Orange Juice Blog’s Top Stories of 2016




Top row: Newman blimp, Newman & wife, Clem Dominguez & Jim Knapp, Gina Clayton-Tarvin, sole Bernie shirt for sale at DNC convention; 2nd row: Dr. Moreno & Mayor Tait, Brandman pleads innocent, Diana Carey,Vern holding anti-Trump sign, Hillary logo; 3rd row: KKK confrontation with flag, Trump pinata head, Brett Murdock, Trump “carnival barker” sign, Amin David; 4th row: Carpetbagger Kang sign, Trump escalates downward, Steve Lodge chokes, anti-police violence rally


These were our most viewed stories in 2016 that were first published in 2016.

1. OJB’s 2016 School Board and Special District Offices & Candidates: File Now or Forever Hold Your Peace!

This was not supposed to be our endorsement piece for the November — look a few slots below for that —  but things got out of hand.  Greg was not able to finish that endorsements on time due to “life happening,” and so people started looking for the next best thing: his article on who had filed back in August, which also contained some information about who we like.  It got over 3500 hits, mostly in the six weeks before the election.  Even after we published the actual endorsement list, even after we referred people there to the correct post, we still could not turn this damned thing off.  (We blame the Russians for this.)

2. Here’s What I Saw at the Bruising 2016 Democratic National Convention [NOW WITH VIDEO]

“Friend of the blog” Carol Levers had not written for us before, but she came back from her experience as a Sanders Delegate to the Democratic National Convention with quite a story to tell.  Over 3,000 of you read it.

3. Disneyland Observes a Night of Silence in Memory of Joel Acevedo

The title Vern used is ironic — Disneyland didn’t do this intentionally — but it did have a “silent night” due to a protest over the killing of Joel Acevedo.

4. Chris Epting saves Huntington Beach from Cop-Killers! ***SNARK***

The first of many stories on this list where Vern takes on goings-on in Surf City and its most obnoxious former journalist. (last few words V)

5. Finally Final(ish)! OJ Blog’s Comprehensive 2016 General Election Endorsements!

By Greg with help from others.  This was what y’all were supposed to read!  By the time it finally came out, about a couple thousand of you did.

6. APD summons the community to tell us NOTHING about their killing of Adalid Flores

Vern stays strong on the “questionable deaths in Anaheim” beat.

7. Brea Treasurer Rick Rios, Aiming for Election, Instead Drunkenly Hits Two Parked Cars and is Arrested

Greg’s story got a lot of interest, but while Rios shuttered his online campaign he still won.

8. Jeff Lalloway unloved in Irvine and beyond

Our “Tyler in Irvine” ripped his homeboy a new orifice before the OCGOP delegate elections — once you’re established as a writer here you get some leeway over your topics — but Lalloway also still won.  (V – the REAL reason this story got so many hits was the amazing comments section, where Jeff jumped in to defend himself and his multiple Irvine Republican enemies jumped in to trash him, and the rest of us, Democrats and others from across the county, were able to just kick back and watch, laugh, eat popcorn, puff on a bong, all of that good stuff.)

9. Garbaginati on two recent unsettling HB photos

Vern moved inland this year, but he didn’t lose his focus on Surf City and the stinking up of a poor elementary school.

10. Chris Epting Slides a Flaming Bag of Dog Excrement into Vern’s Concert

Vern’s title was a metaphor — and this was the “tamed-down” version. (Original and better version – Chris Epting Sends Suicide Bomber into Vern Concert.)  Still, reading it gives a good sense of the dynamics of HB local politics this year.

11. Where Do We Stand Now That Most All of the Primary Signups are Done?

This is the sort of story that Greg would like to be able to read, which unfortunately means his writing it.  (Check out the part about SD-29 — OJB was an “early adopter”!)

12.  Farce or Menace? HB’s Chris Epting hooks up with HB’s Dave Garofalo!

Another of Vern’s Epting-related HB reports.  Like him or hate him, people sure did read ’em!

13. Everybody against the citrus-faced guy!

The Winships RICARDO weighed in with our second-ranked story about the national election.

