By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
23. William Lyon
Developer. We could dismiss Lyon as the community crank who tries to get the cops to arrest his neighbors. But Lyon, a former co-owner of AirCal, is also one of the county's most powerful developers. Two weeks ago, he was trying to hold a $1,000-per-head fund-raiser for 2nd District Supervisor Jim Silva at his palatial Coto de Caza estate while 100 or so of his neighbors picketed outside. The object of their outrage: Silva, who supports the El Toro International Airport, which may destroy the value of their very prestigious properties. So Lyon called the sheriff. Never mind that the U.S. Constitution protects lawful assembly or that the protesting residents stayed on community property: entertaining the fat cats who support an elected official like Silva is truly a private affair. Very scary. MITIGATING FACTOR: Good ol' boy Lyon isn't as slick as his former AirCal partner and fellow airport booster George Argyros.
24. Bobby Ray Inman
Director of Irvine-based builder Fluor-Daniel and a former CIA and National Security Agency official under President Ronald Reagan. Inman worked at the highest levels of American intelligence during an era when it displayed a stunning lack of it. Inman's achievements include helping: fail to predict the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union; prolong violent, useless civil wars in Central America; and give arms to terrorists in exchange for hostages. In typical shadow-government/revolving-door fashion, Inman arrived at Fluor the same year that former CIA official Bill Nelson-who met with CIA contra-coke figure Ronald Lister at Fluor's Irvine offices-left the multinational corporation. MITIGATING FACTOR: He let a congressional oversight committee know when CIA chief Bill Casey was lying by tugging on his socks under the table.
25. Mark Dornan
Son of Bob. Earlier this year, Mark's dad was ranting to us about homosexuality when he paused and inexplicably bragged that his unmarried 38-year-old son had bedded "his share" of females. We were surprised, not so much because premarital sex is against the same Bible that the elder Dornan quotes to slam gays but because we hadn't asked about Little Dornan's sex life. Go figure. Bob, of course, requires an around-the-clock audience for his political lounge act, and Mark has nothing productive to do. The two are inseparable. Junior's so out of touch with reality that he calls the bitter, defeated ex-congressman "cool." He also enjoys videotaping "Poppy's" every move. At public events, Mark is the seemingly overcaffeinated one who regularly yells in that trademark raspy Dornan voice: "You da man, Dad!" He's learned the art of smear from the master. MITIGATING FACTOR: Little Dornan lacks his evil dad's campy performance-art skills and will never hold public office.
26. Reed Royalty
Director of the Orange County Taxpayers Association. At a recent county Board of Supervisors meeting, Royalty stood up and likened the five elected supervisors to a corporate board of directors while explaining why they should leave the business of actually running the county to CEO Jan Mittermeier. Ostensibly head of the Orange County Taxpayers Association ("OC Tax," as he likes to call it), Royalty is one of the more annoying lobbyists in Orange County. His "Taxpayers Association" represents far more developers and corporations than individual taxpayers, which explains why Royalty supported Measure M-the transportation bond tax increase supported by corporations and developers. Royalty, who ranked No. 19 last year, supports the proposed El Toro International Airport and all the toll roads, despite serious evidence all those projects will cost county taxpayers billions. MITIGATING FACTOR: Cool name.
27. Rich Archbold
Executive editor of the Long Beach Press-Telegram. This is the time of year that Archbold comes to work in the wig and robe of an old English judge to oversee the Press-Telegram's Halloween contest. The rest of the year, he's apt to dress up as a knickered newsboy, a baseball player or a fuzzy yellow bird. Archbold has never met a staff meeting he couldn't turn into a costume party, and for two decades, Press-Telegram reporters have been a captive audience for the flamboyant indulgence of his bizarre alter egos. But that's nothing compared with the price paid by Long Beach residents when the fashion show ends and Archbold begins pretending he's a journalist. In a city flush with the kind of big-money redevelopment projects that tend to attract sleight-of-hand corruption (not to mention a police department noted for misconduct and a school system challenged with overcrowded conditions and multiple cultures), Archbold proudly looks the other way. He laid out his philosophy last year while addressing 125 mayors, law-enforcement officials and educators at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "The main thing you have to have is trust between media and public officials," Archbold said. "We've been blessed by leaders like [Long Beach Police Chief] Bill Ellis, [Unified School District Superintendent] Carl Cohn and Mayor Beverly O'Neill, who are totally honest with us." MITIGATING FACTOR: Archbold has also presided over a circulation plunge so drastic that the paper's influence is waning anyway.
Michael Schroeder and Johnny Pink and the Big Shots. Schroeder, head of the California GOP, is a lawyer, an Irvine resident and last year's Scary Person No. 21 (step it up, Mike). Actually, it's a tossup who's scarier: the Times Orange Countyfor printing Bob Dornan's groundless attacks on Latino voters? Or Schroeder, Dornan's lawyer and the man who played the Times like a piano throughout the controversy and then-stupidly-bragged about it before a Republican audience in northern California. MITIGATING FACTOR: He's not bright enough to keep his mouth shut; he eventually outs himself.