Best scandal, surf spot, place to eavesdrop and more.
Best clubs, bartenders, local artist, band and more.
Best restaurants by city, cheap eats and best restaurant of the county!
Best coffee shop, best bakery and more.
Best places to shop, best plumber and more.
Our picks for the sometimes less obvious winners.
Best Local Do-Gooder (2012)
U.S. Secretary of Defense
On a bright day last August, Leon Panetta stood at a podium at the Presidio of Monterey and talked about his immigrant parents coming to Monterey without money, unable to speak English but full of the belief that this community held opportunity for those willing to work hard. He also talked in hawk-like language appropriate to the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Defense about the killing of Osama Bin Laden, confronting North Korea and offering Al-Qaeda no place to hide. His insight was on full display; he gave shivers to 2,500 language students standing at parade rest in full combat uniforms under a blazing summer sun as he said, “It is only through language that we understand the cultures, the loves and the hates of this world.”