People & Places

  • Best Gadfly

    Tony Bushala

    The term "gadfly" carries negative connotations. And we won't deny that those connotations apply to Fullerton blogger Tony Bushala. If, for instance, you're Boss Hog doppelganger and former mayor Dick Jones, you're apt to view Bushala as an annoying insect whose provocative criticisms irritate your normally thickened hide (and head). In recent years, Bushala and his merry band of bloggers… More >>
  • Best Voice for the Little Gay

    Laura Kanter

    Growing up in the 1960s in the San Fernando Valley, LGBT advocate Laura Kanter's handful of black friends was often denied entry to the homes of her white friends. The discrimination she witnessed as a child has twisted and morphed into present-day homophobia. Fortunately, we have Kanter, who is now director of youth services for the Center OC in Santa… More >>
  • Diamond Jamboree Plaza

    Best Strip Mall

    Diamond Jamboree Plaza

    In a down economy, it's normal to see shuttered storefronts in strip malls; they're like missing teeth in a hockey player's smile. Irvine's Diamond Jamboree Plaza bucks that trend with an always-busy parking lot thanks to a collection of well-known Asian restaurants and shops catering to the tastes of residents who hail from all over the Pacific Rim. The Taiwanese… More >>
  • Best Holy Person

    Muzammil Siddiqi

    Even all these years later after 9/11—after being accused by lunatics of wanting to impose an Islamic theocracy on America, after being accused of being a terrorist himself, after having to deal with the uncomfortable fact that his mosque spawned the American-born Taliban communications chief Adam Gadahn—even after all this, Muzammil Siddiqi (nicknamed Dr. Sid by his younger, hipper followers)… More >>
  • Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim

    Best Church

    Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim

    Since 1958, this branch of the Unitarian Universalist movement has helped every progressive cause that has faced an uphill battle in Orange County, from the Red-baiting days of the early 1960s to the riots its host city faced this summer. Although its veteran members would love to see all the people who use its building join their ranks, they've never… More >>
  • Best Radio Personality

    Margaret Prescod

    Few public-affairs programs on the dial rival the insightfulness of KPFK's Sojourner Truth Radio hosted by Margaret Prescod. The activist/host born in Barbados takes on the news of the day with critical perspectives offered by guests otherwise ignored by an increasingly consolidated media and, sadly, ever-lackluster public outlets. Following the show's opening snippet of Bob Marley's "One Love," Prescod begins… More >>
  • Best Political Battle

    Jim Righeimer vs. Public-Employee Unions

    For decades, Jim Righeimer has made no secret of his desire to strip public-employee unions of their political power, reduce pay and benefits for government employees, and privatize certain public services. The Costa Mesa city councilman's goals make him Public Enemy No. 1 for union bosses, who've made considerable efforts to slam him and his allies as callous buffoons. The… More >>
  • Best Quote

    Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas

    In describing sexual-harassment charges against Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said, "He hugged them, kissed their mouths and necks, rubbed his face against theirs, grabbed their breasts, touched their bare thighs and moved his hand toward their [genitals], grabbed their buttocks, exposed himself, and sometimes even masturbated in front of the victims."… More >>
  • Best Mainstream Daily Newspaper Headline

    'Tustin Councilwoman Misses Discussion About Her Absences'

    This June 20 Orange County Register story was about Councilwoman Deborah Gavello, who didn't show up for six regular or special council meetings in six months.… More >>
  • Best New Public Official

    Travis Kiger

    Political candidates are notorious for saying whatever they need to say to win, but once they get into power, they miraculously begin suffering from amnesia. But Fullerton City Council recall winner Travis Kiger took office; declared, "Yes, I have an agenda"; and then boldly published a detailed list of his goals for everyone to see. The list contains four sections:… More >>
  • Best Hard-Charging Lawyer

    Sean Hennessey

    When the widow and young son of Garden Grove's Andy Tran needed legal representation to go up against the entrenched, mendacious forces at the local police department who'd killed an unarmed, cooperative Tran with a lethal Taser blast in his own front yard, they turned to Sean Hennessey. Police agencies never admit they've done anything wrong and retain lawyers skilled… More >>
  • Best Understatement

    'We had a hiccup'

    Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido explained in June why he wanted to pay Los Angeles-based Cordoba Corp. an extra $322,000 in taxpayer funds after the company, a longtime contributor to the mayor's re-election campaigns, botched a city contract it oddly received after scoring the least competent during the bidding process.… More >>
  • Best Politician


    Like "a fine mess" or "artificial intelligence" or "big sip," the term "best politician" is an oxymoron in Orange County.… More >>
  • Best Half-Assed Mainstream, Daily Newspaper Headline

    'Romney Strongest Among Men, Whites, Seniors'

