People & Places

  • Best Voice for the Little Guy

    Nick Berardino

    Whether he's working to protect the jobs of employees throughout Orange County, or jousting with his fellow board members at meetings at the Orange County Fairgrounds, Nick Berardino is a tough character. He's an idealist who doesn't take kindly to people in power exerting any type of unjust control over those who don't want or know how to be heard.… More >>
  • Best New Public Official

    Bao Nguyen

    In the past, we've asked Bao Nguyen for quotes on topics, and he has politely refused. Unlike so many in local politics, Nguyen—one of Orange County's leading progressive activists—prefers accomplishments to accolades and publicity. In June, the 31-year-old UC Irvine graduate, who's a Buddhist and a public-school teacher, was appointed to a position on the Garden Grove Unified School District's… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Barbara Kogerman

    Before there was the city of Bell scandal (starring Huntington Beach's Robert Rizzo), there was Barbara Kogerman of Laguna Hills trying to get anyone to listen to what she was uncovering about excessive compensation of city staffers and elected officials in Orange County. The wife of former Marine Corps officer, El Toro International Airport fighter and Orange County Great Park… More >>
  • Best Misuse of Public Funds In North Orange County

    Orange County Board of Supervisors

    In May, the county's Board of Supervisors voted without a word of public discussion to pay $249,975 in taxpayer funds to the Truth Agency, a Santa Ana government consulting firm, for the task of convincing residents they should visit county parks.… More >>
  • Best Misuse of Public Funds In South Orange County

    Orange County Board of Supervisors

    In June, the county's Board of Supervisors voted without a word of public discussion to give businesses at the Dana Point Harbor $145,800 in taxpayer funds to publicize their private companies.… More >>
  • Best Misuse of Public Funds In Coastal Orange County

    Orange County Board of Supervisors

    In February, the county's Board of Supervisors voted without a word of public discussion to pay a movie producer $146,830 in taxpayer funds to replace the county's 9-year-old film about the wonders of bird migration that screens at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.… More >>
  • Best Political Protest

    Fullerton's protests against dirty cops

    Over the years, mostly suburban Orange County hasn't exactly been a hotbed of political unrest. Sure, we have rabid right-wingers who are always foaming at the mouth because it's no longer 1952, blacks can vote, and the Cold War is over. But something remarkable happened this year: Local residents, who've made it their practice to steadfastly look away from police… More >>
  • Best Political Exchange

    Scott Baugh and Marilyn Davenport

    In April, Orange County Republican Central Committee member Marilyn Davenport of Fullerton sent an email photograph to fellow conservatives that depicted President Barack Obama and his parents as chimpanzees, with the caption "Now you know why no birth certificate." When first contacted by the Weekly, Davenport, who is elderly, didn't understand the problem of equating the first African American U.S.… More >>
  • Best Political Coup

    Repair Costa Mesa

    Costa Mesa was once known for ritzy South Coast Plaza, great dive bars and its toothless, deranged, white-supremacist gangsters. But thanks to Repair Costa Mesa—a conglomeration of angry citizens, local public employees and labor-union bosses—the city is the main California proving ground for conservative policies to curtail city-worker wages and wasteful programs during dismal economic years. All but one of… More >>
  • Best Police Agency

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement

    It takes something really extraordinary to steer OC Weekly to say anything nice about la migra, but some people just really deserve getting their asses kicked out of the country. People such as Pedro Pimentel Rios, a former Guatemalan special-forces officer and U.S. Army School of the Americas instructor who allegedly raped numerous girls and women at Dos Erres, a… More >>
  • Best Judge

    William R. Froeberg

    Despite what we might have implied in the past, Orange County Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg was not the inspiration for Montgomery Burns, the villainous Springfield Nuclear Power Plant owner on The Simpsons. But, come on, they do look remarkably alike! Froeberg, however, isn't in the profit business. His task is to efficiently and fairly run some of OC's… More >>
  • Best Politician

    Fred Karger

    Calling someone the best politician can be the same as equating that person with a slimy reptile. Indeed, look around OC, and you'll find plenty of snakes in elected office. But this year, we're happy to give the nod to Fred Karger. Okay, sure, he was once lower than a snake when he worked as a cutthroat, secretly gay Republican… More >>
  • Best Brewing Political Battle

