Sunday In The Park With AD, Nelson and Berardino

I received a call this morning from our 4th District County Supervisor Shawn Nelson asking if I would be willing to help coach a youth football clinic at Craig Park. Supervisor Nelson, aware of the fact that I played high school and Division I college football and that I had coached high school and Pop Warner football, needed someone to fill an unexpected vacancy on his coaching staff.  My Sunday alternatives were to either spend the day helping 6 to 17 year olds learn a bit more about football or make more No McKinley signs. No brainer. I dusted off the old whistle and off to the park I went.

The event, billed “OC Parks and Sports Day,” was packed with eager kids with more energy than the energizer bunny. My day was not only fun and rewarding but a lot more interesting than I expected. During a break in the action I met the legendary Anthony Davis, but also the not so legendary OCEA union boss, Nick Berardino. Both were entertaining characters: AD reminisced of the days when he played smash mouth football at USC, and Berardino reminded me about the days he spent a million dollars bad mouthing Nelson in the last election,  how that million bucks only moved #2 (Harry Sidhu) up 6 percentage points, and how he still got his as kicked by 12%.

Bernardino went on to explain to me that they (the employee union) were afraid of Nelson, but have learn that Nelson is not the monster they though he would be. Nick further explained that the problem in the county is corruption in upper management and the county employees (the worker bees) are the only ones that actually pay into their retirement and the people that are on Easy Street are the upper level managers including county CEO Tom Mauk who’s package equals around $350,000 per year (while collecting over $100,00 from his retirement pension from the city of La Habra). Nick and I both agreed that it’s always the little guy that gets dumped on and the corruption in the county needs to stop. Amen to that!

Kicking back @ Craig park

Supervisor Nelson tells me that he will start checking into the pay and benefits of mid to upper management, and also find out if they actually do anything except shuffle paper back and forth to each other.

The Sad, Degenerate World of Norberto Santana, Jr.

Norbert (right) and boss, union chief Nick Berardino (left) discuss how the former can help the latter while still pretending to be an objective journalist.The location seems to be the Voice of OC's office in the Santora Building, rent courtesy of the OCEA. (image swiped from OC Weekly. Who knows where they got it?)

When he graduated from journalism school, Norberto Santa, formerly of the Orange County Register and more recently writer for the comically self-described “non-profit” Voice of OC, likely told his friends and family how he was going to change the world by exposing, well, things, that needed exposing.

How sad he must be, now that he is nothing but a tool for his union paymaster, the OCEA union, at those family reunions when he has to report that he is nothing but a second-hand tool for the likes of Hide and Seek Harry Sidhu, whose carpetbagging and perjury have gone mysteriously unmentioned by the intrepid “journalists” at the Voice of OCEA.

And come to think about it, they have never written a single word about the string of malfeasance perpetrated by by County Clerk Tom Daly: things like blowing 2.1 million on a worthless building; hiring a campaign contributor to study a Hall of Fame Museum; handing out jobs to the relatives of other contributors; blowing $120,000 to apply for grants that went nowhere.

Poor Norberto! If only he applied for that OCEA spokeshole job before former Register colleague Jennifer Muir got to it he wouldn’t even have to pretend to be objective!

Here’s An Irony: OCEA Heavy Petting Pedo-Perv Kept On Payroll

The OCEA seems to be fixated on sexual pervs and pedophiles these days. At least they are as it relates to Shawn Nelson’s law practice – that seems to be guilty of having the potential to defend one some day.

A Friend forwarded a rather disgusting story about a creep sicko named Kevin Duane Van Otterloo – an OCEA member and Health Care Agency co-worker of OCEA PAC Treasurer Chris Prevatt, pictured above. The tale was told by the OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano back in 2004.

It seems that Van Otterloo was busted for lewd acts perpetrated upon a disabled kid at the County’s Juvie Hall. He plead down the worst felonies but lost his nursing license. Did the County dump this perv? According to Arellano they gave him a $70,000 make-work job in the Animal Care Services Division.

But was there any outrage at OCEA HQ that an admitted pedophile was kept on by the County but was actually promoted? Maybe we will hear back from Nick “Bullhorn” Berardino about any role he and the union may have had in helping Van Otterloo stay on the public payroll. Or maybe Chris Prevatt will chime in on why Van Otterloo got the kid glove treatment instead of being canned.

The Joke of OC

Listen up, Supes! We finally got our own news outlet!

We’ve recently seen the true purpose of “The Voice of OC,” and organization that promotes itself as a “non-profit investigative news agency.” We’ve noticed that the manager, Norberto Santana has never said a word about any of the manifest malfeasance taking place in Democrat Tom Daly’s Clerk-Recorders office, but has found time to publish what a amounts to a political hit piece on Fullerton’s Shawn Nelson – public enemy #1 as far as County unions are concerned.

It continues. The Voice has recently detailed in five separate posts a DA investigation brought about by charges made against Assessor Webster Guillory by County personnel and publicly advertised by OCEA union chief Nick Berardino. So what, you ask. Here’s what: not once has Santana mentioned that the OCEA provided start-up captial for the Voice of OC. That’s an obvious conflict of interest, and one that any ethical operation would make known to its readers.

What’s also interesting is that the blog comments section has become a forum for a raft of public employees pretending to give a rat’s ass about government efficiency. You will even find LibOC blogger and dead beat, Chris Prevatt on the list. Typical.

Say, Norberto, why not publish something on Tom Daly’s cronyism, waste, or bad real estate deals? At least then the Clerk-Recorder personnel could have a chance to weigh in and let Berardino know how his members feel about OC’s biggest money squanderer.

Well, “The Voice” never claimed to be impartial or objective. Just non-profit.

