The official motto of Lobdell's OC: If it happens in Orange County, it's news to us!
I just got turned on to a news website I should have known about since January: the Irvine Tattler. Filling the gap left by the retreating forces of the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, Stephen Smith has developed a wonderful muckracking site focused on Irvine politics.
He's broken several big stories (for instance, he recently reported that "councilman and mayoral candidate Sukhee Kang used a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request in August 2006 to obtain an estimated 90,000 records with personal information about Irvine voters, including birth dates, home addresses and e-mail addresses").
With councilman and Great Park Chairman for Life Larry Agran and his cronies for material, he's got plenty of targets. He also provides plenty of primary documents and audio to back-up his stories. It's great stuff and an indication that all is not lost in journalism. Here's an excerpt from a recent article, "Supervisors More Ethical Than Agran":
The irony is not lost on those of us who fought the proposed El Toro International Airport that the Orange County Board of Supervisors now seem to have a higher ethical standard than Agran and his allies.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, airport opponents criticized the County for secret meetings, misleading propaganda and wasting taxpayer dollars on endless designs that seemed to change with the political winds.
Now the roles are reversed.
After the public embarrassment of Sheriff Mike Carona's arrest and resignation, the Supervisors chose to hire the new sheriff in public. They reviewed the applications in public, interviewed candidates in public, and deliberated in public to select their new sheriff, Sandra Hutchens.
Agran, in contrast, has insisted on keeping the CEO selection process secret. The search committee members were all Agran political allies. The search committee consultant, Lisa Mills, was once a Santa Ana City Council member allied with Miguel Pulido. Agran's relationship with Kurt Haunfelner, the committee's choice, was also kept secret from the board.
When Choi and Shea insisted that Agran open the selection process to the public, Agran refused.