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City Lights: The 2010 oddball awards

December 29, 2010|By Michael Miller

This is our great high-minded issue of the year. The last week of December, the Independent ranks the top 10 stories of the past 12 months and pays tribute to the major figures in the community who passed away. The year-end retrospective can be joyful (KOCE-TV becoming Southern California's top PBS station) or sobering (the James Roberts and Rodney Alcala cases) or somewhere in between, but it tends to be short on weirdness.

No community, though, goes through an entire year without a few oddball moments. So here, continuing an annual tradition, are the Independent's Wacky Achievement Awards for 2010:

The Most Original Political Campaign Award goes to Andrissa Dominguez, a playground supervisor at Smith Elementary School who ran for Huntington Beach City Council. A grass-roots candidate to the max, Dominguez ran with a campaign budget of $0, and she requested that prospective campaign donors instead give money to political causes around town. When the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn. sent a questionnaire to every candidate, Dominguez declined, saying she lacked enough knowledge about city issues to respond.

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But during a packed council race when nearly two dozen candidates' names plastered intersections around town, Dominguez had far and away the best signs — courtesy of dried fronds from the palm tree in her front yard, which she and her family members painted with the slogan "Andrissa 4 HB" and distributed to supporters. In the end, Dominguez's grass-roots (or palm-frond) campaign didn't net her a victory, but she did finish with 4,440 votes and topped three other candidates.

The Fuzzy Math Award goes either (a) to Mayor Joe Carchio, the only incumbent in this year's City Council race, or (b) to the many reporters, editors and record-keepers who have gotten his age wrong over the last decade. During the election, a reader pointed out that Carchio's age varied on several documents, and a quick perusal of the Independent's archives showed that clearly to be the case. In 2000, when Carchio ran for the first time, the paper gave his age as 53, only to up it to 57 when he ran two years later and 63 two years after that.

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