It is time to end the Orange County blog war, even if I pay the price for it

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Torturing each other isn’t what blogging should be about…

I am supposed to go tomorrow to the office of Todd Gallinger, the attorney the guys from the Liberal OC hired to sue me over what really amounts to a frivolous case.

I am not going.

I have been fretting for weeks, trying to find an attorney to help me defend myself.  I came close last week, but I decided to let the poor guy off the hook after he made it clear he didn’t know much about the law in question.

Today I decided that enough is enough.  I am not going to mount a defense.  If these guys want to run me over with a tank, well I am going to lie down in front of it and let them.

A few months ago they were asking me to fork over ten thousand dollars.  God knows how much they want now.  Sorry – but I am no longer playing along with this.

One thing that has become crystal clear to me over the past few months is that this Orange County blog war needs to end.  I have made such overtures to the Liberal OC bloggers, to no avail.  They smell blood in the water.  Well guys, go ahead.

While I cannot dissuade them, I can do something to end this blog war once and for all.  And that is exactly what I intend to do.

It is easy to villify the Liberal OC bloggers – and they certainly have done that to me.  Well, no more.  I am not going to allow them to be attacked on this blog henceforth.  Whether or not they decide to drop the case, I am going to do what I can to end this madness.

And it certainly is madness.  Just this week one of the Liberal OC guys, we think, (this has been denied by the Liberal OC’s editor) called the Anaheim police department to complain about an anonymous comment made over at the Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog.  They told the police that our blogger, Sean Mill, was the culprit.  The comment in question was a threat to cut the brake lines on Harry Sidhu’s car.

That comment was inexcusable, and quite frankly the FFFF guys should not have allowed it.  But no, Mill didn’t write it.  But this is how poisonous the O.C. political blogosphere as become.  Enough.

Mill’s dinner was interrupted that night by two Anaheim cops.  Not cool. 

We are all grown men.  It is time to start acting like it.

When the Liberal OC guys bought my personal URL from a guy I thought was my friend (Ryan Trabuco) I saw red.  I have never been so mad in my life.  I know now that I erred by returning fire.  It was wrong.  I should have been a bigger man and walked away.

I also know that it would be childish for me to keep holding this against Trabuco.  At the time he was working for Supervisor Janet Nguyen.  I have no doubt that she encouraged him to backstab me.  She knows a thing or two about doing that to her friends.

I treated Trabuco like family.  When his appendix burst Paul Lucas and I were the only guys in town that went to see him in the hospital.  I wrote the only mailer he sent out when he ran for the State Assembly.  And he still stabbed me in the back.  But I think Nguyen put him up to it.

I was once very close with Nguyen.  In fact she even appointed me to a County Commission.  I resigned from that post however when it became clear to me that it was hurting her within her own party.  That is how much I cared about her.

How did she return the favor?  When I ran for the Santa Ana City Council, in 2008, I did so on a lark.  But I felt it was important not to allow Councilman Carlos Bustamante to run unchallenged. 

I asked Nguyen to stay out of the race.  Two days later she endorsed Bustamante.

You have to understand, in my book you are either with me or against me.  There is no in-between.  When Nguyen betrayed me that was it.  She called me later and asked me to come have a beer with her.  But it was over and I had moved on. 

We have scrutinized Nguyen’s every move ever since, and I suspect that is part of the reason the Liberal OC guys hate me so much.  Why?

Well, losing in politics is no fun.  The Liberal OC is very closely aligned with Nick Berardino and the O.C. Employees Association, because one of the Liberal OC editors works for Nick and is a union leader.

The OCEA has lost and lost for years.  In fact they had their teeth kicked in again in the recent Primary Election.  The only victory they can point to in the last dozen or so years is paying for the recount that put Nguyen in office. 

So you see, you don’t challenge Nguyen unless you want to draw the ire of the Liberal OC and the OCEA.

That happened to me in my Council race.  Nick and one of the Liberal OC editors joined forces with Matt Cunningham of Red County, and a slew of folks that hate my guts, and they paid for a mailer telling the voters in my city that I am nuts.

But you see, that’s the rub.  I am no monster.  You would not know that to read the Liberal OC.  But you know what?  They aren’t monsters either, as hard as that might be to believe.

We’re all a bunch of guys trying to make a difference in local politics.  Some of us are better at it than the others, but none of us are any worse or any better. 

It has gotten so bad that when the O.C. Register featured me in a recent article, talking about keeping Latino workers safe, someone went over there and posted libelous remarks about me, including links back to the Liberal OC.  The Register ended up deleting the comment.

This villifying of each other simply has to stop.  The stalking behavior has to stop as well, on all sides.  It isn’t right for us as bloggers to go to the homes of politicians and invade their privacy, even if they are carpetbaggers. 

It isn’t right to call one’s employer and try to get folks fired because they are bloggers.

It isn’t right to call the police over blog comments.

And it is certainly not right to pick a fight with someone then sue him when he retaliates.

Enough.  I have had enough and I expect that you, our readers, have likewise had enough.

Many of the bloggers in question have had a rough time of it over the past few years.  It wasn’t right for one of my bloggers to reference the financial issues of one of the Liberal OC guys.  And it wasn’t right for them to do the same to me.

I walked away from a six figure income shortly after the November election in 2008.  My boss asked me to lie about worker’s comp cases and I refused.  That company has since gotten into all sorts of hot water with OSHA. 

I almost bankrupted myself in the process.  And I am now fighting to save my home. 

I cannot afford to deal with this lawsuit distraction anymore.  My blood pressure is way up and I cannot sleep anymore.   Enough.

If the Liberal OC guys want to destroy me, then I hope they enjoy it.  I am getting off this hate train. 

The only thing I ask of you, my readers, is that you please consider contacting the Liberal OC guys and asking them to drop the case.

You can contact the Liberal OC’s editor, Dan Chmielewski, at this link.

You can contact their lawyer, Todd Gallinger, at this link.

I don’t know that they will listen, or care.  They will likely go on with my crucifixion.

But this is it for me.  I am not playing along and I am not going to lose any more sleep over this mess.  If the Liberal OC guys want to destroy me, then they should go ahead and do it then.  Just don’t expect me to play along.

We are moving on and I can but hope that they will too.

Chmielewski recently put up a post about his son’s graduation.  Congrats to them both.  I was most pleased to attend my daughter’s graduation, from FIDM, last weekend.  And all three of my boys were given awards by their schools, as their school year drew to a close.  My oldest son is in fact in Sacramento this week, on a trip with a bunch of brilliant boys who are learning about politics.

You see?  Both Chmielewski and I are good fathers.  We aren’t monsters at all, but you wouldn’t know it by our mutually destructive behavior. 

Well, this blog won’t be engaging in that B.S. anymore.  Even if these guys decide to wreck me, I am forgiving them and moving on.  I hope they accept my apology for all the mess we have all been mired in for the past few years. 

This poisonous crap isn’t what blogging should be about.  Well, we won’t be engaging in that anymore.  I hope the other blogs in town follow suit.

My father warned me years ago that I should stay out of politics, and writing.  One of his cousins was a journalist in Mexico, who was assassinated for writing about someone who took umbrage at his reporting. 

I don’t have to worry about knives and guns coming my way, but it is clear that the Liberal OC bloggers are trying to destroy me with their lawsuit, essentially because we do not agree much on political matters.   I should have listened to my father, I guess.  It just isn’t worth it, is it?

Don’t get me wrong.  We will keep on doing what we do best here – and on our sister blog, New Santa Ana.  But for us the blog war is over, even if I end up being its ultimate victim.

About Art Pedroza