And that’s why it’s quickly becoming the known as the Voice of OCEA.

Bullhorn Berardino Backfire

Nick is that a union made garment? Too bad it doesn't hide your Rolex.

There is an old axiom that says all politics are local. Nick “Bullhorn” Berardino, chief union goon of the Orange County Employees Association seems to have forgotten that adage. Maybe he never heard it.

A week or so ago week his union sent out a mailer accusing Fullerton’s Shawn Nelson of voting to spend money on a “red-tagged” building. Too bad the building was Fullerton’s historic Fox Theater, a structure whose restoration thousands of Fullertonians support and to which hundreds, including Nelson, have made personal donations. The mailer provoked this letter that appeared in the mid-May Fullerton Observer:

Oops. Looks like Berardino has really soiled himself this time.

Retraction? Apology? Not very likely, guys. See, Nick Berardino and his crew operate in a whole different environment that you might imagine. In Comrade Nick’s world you grab and grab and keep grabbing all you can get while giving as little as possible in return.

And that’s why Orange County’s finances are so messed up, why County departments are run so poorly, and why the OCEA is absolutely terrified of a Shawn Nelson victory.

WHY DOES THE OCEA SUPPORT JOB COSTING, FREE-SPENDING, INCOMPETENT CAREER POLITICIAN CLERK-RECORDER TOM DALY?

In December of 2008, Nick Berardino and more than 1000 union workers stormed the County’s Hall of Administration to protest the remodeling of the Board of Supervisor’s lobby.   The OCEA leader and his supporters were protesting the $300,000 lobby remodeling project because it was the wrong thing to do because at the time, the County was laying off employees due to the budget crunch that hit the whole nation.

That day, Berardino used his bullhorn to make his point well known. He was also quoted by the lame duck O.C. Register as saying that “Labor knows that financial hardships are on the way and say they are willing to share in the pain. But before he has to look a person in the eye and tell them they are out of work in this economy he wants management (the County) to scratch every perk with the aim of saving jobs.”

Well, Nick  it is time for you to break out your bullhorn again as you look every association member in the eye and tell them why the OCEA felt it necessary to contribute more than $4000 of their union dues to a free spending, incompetent career politician like Tom Daly. This guy’s spending has cost the County jobs!

According to records at the Registrar of Voters, the OCEA has contributed more than $4000 to Tom Daly’s campaigns since 2002. The most recent contribution was in late 2007 for $1600 – prior to Daly’s  purchase of  a $2.1 million money-sucking building.  Why contribute to a politician who has no legislative duties or the ability to save any county jobs. The Clerk-Recorder is just that – a clerk and a recorder. It is an elected position with little political influence. Daly doesn’t know that or it hasn’t registered yet after 8 years of doing nothing but free-spending and taking care of his buddies like Bruce Matthias and Brett “The Brainstormer” Barbre.

Well, Nick where was that bullhorn when County Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly blew $2,100,000 of public money on a real estate venture that could cost another $7,600,000 to fix the problem? This happened in January 2008, months before the $300,000 remodeling project you vigorously protested.

Where was your bullhorn when Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly decided to give out a $48,000 to a political contributor to “brainstorm” an unnecessary sports hall of fame?

Where was that bullhorn when a $1700 a month retainer to a Sacramento government consulting business with no deliverables was discovered?

Why aren’t you using that bullhorn now? How many jobs does this money represent? Wake up OCEA members! It’s time for you to make Your Voices heard to tell Nick to go after every person who is wasting your association dues and tax-payer money that can be used to save your jobs.

Say, Nick. Where is that bullhorn, anyway?

UPDATED TITLE INFORMATION REGARDING THE  TRANSACTIONS AT 433 W. Civic Center Drive deed 2008

Right On Cue The Spokeshole Speaks

We are widely misunderstood...

Yep. The day after former State Senator Joe Dunn addressed the County Board of Supervisors about establishing a mechanism for keeping track of the professional lobbyists who haunt the 5th floor of the Hall of Admin, Matthew Cunningham popped up serially on the “Red County” blog to explain to his readers why the system ain’t broke and why his lobbyist friends have a constitutional right to “petition their government for redress.”

Aha! We called it here. Of course the idea that lobbyists are petitioning their government for anything except a chance to make big bucks for their clients is patently absurd.

We don’t agree with some of the purported details of Dunn’s original idea, but overall the concept of knowing which well-connected middlemen are knocking on your representative’s door in order  to swing some deal or other, is basically a good one. Dunn’s timing and presentation to the Board were counterproductive and will be viewed as partisan, in some way. But so what?

Cunningham suggests that the whole thing is just a plan to dissuade privatization, but of course he really can’t say how, except that the OCEA union boss Nick Berardino is involved. But why should a lobbyist who is doing nothing improper or illegal fear a little bit of light illuminating his interaction with public officials?

Actually, an effort to squelch  the idea will make people even more suspicious than ever about what is going on behind closed doors.

Cunningham is just doing his job, of course: trying to run interference for his Repuglican lobbyist pals like John Lewis who apparently would really rather not have the public aware of his influence with electeds. But the strategy is poor. In a second post he suggests that Dunn is simply trying to force the supervisors to adopt their own plan to avoid his referendum. Good idea.

Rather than let Dunn produce a likely popular plebiscite, the Supervisors ought to develop a sensible sytem for keeping track of lobbyists themselves, and include the union bosses like Berardino and Wayne Quint who are really nothing but lobbyists themselves – paid with ample union dues.

This issue is about recognizing the influence peddlers in OC – people who use their political and financial contacts to make inroads into public policy and pubic expenditure. Nothing wrong with that.