We were hoping to never have to write about Art Pedroza ever again. But his candidacy for a seat on the Orange County Board of Education (OC BoE) makes it necessary. Readers know this blog won our second federal lawsuit against Mr. Pedroza in December 2011 for cybersquatting names associated with TheLiberalOC, some of our writers and my business. Through the lawsuit, we’ve been privy to the ugly side of Mr. Pedroza’s personality and his character–something we believe voters need to know before casting ballots for OC BoE. Since he is a candidate for a County office, this post is aimed squarely at Mr. Pedroza’s fitness for that office.
Mr. Pedroza will undoubtedly use the “you don’t live in Area 1 for OC BoE so you can’t comment on this race” argument we’ve heard before. And while I live in a different OC BoE district, Mr. Pedroza is running for a County Seat that has influence beyond the area he would represent. As I have an underage child enrolled in school in Orange County, votes Mr. Pedroza might make as a member of this County Board would affect my family and my schools so opining on his race is completely fair game.
And while it’s our opinion that Mr. Pedroza uses his political blogs to unethically advocate his candidacy and tear down his opponents, it’s only fair we share with readers some facts that should make any voters for OC BoE think twice before casting a vote for him. It comes down to three simple facts.
1. Mr. Pedroza can’t manage money. Last April, he and his wife filed a Chapter 7 Petition for bankruptcy claiming assets valued at $471,518 and liabilities of $751,448, putting his total indebtedness at more than $279,000. In his filing of April 2011, Mr. Pedroza’s monthly expenses were more than $500 greater than his combined monthly family income, meaning each month, he was sinking deeper and deeper into debt. Since he doesn’t appear to have full-time employment outside of his part-time adjunct teaching position at Cerritos College, we have no idea what his family income situation is today. His mortgage is greater than the value of his home and, at the time of his Chapter 7 filing, he carried more than six figures of debt on a second mortgage while continuing to maintain a financial interest in a timeshare at a pricey Carlsbad resort.
At the time of his filing in April 2011, Mr. Pedroza still had unpaid state and federal taxes from 2008 on his filing to the tune of nearly $4,700 making him a tax scofflaw. He owed more than $73,000 in student loans to ACS Educational Services of Utica, NY (a city 12 miles from where I grew up) and another $22,000 in student loans from Nelnet of Lincoln, Nebraska.
And he had more than $13,500 in credit card debt including a lawsuit filed against him by FIA Cardmember Services of Wilmington, DE.
The Pedrozas had a combined family income of $125,988 in 2010 compared with a combined family income of $87,495 in 2009. The bankruptcy filing was Pedroza’s second and much of the debt in his filing was not dis-chargeable; it was an attempt to dismiss our November 2010 legal judgment of $17,000 but we were successful in filing a relief of stay to re-instate the judgment and his debt to us. And this was before we secured a judgment of $30,000 and another for $7,300 in unpaid sanctions for not following the orders of a federal judge in December 2011. This information is nearly a year old; for all we know, he has a well-paying new job and is current on all his bills–and there’s always that $500 million Lottery prize this Friday.
Add nearly $55,000 in the lawsuit judgment we have secured against him, and his situation appears worse today, not better.
Like we said, he can’t manage his own money. How do you think he’d do voting on taxpayer dollars?
2. Mr. Pedroza equates Gay Porn and NAMBLA, an organization dedicated to legalized sex between adult men and young boys (pedastry), as “parody” and therefore protected free speech. Mr. Pedroza filed an argument against our motion for summary judgment too late for the federal court, but we did secure a copy of his filing. In his own words, he defended his forwarding of domain names associated with our names to gay porn and NAMBLA sites as parody which is protected free speech. In his court filings, he left out the fact he was demanding significant amounts of cash to stop redirecting the URLs and only did so after being exposed publicly. Without being specific about the NAMBLA and gay porn sites, he defends his forwarding of domains in his own words:
Clearly the sites that the Defendant forwarded the URLs to were meant to be construed as parody. And it is intellectually dishonest for the Plaintiffs to complain about the forwarding to the NAMBLA site when they defended perverts in a post published on April 1, 2010, which is attached as Exhibit 9. In that post they ridiculed the Defendant because he had asked the Santa Ana Police Department to investigate instances of men having sex with other men at Santa Ana’s Santiago Park. If they are so against being linked to NAMBLA, why did the Defendants appear to defend the practice of men having sex at the park with other random men – with playgrounds nearby? The fact is, none of the websites the URLs were forwarded to contained false or misleading information. They were legitimate websites. The URLs were forwarded to these sites, again, as parody, which is protected free speech under the First Amendment. And again the Plaintiffs argued that the Defendant profited from the URLs he purchased. He did not. In point of fact he did not have any paid advertising on those sites. The paid advertising was on the Orange Juice blog, not on the URLs he purchased. They were not used to promote any commerce or services. They were only used as parody.
(If you’ll note, our post was parody and part of our April Fool’s series of stories; there was no defense of “perverts” and our post showed a photo of the Art Pedroza doll at Santiago Park)
Funny, I seem to recall a demand from Mr. Pedroza that we pay him $1,000 to $2,000 per domain “or else.” Mr. Pedroza omits this detail in his rejected response to the court. We were prepared to demonstrate his claim was false; that he did intend to profit by acquiring domains related to our blog and my business. Our proof is a letter from his former Orange Juice webmaster, Terry Crowley, demonstrating Mr. Pedroza did intend to profit from the potential sale of the domains he bought.