    Susan Kang Schroeder vs. Todd Spitzer

    Yes, we know Todd Spitzer—OC's most talkative politician—has shifted away from his behind-the-scenes challenge to Susan Kang Schroeder—a Machiavellian master—in the race to assume control over the district attorney's office when Tony Rackauckas retires. He's presently running against Chuck DeVore, a fellow Republican, for an open county supervisor's seat in the 2012 election. However, don't think for a moment that… More >>
  • Best Ex-Politician

    Thomas J. Campbell

    We've welcomed the move of many folks to other states—say, Mike Carona, how's that federal prison cell in Colorado? But at the same time we heartily applaud the arrival of a relative newcomer. Former, five-time Republican congressman from Northern California Tom Campbell nowadays serves as dean of Chapman University's School of Law. In the political realm, he was a fierce… More >>
  • Best Protesting Group

    Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society

    It didn't do anything single-handedly (it had some allies pushing hard in Sacramento), but the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society (OCFPS) was integral in preventing the sale of the OC Fairgrounds to private developers. Its members—some of whom are stakeholders of the grounds and from the equestrian center and the OC Marketplace—were digging for documents, making calls, raising awareness and… More >>
  • Best Downtown

    Orange Circle

    The intersection of Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street in Orange used to be a place where groups would gather for a weekend afternoon of antiquing, wandering from shop to shop and purchasing dated treasures. But the plethora of antique shops has been reduced to a mere handful, as the city of Orange has reworked the area into one that attracts… More >>
  • Best Residential Neighborhood

    Old Towne Orange Historic District

    As much as we love the whole midcentury-modern thing (and we do), there was some damn-fine architecture going up in the early part of the 20th Century, as well as the tail end of the 19th. And the best place to see how entire neighborhoods looked a century ago is the blocks surrounding the Orange Circle. Stroll these placid streets,… More >>
  • Best City In Which to Live

    Seal Beach

    It may appear to be a sleepy beach town, but to residents, Seal Beach is a hotspot for good eats and drinks and has a surprisingly upbeat nightlife scene. And it's finally receiving the credit it's due with foodies, as newer restaurants (320 Main, Beachwood BBQ, Sushi Ryokan) plant roots near the center of town. From Main Street Wine Cellar… More >>
  • Best Reason to Live In Orange County

    Free Parking Everywhere!

    Okay, so you have to pay for parking in the beach cities, as well as in some downtowns (for example, Santa Ana), but it's free to park at the mall. Which mall, you ask? EVERY mall! And you almost never have to pay to park on the street, overnight or for a couple of hours, with or without parking permits.… More >>
  • Best Unofficial Cultural Destination That Should Be Official

    Anaheim's 'Little Arabia'

    If Anaheim didn't take after State Assemblyman Allan Mansoor in failing to recognize its Arabic heritage, a sign reading, "Little Arabia" would beckon commuters to take the Brookhurst exit off Interstate 5. As it is now, for those in the know, a short drive from the off-ramp all the way to Katella Avenue reveals an array of great restaurants, hookah… More >>
  • The Camp

    Best Place for People-Watching

    The Camp

    And by people, we mean incredibly hot yoga chicks who swarm the place at all hours of the day, doing their stretching and breathing upstairs at the studio, then dining on microscopic lunches at Native Foods Café. The fun part is you can eat food that actually fills your belly at the East Borough Vietnamese sandwich joint, taco asylum, or… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Shorebreak Hotel

    Make no mistake: More luxe and lavish hotels exist in Orange County, ones with sateen linens and marble floors. But the Shorebreak wins bonus points for realizing some guests are more likely to need a place to store a surfboard than a truffle on the pillow. Part of the stylish Joie de Vivre family, this boutique hotel embraces its location—smack-dab… More >>
  • Any Angels Game

    Best Place to Spot a Local Power Broker

    Any Angels Game

    Are you dying to see Orange County's power brokers (and their sycophants) in person? Just go to any Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game, whip out your binoculars in your crappy, upper-deck seats, and focus on the seats nearest to home plate. You'll see multimillionaire corporate executives, judges, labor-union bosses, FBI agents, nightclub owners, ex-professional athletes, trust-fund babies, Orange County… More >>
  • Best Legal Eagles