14.  Westminster’s Diana Carey puts out an emergency call to her city’s people

By Vern.  OJB’s greatest regret, among political outcomes that we conceivably could have helped accomplish, is Diana Carey’s loss.  Westminster now hops on to the greased skid that Costa Mesa just departed, downhill to insanity.

15. Josh Newman Forces Ling-Ling Chang to Pull Down Defamatory and Dishonest Cable Ads in Disgrace

By Greg.  OJB’s greatest satisfaction, among political outcomes that we conceivably could have helped accomplish, is a tie between Newman’s victory and the results of the Anaheim City Council races.  We’re not sure what to do about having a State Senator this decent and good, but we’ll figure something out.

16. A Day at the Races: Daily Updates to Candidate Filings

Part of what seemed even to Greg like an interminable series — but we have it on good authority that various candidates do watch our updates as they decide about where and whether to run, so we’ll try to keep doing them.

17. College Republicans’ Bernie Stunt Falls Flat

Vern calls out the cretins at UCI.  Some of the cretins, anyway.

18. I Hate Carpetbaggers

Fullerton’s Tony Bushala showed up to let everyone know that he was going to smack around Sukhee Kang as long as he was in the SD-29.  People from out of the district didn’t get this, but those of us up here did:  if Kang had won the primary, Bushala was going to rip him apart and Ling-Ling would have won.  (He is no fan of Ling-Ling Chang, but this was the Great Park story coming to his own backyard — and how could he have been able to resist it?)  This was a significant shot across the bow.

19. The Rodgers Park Victory: A Portrait of Huntington Beach in early 2016

This piece by Vern will be of some historical interest someday.

20. Your June 2016 Primary Voters’ Guide

By Greg.  More people should vote in primaries.  And yes, we should get these guides out earlier.


Every year, some stories retain readership despite having been written earlier.  The two top stories on this list were our two top stories of the entire year.  The second one, had it been written a few months later, would have topped our “annuals” list.

1. Appeal filed for Jesús Aguirre, the Buena Park teenager serving life in Pelican Bay

Vern’s controversial piece is still probably the top source of news for this story about what he describes as a grave injustice.  And people are still very interested in the case.  Just thought you should know.  (V:  Jesus’ dad is pretty sure that Proposition 57, which he fought hard for, will let his son out a lot earlier.)

2. Brett Murdock to Challenge Ed Royce for Congress: Democrats Get the Guy They Wanted

By Greg.  Brett Murdock finished about where Jay Chen did in his own 2012 against Royce, but he did it with far less money behind him.  Like Chen, he kept Royce from being as active outside of the district as he might have liked, which is its own kind of victory.  The continued pre-election interest in this post was unexpected and unrelenting.  What Murdock — who had the second-best use of campaign signs this year (after Newman’s) — got for his trouble is this: a much higher profile, a clear reputation that includes being unbought — and a very good poll of how well voters in the largely overlapping 4th Supervisorial District liked him.  If he runs for that seat in 2018, he’ll unburden himself of Yorba Linda and add almost all of the largely Democratic in Anaheim flatlands.  No other potential candidate — including the disgraced Jordan Brandman — starts with the same advantage.  Now, will he run?  That is an unwritten story for another day.

3. TRUMP-alicious: The OJ Oracle reveals the Political Horoscope of The Donald!

The managers of this blog are not believers in astrology — but we have to admit that what is written here, which was published on AUGUST 18 2015 and not substantially revised thereafter — is uncanny.  TOJO should be made Trump’s Court Astrologer.  Start a writing campaign for this or something.

4. Huntington Beach’s Mobile Home Uprising – which side are YOU on?

Vern’s 2014 story still gets a lot of readers because it still matters a lot to a lot of people.

5. “Homeless – The Motel Kids of Orange County”

Inge Scott, now of somewhere in eastern Northern California, wrote some of the most powerful and popular stories ever on this blog.  This one got the most readers this past year.  (She also did the first serious general interest article on TPP — which, as you may have heard, eventually became a thing.)  Here are links to Inge’s OJB writings on TPP, starting on June 19, 2012!

