaign. His term was apparently so successful that he was unopposed for his second run and needed little monetary support.
The former OC Treasurer-Tax Collector (he was appointed after predicting the bankruptcy), CPA Moorlach’s been championing pension reform for years at both the local and state level, and can be credited for a number of improvements in our own situation in the OC. Unlike others past and present on the Board, he’s never been rolled by Berardino and his minions. For his efforts, Orange County’s exposure to unfunded pension liability is now not as severe as most California counties, and certainly no where close to what the City of Los Angeles is facing thanks to their out of control, completely union-owned City Council and incompetent Mayor (neither will anything improve if Wendy Gruele is elected to replace Villaraigosa in May, and her opponent wouldn’t be much better).
It’s evident from Santana’s video comments that his OCEA handlers won’t be forgetting their past altercations with Moorlach and their resentment for his perfectly reasonable positions and strategies toward mitigating local government’s exposure to their overly generous pensions benefits. Lesser politicians have surrendered to the goons as they feared their money, their hordes, their dirty campaign tactics and being “primaried” by some union-purchased suck-up as Moorlach was in his first Supervisorial campaign by Stanton’s Dave Shawver.
As was pointed out last year in a major public forum by Costa Mesa Mayor
Jim Righeimer, Nick Berardino is Santana’s real boss — and the Voice has never denied its sponsorship from the union that Moorlach’s been fighting for over six years from the BOS dais. We can think of no one that has his background and understanding of public finance, and the danger we’re in from unsustainable public employee pensions and benefits — the last horrifying number we’d heard as far as California’s total obligation to organized government labor was over one-half TRILLION dollars.
It’s time the Voice comes clean about its funding — how much DOES the OCEA contribute to it, and how much influence does it have in its news and editorial content? Among others, John Moorlach would make a great Republican Governor (although the State might be beyond recovery by then), and it’s unseemly for the Voice of OC to start going negative on reformers like him when they’re not being forthcoming themselves on who and whose money is really behind their own operation.