Will Swaim, the former fearless leader of the Weekly has reappeared at the helm of a blog focused on the rocky political landscape of Costa Mesa. But with "Republic of Costa Mesa," he's not taking the standard liberal approach that some may have expected; instead, he seems to side mostly with the city.
"The bottom line is that I'm attracted to the issue, its an important one: the collision between public employee union benefits and pensions on the one hand and city services on the other," Swaim explained. "It seems to be an issue where those with a lefty, liberal position, like myself, would tend to lean in favor of the union."
After assessing the facts and hearing the rhetoric of both sides, Swaim wasn't buying what the Orange County Employees Association was selling.
"From what I was reading it seemed like people were falling in lockstep with the simple propaganda of the public employee leadership, and no one was questioning the leadership," he said.
The Wordpress blog was launched in mid-May, intended to be geared toward media criticism, but it grew to be something more substantial. Swaim says he was startled by the way OCEA made "a symbol" out of Huy Pham, the city employee he fell to his death on March 17.
"My wife was saying stop complaining and start writing," Swaim said. So he has.
While Swaim will be producing most of the content, there will be contributions from Janelle Flores, who went through the UC Irvine literary journalism program. Swaim has also had help from his stepson, James Anderson, in setting up and designing the blog.
After resigning from the Weekly
in January 2007, Swaim started up The District Weekly
in Long Beach soon after. In Nov. 2008 he left that paper, moving on to LA CityBeat
--which folded a few months later. When The District closed up shop in March 2010, it left some unhappy, and unpaid, former employees in its wake