Our biggest stories of 2011, Craigslisted and otherwise.




The year 2011 was an exhilarating one of rebellions, both successful and ongoing, against oppression and corruption.

Across the Middle East we saw, and are continuing to see, the Arab Spring, with dictatorships toppling like dominoes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and hopefully soon, Syria.  Not surprisingly given Anaheim’s vibrant Little Arabia neighborhood,  much of the Arab Spring was chronicled here by Gabriel San Roman, Rashad the Happy Arab, and our own Roqaya in her big hit,Damn it Feels Good to be Egyptian!

Here in the US, partly in emulation of this Arab Spring, we had Occupy Wall Street, which soon spread to Orange County, at which point our editors Vern Nelson and Greg Diamond became heavily involved and shared their thoughts and experiences here at length – along with fellow Occupiers Amber, Duane, and Francisco.  On the other side we had our conservative blogger Geoff Willis and his phalanx of rightie commenters (as well as the other local blogs) providing criticism and snark against the movement, for much debate, heat and light, because that’s the way we roll here!

In the rebel stronghold of Fullerton, to which we have unique access due to our sister-blog relationship with Tony Bushala‘s “Friends For Fullerton’s Future,” true revolt has broken out as a result of the horrific police beating murder of lovable homeless man Kelly Thomas (and to a lesser extent the planned Chevron development of West Coyote Hills) – leading to a recall election this year of the three most culpable Councilmen.  This blog has been second only to FFFF in its coverage of this revolution.

This year also saw the final decisive VICTORY in the long grass-roots struggle against The Great Fairgrounds Swindle – the secretive and possibly illegal effort of a small group of wealthy well-connected OC Republicans to get their paws on the Orange County Fairgrounds – public property that our grandparents’ tax dollars paid for so our own grandchildren could enjoy it.  This blog was at the forefront of that struggle throughout 2009-10, at the forefront of the celebrations this past year, and we will continue to seek justice for the various miscreants involved over the coming year.

The redistricting of California’s Congressional and state legislative seats this year was itself the result of a voters’ revolt back in 2008, known as Proposition 11, against the anti-democratic gerrymandering of “safe seats” for both Parties prevalent in past decades.  Most of us here at the Orange Juice are pretty pleased with the results, and we’ve covered the process and results more extensively than any other local blog.

Our conservative bloggers Larry Gilbert and Tony Bushala can claim a victory in a long-time crusade of theirs – a crusade in which most of us liberals actually agree with them – against California’s wasteful and anachronistic Redevelopment Agencies, which last week were finally defeated by the state Supreme Court – after the wisdom of conservative activists like Larry and Tony finally trickled up to a responsible majority of Sacramento Democrats and Republicans as well as our fiscally prudent Governor Jerry Brown, that these were agencies that had long outlived their usefulness and could no longer be afforded.  Congratulations guys!

This past year also saw,  in various states this year that had newly acquired Republican governors and Republican legislative majorities – but particularly in Wisconsin – a full-frontal assault on both the rights of workers to organize and voting rights, leading to huge populist outcry and pushback.   Having friends in both Wisconsin and Ohio, we’ve covered these ongoing revolts extensively from both sides.

And in our own little OC Wisconsin known as the town of Costa Mesa, the autocratic Mayor Pro-tem Jim Righeimer (not at left) has launched his own jihad on both public workers and democracy, rashly attempting to lay off and outsource half the city’s workforce (precipitating Huy Pham’s suicide) and now wanting to rush through a June referendum to change the town to a “charter city” to give himself even more absolute control.  (This situation has  led to our current chilly relationship with the OC Weekly when Vern wrote his polemic “The Once-Great R. Scott Moxley Fluffs Jim Righeimer.”)  If the insurgency against these draconian moves hasn’t yet reached Wisconsin fever-pitch, it’s because we’ve only just begun to turn the knob clockwise here.

All of the above earth-shaking 2011 events were extensively reported on, discussed and debated on this blog over the course of the past year, and often we were actors ourselves in these dramas.

