Best Political Protester (2010)

Sandy Genis

While political insiders negotiated in relative secrecy about the proposed forced sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Sandy Genis—the city's former mayor—has been a one-woman show, delving into the finer points of the deal and revealing the anti-public terms. At City Council meetings and in quotes to inquiring reporters, Genis has claimed the deal allows a future real-estate developer incredibly wide latitude to alter the existing property with almost zero public oversight. What about putting a giant Wal-Mart or Mercedes-Benz dealership on the site? The questions raised by Genis helped inspire 50,000 residents to sign a petition asking Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to rescind his order calling for the sale of the fairgrounds as a misguided attempt to reduce the state's massive budget shortfall. A resolution isn't clear at the moment, but what is certain is that Genis made an impact.

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