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50 People to Watch in 2003


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(page 4 of 10)

kimberly huntKimberly Hunt
She became an institution as co-anchor on Channel 10 (KGTV), San Diego’s ABC affiliate. From 1987 until late 2000—an amazing 15-year tenure—Hunt was a fixture on the 6:30 and 11 p.m. newscasts. That blonde mane has us mesmerized. It’s her calling card. Before we discontinued the category, she annually won San Diego Magazine’s Best TV Hair category in our “Best of San Diego” readers’ polls.

Granted, she also won just as many times in the Worst TV Hair voting. After KGTV opted not to renew her contract, Hunt was snapped up by KUSI-TV. Her duties include anchoring the 6 p.m. newscast.

nick inzunzaNick Inzunza
It’s in the genes. When 32-year-old Inzunza was elected mayor of National City two months ago—after just two years on the city council—the family regarded it as politics as usual. Inzunza has deep political roots in the largely Latino South Bay. He’s the younger brother of San Diego Councilman Ralph Inzunza. Their father, Ralph Sr., is a former National City councilman who ran for mayor a dozen years ago and lost. Their mother served on the San Ysidro school board.

Among Nick’s first goals: putting together financing for a new fire station; redevelopment along Highland Avenue; and construction of a new education center. “I think the new mayor of National City is going to do an excellent job,” says big brother Ralph, named deputy mayor of San Diego last month. “We have a father and mother who groomed us and taught us right from wrong.” Advice for young Nick? “Remember to share with the other councilmembers—and always be the bigger person,” says Ralph.

Peter IronsPeter Irons
UCSD constitutional law professor Irons is riding high with the success of his 11th book, Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision, a stinging indictment of the federal government’s attempts to desegregate the nation’s schools. It’s received rave reviews from the New York Times and other prestigious publications.

A veteran of the 1960s civil rights movement, Irons worked on the famed March on Washington. He served three years in prison for draft resistance and later graduated from Harvard Law School. Irons, 62, who just celebrated his 20th year at UCSD, says his next project is a sequel to his 1988 book Courage of Their Convictions, a study of various civil rights and civil liberties cases.

gary jacobGary Jacob
The new president of the United Jewish Federation carries several big sticks. He’s chairman of the board of a charter school, owns a minor-league baseball team and runs a successful real estate investment business. So when he says he wants to give San Diego’s Jewish community a stronger voice, you’d better believe him. “It’s important for us to stand up and let people know we are here,” Jacob says. The United Jewish Federation is both a clearinghouse of information and an important source of revenue for local Jewish organizations, which last year got half of the $7.5 million the foundation raised (the rest went to Israel). “For people of our faith,” Jacob says, “it’s important to have a strong identity, for our children and for our values.”

john kernJohn Kern
Two years ago, just after San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy took office, San Diego Magazine profiled the new mayor’s appointed chief of staff. The headline: “The Populist’s Pit Bull.” If the suggestion that Kern might be just a wee bit tough to deal with rankled him, he didn’t call to protest. That’s not his style. Kern, who covered City Hall 30 years ago as a reporter for the Evening Tribune, is now one of the chief architects of the agenda at City Hall. “Thirty years ago I was watching; now I’m doing,” he says. “I like doing better than watching.”

After leaving the Trib, Kern served as press aide to a state assemblyman, then ran his own political consulting group. In 2000, as campaign manager, he got lots of credit for fashioning Murphy’s long-shot win. What’s on the Kern agenda for 2003? In addition to little matters like trying to hold on to our NFL franchise and helping run a city of 1.2 million, there’s the bigger political issue: helping his boss decide whether to run for reelection next year.
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