    UCI Law School Civil Rights Clinic

    Earlier this year, the School of Law at UC Irvine partnered with the Elk Grove-based California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to develop a civil-rights clinic to train what Dean Erwin Chemerinsky calls "a new generation of civil-rights attorneys" to combat systemic discrimination, as well as to develop a pipeline for law students interested in future employment with… More >>
  • Best Idea Lawyer

    John D. Tran

    Irvine-based lawyer John D. Tran can rightly claim a national reputation as an expert in patent law and we're not about to challenge that notion. Tran is a gifted attorney who can turn an inventor's gibberish into a potentially profitable, legally protected idea. Take, for example, the work he did for Victor Jasniy. Tran got this humdinger of a sentence… More >>
  • Best Quote

    Justice Eileen C. Moore

    "The existence of nonhumans in human bodies is . . . not a rational defense." California Court of Appeal Justice Eileen Moore, a Governor Gray Davis appointee, was reflecting on a defense by Michael Craig Murdoch, a 50-year-old criminal defendant who argued he couldn't be convicted of assault because the thing he attacked was an alien, not a human being,… More >>
  • Best Veterans Assistance

    Orange County Veterans Employment Committee

    Former soldiers and other service people from this country's various overseas military entanglements (three . . . that we know of . . . heh-heh) are turning up at alarming rates in the streets, soup-kitchen lines and substandard housing. After fighting for America, they return to fight for their lives. Fortunately, the nonprofit Orange County Veterans Employment Committee (OCVEC) helps… More >>
  • Best Charity

    Age Well Senior Services

    For more than 30 years, Laguna Woods-based Age Well Senior Services has lovingly provided assistance—meals on wheels, health services and social events—for our needy elderly citizens. How many people benefit? Last year alone, the nonprofit aided 63,000 seniors. Since 2008, it has delivered almost 900,000 meals. Shelli Mire, who helps deliver the meals, says the recipients, who are often alone,… More >>
  • Best Chorus

    Men Alive

    Composer Rich Cook, the founder of Orange County's Men Alive chorus, once worked as music director for the Reverend Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network fame and for the televangelists at Trinity Broadcasting Network, neither of which would have been elated if Cook had openly declared his sexuality while in its employment. About 10 years ago, while living in Laguna… More >>
  • Best Corporate Do-Gooder

    Pierre-André Senizergues

    The pro skater-turned-CEO of Sole Technology—owner of etnies, Emerica, and other shoe and apparel brands—decided to celebrate his Lake Forest-based concern's 25th anniversary not with cake, champagne and party favors, but trees—35,000 of them, to be exact. That's how many Pierre-André Senizergues is on track to plant this year on the Maleku reserve in northern Costa Rica. Working with the… More >>
  • Best Unsuccessful Attempt at Charity

    Frank Mickadeit and David Whiting

    Orange County Register columnists Frank Mickadeit and David Whiting trained to box in Costa Mesa for six weeks and were scheduled to go three rounds against each other with all of the proceeds going to local charities. Indeed, Mickadeit and Whiting, with the help of Barbara Venezia, another Reg columnist, raised more than $10,000 for the "Clash of the Columnists"… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Newport Beach Film Festival

    The loss of the main venue had matters looking dire heading into this year's Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF), but organizers not only pulled off the 12th annual run in April, but they presented another intriguing blend of interesting films, blow-out parties and enlightening seminars that solidified the fest's reputation as one of Orange County's top cultural events. The diverse… More >>
  • Best Newscaster

    David Goldstein

    David Goldstein is the modern-day Mike Wallace, the hard-charging journalist who made 60 Minutes famous for CBS after finding crooks, poking microphones in their faces and asking devastating questions. During his long, accomplished career, Goldstein has uncovered a near-endless supply of lazy bureaucrats, cheating elected officials, nutty government programs and corporate crooks. But his August confrontation with Los Angeles City… More >>
  • Best Celebrity

    Casey Anthony

    The lovely young Casey Anthony, who was found not guilty of murdering her daughter and covering up the crime, grew up in the other Orange County—the one in Florida—but where did she come as soon as the jury handed her freedom? Reportedly, right here, the land of John Wayne! Fortunately for us, she only landed at John Wayne Airport in… More >>
  • Best Radio Personality

    Scott Aukerman

    Born in Savannah, Georgia, Scott Aukerman grew up in Orange County, where he attended Cypress High School and, like Glee's Matthew Morrison, Orange County High School of the Arts when it was on the campus of Los Alamitos High School. Aukerman also knocked around in a band with No Doubt's Adrian Young and met his writing partner B.J. Porter at… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    KUSC-FM 91.5

