Sensitive & Savage: the Orange Juice’s HUGEST stories of 2022!

Steel, Ament, Sidhu, Rafiei, Schaefer, Reeve, Khan, Probolsky:
This is why you need us.

We do this every year, looking back at our biggest (most-read) stories, but this time I want to dedicate it to OUR HATERS! The anonymous trolls AND the powerful, crooked pols who just wish we’d disappear, shut up, fade away. Well that ain’t happening – our influence and reach just continue to grow, in case-study proof of Nietzsche’s dictum that “What doesn’t kill us makes us STRONGER!

This time I’m separating out Greg’s election-related pieces from the actual posts that we fondly refer to as “stories.” Every election cycle Diamond outdoes himself to bring you-all all the info he can find on candidates, measures, our endorsements, and the results – in his encyclopedic and chatty way. And look how many thousands of you utilize this service…


And you know what? You’re welcome!

Now HERE’S….

OJ’s top twenty STORIES of 2022!

2022 saw the ten-year anniversary of Anaheim’s riots against police violence, as well as several of the killings that provoked them. We had written plenty about the July 2012 back-to-back killings of Manuel Diaz and Joey Acevedo, but not until this past March did Vern write “Martin Hernandez was killed by APD’s Dan Hurtado, AFTER HE SURRENDERED.” Over 12,000 people have now read that story.

A REAL high point of this past year was the May-June FBI revelations – Anaheim corruption had finally gone too far, even for the Feds! Drinking from a firehose at the time, Vern put out this story which quickly got 6900 readers: “Is it All Over for Sidhu? Ament Wore A Wire for the FBI.” There is also a shorter, musical version of that, to an old tune of Bob Dylan:

And late July was the ten-year anniversary of Anaheim’s Days of Rage – the Diaz and Acevedo killings, the riot and the protests – another Vern story that over 3700 of you read.

We wish the fact that over 3300 of you read Vern’s “Grand Jury Explores Ways to Keep OC Safe from Michelle Steel” would have prevented her from winning her lie-filled, racist 2022 campaign for re-election, but oh well. Nice that the Grand Jury is worried about this senile, inarticulate threat to the nation, but more voters need to be.


Keeping the 2022 sleaze bipartisan, the FBI/Anaheim scandals prominently featured California Democratic Party Secretary and tireless consultant and cannabis lobbyist Melahat Rafiei. Turned out good ol’ Melahat had been arrested by the FBI for bribery in 2019, and at that point agreed to wear a wire to help the Feds catch even bigger fish. WAIT, WHAT?! Greg had to write “Melahat Put Everyone Around Her at Risk Since 2019,” and thousands of you-all read it! (See below, Melahat with Jordan Brandman, George Urch, Hillary Clinton and Jose Solorio!)

Over 2000 readers had to check out Anaheim District 6 Council Candidate Hari Shankar Lal’s introductory press release here: Meet Hari Lal, Our Candidate in Anaheim Hills! We wish Hari had done better in the election, but the cabal did have to spend nearly a million dollars defeating him, so there’s that. (Hari at right below, with Tom Tait, Jose Moreno & Denise Barnes)

YET ANOTHER STAIN on the California Democratic Party was their stubborn support of staggeringly dirty Board of Equalization member Mike Schaefer for re-election (against a good decent Democrat, Dave Dodson.) All Greg was saying here, back in March, was “BoE 4: DEMS SHOULD NOT ENDORSE!” But did any Dem bigwigs listen? Apparently not, even though over 2000 of you-all read this. Well, we’re saddled with him another four years, let’s see what ELSE he does to embarrass us now!

You hear the one about the “anti-Asian hate activist” and Republican provocateur James Mai bragging to people about desecrating an Indian restaurant with cow’s blood and a severed cow head, and being named to a County housing commission by “Democrat” Supervisor Doug Chaffee, and re-appointed as well, while apparently doxxing sex-trafficking survivors? Well, Greg decided to write about that in June, and stirred up quite a hornets’ nest which is STILL buzzing around: “Chaffee Lets Hate-Crime Braggart James Mai Start Full County Commission Term.”

Runners-Up, getting nearly 2000 readers each:

Our guest homeless author Patrick Hogan told the sad tale of “Mary’s Kitchen: the Killing of a Miracle” in four chapters – the first chapter got 1990 readers so far, probably 2000 by the end of the year…

The Anaheim Investigator’s Duane Roberts caught six Democratic State Lawmakers wrongly backing crooked Santa Ana Police Union Chief Gerry Serrano‘s pension-hiking scheme, an article we “cross-posted” beginning with the word “Whoops!”

