About Orange Juice Chief Vern Pat Nelson and his Bitter Enemies…


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We’ve noticed that a Google search of “Vern Pat Nelson,” for some reason, turns up this story first, before all the recent attacks on him. So this is as good a place as any to, first, hear him play Malagueña…

This is Vern’s website, as composer and pianist. Since 2008 – a decade now! – he has been writing for this blog, the Orange Juice Blog, and since 2010 when he purchased it from Art Pedroza, he has been running it, with a balanced multipartisan group of bloggers and focus on local politics.

Here’s a link where you could read the hundreds of stories Vern has written for this blog. Over this decade of blogging, with an emphasis on afflicting the comfortable, comforting the afflicted, and calling bullshit on corruption and dishonesty on all sides, he has made a lot of enemies – all the right ones. From the corporatist right-wing Democrat Dan Chmielewski of the “Liberal OC” to the alt-right Huntington Beach racists Chris Epting and Chuck Johnson. And has pissed off a lot of politicians like current Anaheim mayoral candidate Lorri Galloway (a favorite of Chmielewski) who recently fabricated a far-fetched #metoo-style allegation against Vern.

Well that’s enough background. Here’s the original story from the (then) worried Ricardo:

Vern and the author at last summer’s Bernie Sanders rally in Irvine.

When I asked about the absence of chairman Vern, the publisher and co-editor of this blog, I was informed that he had entered into a treatment program, making him unavailable for a while. Obviously Vern has an addiction problem, and multiple DUIs are beyond most people’s comprehension.

In a magazine I browsed a few days later, one of its popular articles, written in 2015, was titled the “Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous “(see here). This analysis of the AA program explains the failure of some people to recover :

…J.G. decided to seek help. …He spent a month at a center where the treatment consisted of little more than attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He tried to dedicate himself to the program even though, as an atheist, he was put off by the faith-based approach of the 12 steps, five of which mention God. Everyone there warned him that he had a chronic, progressive disease and that if he listened to the cunning internal whisper promising that he could have just one drink, he would be off on a bender…

…He felt utterly defeated. And according to AA doctrine, the failure was his alone. When the 12 steps don’t work for someone like J.G., Alcoholics Anonymous says that person must be deeply flawed.”

The news that Vern had incurred a fifth DUI infraction, made the blog of the DPOC Communications’ Chair explode with comments. In addition to condemning him for putting other peoples’ lives at risk, his action was harshly judged for not having been disclosed while the DPOC endorsed Donna’s city council candidacy. The irony of this criticism is that the addiction of a spouse is viewed more reproachable and unacceptable than all the money that Disney poured into its candidates’slate, which included Jordan Brandman.

The endorsement did not make a difference anyway. Vern as campaign manager presumably tried his best, but he ended up making Donna’s candidacy an odd one. It started with characterizing her as a “ fiscally conservative” candidate — as if that was the main concern of the working class areas in her district. Many opportunities were missed to make the case that Donna was the better alternative to the corporate backed candidate, who became the council member.

The Vern Nelson Problem in the political realm is his quixotic attempt to blend conservative values with other political traditions, and vice-versa. Sometimes they blend well — and sometimes they don’t.  It works well when issues considered non-mainstream become common ground, such as district elections, good government, corporate greed, homelessness.

The unchartered waters of his approach earned him political detractors from differents sides. Among them is the DPOC Communications’ Chair. When you compare them in political terms on issues like corporate greed, as when Disney was granted an entertainment tax exemption at the expenses of generations of Anaheim residents, whether one drinks moderately and the other liberally, the consequences of their political advocacy are starkly discrepant.

At least VPN is not an elected official, a policy maker, a council member, a Senator.  Flawed or not as an individual, whether we like his political positions or not, he has made interesting contributions to our discussions, and has kept this diverse”mosh pit” forum available. I hope that this time he finally controls his addiction, and recovers well enough to come back more effective in his quest to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”


About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly. http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/12/caterpillars-crossing-in-a-city-at-a-crossroads/