Stivic Stymied in Finale of First Five Follies


Stifle yourself.

First 5 California, the universal preschool bureaucracy created after the passage of actor/filmmaker Rob Reiner's Proposition 10 in 1998, is wheezing, gasping and – like capitalism itself – apparently collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions. 

First 5 officials in Merced, Madera and Fresno are suing Gov. Jerry Brown over his plan to reallocate $1 billion in Prop 10 funds in an effort to close the Golden State's $26 billion deficit. Prop 10, which was approved during the peak popularity of "first five years" pseudoscience, imposed a 50-cent-per-pack cigarette tax in order to fund universal preschool. You may ask what the legal theory is for connecting smokers and pre-schoolers in a funding loop, but if you're in California you may ask a more pertinent question: Where did all that money go? Since Prop 10 was passed, I have sired three California-born children, and the only time I have ever heard anything about Prop 10 funds, First 5, or free preschool has been when I was reporting on First 5-related scandals. 

There have been plenty of those. After Prop 10 was passed, Reiner became the head of the newly created First 5 California organization. As I noted in 2002, there was something ominous in seeing a political activist elevated to a quasi-government post created by a political campaign he himself spearheaded. And sure enough, the same thing happened again in 2004, when the wealthy developer Robert Klein became head of the stem-cell-research agency created by his own Prop 71. 

In 2006 it turned out Reiner had spent $230 million of First 5's $800 million budget on advertising and PR for Prop 82, another universal preschool boondoggle. (To no avail: Prop 82 turned out to be Reiner's biggest bomb until last year's dramedy Flipped.) The organization also spent $230 million on advertising and PR for Prop 10.* A lesser man might have acknowledged the impropriety of using taxpayer money for politicking, or even done some time. But Reiner's commitment to California children is so unswerving that he fought the complaints, then agreed to take a leave of absence, and finally quit his post at First 5 – lest, in his words, "personal political attacks get in the way of doing the very best we can for California's children."

The First 5 fun didn't stop under Reiner successor Hector Ramirez. A 2009 report concluded that "more than a decade after voters approved the tax, agencies that run those programs in Fresno County and other areas are still struggling to find out how effective they are." Among the findings: Tykes receiving the most First 5 help showed the lowest improvement in reading readiness scores. But if First 5 isn't doing much for kids, it still excels in PR. Orange County bloggers have had a good time detailing how Matthew Cunningham, a Republican flack (and ironically, one-time critic of Ramirez) has been billing First 5 $200 an hour for reading the paper, making blog comments and listening to John and Ken

Reiner, in what may be sour grapes or Democratic Party loyalty, now says he's OK with Brown's plan to take money from our children's future. 

I still like several of Rob Reiner's movies, but for me it's all about Carl:

Update: An earlier version of this post indicated First 5 spent $230 million on promotion for Prop 82. Although First 5 did spend $230 million on advertising and public relations, it only spent $23 million for Prop 82 itself. Thanks to commenter johnl for the correction. 

NEXT: Everybody Rations?

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  1. Meathead. It really was the right name!

  2. Carl is the superior Reiner by far, but This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, and Stand by Me justify Meathead’s existence.

    1. I loathe the man, but I agree that his talents behind the camera are quite good.

    2. Out of curiosity, what justifies Sally Struthers’ existence? Also, All in the Family was groundbreaking. I deplore Norman Lear’s politics, but his teevee programs were exploring issues that other producers wouldn’t touch. That said, Rob Reiner, with the exceptions noted, can join Micheal Moore in Cuba or Venezuela at their all-u-can-eat booffets.

      1. He’s like Christian Bale, he’s only good at pretending.

      2. They may have been touching those issues just to touch them, but what they couldn’t do is make those issues entertaining in a sitcom.

        1. I take that you don’t find the show entertaining, then. The proper way to express your personal distaste for something is to say, for example: “I don’t find All in the Family funny”.

      3. He did make Spinal Tap. For that alone he is far above Micheal Moore. It is frankly kind of sad. Rinner is a good director and the kind of talent Hollywood needs. But instead of doing what he does well, making movies, he has wasted his later career on idiotic politics.

        1. Reiner was only a channel for Christopher Guest’s awe inspiring comedic talent

          1. He also directed The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, and Sleepless in Seattle. He had a nice run as a director in the late 80s and early 90s.

          2. He also directed “The Sure Thing” which is a widly underrated 80s teen comedy. He is a good director.

            1. He was a good director. I think it’s been a while since he’s done anything good. Might’ve caught Coppola disease.

            2. “The Sure Thing” is one of those movies I will stop and watch through to the end when flipping channels. Yeah, it’s that good. I still kind of have a thing for Daphne Zuniga, based only on that movie.

        2. Celebrities and Nobel Prize winners do seem to have the awful habit of assuming that they are experts on everything.

          1. And blogwhores.

          2. And blogwhores.

      4. South Park?

      5. Out of curiosity, what justifies Sally Struthers’ existence?

        Her 1971 (72?) photo layout in Playboy?

      6. Her topless scene with Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces.

    3. Anybody else ever watch All in the Family and wish that Archie would put a tomahawk through Meathead’s skull?

      1. One of the things that bothered Lear/Reiner was how many people agreed with Archie.

        Part of this is that Lear had talent and created a believable foil. Sometimes Archie had idiotic or inane opinions, but I think he was created to represent a majority of Americans, whether intentional or not.

        1. “I think he was created to represent a majority of Americans”

          Or at least a large enough number of Americans that most people recognized a lot of Archie in people they know and love.

