Several days ago, PBS “SoCal Insider” host Rick Reiff used the term “gutter politics” to refer to what he perceived (wrongly, in my opinion) as attempts to link Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait with gadfly William Fitzgerald’s now infamous anti-Semitic rant. PBS SoCal’s David Nazar went on an even more offbase on-air bender on the same topic.
Yesterday, the Voice of OC – PBS SoCal’s media partner — published a story explicitly attempting to link Anaheim Councilmembers Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman with a scandal to which they have no connection whatsoever.
Will Rick Reiff and David Nazar similarly denounce as “gutter journalism” this actual attempt to manufacture a link between an elected official (in this case, two) and a dishonorable act – in this case from their station’s online media partner? Is anyone going to hold their breath for that to happen?
Adam Elmahrek’s post is headlined “The Calderon FBI Investigation’s Connections To OC” tortuously attempts to draw a connection to Kris Murray and Jordan.
You see, the FBI is investigation involving Sen. Ron Calderon, his brother Tom and the Central Basin Municipal Water District in LA County. on August 5, the FBI served the district with a subpoena that. According to the Los Angeles Times:
The subpoena seeking information on the groundwater storage effort for Southeast L.A. focuses on records connected to the project’s environmental impact report, as well as to several engineering and consulting companies.
The companies named in the subpoena include HDR Engineering Inc., Willdan Financial Services, Pacifica Services Inc. and the Calderon Group, a consulting firm owned by Tom Calderon.
No one is really sure exactly what the FBI is looking for in these records, and the FBI isn’t saying.
A few years ago, the Central Basin district hired Temecula-based Willdan Financial Services to provide chief financial officer services. Willdan Financial Services is a subsidiary of Willdan Group, which is headquartered in Anaheim. Willdan Group’s senior vice president for business development is Kris Murray.
Adam Elmahrek and the Voice of OC are only a couple degrees of separation from connecting Kevin Bacon to the FBI’s investigation.
As a Willdan group spokesman told the Voice of OC, “Murray has had no dealings with Willdan Financial Services and was not involved in the district granting contracts to the company.”
Councilman Jordan Brandman is dragged into the story because the legislator he works for is the nephew of Ronald and Tom Calderon.
In other words, neither Murray nor Brandman are connected to the FBI investigation in any real or even imagined way. So why go to such lengths to dragged them into it?
Adam Elmahrek has for months been filing public record act requests all over the place with various public agencies seeking troves of documents relating to targeted individuals such as Murray, Brandman and Curt Pringle. it would be interested to conduct a survey of his PRAs and tote up the percentage that a targeted at those three individuals versus anyone else. My intuition is the percentage would be pretty lopsided.
Yesterday’s article is additional validation of what is taken for granted in Orange County political circles: that the Voice of OC is deliberately trying to harpoon these individuals, and with a single-mindedness akin to Ahab’s pursuit of Moby Dick. Don’t tell Mel Rogers, though.
Don’t be surprised to see this half-baked story find its way into independent expenditure mailers in next year’s Anaheim city council races. It would be easy for a campaign consultant to selectively design a hit piece citing the Voice of OC as “reporting” that Kris Murray is “connected” to an FBI investigation. One has to wonder is that is at least one of the purposes.