OJ’s best and biggest stories of 2021!

Happy New Years Eve, Orange Juice lovers! It’s that time of the year again – the end of it – during which we revisit which stories on this blog were the most read, discussed, discoursed upon, shared, ridiculed, excoriated, shat upon, all that good stuff.

And what a miserable year it seems to have been. Nearly all of our top stories (except for the one that brought down Jordan Brandman) fall into three categories:

  1. The Jan. 6 Insurrection (along with Tito and Trump);
  2. Killings by OC police; and
  3. Sad untimely deaths of good people.

Certainly, there were other topics Greg, I, and the rest of our part-time staff wrote about fervently over the year, but the fact these three topics were what you dear readers were most interested in…. shows what sort of year 2021 was. So let us look back on this year, these stories, with sorrow, horror, and hope for some good shit to happen in 2022…

1. The Insurrection, Tito Ortiz, and Related

You can’t have not noticed – our American democracy is now hanging by its fingertips. A year ago next week, a giant goofy but bloody mob descended on our national Capitol to try to keep a President the rest of us had voted out.

And across the nation, patriotic folks looked around and said, “Hey, did any of MY neighbors participate in this sedition?” Here in the OC we found a lot of these traitors, and this blog was in the forefront of finding ’em. (And we were contacted plenty by the FBI.)

First, in January, we had (with tip & video from old friend Naui) a piece called From HB to DC: Michelle Peterson and Tanned BF Help Storm the Capitol for Trump!  – with over 5000 hits, and which led to the arrests of Ms. Peterson and her tanned boyfriend Mark Simon…

And, building on this, we created in February theInsane Coup Posse – OC’s Gallery of MAGA Goofballs & Terrorists!” We know this was useful in the arrest and prosecution of Kim Sorgente, Alan Hostetter, and others. To America, the Orange Juice Blog humbly replies, “You’re welcome.”

Meanwhile Huntington Beach had elected a professional-wrestler Councilman who was part of this same movement – one Tito Ortiz – and this blog was fortunate to have, during the most important months, an anonymous correspondent calling themselves “Tito Watch.” These were some of Tito Watch’s most-read posts last year:

Long story really short, the guy didn’t have much staying power, and when he quit Council in June after six months I ended up having to write the final piece myself:


…as well as the definitive piece on his destructive, propagandist love interest: “Marjorie Cheesecake Greene”: the Insidious Lies of Amber Nichole Miller. 

Three more of our year’s top pieces sorta fall into this category:

Right before the beginning of the year, we wrote Trump Dead-Enders Assault Three Santa Ana Locals, about a December 2020 incident near Santa Ana College, where a mob of Trump-loving “Stop the Steal” protesters maimed three local guys. This was also a piece of ours that the authorities took great interest in, from the SAPD to the FBI – Sorgente and Vargas were both violently involved in the Jan 6 Insurrection. Again, the OJ Blog says “you’re welcome.”

Alan Hostetter was a La Habra police chief, then a popular YOGA instructor in San Clemente, before he got caught up in the Insurrection. Interesting stuff, and we were lucky to have a commentator, very knowledgable on both Yoga and the South County, who prefers to remain anonymous but wrote for us: Bad Yogi!

And somewhat conversely, we’ve been covering the Tatiana Turner case – the Black Lives Matters organizer who is being charged by our DA with attempted murder for trying to drive out of a threatening crowd of Trumpies in Yorba Linda. I wrote Free Tatiana Turner: Is Orange County Waging a War on Black Lives Matter?  and have been covering her preliminary hearings as well, here and here.

Category 2. OC Police Killings

Okay, it wasn’t like Anaheim 2012, or Anaheim 2016, or Anaheim 2018, but there were a few questionable police killings in Orange County this past year, and the Orange Juice Blog is where people came to find out what they could about them, knowing we’d have the most skeptical reportage (along with anonymous comments from what could be either police lovers or policemen themselves.)

TWO stories about the September Anaheim Police killing of Brandon Lopez in Santa Ana … initial reportage: Anaheim Police Kill Unarmed BRANDON LOPEZ in Santa Ana and a look at the APD video of the incident a few weeks later: The Anaheim PD Video on the Killing of Brandon Lopez.

