My Personal Bests: The Winners Are. . .
Since I don’t get to vote in our annual Best of Orlando survey, I made up my own “best” list. Please hold your applause until all the winners have been announced in every category.
The envelopes, please . . .
BEST LIAR: Casey Anthony. This cate-gory would seem to be custom made for a politician, but the trial of Casey Anthony reminded me that no one can lie like her. She’s the “Joe Isuzu” of the 21st century, but her lies aren’t funny.
BEST ARGUMENT FOR REDISTRICTING: State Rep. Dean Cannon, speaker of the House. Anytime a politician disregards the will of the people, as the Winter Park Republican is doing with his
legal effort to block the Fair Districts amendments, it’s a sure sign that he doesn’t represent the people.
BEST DOWNTOWN: Winter Garden. It’s a real downtown, with brick storefronts (and not a chain store in them) and sidewalks that people actually use for evening walks. I could swear I saw Floyd sitting outside the barbershop next to the ice cream parlor.
BEST CITY BUILDING: Winter Garden City Hall. Designed by C.T. Hsu & Associates in Orlando, the Art Deco-style building is a head-turner. See for yourself.
BEST RESTAURANT OWNER (tie): Steve Gunter of the Tap Room at Dubsdread in College Park and chef Vincent Gagliano of Chez Vincent in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square. Their restaurants may be as different as casual (Tap Room) and gourmet dining (Chez Vincent), but their approach to hospitality is the same: Make each diner feel like a regular.
BEST INTERVIEW: John Morgan. He has an answer for every question. Just ask him.
BEST ELUSIVE PUBLIC FIGURE: Kathy Ramsberger. The president of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has ducked our calls for comments and could never find the time to be photographed for our 50 Most Powerful issue. Still, we’re pretty sure she exists.
BEST TV JUDGE: Belvin Perry Jr. Was he Solomon in a past life?
BEST PLACE TO LIVE: College Park. Don’t argue with me, Winter Park.
BEST PHILANTHROPIST: Harriett Lake. She’s got a lot of money, and she’s not afraid to give it away.
BEST SMILE: Dwight Howard’s. No explanation needed; the photo speaks for itself.
BEST GRADE: B, the state grade Jones and Edgewater high schools got in late 2010 after being D’s the year before.
BEST HOSTAGE SITUATION: Gov. Rick Scott’s hold on SunRail.
BEST TIME: The last two minutes of a come-from-behind Magic victory.
BEST PIPE DREAM: That Orlando will support a minor league Yankees team.
BEST VEGAN RESTAURANT: Like I would know.
BEST COMEBACK (tie): Orlando’s tourism industry and Mayor Buddy Dyer’s rescue of the foundering performing arts center.
BEST “I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE SAID THAT’’: “Let me be clear about something: I don’t trust the mayor.” That’s what Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (above) told me when I asked her to respond to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s remark that he didn’t trust her. So I guess that made them even.
BEST BACK PORCH: My buddy Bill’s on Lake Jessamine.
BEST GOLF HOLE: Any that I par.
BEST GENTLEMAN: Jacob Stuart. The president of the pro-business Central Florida Partnership couldn’t be more polite, even when he disagrees with you.
BEST LADY: Helen Donegan, UCF’s VP of community relations. She’s classy but not pretentious.
BEST USER-FRIENDLY WEBSITE: ocpafl.org. The Orange County property appraiser’s site makes snooping too easy.
BEST-DRESSED WOMAN (tie): Jacqueline London, former news anchor, and Ann Sonntag, publisher of the Orlando Business Journal.
BEST SHARP-DRESSED MAN (tie): Bill Sheaffer, lawyer, Jim Payne, WESH news anchor, and Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic.
BEST PEYTON PLACE: Windermere.
BEST FLIP: The light switch that turns on Amway Center’s tower.
BEST FLOP: Alan Grayson’s political career.
BEST HOPE: Print isn’t dead.
BEST GUESS: What’s really going on in Tiger Woods’ head.
BEST WASTE OF TIME: Reading this list.