About: Donation Goal

Donation Goal: $15,000

My name is John Earl. I am the publisher, editor and main reporter for the Surf City Voice news-blog.

The purpose of the Surf City Voice is to:

1) increase transparency in the public and private agencies that manage Orange County’s water resources, and;

2) help fill the news gap caused by the newsmedia’s lack of  coverage of local water agencies and regional water issues.

I try to achieve that goal by providing the public with honest investigative reporting, analysis, and commentary on the Surf City Voice news-blog .


I need funding to achieve the following underlying goals:

1) to maintain my independence as a journalist in order to freely report the stories that would otherwise go untold;

2) to regularly attend and report on all meetings of the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), in addition to meetings of other water boards as needed;

3) to report on related events and issues taking place in Southern California;

4) to livestream-broadcast, and provide online video archives of,  OCWD and MWDOC meetings until those water districts provide that service to the public on their own (please sign our petition ).

Your donations will be used for:

1) Stipends for  writers;

2) video and audio equipment as needed to help provide live reporting and Internet-based video archives;

3) website hosting for the Surf City Voice;

4) online promotion of the Surf City Voice on Facebook and other social media;

5) grant writing

Background:

I started the Surf City Voice in 2010 as an outgrowth of the monthly print newspaper, Orange Coast Voice , that I co-owned and edited from 2006 to 2009.

Shortly after starting the Surf City Voice, I changed its focus from general reporting to regional water issues because of the lack of attention given to that topic by the Orange County newsmedia.

Besides my own reporting, I also publish reporting by other writers who have expertise on water management issues.

The Surf City Voice focuses sharply but not exclusively on transparency.

In the past 4 years, the Surf City Voice has led the way in exposing Brown Act violations (secret meetings, etc.) and ethical and legal conflicts of interest by elected and appointed officials serving on Orange County water boards.

The Surf City Voice also provides in-depth coverage of drought response, conservation management, ocean desalination, environmental protection (or the lack of it), water recycling, solid waste disposal, etc.

Traditionally, water board meetings were more or less de-facto off-limits to the general public, so few people attended.

Orange County water districts spend millions of dollars on public relations, i.e., manipulating public opinion, but not a penny to encourage their ratepayers to attend their public meetings.

But the Surf City Voice has helped to (slowly) change that by informing its readers and encouraging them (through published stories and pubic speaking appearances) to attend water board meetings and take charge.

The Surf City Voice is the only news service regularly represented at meetings of Orange County’s major water districts.

On many occasions,  stories published by the Surf City Voice have provided the catalyst for followup stories published in the OC Register, LA Times (local editions), Voice of OC and PBS Socal Insider (reporting by David Nazar).

The management of our water resources is the single most important issue related to human life, yet we are generally poorly informed about it.

Our traditional newsmedia,  due to its own financial realities, has cut back reporting on important issues, including water, at a time when it is most needed.

The Internet, in theory, provides new ways to fill in the news gap left behind (or never filled in the first place) by dying media institutions. But the underlying problem is still the same: without funding, there is no way to sustain the kind of journalism we need to keep our government accountable.

Please help me, with your generous and greatly appreciated contributions, to do my part to fill the news gap.

Please Give Generously Now
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For more information, contact: calwaternews @ gmail.com

Comments or questions are welcome.

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