The DP 103: Our list of 2013’s newsmakers


1.) Tom Gazsi: Costa Mesa’s police chief celebrated the 60th anniversary of his department — one he leads with a steady, capable hand, despite the tension between his officers and a majority of the City Council members.

2.) Keith Curry: The Newport Beach councilman, who presided as mayor over the opening of the new Civic Center and fights over increased dock fees and fire rings, is running for state Assembly.

3.) Scott Meyer: The CdM football coach led the Sea Kings to an unprecedented third consecutive CIF section championship game – and a state title.


4.) Jim Righeimer: Costa Mesa’s mayor sued the city police association and its former law firm, alleging that the two cooperated with a private investigator who falsely reported him for driving under the influence, and he turned up the heat on so-called problem motels and rehabilitation homes.

5.) Steve Mensinger: The mayor pro tem joined Righeimer in the lawsuit, later alleging someone placed a tracking device on his car, and he also continued his program of walking city streets and stressing road and infrastructure repairs.

6.) Sandy Genis: This veteran Costa Mesa politician brought her knack for research and tough questions back to the dais, questioning proposed changes to Fairview Park and other projects.

7.) Robin Leffler: The president of Costa Mesans for Responsible Government continued to grow her grassroots group, an active and vocal counterpoint to the City Council majority.

8.) Dave Kiff: Newport’s city manager oversaw the opening — and move to — the new Civic Center and also continued his deft implementation of sound financial policies.

9.) Wendy Leece: The Costa Mesa councilwoman is viewed by supporters as the conscience of the City Council and a reliable ally of city employees and community activists.

10.) Ernesto Munoz: Costa Mesa’s public services director handled several difficult tasks this year, including a major street-repaving project and two controversies involving Fairview Park.

11.) Tom Hatch: Costa Mesa’s city CEO is viewed as an even and hardworking man, one who makes sure the business of the city gets done despite serious political challenges.

12.) Rick Francis: Costa Mesa’s assistant city CEO has made tough decisions this year but maintained his reputation among employees for even-handed dealings and a thoughtful manner.

13.) Tony Petros: Long active in the community, Newport Beach’s 2nd District councilman has brought a collaborative spirit to the City Council.

14.) Fred Navarro: The Newport-Mesa Unified School District superintendent is overseeing a transition to the state’s new Common Core approach to learning.

15.) Rush Hill: This Newport Beach councilman was just named mayor. He is rightly proud of the city’s safety and fiscal strength.

16.) Katrina Foley: The Newport-Mesa Unified school board trustee plans to make a City Council comeback in 2014 — she’s running for office again.

17.) Leslie Daigle: The Newport councilwoman followed her conscience and changed her position — not something many politicians have the courage to do — on the contentious fire ring issue.

18.) Nancy Gardner: The Newport Beach councilwoman is leaving office, taking with her a reputation for modest and sensible discourse.

19.) Geoff West: The Costa Mesa resident’s uncompromising and sharply opinionated political blog, A Bubbling Cauldron, is a daily must-read.

20.) Peter Naghavi: The well-respected Costa Mesa economic development director retired after 22 years in various administrative positions with the city, taking with him a wealth of institutional knowledge.

21.) Steve Rosansky: The former Newport mayor is now president and chief executive officer of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, and bringing his assertive management style to the table.

22.) Mary Hornbuckle: This longtime community servant has served on the City Council and was recently named president of the Coast Community College District.

23.) Eric Bever: Costa Mesa’s former mayor found new purpose in the fight against proposed toll lanes for the 405 Freeway.

24.) Jay Johnson: Newport Beach’s police chief recently put the spotlight on property crimes, which make up 96% of the calls to his department.

25.) Mike Scheafer: The moving force behind the annual fish fry and carnival also serves on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District and as chairman of the city’s 60th anniversary committee.

26.) Ed Selich: The Newport Beach councilman took on an issue of importance to folks on Balboa Island — examining the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood zone regulations.

27.) Gary Monahan: The longtime Costa Mesa councilman cast the deciding vote that extended the Orange County Model Engineers’ lease at Fairview Park for five years instead of one..

28.) Stan Tkaczyk: The chairman of the Orange County Fair Board has helped bring transparency and leadership to this often-tumultuous public office.

29.) Nick Berardino: The union leader, Fair Board member and Marine veteran helped lead the effort to preserve the fairgrounds’ Memorial Gardens Building — one of the few remaining Santa Ana Army Air Base structures.

30.) Bob McCaffrey: The Newport Beach resident staged a strong, albeit unsuccessful, battle to stop an increase in residential pier fees.

31.) Hank Panian: The Costa Mesa resident has lent interesting ideas to the city’s Charter Committee, a service he performed in 1971 on the original charter panel.

32.) Mike Henn: The Newport councilman’s 1st District is seeing a wave of change — from improvements to the Peninsula and Lido to the rebuilding of the old City Hall site as a hotel.

