You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in town who had a bigger news year than Costa Mesa City Councilman Jim Righeimer. The former Planning Commission chairman went toe-to-toe with the police union, which smeared his name on billboards and websites and spent heavily to defeat him, but Righeimer's message of lower spending and creating less-generous retirement packages for public employees resonated with voters, who chose him overwhelmingly in a crowded field.
Allen Rieckhof, president of the Costa Mesa Police Assn., found himself in the newspaper more than usual, as the union's political arm flexed its muscle in trying to prevent Jim Righeimer from winning a council seat. There was a much-talked about mobile billboard steering residents to the association's website criticizing all-things "Riggy." When Righeimer confronted police about a DUI checkpoint, the association called for an investigation.
He has been carrying the weight of the city's business on his back for 25 years, but that will soon end. City Manager Allan Roeder decided he will hand the job to his No. 2, Tom Hatch, in March, ending his 35-year career with the city. Roeder's last year was made tough by budget cuts and layoffs but his tenure is marked by countless successes, arguably making him one of the most accomplished city managers in Orange County history.
Amid an $8-million deficit, Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff cut back on spending, renegotiated public employee union contracts, outsourced some services and instituted an early retirement program. He took heat from Lido Isle residents for not being able to prevent the opening of a rehab home there and on changes to mooring policies in the harbor, but overall Kiff won praise for problem-solving and bringing professionalism to the job.
A former mayor who spearheaded the effort to raise funds for Newport Beach's newly opened OASIS Senior Center, Evelyn Hart unwittingly became stuck in the middle of a debate between those who wanted to name the entire center after her and others who wanted to follow city policy that restricts naming public buildings after individuals. The City Council voted on a compromise in which the event center within the facility was named after Hart.
Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle took the high road in an election year when many others did not. She was unflappable during her reelection campaign. She cares about the environment, realizing that the ocean and bay are her city's greatest assets. But she is also fiscal- and business-minded and is earning a reputation for transparency and accessibility among the press. She's also tougher than early detractors expected.
Judy Franco holds the record for most years served on the school board. The running tally is 30 years, beginning with an 18-month appointment; she was officially elected to the Trustee Area 5 in 1981. The biggest thrill, Franco said, is getting to see the children go from kindergarten to high school — in what amounts to zero to 60 mph. Though told 30 years is long enough by her opponent in November, she coasted to yet another four-year term.
Should she stay or should she go? Katrina Foley wrestled some with her choice to leave the Costa Mesa City Council this year in favor of the Newport-Mesa school board. She offered a moderate to liberal viewpoint, and supporters found her a necessary counterpoint on the conservative council. Nevertheless, Foley has vowed to take her widely known intensity to the school board. And she's already found herself on the other side of a 6-to-1 vote.
Allan Mansoor knows how to generate attention. In taking a stand against illegal immigration, the former mayor lit a political brush fire by ceremoniously declaring Costa Mesa a "Rule of Law" city. Many saw this as a stunt aimed at appealing to voters. If that's the case, it worked. Mansoor easily won election to the state Assembly. But here's the thing that many of Mansoor's critics don't want to see: the man's views are in line with those of many voters.
Costa Mesa Councilwoman Wendy Leece ignited fireworks this election year after going against the directive of Republican leaders and voting to approve only mild concessions in public employee contracts. Leece had sought the GOP endorsement, won it, and then voted against that party's wishes. Some said she should have done what the Republican brass wanted, but Leece did what she always does — vote her conscience.
Some had called him "the eighth councilman" because of his years of service on citizen boards, committees and commissions, but newly elected Newport Beach Councilman Rush Hill made it
official when he won the District 3 seat in the Nov. 2 election. An architect and former Gov. Ronald Reagan staffer, Hill is expected to focus on planning and economic development, especially on Mariner's Mile, which he represents and lives above.
Former Mayor Sandy Genis returned to city politics with a force after the state proposed selling the Orange County Fairgrounds. She served as president of the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society and formed Costa Mesa First, which helped campaign for the city's Measure L, the hotel bed tax increase, which passed. Costa Mesa First also campaigned on behalf of council candidate Chris McEvoy, who barely lost to an incumbent.
He's the spokesman of Facilities Management West, the Newport Beach investment group pulling out all the stops to own the Orange County Fairgrounds. The deal, at least at this writing, is in court and no one knows what will happen in the end. Whether selling the fairgrounds is good or bad for the city, we can't say until the deep-fried dust settles, but you can't fault Lemmon for trying. The guy thinks big.