    It's no newsflash that the arts are being eradicated by corporate-driven commercialism and tabloid sensationalism, and thus, big props go to the only surviving commercial-free classical-music station in Southern California. Of course, it has to be nonprofit and listener-sponsored, and while it's fun to hate on the rich, they're usually the ones who send money and don't eavesdrop for free.… More >>
  • Best Newspaper Reporter

    Jeff Gottlieb

    A few years back, Jeff Gottlieb resigned his job as an editor with the OC bureau of the Los Angeles Times to become one of only two writers covering the South Bay, which is how he and colleague Ruben Vives managed to uncover the massive corruption going on at city hall in Bell, a sordid tale of secret raises and… More >>
  • Best Televison Station

    PBS SoCal

    Now that KCET has dropped its PBS programming in favor of awkwardly dubbed Japanese news, Al Jazeera broadcasts and primetime British crime dramas, PBS SoCal (forever known as KOCE-TV) is the only place where you can find vital programming such as Frontline, POV and Independent Lens, as well as perennial favorites such as The American Experience, Great Performances and Austin… More >>
  • Best Use of Old-School Bikini Photos

    Ghetto Juice Magazine

    And you thought high-hipped, brightly colored bikinis were out! (Okay, they absolutely are.) For the publishers of the year-old, OC-centric surf magazine Ghetto Juice, nostalgia is a powerful driving force. Well, it's not exactly nostalgia; it's just representative of the era when the magazine was first in circulation. After a near-two-decade hiatus, it's back and building a readership. Every month,… More >>
  • Best Blog

    Friends for Fullerton's Future

    Yes, we named this feisty blog—whose world begins and ends within the Fullerton city limits—as the best blog last year, but while the major OC political blogs have imploded into irrelevancy with infighting, lawsuits, hackery and neglect, Friends for Fullerton's Future has not only continued its muckraking, name-calling genius, but it has also broke many important stories, most crucially the… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Fritz Coleman

    As our local television stations continue the trend toward younger, more-buxom weathercasters at the expense of the men who dominated the field during the 1980s and '90s, KNBC-TV Channel 4's Fritz Coleman stands above the fray, not just as the wizened veteran of the bunch, but also as someone who does everything a weathercaster should do: give the forecast, banter… More >>
  • Best Traffic Reporter

    Alysha Del Valle

    Nothing says rise and shine like Sig Alerts, chronic congestion on Interstate 5 toward LA and 91 East gridlock heading into OC. Fortunately, navigating the ins-and-outs of Southern California's weekday rat race is KABC-TV Channel 7 Morning News traffic reporter Alysha Del Valle. If her name and voice sound familiar, it's because she has made the media rounds over the… More >>
  • Best Local Public-Affairs TV Show

    Inside OC With Rick Reiff

    Even though Congressman Dana Rohrabacher wore what appeared to be a suit jacket made of cheap, industrial, gray carpet, his late-August appearance on Inside OC With Rick Reiff on SoCal PBS was a prime example of the value of the show. For eons, Rohrabacher has paraded himself as an opponent of bloated, wasteful spending—rants that most often coincide with Democratic… More >>
  • Best Non-Prescription Method to Induce Sleep

    Watch Dialogue With Doti and Dodge

    The last time we channel-surfed and saw Dialogue With Doti and Dodge on SoCal PBS, Chapman University's head honcho Jim Doti couldn't even pretend his talk show was interesting. Doti had slid down in his chair, used a fist to hold his head up and seemed on the verge of closing his eyes and falling asleep while one of his… More >>
  • Best Twitter Personality

    Erica Hosseini

    In 140 characters or less, the Weekly's onetime sexy cover girl Erica Hosseini knows how to keep her Twitter followers entertained. The Newport Beach local has quite a lot of material to draw from, considering she dabbles in quite a number of industries. Though she made her name as a professional surfer, her good looks and poise in front of… More >>
  • Best Sportscaster

    Beto Duran

    Sports fans like to feel like they're on the inside. Beto Duran, a reporter with ESPN Radio, actually is on the inside. He hangs out in the clubhouse, at practices and in the locker room after games, mainly covering the Southland's favorite basketball team, the Los Angeles Lakers. While most any reporter who has risen to the ranks of the… More >>