CalNewsRoom writer John Hrabe is up to his usual yellow journalism, writing articles with little regard to facts or accuracy. Hrabe's most recent fiction is a politically-motivated attack on Assemblymember Don Wagner (R-Irvine). Wagner is a candidate for the vacant Orange County Senate seat in the 37th State Senate District.
Hrabe supports his opponent, John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), and has written a purely political article for Moorlach to use to attack Wagner.
Hrabe takes Wagner to task for attending a conference sponsored by the Independent Voter Project. In the interest of full disclosure, IVP provides the funding for IVN.us.
Here’s where Hrabe plays fast and loose with his reporting. For starters, Hrabe states that the conference is “the brainchild” of former lawmakers turned lobbyists, Steve Peace and Jeff Marston. Neither Peace nor Marston had anything to do with starting or organizing the IVP Business and Leadership Policy Conference, nor are they lobbyists. I know that’s true because I am the “brainchild” who organizes the conference.
Hrabe claims the conference is a “legal method of circumventing the state’s gift limits.” The conference is sponsored by over 65 businesses, individuals, and organizations. The value of the gift provided by each sponsor is less than $50.00 for each public official that attends -- hardly circumventing the state’s $420.00 gift limit.
Hrabe would also like readers to believe that the conference is “union sponsored” and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is the primary funder of the conference. Republicans are supposed to be anti-union and Hrabe wants people to believe that the $50 CCPOA contributed to support Wagner's attendance to a bipartisan conference might somehow cloud his judgment.
The truth is, CCPOA’s sponsorship is less than 5 percent of the cost of the event.
The bottom line: Hrabe wrote this article to provide attack material for the Moorlach campaign to use in a political mailer attacking Don Wagner. It’s unfortunate that the Moorlach campaign relied on a writer who is politically motived in virtually everything he writes.
In 2013, we called Hrabe out on an attempt to do a hit piece on IVP’s conference and asked some simple questions about the political operatives who are funding him. He never responded to our simple questions.
Hrabe is also the senior editor for the Flash Report, a daily political report run by the former executive director of the Republican Party. He’s not a journalist or even a reporter; he’s a political operative disguised as a writer.
Author's note: Subsequent to writing this article, John Hrabe wrote an excellent piece on the political landscape of San Diego for the Voice of San Diego. The article exemplifies high journalistic value, and I want to give credit where credit is due.
Editor's note: The editorial previously stated that the publisher of Flash Report is a former chairman of the Republican Party (a voluntary position). He is actually a former executive director, a paid position within the party.