The 2014 DP 103: Newsmakers and notables

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Welcome to the annual Daily Pilot 103, a list of those who made news and lent influence in 2014.

Many of the names below came from reader suggestions, while the others were chosen by the Daily Pilot’s news, features and sports staffs. Thanks go to everyone who participated; we would have forgotten some key entries if it weren’t for you.

We think this is a fairly comprehensive list of the year’s newsmakers, as well as those who stayed out of the limelight but still made an impact. But as these things go, there are more names that make a difference than there are spaces on the list. We started with about 150 people and there was no way we could include them all.


So please tell us who we forgot by commenting below online or sending in a letter to the editor at

1.) Katrina Foley: Costa Mesa voters returned this school board member, whose focus is on public safety and quality of life, to the City Council with the most votes in a contentious field of eight.

2.) Marshall “Duffy” Duffield: It’s rare for anyone to unseat a Newport Beach mayor, but this electric boat pioneer did just that, topping the “Team Newport” slate, which won four seats.

3.) Jean Watt: This longtime Newport Beach activist still proved she can organize a fight, helping defeat a development initiative, Measure Y, on Election Day.

4.) Steve Mensinger: Costa Mesa’s new mayor is joined with his predecessor, Jim Righeimer, in a lawsuit against the Costa Mesa Police Assn., alleging he was illegally tracked by a GPS device.

5.) Jim Righeimer: This Costa Mesa mayor pro tem championed laws affecting motels and sober-living homes, but remained entrenched in political warfare with organized labor and activists.

6.) Diane Dixon: This new Newport Beach councilwoman ran as part of Team Newport but has shown an independent streak that could translate into a swing vote.

7.) Wendy Leece: The longtime public servant received a laudatory send-off from supporters this month for her many years of service to the city and, before that, the school board.

8.) Ed Selich: The Newport Beach councilman was named mayor and continued to make the case for public art and the benefits it provides to the city as well as sound municipal finance.

9.) Nancy Gardner: The Newport Beach councilwoman and former mayor ended her tenure on a high note and can still lay claim to the fact that she gave one of the shortest State of the City addresses.

10.) Jack and Nancy Skinner: Though a couple has never been named the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year, the 2014 distinction went to this pair for their environmental work.

11.) Keith Curry: The Newport Beach councilman ran for Assembly, losing to Huntington Beach’s mayor, but also shared in council accomplishments.

12.) Tom Gazsi: The popular Costa Mesa police chief (No. 1 on last year’s DP 103) recently retired to take another job, calling for unity between the city’s fractured camps before he left.

13.) Fred Navarro: Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s superintendent worked with his staff to bring residents back to public schools in Mesa Verde and the Westside.

14.) Tom Hatch: Costa Mesa’s city CEO may have the toughest job in a city where politicians and much of his staff are divided.

15.) Dave Kiff: Newport Beach’s city manager oversaw notable capital improvement projects, including Sunset Ridge Park and the public artwork installation at the Civic Center.

16.) Sandy Genis: This Costa Mesa councilwoman asserted her independence, questioning City Hall doctrine on the budget, development and other issues.

17.) Gary Monahan: The longtime Costa Mesa councilman brought forth a medical marijuana ordinance proposal.

18.) Jay Johnson: The Newport Beach police chief unveiled innovative programs dealing with pedestrian, bicycle and motorcycle safety.

19.) Tony Petros: The Newport Beach councilman provided strong insight on the council’s closely watched finance committee and called for infrastructure improvements.

20.) Scott Peotter: Criticizing the City Hall bunny statues and the cost of building the Newport Beach Civic Center, this member of Team Newport is likely to shake up a previously staid council.

21.) Vicki Snell: This onetime community volunteer was appointed to the school board and then won a decisive victory at election time.

22.) Charlene Metoyer: This former Eastbluff Elementary School principal won a school board seat of her own.

23.) Michelle Steel: The state Board of Equalization member cruised to an easy victory in her campaign for Orange County supervisor.

24.) Leslie Daigle: This public official exited the Newport Beach City Council with a strong record on environmental issues, but did not win a water district seat for which she campaigned.

25.) Rush Hill: Newport Beach’s incumbent mayor faced one of the toughest opponents around — Duffield — and lost his council seat.

26.) Donald Bren: The Irvine Co. chairman donated private land to the county and oversaw major improvements to Fashion Island and the Island Hotel.

27.) Henry Segerstrom: The managing partner of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons oversaw the openings of key restaurants and shops at South Coast Plaza and continued his stewardship of the arts.

28.) Matt Harper: The former mayor of Huntington Beach beat Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry, with whom he hotly disagreed on wood-burning fire rings, in the race for state Assembly.

29.) Steve Rosansky: The former Newport mayor has scheduled an increasingly compelling slate of forums and has renewed attention to the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.

30.) Robin Leffler: The president of Costa Mesans for Responsible Government (CM4RG) campaigned hard for her group’s two council candidates, taking one seat and nearly grabbing a second.

31.) Geoff West: This Costa Mesa blogger, publisher of A Bubbling Cauldron, used his online megaphone to criticize the City Council majority and serve as a voice for activists.

