I have been a journalist since 1996, starting out as a stringer with the Orange County Register, then landing a weekly columnist job with the Daily Pilot in 1998. I have written for dozens of magazines, regional and national, and have interviewed politicians, businesspeople, athletes, scholars, parents, teachers, and many other categories of people I can’t recall.

I have been asked countless times to keep comments off the record. I have honored every one of those requests. It is something I take seriously – very seriously.

Many years ago, I worked in an extremely hostile working environment. People were badgered and harassed and afraid to speak up out of fear of losing their jobs. It was so bad that when the company was sold and the new president was ushered in, he asked a group of us to tell him our thoughts on a particular senior manager. Not one of the people in the room spoke up because they feared retaliation.

That’s enough about me, let’s talk about you. You work for the N-MUSD. You see things that you know are wrong, but you are afraid to speak up because you are afraid of some form of retaliation. You may have even witnessed retaliation to a colleague.

Yet, it bothers you that people are getting away with this. It bothers you that the general public doesn’t know what is going on behind the scenes and thinks everything is just fine. It’s not, and you know it, and the worst part of all of this is that you can’t talk about it. All you want to do is your job – without the politics and fear.  I’ve been through it and I get it.


My e-mail address is smi161@aol.com. If you have something you’d like to talk about, e-mail me. You can give me your name, or not, it’s your choice. What is most important is that you know that just like the off the record comments I’ve never divulged, I will not reveal your identity. And if I write about something you report, I will go out of my way to ensure that the details cannot be traced back to you.

This blog has an agenda. It works to provide transparency, clarity, accountability, and truth about the school district to the residents of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. If that appeals to you, and if you’d like to be a part of that, I’d like to hear from you.

I ask only one thing in return. Please forward the link to this blog to anyone you know who has an interest in the same agenda.

Steve Smith