2018: The Biggest, Best, and JUICIEST OJ Stories!




What a year, what a historic election!  And your favorite Orange Juice Blog was right in the middle of it all.  Our top five stories, all written by our tireless analyst and “managing editor” Greg Diamond, were all geared toward helping voters understand their choices this past June and November; in fact I’ve met several people in the unlikeliest places this past month who said, “You do the Orange Juice Blog?  That was so helpful when I voted!”  And they were probably referring to Greg’s pieces, the most-read of which was the sorely needed one on the judicial races, which had 18,468 readers.  The TOP FIVE:

  1. 2018 Vote #1: Greg’s Recommendations on JUDICIAL Races
  2. City Council Candidates (and Some Analysis)
  3. UPDATED! Final* NON-City Council Offices Rosters, Plus “AEIOU Extensions!
  4. OJB’s 2018 Primary Picks, Pt 1: Guv, Senate, BOE 4
  5. Candidate Statements: Irvine Mayor

Way to hog all the readership, Juice Brother!  My (Vern’s) most popular pieces of the year don’t come in till #6, and sadly several of them are the accounts (sometimes the only accounts) of the folks who died this year at the hands of Anaheim police – this year tending more to be homeless and/or mentally ill, rather than the young fleeing Latinos of former years. 

NUMBER SIX, by Vern:  Peter Muntean, latest APD victim, legally blind, mentally ill, unarmed, 24. I’ll be looking into this case more in the coming weeks, as outgoing DA Rackauckas (as always) found the killing officers blameless … BUT there are certain DISCREPANCIES between Tony’s report and what was originally reported, that I’m going to have to examine.

#7 most read this year was MY terse election piece entitled Vern’s Rebel Voter’s Guide, Nov. 2018!   Interestingly, Facebook wouldn’t let me promote the piece, because they claimed the illustration I used (Spider Jerusalem, the futuristic Hunter Thompson-like journalist who inspires me) “promoted the abuse of drugs.”  What drugs?  Do you see any?  Does that have to be a joint he’s smoking?

#8, by our friend and guest reporter from San Juan Capistrano, Michael Laux, was his Update from San Juan Capistrano’s Endangered Los Rios Historic District…  This piece (and its predecessor) created quite a stir down in that beautiful South County town, and we have some more pieces from down there in the hopper.  

#9, Greg again with Auditor Controller Race — Help Me Decide Between Smart and Woolery!  I think we all ended up going with the underdog Toni Smart, who didn’t win.

#10, One of my Huntington Beach fire-bombs – Embracing Gracey: The OC GOP’s anti-semitic, islamophobic Lorena Bobbit.  Yes, hopefully this helped tank both Gracey Van Der Mark and Dana Rohrabacher, but the important thing is it pissed off Chris Epting and Chuck Johnson!

#11, continuing on my sub-genre of ridiculing insane women involved in politics (who have also threatened either decapitation or castration), there was my Suspension Day for DA candidate Lenore Albert!  Wait, I think she’s suing me over that.  I’d better look at that packet.

#12, my recent Cunningham’s wife Laura to be appointed to vacant Orange City Council seat.  This probably didn’t tilt the council to appointing Beatriz Valencia, but apparently it DID embarrass them out of appointing Mrs. Cunningham!

#13, another of my sad series of Fatal Encounters with the APD:  Chris Eisinger, and West Anaheim’s anti-homeless Hysteria.  This case also just recently rolled out of the cop-exoneration factory of Tony Rackauckas, who seems to be clearing off his desk.  Claims T-Rack, all that damage to Chris’ skull bones as well as his asphyxiation was the SUDDEN result of excessive meth usage!  Oh, and what originally “looked like a stick,” (that he was carrying and dropped, and which we guessed was something he was using to retrieve recyclables) now “looked like a metal pipe” – much scarier!  Although still it was apparently never retrieved.

#14, and maybe you could say this didn’t help the Cynth-monster enough, but I did my best, and EARLY ON in the game:  Why this Progressive Democrat is Supporting Cynthia Ward For Anaheim Mayor.

Let’s keep going till we get to a piece that’s not by Greg or Vern.  Let’s see…

#15.  For years I’d been dying to get rid of Tony Rackauckas and thought of Todd Spitzer as the far lesser evil, and I came back to that point of view as the fall wore on, but in the spring and summer I was so disgusted by Spitzer’s demagoguic demonizing of the homeless that I wrote pieces like Field of Monsters: Brett Murdock emerges as the only Human Being in the DA race.  Although I preferred this one better because it includes Todd’s Dream Journal!  (Or Fingal O’Flahertie’s masterpiece “Spitzer’s Piss-gate!“)

#16. Great another HB pipe bomb – CA-48: Harley Rouda gets the DCCC! (While Keirstead has Chuck Johnson’s “Liberal OC.”)

#17.  This one, by the unidentified “Anaheim Insider,” was remarkably similar to a press release put out by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce on the Anaheim Blog singing the praises of Mayoral candidate Harry Sidhu:  Harry Sidhu SAVES THE FOURTH OF JULY for rich white people in the Hills!  – except EVEN FUNNIER!  And it was in the comments section of this piece that we discovered and began to broadcast the fact that Harry impersonated a veteran in that parade!  I wish we could say this defeated him, but shit.  He’s our Mayor now.

Ah here we go – #18, Busted Sign Thief / Carpetbagger Paulette Chaffee leaves Fullerton Council Race! is by our Ryan Cantor, and DID help defeat a terrible candidate.

Then there are…

The Orange Juice Chestnuts.

The stories we wrote in previous years that people just keep clicking on!

1. Nearly 4600 people this year just couldn’t get enough of Cynthia Ward’s 2016 Steve “Chavez” Lodge is a Very Bad Man (Part One) – the one with the video showing him beating some guy up unprovokedly.  Huh?  Steve wasn’t running for anything this year.  Well, apparently that’s what happens when you keep going out with a controversial “Real Housewife of the OC” Vicki Gunvalson, and everyone keeps getting curious about her off-and-on boyfriend.  I get the feeling that, partly thanks to our stories, the Anaheim kleptocracy won’t be running Steve for anything again – apart from his manifold personal failings, is ANYBODY gonna really believe this time around that he lives in District 1, or wherever else they pretend to stick him?

Chestnut 2 was my quick-and-lazy 2016 hit piece Young “Trump” Kim releases ONE year of taxes, makes matters worse!  I think some journalist linked to it this past November, I remember someone called me while I was busy (ironically?) knocking on doors for Gil, and I could hardly remember the story.  But thanks for the extra 1691 hits, Mr. Journalist!  (Maybe that helped Gil a little too?)

Young 'Buttkicker' Kim Video Still

People still keep reading my 2014 saga Huntington Beach’s Mobile Home Uprising – which side are YOU on? – over a thousand this year – and sometimes they end up calling me and asking me to write about their OWN mobile home struggles.  I wish I had time to help ’em all…

And people are STILL reading Art Pedroza’s sweetly entitled 2009 piece If you were Mayor, what would you do to improve your city?  But this year it was less than 1000, so the old chestnuts are starting to fade away.  

So let’s move on to a new category…

the “What is Wrong With You People?” category.

The pieces of MINE that I think were the best and shoulda got a lot more readers.  (You can do this too, Greg.)  READ THESE WHEN YOU’RE BORED!  In no particular order…


Greg can add the stories he thought were his best, that you should read if you haven’t.  Apart from that, a pretty good year of “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” and helping to midwife this-here Blue Tsunami!  Well … just wait for 2019, we’re just getting warmed up here still!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.