10. Orange County Fairgrounds: Litigation, legislation, a new governor and other wrangling over the proposed $100 million sale of the OC Fair & Event Center should ensure that this saga continues.
9. Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard: The Newport-Mesa Unified School District superintendent is expected to face two felony counts related to his tenure in another school district.
8. Medical marijuana lawsuit: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear the case filed against the city of Costa Mesa by four Orange County medical marijuana users challenging the city’s pot dispensary law.
7. The Jim Righeimer era: Will newly elected Councilman Jim Righeimer become the de facto leader on the City Council, as some expect, and will he be able to kiss and make up with the employee associations that tried to block his election?
6. Dock fee increases: During the debate over mooring fees in Newport Beach, another idea was floated alongside those cans — raising fees charged to private dock owners. If that’s the case, expect another debate.
5. New life for Mariners Mile: Studies and commission reviews are planned, but will there be any progress along this fabled stretch of Newport Beach?
4. The Tom Hatch era: Costa Mesa has named a new city manager — Tom Hatch. Filling Allan Roeder’s big shoes won’t be easy, but folks say there’s a good reason the City Council gave the job to Roeder’s No. 2.
3. Police Chief Shawkey’s future: Costa Mesa Police Chief Chris Shawkey was placed on administrative leave last year for unstated reasons. We expect residents to find out whether he’s staying or going.
2. Newport Beach Civic Center construction: Will the city make its building goals and stay within targeted construction costs? And, of course, what should be done with the old City Hall and adjacent land?
1. New Costa Mesa council member: The year should get off to an interesting start, as the Costa Mesa City Council selects a new member to finish out the last two years of Katrina Foley’s term. Both political heavy-hitters and unknowns have applied for the job.