TWO stories about the August Tustin PD killing of homeless Luis Manuel Garcia … initial reportage: Monday Candlelight Vigil for unarmed Luis Manuel Garcia and a look at the TPD video of that incident a few weeks later: Footage of Luis Manuel Garcia’s Killing

Quick initial reportage on the September killing of armed Ronnie Andrew Garcia at a Huntington Beach surfing event.. which may have sadly been unavoidable: The Fatal HBPD Shooting of Ronnie Andrew Garcia, at the US Open

And a slightly overdue skeptical look at the 2019 Fullerton PD killing of Hector Hernandez on his front lawn, including all the FPD lies and DA Spitzer’s coverup: What Hector Hernandez’ Neighbors saw that night.

3. Sad Untimely Deaths of other Good People

Thousands of readers were also drawn to peruse our obituaries of a few great people who died this year. People we thought were great.

It’s enough to make you want to hear the latest recording of Dirty Snow:

4. The Year’s Top Stories about OTHER things!

Readers left and right credited us this past summer with taking down one of OC’s most corrupt Democrat politicians, Jordan Brandman. But we really preferred to do it for a long list of reasons that had to do with his votes and public policies; what happened instead is he took himself down with his unbelievably hateful texts, which came to us via Kathy Chance. Our publishing those was just like the end of a James Bond movie when the bad guy is hanging by a thread and 007 just has to give a slight kick or shove. Jordan Brandman’s Vicious Texts. Also our joy was tempered by the fact that since he resigned instead of us recalling him, the corrupt Anaheim Council was able to replace him with someone whose votes will be just as bad (see our two-part Anointment of Gloria Ma’ae.

Thousands and thousands of folks read a piece by our Ron and Ana Winship this October called OVERPOPULATION?

In April Santa Ana police held our blogger Igmar at gunpoint and illegally searched his car. In May our elderly homeless friend Allen Saul got the shit beat out of him by some psycho in Orange and for the longest time the Orange police and DA did nothing about it even though it was on video. We let them both tell their stories here, and thousands of you read their stories.

We spent lots of time in the spring and summer trying to Save Anaheim’s Jägerhaus and Sunkist Plaza! from rapacious out-of-town speculators who’d paid off the Council and Mayor; it woulda been much bigger news if we’d have succeeded against the big money. Now everyone is dead and gone.

In March, our San Juan Capistrano friends who call themselves “The Swallows” reported on some big-scale corruption in that twon: San Juan Capistrano: Stop Subsidizing the for-profit Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park!

But NOTHING matches the generosity of Anaheim politicians to their patrons at Disney! Showdown over Mickey & Friends Parking Structure!

Down in Irvine, many Democrats were dismayed and outraged that the County Party was planning to give a “TRUTH AWARD” to Mayor Farrah Khan, whose relationship to truth has been at best troubled; we published their thoughts and got plenty of comments back. DPOC to bestow “Truth Award” on Mayor Farrah Khan, Irvine Democrats disagree.

And THIS is still going on; my report from the Santa Ana River Quality Review Board, and the corruption of so many OC officials, many of them disappointingly Democrats: THE POSEIDON WHORES.

Clockwise: Medrano, Alvarado, Daly, Brandman, Newsom, Boxer, Umberg, Murray.

Wow, you would almost think we are a county-wide anti-corruption blog, especially when you read this next one: In a Slap at the Kleptocracy, San Clemente Ditches the TCA (Toll Road Agencies.)

And in the last of our top most-read stories, we have Greg’s new contribution to our knowledge of next year’s Congressional elections: OC’s 6 New Congressional Districts: Done!

Chestnut: Steve Lodge

Finally we always have some stories we call “chestnuts” from previous years that continue to get lots of hits. I won’t list them all this time, but one is amusing: Why did nearly a thousand readers click on Cynthia Ward’s 2016 classic Steve “Chavez” Lodge is a Very Bad Man? Why, because the corrupt goofball ran for Governor during the failed Newsom Recall this year, and folks went to the Orange Juice Blog to determine if he was a worthwhile vote! (And it seems voters were unimpressed.) Funny coincidence, as I wrap up this story, Steve is in the news again! Turns out he’s recently left his “Real Housewife of OC” Vicki Gunvalsen, is engaged to some “OC educator” instead, and they’re all talking shit about each other!

Well, best of luck to the ever-childish Steven Albert Chavez Lodge, 2012’s “Sudden Mexican,” as long as he stays out of politics. And seriously, 2022 is going to be life-or-death for our nation, so FORWARD!

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 vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.