Many community members blamed the Fair Board and Fairgrounds Chief Executive Steve Beazley for what led the state to sell the fairgrounds. In between juggling the drama surrounding the sale and reassuring his employees, Beazley and his staff managed to run the most successful fair in its history. If Facilities Management West ends up buying the fairgrounds, Beazley will not be running the show any longer.
Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim) played a key role in the Orange County Fairgrounds saga. Solorio has always been consistent with what he wanted for the 150-acre fairgrounds: to remain the people's property. It's why he joined with a group of businesses, community members, local and state officials who all filed a lawsuit this fall to block the sale from going through.
Newport Beach City Atty. David Hunt made headlines this year that he'd likely want to forget. He was arrested in mid-March on suspicion of felony spousal abuse. But when the Orange County district attorney's office decided not to file charges against him, Hunt returned to his job at City Hall in early June. Hunt's contract with the city has been extended for another year.
Newport-Mesa Unified School District Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard grappled with difficult budget issues caused by a reduction in state revenues and was commended for tough decision-
making. But he also faced personal hardship uncommon to officials at his level: two felony charges related to his employment as schools chief in Beverly Hills. He has denied accusations that he OK'd an unauthorized stipend of $20,000 to an administrator there.
Amid an economic crunch, Newport Beach had to figure out how to pay for its new $128-million civic center. It didn't hurt to have a municipal finance expert as mayor. Keith Curry developed a fiscal sustainability plan that helped the city get a AAA bond rating and close an $8-million budget deficit. In November, the city issued bonds for the civic center and qualified for a federally subsidized stimulus program that will save taxpayers millions.
Steve Mensinger has been involved in politics in Costa Mesa as a planning commissioner and now an applicant for City Council. He has also made his mark in the sports arena, where he has been Costa Mesa Pop Warner Football president, as well as an Estancia High football boosters president. Mensinger, who finished his term as Pop Warner president in 2010, helped the program grow to more than 200 children. He also helped institute safety measures.
Henry Segerstrom, founder of South Coast Plaza and one of the fathers of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, saw a lifetime of giving to arts programs culminate with a high honor in 2009. Carnegie Hall awarded him with a Medal of Excellence for philanthropic contributions to arts and culture at a June event in New York City. And that was just part of the year that also included his highly praised work on the JapanOC series.
America's 21st richest man, Donald Bren of Newport Beach, made the news quite a bit this year for personal and professional reasons. His Newport Beach-based Irvine Co. announced a late-year real estate acquisition spree in Orange County. Earlier in the year, someone stole — and cashed — his $1.4 million tax refund check. And he also found himself winning a legal suit filed by a former girlfriend and adult children who wanted back child support.
Bob and Jeff Teller
Bob and Jeff Teller are a father-and-son combo whose company, Tel Phil Enterprises Inc., has had a lock for years on running the OC Market Place, the weekly swap meet at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Bob founded the swap meet in '69. Jeff now runs the family business as president of Tel Phil. But their business future could very well depend on whether the fairgrounds is sold or remains in state hands.
When Jay Johnson was named police chief in Newport Beach this summer, he hit the ground running. In his second day, Johnson oversaw the department on the Fourth of July. Understanding the level of involvement residents expect, Johnson was in uniform, on the streets, shaking hands and explaining the rules. He has been praised for bringing stability to a department once rocked by discord.
Kimberly Hall Barlow
When spats between the Costa Mesa Police Assn. and then-City Council candidate Jim Righeimer spilled into the papers, City Atty. Kimberly Hall Barlow was asked to clean up the mess. In separate incidents involving a DUI checkpoint and electioneering before the November elections, city officials asked Barlow to investigate. If that wasn't enough, Barlow and other city leaders fought for the future of the Orange County Fairgrounds through 2010.
Gary Monahan has been Costa Mesa mayor before. The job was expected to go to Wendy Leece, but debate over employee contracts put her on the outs with the council majority. Monahan has the longest tenure on the council, so some think officials turned to the seasoned hand. A Pilot columnist said Leece got the short end of the stick; a Register columnist said they made the right call. What do you think?