And yet…

And yet, our biggest, most popular story of the year, by a mile, was Geoff Willis’ late-October “Man Arrested When Shape-Shifting Hooker Turns into Donkey,” with over 10,000 readers.

This entertaining little nugget apparently went viral after being advertised on Craigslist all across the country.  Which brings up something:  We like Geoff Willis, and hope he keeps posting here, because we need conservative voices!  Some of his stories are good, and even the questionable ones lead to good knock-down-drag-out fights in the comments sections, during which we sometimes learn something!  But when Vern and Greg tried to figure out “Why do Geoff’s stories keep getting so many hits?”  we couldn’t help but notice that they are usually promoted – by somebody – on Craigslist across the nation.  And not just his donkey hooker stuff, but even his anti-Occupy diatribes and his homely sermons on self-reliance and against political correctness.

Was this a good or bad thing, we debated?  Vern is not going to complain himself, because the extra hits are adding modestly to his modest Google-Ads revenue, which is rapidly approaching a hundred dollars a month!

On the other hand, we note that none of these thousands of Craigslist visitors actually join in the conversation in the comments section, perhaps because they find it awkward to type with one hand.

In the spirit of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” Greg tried last week promoting Amber’s fine scoop on the black San Diego nurse who was allegedly rammed, beaten and hogtied by CHP officers in Santa Ana while driving his Mercedes home – promoted it on Craigslist in San Diego. But it was immediately flagged as inappropriate and taken down, twice. So, in the celebrated words of five-year olds everywhere, we protest “Not fair!” Geoff Willis, the master of Craigslist, gets his OWN category because we can’t compete with him on a level playing field in number of hits:

Geoff Willis’ Top Ten Stories of 2011:

(I note with some satisfaction that none of Geoff’s assaults on Occupy, or his “Obama Murdergate” stories, made his top ten – even with Craigslist assistance!)

[Geoff’s Anaheim angel]

One other category to quickly dispense with:

Old Stories that people just keep clicking on for one reason or another.

  • Vern’s May 2010 piece The Company Bill Hunt Keeps: now, Michele Bachmann?, which got 9,477 hits last year.  We do not imagine that many people in 2011 were interested in the previous year’s failed OC Sheriff candidate’s brief flirtation with the most extreme characters of the Republican Party, before retreating into private life as Joe Arpaio’s bodyguard.  We do imagine that, with Bachmann still on the national stage vying for the Presidential nomination, folks across America are jonesing mightily for this picture of the pinwheel-eyed Minnesota queen smoking a crack pipe.  And they find it here.

  • Similarly, the interest of 5,792 internet surfers in Humberto Caspa’s 2009 piece Aztecs playing basketball in Costa Mesa? Maybe Not was probably more an interest in this popular image:

  • Our founder and former editor Art Pedroza is very proud of the longevity of old stories of his such as his 2008 Happy ending for massage parlors in Santa Ana, which got 4,677 hits last year.  Art sees this as proof that this blog was better, more popular and more relevant under his leadership.  I wonder what keeps possessing people to google “Massage Parlors, Happy Endings, and Santa Ana?”  and if they are at all disappointed when they find the piece to be about new restrictions put on the industry by the City Council?

Same with Vern’s 2010 “Wedding Bells for Loretta,”  Larry Gilbert’s 2008 “Discussion with Hewell Howser,” and anything with Sarah Palin in the title.  SO.  All of that nonsense out of the way, let’s see what are actually…

The Top 25 OJ stories of the year, excluding Geoff and Craigslist!

  • New Santa Ana USD Thread – 2011-12 edition! (3,332 hits – our latest edition of an old Pedroza tradition, but Vern took “corruption” out of the title, just in case there were things teachers and SAUSD workers wanted to discuss that weren’t exactly “corrupt.”)
  • Ron and Ana Winship hit it big with Wile E. Coyote is alive and well in Laguna Woods! – 2,775 hits – but, really, are that many people really interested in Laguna Woods’ red-light cameras, or are most of them looking for this cool image we put on it?

Okay, okay, that’s enough now!  To another big year of comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable, kicking ass, and taking names!!!

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.