6. J*hn and K*n’s Special El*ction V*ter G*ide (KF*)

We wish that people would stop clicking on this.  It’s from April 2009, for God’s sake!

7. Doomsday Businesses “Laughing All the Way to the Bank”

Inge’s second-ranked blockbuster evergreen — and still timely

8. YOU could own one of criminal Harkey power-couple’s Exotic Cars!

Vern’s droll report was from December 2015, an honorary 2016 story, but we’re still putting it into this list.

9. If you were Mayor, what would you do to improve your city?

Putting aside that John & Ken story, this is the top-ranked piece from the Pedroza days still got almost 1,000 clicks.

10. Doolittle’s Raid. The untold story

And this, by Larry Gilbert from 2010, is the second-ranked one from the ancient regime.

Special Cultivars

We have a few “honorable mentions” that we’d like to remember from this year, mostly about politics in a year filled with consequential political news.  Some of them helped change history.  The first five are from Vern, though they have been hand-selected by Greg.

1. “Consider that a Divorce.” OVSD gives Rainbow the Boot; more school districts to follow?

Vern on a pivotal moment in the HB “Oak View Elementary” controversy.

2. The KKK’s bogus journey to Anaheim

Vern reports on what will long be a day to remember.

3. BREAKING: Anaheim’s “People’s Map” Wins! More Details to come…

Vern posts the outcome of the struggle “when the Kleptos caved,” but what makes this piece most valuable (as this site’s managers are well aware) is the quality of the discussion in comments.

4. Josh Newman, the People’s Candidate for NW OC Senate

Vern’s interview the the man who would be State Senator

5. Jordan Brandman’s Bald-faced Districting Lies

Vern’s definitive report of Brandman’s mendacity over his role in the districting process

6. Kris Murray Prepares Pre-Primary Council Resolution Condemning Trump by Name; ILLEGAL, Must Resign

Cynthia Ward gets the drop on Kris Murray’s — who may regret this venture of hers by now — illegal proposed pre-primary attack on Donald Trump.

7. “Democratic” Pringle Puppet attacks progressive, working-class candidate. Will Vandermeir speak up?

Ricardo Toro throws down a gauntlet at the DPOC Chair after Chumley attacks Donna Acevedo-Nelson.

8. Steve “Chavez” Lodge is a Very Bad Man (Part One) — “Let’s Go to the Video Replay”

Cynthia’s piece got a little over 65o views — but may have had a huge effect on Anaheim’s future.  The video of Lodge sucker punching a guy in a hotel lobby (about the details of which he later lied under oath) preceded by not all that long the Atlas Group and others dropping their endorsements of Lodge, in some cases switching to Barnes.  Disney backed the wrong horse in District 1 — and so lost control of the City.

9. Pringle’s Trough: the OC uber-Lobbyist’s (partial) Client List, as assembled by Sean Paden

Occasional contributor Sean Paden offers up something less than a boycott list, but something that is still jarring.

10. SD-29: Did Sukhee Kang’s Phantom Poll Even ASK About His Rival Josh Newman?

We can probably safely say that the answer to Greg’s question in the title is “no.”  A nice example of why the Kang campaign was largely viewed as skeevy.

11. ‘Lying Lying Chang’ – Ling Ling’s Lies About Career and Education Finally Arrive in Independent Voters’ Mailboxes

Greg reminds voters of Ling Ling’s lies — occasioned by a persuasive mailer that cited lots of OJB writing.

12. Amin David, the Scaffold of His Community, Has Died After a Life of Great Success and Service

We could go on, but we’ll leave it here with Greg’s tribute to Amin David — who, in the year he died, was still arguably the most significant individual in Orange County politics.  The changes, as opposed to the continuity, in Orange County largely can be traced to actions that Amin took to awaken Latino voters in his city.  That gets you the election of Jose Moreno and arguably, given the cooperation with Tom Tait, of Denise Barnes.  Those votes carried Sharon Quirk-Silva back into office and led Josh Newman to break new ground to the north.  If Amin David was a “scaffold,” a metaphor largely saluted in the wake of this tribute, he left behind him a strong structure.  Not a completed one, of course — in politics, there is no such thing as “completed.”  But still: strong.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)