Costa Mesa Councilman Eric Bever boycotted negotiations with city employees this year. His argument: Wait until after the election. The election would have likely changed the outcome, as Bever would have the majority he needed to increase bargaining power. The council approved the contracts. He also made news when he said he and a friend were intimidated by police when they staked campaign signs.
Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini
Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini, the eloquent imam of the Costa-Mesa Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, joined an interfaith chorus of religious leaders nationwide this year. They urged calm in the face of global terrorism and called on fellow Americans to refrain from anti-Muslim hatred amid a frenzy of so-called "Islamophobia."
Second-term Newport Beach Councilman Ed Selich confronted Newport Harbor mooring holders who had been getting a great deal for years. He and two other council members developed a plan to hike their fees (and others) as part of Harbor Charges Committee. They took on the powerful Newport Mooring Assn., which relied on lawyers in an attempt to argue its way out of mooring reforms.
As Newport's mayor pro tem, Mike Henn chaired the Economic Development and Finance committees, and served on the Harbor Charges Committee, which raised rates on mooring holders. After running unopposed for reelection, he was chosen mayor in December. City Hall watchers can look forward to his mix of formal bureaucratese and folksy sayings, a byproduct of Midwestern roots.
Newport Beach Councilman Steve Rosansky's brief flirtation with higher office was dashed in February when the incumbent, Tom Daly, decided to run again for County Clerk-Recorder. The City Council welcomed back
the former mayor. Rosansky joined two other council members in pushing for higher mooring fees and in hiking charges of other harbor users.
With his grandfatherly manner and quirky habits, Don Webb stood out among Newport's City Council members. Webb retired from city service in December after 42 years at City Hall — first as a low-level engineer, later as public works director, and finally as a councilman. He is known as "Walking Don" for the hundreds of miles he walked around the city — Webb has walked every street five times.
The Newport Beach City Council's resident environmentalist, Nancy Gardner, led projects to ban gas-powered leaf blowers, make it safer to ride bicycles, and to ban smoking in public parks. Gardner stepped in dog waste when she suggested that the council change the hours people can walk their dogs on the beach. Hundreds of people inundated council members with comments and packed City Hall.
Paul Salata, Melanie Salata-Fitch
Paul Salata and his daughter Melanie Salata-Fitch have seriously begun pitching the rights to the weeklong Newport Beach event celebrating the last player selected in the NFL Draft every year. Salata said the NFL might finally become an official partner, or even take over, Irrelevant Week. Salata, who founded Mr. Irrelevant in 1976, said the family no longer has the time and energy to be the main engine behind the event.
The high school math teacher originally got interested in the Costa Mesa City Council after discovering that one of his favorite local hangouts, Kona Lanes, would be closed. He ran for council in November and lost. Now he is seeking to replace Katrina Foley, who went to the school board. If appointed, McEvoy would be the only liberal on the Costa Mesa City Council. At least one incumbent has said that isn't likely.
The Los Angeles Lakers star guard, who has been a Newport Coast resident for the past eight years, led the purple and gold to its second straight NBA Championship. He did so in thrilling fashion. Though he struggled in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the rival Boston Celtics, Bryant further proved himself as one of the game's all-time greats and won his fifth ring. Bryant was named MVP of the NBA Finals.
As an NFL referee in his 16th season, Laird Hayes does high-
profile work all over. He officiated in Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 and Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. But he has done plenty of work locally at Orange Coast College as the men's soccer coach, a professor and a surf teacher. He stepped down as the OCC men's soccer coach in November after 24 seasons, which included seven conference titles and two state championships.
Jeff Purser, the Toshiba Classic golf tournament director and Newport Beach Breakers executive director, helps bring big golf and tennis names to the Newport Beach Country Club and the Tennis Club Newport Beach every year. Purser has kept the Toshiba Classic as one of the top events on the PGA Champions Tour, raising about $1 million each year for Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.
Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach continued his campaign against generous public employee pensions. He remains a strong voice on complex John Wayne Airport issues. So why did the respected policy wonk inserted himself in a battle concerning Councilman Eric Bever and friend Chris Eric, who said they felt intimidated by police when they posted Jim Righeimer campaign signs? All politics are local.
Ed Fawcett is a brave man. And we're not saying that because he runs the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Fawcett took a risk this year in speaking out strongly in favor of the city's immigrant population amidst the "Rule of Law" debate. While so many folks want to rid the city of illegal immigrants, Fawcett champions their role as workers and customers. We like people who take political risks for what they believe in.