32.) John Moorlach: Term limits ended this county supervisor’s years of service, but maybe not for long — he’s expected to run for state Senate.

33.) Scott Poster: Newport Beach’s fire chief provided leadership following the on-duty death of lifeguard Ben Carlson.

34.) Dan Stefano: The Costa Mesa fire chief is leading a complex reorganization of his department.

35.) Rick Francis: Costa Mesa’s assistant CEO led efforts to help the homeless and had a hand in many of the year’s biggest issues, including annexing unincorporated land and addressing rehabilitation homes and motels.

36.) Kevin Muldoon: This Eastbluff attorney ran on the Team Newport slate, arguing that even though the city is wealthy, it doesn’t need to overspend.

37.) Stan Tkaczyk: This Orange County Fair Board member helped reach a lease agreement with the O.C. Market Place and lead the search for a new CEO.

38.) Nick Berardino: The Orange County Fair Board member led the conversation on a veterans museum and reiterated his opposition to privatizing the fairgrounds.

39.) Bob McCaffrey: The dock-tax opponent helped organize Team Newport, a small-government slate that took four seats on the City Council.

40.) Byron de Arakal: The Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission chairman successfully passed the idea of district representation on the board and dealt with a number of contentious issues.

41.) Jay Humphrey: This Costa Mesa City Council candidate — a former councilman — came within inches of beating incumbent Jim Righeimer, who was mayor at the time, and remains active in city matters.

42.) Rob Dimel: The Costa Mesa Police Assn. president and longtime resident has been a strong advocate for the union, which is being sued by two members of the City Council.

43.) Harold Weitzberg: The Costa Mesa City Council candidate and Charter Committee member broke ranks with Humphrey’s supporters and backed Christopher Bunyan for council.

44.) Ernesto Munoz: The Costa Mesa public works director has been busy with a host of construction and infrastructure projects.

45.) Sister Mary Vianney: The St. John the Baptist High School principal, who has the longest tenure of any principal in the area, announced her retirement and plans to return to her native Ireland.

46.) Kathy Scott: She is the principal at Corona del Mar High School, which continued a string of academic and athletic successes but also faced pressure after a tutor allegedly hacked computers and helped students change grades.

47.) Kirk Bauermeister: The Estancia High School principal is involved in creating and implementing the school’s flagship programs, including engineering and design, biomedical and animation academies.

48.) Sean Boulton: The Newport-Harbor High School principal is involved in growing the International Baccalaureate for Academics and Arts and other key programs.

49.) Jacob Haley: The Costa Mesa High School principal is involved in implementing and expanding the school’s Delta program and the Academy of Creative Expression.

50.) Dennis Harkins: The Orange Coast College president is leading a campus that plans to expand and possibly offer limited four-year degrees.

51.) Mary Hornbuckle: The Coast Community College District board president oversaw accreditation concerns that have been resolved at OCC and Coastline but remain an issue at Golden West.

52.) Mike Scheafer: This longtime community volunteer and Costa Mesa Sanitary District president was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award by the Estancia & TeWinkle Schools Foundation.

53.) Sandy Segerstrom Daniels: The managing partner of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons continued to help those in need through her Festival of Children Foundation.

54.) Gary Sherwin: The president and CEO of Newport Beach & Co. has taken over assorted functions — Visit Newport Beach, Restaurant Week and Newport Beach TV — and placed them under one umbrella.

55.) Ed Fawcett: The longtime president of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce announced his retirement after years of service to the community.

56.) Karen Yelsey: She and other members of the Newport-Mesa school board celebrated Costa Mesa High School’s new performing arts center and the aquatics center at Corona del Mar High and also grappled with overheated classrooms.

57.) Walt Davenport: The Newport-Mesa school board trustee ran for a third time with a new twist — it was the first time he faced an opponent in the race — but he easily won another term.

58.) Brenda Green: The Costa Mesa city clerk worked tirelessly to provide information to the community.

59.) Crissy Brooks Nolf: She works with disadvantaged Shalimar residents as executive director of Mika Community Development Corp.

60.) Dana Rohrabacher: The Republican congressman, who now calls Costa Mesa home, cruised to another reelection.

61.) Dave Ellis: The political consultant and former Fair Board member helped Team Newport to victory but was defeated in his own water district race.

62.) Becks Heyhoe: Addressing homelessness is now on the front burner in Costa Mesa, and one of the reasons is the work by this advocate, who is aligned with the Churches Consortium.

63.) Frank and Barbara Peters: The Corona del Mar environmentalists continued their crusade against wood-burning fire rings and other air-quality concerns.

64.) Lynn Selich: She is a keyed-in society writer, radio host, blogger, public relations professional and, in case you didn’t know, the wife of the Newport Beach mayor.

65.) Jeff Teller: The president of Tel Phil Enterprises operates the Orange County Market Place, the weekly swap meet at the Orange County fairgrounds.

66.) Allan Roeder: Costa Mesa’s former long-term city manager is deeply involved in an important regional cause: the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness.

