Meeting a 'Soprano,' hitting the Press Club dinner, talking to Monahan about his run

Meeting a 'Soprano,' hitting the Press Club dinner, talking to Monahan about his run
Daily Pilot columnist Barbara Venezia meets with actor Steve Schirripa of "The Sopranos" during a Sunday radio segment on KOCI. (Courtesy/KOCI)

From pasta sauce to politics to the OC Press Club Awards, there's lots of interesting tidbits to report this week.

On Mother's Day, Stasha the Wonder Dog and I sat in with Tom Johnson on his weekly KOCI-FM radio show, "Stu News Sunday," and was delighted to meet actor Steve Schirripa, who was in studio hawking his new line of organic Italian pasta sauces.


Schirripa, who played Bobby Baccalieri on "The Sopranos" and currently portrays Detective Anthony Abatemarco on the CBS show "Blue Bloods," listened to the show in his car a few weeks ago. He has a place in Laguna and told his publicist to see if he could get him on the show.

Schirripa's created a line of pasta sauces based on his mother's recipes that are now available at Vons and on his website.

I haven't tried his sauces yet, but they're on my grocery list!

Fairgrounds on the Fourth

Costa Mesa Councilman John Stephens also stopped in and talked about the OC Fairgrounds and the city's collaboration on the upcoming July Fourth safe and sane fireworks events.

As reported in the DP, Stephens was successful in raising the $50,000 needed to pull off an event that he hopes will discourage illegal fireworks.

Fines for those naughty, noisy illegal fireworks will now be $1,000, if the cops catch you. Stephens hopes this event will be a deterrent.

Stasha, like most animals, hates the loud booms of July Fourth.

Stephens, a dog owner, says the fireworks display won't have those scary noises; it will be more of a "pyrotechnic" display.

Stasha gives Stephens four paws up and kudos for his efforts.

Starting at 3 p.m. on the Fourth, the event is free to the public and will include entertainment, food, games and fun. Parking is free up until 5 p.m. Fireworks are later in the evening.

Gary Monahan weighs mayoral run

And speaking of Costa Mesa, former Councilman Gary Monahan raised a few eyebrows Sunday when he posted on his Facebook page he was planning to run for mayor in 2018.

"OK I have Steve Mensinger, Jim Righeimer, Jim Fitzpatrick, Jim Fisler, Lee Ramos, Dana Rohrabacher, John Moorlach and a heck of a lot others behind me," he wrote, "… Let's do this. "

When I emailed him Tuesday about his plans he wrote: "Nothing is final".

Yes, the 2018 elections are going to be interesting, and not just locally.

GOP backer raises money for Newsom

This week I received an invitation from neighbor Jim Glidewell regarding a fundraiser he's having at his home for California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a candidate for governor in 2018.

Newsom is a Democrat, while Glidewell is a Republican and Lincoln Club member who previously held a fundraiser at his digs for Marco Rubio during the presidential election.

Why the switch?

Glidewell said Newsom "will make an excellent governor of California," though he readily admits some have questioned his choice.

"The Republican Party, of which I am a staunch supporter, will not have a viable candidate for office this coming election," he said. "I feel Gavin is the obvious winner, and I'd like to vote for someone who can actually win for a change."

Glidewell says he introduced Newsom to his conservative friends, and were impressed with Newsom's grasp of the issues and his moderate views on some issues.

Glidewell is among a growing number of O.C. Republicans who are fiscally conservative, but feel the party isn't in line with their social beliefs.

"I'm liberal socially, I take care of my employees," said Glidewell, president and CEO of Glidewell Industries. "I'm trying to improve industry and my employee's lives; that's my focus, not just profits,"

The fundraiser is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 6 at Mesa Manor, 2300 Mesa Drive, Newport Beach.

And if this address seems familiar, it was formerly the Village Crean. Glidewell bought the estate at auction in 2013, and renamed it Mesa Manor.

If you're interested in attending, RSVP by contributing $250, $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 online at

A win at the OC Press Club Awards

Rounding out this week, I attended the annual OC Press Awards at the Balboa Bay Club Monday night.

Winners included: Best Feature Story, honorable mention, the Daily Pilot's Hannah Fry, who also received second place for the Real OC award; Best Food/Restaurant Story, third-place prize, the Pilot's Bradley Zint. Pilot contributor Nuran Alteir also won third place for feature writing in Weekend, a sister publication of the Pilot.

And the David McQuay Award for Best Columnist went to my buddy and Feet to the Fire cohort Norberto Santana Jr., publisher of the Voice of OC.

I was awarded second place.

Stasha unfortunately didn't win in the Best Lifestyle/Family Blog category she'd entered. But when I broke the news to her she didn't seem to mind, she just yawned and went back to watching DOGTV.

BARBARA VENEZIA lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at