Richard Luehrs is the voice of business in Newport Beach. With 28 years of working with the Chamber of Commerce, he can possibly boast the longest tenure of any Orange County chamber of commerce executive. Serving as the chamber's chief executive and longtime president, Luehrs helps lead widely anticipated annual events such as the Taste of Newport and the Christmas Boat Parade.
Matt Barkley, USC's starting quarterback, led the Trojans to an 8-5 record (5-4 in the Pac-10). He passed for 2,791 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Newport Beach native, who prepped at Mater Dei High School, has proven he can handle adversity well. As a true freshman, Barkley earned the starting quarterback spot at USC in 2009 and threw for 2,735 yards, 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
The veteran UC Irvine men's soccer coach has shaped what has become one of the nation's most dynamic programs. In 2010, UCI ranked among the national leaders in scoring and has been ranked as high as No. 7 nationally. His history of producing recent All-Americans and a highly respected staff of assistant coaches are attracting a level of talent that figures to continually keep the 'Eaters on the national landscape.
Irvine Terrace's Val Skoro was among the homeowners in neighborhoods on the east side of Newport Bay who put up their dukes in 2010 against engine noise from airliners straying overhead. The planes were tracking a new take-off procedure out of John Wayne Airport called DUUKE TWO, which corrected an error made in plotting flight coordinates for DUUKE ONE.
Share Our Selves (SOS) can serve as a necessary bridge between economic hardship and the streets. That is largely because of the work of Executive Director Karen McGlinn, who has led the organization for nearly two decades. It goes without saying that in an economy like this one, and when government programs aimed at helping are cut to the bone, people like McGlinn become essential.
Costa Mesa Police Chief Chris Shawkey hails from Arizona, where he was a Phoenix-area cop for years. After taking over the Costa Mesa department in 2007, he's had to lead through some challenging times — including tough budget cuts — and some high-profile investigations. But his future with CMPD is in question. City Manager Allan Roeder put him on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons in November.
Steve Lewis, who retired in March as the Newport Beach Fire Department chief, for more than three years oversaw the department's wide-ranging duties, which include basic fire response, lifeguards on the city's beaches and Corona del Mar State Beach, and collaborating with the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol.
Lewis is an annual participant in the junior lifeguards' Monster Mile race.
At the helm of the Costa Mesa Fire Department for about three years, during which he had to live with a shrinking budget, Mike Morgan retired in October. It wasn't long though before he was back in the news, this time taking over as interim fire chief for Newport Beach. Morgan is contracted to stay with the city for six months as City Manager Dave Kiff conducts a second search for a permanent chief.
When Kori Johnson became Costa Mesa High School cheer coach, she made the team so popular that ABC featured the team on "Nightline." The squad has been grabbing all kinds of titles and is nationally recognized for its talent. Johnson has her team follow rules that include how to be role models through volunteering and serving their community at large.
Newport Harbor High School football Coach Jeff Brinkley is one of eight coaches in Orange County to have won 200 games. Brinkley, who just wrapped up his 25th season at Newport Harbor, boasts a 208-88-3 record at the school. In November, he led the Sailors to the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs, the program's 19th postseason appearance under Brinkley. He has won championships in 1994, 1995 and 2005.
Dan Glenn battled a rare form of eye cancer during a Newport Harbor High School season in which practically everything on the court looked perfect to the girls' volleyball coach. In his 24th year at Newport Harbor, Glenn led the Sailors to a CIF State Division I championship and a CIF Southern Section Division I-AA championship.
In his 15th season as women's basketball coach at Vanguard University, Russ Davis is among the most successful coaches in the NAIA. He guided the Lions to the NAIA Division I championship in 2007-08. His teams have captured seven of the last eight Golden State Athletic Conference titles and made 12 trips to the NAIA tournament. Known equally for his sideline scowl and sense of humor, he alternately terrorizes and amuses officials.
Kirk McIntosh, the Daily Pilot Cup tournament director, helped launch what has become one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in Orange County. He has been aggressive in gathering volunteers to help with the weeklong tournament that features third- through sixth-graders competing in various divisions. This year's Pilot Cup, the 11th annual tournament, set yet another record, with 201 teams participating.
A lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Allergan, Ed Reno tried to use his political connections to beat Rush Hill for the District 3 seat in Newport Beach. That strategy backfired, as the Republican Party of Orange County tried to associate Hill with the corrupting influence of public employee unions elsewhere. "Bell by the Bay" read one flier. It angered Mayor Keith Curry enough that he endorsed Hill after first backing Reno.
Democrat Phu Nguyen came to America from Vietnam. He runs a family business in Little Saigon, which is part of the 68th Assembly district that includes Costa Mesa. He couldn't overcome the wide Republican advantage of about 41% registered voters to the Democrat's 32%. Nguyen also had to answer questions about his residency. Neighbors told the Daily Pilot that he lived outside the district when he entered the race.
Two months after the release of Misty May-Treanor's autobiography, "Misty: Digging Deep in Volleyball and Life," her career on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Tour abruptly ended. The AVP spiked the tour in August, due to financial trouble and its inability to find new investors. May-Treanor, one of the AVP's biggest names, plans to step away from the game and start a family with husband Matt Treanor.
Scott Boras is such a good sports agent that he can negotiate a one-year, $10-million contract for a Major League Baseball player coming off a season in which he batted below .200. Boras closed that deal for Carlos Peña with the Chicago Cubs this month. The offseason is when Boras' clients usually earn the most they can for swinging a bat or throwing a baseball. Boras Corp. is in Newport Beach.
Becky Bailey-Findley, the former chief executive of the OC Fair & Event Center, came back on the local scene in 2010. Recently it was announced that she would serve as interim chief executive if the deal to sell the fairgrounds went through. If Newport Beach-based Facilities Management West is allowed to buy the fairgrounds, expect to see Bailey-Findley in charge until a permanent chief is named.
The dean of UC Irvine's School of Law continued to defy his critics by voicing his strong views. After 11 UC students were arrested at UCI in February for allegedly disrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador, he tore into them in an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times. He argued that the students hadn't necessarily had their First Amendment rights violated. Rather, they had prevented others from speaking freely.
Mike Izzi, the third-year UC Irvine athletic director, made, arguably, the most difficult decision of his tenure in 2010, letting men's basketball Coach Pat Douglass go and hiring former NBA and college assistant Russ Turner to take over. He continues to oversee baseball and men's volleyball programs that are nationally renowned, and the men's and women's soccer teams have been ranked in the top 11 nationally this year.
Shannon Santos, executive director of Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, continues the good work started by the late Merle Hatleberg, the founder of one of Costa Mesa's best known charities. Some folks only see, or step in, to the place to volunteer on Thanksgiving but Someone Cares is busy year-round — particularly in times of economic hardship like this one where the unemployed ask for help they never thought they'd need.
The UC Irvine men's volleyball coach has guided the Anteaters to two national titles and three Final Four appearances since 2006. Considered one of the brightest volleyball minds anywhere, he was an assistant with the 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. men's national team and has coached several lower-level national teams. Speraw is one of two to have won an NCAA crown as a head coach, assistant coach and player.
A two-time All-American, UC Irvine's Danny Bibona won the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award as the top senior student-
athlete in Division I baseball in 2010. The left-hander, 22, was dominant when healthy, posting a 9-2 record and a 2.48 earned-run average as a senior. He returned after being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009 and electing not to sign. St. Louis chose him again in June, and he signed.
David Ellis had a busy, if not bumpy, 2010. The Newport Coast political consultant worked on Ed Reno's Newport Beach City Council bid against eventual District 3 winner Rush Hill. Ellis also took over for Kristina Dodge as chair of the OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors, whose members bore the brunt of community criticism for the proposed sale of the property. Ellis remains a top political player.
Barbara Venezia's columns in the Orange County Register are like an oncoming train — strong, powerful and fast. Politicians find themselves having to jump off the tracks. But Venezia backs up her sharp tongue with a sharp mind, careful reporting and knowledge of Newport-Mesa. The Newport Beach resident has that ideal mix of guts, brains and humor missing from so much of today's whiney online discourse.
We have a confession about Costa Mesa blogger Geoff West: He scoops the Pilot more than any other news outlet. Although we hate being beaten, we also love his site, A Bubbling Cauldron, which mixes his views with breaking news. West is wired at City Hall and beyond. He also brings an involved resident's passion to his blog, and that's what makes it work. The guy cares about where he lives, and it shows.
