WOT: Serrano’s Santa Ana Police Union shovels $10K to Cunningham’s new blog.

Editor Vern: Yes, in retrospect, it was only a matter of time before two such fecund vectors of OC corruption found and began to feed off one another – Santa Ana police union chief Gerry Serrano and longtime OC kleptoscribe-for-hire Matt Cunningham. Duane Roberts has discovered and documented the magical moment of this meeting in his Anaheim Investigator, and this piece is a “cross-post” from that blog – i.e. we’ll print about half of it and then ask you to click over to the A.I. to read the rest. But the combination of Serrano and Cunningham is so intoxicatingly awful that this editor feels compelled to share some of his own thoughts at the bottom. And THEN it’ll be your Weekend Open Thread. Be forewarned of all this, because that is to be forearmed. – V.

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Santa Ana Police Union Made $10,000 Donation to Blog Run by Political Consultant Tied to Anaheim Chamber

Matt Cunningham, editor & publisher of the “OC Independent,”
with his wife Laura, President & CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce.

By DUANE ROBERTS
Editor & Publisher, Anaheim Investigator.

The Anaheim Investigator has acquired a copy of the draft minutes of the September 23, 2021 board meeting of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association which reports they made a $10,000 donation to the OC Independent, a right-wing news blog started last year by Matt Cunningham, a well-known political consultant with deep ties to the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and the Orange County Republican Party.

Reliable sources have told The Investigator that Cunningham, along with several associates, attended the September board meeting and delivered a presentation about his new blog, OC Independent, to members of that body. In addition, they claim shortly after he finished speaking, Gerry Serrano, president of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, actively lobbied the board to write out a check to help fund it.

The Investigator first became aware of this matter back in December when it obtained emails exchanged between police officers stating the owner of the Anaheim Independent had gotten $10,000 from Serrano for his new blog and alleged it might be used as a platform to attack certain Santa Ana politicians. The Anaheim Independent is the previous name of the Anaheim Observer, an older blog that Cunningham still operates.

(excerpt from the board meeting minutes)

This newfound alliance between Cunningham and Serrano is yet another unexpected twist in The Investigator’s ongoing coverage of the embattled police union president who, at least from our perspective, has made what could be aptly described as a Faustian bargain with a political consultant who is sometimes at odds with–if not been completely opposed to–the goals of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association.

For example, on April 2, 2020, Cunningham made an urgent appeal to all of his Santa Ana friends on Facebook to vote “no” on the recall of Councilwoman Ceci Iglesias, a right-wing Republican the police union spent $341,000 to remove from her seat. Beneath his message was one of her anti-recall videos which not only portrayed Serrano as a greedy “union boss,” but characterized people like him as “bullies.”

Furthermore, Serrano’s alliance with Cunningham becomes even more bizarre…

Read the rest of this article at the Anaheim Investigator!

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Deep Vern Thoughts

  • This is a helpful discovery, explaining why Matt’s newest blog (which I won’t link to, and which used to be fixated on the Board of Education and CRT myths) is suddenly fascinated with Santa Ana politicians who push for police accountability. Also, it’s instructive and entertaining to see how Matt pursues these contributions. “Blogging doesn’t pay the bills!” he bitched a decade ago when he shuttered his “Red County” … but he’s obviously learned how to fix that.
  • Still it’s a little amusing to see Duane apparently puzzled by all Matt’s apparent contradictions (and I was surprised to learn that Matt and I agreed on the Ceci Recall; that almost never happens!) Matt’s most comfortable with conservative Republican talking points as well as fearmongering; but if it’s in his pecuniary interests he can switch to any philosophy you like! Seven years ago I wrote sardonically of his “contradictions” in Taboo Jubal:

Matt Cunningham:  An Enigma Wrapped in a Scorched Teddy Bear.

Pity the reader who takes any of Matthew Cunningham’s arguments seriously, if such a person exists, for they must accommodate themselves to dizzying contradictions with alarming regularity:

teddy bear mutilationThey must explain to themselves a self-professed “Christian” whose guiding principle is to afflict the afflicted, whether lampooning the grieving rituals of bereaved Latinos, salivating over the prospect of using the transgendered against Democratic politicians, or helping to ensure that homeless men, women and children continue to have no place to lay their heads.

