"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:
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
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.
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.
The Eagle award was suggested by Costa Mesa blogger Geoff West in 2003, when he nominated Bever, then a candidate for the City Council.
In 2004, the Eagle went to the men and women of our Armed Forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 2005 award went to Donna and John Crean for their support of the Newport Beach Library at Mariners Park.
The 2006 award was shared by restaurateur Dan Marcheano and Superior Court Judge Steve Bromberg for their support of the 1/1 Marines at Camp Pendleton.
The 2007 Eagle went to O.C. Supervisor John Moorlach for his ethics. In 2008, it went to Gordon Bowley and the leaders of Costa Mesa United for leadership for the new football stadium at Estancia High School and pool at Costa Mesa High School.
And, in 2009, the award went to former Newport Beach City Manager Homer Bludau and his replacement, David Kiff.
The 2010 Eagle Award goes to Costa Mesa City Manager Allan Roeder for his dedicated service to the city for more than 30 years, including 25 as city manager. Through the storms of the city's current financial problems and the fairgrounds sale he has kept his steady hand on the helm, keeping the city from sliding over the falls on many occasions.
Roeder soars above us all. He is an Eagle.
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