"Rule of Law" Costa Mesa isn't known for opening its heart to immigrants. But Crissy Brooks may have a heart big enough for the whole town. The Mesa Verde native and Mika director, who lives in Shalimar, cares about the population she serves. Inspired by her faith, she closes out the political noise and helps people who need it. She writes well, too, on her blog and, on occasion, on the Pilot's Forum page.
When the Pilot's new editor took over, he realized that he wasn't going to be able to compete with Amy Senk, publisher of Corona del Mar Today, an online news site in one of Newport's key neighborhoods. So he quickly signed a partnership with her and started running Senk's work in the Pilot. Senk, who trained at the University of Missouri journalism school, embodies what it means to be "hyper-local" and professional.
Brunchgoers are still crying into their coffee cups over the closing of Costa Mesa Omelette Parlor, which was in business 27 years. On the restaurant's Facebook page, they tell owner Susan Adkins how much they miss the breakfast muffin sandwich, the Two to the Max, Paddy Cake Paddy Cake or whatever special dish they grew up ordering. They also suggest new locations for her to reopen the beloved eatery.
Joseph 'McG' Nichol
The Corona del Mar High School and UC Irvine alumnus is a recognized name in entertainment as the producer of TV's "The O.C." and director of "Terminator Salvation." On Sept. 5, the former Daily Pilot paper boy picked up a wooden racquet alongside his longtime buds Clay Peterson and Johnny McCray for the 12th annual Wood Racquet Classic, which raised thousands for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
Some of our staffers met with U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) not too long after his recent move to Costa Mesa. The self-described populist conservative was cordial, funny and willing to say just about anything that popped into his head. It could be argued he was at the "tea party" long before the movement. But he's also known for making strange choices, including a 2009-10 trip to Honduras that flew in the face of White House foreign policy.
Drive by the CdM track on Eastbluff Drive any weekday afternoon, and there's a good chance you'll see Bill Sumner. For 28 years, the longtime Corona del Mar High School cross-country and track coach has been building one of the country's top programs. He is also involved with his Magic Shoes Foundation, which has donated more than 20,000 pairs of shoes to children throughout Southern California.
Bill Barnett is a water polo legend. The Newport Harbor High girls' water polo coach has been roaming the decks at the Sailors' pool for decades. Barnett was the U.S. men's national team coach from 1985 to 1992, leading the U.S. to a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics. He has led Newport Harbor to 13 CIF championships since 1966, 10 on the boys' side. The girls' teams have won three Division I titles.
April Ross, Jennifer Kessy
April Ross and Jennifer Kessy turned into the best women's tandem on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Tour and a formidable one on the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball World Tour. Ross, a former Newport Harbor High School star, claimed four AVP events, going 31-4 before the AVP folded because of financial issues. In FIVB, Ross and Kessy won twice and placed second.
Before retiring in February, Barbara Bond logged 35 years with Orange Coast College, serving as the dean of physical education and athletic director. Bond helped the college rank in the top five in athletics by winning state or national championships in one of the dozen sports OCC offers. Bond, a Santa Ana native, played volleyball at Cal State Long Beach alongside four Olympians.
Not many people can say they hired more than 500 people during the Great Recession. But Robert Braithwaite, chief administrative officer at Hoag Irvine, which opened in September, can. With 154 beds, a massive orthopedics ward and new technology, the hospital is ready to treat the legions of Irvine baby boomers who've played too much tennis. It brought 900 new employees to Irvine, with some transferring from the Newport Beach campus.
Maria Elena Avila
There are many good restaurants on Costa Mesa's Westside, but only one is owned by Maria Elena Avila, a champion of this community, its schools, residents and businesses. Avila's El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant is where she tends to hold court on Friday nights, but lucky diners catch her on other days. Avila has been involved in business and charitable causes in Orange County for many years.
Double-check your board shorts. Chances are Bob Hurley may have made them. Starting out as surfboard shaper in Huntington Beach, the surf executive has transformed his love of the sport into a global brand. Hurley gives back to the community in a number of ways, including his Walk the Walk event, which encourages high school students to take a stab at fashion with their own fashion show.
Though he has been in the news lately because City Manager Allan Roeder put him on leave, it was Capt. Ron Smith's supervision in a homicide investigation earlier this year that earned him a place on the list. What started as an apparent sexual assault murder case involving two Orange Coast College students quickly turned into a much more complicated murder-for-profit plot.