  3. I really wish Uwe Boll and/or Paul W. S. Anderson would get involved in California politics. They could fuck things up something fierce.

    1. Michael Bay / Uwe Boll for Governor / Lt. Governor! Because you fucking deserve it, California!

  4. Meet the new Governor, same as the old Governor?

  5. Mx Cadillac broke down last week so I was on the bus and I’d just grown a new mustache. The ‘stache looked like Burt Rexnolds in Smokex and the Bandit. I saw a verx good looking women sittinx on the bus across from me so I sort of started licking mx lips and thrusting mx tongue so she could see it. I was trxing to turn her on!

  6. You may ask what the legal theory is for connecting smokers and pre-schoolers in a funding loop…

    They should allow force 5-year-olds to light up. That way, they will at least pay into the program they’re benefitting from.

  7. California proposition system: always stupid.

    And I don’t give a fuck, “All in the Family” was a terrible show.

    1. Heretic! (re: the latter item)

  8. You write good articles, I will always be concerned about

  9. Since Prop 10 was passed, I have sired three California-born children


  10. “Flipped” wasn’t that bad. If you’re going to equae First Five with anything it should be with “North”, one of the worst movies ever period. Still, I wonder how I ever managed to get through high school not having gone to preschool.

    1. Roger Ebert gave North zero stars. Unfortunately, he took down the quote “I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated it…” from his online review.

      On the plus side, it did have Scarlett Johannsen. That she was unable to make it worth watching shows how terrible it was.

    2. Haven’t seen it, and I actually thought it looked pretty good. Was referring to the will of the voters, which was solidly against both Flipped and Prop 82.

  11. Did you guys know that Carl Reiner created the Dick van Dyke show? That shit was brilliant. Also the Jerk, which is a jillion times funnier than anything Meathead could ever dream up.

    1. “The new phonebook’s here! The new phonebook’s here!”

      1. “I know we’ve only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days. The first day seemed like a week and the second day seemed like five days. And the third day seemed like a week again and the fourth day seemed like eight days. And the fifth day you went to see your mother and that seemed just like a day, and then you came back and later on the sixth day, in the evening, when we saw each other, that started seeming like two days, so in the evening it seemed like two days spilling over into the next day and that started seeming like four days, so at the end of the sixth day on into the seventh day, it seemed like a total of five days. And the sixth day seemed like a week and a half. I have it written down, but I can show it to you tomorrow if you want to see it.”

        1. “I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.”

          1. “It’s these cans! He hates these cans! Stay away from the cans!”

        2. You mean I’m WHITE?!?!

    2. Consider yourselves owned, bitchez!

    3. Yes. Carl Reiner was brilliant. His son wasn’t bad though. But not as good as the father.

    4. I was born a poor black child.

  12. I love this article especially this video.

  13. I find this article very interesting may be i should just bookmark this website for more future articles.

  14. Yes. Carl Reiner was brilliant. His son wasn’t bad though. But not as good as the father.

  15. Merci pour le partage, nous r?jouissons de votre prochain article ? ?crire mieux, je vous souhaite une vie heureuse.

  16. He’s only got what, two lines in this video? It’s all Sid Caesar.

  17. Our company mainly sale fake oakley sunglasses, We have been in wholesale fake oakleys for 6 years.

  18. I find this article very interesting may be i should just bookmark this website for more future articles.

  19. Nice, now thats what I am talking about dude. Wow.

  20. Wow. The article linked for the $230 million funneled from prop 10 funds to fund the prop 82 campaign is worth reading the whole thing. But it says it’s $23 million. which is still amazing.

  21. WOW… you might actually want to read the legislation of Prop 10.. NOWHERE does it say this is a universal preschool program..These funds go to serve children 0-5 in numerous capacities to help better prepare them for school and life!! This program is to ENHANCE existing programs and fill gaps not fix the state’s inability to be fiscally responsible… if your going to write a story, get your facts straight as you just look ignorant!!!

    1. But would you rather that poor Medi-Cal kids die so that First 5 can continue to pay for belly dancing and Jelly Belly tours? I wouldn’t

  22. aahh, what’s a few hundred million bucks these days, anyway? a million ain’t what it used to be. Hah!

  23. Good girl, Sandy! You tell ’em.

  24. Since Prop 10 was passed, I have sired three California-born children, and the only time I have ever heard anything about Prop 10 funds, First 5, or free preschool has been when I was reporting on First 5-related scandals.

    Here’s all I know, from firsthand experience:

    * When my son was born 4 years ago, the hospital gave us a First Five newborn kit with a booklet on how to parent our kid and an infant toothbrush.
    * There’s a sign near the gate at a kid’s park in San Jose saying First Five provided some of the funding.

  25. Anybody see the South Park episode where they made fun of Meathead? He was so fat his driver had to smear him in butter to get him in and out of his limo.

  26. “Karen Scott, executive director of First 5 San Bernardino, said her commission has no litigation plans.”

    Why? one might ask… perhaps this quote from another Executive Director is why: Fom Contra Costa;s February minutes:

    “Sean Casey: We don’t’ have any real argument against it which is why we’re really stressing the other piece. Sure, take the money, but before you really kick us to the curb, let’s see what loss would be locally and what we wouldn’t be able to do if you do this. I’m sorry to say that it really does reduce us to almost irrelevancy.”

