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Coastal Coasting: The Boardwalk, with its historic Big Dipper roller coaster, is the best place to take out-of-towners and kids.

Best People & Places

Readers' Choice Awards

NO ONE IRRITATES US more than high-profile politicians and gadflies. Cases in point: Robert Norse and Keith Sugar. Of course, Keith has one advantage over Bob--some voters think he's a darn good politician. Then again, a lot of disgruntled constituents want to recall Sugar--go figure. No one, however, is more irritating than our own Bruce Bratton, who graciously offered the following acceptance speech:

    Words almost fail me at once again winning the best Irritating Local Personality. Lee Quarnstrom, Robert Norse and I briefly discussed running as a slate, but we got so mad at each other we dropped the idea. I want to thank all the folks who voted for me, I have your names.

It was a particularly good year for local scandals, and our voters were definitely taking notes. Coming out on top was the continuing Peter Chang soap opera. Charged by DA Ron Ruiz with witness tampering, ex-DA (in the Jurassic age before Art Danner) Chang responded by ... running for Ruiz's job. Second place went to the battle of the bookstores, as megachain Borders muscled its way into downtown Santa Cruz. The plight of the homeless--homeless skateboarders, that is--came in third.

We were puzzled by the number of people who voted for Leonardo DiCaprio's latest bomb, until we realized they were talking about the beach, not The Beach. We're still trying to determine if the same people who voted the Asti Cafe a prime singles spot also chose it as the Silver winner in the Best Place for a Last Date category.

Best irritating local personality

GOLD Bruce Bratton
(Columnist, Metro Santa Cruz)

SILVER Robert Norse
(Homeless Activist)

BRONZE Keith Sugar
(Da Mayor)

Best local politician

GOLD Fred Keeley (California State Assemblyman)

SILVER Mike Rotkin

BRONZE Keith Sugar (Da Mayor)

Best local scandal

GOLD Peter Chang

SILVER Borders

BRONZE Skatepark saga

Best local website

GOLD www.cruzio.com

SILVER www.goodhumans.com

BRONZE www.kittycam.com

Best local park for dogs

BRONZE Lighthouse Field

SILVER Its Beach

BRONZE San Lorenzo Park

Best park for people

GOLD Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

SILVER Frederick Street Park

BRONZE Harvey West Park

Best place for illicit rendezvous

GOLD The Beach

SILVER Lighthouse Point

BRONZE Blue Lagoon Cocktail Lounge
923 Pacific Ave., SC, 423-7117

Best place to bring out-of-towners

GOLD The Boardwalk

SILVER West Cliff Drive

BRONZE Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf

Best place to go on a first date

GOLD The Beach

SILVER Shadowbrook Restaurant
1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola, 475.1511

BRONZE West Cliff Drive

Best place to go on a last date

GOLD The Beach

SILVER Asti Cafe
715 Pacific Ave., SC, 423.7337

BRONZE McDonald's

Best place to take kids

GOLD The Boardwalk

SILVER The Beach

BRONZE Frederick Street Park

Best recall candidate

GOLD Keith Sugar

SILVER Mike Rotkin

BRONZE Michael Hernandez

Best silly local ordinance

GOLD The Camping Ban

SILVER No Skateboarding

BRONZE Hate-Free Zone

Best start-up company

GOLD Lutris Technologies


BRONZE Gray Zone Productions


Best Food & Drink
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best Arts
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best Music & Nightlife
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best Goods & Services
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best People & Places
      Critic's Choice

Best Sports & Recreation
      Reader's Choice
      Critic's Choice

Best Write-in

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From the March 22-29, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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