It's DP 103 Time Again!
Today produced one of my favorite pieces of "news" - the publication of the Daily Pilot 103 list. It's always fun to read the roster of folks who influence things in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach and this year's no exception. You can read the article HERE and Editor John Canalis' companion piece, HERE. I suspect many of you will go back to see previous lists, to see who's on this one for the first time and who was bumped. These lists have legs and will get hits for years.
GAZSI IS TOP DOG THIS YEAR
Numero Uno this year is Costa Mesa Police Chief Tom Gazsi - a selection I whole-heartedly agree with. I wish the editors had chosen a Costa Mesa photo of him, so I've given you one of my favorites here. This one was taken at the 60th birthday party for the Costa Mesa Police Department a couple weeks ago.
CURRY AT #2
I'm not going to try to cover all the folks recognized on this list, but I do have to tease former Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry - who's running for Allan Mansoor's Assembly seat - about being "#2" I mean, how do you fold that into a campaign? Many people, when they hear "Number Two" probably think in scatological terms, for goodness sake!
TWEEDLE DUM AND TWEEDLE DEE
I was amused that Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger were positioned at #4 and #5 respectively. First, because those guys seem joined at the hip anyhow and, second, that they are referenced for the lawsuit they filed against the members of Costa Mesa's police department!
GENIS AND LEECE
MUNOZ AT #10
I, personally, was pleased to see Costa Mesa Public Services Director Ernesto Munoz on the list at #10. This has been a tough year for him - I have no idea when he ever sleeps, because he's seemingly everywhere, all the time. He's dealt with a full platter for the entire year - some of it unnecessary - and yet he goes about his job, working for the residents of Costa Mesa in a professional manner. I also had to smile when he was ranked above his bosses, CEO Tom Hatch, #11, and Assistant CEO Rick Francis, #12, although all three men certainly deserve this recognition.
TOLL LANE FIGHTER, BEVER
SCHEAFER ALSO WORTHY
I was happy that my friend, Mike Scheafer, was recognized, at #25, this year. He's dedicated most of his life as a Costa Mesa volunteer and had his hands full this year with the Fish Fry AND the 60th Anniversary Celebration, which he chaired.
AND PANIAN, TOO
BYRON AT #34
I smiled when I saw the name of my friend and muse, Byron de Arakal, listed at #34. He's on his second tour on the Parks and Recreation Commission and has a very clear vision of things he wants to accomplish in his short two-year term.
Down at #44 we find the persistent Anna Vrska, who has made news recently as a member of the Fairview Parks Citizens Advisory Committee. Her willingness to dig deep for facts and her tenacity have made her a force to be reckoned with. One wonders if there might be an elected office in her future.
At #47 and #48 we find two very vivacious young women, Becks Heyhoe and Crissy Brooks Nolf, who define community activism in Costa Mesa. Their tireless energy toward helping those among us that need it is astounding.
CONTROVERSIAL JOYCE AND CORDON
VENEZIA AND SENK ON AGAIN
I thought it demonstrated the even-handedness of the Editors of this fine newspaper when they selected two columnists from their biggest competitor, the Orange County Register, for this list. Barbara Venezia, at #67, and Amy Senk, at #92, have been included again and for all the right reasons. Both women do a terrific job with their columns. Venezia - vivacious wife of #28, Fairboard President Stan Tkacsyk - frequently scoops the Daily Pilot on important stories. Senk covers Corona del Mar like a blanket with her blog, Corona del Mar Today, HERE, and also writes a column for the Register. Kudos to both women for being chosen and to the Editors for doing the choosing.
JESS AT #59
And my friend, the legendary Jess Gilman, #59, retired Costa Mesa Police Officer and our last School Resource Officer before he retired and became an officer in private industry providing that kind of service to school districts around the state.
AND HELEN AT #89
And, at #89, Helen Nenadal, much beleaguered President of the Costa Mesa Employees Association and 32 year employee who fought the good fight for employees rights until she retired a week ago.
EFFERVESCING AT #102
Down at #102, the effervescent Charlene Ashendorf appears on this list for her outstanding work reviving the Scarecrow Festival as part of the 60th Anniversary Celebration. Anyone who spends any time in her presence knows it is impossible to feel down when you're around her.
SNOOZING FAIRY SHRIMP BRING UP THE REAR
I had to chuckle when the Editors named the San Diego Fairy Shrimp as #103. Their presence in the vernal pools at Fairview Park, and the illegally-installed decomposed granite paths on top of them, has gotten Costa Mesa into deep trouble with state and federal departments.
YEP, I'M ON IT, TOO
Before I forget... Yes, I'm on the list again, for which I am humbled and very grateful. The editors placed me at #19 - the loftiest spot on this list for me so far. I'm happy to be placed on the list anywhere and cracking the top 20 is a thrill - I don't deny it. I'm snuggled in there between outgoing Newport Beach Councilwoman Nancy Gardner, at #18, and my friend, retired Costa Mesa Economic Development Director and Deputy CEO, Peter Naghavi, at #20. I also noticed that the latest voice of the oppressors, Dennis Popp, appears at #86. Even more interesting is that the "other blogger" - the grumpy old fella from Mesa North - has become so irrelevant to the discussion of important issues in the community - focusing instead on DNA, plural marriage and black-on-white crime - that he no longer appears on the list.
CONGRATS AND KUDOS
Congratulations to all those appearing on this list this year. I apologize for not mentioning more of them - they are all worthy. And kudos to the editors and staff of the Daily Pilot for providing this recognition of those who influence events in the Newport-Mesa communities. #19 signing off...