    WOW – so they really do get that it is a legally okay thing for the governor to do, in fact, their Executive Director said:

    QUOTE “We don’t have any real argument against (the taking of funds)”

    Which makes sense as to why Reiner is quoted in the Fresno Bee as being in support of the re-direct and the LA Times wrote an editorial that documented that it is legal to make the move.…..7384.story
    So why sue? Someone said:

    “My sense is that First 5s are hoping to win in the court of public opinion with the lawsuits so that any potential proposition to shut down the First 5s does not pass with the voters.”

    and there is a potential proposition, Senate Bill 486.

  27. IMO, First 5’s problems are:

    1) They claim to be standing up for kids, but if they were really doing that, they would have no problem funding Medi-Cal so that poor kids won’t DIE, or in the alternative, funding the pension obligations so all those kids later will not have to pay for the unfunded millions. Money for Medi-Cal is spent locally; anyone who says differently is misleading the public.

    2) Instead of being cooperative and pitching in on the state’s problems, they use taxpayer funds to launch a lawsuit to try to protect funds for primarily the Commissioner’s own programs (oh yes they DO get most of the funding). To be clear – the funds belong to the taxpayer, not to the Commissioners.

    3) There is precedent for re-directing the funds for children’s healthcare and the Proposition has a provision that allows it. Reiner, the originator of Prop 10, is quoted in an article in the Fresno Bee (link below) as supporting the $1 billion dollar LEGAL re-direct. Think he wouldn’t be screaming bloody murder if he thought it were illegal? He’s had weeks to do that since the governor signed the bill and he hasn’t.

    4) Further, unlike EVERY OTHER organization in California, First 5 has a legal exception to the conflict of interest law – that means people sitting on their Commission Boards can and generally DO receive the lion’s share of the funds. In such a situation, I think that means that all the Commissioners have to do, wink wink, is leave the room when monies that could go to them are voted on. Think the Commissioners don’t know that they can pretty much make back room deals with key community provider support? It’s no stretch if you ask me.

    5) There have been at least 20 articles in main stream newspapers detailing conflict of interest problems over the past 3-4 years. Riverside was converted into a county department as a result of these problems. 9 members of advisory board resigned when they could no longer also continue to receive funds from the San Diego Commission. Contra Costa First 5 had a grand jury report in 2010 that criticized the conflict of interest problem and suggested they be turned into a county department so that the public would obtain more accountability. See a pattern?

    6) As far as I have seen, First 5 NEVER refers to specific outcome data created by their programs. Instead they rely on studies done decades before they started and/or from programs not even run by First 5. Any reasonable person would agree that First 5 claims for making any kind of improvement should be evaluated using THEIR OWN studies. Someone did review a good number of the eval studies and it was not a pretty picture (about 1/4 of the way down the blog): http://blogs.venturacountystar…..decep.html

    Read more:

  28. Tim:

    Regarding this passage from your April 7 post on First 5:

    “But if First 5 isn’t doing much for kids, it still excels in PR. Orange County bloggers have had a good time detailing how Matthew Cunningham, a Republican flack (and ironically, one-time critic of Ramirez) has been billing First 5 $200 an hour for reading the paper, making blog comments and listening to John and Ken”

    Since your post is mostly concerned with the state First 5 Commission, readers will likely ? wrongly — conclude I worked for that organization. I did have a contract with the Children and Families Commission of Orange County ? which, as you know, is completely independent of the state commission — for three years, as the lead contractor on a team providing public communications services.

    Furthermore, characterizing my work as you did is misleading. It would be like someone saying your clients pay you to read a few e-mails. Unfortunately, you relied entirely on some posts from a blog with a personal, borderline-obsessive axe to grind with me. They went through three years of billing records, cherry picked a few items out of context and presented them as the sum total of our team’s work. [Although, since you are also a PR consultant, I’m curious how you provide media relations services without monitoring the media?] The same blog also claimed I made half-a-million dollars from the Children and Families Commission of OC ? which isn’t remotely true.

    As for the reference to my “ironic” 2006 FR post about ? what irony? My point was it was wrong of Rob Reiner to use Prop. 10 funds to promote qualifying an initiative for the ballot, and given that, Schwarzenegger should have replaced Reiner on the state First 5 Commission with someone associated with that wrong. It’s irrelevant to the work I did with the Children and Families Commission of OC, but it is a cheap way of trying to make me seem like a hypocrite.

    I’m not asking you to either endorse or condemn that I had a contract with a county First 5 commission. But I’m not hard to get a hold of, and would have appreciated you contacting me before deciding to regurgitate cheap, out-of-context shots from some anonymous blogger.

    1. You not read? Dad has since 1998 three California kids and undisclosed count in other places. He showed us all to read before we could even walk. You ever hear of web crawler?

  29. This should have read:

    “…Schwarzenegger should NOT have replaced Reiner on the state First 5 Commission with someone associated with that wrong.”

  30. Matthew Cunningham is nothing but a shameless Orange County Republican political hack who, as public records prove, will sellout his claimed ideological conservative stances because, well, his loyalty is solely to enrich himself. His answer here underscores he’s not in touch with reality. For an alleged staunch conservative Republican to work for a decidedly liberal government group speaks volumes.

  31. For a self-proclaimed “real journalist,” Scott, you sound more like a crazy blog troll.

    I responded to Tim’s post with reason and truth. You might try the same.

  32. Matt, you–an alleged conservative, anti-government Republican–charged taxpayers $200 an hour to listen to a radio talk show, read newspapers and plant loaded comments on websites for a liberal government organization. I realize that you will never admit that you are a shameless hack but you defined yourself by your actions. Own it, pal.

