OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Voice of OCVoice of OCEA & Brothers!

Posted by Lassie on May 6, 2013

I rarely blog here, but I decided to unveil a post that I have been sitting on about the funding of Voice of OC. The Voice of OC has been jokingly referred to as the Voice of OCEA and the Voice of OCEA and Brothers by many insiders around Orange County, due to funding coming from the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA). It’s commonly known around the county that the unions fund the Voice of OC but no one that I’ve talked to know how much.

I decided to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together and determine where the Voice of OC receives their funding and what motives they might have. My presentation to you will be simply presenting facts and allowing you to come up with your own conclusion.

In order to start my investigation, I went to one of the best sources of information on non-profit organizations: www.guidestar.org. The information that was retrieved from this website was rather fascinating.

Here is a copy of the form 990.

1) According to the “People” tab on the www.guidestar.org website, the current board of directors is a well-known group. Here is the most recent Board of Directors list; Joe Dunn, Erwin Chemerinsky, Henry Weinstein, Daniel Weintraub, John Cruz, Mario Rodriguez, Robert Magnuson, Stanley Tkaczyk, Loren Blackwood, Wylie Aitken (Chairman), and Norberto Santana (Editor-In-Chief, who also received over $100,000 in 2010).

Joe Dunn – former State Senator who represented the 34th Senate District (currently held by Senator Lou Correa).  He unseated former Senator Rob Hurtt and caused the Republicans to lose its first State Senate seat in Orange County.  Republicans have not being able to take back this Senate seat since.  After he was termed out of office, Dunn was appointed as the CEO of the California Medical Association in 2006, and he is the current Executive Director of the State Bar of California and is a founding partner of The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP.

Wylie Aitken– A lawyer, but better known in the Orange County political arena as the Chairman and Founder of the Democratic Party Foundation in Orange County.  He is famously known for providing political strategy and as a major donor to Democrats nationally and especially in Orange County.

Erwin Chemerinsky – The founding dean of University of California, Irvine School of Law. He is the author of a few different books including most recently two books titled; The Conservative Assault on the Constitution and Enhancing Government. It is my understanding that Chemerinsky also teaches political science classes.

Henry Weinstein– He is a founding member of the faculty at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. He like Robert Magnuson (his profile is listed below) also held a position at the Los Angeles Times in the past.

Daniel Weintraub – He has been a public affairs columnist for the Sacramento Bee editorial pages since 2000. Before working up in Sacramento, he worked at the Los Angeles Times for 8 years and Orange County Register for 6 years.

Robert Magnuson – He is the owner of Magnuson and Company, a strategic communications and management consulting firm based in Laguna Beach. His background includes over 20 years of working at the Los Angeles Times, where he was Senior Vice President in the organization.

Stan Tkaczyk – He is the current President of Rainbow Disposal Company and is the husband to Orange County Register Columnist Barbara Venezia. He was recently appointed to serve on the OC Fair Board by Governor Brown in 2012, where he serves with OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino on the Orange County Fair board.  Both were appointed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Loren Blackwood – I could not find much information about her other than discovering that she co-founded the Newport Beach Winery with her boyfriend Richard Moriarty, who is the heir to the Segerstrom fortune. According to the article, she handles the marketing for Newport Beach Winery.

Mario Rodriguez – He is the chairman of the Hispanic 100 and former Chairman of the Latino Coalition.

John Cruz – He is also on the board of the Hispanic 100.  He was appointed as the Appointments Secretary for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Cruz is also an attorney.

2) In 2010, the Voice of OC took in $450,707 in total revenue. According to www.guidestar.org on the 2010 form 990 that was provided by the non-profit organization, here is the breakdown of where the cash is coming from.   I’m only able to provide the 2010 contributors because that was the last time they made it available for the public to view.

Orange County Employees Association:    $269,500
California Endowment:    $82,008
United Food & Commercial Workers:   $25,000
Wylie Aitken:   $25,000
Joe Dunn:   $14,635
Stephen Garcia: $10,000
Jeff Teller: $5,000
Anne Andrews: $5,000
Other Contributions (under $5,000): $14,564

You can expect to see this donor list in all of my future posts on this topic to serve as a reminder of where Voice of OC is receiving their funding and what their interest could be.

3) In order to provide a broader picture of the organization, I will also present that in 2010, the Voice of OC had $381,520 in total expenses. After searching through the 2010 Form 990, I could not find an itemized list of specifically what they purchased with the money they spent.

However, the only major expense they spent was for the editor-in-chief, Norberto Santana.  His salary in 2010’s report was listed as $120,000 and $16,900 in other compensation.

As stated at the beginning of this post, I will not make any conclusions in this post, but simply leave you with this question:

Can a news agency/blog that appears to receive over 75% of their funding from public employee unions and high-ranking Orange County Democrats, write news stories that are objective in Orange County especially on high-ranking conservative Republicans? Was there ever an article written that didn’t lean to the left? More posts to come.

