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
5. SOUTH COAST AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) made national headlines this year for the first time by attacking the only thing in Orange County besides hating on Arte Moreno that unites all of its squabbling tribes—the fire pits in Huntington Beach and Corona del Mar. And while the most middle-class uprising this side of an HOA coup may have beat back the SCAQMD's proposed complete ban for a compromise that kept most of the pits burning, it's important to stay vigilant because you never know when the NIMBY nay-sayers will rear their overprivileged heads once again. Mitigating factor: They somehow got us to praise SanTana's Mayor-for-Life Don Papi Pulido, so . . . yay?
6. KRIS MURRAY
Anaheim's Boss Bitch, Kris Murray went from unknown Curt Pringle puppet to prominent Curt Pringle puppet long before the city burned last summer in riots that made national headlines. Serving as a proxy for OC's eternal Dark Lord, Murray formed a council coalition opposing Mayor Tom Tait (a longtime Pringle ally until the two split under mysterious circumstances) at every turn, from massive hotel-developer subsidies to public calls for police reform to sweetheart proposals to the Angels to an ACLU lawsuit seeking district elections. After a sham committee she prepared to study electoral issues offered a surprise deadlock recommendation that single-member districts go before Anaheim voters, Murray ignored the notion, opting instead for at-large district elections, a proposal as ludicrous as her claims Pringle has no influence on her. She has taken every opportunity to throw her political weight around, no matter how meritless or low the exercise in power may be. Mitigating factor: Her piercing, ocean-blue eyes . . .
7. NICOLAS CENDOYA AND KYNDALL JACK
When hikers are lost in the wilderness, it's usually the circumstance that's scary. But when 19-year-old Nicolas Cendoya and 18-year-old Kyndall Jack decided to go for a hike in Trabuco Canyon on March 31, and then went missing for several days, the duo became OC's own version of Alive, except without the cannibalism or heroics. Search parties found the teens separated, missing clothing and totally out of it. Over the following days, they told reporters stories of being stalked by vicious wild animals, voices speaking to them, and eating plants and dirt. Commenters smelled psilocybin gone wrong, but a police search turned up meth in Cendoya's vehicle, which they had taken to the hike. We can't confirm if they were high at any point during their trip, but we are certain the pair incurred a $160,000 search-and-rescue tab they don't have to pay, hospital bills, and a reserve deputy and volunteer left severely injured when both fell trying to reach the teens. Mitigating factor: At least the kids were trying to enjoy nature.
8. CASHA CHEEMA
Fleeing any hit-and-run situation, even a minor fender bender, is cowardly and criminal. Fleeing after hitting two people on a motorcycle on a freeway? Meet Casha Cheema. On Oct. 9, the 25-year-old Irvine resident sideswiped two people riding a 2009 Yamaha while trying to avoid slowing traffic in front of her, sending the pair flying into the center divider. The unidentified driver received minor injuries, but 24-year-old Yuliana Gutierrez suffered major head trauma and died five hours later at the hospital. Witnesses say Cheema stopped to check on the motorcyclists, but left the scene when she saw the CHP heading her way. Mitigating factor: Cheema gloated about her negligent driving skills in a 2009 YouTube video, which ought to help the manslaughter case against her.
9. THE WHITE RABBIT AT DISNEYLAND
What's more heartwarming than a child snuggled in the warm embrace of a costumed character at Disneyland? That's the idea an African-American family from San Diego had when they visited the Anaheim theme park last year and sent their children to hug the White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland. But, allege Jason and Annelia Black, the harried hare was more villainous than the Queen of Hearts, turning his back on black kids while showering white and Asian youngsters with affection. Disney offered an apology and $500 in park passes in exchange for a confidentiality agreement; the Blacks refused, suing instead for policy changes and confirmation the cast member in question had been fired. A couple of weeks after the news surfaced, the bigoted bunny was at it again, caught on video pushing a teenaged Latina who tugged his tail and screaming, "Don't even start your shit with me!" Mitigating factor: At least Disneyland's Pancake House, which employed a mammy serving white suburbanites, has long been shuttered.
10. ANIMAL LIBERATION FRONT
Although it occasionally infiltrates slaughterhouses and releases bone-chilling cow-torture videos, this radical animal-rights group is mostly famous for acts of vandalism. A few years back, Animal Liberation Front (ALF) placed a non-explosive incendiary device outside a bank in South OC that was allegedly tied to an animal-testing laboratory. And there's the action a presumably small number of ALF members carried out a few months back at Taco Asylum, the popular, locally sourced Costa Mesa eatery, because it serves rabbit tacos. One or more idiots showed up late at night on July 28, glued a lock on a door, spilled a bunch of red paint—let's take a wild guess: bunny blood?—and spray-painted the slogan "Free the Animals" on the restaurant's front deck. Mitigating factor: These silly saboteurs will deepen their affinity with our furry friends once the FBI hunts them down and puts them in a cage.