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Communities & Clubs: New addition of a turkey, eagle

November 23, 2010|By Jim de Boom

"Turkey," as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, is "a large North American bird that has brownish plumage and a bare, wattled head and neck and is widely domesticated for food."

The slang definition for "turkey" is, "A person considered inept or undesirable." For the ninth year in a row, I deviate from the traditional Community & Clubs format to present the Turkey Awards, as well as the Eagle Award.

Let's review some previous Turkey winners:

2002: Confused Newport Beach political consultant Dave Ellis

2003: The grocery store strikers who ate their turkey dinner on the picket line

2004: Double-dipping Coast Community College Trustee Armando Ruiz

2005: The late Phil Arst, Green Light leader

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2006: The Costa Mesa City Council disrupter, Santa Ana Unified School Board member Nativo Lopez

2007: Disgraced former Sheriff Mike Carona and "under investigation" Treasurer Tax Collector Chriss Street

2008: Lawsuit-happy Allan "I am right no matter what the courts say" Beek

2009: The Great Park hoax creator, Irvine Councilman Larry Agran.

That leads us to the 2010 Turkey of the Year.

Nominations include:

Costa Mesa Planning Commission Chairman Jim Righeimer, who, in his second run for a council seat this year, chose to create a campaign platform with only one plank — municipal salaries and benefits — and painted the members of the city's public employees as the bad guys in order to gain votes.

Costa Mesa City Councilman Eric Bever — the only person ever to be named both a Turkey and an Eagle — is once again nominated for boycotting discussions about negotiations with the employee associations because he didn't like the way they were going.

The 2010 Turkey of the Year winner is, drumroll please, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnie gave it a good run in trying to rein in state spending, working with the Legislature to cut expenditures from a high of $102 billion to $86.3 billion. While there were actual budget cuts, borrowing, projected receipts and other tricks kept the budget out of balance every year, shortly after it was adopted.

This past budget cycle, the governor and Legislature agreed to sell state-owned properties, including the Orange County Fairgrounds, against the advice of many, who noted that it would cost more to rent back the facilities there than money received from the sale's proceeds. It's a short-term gain in income to make him and the Legislature look good today.

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