Here is a response to this article from Jennifer Muir of OCEA:

It’s no secret that OCEA provided seed funding for Voice of OC, and that since then, a number of other organizations and individuals have seen the impact of Voice’s investigative reporting and chosen to become contributors, as well. OCEA will continue to contribute for the following reasons: Voice of OC’s nearly 100,000 visitors per month, its string of investigative reporting awards from the OC Press Club, its recognition from the USC Annenberg School for Journalism, its inclusion on the Associated Press wires, its partnership with PBS, and its bipartisan Community Editorial Board. Journalists across the Country recognize the high quality and impact of Voice’s reporting, and Orange County is better for it.

15 Responses to “Voice of OCVoice of OCEA & Brothers!”

  1. Captain Obvious said

    How long were you sitting on this, 2 years? For your next article you can write about the recent death of Hugo Chavez.

  2. David Boyd said

    Very interesting. I’ll still visit their website but read it from a slightly different perspective.

    Looking at their 2011 tax return a few additional comments might be in order. The Voice of Orange County claims 501(c)(3) charity status. This means the donors can claim a charitable deduction on their tax returns. As such, according to IRS regulations it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

    Their stated mission is as follows:
    “To hold government agencies, elected officials and other power brokers in Orange County accountable through investigative news coverage. To be a catalyst in the community for a robust and sophisticated discourse on local politics and government.”

    Looks to me like their Board of Directors are made up of power brokers.

    No list of donors was included in the 2011 return.

  3. OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

    Any stats on site funding since 2010? Well — they presumably exist, and you don’t publish them, so one must wonder why.

    Is it because they knock the legs out from under your thesis?

    Yes, Voice of OC received startup funding from OCEA. Are they still funded at the same level? Are they still funded disproportionately from OCEA? Why don’t you try to find out the answers? My bet is that Norberto Santana Jr. might be willing to talk to you about it.

    (Chrises — I’m sad to say it, this is more shoddy work. Investigate it yourself if your author won’t.)

  4. Paul Lucas said

    Matt, dont you receive like 100% of your income from republicans or Republican dominated Government bodies for PR work? By your standards set here, one needs to ask if you can be objective in your reporting.

  5. Really? said

    Isn’t it ironic how a self-professed expert of the U.S. Constitution is not above perverting it? The law professor/blogger/political vulture contingency in California … paid to protect the vulgarity of constitutional wrongs in the courts… paid to advance the “more power equals more constitutional rights” theory in the press …. and paid to choke the life out of new generations of otherwise free-thinking law students that could have possibly grown up to be lawyers like Paul Lucas not afraid to be disbarred for stepping outside all of the above … what the f is the point of this article anyway?

    • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

      Are you complaining about the author of this post? Because, if I recall correctly, “Lassie” is not a self-proclaimed expert in anything, but a dog.

    • Paul Lucas said

      Point of information; I amm not a lawyer. I cant tell if youre lashing out at me or praising me.

      • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

        He may have mistaken you for me, or have been talking about Chemerinsky, or maybe he knows the author of this piece.

        (For lawyers, of course, being lashed out at can be a form of high praise.)

      • Really? said

        Maybe I have the wrong “Paul Lucas” — sorry– were you a lawyer before? If you are the former lawyer – I wasn’t criticizing you at all – just making an observation about your former life – that you didn’t fit the mold of CA lawyer and be grateful for that

        • Paul Lucas said

          Yes Im afraid you do have the wrong Paul Lucas. But I sure wish that poor bastard good luck lol. Its not easy being me trust me on that one. :o). And thank you for your kind thoughts.

  6. Henry Gattis said

    I look forward to the new NEWS SITE: http://WWW.VOICELESSOFOC.ORG .

    From the snippets that I have read it should be pretty revealing and engaging. Something tells me the VOLOC won’t be renting a room in the Santora building with their Prius’ parked out front.

    • It looks like a desperate attempt by Art Pedroza and Santa Ana Commissioner Sean Mill to start another crapola blog to shill for Paul Walters and Pulido’s puppets.

      • Henry Gattis said

        I don’t think so Stan, from the announcement I read, it reads more like a centrist Democrat/socially liberal republican/with a libertarian bent. Kinda like a cross between FFFF and OC WEEKLY.

        The video was exactly flattering to Santa Ana in general. Something tells me Mill would not have liked it, nor would have Pulido.

        But, I have NO DOUBT, it will be poisoned before long by people like you, Diamond, Pedroza, Lomeli and Chmiliewinski.

        It’s address was Sacramento, CA for whats that is worth.

        • “centrist Democrat/socially liberal republican/with a libertarian bent”…………. Hmmmmm

          Yes that is Art Pedroza! ……. the unstable political individual

          Art, you never can be “Kinda like a cross between FFFF and OC WEEKLY” because you are Mexican National Socialist and same as Obama a hater of the Americanism.

  7. Henry Gattis said

    And I think it was the VLOC actually.

    Who knows maybe they will hire Andrew Galvin, I heard he is looking for work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: