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Most Irritating Local Personality

A tip of the toe to our biggest
blowhards and bozos

By July St. James

What could be more fun than slagging those who annoy you? Well, actually, lots of things, but nevertheless, we got tons of votes in this category. The big runners-up included anti-tax activist and supervisorial candidate Carolyn Busenhart (they must have been busy filling out forms over at the Beautz campaign office). Bookshop Santa Cruz owner and former mayor Neil Coonerty got pegged pretty good, with a lower turnout for Councilmembers Scott Kennedy and Cynthia Matthews, Mayor Mike Rotkin, former mayor Don Lane and Assemblymember Bruce McPherson.

But not just political types irritate. Snazzy Productions promoter, multi-station DJ and Metro Gold Award winner John Sandidge led a pack of entertainment people, followed closely by KMBY's Rich Berlin, KPIG's Sandy Shore, KSCO's Rosemary Chalmers, Good Times movie reviewer Lisa Jensen, Good Times music guy Rob Pratt and, if you want to consider him entertainment, the "Stephen King Killed John Lennon guy"(his name is Steve Lightfoot, and he drives his conspiracy-theory-bedecked van from campus to campus, playing bad renditions of Beatles songs on his guitar). Miscellaneous irritants included Dan Garr, "Ali Baba" and street people in general.

The Bronze medal for most irritating local personality went to Good Times columnist Bruce Bratton, arguably Santa Cruz's most vehement nostalgist and a perennial master of ceremonies. But not even that excessively loquacious old gent could outdo the clown. Yup. Mister Twister won the Silver for once again making Santa Cruz the butt of the nation's jokes. You've seen his painted mug on all the national media and you've seen him making balloon-swords, hats and wiener dogs at the Farmer's Market.

Aaaaaand the Gold goes to ... drum roll, please--Robert Norse, whose trust fund allows him to sidestep regular jobs and instead parade around town in a bathrobe championing the causes of any homeless person who doesn't cross the street to avoid him. The guy has a silky smooth voice that can be heard regularly on Free Radio Santa Cruz, but, wake up, Bobby--you're irritating everybody! And, uh, that's a little different than disturbing the greedy, which is what real activists do.

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From the March 14-20, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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