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The DP 103: Our list of 2013's newsmakers

December 26, 2013
  • Costa Mesa Police Chief Tom Gazsi is No. 1 on our list of top newsmakers for 2013.
Costa Mesa Police Chief Tom Gazsi is No. 1 on our list of… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

1.) Tom Gazsi: Costa Mesa's police chief celebrated the 60th anniversary of his department — one he leads with a steady, capable hand, despite the tension between his officers and a majority of the City Council members.

2.) Keith Curry: The Newport Beach councilman, who presided as mayor over the opening of the new Civic Center and fights over increased dock fees and fire rings, is running for state Assembly.

3.) Scott Meyer: The CdM football coach led the Sea Kings to an unprecedented third consecutive CIF section championship game – and a state title.

4.) Jim Righeimer: Costa Mesa's mayor sued the city police association and its former law firm, alleging that the two cooperated with a private investigator who falsely reported him for driving under the influence, and he turned up the heat on so-called problem motels and rehabilitation homes.

5.) Steve Mensinger: The mayor pro tem joined Righeimer in the lawsuit, later alleging someone placed a tracking device on his car, and he also continued his program of walking city streets and stressing road and infrastructure repairs.

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6.) Sandy Genis: This veteran Costa Mesa politician brought her knack for research and tough questions back to the dais, questioning proposed changes to Fairview Park and other projects.

7.) Robin Leffler: The president of Costa Mesans for Responsible Government continued to grow her grassroots group, an active and vocal counterpoint to the City Council majority.

8.) Dave Kiff: Newport's city manager oversaw the opening — and move to — the new Civic Center and also continued his deft implementation of sound financial policies.

9.) Wendy Leece: The Costa Mesa councilwoman is viewed by supporters as the conscience of the City Council and a reliable ally of city employees and community activists.

10.) Ernesto Munoz: Costa Mesa's public services director handled several difficult tasks this year, including a major street-repaving project and two controversies involving Fairview Park.

11.) Tom Hatch: Costa Mesa's city CEO is viewed as an even and hardworking man, one who makes sure the business of the city gets done despite serious political challenges.

12.) Rick Francis: Costa Mesa's assistant city CEO has made tough decisions this year but maintained his reputation among employees for even-handed dealings and a thoughtful manner.

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