    This was The Orange County Register's June 15 headline for national poll findings showing the Republican presidential candidate was favored by men, whites, senior citizens and—the fact oddly omitted from the paper's headline—the uneducated. A more accurate headline would have been "Romney Strongest Among Uneducated Old White Men," which should have delighted the Reg's circulation base.… More >>
  • Best Democrat

    Alan Lowenthal

    While Congressman Dana Rohrabacher spends his days as a lap dog for defense-industry bosses and the local right-wing-loon crowd obsessed with Mexicans, Russians and gay folks, the region has an elected official who works to solve actual problems: Alan Lowenthal. The progressive Democrat, a highly successful former state senator, is running to represent portions of Long Beach and northern Orange… More >>
  • Best Republican

    Allan Bartlett

    You don't have to agree with all of Allan Bartlett's stances to appreciate his principles. Unlike so many pathetic Orange County Republicans, Bartlett—a financial adviser, longtime member of the local party committee and a conservative blogger in Irvine—isn't a lemming who jumps to a salute at every lame dog whistle blown by the party's bosses. In other words, he uses… More >>
  • Best, Most Expressive, Stupid Phone Message

    Thomas Troy Bitter

    Mission Viejo's Thomas Troy Bitter guaranteed his arrest after leaving the following voicemail message at the FBI's San Diego field office: "I have a very important message for [FBI Special Agent In Charge] Keith Slotter. First off, I would like to say fuck you. I want my goddamn money, Keith. You better give me my fucking cash. I would break… More >>
  • Best Epithet

    'You're like the male Gloria Allred'

    This was said by Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly in January to chatty media hog Todd Spitzer, her opponent for a seat on the Board of Supervisors, fellow Republican and, if he has his way, a future president of the United States.… More >>
  • Original Mike\'s Restaurant

    Best Place to Spot a Local Powerbroker

    Original Mike's Restaurant

    Almost every weekday and -night, Mike Harrah's Original Mike's Restaurant in downtown Santa Ana is loaded with wealthy businessmen, federal and state judges, corporate lobbyists, prosecutors, sheriff's executives, high-ranking county bureaucrats, journalists, police officers, union bosses, and women, uhhh, looking to meet power players. Harrah—a Newport Beach resident who is in the process of building Orange County's tallest building several… More >>
  • Best Political Coup

    Kelly's Army

    In the aftermath of the local cops' horrific July 2011 killing of Kelly Thomas, an unarmed homeless man, normally tranquil Fullerton residents stood up to City Hall and the police department and, incredibly, won. Led by alarmed citizens who created Kelly's Army, residents called for a recall election and kicked out of office three council members who repeatedly proved they… More >>
  • Best Political Exchange

    Dana Rohrabacher vs. Dana Rohrabacher

    Over the years, we've learned that Dana Rohrabacher is a prolific liar willing to rewrite history to suit his partisan whims. But this year, Orange County's senior career politician really uttered a doozy. Rohrabacher proclaimed he'd been "a loud critic" of the decision by President George W. Bush "to go into Iraq to displace Saddam [Hussein]." Yet, in 2001, 2002,… More >>
  • Best Blog

    Save Anaheim

    It's only been around for a couple of months, but this feisty blog (which originally started as "No Jordan Brandman" to target the idiot running for Anaheim's City Council) has gained a loyal following with a great mix of outrage, public-records requests, leaked photos and a righteous war against corporatists who want to reduce the city into the ultimate example… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    La Rockola KWIZ-FM 96.7

    Most of what passes for radio in Orange County gets broadcast from Los Angeles or Burbank studios, and even our one big station, the Fish, seeks a Southern California audience, so it's refreshing that this Spanish-language station is puro naranjero, from the ads to the jokes to the promotions. It's so Orange County that it targets one specific demographic: chilangos,… More >>
  • Best Television Station

    PBS SoCal

    Not for what the station currently is—Rick Reiff, Real Orange, too many infomercials to count—but for what it can become: a PBS station that takes Orange County to the next civic level. And since PBS SoCal depends on the support of viewers such as you, start donating—and start dictating what you want to see on the air!… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Carl Bell

    We remember the days when Carl Bell was supposed to be the next weathercaster crossover star, à la Fritz Coleman, when he brought levity to the KCAL-TV Channel 9 news block, while Jerry Dunphy and Pat Harvey held the fort with gravitas. That was more than 20 years ago, and while his bid for mainstream fame never panned out and… More >>
  • Best Traffic Reporter

    Vera Jimenez

    For regular viewers of the evening news in Southern California, Vera Jimenez has become a household name over the years. Even so, few know the KTLA-TV Channel 5 meteorologist actually hails from OC! Jimenez was born in Mexico, but while she was at a young age, her family immigrated to Garden Grove . She graduated from Bolsa Grande High School… More >>
  • Best Newscaster