67.) Terry Dwyer: The Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts put on another compelling season of musicals, jazz concerts and other features, and its president deserves much of the credit.

68.) Marc Masterson: He is the artistic director at South Coast Repertory, which puts on a good mix of challenging and audience-friendly fare.

69.) Dan Cameron: The director of the Orange County Museum of Art is scheduling increasingly interesting – and challenging – exhibitions.

70.) Aaron Harp: He led the charge on Newport Beach’s group home case, which the Supreme Court decided not to hear, and provided legal advice on myriad city issues.

71.) Anna Vrska: The Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee member spent much of the year questioning the city’s legal fees and the 60th anniversary celebration and making multiple requests for public information.

72.) Brad Avery: The harbor is alive with projects, and this Newport Beach harbor commissioner is involved with them all.

73.) Kathy Kramer: The Orange County Fairgrounds recently named her chief executive officer after she held a similar position in Canada.

74.) Jim Fitzpatrick: The Costa Mesa Planning Commission chairman approved development throughout the city and served as an activist in support of the council majority.

75.) Tim Brown: This Newport Beach Planning Commission member ran for City Council but lost in a close race.

76.) Scott Meyer: The CdM football coach led the Sea Kings to go 50-6 in the past four years, including an unprecedented 16-0 season in 2013; the 15-game playoff winning streak ended this season.

77.) Jeff Brinkley: After a 5-6 season, the Newport Harbor high football coach has gone 233-111-3 with the Sailors, including eight CIF Southern Section finals appearances, three resulting in titles.

78.) Jose De La Jara: The Costa Mesa Aquatics Club founder has produced a solid breeding ground for water polo players in the Costa Mesa area.

79.) Diane Daruty: She is the engine behind the Newport-Mesa Spirit Run, which raises money for local schools.

80.) Kenton Beshore: Mariner’s Church staged a surprising 22 Christmas services this season, and much of the mega-church’s success can be traced to its pastor.


For the record: An earlier version of this post misspelled Pastor Kenton Beshore’s surname at No. 80. In addition, community activist Greg Ridge was incorrectly described as being “deeply involved in Costa Mesans for Responsible Government” at No. 88.


81.) Bob Graham: The Costa Mesa parks and recreation commissioner had long championed a staircase on Canary Drive; this year he got it.

82.) Shawn Dewane: He was reelected in November to the Orange County and Mesa Water districts.

83.) Diane Hill: Her United Neighbors electronic newsletter is full of useful information for fellow Costa Mesa residents about safety, security and current events.

84.) Cindy Black: She was described by one of our readers as “a quiet, yet steady, voice for environmental protection of community assets,” including Fairview and Talbert Regional parks.

85.) Kori Johnson: Costa Mesa High School has an incredible cheer program — and she’s the spirit behind it.

86.) Hank Panian: The Costa Mesa Charter Committee member proposed a radical idea — the city should forfeit its share of property taxes. But the idea failed to gain traction.

87.) Robert Braithwaite: He is president and CEO of Hoag Hospital, which is expanding its footprint in Huntington Beach and Irvine.

88.) Greg Ridge: This Costa Mesa Community activist is involved in a variety of political causes.

89.) Vince Finaldi and John Manly: These two high-powered attorneys are representing Costa Mesa Mayor Steve Mensinger and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer in their lawsuit against the city’s police union.

90.) Allan Mansoor: The outgoing state assemblyman ran for county supervisor, losing to Michelle Steel, and spoke out against toll lanes on the 405 Freeway.

91.) Bill Sumner: The CdM cross-country and track coach has pretty much everyone who runs in town following him.

92.) Smokey Robinson: The musical legend played the inaugural concert at the Lido Theater.

93.) Tom Johnson: The Newport Beach TV chief is rolling out promising programming, including a show on Newport-Mesa sports.

94.) Dane Bora and Brad Long: These two stalwarts of Costa Mesa TV have captured important community debates and events with professionalism, no matter what’s transpiring in front of the camera.

95.) Paul Salata: He is the man behind the increasingly popular Mr. Irrelevant Week, which brings the NFL’s last draft pick to Newport Beach.

96.) Charlene Ashendorf: The Costa Mesa community volunteer behind the Scarecrow Festival remained active in city issues.

97.) Evelyn Hart: From the OASIS Senior Center to community debates, you never know where this active former Newport Beach mayor will turn up — and she will always be smiling.

98.) John Stephens: This attorney and former council candidate sits on the Costa Mesa Pension Oversight Committee and is active in community causes.

99.) Rhett Soliday: The Vanguard men’s basketball coach led the team to the NAIA national title.

100.) Jeff Purser: He is the director of the Toshiba Classic, a successful golf tournament on the Champions Tour.

101.) Dan Thomassen: The Sage Hill girls’ volleyball coach guided the Lightning to a CIF Southern Section Division 3AA championship.

102.) The Yang family: They opened South Coast Plaza’s Din Tai Fung restaurant — arguably the toughest table in town.

103.) Newport Beach Civic Center bunnies: Councilman Scott Peotter sees them as a symbol of government waste, but they have plenty of community supporters.