Some are born great, some have greatness thrust upon them, and then some are suddenly called on to take the place of Pedroza – what shoes to fill!  I’m still catching my breath, and I feel humbled.  But probably not for long.

I want to assure you all that even though I am Far Left Vern, this is not going to become a left-wing blog!  No, what drew me to this blog all along was the variety of opinions, the rude and unpredictable back-and-forth that you just don’t get on the Red and Blue blogs.  That will not change, in fact we shall jack it up if we can.

One thing that’s always been true about the Orange Juice – beyond all the left-right conflict, it’s always been strongly pro-immigrant;  and with me, Sean, Francisco, Duane, and Art still contributing, that will stay the same.  (The xenophobia will be confined to a few of our goofier commenters.)

I’m gonna make sure Art stays on with frequent feisty posts on Santa Ana politics and the atrocities of the local blogosphere and political parties because that’s what draws people here – hell, that’s what drew me here!

When I looked around for local blogs to read in 2005 or 6, this one seemed like the most fun and least compromised;  the Liberal OC and Red-Faced County were both too insular and predictable…as well as intertwined.  And none of that’s changed.

Back then, Democrat Sean Mill, Republican Thomas Gordon, and independent Art seemed like a really cool trio of muckraking troublemakers in their beloved Santa Ana, and I dreamed of someday doing something similar in my own Huntington Beach.  Meanwhile Claudio Gallegos was writing long hard-hitting exposes of the Minutemen and Costa Mesa racists – a subject that’s as timely as ever now that Mansoor is going for an upgrade.

In August of 2007, Art and Claudio took notice of an anti-war protest some friends of mine were holding in front of Loretta Sanchez’ office.  This made no sense to them, as Loretta had voted against the war (although she continued to vote to fund it.)  They wondered aloud (without asking us) why we didn’t protest at the pro-war Republicans’ offices instead (which actually we did plenty.)  They also had no idea that our relationship with Loretta was relatively friendly – not only did we meet with her and eventually change her mind about war funding, but she actually used to drive by and thank us for what we were doing.

So Art called for a big counter-protest – to which I responded BRING IT ON – and meanwhile Claudio, hearing that there was some kind of “rolling hunger strike” involved, came over and interviewed us while chomping on a big chicken sandwich.  (We just thought he was sort of a strange slob, until we read his post later and realized that was his idea of humor – gobbling food in front of hunger strikers.  I’d link to Claudio’s post here, but they seem to no longer be archived.)

Art’s counter-protest “fizzled” by his own account, but to his credit he showed up, talked to us, and decided that he agreed with us after all.  For months after that, I sent him notices of our various anti-war events, which he always posted (while the Liberal OC always refused to – possibly because we had “disrespected” Loretta) and he also posted notices of my piano concerts.  That’s how I first became involved with this blog.

Fast forward to March 2008, I was enthusiastically trying to help Debbie Cook beat Dana Rohrabacher, and the Orange Juice had just acquired a real showboat hysteric named Sarah Michelle Spinosa, against whom I commenced fiery hostilities when she started dissing both the Loretta protests and Debbie herself.  Impressed with the fireworks, Art asked me to write a blog post about Debbie, and the rest is history.  Recent history anyway. Recent, local, bloggy history.

Thanks for your kind indulgence.  Where does the Orange Juice blog go from here?  I propose:

  • Bringing down more bastards on both sides of the aisle
  • Challenging the noise machine right-wing or otherwise, as well as disabling the silence machine
  • Comforting the afflicted
  • Afflicting the comfortable
  • Making you laugh, cry, think, and ACT.
  • What else?  Throw me a bone here…

And we’re going to need all of you!  Onward into the fray, Juice brothers and sisters!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.