    Pat Harvey

    Yeah, so Pat Harvey has been on Channel 2 for a couple of years now, but to us, she'll always be part of the KCAL-TV Channel 9 news juggernaut, always anchoring alongside Jerry Dunphy. Awesomely, Harvey is not a relic, but rather a living legend still at the prime of her game, the Nolan Ryan of newscasting. She still delivers… More >>
  • Best Sportscaster

    Vin Scully

    Sorry, Halos fans, but this one's self-explanatory—and if we gave any other response, our cousins from East Los Angeles would kick our ass. And rightfully so.… More >>
  • Best Community-College Professor

    Jerry Padilla

    Multiple generations in North Orange County have learned about Chicano, California and ethnic history under the legendary Jerry Padilla, who has taught at Fullerton College for more than 40 years. They enroll not just because some of his courses satisfy the GE requirements, but also because few people are better qualified to teach the subjects than he. A third-generation Orange… More >>
  • Best Downtown

    Santa Ana

    Not for what it's becoming—yet another gentrified slab of hipsters, trendy restaurants and chichi shops, with poor Mexicans desperately trying to survive in the area they've called casa for decades—but for what it currently is: a perfect mixture of said hipsters, restaurants, shops and wabs. The X factor in all this is the pochos who came of age in the… More >>
  • Best Residential Neighborhood

    Anaheim Colony Historic District

    Whereas most historical residential neighborhoods decided to deem themselves as such along with a cutesy ahistorical name (we're looking at you, Santa Ana's Floral Park), this part of Anaheim has actual historic roots. Bounded by North, South, East and West streets, it's the original plot of land bought by German socialists back in the 1850s to create their utopian winemaking… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

    Since Orange County has yet to see any hipster hotels open, we've got to go with the dowager of the scene. No, we can't afford a room at the Ritz-Carlton, and you probably can't, either. But despite the brand, none of the mega-resorts on the coast is as welcoming as the granddaddy, which underwent a renovation a couple of years… More >>
  • Best Library

    Fullerton Public Library

    In a year that has seen the city's civic fabric nearly torn apart because of the Kelly Thomas scandal, there is only one common ground: the Fullerton Public Library. Under the leadership of Maureen Gebelein, the library has boldly forged ahead into the 21st century, keeping active Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts; opening up its History Room to everyone, not… More >>
  • Best Local Historian

    Luis F. Fernandez

    As a graduate student at Cal State Fullerton, the Garden Grove resident rediscovered the long-lost case of Doss v. Bernal, the inspiring story of a Fullerton man of Mexican ancestry who won one of the first housing-segregation cases in American history. Fernandez's championing of the cause has led to the unearthing of documents pertaining to the case, the public testimony… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Noche de Altares

    Orange County is now starting to get on the map for its festivals—Goldenvoice is even rumored to want to hold a mini-Coachella at Irvine's Great Park next year. But for rags to riches, nothing beats Noche de Altares, the Dia de los Muertos celebration jointly put together by the chingón Café Calacas and the Centro Cultural de México. This year… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Anaheim Cemetery

    When it comes  to digging into the past, there's no better place to explore than a cemetery—but you don't need (and shouldn't bring) a shovel. Surrounded by relatively new tract homes, Anaheim Cemetery has all the charm of a Gothic boneyard—crooked headstones, towering statues of angels and ornate, private mausoleums housing the area's prominent former residents. Also there is the… More >>
  • Best Party School

    Chapman University

    Thousands of coeds running around in Old Towne Orange in their underwear twice a year can't be wrong!… More >>
  • Best Place to Spot Celebrities

    Laguna Beach

    Now that the billionaires gentrified out the millionaires, and the Boom Boom Room is long-gone, Laguna Beach has reverted to the playground of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Oliver Stone directed a film there starring Salma Hayek (Savages); Green Day members are known to run around one of the resorts in robes, their kids in tow; and more than a… More >>
  • Best Cosmetic Surgeon

    The Ones Who Advertise with Us

    Because that's the only proper answer for this category, right?… More >>
  • Best Dessert for Any Party Involving Guys

    The Sticky Pig

    You're supposed to bring a dessert to a potluck football-watching party, and you're stumped. What would be awesome enough to go with burgers, carne asada, beer and chips? How about bacon? Tara Simon, the Bacon Vixen, makes whiskey-bacon ice cream, French-toast-bacon cookies, bacon caramel corn and more out of a shared storefront in Orange, just in time for football season.    … More >>
  • Best Salad Dressing


    At first, Chaya's $5 chicken salad will appear to be the same as every chicken salad you've faced before. There's lettuce, a cut of tomato, some sizzling slices of chicken just seared by a griddle. But then you pour on the dressing that comes in a maple-syrup pitcher. This liquid, friends, is made from miso, sesame and some sort of… More >>