Our Staff

VOC_Headshots-1008Norberto Santana Jr., Publisher

Norberto Santana Jr., is an award-winning investigative reporter with 20 years of experience at major daily newspapers.

Before founding Voice of OC in 2009, Santana was a lead investigative reporter for the Orange County Register and spent a decade covering local governments across Southern California. His work has included exposes on Orange County public safety spending, deportation policies and misuse of funds at the San Diego Red Cross.

In addition to his experience as a journalist, the Southern California native has a master’s in Latin American Studies and has worked as an elections analyst with the National Endowment for Democracy. He also has direct experience on Internet start-ups as one of the founders of CubaNet.org, a website for dissident writers inside Cuba that has operated since 1995.

David WashburnDavid Washburn, Editor

David oversees Voice of OC’s reporting staff, its roster of contributing writers and editors, and newsroom administration. His 25-year career as an investigative journalist has included stints with the Allentown Morning Call newspaper, Dateline NBC, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and Voice of San Diego.

As a reporter and an editor, he’s done award-winning investigations into police shootings, prison medical care, Iraq War contractors, Red Cross fundraising, mortgage fraud, campaign finance and municipal corruption.

He’s a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Tracy WoodTracy Wood, Senior Reporter

Tracy Wood is a former foreign correspondent in Asia and a California investigative reporter and editor. As a reporter for United Press International, she was one of the few women assigned as a combat correspondent during the Vietnam War.

She joined the Los Angeles Times in California where she was an investigative reporter for 17 years, covering political and government corruption. Later she became the Orange County Register’s Investigations Editor, leading the paper’’s investigations team when it broke the story of former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona’s ties to Nationwide Auction Systems founder and former Assistant Sheriff Donald G. Haidl.

She has won numerous awards for investigative reporting and in 2001 was named Los Angeles Print Journalist of the Year by Sigma Delta Chi, the professional journalism association. She and eight other women reporters from Vietnam co-authored “War Torn, Stories of War from the Women Reporters who Covered Vietnam” (2002 Random House).

VOC_headshots-4001Adam Elmahrek, Senior Reporter

Adam Elmahrek started with Voice of OC in 2009 and was the lead reporter on several award-winning investigations for the news agency. As the beat reporter in Santa Ana, he exposed a property swap between the mayor and a city contractor that triggered probes by state authorities and the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

His in-depth coverage of Anaheim City Hall helped keep accountable a political system that often catered to the city’s major business and tourism interests. His reporting has dug deep into taxpayer subsidy deals for big hoteliers, Angel Stadium, transit projects and the city’s convention center.

Elmahrek grew up in Orange County and is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton’s school of journalism. Before joining Voice of OC, he worked on an investigation into police secrecy laws for the California First Amendment Coalition and a Real Estate newsletter for the sub-prime mortgage industry.

VOC_Headshots-1003Nick Gerda, Reporter

Another Orange County native, Nick first started covering local government in his mid-teens for WikiNews, before studying political science and journalism in college. After reporting for student newspapers in Egypt, New York City and Costa Mesa, he interned as an investigative producer at PBS SoCaL.

Since joining Voice of OC, Nick has written over 600 articles on numerous government issues. His investigation of the San Onofre radiation leak helped prompt a U.S. senator to demand key records, which ultimately led officials to determine that plant officials installed the faulty equipment despite knowing about key design flaws.

Thy VoThy Anh Vo, Reporter

Thy grew up in Anaheim and is a graduate of Haverford College, where she studied Political Science and Mandarin Chinese.

Before she joined Voice of OC full time in July 2014, Thy interned at the Santa Barbara Independent, the Orange County Register, where she reported on the city of Costa Mesa and China Economic Review based in Shanghai.

VOC_headshots-4000Yvette Cabrera, Contributing Writer

Yvette Cabrera covers criminal and juvenile justice issues, immigration, income inequality and social justice issues.

Yvette has worked in print, online and television, including as an investigative producer for CBS2 in Los Angeles, a columnist at The Orange County Register, a reporter at The Los Angeles Times, and a correspondent for KCET-TV’s “SoCal Connected,” an investigative news magazine.

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Yvette was born and raised in Santa Barbara, Ca. She graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles, majoring in history with an emphasis on Latin American studies. She is currently statewide president for CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California, the oldest regional organization of journalists of color in the country.

Teresa SearsTheresa Sears, Involvement Editor

Theresa Sears is a community leader who has been involved in land use and regional public benefit issues for 25 years in Orange County.

As a solutionsoriented activist, she has taken a leadership role in grass roots efforts supporting the public’s right to know and petition their government, community engagement, legal remedies and direct democracy.

franckeTerry Francke, Open Government & Public Records Consultant

Terry Francke has a 30-year history of helping journalists, citizens, public officials and ordinary government workers understand and use their First Amendment and public information rights.

Most recently, Francke founded Californians Aware, which is dedicated to the idea that journalists working with both the public and public officials at the same time could effect a change in the overall transparency landscape.

Francke previously served 14 years as general counsel to the California First Amendment Coalition, after a 10-year post as legal counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association.