(Vern Nelson, right, with OVSD trustee pres. Gina Clayton Tarvin)
September 24th, 2016, left wing blogger (and staunch school board president Gina Clayton Tarvin advocate) Vern Nelson posted an article on his “orange juice blog” recounting a recent incident at Huntington Beach Central Library. At a concert being given by Nelson, he had invited a myriad of local candidates to come speak briefly about their campaigns. These included both city council and school board candidates.
A citizen, Jim Knapp, who has been critical of the Ocean View School District board and in particular of Board President Gina Clayton Tarvin, purchased a ticket and took Nelson up on his publicly posted offer to come ask the candidates questions.
Knapp was bothered by what he perceived as an inconsistency in terms of Tarvin’s public claims that newly remodeled schools in the district were now completely free of asbestos. During intermission, Knapp approached Tarvin to pose this question. What resulted remains open to interpretation based on a variety of witness accounts. But these facts are clear: Knapp was removed from the event by security and waited outside to try and get his question answered. Cat-calling her from approximately 50 feet away as she exited the venue with an escort, a 911 call was then made and a pair of Huntington Beach police department officers explained to Knapp that he was being accused of three things: trespassing, assault and remarkably, false imprisonment. Viewing several of the videos, while it’s clear that Knapp is aggressively pursuing an answer from the elected official, he does not seem to cross any legal lines. Rather, it appears that friends and supporters of Tarvin deliberately attempt to shut down his ability to even follow up his question by putting their hands in front of his camera and forming a sort of protective security circle around her.
The problem with Nelson’s reporting on the incident begins with the original headline:
For starters, I had nothing to do with Mr. Knapp’s appearance at the library. Zero. I interviewed him after the fact, but to suggest I “sent” anyone to anything is absolutely untrue- Nelson never even reached out to myself or Knapp to vet that accusation. As for offensively tagging Mr. Knapp as a “suicide bomber,” while that is certainly consistent with Nelson’s penchant for hyperbolic fabrication, in this case, even by his own reckless standards, he appears to have crossed the line. Has Nelson ever seen what true suicide bombers due to innocent people?
And that was just the beginning. In addition to maligning Knapp, there was a false claim made about another Huntington Beach resident, Chuck Johnson, suggesting he had been present at a recent school re-opening (while even stooping so low to mock Mr. Johnson’s weight by referring to him as a “morbidly rotund hate vessel”). I contacted Mr. Johnson who said he had written the blog’s “managing editor,” Orange County lawyer Greg Diamond.
Johnson told me: “Mr. Diamond displays no journalistic integrity whatsoever. But then that can be expected from somebody that is almost universally loathed for his comments and viewpoints even by people that share his political party affiliation. His piece restated the lie that I was present at the reopening of Lake View school and that I was terrorizing unsuspecting children. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have no interest in Gina Tarvin’s political grandstanding. She does it daily on the backs of poor kids in the Oak View neighborhood. Mr. Diamond’s response to my request to remove the lies was to simply leave it up and use a strikethrough font to “correct” the situation. In addition, Diamond and his coeditor Vern Pat Nelson, selectively edit comments to control the narrative in an intellectually dishonest fashion. Lastly, they resorted to body shaming and poking fun at my weight when they were unable to successfully spar with me on an intellectual level. That didn’t bother me. I quite comfortable with who I am.”
Here is how they “Edited” their error – rather than delete the false claim:
For the record, I also contacted Diamond to express my dismay about lied about in such a manner. The response? Diamond re-wrote his headline to this:
Note that they are still accusing me of orchestrating an event with someone I do not even know, while allowing the original headline to exist. Diamond also wrote this to me: “As to whether you sent (or slid) this gentleman into Vern’s concert, that is an argument that I would happily engage in almost any fair venue.”
I hereby accept Diamond’s challenge to debate the absurd lies he now appears to be defending and will update here if/when the event is arranged.
And for more background on Diamond, you may read here, where the LiberalOC writes in part, “Disgraced former DPOC North County Vice Chair Greg Diamond has been twice described by this blog as a cancer in the Democratic Party in Orange County. His commentary leading up to and post June 7 primary season only reinforces it. It’s Stage 3 in the cancer that plagues the DPOC…”
Back to the dishonest mess that is the Orange Juice Blog, never missing an opportunity to accuse someone of racism, Nelson also included this in his hit piece: “I skipped the fact that Stephanie Erickson, a Mexican-hating harpy allied with Epting, had been calling the library for a few days to complain that I shouldn’t be allowed to play there, and Gina shouldn’t be allowed to speak there, because “The Mexicans in Slater Slums get EVERYTHING for free.”
“Mexican hating harpie?” I contacted Erickson. She herself is of Hispanic descent. And she is no way “allied” with me. Another lie. And petty, baseless, deliberate insult. And does Nelson source the quote he assigns to Ericsson? Of course not.
It goes on and on, lie after lie, false accusation after false accusation. All apparently in defense of school board trustee president Gina Clayton Tarvin, who is now now up for re-election (and has been feverishly using social media to try and drum up support for her massive, $169 million taxpayer funded school bond known as Measure R).
As to why this elected official would not distance herself from these kind of smear merchants, that is anyone’s guess. But she seems to handpicked Nelson and OJB as her own little media mouthpiece the last several months, and the outlet has responded by liberally going after anyone that dare criticize her. She went to exclusively Nelson to break the news of Rainbow/Republic being fired by the district, as well as her scheme to unite all local districts against the company, among other items.
Through it all, Nelson and Diamond appear to remain unapologetic, if not defiant, when it comes to these dishonest attacks they are waging upon private citizens. Their sloppiness, and apparent personal agendas and lack of fact checking speak volumes in my opinion.
Diamond’s LinkedIn bio states that he is currently a “county coordinator and regional ambassador” for Kamala Harris’s current US senate campaign (and that he also supervises other ambassadors). Readers wishing to express their opinion to the Harris campaign about this fact and may do so by writing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And in the meantime, if you find yourself maligned or misrepresented but anyone writing at the orange juice blog, please feel free to contact me so that you can be given a true platform to expose the dishonesty, maliciousness and perhaps even defamation.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: I reached out to Diamond for a quote to use in this piece: “Greg – I’m writing a piece for surfcitychronicles chronicles on you and Vern and your blog – as managing editor – would you please explain what your policy is regarding first person sourcing and fact checking? Also, do make an attempt to verify accuracy with the subjects you are writing about/accusing?”
There was no response.