With more than three-dozen members cutting across the social and political spectrum of Orange County civic life, Voice of OC Community Editorial Board members spearheaded a vibrant debate throughout 2012.

Editorial board members sponsored a series of moderated discussions that led to editorials tackling many of the toughest public policy questions facing Orange County, including homelessness, tax giveaways to developers, outsourcing, transforming community care clinics in the age of Obamacare, the art of budget balancing, the future of the county’s Human Relations Commission as well as the November statewide ballot propositions.

The group lost one member, Costa Mesa activist Sandy Genis, after she launched a successful City Council campaign that brought her to office in the November elections.

Mike Moodian, an assistant professor at Brandman University, also ran for the South Orange County Community College District on a platform critical of pay and perks for elected officials but didn’t win. Besides questioning community colleges, Moodian also lambasted Cal State Fullerton President Mildred Garcia for lavish the house remodeling, one of his most popular columns.

Voice of OC Community Editorial Board members regularly used their pens and Facebook posts to weigh in on a host of topics and often debated each other through their own columns.

Most recently, canyon activist and attorney Gloria Sefton squared off with local lobbyist Lyle Overby over a controversial housing development proposed in the Silverado Canyon area.

And earlier this year, former Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook criticized the Cadiz water project near Joshua Tree as well as the Rancho Santa Margarita Water District’s role in the project. That drew a response not only from Cadiz and the water district but from fellow board member Adam Probolsky.

One of our most active members, Jon Fleischman, regularly took on county government’s becoming a central force in lobbying against supervisors’ Chairman John Moorlach’s bid to have voters consider expanding term limits. Fleischman also took on county leaders over beleaguered Public Administrator John Williams.

Another one of our most active contributors, Julie Puentes from the Hospital Association of Southern California, regularly weighed in on the transformation occurring at CalOptima.

Anaheim’s Los Amigos President Jose Moreno and Eric Altman, executive director for Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) educated readers on why they filed their lawsuit against a $158-million subsidy in Anaheim.

An Orange County Superior Court judge recently ruled that both were correct in their contention that city leaders violated the state’s open meetings laws when they adopted the hotel subsidy.

Claire Schlotterbeck, executive director of Hills for Everyone, took on the FBI over their questionable handling of a an open space area near Irvine, and San Clemente activist and cartoonist Jerry Collamer regularly questioned the handling of the San Onofre nuclear power plant.

Jack Eidt called on the Orange County Transportation Authority to rethink its toll lanes idea for Interstate 405, which they ultimately did.

Santa Ana artist Sergio Munoz challenged Univision officials to not only embrace English but also people of color in their news broadcasts.

Meanwhile, Lacy Kelly, executive director of the Association of Cities, and Jennifer Muir, assistant general manager of the Orange County Employees Association, offered differing perspectives on key issues such as outsourcing being debated across the region.

Rusty Kennedy, executive director for the Orange County Human Relations Commission, challenged residents to think deeply about our collective responsibility for the police beating death of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton.

Gene Howard, executive director for Orange County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates shared an incredibly compelling story about dealing with his own son’s mental issues and the importance of adopting Laura’s Law.

Meanwhile, Tony Bedolla, political director for the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association, challenged elected officials and the public about supporting public safety both on Election Day and during budget deliberations.

Chapman University Professor Fred Smoller challenged Orange County leaders to rethink the importance of regional government as well as consolidating cities.

North County educator Mike Matsuda urged Orange County to be careful about depending too much on testing-based educational curriculum and asked whether China or the U.S. would produce the next Steve Jobs.

Labor leaders like Tefere Gebre of the Orange County Labor Federation used their columns to support striking janitors, and Kimberly Edds from the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs took on the Sheriff’s Department over the implementation of civilian jailers.

Democratic Party Executive Director Nick Anas took on Fullerton Union High School District officials over sanctions against of a gay student during a pageant.

We’re looking forward to an active 2013 and would urge readers to reach out if they want the editorial board to consider specific issues or to sponsor discussions.

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