33.) John Moorlach: The Orange County supervisor from Costa Mesa is termed out and running for Congress.

34.) Byron de Arakal: The Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission chairman has cemented a reputation for strong positions and yet fair dealings.

35.) Kirk Bauermeister and Mike Sciacca: The Estancia High principal and assistant principal, respectively, stopped an angry parent who came to campus with a replica handgun, which they at the time thought was a real weapon.

36.) Donald Bren: The Irvine Co. chairman is overseeing an ambitious series of improvements to Fashion Island and the Island Hotel, and his residential real estate division is increasing its footprint in Irvine.

37.) Sandy Segerstrom Daniels: The founder of the Festival of Children Foundation is deeply committed to helping youngsters in dire need and also serves as managing partner at C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, which owns South Coast Plaza.

38.) Henry Segerstrom: The managing partner of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, owner of South Coast Plaza, recently celebrated a new-book release and remains committed to philanthropy and the arts.

39.) Anton Segerstrom: South Coast Plaza remains one of the top shopping destinations in the nation, and much of the credit must go to this member of the Segerstrom family.

40.) George L. Argyros: The developer and former U.S. ambassador to Spain remains an important contributor to the Orange County philanthropic scene.

41.) Christy Roget: The founder of the Lucky Project campaigned heavily for coyote awareness in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa this year.

42.) Mitchell Hurwitz: The Estancia High alumnus brought us all a new season of the Newport Beach-based sendup “Arrested Development.”

43.) Krupali Tejura: This local doctor successfully campaigned to have the Bluth banana stand from “Arrested Development” make an appearance in Newport Beach before it began its new season.

44.) Anna Vrska: The lone female voice on the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee has taken a strong stand against development at the natural park.

45.) Ron Martin: The Corona del Mar High School teacher retired following an alleged dustup with a student, but he is better known for staging a production of “Rent” that was almost banned by the school.

46.) Frank and Barbara Peters: The Corona del Mar environmental activists led the fight against wood-burning fire rings.

47.) Becks Heyhoe: She works with the Churches Consortium to address homelessness and has emerged as an important voice for Costa Mesa’s voiceless.

48.) Crissy Brooks Nolf: The executive director of Mika Community Development works hard to enrich the lives of residents along Shalimar Drive and other areas of Costa Mesa.

49.) Thomas G. Riker: The 95-year-old World War II veteran has hoisted Old Glory in front of his Eastside home nearly every day for 40 years.

50.) Pete Carolan: The retired Navy SEAL helped restore the aging Grumman F9F Panther displayed at Lions Park in Costa Mesa.

51.) Bob Olson: The R.D. Olson Development chief was selected to build a hotel on the old City Hall site in Newport Beach.

52.) Cynthia Cowell: Newport Beach’s library services director helped oversee the $11-million expansion of the central library. She retired earlier this year.

53.) Dana Rohrabacher: The Costa Mesa congressman didn’t shy away from his controversial political stances — dismissing man-made global warming as “a total fraud” during a public forum.

54.) Kha Bao: The Costa Mesa police officer again ranked among the top in the state for arresting people suspected of driving under the influence.

55.) Dan Stefano: Costa Mesa’s new fire chief was sworn in after 18 years of service in Laguna Beach following able leadership by interim chiefs Fred Seguin and Tom Arnold.

56.) Amber Davidson, Caroline and Liz McNabb and Greg Ridge: These folks, known for keeping an eye on politics, founded the Costa Mesa Democratic Club this year.

57.) Steve Beazley: The former Orange County Fair chief executive has taken on a new venture — CEO of the Balboa Performing Art Theater Foundation

58.) Kyndall Jack and Nicholas Cendoya: These two hikers from Costa Mesa went missing in South County on Easter weekend, and a rescuer was seriously hurt trying to find them.

59.) Jess Gilman: The Costa Mesa Police Department school resource officer recently retired — and then came back for a short stretch — before entering the private sector.

60.) Scott Poster: The Newport Beach fire chief runs a department known for safety, professionalism and disaster-preparedness.

61.) Roy Englebrecht: The promoter of Fight Club OC is a Newport Beach Parks, Beaches & Recreation commissioner, as well as a City Council candidate.

62.) Allan Mansoor: The Republican state assemblyman from Costa Mesa just threw his hat in the ring for a new position — county supervisor.

63.) Diane Daruty: The president and race director for Newport-Mesa Spirit Run has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for local schools.

64.) Jim Fitzpatrick: The chairman of the Costa Mesa Planning Commission took an aggressive stance against some of the city’s aging motels, which require a consistently high amount of police attention.

65.) Dan Joyce and Christine Cordon: These two Costa Mesa city employees helped organize the city’s 60th anniversary celebration but were placed on administrative leave following the event for yet-to-be-stated reasons.

66.) Laird Hayes: The Newport Beach resident is a side judge in the National Football League.

