We all know the old saying, that this town’s not big enough for the two of us. Apparently, that bromide doesn’t apply to Charleston, where more and more nuts and characters pile up every day. And our readers know who they like — Mayor Joe Riley (Best Charlestonian, Charlestonian to Exile to Drum Island, and Liberal) and the usual cast of characters — because they do. With Larry “Kwadjo” Campbell gone, our critics had a tough time finding a new whipping boy. John Graham Altman III (Best Feminazi) came on strong, apparently blaming beaten women who return to their abusive mates. State Rep. Bobby Harrell (R-Chas.) got called up to the show as Speaker of the House, and joins Gov. Mark Sanford (Sullivan’s Island) and President Pro Tempore of the State Senate Glenn McConnell (R-Chas.) atop the Statehouse dome, giving the Lowcountry a death grip on state politics. Speaking of death grips, husband and wife team Sandra and David Engleman (the “Twinglemans” — Best Nickname) are directing more and more of the flow of business on the county School Board. John Knott of Noisette (Best Boondoggle) may soon change his name to John “Knott-Gonna-Happen.” NIMBYs are running amok on the peninsula and beyond, even as Jeff Yungman (Best Charlestonian Who’s not Mayor Riley) toils on the margins of society to make ours a more inclusive and welcoming community. The Revs. Bill Stanfield and Evelyn Oliveira (Best Christians) prove that to make a “meta” difference, you don’t need metaphysics, just a desire to change things. Even if we can’t all aspire to a personal relationship with the Almighty, at least we can enjoy this year’s Best Of 2006.

Best Philanthropist(s)
Jerry and Anita Zucker
The most endearing philanthropists are the ones who do it out of true concern for their fellow man, or in an attempt to “heal the world.” That being said, you have no idea how much Jerry Zucker, the area’s only billionaire, does not want to be singled out for his largesse. But the people have spoken, Jerry. It’s hard to know where to start with Jerry and Anita Zucker’s good works, mostly because Jerry prefers his giving to remain anonymous. Anita, the public face of the family’s philanthropy, donates handsomely, with input from their children, to several different charities, from the local Community Foundation to Trident United Way to the Boys and Girls Clubs to numerous schools and colleges. After a friend suffered a spinal injury, Jerry, who was named Community Activist of the Year by Trident United Way, made spinal chord research his personal cause célèbre, donating and organizing fund-raising efforts in that field. —Bill Davis

Best Heir to Riley’s Throne
Leon Stavrinakis
Looks like Li’l Leon, a Democrat serving as the chair of Charleston County Council, has earned a fairly permanent spot in the hearts of locals. Now Stavrinakis has to choose between running for the state House of Representatives seat, currently held by über Republican John Graham Altman III, or holding out a few more years and taking a stab at Mayor-for-Life Joe Riley’s office. Word is circulating, as it does every few years, that this really is Riley’s last term, perhaps clearing the way for our Greek friend to win the Democratic nod. Rumor has it that Republicans are more concerned about the appearance of David Agnew, one of Riley’s former loyal lieutenants, as a possible candidate. Regardless, there is also a rumor that City Councilman Henry Fishburne will run with major Republican backing for the mayor’s office. Things would be a lot clearer if either Riley or Stavrinakis would announce their intent. —Bill Davis

Best Charlestonian
Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

Best Charlestonian to Exile to Drum Island
Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

Best Local Legislator
State Sen. Glenn McConnell

Best City Council Member
Wendell Gilliard

Best County Council Member
Leon Stavrinakis

Best School Board Member
Brian Moody

Best Community Activist
Dana Beach, CoastalConservation League

Best Confederate
State Sen. Glenn McConnell

Best Liberal
Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

Best Conservative
State Rep. John Graham Altman III

Best Local Cause
Save the Light (Morris Island Lighthouse)

Love Best of Charleston?

Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.