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
7. MAYOR DAVE GARAFALO
The mayor of Huntington Beach has become a ghost. He's rarely seen around City Hall or at civic functions, where his grinning, jaw-jacking and glad-handing were once ubiquitous. Even at those times when he's vaguely perceptible, Garofalo is still an apparition. He may materialize in the mayor's customary center seat at some City Council meetings, but his votes on most of Huntington Beach's crucial issues are usually recorded in the minutes as "abstained." He typically vanishes long before the meeting adjourns. Every time the Ghost Mayor abstains from a vote, he underscores another of the myriad political-corruption charges leveled against him—charges ranging from repeatedly voting on issues in which he had conflicts of interest to winning the top position in the lottery for the best house in a posh tract built by developer Christopher Gibbs (see No. 11), who had major business before the city. But the scariest thing about Dave Garofalo is this: in a country in which every desperate little kid with an inferiority complex is constantly cajoled into believing he can grow up to become mayor, governor or even president, the next Dave Garofalo could be anybody. Even us! MITIGATING FACTOR: Naahh . . . we're taller than he is.
8. DARIN ERSTAD
This season, Erstad had arguably the greatest single season of any Angel ever. An aggressive—bordering on manic—leadoff hitter, he got an astounding 240 hits: not just the best in the American League but the best by a whopping 26 hits more than second-place Johnny Damon of Kansas City. Erstad hit .355, second in the league, and with 121 runs, he was third. Perhaps most amazingly, Erstad knocked in 100 runs as a leadoff hitter. The best thing about Erstad is that he figures to get better. An intense competitor, he's Pete Rose without the bad hair or the self-destructive off-field behavior. What makes Erstad scary is that he plays so hard he could flame out, albeit brilliantly. He dives, he crashes, and he runs into the stands. Can Erstad's body take the beating? MITIGATING FACTOR: People had the same concerns about Jim Edmonds. Whatever happened to him?
9. DAN YOUNG
Among the swine feeding at the Orange County trough, Young's face is one of the most familiar. He's a senior vice president at the Irvine Co., where his responsibilities include the company's Santiago Hills II development in east Orange. That project has managed to royally infuriate locals mostly because the company turned in an environmental-impact report of unusual crappiness. But pissing off residents is nothing new for the longtime political insider. As mayor of Santa Ana in the 1980s, Young made a name for himself when he ordered that city's police department to roust the homeless from city parks; the city was successfully sued as a result. After his stint in "public service," Young cashed in as one of the principals in the consulting firm Diamond Group, later put on retainer by—surprise!—the Irvine Co. In 1996, Young snagged an $80,000 no-bid contract during the bankruptcy aftermath to study "government restructuring." His conclusion: give more power to Irvine Co. stooge and county executive officer Jan Mittermeier. MITIGATING FACTOR: Doesn't drag his knuckles on the pavement when he walks.
10. DUANE PETERS
Peters is a superaggro, old-school punk rock professional skateboarder and the lead singer for the U.S. Bombs and the Hunns. He has own music label, Disaster Records, and is largely responsible for skateboarders having been Public Enemy No. 1 for the past two decades. His attitude revolutionized a sport ruled by longhairs in butt-huggers rocking out to "Hotel California." After Peters, it seemed natural to assume that if someone skated, they were punk. Last year, the Costa Mesa Police Department shut down a U.S. Bombs show at Kona Lanes based on the flier alone, assuming there were going to be a bunch of knuckleheads starting trouble—which is ridiculous, but Peters is a scary punk rocker guy, so people react that way. He sports that pirate-punk look, complete with cropped pants, striped socks and pointy black shoes. In the film Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style, he calls Gwen Stefani a big pile of shit and then—while playing air horn and marching—mocks the band geeks in ska bands. Then he just stops, looks at the camera, and asks: "What the fuck?!" Ska boys, run for your lives. MITIGATING FACTOR: His pirate clothes make us feel all fuzzy inside, like when we're on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.
11. CHRISTOPHER GIBBS
There was a time when Gibbs liked talking to the media. In late 1997, he regaled OC Metro with the history of his Newport Beach-based PLC Land Co., telling the magazine how he turned a former oil property into Huntington Beach's lavish Seacliff neighborhood. But lately, as stories circulated detailing Gibbs' cozy relationship with the Huntington Beach City Council—specifically, Mayor Dave Garofalo (see No. 7)—Gibbs has clammed up. In the past six months, he hasn't returned a single phone call seeking clarification of his role in the scandal. Hence, we never got a chance to ask him why he invested $100,000 in start-up Pacific Liberty Bank, or why he gave Garofalo special treatment in buying a big Seacliff house—a house that county records show Garofalo owned for a mere 24 hours before he sold it for a hefty $60,000 profit. MITIGATING FACTOR: His influence doesn't extend beyond Huntington Beach.