If you’re the parent of a school aged child, how comfortable are you with an elected official who defends the redirecting of URLs to gay porn sites and NAMBLA as “parody,” having a say in the content of your child’s education or how it’s delivered to your child’s school?
3. Is Art Pedroza fit to hold office? No.
We’ve received a share of emails from Pedroza over the past two years, the first loaded with threats and the last several begging us to drop the suit while complaining about his lot in life. We were also blamed for actions he took. He claims it was our fault he did what he did.
In November 2010, he threaded to commit suicide and was angry at us for taking him at his word and contacting the police. Due to the unstable nature of those emails, we were concerned that he might do himself or his family harm.
After he decided against suicide, he wrote that he “found the Lord” and was born again. He then wrote a series of apology emails to those he offended and removed hundreds of offensive posts he wrote from the Orange Juice blog. But his conversion didn’t last long and the mean-spirited blog bully emerged again.
Mr. Pedroza makes a big deal ouf of being bullied as a child. But when you read the emails we’ve added as links below, you’ll see examples of his bullying others in his own words. He is very good at playing the role of a bully too. Mr. Pedroza has issued threats via email, text message and phone calls; the text messages have been saved, email kept. He claims to be an advocate for free speech while operating under the guise of the “ministry of truth.” He seldom posts corrections to mistakes made on his blog and never lets the real facts get in the way of his version of the facts (the Julio Perez address situation for example..Art still isn’t buying that Perez lives at the address two reporters from two different media outlets have confirmed; his demands for Perez to produce a CDL make him sound like Orly Taitz with the Birth Certificate).
But the act of standing up to a bully usually makes them crumble. And make no mistake, Mr. Pedroza crumbled. His repeated emails begging us to drop the suit became, in a word, pathetic. A legally binding judgment was necessary because a handshake agreement with him doesn’t work. The courts sided with us.
With bullying being such a prominent issue for schoolchildren, teachers, parents and administrators, we believe voters need to know that while Mr. Pedroza may have been a victim of bullying as a child, he readily acts as a blogsphere bully today and may likely continue this behavior as a member of the OC BoE. Shouldn’t OC BoE members foster an environment that eliminates bullying and not perpetuate it?
Since we won the lawsuit in December, Mr. Pedroza’s “born again” Christianity has descended into a series of bitter and personal attacks on us through an array of comments on Mr. Pedroza’s blogs that he personally approves. The comments make disparaging comments about current and former blogger spouses and underage children. After starting his new OC Politics Blog, he made a big announcement to local media that he was using Facebook authentication for no more negative comments, only to reverse his action in less than 24 hours and he actually provided instructions on how a reader could attack someone anonymously.
An Update: So what would a bully do? Allow a comment on his blog that has nothing to do with his post at hand. Mr. Pedroza’s New Santa Ana blog carried this comment last night:
One Response to “OC Board of Education candidate Elizondo slams adult education”
Alex C. says:
March 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm
My Dad was behind this! Last night he and Chris and Andrew sat around trying to figure out how to CRUSH YOU! Matt Cunningham was supposed to come, but his wife wouldn’t let him be in the same building with a homosexual.
I wondered if she was talking about me, Andy or uncle Chris?
Alex C. would be my son who’s a college student. So Art allows a comment suggesting that he or Andy, presumably Andrew Galvin of the Register, are gay. Bullies are persistent, aren’t they?
When Mr. Pedroza he says he’s been “born again” as a Christian, pardon us for taking offense at him using Jesus Christ to elicit sympathy and forgiveness while he continued to rachet up personal attacks through surrogates. We frankly wonder what his pastor would say if he knew the full story. What Would Jesus Do indeed?
Frankly, we planned on never writing about Mr. Pedroza again. His candidacy for a county-wide office left us no choice. If elected, Mr. Pedroza will have influence over taxpayer dollars, and influence with school children, teachers, and administrators, His ongoing personal financial difficulties, his questionable character and his obvious emotional mood swings strike us as making Mr. Pedroza less than an ideal choice to participate in any elective office that has to do with education. He a registered Libertarian, which is his fourth or fifth party re-registration since 2006, and if he shares his party’s commitment to public education, then that position is at odds with quality public education. We’re a little surprised that Democrats Michele Martinez and Sal Tinajero, both members of the Santa Ana City Council, would endorse Libertarian Art Pedroza over a Democrat in the race, especially in light of Pedroza’s anti-union statements.
I’ll note that Mr. Pedroza recently banned OJ blogger Greg Diamond (someone I have never met) from his New Santa Ana blog, citing Diamond’s alleged “anti-free speech liberalism.” But try and post a comment on any of Mr. Pedroza’s blogs and ask about the lawsuit, his bankruptcy, NAMBLA and gay porn, as many of my friends have done, and none of the comments will see the light of day. You will see no comments questioning Mr. Pedroza’s candidacy, only ones that are praiseworthy. If anyone is anti-free speech in the OC blogsphere, it is him.
Mr. Pedroza has a favorable ballot designation; “teacher.” The county makes no distinction about whether a “teacher” teaches part-time or full-time, children or adults, or whether or not teaching is a primary source of income. But walking into a garage won’t make you a car either. Mr. Pedroza is a part-time hourly instructor at Cerritos College providing adult education. We believe he teaches one day a week. His primary vocation was a safety professional. It’s unclear where he works today to pay his bills on his sizable debt. Voters should be aware teaching is not his full time profession.
The bottom line here: there are a number of candidates running for this board seat who are better qualified to serve and don’t have the personal and financial baggage Mr. Pedroza has, nor his vindictiveness. Vote for one of the others.