OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘Voice of OC’

Anaheim Chamber Misleading E-Newsletter

Posted by Allen Wilson on January 7, 2014

AnaheimChamber

The Anaheim Chamber recently boasts that the EZ (Enterprise Zones) was a success due to a recent independent audit in the January 7th, 2014 e-newsletter edition of “This Week in Anaheim”:

The recently published audit of Year One of the Anaheim Enterprise Zone was confirmation of the Chamber’s successful launch and operation of the EZ. According to the independent audit,  “the City of Anaheim and the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce have developed an effective partnership and made substantial progress implementing the Enterprise Zone Program, and in carrying out core responsibilities.” The audit’s “assessment of the Program’s first year of operation revealed many key successes” and judged that the “the Enterprise Zone Program achieved a substantial number of its first-year goals, and made significant progress on the other goals. This includes processing 1,417 voucher applications from local businesses, each representing a newly hired employee.”

This is no surprise: last summer, the Governor’s Jobs Czar told the Chamber that if every Enterprise Zone in the State operated as well and as efficiently as the Anaheim EZ, the program would not have been eliminated. This was a judgment echoed by other leaders in Sacramento.

The Chamber stood-up a successfully operating Enterprise Zone in next to no-time. As of December 4, 5,786 job-creation vouchers had been issued – in less than two years.

That is a testament to the City of Anaheim’s wisdom in contracting out the operation of the EZ, rather than running it in-house; the city recognized it was unlikely to achieve as much success, as quickly, as the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. We were able to administer the EZ at half of what it would have cost the city to do so in-house, while deriving vouchering revenues back to the city to the tune of $400,000.

“I am extraordinarily proud of the work our Chamber staff and Enterprise Zone team did in administering and managing the Zone. Today, there are businesses operating in Anaheim and not out of state because of the Enterprise Zone,” said Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jeff Farano. “Today, there are many formerly unemployed and hard-to-employ Anaheim residents who now have jobs because of the Enterprise Zone.  That is a real record of accomplishment of which all Chamber members and Anaheim residents can be proud.”

However, the Anaheim Chamber neglects to disclose in their e-newsletter that the same audit reported chamber’s spotty expense tracking according to the December 30th, 2013 article in the Voice of OC.

The Chamber was awarded a five-year contract by the City of Anaheim in 2012 at an initial cost of $1.8 Million, then it was bumped to an additional $1.1 Million for the need to hire more staff at a grand total of $2.9 Million for the purpose of administering Anaheim’s enterprise zone.

The full account of the audit was performed by Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting at the request of the City of Anaheim.

The Voice of OC reports that chamber’s expense tracking was so shoddy that auditors could not determine whether the business group spent taxpayer funds on other, perhaps political, activities.”

The Voice of OC further reports that “the chamber’s tracking of staff time was unreliable, so verifying the organization’s spending under the contract was impossible”, Ouch!

When a civic organization, such as a chamber, that gathers support from the business community should be forthcoming with all of the facts and not omitting facts for the purpose of bragging rights on the success of the enterprise zone program.

It makes one wonder if the Anaheim Chamber had a journalist in mind when producing the e-newsletter for accurate reporting instead of a propaganda tool at the behest of those at the top in charge of the organization.

Therefore, misleading or slanted information of any documentation such an e-newsletter diminishes the reputation of an organization.

Posted in Anaheim | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Voice of OC(EA) SMEAR Campaign against Senate Republican Candidate Janet Nguyen

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on September 7, 2013

This just came across the wire from the Janet Nguyen for Senate campaign:

WARNING – Voice of OC(EA) SMEAR Campaign against Senate Republican Candidate Janet Nguyen

The self-described “non-profit investigative news agency” blog called Voice of OC has been conducting a relentless smear campaign geared towards keeping Republican candidate Janet Nguyen out of the California State Senate.

