Norberto Santana Jr., is an award-winning investigative reporter with nearly two decades reporting experience, most recently engaging Orange County government institutions and decision makers as the founding publisher of the nonprofit digital newsroom, Voice of OC.
As publisher, Santana oversees all newsroom, engagement and fundraising operations and also writes a weekly Opinion column about Orange County government.
In 2017, the Orange County Press Club recognized Santana as Orange County’s best columnist.
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, has worked as an elections analyst on National Endowment for Democracy programs across Latin America and was one of the founders of CubaNet.org, a website featuring the work of dissident journalists inside Cuba that has operated since 1995.
With the OC Board of Supervisors incapable of leading a regional affordable housing solution, business and civic leaders are asking whether it’s time for a regional housing agency — to manage expected state, county and private resources and actually build needed affordable and permanent-supportive housing across Orange County?
Elizabeth Hansburg, who started a chapter of the group, Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY), in Orange County, talks with On OC about her goal of getting elected officials to stand behind affordable housing construction – even when there’s political heat.
Local & Fed OC law enforcement agencies apparently target each over political investigations, prompting many to question who can be expected to regulate elected officials in Orange County. Meanwhile, south county mayors ignore the Orange County Board of Supervisors’ mandate on homelessness, insisting other cities continue to cover them on shelters. And with hundreds of millions being considered for affordable housing construction, voices are already calling for a new regional housing construction agency – independent of the Board of Supervisors.
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait talks about how the City of Anaheim has approached homelessness, given the fact that most federal and state funds go to the County of Orange. The answer, Tait, said has come from the non-profit sector, providing things like drug treatment, jobs programs, basic sheltering and affordable housing. Yet Tait said big employers like Disneyland and the County of Orange both need to step up on the issue.
On OC with Bill Witte, chairman and CEO of Related California, a real estate development company that focuses on all sorts of urban multi-family housing developments, including affordable housing and mixed income housing.
After publicly confronting their own inability to craft a regional solution to the local homelessness crisis last week, Orange County Supervisors should face some hard questions about their own political futures. Yet instead of the usual recall talk, Orange County should think big picture…as in Part Time County Supervisors.
On OC talks with Lloyd Pendleton, who headed up a Utah state task force that reduced chronic homelessness by more than 90 percent in a decade by providing rapid housing to people living on the streets.
In this week’s On OC Podcast, Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana, Jr., brings on Chapman University Political Science Professors Fred Smoller and Mike Moodian who released a new poll about homelessness and housing.