The grand dame of Newport Beach politics, former state legislator Marian Bergeson is still active in civic affairs. At 85, she chaired the city's Charter Reform Commission, which examined municipal labor laws and other aspects of the city's constitution. Measure V, the ballot measure that floated all of the charter reforms, passed. Bergeson also lent her name and clout to the Balboa Performing Arts Theater's fundraising campaign.
Under the supervision of President Gordon Bowley, who has been with Costa Mesa United since 2005, the organization in 2010 donated $110,000 in grants, which went to the development and refurbishment of Costa Mesa athletic facilities. Bowley led four projects for Costa Mesa schools that included fixing TeWinkle Middle School's Little League field and renovating high school training facilities.
Orange County environmentalist Terry Welsh has been the No. 1 advocate of Banning Ranch's open space since 2000. Although the groups he spearheads have changed names over the years, the message is always about preservation and conservation. For the last two years, under the Banning Ranch Conservancy, Welsh has waged a battle against city plans to construct a 850-foot access road stretching north from West Coast Highway.
Costa Mesa sank nearly $500,000 into defending itself after Benito Acosta claimed the City Council and then-Mayor Allan Mansoor stripped him of his right to free speech at a Jan. 3, 2006, meeting in which he urged his supporters to stand to protest the city's enforcement on illegal immigration. The council stopped them by abruptly calling for a recess. The ACLU recently announced it would take up his appeal.
There was a good amount of internal debate about whether to include any of the "Real Housewives of Orange County" on the DP 103. In the end, we decided the Web hits were worth the heat. But Alexis Bellino indeed brought a good deal of attention to Newport Beach when a stroller carrying her toddlers rolled into the pool at the Balboa Bay Club. The tots were fine.
Although actress Tawny Kitaen used to be synonymous with 911 calls in Newport Beach, the 1980s icon now says she is on the straight and narrow and doing well. In August, the 49-year-old talked about her sobriety and new commitment to the community. Instead of rolling around in White Snake videos, Kitaen spends her time volunteering with abused women and raising her two daughters.
Health food store owner Seth Siegel is leading the effort to rehabilitate the Balboa Theater. Siegel hopes to have a fresh run at the fundraising. He needs it, as his group estimates the project will take an additional $4.5 million to complete. The theater near the Balboa Pier has been closed since 1992, and its foundation has struggled to finish renovations. The board members picture a multi-use space.
Entering his fourth season as UC Irvine's baseball coach, Mike Gillespie continues to add to a Hall of Fame legacy. The 70-year-old has guided the Anteaters to NCAA Regional appearances in each of the last three years, and the 2008 squad played in a Super Regional. Included in that run was a 2009 Big West Conference championship and a No. 1 national ranking, both Division I firsts for the Anteaters.
We deal with plenty of public relations folks, but Beverly Morgan, who represents South Coast Plaza, is among the rare few who make the life of journalists easy. She is direct, helpful and responsive at all hours. She gives us the information we need quickly and almost never pitches us non-stories. She represents well the largest, by far, economic engine in Costa Mesa.
Costa Mesa Assistant City Manager Tom Hatch is set to take over as the city's top administrator early next year. The City Council appointed Hatch as city manager in December. He will replace Allan Roeder, who is retiring after 35 years.
Hatch has been with the city for four and a half years; he lives here with his wife and children.
Andy Krikorian, David Mayer
Newport-Mesa gave combat veterans a hero's welcome that made the papers. Andy Krikorian of Costa Mesa returned home after serving with the Marines in Afghanistan. He managed to stay awake long enough to be escorted home by firefighters and police officers. Army Spc. David Mayer may not be a local, but when he spoke at Newport Beach's American Legion Yacht Club, he brought veterans to tears.
Pioneering an expected wave of mixed-use development along Mariner's Mile, former mayor and real estate developer Tod Ridgeway plans to turn the Billy's by the Beach building into condominiums over ground-floor retail. City officials and planners hailed this type of development as the future of Mariner's Mile, while mariners themselves aren't too enthusiastic.
She seemed to appear out of nowhere, sued the city for raiding and shutting down marijuana dispensaries and then ran for City Council. Sue Lester, owner of Herban Elements Inc., a dispensary, chose to move to Costa Mesa from Brea to run her business and, presumably, seek a council seat. She worked hard trying to convince people that she cares about issues beyond medical marijuana.
