Voice of OC to County: We Are Not a Gambling or Porn Site

One of the more curious reports we received on our launch day came from Liberal OC’s Chris Prevatt who said that Orange County employees were blocked from accessing Voice of OC.

Obviously, I checked into that immediately — its not good for county offices to be blocked from viewing a news source that is dedicated to politics and government coverage in Orange County. Especially since they have access to the county’s other news outlets.

As it turns out, the reason we are being blocked is both a reality of being a start-up website and a window into the mess that is Orange County’s disconnected information technology department.

When a new site goes up, said County Spokesman Howard Sutter, IT folks put it under a “parked domain,” which is designed to guard access against questionable sites, such as gambling or porn. And get this — because virtually every department at the county basically has its own IT department, employees will have to send an email to their local IT person and ask them to re-categorize the site as a general news site, according to Sutter.

That is what Sutter and his team of spokespeople did from their end – which covers the CEO’s office – and it worked. They’re reading Voice of OC every day, he said.

IT officials told Sutter that the problem may be on our end — something to do with how our domain in set up. But our domain administrator says that doesn’t make sense, plus we haven’t heard of any access issues from other locations.

And just to be sure, I asked County CEO Tom Mauk if there is an policy blocking access to Voice of OC. He said no way.

“If there is I’ve never heard of it,” Mauk said. “I’d never permit such a thing.”

Mauk said employees who have access to news sites already read and analyze numerous blogs. He gets the blogs printed out for him and checks them as well.

“I have your last two blogs in my suitcase today,” Mauk said.

The key to employee access to websites, Mauk said is whether the website applies to the nature of their work. And monitoring news is key to virtually any public policy job.

“There needs to be a business purpose. And there is,” Mauk said, jokingly adding, “We need to know what kind of scurrilous lies you’re telling about us.”

— NORBERTO SANTANA JR.

 

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