They must explain to themselves the spectacle of a Republican blogger describing himself as “conservative” and railing day and night against “liberal” government excess on his old “Red County” blog, while secretly spending his days pulling in tens of thousands distributing toothbrushes and monitoring media for a big liberal government programFirst Five – so disorganized and wasteful that its own founder, Rob Reiner, eventually turned against it.

Again with the "stunning moral flexibility."

Again with the “stunning moral flexibility.”

They must explain to themselves a supposed arbiter of conservatism in this county who uses the mantra of “property rights” as a litmus test judging the conservatism of others … while he himself supports property rights when convenient (when being paid by the owners of California Girls or Orange Park Acres) and finds pretexts to OPPOSE them when convenient (when being paid by NIMBYs against homeless shelters or the Ball Basin Power Plant.)

  • Like I said, fearmongering comes very naturally to Matt, and in 2012-13, when he started the Chamber-funded Anaheim Blog in the midst of the murderous reign of Deputy Chief Craig Hunter, one of his ongoing themes was ridicule of police critics (such as my wife.) He eventually went too far with that, however, jumping the shark with his nationally notorious Teddy Bear prank, and was apparently told to back off on that front. Well, now he has found a new venue, new permission and new motivation to pursue his love of police good and bad. .
  • I’d forgotten all about Matt’s new “OC Independent”, but just before Duane’s piece came out, a friend of Santa Ana Councilwoman Jessie Lopez called me and asked “Who’s this Cunningham guy and what does he have against Jessie? She’s not even up for re-election!” Matt had done a piece ridiculing Jessie for being unable to pay her rent during a couple of Covid months, before being elected to Council – and he attempted to give that nastiness some relevance by tying it to her support of rent control, as though that were some kind of hypocrisy rather than making all kinds of sense. This Serrano connection puts this in context – Jessie is a supporter of police reform and an ally of Vince Sarmiento, who is the police union’s mortal enemy and Matt’s new whipping boy (like Jose Moreno was on the Anaheim Blog.)
  • Yes, a cursory glance through Matt’s new blog shows Vince Sarmiento, the Santa Ana Mayor now running for Supervisor, to be Matt’s new whipping boy, his new Jose Moreno. Matt’s constant refrain is, “Sarmiento charted a mostly center-left course during most of his long career on the Santa Ana City Council. He made a hard left turn in 2020, however… [during the George Floyd protests.] During his 2020 mayoral campaign, Sarmiento allied himself with a slate of young progressive Left councilmembers who were markedly hostile to law enforcement – and who narrowly won election.” It’s funny how Matt sees concern for police accountability as “left” or, I’m sorry, “HARD LEFT.” It’s not.
  • I don’t want to get the OC Independent any more readers, especially during election season, but you do occasionally learn interesting things from it. For example I learned that the deep-pocketed OC Sheriffs union has decided to support Vince’s most viable opponent, Garden Grove Democrat Kim Bernice Nguyen, with massive contributions, because they REALLY don’t want to see Vince as Supervisor. Matt scratches his head and marvels that the Sheriffs’ Choice Kim is “firmly planted on the Left of the political spectrum.” It’s hard to know what qualifies as left or right on Matt’s skewed spectrum. The chameleon-like Kim can imitate any kind of politician, talks the Woke Talk and takes easy offense. But her closest allies are Lou Correa, Avelino Valencia and Valerie Amezcua, and THAT IS NOT “LEFT.” Now she is the OC Sheriff’s candidate for Supervisor, and that is good to know.
  • The entrance of perennial spoiler candidate Lorri Galloway into the Anaheim Mayor race brought great joy to the Harry Sidhu crowd, and was duly celebrated on Matt’s Anaheim “Observer.” But I’d take issue with his claim that “Galloway, a 50-year Anaheim resident, demonstrated fundraising strength in 2018, raising $147,976.39,” when 100K of that was a loan to herself (coincidentally right after her Eli Home received the same amount from the Bar Association which is weird itself) and most of the rest came from men and companies who wanted Sidhu to win, some of whom regret their actions now.

Okay, enough for now. This is your WEEKEND OPEN THREAD. Talk about anything. We know for a fact that YOU in particular have something you want to say. – Vern.

About Duane Roberts