You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in town who had a bigger news year than Costa Mesa City Councilman Jim Righeimer. The former Planning Commission chairman went toe-to-toe with the police union, which smeared his name on billboards and websites and spent heavily to defeat him, but Righeimer's message of lower spending and creating less-generous retirement packages for public employees resonated with voters, who chose him overwhelmingly in a crowded field.
Allen Rieckhof, president of the Costa Mesa Police Assn., found himself in the newspaper more than usual, as the union's political arm flexed its muscle in trying to prevent Jim Righeimer from winning a council seat. There was a much-talked about mobile billboard steering residents to the association's website criticizing all-things "Riggy." When Righeimer confronted police about a DUI checkpoint, the association called for an investigation.