[UPDATED 1-7-2012 with notes at the end.] For seven years up to 2010, Libertarian-leaning Art Pedroza often dominated Orange County's political blogosphere by breaking news and offering biting commentary on area politicians, journalists and activists.
Along the way, Pedroza picked up plenty of readers, fans and, of course, enemies--none more bitter than the folks at TheLiberalOC.com, who recently won a court-ordered financial settlement after a Pedroza prank** involving the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).
During TheLiberalOC mess, Pedroza handed his Orange Juice blog over to wine, uh, "connoisseur" Vern Nelson--a humorless, knee-jerk Democratic Party loyalist--who turned the once exciting website into a mind-numbingly boring, frothy fellatio party for liberal elected officials. Pedroza went on to create the New Santa Ana Blog that seemed to lessen his controversial impact on countywide politics as it touted stained, establishment players like Mayor Miguel Pulido.
But on Jan. 1, Pedroza emerged with his new, sure-to-be-entertaining enterprise: OCPoliticsBlog.com.
"My new blog will be informative and I am sure my sense of humor will pop up, but I am going to try to present OC politics in an informed and entertaining way -- and we'll steer clear of the nuttiness that was the old OJ blog," Pedroza said in a press statement.
Tensions between Pedroza and award-winning TheLiberalOC folks, who view their rival as a sellout to politicians like Pulido, are likely to continue, however.
Pedroza told me that, like in the past, he won't hesitate to challenge their "lame" opinions.
On Dec. 31, the battle intensified. Theo Hirsch--a musician and one of the feisty leaders*** of Occupy Santa Ana--called TheLiberalOC bloggers "a bunch of faggots" for suing Pedroza because he slyly diverted his rival's website readers to a NAMBLA website.
"The 'liberal' OC has waged war and attack on Art's family and that's all there is to it!," Hirsch blogged. "If you had any heart or balls at all, you would either publicly humiliate Art yourselves, without using this stupid, paper pushing, bull shit system, or you would just simply confront him or try to be clever about sabotaging him for your own personal revenge. But no, you have to take the little, fucking gay boy, pussy route. What a tragedy! You guys are a bunch of fucking Faggots! And I don't mean that in the gay way at all. I am good friends with an array of homosexuals and I am a huge supporter of the gay community."
Chris Prevatt, the openly gay publisher of TheLiberalOC.com, said Hirsch is "entitled to his one-sided opinion" but isn't amused by his rhetoric.
"The use of the word 'faggot' is hate speech no matter what context it is written in," Prevatt told me in a telephone interview. "It demonstrates a lack of imagination and creativity on Theo's part. I would have expected more from a self-described artist."
Put on your helmets and flak jackets.
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I'd say OC Blog War II has witnessed its first cannon fire.
[**Note 1: Dan Chmielewski at The LiberalOC says that Pedroza's actions were not a "prank," but a violation of law--a position he says was accepted by a federal judge who sided against Pedroza.]
[***Note 2: As far as I know, Theo Hirsch has never called himself a leader of Occupy Santa Ana. I described him generically as a leader based on the undeniable fact that during one of the group's major 2011 protests that I witnessed, Hirsch led a majority of the enthusiastic chants for the protestors as they marched through the city during a three-hour event. Whatever he calls himself, he is, in my view, one of the most vociferously, anti-establishment activists in Orange County. Few locals share his passionate determination for substantial political change.]
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly