Have You No Shame?

Throughout the local blogosphere you are able to find all kinds of folks sharing their idea’s and opinions on almost every subject imaginable.  When it comes to the political blogs you will find the same thing.  You’ll find folks on the right and folks on the left and everywhere in between.  For the most part you’ll find decent caring folks who just want to get things off their chest and who hope that their written words may lead towards creating a better society for us all. 

Sadly for one local blog and for two of it’s blogger’s in particular they view the blogosphere as weapon to attack and slander.  Over the past couple of days that blog and those bloggers have crossed the line and demonstrated that any decency that they may have had is long gone.  As a result of their actions they have forever damaged the reputation of their blog and everyone associated with it, not to mention sullied the image of all the local political blogs.

The Orange Juice and in particular Art Pedroza and Sarah Michelle Spinosa decided to jump the shark and used that blog to viciously attack people that they have political differences with in a very personal manner.  Spinosa in a post insinuated that a well known local politician who is married and a local journalist were involved in some sort of hanky panky because they were seen at a local restaurant together.  I believe the term used by Spinosa was “canoodling”.  Despite not knowing the specifics surrounding the meeting did not stop Spinosa from making insinuations and in turn slandering the two individuals involved.

Pedroza on the other hand has long left decency out of blogging.  He views blogging as a bloodsport and brags about his personal and vicious attacks on local political figures.  Pedroza’s latest escapade may be his lowest and that is pretty bad considering how low he has set the bar.  On Saturday night Pedroza posted a vicious personal attack on Santa Ana Police Chief and candidate for OC Sheriff Paul Walters.  The basis for the attack, Walters divorce settlement.

Paul Walters divorce settlement, while salacious, has no place in a political battle.  That is between he and his ex-wife and not the entire blogosphere.  The information divulged in that settlement has no bearing on whether or not Paul Walters will make a good Sheriff or not.  The information divulged in that settlement is nobodies business other than Walters and his ex-wife.  For someone to publish that information in an attempt to tear down the Chief politically it speaks to what type of person they really are.

I know both Chief Walters and his new wife Mary, in fact I have known Mary for close to 20 years, and they are both good and decent people.  I am saddened to see their lives dragged into the gutter just because a local blogging bully wants to try and score some political points against the Chief.

In the past I have drawn the line when people have taken potshots at my mother, Thomas Gordon’s mother or Art Pedroza’s family members just because they did not like our politics.  When a whacko who is infamous in the local blogosphere kept bringing up Pedroza’s brother’s suicide I banned every single comment that person posted because I did not want to give someone so despicable a platform.  I now hope that this blog and all other local blogs will do the same with Art Pedroza and Sarah Michele Spinosa.

Recently a truce was declared between this blog and the Orange Juice in an attempt to stop petty bickering.  However the actions of Spinosa and Pedroza make it impossible for me to remain silent.  From this point forward I will not allow any link to the Orange Juice on any of my posts.  I urge Chris Prevatt and the others at this blog to remove any and all links to that blog from this site.  If we allow them to remain we too are culpable for allowing this slander against Chief Walters and others to be deciminated.

I am sure that some will now attack me for exposing a local bigot’s legal troubles as a means to defend Pedroza’s actions now.  That’s apples and oranges my friends.  When legal documentation was brought to me about a local Republican elected’s failure to pay child support for their illegitimate child I sat on it.  I never considered blogging it because it has nothing to do with his political life.

I know that most of the folks at that blog are more concerned with making our community a better place than they are destroying the lives of those involved in the governing it.  Thomas Gordon and I have had many discussions on this very subject and while I may not agree with him on all the issues I know in my heart that he is deeply motivated to make Santa Ana a better place.  The same goes for Luis Rodriguez and former blogger Claudio Gallegos.

In the case of Pedroza and others at the Orange Juice I must ask these questions:  Is nothing out of bounds?  Is there no level to which one should not stoop to try and make political points?  Have you no decency?  Have you no shame?

  28 comments for “Have You No Shame?

  1. Paul Lucas
    April 28, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Nice post Sean. I applaud you for standing up to this from of electronic bullyism and harrassment.

  2. April 28, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Sean,

    While I agree with your points, I’m not certain that one bad turn deserves anothe. Attacking Art and Sara personally doesn’t help drive your points home.

  3. April 28, 2008 at 11:36 am

    An OJ blogger, a LOC blogger, and an OC candidate are on a plane together with the LOC blogger in the aisle seat. The candidate says she wants to get up and get a Coke.

    “Don’t get up,” says the LOC blogger, “I’m in the aisle seat, “I’ll get it for you.” She takes off her shoes, leaving them under the seat in front of her, and goes to get the Coke.

    As soon as she leaves, the candidate picks up one of her shoes and spits in it. When the LOC blogger returns, the OJ blogger says she’d also like a Coke, so the LOC blogger goes to get another Coke.

    As soon as she leaves, the OJ blogger picks up her other shoes and spits in it.

    When the plane lands, the LOC blogger puts on her shoes and realizes what’s happened.

    “Why does it have to be this way?” she asks. “How long must this go on? This fighting between our blogs? This hatred? This animosity? This spitting in shoes and pissing in Cokes?”

    As entertaining as they might be, I don’t feel the continuing battles between blogs and certain readers serve any useful purpose. Astute observers may have noticed the majority of LOC bloggers and regular commenters staying out of the discussions entirely.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  4. April 28, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Gila – I 2nd that.

  5. April 28, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Chris, Gila and Heather,

    I don’t see how pointing out their despicable actions can be construed as a personal attack. Should we all just remain silent while these vicious and unwarranted attacks take place?

    If you saw one of the OJ bloggers bullying someone on the street would you just keep walking in order to maintain some sort of peace between the blogs?  Using the logic that we should just ignore this leads me to the conclusion that you disagree with “Media Matters” calling out the right-wing media.  Is that too the case?

    What they did is wrong. We at this blog must have some level of decency.

  6. Gary Kephart
    April 28, 2008 at 11:46 am

    3rd.

  7. just...asking?
    April 28, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Sean,

    I have to agree with Chris, you make a great argument!

    Spinosa’s writings trouble me more because she doesn’t seem to even know OC and it’s players very well. This person seemed to crawl out from some rock and just started telling everybody just how wrong they are. Great way to generate a following, when I last looked she and Vern seem to be the only ones commenting on her posts. Just pick up the phone, nobody else cares!

    I don’t understand why Art changed his blog’s approach from the more parody (revealing some truth) style to the more sharp tounge (sharp keyboard) approach of yellow journalism. Maybe it’s the defections or that he had posters who had very different political affiliations. Whatever the reason it hasn’t been a good result.

    But when the juice gets it right and breaks real stories about Santa Ana they are very good, unfortunately they just don’t have many good posts anymore. Too many post are the personal attacks that I just skip over.

    Note… am following Larry Gilbert’s blind allegiance to prop 98, guess he didn’t have any Mission Viejo issues to champion. He seems hell bent on ending rent control protected affordable housing and senior mobile home parks.

    …and you asked 4 questions not 3…
    but the answer is the same for all “NO”!

  8. April 28, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I have read Sean’s post again. I cannot find anything in the post that is personal against Sara and Art. It is harsh. but the harsh tone is appropriate to the tone used in the posts Sean was talking about.

    What Sara wrote was a vicious personal attack on the fidelity of a former elected official withabsolutely nothing but malice as its justification. Art, brining the divorce proceedings of Chief Walters into a discussion about his application to be our next Sheriff, is equaly wrong.

    While sometimes Sean’s tone and agressive posture may put people off, and indeed sometimes crosses some lines, he usually has a good point or two to make. Sean and I may not always agree. Sean and the rest of our blog team may not always agree. I’m certain that the LiberalOC blog team does not always agree with me.

    WE ARE DEMOCRATS, AND WE WILL RARELY AGREE ON EVERYTHING!

    Despite what may appear to be a blog war, there really isn’t one. I expect that we will disagree with Art from time to time. I suspect we will disagree with Sara most, if not all, of time.

    This is fortunately, or unfortunately, what free form debate is all about. If we all agreed, all the time, how boring would that be?

    This is a blog for God’s sake. Let.s take a quick breath and get over ourselves.

  9. April 28, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    This is a blog for God’s sake. Let.s take a quick breath and get over ourselves. – But that’s just it Chris. We spend so much time nitpicking over the damn blogs that I think it overshadows the issues we are trying to promote or to discuss.

     

  10. April 28, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Chris,

    I agree totally. Personally I agree with a great majority of the points made by the folks at the OJ. I just think that it is wrong to personally slander to make a political point. There is enough to use without resorting to gutter levels.

    There is no “blog war” and this should not be construed as an attack on any blog. This was an attack upon tactics used by certain folks. Just because someone is in the political arena it does not make him fair game for every attack.

    But we should all expect some level of decency from our fellow bloggers. If calling them out makes others uncomfortable, I am sorry. Remaining silent when you know better isn’t the answer.

    I know that I can take a different approach and I apologize if some do not like how I handled this.

  11. April 28, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Heather,

    No one is “nitpicking” over blogs. The issue is decency. Would you be happy to have personal matters about your marriage posted as a means to attack you politically?

    When will people realize this isn’t about “blogs”, it’s about “decency”? Where should we draw the line?

    The same people who are posting this garbage in an attempt to make political points went ape$hit when we exposed someone for making homophobic remarks. They claimed that we somehow were unethical for doing so. Now they want to post personal info on their political enemies and then claim the moral highground.

    When will people start demanding decency from the blogosphere?

  12. Art Pedroza
    April 28, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Sean,

    The terms of our truce were that our bloggers would not attack each other personally. We have held to that. You have not. If you are so enamored of Walters, then write a post saying why he is your pick for Sheriff. Why kill the messenger?

    We just got rid of one crooked Sheriff. I don’t want to see us hire another one. Walters has hired Carona’s political consultants Sean. They know that he is their best bet to continue the corruption of the Carona era.

    And I made a very good point in the post you referenced. If this guy is in such massive debt, it will be all too easy for the same mafia goons that hung out with Carona to approach Walters and offer to help him with his debt…

  13. Dan Chmielewski
    April 28, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    First off boys and girls, slander is spoken defamation and libel is written.

    I have read Sean’s post which is critical of two blog postings on OJ. I agree with his assessment that the SMS post about Joe Dunn and Commie Girl meets the standard for malicious intent. You can’t call it jounalism either because it looks like she wrote a post with Art as her only source. I sent the link to my old jounalism professor and he agreed it met the malicious intent standard since Dunn is no longer a public official. I don’t believe Sarah has a degree in journalism. And I have been unable to find any newspaper articles she may have written in Boston.

    The post revealing divorce papers was an unwarranted invasion of privacy but not just for the police chief; mostly it invaded the privacy of an ex-wife.

    Critiscism of OJ’s news judgement on these posts is valid.

  14. April 28, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    2 things:

    1. I hate this.
    2. Why isn’t Gary Kephart on the LiberalOC blogroll? Has he been asked? Is he interested?

  15. April 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    When will people start demanding decency from the blogosphere?

    As I’ve stated privately and now will publicly, there is never an excuse for such personal attacks and I believe them to be wrong.

    It’s the back and forth that I’m talking about, the tit for tat that both blogs seem hell bent on continuing. When the bloggers think they are more interesting than the actual story, then it’s an issue. I guess I just don’t get it really.

    Really, I’m better off staying out of it. For me, it makes something fun and something that keeps me sane, blogging, into something mean spirited and downright depressing.

  16. April 28, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Mike, on April 28th, 2008 at 1:05 pm Said: Edit Comment
    2 things:

    1. I hate this.
    2. Why isn’t Gary Kephart on the LiberalOC blogroll? Has he been asked? Is he interested?

    Um, yeah, what Mike said!

  17. April 28, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Again I will repeat this over and over again, this is not a personal attack on anyone. This isn’t about a pissing contest between blogs or bloggers. This is about demanding decency.

    All blogs are tarnished when one acts wrecklessly and maliciously. If others would stand up and condemn this type of activity maybe some would not continue to act in this manner. Remaining silent is akin to those that do nothing about bullies elsewhere in society.

    As for claims that I somehow violated the “truce”, if that makes people feel better about themselves then so be it. I am attacked on a regular basis over there and since we called a “truce” I have not responded to their potshots at me or our blog.

    However when I see malicious and indecent posts over their that cross the line I will not remain silent. Neither of these posts involved me, but that doesn’t mean that I should look the other way.

    I am sorry that some of you don’t care about a lack of decency enough to stand up to it and instead choose to try and villify me for pointing it out.

  18. April 28, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Sean: I have to disagree with you on Art’s post regarding Walters. When it comes to our elected officials, I consider information like divorce settlements and failure to pay child support crucial to understanding the person behind it, a person desiring to represent thousands, if not millions, of constituents. I haven’t read Walters’ settlement, but I’m sure he can explain it–and who knows? Maybe he’ll turn out in a positive light if the woman he divorced was evil.

    Your comments about Sarah Michelle Spinosa, on the other hand, are well-taken and applauded. Her constant potshots at Rebecca are as tiresome as Rebecca’s constant digs at me toward the end of her OC Weekly run. And remember, readers: Sean doesn’t like Rebecca, so for him to take Rebecca’s side in this is pretty remarkable.

  19. April 28, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Well, I’m not villifying anyone. I think the posts you are referring to are so outrageously out there that it’s obvious and by bringing attention to them, you do work for the OJ, it garners the kind of attention that such posts want to receive.

    They are free to print what they want, to demand “decency” from them to me is absurd, they see nothing wrong with what they are doing. Posts like this in the past have only incited more of the same. Not commenting on it does not imply consent on your part.

    It’s not that I don’t care, it just seems that the OJ has an easy enough time making fools out of themselves on their own, why even acknowledge they exist if it bothers you so?

    And the hyperbole doesn’t help either.

  20. HB citizen
    April 28, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    I third it. Stop giving them attention and they’ll go away.

  21. rebecca
    April 28, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Oh, Stavo, you know I was just teeth-grindingly, heart-rendingly jealous. I can’t HELP IT. Envy is really my biggest flaw, always has been. Homewrecking, on the other hand, is something I have never done in my entire middle-aged life. So yeah, Sarah’s nasty little post really pissed me off. As did Art’s explanation to someone who emailed him about it: Well, everybody knows Rebecca’s a barfly with a terrible reputation.

    Nice.

  22. cook
    April 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Slow day?

    I liked the pissing in coke and spitting in shoes, very funny.

  23. larry gilbert
    April 28, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Just askin.
    When did Larry Gilbert enter this debate?
    As to my city I guess you have not read my latest post. I have not been a part of these exchanges and suggest you stay on topic. I normally do not visit this site and would not have seen your reference. I guess that’s the way you try to win points. Attack people’s position when they are not even in the Liberal OC loop.

  24. Urizen
    April 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Any close reading reveals lots about the author. That unfortunate young lady has issues that have found a platform. Arturo is a joyous agent-provocoteur who goes overboard, former Red and all that.

  25. Dan Chmielewski
    April 28, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Gustavo — Divorce records can used to build a profile of public officials, but every detail violates the privacy of the ex-wife.

    Gila — I loved the joke.

  26. just...asking?
    April 28, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Larry,

    Thought original post was about juice and the salacous nature of some posts on your blog. I was actually giving you credit for having a post worth reading. Not that I agree with your position, but was expressing the thread was worth reading. I was trying, maybe poorly, to contrast yours to the divorce and booth snuggle stories.

    As for your latest post, your sites links don’t always work so it sometimes takes a while before I see your entries. Because of the stuff this thread is discussing I just don’t visit the juice as often anymore.

  27. April 28, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Mike,

    “Why isn’t Gary Kephart on the LiberalOC blogroll? Has he been asked? Is he interested? ”

    Gary Kephart’s blog was on the blog roll. I had not been live for a while so I took it down. If that is what you were asking?

    Chris

  28. Joey
    April 29, 2008 at 12:28 am

    When I read Art post about the the SA chief I thought this was valuable information because this same type of informationis required from all new person applying for a policing agency.

    Everybody knows that Chief Paul is a candidate so should he be held at a different standard than some other new police applicant. You don’t give someone a pass from the same standards that you will hold for everyone else.

    I’m confused because I really didn’t believe that this blog was really so much into letting the police police themselves that they believe that a periodic check on the personal fiances of people who have so much power and authority is worthless.

    You can’t be selective with policy because you admire or respect someone.

    SMS–she’s some work.

    Hers’s an idea.

    How about a pay-per-view slugfest between SMS and Commie girl?

    They can raise money for a charity and try to solve their dissagreements at the same time.

    Then the main bout will feature Art P. versus Sean M.

    We can either do the oversized boxing gloves or the bare knuckles.

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