Steve and Mashid Rizzone
Steve and Mashid Rizzone garnered the respect of environmental advocates but also the ire of their neighbors when they completed construction on a 3,000-square-foot solar panel project on a Bayside Drive hillside in May. Saying they wanted to reduce their carbon footprint and leave a better world for their children, the Rizzones said the panels were part of a dream to build a fully "green" home.
Zov Karamardian, owner of Zov's Restaurants, came up with the idea of A to Zov, a new program that rewards students for good behavior with free meals at three of her locations in Newport Beach, Irvine and Tustin. When students perform a good deed, teachers can reward them with purple dollars redeemable for a kid's meal at the Zov's Neighborhood Bar & Café in Newport Beach and Irvine, and Zov's Bakery in Tustin.
There was a time when the Orange County Sheriff Harbor Patrol had lieutenants and higher-ranking captains leading the department and its three harbors. Now the buck stops with Lt. Mark Long. He has had to justify the budget model the county uses to pay for harbor patrolling, hammer out a new deal with Newport Beach to administer its mooring services, conduct drills with federal and local agencies, and more.
First, there was the alleged murder-for-profit plot that Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Ed Everett and other detectives uncovered in May. Then, in October, an investigation into a mummified body found in a car took a bizarre turn. Everett and other detectives found the car's driver and learned she had been driving around with the corpse for about 10 months. Difficult as they were, Everett was lauded for his work on both cases.
She was a cheerleading coach at Corona del Mar High School between 2001 and 2008, but in August this year she died in a car accident south of Bishop, Calif. Wendy Rice, 35, was one of three people killed in a fiery crash. She had led the CdM squad to winning the Cheerleaders of America West Coast Open, the U.S. Spiritleaders National and the Universal Cheerleaders Assn. West Coast championships.
Martin Benson, David Emmes
Martin Benson and David Emmes, founders of South Coast Repertory, announced that they were stepping down this year to make room for a new artistic director. In 1964, Emmes and Benson were two state college graduates with no money or experience, but they had imagination. Today they are considered cultural visionaries who helped put "The City of the Arts" on the map.
After abruptly closing the Arches in January 2009, Dan Marcheano reestablished himself by reopening the Newport mainstay at 1617 Westcliff Drive. Marcheano just refuses to let the Arches die, and we think that's a good thing. After all, great celebrities have been known to dine there as far back as 1922, such as movie greats John Wayne and Gary Cooper. Welcome back, Dan.
Mention West Newport activist Bob Rush to political and chamber types, and you'll see them flinch, at least just a little. Rush, who is known for doing great amounts of research on political issues, isn't afraid to share strong opinions with elected officials and the press. His theories aren't always on target, though they often are, but his questioning and skeptical voice adds an important element to any debate.
Vi Cowden inspired a number of people when, at 93 years old, she piloted a P-51 Mustang during an exhilarating May flight in which she guided the craft into a series of loops and rolls from San Bernardino Airport to John Wayne Airport. It had been 60 years since she flew a fighter plane. Years ago, she was one of a small number of female pilots who transported them after they rolled off an assembly line in Dallas during WWII.
When Rabbi Gersh Zylberman was growing up in Australia, there were no places for Jewish boys to train. Six years into his medical studies he met his wife, Rayna Gevurtz, and everything changed. The duo were married and honeymooned in Jerusalem, where he received his first year of rabbinical training. He was a rabbi for five years in his hometown, then became an associate rabbi at Temple Bat Yahm this year.
Babe the Bobcat
Babe, a 17-pound bobcat, has been roaming the wilds of the Upper Back Bay and adjacent areas for five years. Over the summer, her snapshot was frequently taken by joggers and homeowners excited to catch a glance of the local celebrity and her brood of cubs. Some residents labeled Babe as a bunny-snatcher and threat to small dogs. She made a notable appearance in Dover Shores in summer with three cubs.
'Fiddler' the seal
The emaciated baby sea lion who found his way up three flights of stairs onto the deck of a Newport Beach home immediately became the star of a Facebook fan club. Dubbed Fiddler after "Fiddler on the Roof," the marine mammal weighed only 32 pounds when he was found in April. Fiddler was one of several sea lions rescued off local beaches this year. Made healthy after being nursed back to 90 pounds by staff at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Fiddler was released back into the ocean in August.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times