67.) Barbara Venezia: It’s hard enough to compete with a beefed-up Orange County Register, but the paper’s Newport-Mesa columnist keeps us on our toes with multiple scoops.

68.) Jeff Purser: The director of the Toshiba Classic stages a classy golf tournament, which brings visitors and economic activity to the community.

69.) Kirk McIntosh: The annual Daily Pilot Cup would be nothing without its tireless founder.

70.) Jeff Brinkley: Newport Harbor’s football coach is the longest-tenured coach in our area — for a reason.

71.) Jim Fisler: The president of Mesa Water District recently voted with the board to raise rates to help fund $35 million in necessary infrastructure improvements.

72.) Richard Mehren: The chairman of the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee “has true passion for the well-being of Fairview Park,” according to one of our readers.

73.) Ursini family: The owners of the Newport Rib Co. go out of their way every holiday season to help a multitude of local charities, and they are active throughout the year in numerous programs.

74.) Oronde Crenshaw: There are plenty of great players on the Costa Mesa High School football team, but this standout linebacker had a terrific year.

75.) Howard Cork: The president of the Newport Bay Conservancy has been an active volunteer for several years.

76.) Jim Ferryman: The Costa Mesa Sanitary District board president, who has been in office since 1988, is working with his peers on a zero-waste program to recycle organic materials.

77.) Greg Kelley: This Newport resident is active in Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council.

78.) Robert and Dorothea Kalatschan: The co-owners of Original Pizza in Newport Beach founded Giving It Back To Kids, an Orange County nonprofit doing charity work in Vietnam.

79.) Dennis Harkins: The Orange Coast College president is considering a host of ambitious plans, including offering four-year degrees and providing student dormitories.

80.) Keith Page: The founding pastor of Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa has a new spiritual endeavor — The Loft, a multipurpose space in Costa Mesa’s Westside.

81.) David Lester: This 94-year-old Costa Mesa resident received the National Order of the Legion of Honor from the French government for his U.S. Army service in Europe during World War II.

82.) Bill and Sue Gross: The couple built an estimated $2 billion fortune at Newport Beach-based PIMCO and have pledged to give it all away to charity before they die.

83.) Karen Yelsey: Though the Newport-Mesa school board has its ups and downs, the board president knows that children in the area receive much better educations most of their peers statewide.

84.) Joseph F. Lewis: He is the art dean at UC Irvine, where the Claire Trevor School of the Arts puts on dynamic programming each and every year.

85.) David Beek: Known for his service to the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, this is the guy who helped put the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade on the map.

86.) Dennis Popp: This relatively new addition to the Costa Mesa blogosphere runs the CMConserve site, which writes in support of the City Council majority.

87.) Doug Lofstrom: The retired Orange County Fairgrounds employee came out of retirement in April to head the organization for an unspecified amount of time until his permanent replacement is named.

88.) Dan Cameron: He is the relatively new chief curator at the increasingly interesting Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach.

89.) Helen Nenadal: The head of the Costa Mesa City Employees Assn. retired this year after 32 years with the city.

90.) Jose De La Jara: The Costa Mesa Aquatics Club founder has made a big splash in a short time, particularly with boys and girls water polo.

91.) Troy Davis: The host of “Money Matters” on KOCI 101.5 FM has interviewed plenty of people on this very list.

92.) Amy Senk: The editor of Corona del Mar Today continues to produce one of the best community news sites we’ve ever read.

93.) Lee Ramos: This Costa Mesa council candidate is running in hopes of becoming the first elected Latino in city history. He’s also on the Charter and Fairview Park Citizens Advisory committees.

94.) Kobe and Vanessa Bryant: The Laker guard and his wife, who live in Newport Coast, are active in community life and their foundation serves area charities.

95.) Robert Braithwaite: He was named president and CEO of Hoag Hospital earlier this year.

96.) Dr. Richard Afable: The former Hoag hospital chief was named president and chief executive officer for Covenant Healthcare Network when Hoag merged with St. Joseph Health.

97.) Mary Ellen and Art Goddard: These two have an “amazing history of volunteerism with the Costa Mesa Historical Society and the Library Foundation,” according to one reader.

98.) Dan Krikorian: He recorded “Costa Mesa My Sweet Home” for the city’s 60th anniversary and is a former boys’ basketball coach for Mesa.

99.) Tony Shaw: He started the Facebook page “I Love Newport Beach,” which has more than 10,000 followers.

100.) Dave Ellis: The Fair Board member and political consultant helped fight against the dock tax.

101.) Bob Graham: This Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation commissioner finally helped get his pet project — a staircase into Fairview Park from Canary Drive — approved this year, after a nearly 20-year battle.

102.) Charlene Ashendorf. She chaired a Costa Mesa program that, for the city’s 60th anniversary, resurrected a scarecrow festival from the 1930s.

103.) San Diego fairy shrimp: These little guys inhabit seasonal ponds at Fairview Park, and when part of their habitat was covered by an unpermitted granite trail, it started an outcry.