    1. Scott, I worked for the Children and Families Commission of OC for three years. Our team did public communications work for the Commission — which is difficult to do unless one monitors the media. But that was only a small part of the work we did.

      And for the record, I didn’t “plant loaded comments on websites.” Honestly, does the OC Weekly sanction its reporters manufacturing facts out of whole clothe?

      Finally, the Children and Families Commission of OC is not a “liberal government organization.” Reporters like yourself are supposed to report based on facts, not make claims out of ignorance. I doubt you, at this moment, could name a single thing the Commission does or program it helps fund.

      The fact is the Commission is one of the most efficiently run public agencies in the state. It’s overhead is incredibly small and it contracts out almost everything. It requires detailed, feasible, multi-year business plans from potential grantees and will pull the plug on funding if grantees don’t deliver as promised. It’s funding activities are focused on meat-and-potatoes programs. It is the rare public agency that actually earned a glowing review from the OC Grand Jury. Unlike the typical government agency, the Commission doesn’t look for ways to perpetuate itself but operates on the presumption that it will wind down and eventually cease to exist. it lives within its means, and when Prop. 10 revenues declined, it cut back rather than agitate for more money (unlike your typical government agency).

      If the state government were operated in the manner as the Commission, we wouldn’t be facing chronic deficits. I have encountered few public agencies run more conservatively and prudently than the “liberal” Children and Families Commission of Orange County.

    2. And while we’re on the subject of ownership, Scott, let’s talk about your recent smears against OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh.

      In serial blog posts a few months ago, you falsely claimed Scott Baugh had recently been awarded a lobbying contract with the County of Orange. You further claimed — without a shred of evidence — that this was payback for political support Baugh gave to OC supervisors.

      A single phone call to the County of Orange would have revealed that Scott Baugh had not been awarded a lobbying contract, and that he had no part of the lobbying contract. In fact, Scott hadn’t done lobbying work for the county for several years.

      Or, you could have read the staff report posted online as part of the agenda for the Board of Supes meeting at which the contract in question was approved. it would have shown that Scott Baugh had no part of that contract.

      Or you could have talked to Scott Baugh.

      Any of those three, easily-taken actions would have proven your assumption to be false. And yet, you failed to do any of them.

      Instead, you took several outdated factoids you found online, and cobbled them together in an attempt to falsely smear Scott Baugh as being a hypocrite.

      See the pattern?

      I subsequently wrote a post proving your article to be false.

      You wrote a sloppy story leveling a false accusation against a friend of mine. I stand up for that friend and pointed out your errors on — and yet I’m the shill?

      And for the record, you still have not “owned” that your accusation against Scott was false.

      1. Matt Cunningham if you have any evidence that Moxley’s claim is false I challenge you to post it here. Your first article on response to Moxley:…..augh-story was garbage.

        1. Actually, John, it is the truth.

          And, customarily, the burden is on a newspaper reporter to provide evidence that their claims are true.

        2. And I find it interesting that you have not also asked Moxley to substantiate any of his accusations.

      2. John:

        It seems you didn’t read my other posts on the matter:…..cott-baugh…..ts-thicker

        The second has the e-mail from the CEO’s office stating Scott Baugh is not part of the contract.

        1. If you’d like to see for yourself that Baugh is not part of the contract — contrary to Moxley’s claim — here is the staffing plan for the contract:


          Here is the whole contract:


          Again, these documents were easy to obtain.

          Short of printing them out and physically putting them in front of you to read, I have done all I can to demonstrate to you that Moxley’s article was untrue.

          Feel free to respond anytime with “You’re right, Matt.”

          1. Matt Cunningham you are so off base that you are difficult to understand. I had seen first a later article, and, yes, the original one states that Baugh directly benefits, which he doesn’t, and Moxley should correct (if he hasn’t already). But the big deal is that a no bid contract was awarded to a firm associated with Baugh, and that there was no explicit discussion by the staff or Platinum of the relationship, so no chance for the board to check for CI.

            It’s like a grenade was tossed into a house and landed in the dining room. Moxley wrote that it landed in the kitchen. You say that Moxley is lying and everything is OK.

            1. I’m not off-base at all. I am making a very, clear direct point.

              Moxley’s claim — which he has never corrected — was not simply that Baugh BENEFITS from that County of Orange lobbying contract, but that the contract was given to Baugh.

              As I have shown, that claim was false. And it was easily shown to be so.

              If that claim was made by some crank blogger, it could be dismissed as such. But it was made by someone reputed to be a crack investigative reporter.

              Given that – and the fact the Moxley refuses to correct himself and savages me for doing so, ought to give you pause.

              1. Furthermore, it is immaterial to this contract what other lobbyists Platinum Advisors might work with on other clients.

            2. It’s childish to assume that Baugh didn’t benefit, or that the relationship is immaterial. That was for the board to decide, but Platinum didn’t disclose the relationship.

              1. “Childish”? That doesn’t even make sense, John.

                Again — what evidence do you have that Baugh benefited?

                Also, why don’t you explain why whatever relationship exists between Baugh and Platinum is even relevant, or why it had to be disclosed?

                You’ve very quick to assume, presume and judge, John. How about some facts?

  33. Matthew Cunningham reason is a political blog. Are you able to understand how your working for First Five is troubling? You seem like the Orange County GOP in miniature. Socialism is bad until an OC Republican is on the payroll, in which case bring on eminent domain abuse, gifting state resources to campaign contributors, gambling with county money, … A banana republic.

