When Curt Pringle assumed office as Anaheim's mayor in 2002, my beloved hometown of Anaheim sure was a wonderful place to live in. Oh, there were problems—an out-of-control police department, income inequality, Disney doing whatever the hell it wanted to do—but there were still jobs in the city that employed the working class, civility in City Hall, and a sense that, despite the then-recession, Anaheim would turn out all right.
Flash-forward to now. Things have gotten only worse—the police department remains out of control, while income inequality is getting to San Francisco levels. Disney has even more of a lock on City Hall than every before, and the city seems to favor hipster jobs that help only a select few instead of the Kwiksets and canneries, truck depots, and packing houses that once employed hundreds. The citizen unrest that the world got to see during the summer of 2012 was only a glimpse of your average Anaheimer's unease with the city's future.
And all of this is Curt Pringle's fault.
Pringle's reputation as the Dark Lord of Anaheim politics is well-deserved. He started political life, of course, as being part of a poll-guard scandal so noxious that the Republican Party had to pay out a $400,000 settlement. That should've torpedoed any future Pringle may have had in governing a majority-Latino city, but Curt deftly sideswipped that issue by roping in the two figures who could've made his life a living hell: then-Los Amigos chair Amin David, and longtime Chicano yaktivist Nativo Lopez.
Instead, the two stood down because Pringle threw his support behind a Mexican supermarket they wanted in the city—payback politics at its most despicable, and one OC's current Latino intelligentsia has furiously tried to spin ever since. But can you really buy back David's 2006 slobber job regarding Pringle? You know, the one where he said, "We certainly don't want to lose him…we're very pleased with him. He listens to a lot of the ideas set forth by the progressives on council…He cares about doing something different and decent for the working class. That's very inclusive thinking." Not us!
Once in office, Pringle began dismantling Anaheim's political fabric. He started recruiting like-minded politicians to put forth his free-market ways—such is his sorcery that the sole Democrat on the Anaheim City Council, Jordan Brandman (a Scariest People nominee this year) frequently votes with Pringle puppets Kris Murray and Lucille Kring (previous Scariest People nominees). Pringle triple-stacked his resume by simultaneously serving as mayor Anaheim's representative on the OCTA board of trustees, and chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA)—a hat trick that the state attorney general's office eventually ruled he couldn't hold all the offices at the same time but didn't penalize him for doing it. That trick got the city ARTIC, a $188 million boondogglealready cutting into city coffers and is only used by bad HBO shows to stage ludicrous season finales.
More? Just two more lest I write a cover story. Curt's public voice is the reprehensible Matt Cunningham, he of the outing of sex-abuse victims and mocking of the dead (and while we're talking about pedophiles, Matty: still mad at Moxley for his outing of the OC GOP's favorite convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Ray Nielsen?). And Pringle's scrubbing of his image is such that acolytes frequently go on his Wikipedia page and delete any mentions of the poll-guard incident (it's currently up there right now).
Thanks for fucking up my hometown, Curt. Can't wait to get it back once your cronies are exiled to Anaheim Hills. Mitigating factor: Like Cronus and Zeus, or Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, Pringle also bore Anaheim's salvation in the form of current mayor Tom Tait, Pringle's hand-picked successor who's currently the city's only hope.
Previous inductees: 1998: Dr. Bernard Rappaport (deceased), former head of the county's Children and Youth Services
1999: Gloria Matta Tuchman, vendida Santa Ana schoolteacher behind the anti-bilingual education Proposition 227
2000: Jim Silva, former county supervisor and state assemblymember, eternal dope
2001: Lou Sheldon, director of the Traditional Values Coalition
2002: The confirmed offspring of Bob Dornan
2003: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaukas
2004: Larry Agran, boss of Irvine and the Great Park
2005: Inductee lost in one of our many website revamps
2006: Greg Haidl, convicted rapist
2007: Catholic Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown (awarded retroactively for his pedo-priest protecting ways)
2008: Disgraced, felonious, adulterous ex-Sheriff Mike Carona (awarded retroactively for the whole indictment thing)
2009: Santa Ana Mayor-for-Life Miguel Pulido (awarded retroactively for a career that saw him go from Aztlanista to the supreme vendido in Orange County—and in a county where Republican Mexicans have a group called the Hispanic 100, that's saying something)
2010: Orly Taitz, Birther Queen supreme
2011: Barbara Coe (deceased), Walking Cigarette/Anti-immigrant godmother
2012: Orange County Register readers
2013: Dana Rohrabacher, slob congressman
2014: Aaron Kushner, Orange County Register destroyer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @gustavoarellano. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!