The absence of justice for the Fullerton Police murder of Hector Hernandez was just one of many reasons we wanted to replace Todd Spitzer in the June primary… but he won. 🙁

More Melahat damage – using Irvine’s Farrah Khan as a valueless puppet, she also managed to ruin the Orange County Power Authority, possibly beyond repair. Read all about it in Vern’s June 2022 “OCPA Melahat-Gate: The Treseder Letter & a Probolsky Tale.” (This story may not have stopped the re-election of Farrah, but I bet it helped Kathleen Treseder in her victorious Council run! Baby steps…)

Even better than the FBI’s 55-page complaint against Harry Sidhu was their 100-page complaint against Chamber head Todd Ament, which came out a couple days later. This is where we learned that Anaheim’s true puppetmasters, Ament, Flint, and Disney’s Carrie Nocella, referred to THEMSELVES as “the cabal.” And this is where we got to hear them gossip about each of the councilmen – the names were redacted but they were easy enough for us to figure out, and were transcribed properly (and discoursed upon) in Vern’s popular “The Anaheim Cabal Dishes On its Council Puppets.”

Throughout the summer, from the forced resignation of Sidhu which left Trevor O’Neil acting mayor, to the very last day possible, Trevor played coy and pretended he was going to run for re-election to council (which actually woulda been a good choice for him) and not Mayor – but it didn’t fool Vern! In fact, in his popular mid-July piece “Is Trevor O’Neil Running for Anaheim Mayor?” Vern wrote: “His self-regard in the ‘no-deficit’ zone, his ambition radiating like a hippie radiates patchouli, Trevor will be announcing for mayor between now and August 12, or I’ll eat this hat.” And did Vern have to eat his hat? Well, look – hat intact!

Briefly, early this year, “Love Cameron” wrote for this blog. She was planning a Recall of DA Todd Spitzer, just as the election for that office was heating up. It seemed unrealistic, badly timed, and kind of even pointless, but we loved her reasons that Todd shouldn’t be DA, and we let her publish this epic in February: Love Cameron Indicts Todd Spitzer!

From the bloodiest years of Anaheim police killings (2011-12) there are still some victims whose stories haven’t been told. Or not properly at least. On the 11-year anniversary of HIS August 2011 killing, Vern finally wrote “David Raya Killed by APD on Guinida Lane,” which got 1300 readers.

We’d like to think this angry August piece of Vern’s, about three Anaheim councilmembers’ defeat of Campaign Finance Reform, helped sink the two that were up for re-election – Gloria Ma’ae and Trevor O’Neil. Or was that just a coincidence? “Gloria, Trevor & Jose Diaz vote to KEEP ANAHEIM DIRTY!” Come for the reporting and commentary, stay for Donna’s amazing Council Facedances! (Hell. Just in case you don’t click on that, I’m gonna post the Facedances below…)

HERE’S A CRAZY, formerly unknown story that Vern learned about from former assistant DA Michael Jacobs, who was running against Spitzer this year – an (accidental) Aliso Viejo murder (by the son of an Anaheim cop) that has been covered up as a suicide by Sheriffs and DA’s – Rackauckas and Spitzer – in perpetual bureaucratic cover-your-ass mode. It was NOT a suicide. “The 17-Year Coverup of Whip Walton’s Murder.”

Back to Melahat – one of the MANY dirty things she bears responsibility for in this County is the abject failure of the Orange County Power Authority. I think Greg was the first to report, this May, when the OCPA was Hit with a $2 Million Fine for their malfeasance.

(NOT a photoshop. Brian DOES equal four Farrahs.)

And, wrapping up a Whole Lotta Farrah / Melahat distastefulness (OCPA, Carroll, Armenians, Katie Porter leak, sneaky Agran attacks) Vern wrote, in October, Farrah Poisons Everything She Touches.


Up until this year, we always had “chestnuts” – stories from years ago that, for some damn reason, a bunch of you kept clicking on year after year. Well, actually I’m glad that people got tired of looking at Art Pedroza’s “Happy Ending for Massage Parlors in Santa Ana,” “Angelina Jolie is Not a Democrat,” or Geoff Willis’ “Man Arrested When Shape-Shifting Hooker Turns into Donkey.”

Actually, the only old story of ours that was read by a lot of readers this year – over 1500 of ’em – was The Swallows’ 2019 “The Con of San Juan: Burning Questions About San Juan Capistrano’s Derek Reeve” – and that made sense, as Reeve was running for South OC Community College District.

Well, we’re happy to say that the ethics-challenged Tea-Partier Reeve lost that race to the worthy Terri Whitt Rydell! So we’re gonna go ahead and take credit for that.

(Oh, PS – we didn’t write anything about Poseidon this year, but we’ve been attacking it for 16 years, and we should celebrate its final defeat this year!)

Merry Xmas & Happy 2023 from the Orange Juice Blog!

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, or 714-235-VERN.