    1. John:

      I wrote a lengthier reply a short time ago, but for some reason it didn’t take, so I’ll try to re-create it:

      Yes, I understand this is a political blog, and I see how readers might be trouble if they are looking at this as if I were working for a liberal political campaign or candidate.

      But that is not the case. I am a public affairs/public relations consultant. I make my living providing those services to clients in both the private and public sectors. My work for the Children and Families Commission of Orange County was in that capacity.

      Your point seems to be that working for, or provide services to a public agency constitutes, ipso facto, an endorsement of everything that agency is and does: how it is funded, how it operates, how it is staffed, etc. The fact that I did not vote for Prop. 10 somehow disqualifies me from ever providing services to a Prop. 10 commission.

      [As I mention in another comment here, the Children and Families Commission of OC is a very well-run agency staffed by top-flight individuals with whom I am proud to have worked.

      The logic of your apparent point would pretty much bar conservatives or libertarians from working for government at all. Could a conservative activist who opposed progressive taxation work for a conservative state legislator, given that his or her salary and benefits are the fruit of progressive taxation? Is an opponent of the income tax a hypocrite for selling goods or services to the government, when payment for those goods and services is made possible by the income tax? Is someone with conservative views who favors outsourcing government services a hypocrite if he or she works for the government?

      And calling First 5 “socialism”: regardless of whether you’re for or against it, it isn’t socialism, and calling it that drains meaning from the term.

      1. Matt your other comment appeared as a reply to another thread above. As to the logic of my “apparent point”, it’s not like the issue of how to keep hands clean in a dirty world is never covered here. A site search for “million times worst than the Holocaust” or “honorable unlicensed jitneys” would show more playful treatments. Your argument that CFC of OC is at least responsive (though not effectively argued) and you make a fair point that you guys were not the ones who spent 23 million on prop 82 and a good portion of 250 million repaying the people who supported prop 10.

        I see you didn’t understand my point about the OC GOP but I am afraid we will be 50 comments into pedopriests and ex Weekly staffers before you get it.

  34. Tim: You forgot to mention that Matt shamelessly defended a notorious pedo-priest protector despite knowing the man spread terror in county pews for decades? Also? Matt released the names of clerical sex-abuse victims without their consent. What you slammed him for is nothing compared to his true sins.

    1. Gustavo, you are additional proof that being truthful is not a prerequisite of being an OC Weekly reporter.

      You continually claim I defended Msgr. Urell’s part in diocesan failures to deal predatory priests. Maybe you have convinced yourself that is true. In fact, it is demonstrably false, as anyone who reads what I wrote during that time can plainly see.

      You also continually claim I “released the names of clerical sex-abuse victims without their consent” — a deliberate attempt to lead people into believing I deliberately and with ill intent published a long list of names.

      The truth is I posted (and not on my blog) a copy of Msgr. Urell’s deposition — since it was at the center of the contention at the time. Unfortunately, I forgot that it was an unredacted copy, and on the final page of the deposition, which ran some 60-70 pages if I remember correctly, the attorney deposing Msgr. Urell mentioned the names of several abuse victims.

      When I posted the deposition — which did not present Msgr. Urell in a favorable light — I forgot about that section of it. When it was brought to my attention, I immediately took it down (it was only online for several hours), and publicly apologized.

      Contrary to what you continually try to mislead people into thinking, Gustavo, I did not deliberately published those names, nor was I trying to cause them any harm.

      The thing is, Gusatavo, you know all that, And I have publicly corrected you on the numerous times you have posted the above comment. And yet you continue to knowingly twist the facts to create a false impression. Given that, it is amazing to me that you are paid to be managing editor of a media outlet that purports to be a reliable news source.

      Since I know you do deliberately distort the truth in my case, I have long since stopped taking it for granted anything you write is truthful.

      1. Where did you get the confidential copy of the deposition Matt?

      2. Are you saying you recived NOTHING for your help defending Fr. Urell?

        The posts, the websites, the commentaries.

        Be careful how you answer, or don’t at all because there is always the TRUTH to challenge you.

        1. I don’t need to be careful how I answer your paranoid question, because the answer is: Yes, I received nothing.

          1. So the question remains…..Where did you get the copy Matthew?

            Fr. Stan is right to some degree: The truth will set you free!

            WHO GAVE YOU THE DEPO?

          2. Matthew,

            I KNOW what I KNOW. So do you. But, I’ll pass on that.

            Please answer Mr. Serra’s question.

            If you have nothing to hide, who gave you the deposition?

            I expect to never see you post here again. Because you are hiding the TRUTH.

    2. Gustavo this seems to be unfair on your part. I am prepared to present evidence that Cunningham’s writing is often rough and poorly edited. You don’t want to imply that he was attempting to intimidate witnesses or retaliate against them when it is plausible he made an unfortunate mistake.

  35. Matt Cunningham, the facts of your hypocrisy are simple:

    1. For many years in the past you used your Red County blog to savagely blast people who wasted government resources, largely a noble effort.

    2. Then, you decided to cash in on your Republican political connections to win an insane $200 an hour contract to perform public relations works for a government agency.

    3. The agency was the brainchild of a liberal Hollywood activist, funded by an increase in taxes and aimed to change society in a way that delighted progressives.

    4. At this agency, you charged taxpayers $200 an hour to do things like listen to the radio and read newspapers, chores that I maintain were not worth even $25 an hour.

