Daily Pilot Unveils DP 103 for 2008
One of my favorite events each year is the annual presentation by our local newspaper of record, the Daily Pilot, of their so-called DP 103 - a list of 103 (actually many more) people, entities, groups, etc. that influence the lives of the lucky folks who live, work and play in the Newport-Mesa area.
PRODUCED UNDER PRESSURE
We're especially lucky this year to have this edition because the Daily Pilot has seen better days. Since the acquisition of the Tribune Companies - the parent of the Los Angeles Times and Times Community Newspapers, of which our Daily Pilot is a part, there have been draconian cuts in staff. In fact, as the DP 103 was being "put in the can" long time staffer, Tony Dodero, was laid off - a truly tragic blow to the Daily Pilot and our community. Still, the staff soldiers on, producing the best product possible under the circumstances.
LINK TO THE LIST
This year's edition has many familiar faces and some new ones. This link, HERE, will take you to the proper page online so you can scroll down and select your favorites to read what the editors and reporters of the Daily Pilot think about your friends and neighbors who made the list. I'm not going to try to write about all of them, but there are a few that I do want to mention specifically.
NUMERO UNO (S)
I cannot comment on this edition without giving my opinion of the choice for #1, Frank Barbaro and Scott Baugh. These two gents are the top dogs in the Orange County Democrat and Republican parties, respectively. They call the shots for their parties in all things political. In Baugh's case, that apparently means their attempt to virtually colonize Costa Mesa and use it as in incubator for their political fetuses. I'm not happy about that. I must say, though, that City Editor Paul Anderson's article on them is an interesting read.
NAGHAVI AT NUMBER 10
Perhaps my favorite choice among the top selections is Costa Mesa Director of Public Works, Peter Naghavi. He was appointed to his current assignment this year following a long and, yes, illustrious career as the city's head traffic guy. Over the years Peter has worked his magic, trying to keep residents happy with traffic issues, but not always successfully. It seems that some people will never be satisfied, regardless the number of solutions presented to them. Still, Peter keeps on smiling and, with an excellent staff to support him, he just keeps on making sure the streets are paved and clean and our parks are in good shape. His recognition is certainly well-deserved.
VOLUNTEERISM PERSONIFIED AT NUMBER 46
Scattered throughout the DP 103 are local and regional politicians, but tucked into the #46 slot, not quite half way down the list, are two women who have made community activism an art form. Cindy Brenneman and Robin Leffler are Costa Mesa residents who take community involvement very seriously and have demonstrated that individuals can, indeed, make a difference. I'll let you read Michael Alexander's summary for more information. Congratulations, ladies, for having your efforts recognized in the DP 103.
PAUL AND MELANIE - FAR FROM IRRELEVANT AT NUMBER 68
I cannot scroll down past #68 without comment. Paul Salata and his daughter, Melanie Salata-Finch, run Irrelevant Week, that Paul started more than three decades ago. What began as one old NFL player trying to give the last man chosen in the draft each year a little fun and recognition has become a huge, nationally-recognized event. This honor - which, like Irrelevant Week has become an annual affair - is well-deserved. Thanks to Paul for the idea and to Melanie for the hard work. In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that Paul and I attended the same high school, but at different times. I did, in fact, attend with his "baby brother", George. Well done, fellow Panther.
THE LION KING AT NUMBER 77
On down the line at #77 is my friend - the ultimate Lion - Mike Scheaffer. I think there has never been a day in his life when Mike has not been a Lion - it's in his genes. He's known, of course, as "Mr. Fish Fry", for the efforts he and his Lion compatriots put forth to conduct the annual event at, surprisingly, Lions Park each spring. There's more to Mike's life than fried fish, though. He is knee-deep in many other volunteer activities, including the Senior Center and the Boys and Girls Club. He grew up here, has a business here and raised his family here. Mike lives and breathes Costa Mesa and I'm proud to call him a friend. This recognition is certainly appropriate and much deserved.
THE MOUTH AT NUMBER 93
Did you ever wish you could undo something you did? Well, that's how I feel when I scroll down to #93. If I had just kept my opinion to myself a couple years ago Old Grumpy might never have made this list, much less three years in a row! Back then the editors of the Daily Pilot solicited input on possible DP 103 candidates. I submitted a list that included most of the "usual suspects" and, at the end, I included this guy. My reasoning was that their standard for consideration was that the person had to be "influential", and this person certainly fit that description. They didn't say "positive influence"... This fellow has influenced politics in Costa Mesa for most of this decade, taking credit, for example, for getting the perpetually inept Chris Steel elected to the city council and then - when Steel turned his back on him - getting him un-elected. I hold this guy largely responsible for the policies and practices that make our Latino community uneasy. However, what is, is. He's still spreading his racist drivel and I'm stuck with having to write about it... Oh, well
CLEANSE YOUR PALATE WITH NUMBER 94
Fortunately, it's nice to be able to cleanse one's literary palate with the next selection, #94. The two women recognized in this slot, Karen McGlinn and Jean Forbath, could be considered the antithesis of the previous person. Their organization, Share Our Selves (SOS) is the gold standard for helping others in our area. We should all be proud of the fine work they do helping their fellowman - I am.
MY MUSE AT NUMBER 102
I cannot close without acknowledging my buddy, Byron de Arakal, who made the list at #102. When I contacted him to congratulate him for this fine award he commented that he was last on the list, #103, about 10 years ago, so he hoped to break into the top 10 sometime after he's been in the ground for 20 years or so. What a guy! Byron is the reason you're reading these words - it was a column of his in the Daily Pilot almost ten years ago that caused me to write my very first Letter to the Editor, which was published. I thought, "Heck, that was easy!", and kept on writing, which eventually evolved into this little old blog. The little blurb that accompanied Byron's photo outlined his contributions to our area as a member and Chairman of the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission, which were prodigious. His personal focus has always been on the kids of our community. I cannot get him to slow down in his consulting practice so he can run for City Council - maybe some day.
KUDOS, ONE AND ALL
Again, congratulations to every one of the people and entities honored by the Daily Pilot as members of the DP 103 for 2008. I love reading about the contributions of so many of my friends and neighbors, and those of folks I've never heard of before. This special section will have a long "shelf life" online, so take your time and read about all these wonderful people who make the Newport-Mesa such a terrific place in which to live, work and play.
THANKS TO THE DAILY PILOT STAFF
Thanks to the men and women of the Daily Pilot, now headed up by Brady Rhoades, for persevering under very trying circumstances to produce this fun, informative Special Section. I'm sure it will remain on coffee tables and in book racks in homes around the Newport-Mesa for a long time. Congratulations for a job well-done.
Labels: DP 103