Ten years ago today, April 26, 2006, Mike Lawson decided to take a plunge into the world of political blogging with the launch of TheLiberalOC. At the time, there was no political blog in Orange County solely dedicated to the liberal and progressive perspective. The Orange Juice blog had been operating for a while with a full range of political discourse. The OC Blog, on the other hand, was the primary place for conservative right-wing political propaganda in the blogosphere. A few weeks later, I became one of several people that Mike invited to join his project. Mike and I had met in 2000 when I was running for a seat on the Garden Grove City Council. He was then a reporter for the Garden Grove Journal, covering city politics.
On May 23, 2006 I submitted my first post, discussing the race for the Fourth Supervisorial District seat between incumbent Chris Norby and La Habra City Council member Rose Espinoza. The topic of Supervisor Norby would come back to bite me a few months later when I called him out in a post titled Darth Norby. While the blowback was uncomfortable, to say the least, the experience solidified my resolve to confront the politically powerful and fight for what I felt was right—to speak up for those who can’t or are afraid.
When Mike needed to move to Phoenix in December 2007, he turned the blog over to me. Along with Managing Editor Dan Chmielewski, and a talented team of writers, we built, up from the foundation that Mike laid, the best liberal political blog in Orange County. We went on to receive two Orange County Press Club awards for Best Political/News blog, in 2008 and 2012.
Since its launch in 2006, TheLiberalOC has published just over 8,400 stories. The blog has covered two Democratic National Conventions, multiple California Democratic Party state conventions, dozens of countywide and city elections, and a handful of political scandals. We even broke a few major stories along the way.
In late 2014, I decided to step back from blogging because it was sometimes conflicted with my role as an elected General Member Trustee for the Orange County Employees Retirement System. I don’t have a great self-censor button, and when you hold an elected position that button needs to be pushed. So rather than compromise, I transferred my ownership equity to Dan.
During the years that Dan and I co-owned this blog we frequently would cross swords over a variety of political topics. But we have always remained friends. I have always respected his right to be wrong, and he does the same for me. To say I had fun as a publisher and writer for LiberalOC would be an understatement. I live and breathe politics. I love political debate. I thrive when I’m rooting out political corruption, and I’ve got a few scars to show for it. I’m proud of what TheLiberalOC has accomplished over the last 10 years.
So today I celebrate TheLiberalOC’s milestone of ten years challenging the right-wing noise machine, and look forward to many more. Orange County is still a bastion of conservative bloviating, but post by post, word by word, TheLiberalOC continues to raise the liberal and progressive political perspective in the blogosphere for Orange County, California.