    5. In your vocal defense of pedophile priests, you did something deplorable: you publicly released the names of sex crime victims.

    6. When I exposed the relationship between Orange County Republican Party chairman Scott Baugh and GOP activist Jeffrey Ray Nielsen–one of Baugh’s best friends and a serial pedophile who targets 7th and 8th grade boys for sex–you suppressed that fact from your readers.

    7. When I exposed Republican OC Sheriff Mike Carona as corrupt, you ignored those facts–facts used by federal law enforcement agents, federal prosecutors and federal judges to send the county’s top cop to prison for corruption.

    8. When I exposed that Scott Baugh had used his status as party chairman to win lucrative private lobbying contracts from an all-Republican county board of supervisors, you went ballistic. You slammed me for not calling Baugh before the story, a lie. (He decided to return my call after the story appeared.) It was you, Matt, who didn’t contact me before you wrote your inane hit piece on me. Besides, you never tackled one huge problem for Baugh: even on the date of my article, he was publicly named a ranking member of the lobbying company that got the last county contract. Yet, you’ve repeatedly lied, claiming there is no connection between Baugh and that business. Shame on you.

    9. You’ve tried over the years to pose as a “real journalist.” But unlike you, a real journalist doesn’t secretly take money in his political strategy business from clients and then use his blog to sell the greatness of that client without telling the reader that you’ve been paid. There are other differences between you and real journalists, but I won’t list them because I don’t think you’ll grasp them.

    10. Except for this: Unlike you, Matt, a real journalist does not use a fake name to praise work he’s done under his real name. How hilariously childish!

    I do see a sad pattern here.

    1. Scott:

      This comment is almost completely half-truths and outright fiction from beginning to end.

      Case in point (again): you again claim — falsely — that the Board of Supes awarded Scott Baugh a lobbying contract. OK, super reporter: produce a contact, a staff report — any documentation you can — to prove that claim. You can’t because it isn’t true. Admit it Scott — you totally screwed the pooch on that story.

      Another case in point: your claim I “defended pedophile priests.” A total and utter lie. You can’t find a single instance because I have done no such thing.

      I could go on with the rest of your fantasies and fabrications such as “cashing in on Republican connections” or “suppressing facts” from readers. But it is pointless to waste any further time when you are showing yourself to be truly dishonest in your reporting. The real scandal is the OC Weekly is paying you for it.

      1. Matt,

        This story in Reason is in part about you. And, based on facts, it’s not favorable for your already tainted reputation. The blog post helps out you as a hypocrite and liar. Try as you have, nobody believes that your pathetic attempts to smear me in any way redeems you. I had nothing to do with you, an alleged conservative, selling out and grabbing a $200 an hour government job shilling for Rob Reiner’s liberal fantasies. Watching you angrily squirm on these pages is really funny, though. Thanks for all the laughs!

        1. Scott, you keep calling me a liar, yet you can’t point to an example.

          I have been responding truthfully, while you continue resorting to writing things about me that are half-truths and untruths. You impeach what’s left of your credibility with each falsehood. Keep going if you like. Given that you have invented “facts,” both here and at OC Weekly, your opinion of me isn’t worth worrying about.

          1. Matthew, there you go again. This story doesn’t embarrass me and your repeated attempts to make this about me or Gustavo are juvenile. We aren’t even mentioned in the text. But take comfort in the fact that most everyone in OC’s political/media world already knew about your faults as a human weasel. And please know that you are a much better hypocrite than a liar. Your lies are terribly weak. However, your unrepentant, shameless hypocrisy–now that’s worth watching in awe.

            1. Moxley needs to get over himself. With Carona gone, he’s got nothing to do, and the owners of the paper are probably wondering why they shouldn’t hire a new guy at half the price.

              Moxley has dodged everything Cunningham has said. Moxley is the one who is viewed in OC political circles as a self-important joke.

              1. Moxley was important before Carona, during Carona and after Carona–a period when Matt Cunningham was nothing more than a hack. Matt should worry about getting future customers at his Pacific Strategies. He is a hypocrite.

      2. Matt Cunningham you are obtuse. Is your claim that Baugh didn’t work for Platinum? Or that Platinum didn’t get a contract? Maybe Moxley is saying that failure to link to his stories is “suppressing facts”, so before I am called on that, the Baugh story is…..attack.php

        1. How’s that?

          Here’s the the Moxley column in question, from Oct. 7 2010:


          This is from the article’s lead:

          “Well, late last month, the Republican supervisors voted unanimously to pay their political party’s leader more than a half-million dollars?about $5,100per week, plus expenses?in a two-year, no-bid deal to lobby for the county in Sacramento.”

          That is categorically untrue, as Moxley would have discovered if he had simply e-mailed the county CEO’s office and asked if Scott Baugh was part of Platinum Advisors lobbying contract.

          Unlike the “real reporter,” I called Scott Baugh, I contacted the CEO’s office, and I looked at the staff report on the agenda item — which included the contract itself.

          All three showed Moxely’s allegation to be false. This took me less than half and hour. Moxley couldn’t be bothered with rudimentary, Journalism 101 fact-checking.

          And yet I am the “obtuse” one?

          And yes — Scott Baugh does not work for Platinum Advisors. They have him listed as a strategic partner on their website — although the contact info for Scott is several years out of date (again, as some fact checking would have revealed). This is not unusual in the consulting world. For example, I have several strategic partnerships. I am listed as such on a particular firm’s website, although we haven’t yet had the opportunity to work together on a client.

          And here, a simple pone call to Platinum Advisors would have disabused Moxley of the idea that Scott Baugh worked for Platinum, or that he was part of their contract with the County of Orange.

          So John, perhaps you can ask Moxley why he failed to conduct basic fact checking before publishing a such serious accusation?

          1. Matt,

            Please keep desperately trying to shift the spotlight off yourself in the attached Reason story by lying over and over about me! It merely reinforces that you and your “Pacific Strategies” PR outfit–specialize in worthless, nonsensical dribble. You think that you charging $200 an hour to do menial PR tasks for a government agency is going to be ignored by those of us who witnessed you scream for years about government waste? No way, pal. You chose to show yourself as a shameless hypocrite and nothing you say about me or Gustavo changes that fact. But since you are pretending to answer questions, tell us this: Are you still penning favorable articles about clients who are secretly paying you money?

          2. Platinum no longer lists Baugh in their staff page, possibly because it makes their business dealings with OC seem so fishy with it there. Back when they did this is what they said: http://replay.waybackmachine.o…..staff.aspx
            Did you ask the CEO if Platinum had made him aware of their relationship with Baugh? Or did Baugh? Or how he is insuring that county CI policies are being followed here?

            1. John:

              When contracting with the County of Orange (or other public agencies), the contractor is required to list everyone who is part of the contract. Baugh is not listed on the contract.

              If a contractor wants to add someone onto the team, they have to sign a contract amendment or addendum with the county.

              My point is these are all public documents that are very easy to obtain.

              Furthermore, Moxley’s allegation wasn’t that Platinum listed Baugh on their websiet as some kind of partner. His claim was that the OC Board of Supervisors awarded Baugh a contract — which was absolutely untrue.

              I think we can agree that a reporter has an obligation to check primary sources and verify facts — which was clearly not done in the case of Moxley’s article.

              Moxley has still not produced ANYTHING to substantiate his allegation against Baugh.

              1. Given your non-responsive answer, I am going to assume that the relationship was not disclosed and it wasn’t referenced in the staff report. Wasn’t it a little unfair of Platinum and staff to the supervisors? Shouldn’t the elected supervisors have been able to do their own checks to reassure themselves that there was no insider dealing? Why should they have to wait for Moxley to let them know?

                Moxley you getting any of this?

                1. “Non-responsive?” To what?

                  Why does the “relationship” have to be disclosed when that person has nothing to do with the contract? It is irrelevant who Platinum may or may not work with on other client business.

                  What “insider dealing” are you talking about?

                  John, it’s really very simple: Moxley claimed in an article that the OC Board of Supervisors voted last fall to award a lobbying contract to Scott Baugh. That is patently untrue, as a rudimentary attempt at fact checking would have revealed.

                  Let me put it even more simply: Moxley reported as true something that was not true. And has yet to admit as much.

                  Or does that kind of journalistic malpractice not bother you?

                  1. The distinction you are drawing between a contract awarded to Baugh and one awarded to a firm he is associated with is a pretty fine one. Moxley’s story would have been better if he had covered that better. But it’s still a pretty ugly situation with the county giving lobbying contracts to firms he’s associated with.

                    1. It appears to me that Matt Cunningham is unstable. His responses are so over the top defensive–like how a deceitful 5th grader would respond to legitimate criticism. It’s obvious that he jumped from being an anti-government GOPer onto the government gravy train and is now upset that Gustavo, R. Scott and OC Weekly pointed out his crime. What a slimy weasel. He reminds me of a used vacuum salesmen who has convinced himself that he’s really on top of the world. Tragic. Well, at least, there are medications and potential therapy sessions. My prayers, Matt, for your recovery.

                    2. How is this a “fine distinction,” John? Either Baugh is either on the contract or he is not. If he is not — which is the case — he cannot be used, at least in any paying capacity.

                      And it’s not a matter of Moxley “covering it better.” It’s a matter of covering it truthfully; of doing some rudimentary fact-checking before publishing a story. Moxley works for a paper that likes to claim it “triple checks” its facts.

  36. Since two Exec Directors have been quoted as either not having any plans to sue OR that they have “no real argument against it” AND Since Rob Reiner, the originator of Prop 10, supports the $1 billion move and if he thought it were illegal, he’d be up and arms (and he is not) then why sue if there is “no real argument” and section 8 of the law alllows for it?

    Perhaps it’s to get around restrictions on how much can be spent on marketing? This way the commissioners get to spend as much OF THE TAXPAYERS’ money to try to save funds – mostly for THEIR OWN agencies.

    This is what happens when you write into a law that the foxes can guard and eat from the henhouse (oh YES it does!).

  37. Matt Cunningham outed sex-abuse victims.

  38. Oh, I forgot to mention: Matt Cunningham publicly identified the names of sex crimes victims abused by pedohile priests because he was hired to shill for the disgusting pro pedophile church bosses. Sick. How can Matt live with himself?

    1. Jennifer your handle is already taken. And your accusation would be pretty hard to support.

      1. Johnl,

        It’s common knowledge that Matt and Laura got FREE tuition for their four girls after Matt began shilling for Urell.

        Only when the backlash started did Mrs. Cunningham shut up about it.

        1. Fr. Stan:

          That is an absolute lie — you anonymous creep.

  39. Am I the only one who finds it peculiar that Cunningham is vigorously defending himself her, but has been noticably absent from the OC BLOG scene since his partner was accused of FRAUD by the SEC last week?

    Matt, Why don’t you address these serious accusations on RED COUNTY, take Scott, Tony et all on straight away! Let your Conservative readers at RED COUNTY know what a valuable well run machine the OCCFC is, With guys like you, Campbell and Hewiit it couldn’t be anything other than a small government machine.

    Go Ahead…..I DARE YOU.

    1. It looks pretty bad for Hanion but that doesn’t really have anything to do with Cunningham.

    2. For starters, exactly who the hell are you, anyway? I’ve seen you posting crazy, fantastical rants about me, but have no idea who you are.

      Secondly, I have been “noticeably absent” from Red County for quite some time before Chip’s being charged by the SEC (something I found out about from reading the OC Register, by the way), because I have basically retired from Red County so I can focus on work. I enjoy blogging and I’ll still post once in a while, but blogging doesn’t pay the bills.

      1. Hey Mr. Cunningham, how can I make $200 an hour to do nothing like you do? As long as I don’t have to out any sex abuse victims, I’m in!

  40. “Blogging doesn’t pay the bills…

    But charging $200/hour to a big government organization like First 5 does? Or is it the truth that “liberal” blogger creep/stalker Chimpanzeelewski pay your bills for you?


  41. Wait-Wait-Correction Please

    Suite C in the Jerbie Cave in Orange is packed with his buddies?..Danny Chmie-lewinsky (yes in the Jerbie cave he wears his blue dress), Jerbie’s mentor Urell, Jonny “I am the Fleshman” Fleishmann with his FlashCam, Chrissy “I am the LB Pimpy” Prevatt, the Chipper “I am not a Crook despite my part time job at the Nixon Library and what the SEC says” Hanlon?..And yes Jerbie is passing out tooth brushes (he has a hidden stash in the Jerbie Cave) as part of Laura “Jerbie Girl” serving cocktails to the crew in Suite C-it does get tight but Jerbie has announced that there will be new security for the Jerbie Cave-he has hired Robert “I am proudly from the city of Bell” Rizzo to provide outside security from the torches and pitchforks crew from Fullerton

    1. Screwing taxpayers with sock puppetry on the taxpayers dime again Richard Zavala. Hope Berkeley fires your worthless ass for not working and spreading hate on the inter webs. Your brother the judge won’t save you from this crap. Better start cleaning up your PC. The public records request for your machine’s web surfing recor has been made.

  42. Ahh nice to see the sock puppet who is Sean Mill lump everyone he hates in OC’s blogosphere show up to slander everyone. The same Sean Mill who calls HIV positive gay men an “infected piece of sh1t” calls Muslims “terrorists” and who hates anyone who makes more money than he does. Sean lost his condo due to a failure to pay his HOA dues and lives with his mother who once beat up a black woman in Santa Ana. Sean is also on record for being friends with notorious gang angers and bout clothes for a former unlv buddy who robbed a disabled Vietnam vet. Careful you don’t show up on sean’s list or he’ll run your credit report or title information fro his office where he abuses the access his employer has to the county clerks office. Or Sean will do a drive by of your house tosee who’s at your party so he can call that person a hater too. Hey Sean, quit shaking down businesses in Santa Ana for Sal Tinajero and nobody wants to buy your Barry Bonds baseball cards. Hope your mom’s hangover wasn’t so bad this morning

  43. Dan/Sean/Chris,

    Certainly it would be regretful if Laura’s Papsmear results, Dawns personel records or Chris’s sexual history leading to his HIV status hit the blogs.

    Equally embarassing would be Matt’s trips to the gym.

    Now we haven’t even touched Alex’s failures on Prom night (Remember Robin??) or Danielle’s horrific seventh grade lesbian rumors.

    So when the three of you decided family was open game……you forgot to mention that Pleasanton California is a SMALL TOWN for a school Board member or Rome, New York has long memories (and public court records).

    See our lives have been lived, but our children can have they’re futures SHATTERED by their Fathers selfish actions.

    Dan opened up this can of worms, now unfortunately, he might need to squirm with them.


  44. Why do you assume I am Matt, Chris or Dan? You are widely hated in Santa Ana by the “Usual Suspects” and many of them are my friends. You’re stalking other people’s underage children? Shouldn’t you add Claudio and Sarah Michelle to the list? They have kids too. Fleischman has a family. My, that is just creepy isn’t it? So while you are digging for those public records of the family members of those you hate, it certainly would be awful if details about Sal Tinajero’s Fullerton School District lawsuit made it to the blogs, or the affairs with married men your favorite council members are rumored to have had, or details about why exactly you left UNLV to go to UCI (some might say it was your Destiny to do so).

    It’s not too late for you to have a family of your own. Just go to GG and marry one of those massage gals who need a green card who are in the country illegally. You will only be in the early 60s when the kid graduates from high school. But I’m sure the kid will grow up learning all the slurs you did as a kid.

  45. I like the blog . thanks. but have a question about certainly would be awful if details about Sal Tinajero’s Fullerton School District lawsuit made it to the blogs, or the affairs with married men

  46. thanks, that is good blog. but ,who like it.

  47. Sounds like Matt and his “small government” picked up another $30K contract from the county of orange:


    Good job exposing the FRAUD and waste that is Pacific-Strategies: Matt and Laura Cunningham.

  48. First 5 LA now in the crapper – For a summary of the ongoing First 5 fiasco, please visit my facebook page for Notes, Links and Lists of the 25+ articles that ask the right question: Why is this law still in effect?…..2221479892

  49. New watchdog site on the First 5 Commissions –

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