Voice of OC was built to be a nonpartisan real-time check on local government.
Our mission is to uncover and report the truth regardless of political party or special interest. We believe that strong local news has the power to engage the public in the community on critical quality of life issues that are being decided on by commissions, city councils and county elected officials.
Much of our work is centered around the civic calendar — open government meetings — and on documents — public records that tell the story of actions of elected officials. And we have more public records lawsuit wins in the last decade than any other local news agency.
Our fearless and constant pushing to reveal records and truths to the public earned us the moniker “Noise of OC.”
“I want to let the public know that we receive no less than two or three public record requests every day,” Supervisor Andrew Do said, adding the county health officials are bearing “the brunt” of requests from what he called “the Noise of OC.”
Below you will find a collection of our stories about these comments and about our recent CARES Act funding stories that exposed how hundreds of millions of dollars were disseminated (made public via our public records requests).
The Voice of OC team writes stories everyday that are centered around public records we have requested and around open government meetings which we attend. But once a year journalists and government watchers convene around what is called “Sunshine Week.”
The enduring Sunshine Week initiative was created to promote open government and was founded by the American Society of News Editors 16 years ago.
As such, Voice of OC created this page dedicated to transparency. You’ll find here resources for understanding how local government works, how to attend and provide public comment at government meetings, how to use the California Public Records Act and how to write and submit community opinion articles.
You’ll also find a 2-week limited fundraiser in which you can buy a Noise of OC t-shirt, coffee mug or other items. Proceeds will go support our nonprofit 501(c)(3) newsroom. Special thanks to our readers and donors who requested “Noise of OC” items. Feel free to share photos of your schwag with #noiseofoc.
Feel free to let us know your thoughts on our “noisy” Sunshine Week by email or on any of our social platforms (especially let us know if you want us to continue offering links to watch government meetings on our homepage each week).
“The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”-Ralph M. Brown Open Meetings Act
Submit a Community Opinion Piece
Voice of OC is a standout news publication in that we have an open community opinion section in which we publish diverse opinion columns from a variety of people — all centered around local quality of life debates. We have done training sessions in-person and have a few guides to get started. Read a guide to writing an opinion column (brainstorm, write), a worksheet for formulating your column and learn how to submit something for consideration to Voice of OC.
We’re trying out something new this week. In addition to stories previewing critical quality of life matters and writing about results, we are also providing residents one-click information below on which local government agencies are meeting this week so you can watch live and take part in your civic community. If you want us to continue offering this in the future, please reach out by email or on social.
- The following local city councils meet today: San Juan Capistrano at 5 p.m. (watch), Tustin at 5:30 p..m. (watch), Santa Ana at 5:30 p.m. (watch), Costa Mesa at 6 p.m. (watch), Fountain Valley at 6 p.m. (watch), San Clemente at 6 p.m. (watch), Fullerton at 6:30 p.m. (watch), Lake Forest at 6:30 p.m. (watch), Yorba Linda at 6:30 p.m. (watch), Brea at 7 p.m. (watch), Laguna Niguel at 7 p.m. (watch) and Placentia at 7 p.m. (watch). Also, three school boards meet today: Newport-Mesa Unified at 6 p.m. (watch), Irvine Unified at 6:30 p.m. (watch) and Garden Grove Unified at 7 p.m. (watch).
- The following local agencies meet today: the Orange County Health Care Administration (OC Children’s Partnership) at 8:30 a.m. (watch) and the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District at 11:30 a.m. (watch).
At the request of our readers and donors we are offering a 2-week fundraiser. Proceeds benefit our important nonprofit journalism efforts. Orders will be open until end of day Sunday, March 28. If you have any questions, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The t-shirt and tote bag both have our Noise of OC logo on the front and a quote from the Brown Act (open meetings law) on the back. The travel coffee mug has our Noise icon on the front and our Noise of OC “Defending Your Right to Know” logo on the back.
Alternatively, some readers may be inclined to not order an item, but would still like to support our work with a tax-deductible donation. Keep in mind that a new tax expansion enables readers like you to deduct donations contributed to nonprofits like Voice of OC. The new change for 2021 gives a $300 per individual or $600 per couple filing jointly “above the line” deduction for cash charitable contributions.
CARES Act Funding
Voice of OC’s reporting and related public records requests have been unraveling and making public where the county spent hundreds of millions of dollars in federal coronavirus response money.
Much of the the related contracts were approved in secret.
A series of Voice of OC stories on the behind-the-scenes contracting prompted demands from residents and taxpayer advocates for the county to be more transparent. Now county officials say they will post on public agendas lists of upcoming coronavirus contracts they plan to sign ahead of the supervisor’s twice-a-month public agendas.
Voice of OC continues to tirelessly report out issues of transparency surrounding open government meetings, public records and public comment.