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Community & Clubs: Announcing the annual Turkey, Eagle awards

“Turkey” as defined by the fourth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is: “A large North American bird that has brownish plumage and a bare, wattled head and neck and is widely domesticated for food.”

The slang definition for turkey from the same dictionary is: “A person considered inept or undesirable.” For the ninth year in a row, I deviate from the traditional Community & Clubs column format to present the Turkey Award as well as the Eagle Award.

Let’s review some Turkey history. Past recipients of the award included the confused Newport Beach political consultant David Ellis (2002); Armando Ruiz, the double-dipping Coast Community College District trustee (2004); Nativo Lopez, a member of the Santa Ana Unified school board and Costa Mesa City Council disrupter (2006); and lawsuit-happy Allan Beek (2008).

This year’s Turkey of the Year nominations include a previous winner: the Grocery Store Workers Union, who yelled for months on end that the sky was falling and called for a strike because the grocery stores wanted to charge new workers $8 for an individual’s health insurance and $16 for a family — which is what they settled for!


Then there is a previous honoree back in the news again: Orange County Fair Board member Dave Ellis, who tried to get Tel Phil Enterprises’ OC swap meet contract with the county fairgrounds canceled. Fortunately, the board majority did not agree with him.

But the 2011 Turkey of the Year goes to the Orange County Employees Assn. General Manager Nick Berardino. He has tried almost everything in the union bible to attack and discredit the Costa Mesa City Council as it attempts to rein in employee pay and pension costs. Berardino has kept the Daily Pilot pages full of news and charges as he has tried organize the “progressives of Costa Mesa” to save the city from the bad guys on the council.

The Eagle award was suggested by Geoff West in 2003 when he nominated Eric Bever, then a candidate for the Costa Mesa City Council.

Here are some other past winners: The 2004 award went to the men and women of our armed forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; the 2005 award went to Donna and John Crean for their support of the Newport Beach library at Mariners Park; in 2008, the award went to Gordon Bowley and the leaders of Costa Mesa United for their leadership for the new football stadium at Estancia High School and new pool at Costa Mesa High School.


The 2011 Eagle of the Year Award goes to Bob and Nancy Johnston of Our Lady Queen of Angels for their dedicated leadership in the annual Interfaith Hunger Walk held in October, which raised over $18,000 and involved 18 different faith communities.

For most of the 23 years of the Hunger Walk, they have organized volunteers, recruited walkers, visited congregations, and attended and led dozens of Hunger Walk planning meetings. The Johnstons are Golden Eagles as they soar as unsung volunteers.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

COMMUNITY & CLUBS is occasionally published on Wednesdays. Send your service club’s meeting information by fax to (714) 921-8655 or by email to