Recently they have focused on Janet’s involvement in making the County Organized Health System (CalOptima) operations more accountable and transparent. One out of every 4 residents of Janet’s district utilize CalOptima. She is proud of her advocacy efforts on their behalf as a member of the CalOptima Board of Directors. Janet has also co-hosted annual Central County Health and Senior Expos with numerous public agencies, non-profits, community organizations and local businesses since 2010 – this was recently chronicled by the OC Register. The Expos, through the generosity of thousands of volunteers, have served over 10,000 children, adults and seniors who do not have access to preventative health care, generating substantial savings for the taxpayers as preventive health care needs are addressed before these residents resort to costly emergency room services.

Unfortunately, Janet’s efforts to reform CalOptima and outreach to the community have been mischaracterized by the Voice of OC  blog whose only interest is to further their own political agenda through an organized smear campaign.

Some have asked why this Blog has taken such an interest in a smear campaign against Janet Nguyen?

The answer should be obvious. Just follow the money. A check of the Voice of OC’s most recent IRS filings shows that nearly all of their funds come from labor unions and Democrat donors. A full 63% comes from a single public employee union – OCEA.  The remainder from Democrat/liberal donors or groups. These entities all have a huge stake in making sure State Senate Dems keep their 2/3rds super majority.

Here’s the rundown according to the Voice of OC’s own tax returns:

TOTAL FUNDS RECEIVED (report from latest 2 year period) : $797,040

Orange County Employees Association – $499,500                                     63%
California Endowment – $121,012                                                                  15%
Wylie Aitken (Former Chair Democratic Foundation of OC) – $85,000       10%
United Food & Commercial Workers – $25,000                                             3%
Former Democratic Senator Joe Dunn – $14,635                                          2%
*Major Democrat Donors:  – $30,000                                                             4%
Unnamed small donors – $21,956                                                                  3%

*(donors to: Act Blue, DCCC, Barbara Boxer, Beth Krom for Congress, Alan Lowenthal for Congress, Loretta Sanchez for Congress)

Posted in 34th Senate District | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

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.

Posted in Orange County | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Voice of OC Pledged Feature on DPOC After OCGOP Article: Where Did it Go?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 6, 2012

On Thursday, August 16, with great fanfare, the Voice of OC published the OC GOP’s candidate endorsement questionnaire under the headline “Just What is an OC Republican?

The article notes, “While the questions are intended to vet local candidates for local offices, many focus on ideology as well as on national issues.”

It also states:

While party leaders insist the questions are not a “litmus test” for candidates, they are illustrative about what central committee members want to see in elected officials.

“It’s designed to philosophically reveal where a person is coming from,” said local GOP Chairman Scott Baugh. “There’s no litmus answer sheet that has the perfect answer.”

Despite Baugh’s comments, county Democratic Party Chairman Frank Barbaro had his own opinion of the Republican questionnaire. “If it looks like a litmus test, smells like a litmus test and tastes like a litmus test, it is one,” Barbaro said.

Barbaro said county Democrats are issuing their own questionnaire for candidates. Voice of OC will feature that questionnaire Friday.

Let’s look at those last two sentences again: “Barbaro said county Democrats are issuing their own questionnaire for candidates. Voice of OC will feature that questionnaire Friday.”

Friday, August 17 has passed…so has Friday, August 24…and Friday, August 31.  No one has seen the DPOC questionnaire on Voice of OC.  They haven’t published an article on it.  Where is the “feature” they promised?  Why would they promise that and not deliver?

Best-case scenario, they just plain forgot.  Worst-case scenario, the article got spiked.  Either way, an organization that bills itself as “Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency” has not exactly acted as a news agency should.

Will Voice of OC ever publish the DPOC’s questionnaire?

Many people have referred to Voice of OC as Voice of OC[EA] in light of its funding by Orange County labor.  Do they really want to add fuel to the fire behind that nickname?

Posted in Democrat Central Committee, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »