Our Staff

The Voice of OC group attends the 2017 OC Press Club awards dinner. Pictured left to right: Theresa Sears, Thy Vo, Nick Gerda, Norberto Santana, Jr., Spencer Custodio, Sonya Quick, Meg Waters and Tracy Wood. Photo by Jeff Antenore/Voice of OC




Contact: nsantana@voiceofoc.org

Norberto Santana Jr., is an award-winning investigative reporter with nearly two decades reporting experience directly engaging with Orange County government institutions and decision makers.

As Publisher, Santana oversees all newsroom, engagement and fundraising operations and also writes a regular Opinion column about Orange County government.

Before founding Voice of OC in 2009, Santana was a lead investigative reporter for the Orange County Register from 2004-2009, focusing on county government. He’s spent nearly two decades just focusing on local governments across Southern California, previously as a staff writer with outlets such as the San Diego Union Tribune and the San Bernardino County Sun.

Santana began his journalistic career in the early 1990s as an apprentice reporter with Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C. covering daily floor action in the U.S. Congress and followed that up with a stint covering the territorial Senate for the U.S. Virgin Islands Daily News.

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 on National Endowment for Democracy programs across Latin America. 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.


TRACY WOOD, Civic Editor

Tracy WoodContact: twood@voiceofoc.org

Tracy Wood oversees Voice of OC’s civics reporting, including county and city government, the Orange County Transportation Authority, CalOptima, Anaheim, Santa Ana and other community coverage.

Tracy is a former government reporter, foreign correspondent in Asia, California investigative reporter and editor. She has covered the California legislature and governor’s office for both United Press International and the Los Angeles Times. As a UPI reporter, she was one of the few women combat correspondents 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).


SONYA QUICK, Digital Editor

aaeaaqaaaaaaaahqaaaajdu1ndhmowu1lthjotitngm0os04mwriltzmmmmwowmwzjywnqContact: squick@voiceofoc.org

Sonya Quick is a digital editor, reporter and educator with more than a decade of experience in news. She manages Voice of OC’s across-device user experience, digital storytelling, small donor fundraising, publicity, email messaging and social media engagement.

In addition to working at Voice of OC, she teaches digital journalism at Chapman University. Previously, she worked for eight years at the Orange County Register as the Register’s first mobile editor, a manager of social media, a web editor, a reporter and infographics storyteller. Quick grew up in Lakewood and currently lives in Long Beach. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach.


MEG WATERS, Development Director

img_0448Contact: mwaters@voiceofoc.org

Meg has been a key player in many of the most intense public policy debates across Southern California, working with numerous Orange County cities, advocacy campaigns and public agencies as well as the Catholic Diocese of Orange.

She is best known for her work as a spokesperson on the South County airport battle throughout the 1990s working with the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority that eventually stopped the development of a commercial airport on the former Marine Corps air base.

Most recently, Meg worked for County Auditor Controller Eric Woolery as a strategic communications adviser.


THERESA SEARS, Involvement Editor

Teresa SearsContact: tsears@voiceofoc.org

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 solutions oriented 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.


AMY DEPAUL, Community Health Editor

Contact: depaula@uci.edu

Amy DePaul is the community health editor at Voice of OC, where she has reported on public health issues in Orange County since 2011.

She is the recipient of numerous awards for her reporting, as well as a health journalism fellowship from the California Endowment and the University of Southern California. Her work has been published in a variety of digital and print publications including NBC.com and the Washington Post.

She teaches reporting in UC Irvine’s Literary Journalism program.


TERRY FRANCKE, Open Government & Public Records Consultant

franckeTerry 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.



Ms. Aviles, daughter of the late renowned open government activist Richard P. McKee, is an attorney who specializes in the California Public Records Act, the Ralph M. Brown Act, and the Bagley-Keene Act, and serves as litigation counsel for Californians Aware. She attended the University of La Verne College of Law, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2006. She has successfully assisted numerous clients in obtaining legal orders interpreting California’s open government laws and securing the release of important government records.

In 2012, she successfully represented Californians Aware when it teamed up with the Los Angeles Times to force the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission to comply with the Brown Act and turn over wrongfully withheld public records. In 2010, she won a case against California State University Stanislaus, obtaining an order requiring the University to disclose its foundation’s speaking appearance contract with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Ms. Aviles has also served as outside counsel for the San Diego County Water Authority, successfully litigating two high profile public records cases against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Eastern Municipal Water District.


NICK GERDA, Reporter

VOC_Headshots-1003Contact: ngerda@voiceofoc.org

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 ANH VO, Reporter

Thy VoContact: tvo@voiceofoc.org

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.