Best Politician (2009)

Joe Dunn

Yes, we're aware the former Democratic state senator from Santa Ana no longer holds public office (until recently, he served as CEO of the California Medical Association), but the man remains Orange County's most laudable political figure. He took on Enron after the Texas company attempted to crash California's economy in a price-fixing scheme. Though a wealthy trial lawyer himself, he has consistently championed working-class causes. But what really impresses us, in addition to that charming Minnesota accent, is his willingness to take vocal stands that run counter to OC conventional wisdom (or lack thereof). This summer, he was one of just three local politicos brave enough to pass angry Christian hecklers and address a gay-and-lesbian crowd upset over the state Supreme Court's banning of gay marriage. We weren't surprised he received an ovation. He's also helping build the nascent non-profit muckraking news website Voice of OC. Now, how do we get him back into public office?

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