For at least three decades, William “Bill” Orozco immersed himself in the political goings on in Los Angeles County, at times as a political consultant or community activist, other times capturing it with his camera.
On January 24, at age 63, Orozco died unexpectedly, apparently in his sleep, according to long time companion Nancy Anne Nuno.
His cause of death is unknown; the Los Angeles County Coroners Office is performing an autopsy.
Pat Orozco, Bill’s sister, told EGP that her brother’s death came as quite a shock. “I spoke to him the day before and then I got a call at 4:00 a.m. telling me he had died,” she said. “He had been fine, it didn’t seem like he had any major thing wrong with him, just the normal things that come with age,” she said.
Since his passing, “I’ve been getting so many phone calls. I knew he was involved in politics and knew a lot of people in politics, in office, but so many of the people that are calling are telling me about what he did for them personally,” she said. “That was Bill, he had such a good heart.”
During the 1980s Orozco worked as an aide to former California State Senator David Roberti. In the years that followed, he worked as political strategists and consultant on a number of high-profile election campaigns as well as some campaigns that many saw as a long shot, but which he saw as a chance to shake up the political establishment.
It was always about getting honest people into office and advancing the role of Latinos in the legislative process, a number of his friends have recalled since his passing.
“Nothing made Bill angrier than seeing entrenched politicians who took advantage of the system, especially when he suspected there were bribes involved or fixed contract bidding,” Los Angeles-based writer Tony Castro, author of “Chicano Power: The Emergence of Mexican America” and “Mickey Mantle: America’s Prodigal Son” blogged on his website.
“Bill always seemed to have the inside scoop,” according to Jonathan Sanchez, Associate Publisher and CEO of Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews.com. “He had a long list of connections and sources who trusted him, and he would often call to give us the heads up that something was about to break,” Sanchez said.
“Than all of a sudden there would be news of an investigation and you’d realized Bill had connected all those dots a long time ago.”
Bill was never afraid to criticize those he thought were in the wrong, even to the point of seeing himself as a whistleblower, Sanchez said.
Over the years, EGP has published many of Orozco’s pictures, added EGP Publisher Dolores Sanchez. “Bill never considered himself a professional photographer, yet there he was taking pictures of political events and rallies, community events, parades… capturing some very important moments in local history with the eye of a professional,” Mrs. Sanchez said.
“More than anything, he was a really nice guy, a really good guy.
“I took it hard when I learned he had passed away,” she said.
Bill was living in East Los Angeles with his 91-year-old mother Mary Orozco at the time of his death. He is survived by 6 adult children — Erick, Jimette, Joell, Nathalie, Albert and Meghan — and 7 siblings, Rolff, Steve, Lydia, Mary Lou, Irene, Pat and Celeste.