Ancient OJB Weirdness: Pedroza, Lupe Moreno, and Bernedette Medrano Edition

The Orange Juice is under attack!

A year ago this blog was a small endeavor, with perhaps 100 hits a day. Today the Orange Juice blog is thriving – averaging close to 500 hits a day – and we have a terrific team of bloggers. I’m also very proud of our readers. You have given us a chance and I hope that we have met your expectations.

Now for the bad news. Earlier this year I crossed swords with Bernedette Medrano, (pictured at left) the Executive Director of the Santa Ana Education Foundation. At the time she was opposed to a candidate I was assisting, Lupe Moreno. She invited Moreno for coffee one day and I was not told about it. The meeting turned out to be a setup. Medrano asked Moreno some very tough questions – and Moreno’s responses were not, quite frankly, very good. Later, several quotes from that meeting were used by Moreno’s opponent for the 34th Senate District, Lynn Daucher.

Though I was upset with Medrano over her sneak-attack on Moreno, I later found myself looking for a female blogger, and knowing that Medrano was involved in education, I magnanimously asked her to become one of our bloggers. She accepted. However, after Al Mijares, the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) Superintendent, quit, it hit the fan here at the Juice. Teachers who had spent the last 12 years being afraid of Mijares and his cronies began to post – a lot – about the problems at the SAUSD. Medrano herself came under attack for not being critical of Mijares and his administration. She quickly got tired of the attacks and asked me to remove her as a part of our blogging team.

Recently I heard from Medrano again. She was sorely vexed about something that someone written about an SAUSD administrator, on an open thread I set up for SAUSD detractors. She asked me to delete the post – and because it questioned the gender of a Mijares acolyte, I deleted it. We later met and she unleashed her fury on me. In all the years that I have been active in politics I don’t know that I have ever spent a more awkward half an hour with someone. Medrano was so angry that I had to ask her to calm down several times. She kept asking me why I was allowing “trash” to be posted on my blog. I explained, repeatedly, the fact that I do not approve the posts. I can delete them, but I do not have the power to approve them. Nor would I want to do that. I have a life – in fact during the day I cannot post because I am at work. I don’t have the time to read every post.

I explained to Medrano the fact that I and my co-bloggers are huge proponents of free speech. We delete posts that are profane – and those that get into issues that are not germane, such as someone’s gender, or what their family is up to. No matter what I told Medrano, she was not to be mollified. She actually threatened me, repeatedly. She said she has a lot of connections in Sacramento and that she planned to email everyone she knows and tell them not to read the Orange Juice because it is “trash.”

Medrano did not stop there. She also asked me why I was working with John Palacio, a SAUSD trustee. I had to laugh! He beat me when I ran for the SAUSD Board of Education back in 1998. He was an ally of Nativo Lopez, the unethical SAUSD trustee that I helped to recall. I have not seen Palacio in a long time, and I told Medrano that. But she apparently chose not to believe me. I heard today, from a friend, that apparently there are Republican activists in Orange County asking why I am now backing Palacio. I wonder where they heard that?

It seems that Palacio and I are in agreement at this juncture, for different reasons. I have been a very vocal critic of Mijares and his administration – my position is that they had 12 years to improve things in Santa Ana, and they failed miserably. I guess Palacio feels that way too, for his own reasons. And so Medrano now feels that we are somehow allied. And it appears that she might be sharing that information with her friends.

Medrano has made it clear that she intends to “go nuclear” against this blog. Well, consider this a preemptive strike. I, and my blog team, have worked very hard to establish this blog. I am not going to let someone with anger issues attempt to destroy it.

I am looking at the posts on this blog, along with my blog team, and we are deleting those that cross the line. We are also asking our bloggers to please stick to the facts and not resort to insinuations, insults, etc. If you decide to attack an SAUSD administrator, consider doing it under your own name, for reasons of accountability. At the end of the day, we will continue to foster free speech and give anti-SAUSD bloggers a place to post. And no, I am not going to buckle to Medrano’s terroristic threats.

I decided, after meeting with Medrano, to take a look at her website, specifically her biography. She is quite accomplished. I read that she used to be a manger at Hyundai, prior to joining the foundation. She has also received all kinds of awards. What I did not see was anything about her credentials in education. There was no mention as to whether or not she has a college degree, or whether or not she has ever been a teacher. I, on the other hand, finished my MBA this year. I have been teaching at Cerritos College for three years, and I am a member of the California Federation of Teachers. I also served for five years on the Santa Ana Public Library Board, most of the time as Chairman of the Board. My credentials in education speak for themselves.

Medrano’s board of directors is somewhat interesting. There are some familiar faces on it. The board members include my old friend John Cruz, and Todd Spitzer, who I believe served on a school board in Brea years ago. Dr. Jo Ellen Allen, of the OC GOP Central Committee, is also a board member. There are also three members I never heard of: Julie Green Rommel, Dr. Morgan Odell, and Elias Mercado. Spitzer, Cruz and Allen are all Republicans, as is Medrano. I don’t know about the rest of them. I don’t think any of these people actually live in Santa Ana.

I am sorry that Medrano has taken umbrage with my site – and I am sorry that she resorted to anger instead of diplomacy. I tried to make peace with her by inviting her to blog on my site, and that backfired. I am at a loss at this point as to what to do about this. I invite our readers to pitch in with ideas, or to contact Medrano, and/or her board members, and ask her to back off.

We have an important mission here at the Orange Juice, and we don’t need the kind of trouble that Medrano is apparently cooking up. We offer a home for those who question authority – for those who are tired of machine politicians and their unethical behavior. We offer a place to find out about what is really going on in the OC. We have the most diverse blog team in California – with Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, from all walks of life. I think we are on the right track, and I will do my level best to make sure we keep it that way. I thank you all for your support!

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.