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CalWatchdog Launch

By CalWatchdog Staff | 02:8:2010

Sacramento Press

by Ingrid Ratliff, published on February 5, 2010

Thursday night marked a new voice in state news and a new set of eyes narrowed on the Capitol.

About fifty people gathered at Pyramid Ale House to celebrated the launch of, a new journalism venture with a mission of “holding the government accountable for its spending and regulatory programs by exposing government waste, fraud and abuses of power.”

I sat down with Steven Greenhut, CalWatchdog editor in chief, amid beer, rain and power suits.

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By CalWatchdog Staff | 01:11:2010
Steven Greenhut on FlashReport
January 11, 2010

[Publisher’s Note: We here at the FlashReport couldn’t be more excited and thrilled than we are with the launch of the Pacific Research Institute’s CalWatchDog project.  When you finish reading this piece by Steven Greenhut, you’ll understand why – Flash]

Sixteen years ago, as a building and remodeling editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine in Des Moines, I desperately wanted to get my opinions heard – not the ones about the latest kitchen remodeling or home addition, but about the hot political debates of the day. I had little political standing, so I had no choice but to pester a handful of mainstream publications to print my stuff.

The liberal Des Moines Register eventually published a number of my columns and I eventually left BH&G and went on to an editorial-page editor job in Ohio, then out to the Orange County Register to serve as a columnist and editorial writer. Last week, I launched a new Web site – – that’s the centerpiece of my latest career move, as director of the Pacific Research Institute’s journalism center. I share these boring career stories because they closely track a dramatic transformation of media in an unbelievably short period of time.

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Ex-Weekly Reporter Lands Sacramento Investigative Gig

By CalWatchdog Staff | 01:8:2010

By R. Scott Moxley

January 6, 2010

Ex-OC Weekly investigative reporter Anthony Pignataro has joined the staff of the new Sacramento-based which launched its website yesterday.

Controlled by ex-Orange County Register editorial writer Steven Greenhut on behalf of a libertarian-leaning California think tank, CalWatchdog carries a motto: “Your eyes on California government.”

Greenhut has been a vocal critic of entrench political and government forces–especially public employee unions. He is the author of a new book, “Plunder! How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation.” Art Pedroza over at welcomed Greenhut’s operation, but you can imagine that union bosses despise Greenhut.

As a staff writer at the Weekly for seven years until he became editor of an alternative weekly newspaper in Hawaii, Pignataro won numerous journalism awards on a variety of topics, dominated coverage of the proposal international airport at the old El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine and regularly entertained colleagues with his wit. I know his talents well. Advice for dirty politicians in Sacramento: beware. Pignataro is relentless.

Katy Grimes, a veteran journalist who has worked at such places as The Washington Examiner and The Sacramento Union, is also on Greenhut’s staff as a news reporter.

–R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

CalWatchdog Debuts Web Site on State Government

By CalWatchdog Staff | 01:8:2010

By Melanie Turner

January 6, 2010

Think-tank Pacific Research Institute has launched Sacramento-based investigative reporting Web site

CalWatchdog plans to serve as a one-stop-shop for information on California government, with original news content, investigative reports and a collection of relevant news stories.

“As the new legislative session opens in California, it’s no secret that the state continues to face massive budget deficits and endless problems,” editor-in-chief Steven Greenhut said in a news release.

The San Francisco-based institute last year retained veteran journalist Greenhut to establish and lead the nonprofit, non-partisan news site.

Greenhut most recently served as deputy editor and columnist for The Orange County Register. He authored the 2004 book, “Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain,” and in 2005 won the Institute for Justice’s Thomas Paine Award for his writing promoting freedom.

Like other nonprofit journalism ventures that have emerged in recent years, CalWatchdog aims to fill the gap left by declining newspaper coverage of state issues.

Veteran reporters Anthony Pignataro and Katy Grimes have joined CalWatchdog as part of its investigative team. Pignataro has been a reporter for the OC Weekly and Maui Time Weekly. Grimes is a longtime political analyst writer and journalist whose columns have appeared in papers such as The San Francisco Examiner and The Sacramento Bee.

–Melanie Turner/Sacramento Business Journal

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