Before the holidays, I asked readers to help us pick the Whopper of the Year — our award for the worst false or huckster claim of 2010.

The email feedback was spirited and constant, so thanks for sharing your thoughts. Today, we’re narrowing the list of contenders from 15 to the top three and asking for your feedback again. We’ll announce the winner Friday.

We’ve narrowed the list based on the number of reader votes and our view of how outlandish each claim was.

Simply based on votes, the winners would be former City Council President Ben Hueso, KUSI weatherman John Coleman and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

But most Dumanis voters attacked her office’s crackdown on medical marijuana (which her statement wasn’t about). And most Hueso voters were appalled that he had three statements on the list — not at any one in particular.

We’ve included former CCDC president Nancy Graham in the finalists simply based on the outlandishness of her statement. Your votes boosted Coleman and Hueso into the top three; we selected Hueso’s statement because it was used to advance his position on a major civic issue.

In chronological order, the finalists are:

“It (the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) began the funding of research, spreading it around the globe. At this point, it had billions and billions of dollars. I saw a total yesterday: $47 billion in federal and international funds have been spent to research global warming,” KUSI weathercaster John Coleman told a local Rotary club April 29. | It doesn’t fund research.

This false claim is a key pillar of Coleman’s local campaign against the scientific consensus on global warming. Since it outlined a nonexistent financial relationship between the United Nations and global warming research to bolster an argument, we rated the statement Huckster Propaganda.

“Our taxes have gone down ladies and gentlemen. You are paying less taxes today than you were paying last year and the year before and the year before that,” Council President Ben Hueso said at a City Council hearing July 26. | Sorry ladies and gents. You’re paying more.

Hueso’s error came amid a heated summer debate about how the resolve the city’s financial mess. He argued for raising taxes, and in this case, cited a false decline. Hueso and his supporters successfully pushed a sales tax increase on to the November ballot, but failed to convince enough voters to make it actually happen. Now, six months later, the city faces many of the same problems it did in July.

“I have been investigated up and down by almost every possible agency, to no avail, reported my income and paid my taxes,” former CCDC president Nancy Graham said in a comment posted on the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post’s website Sept. 8. | To no avail? Graham was fined $32,000.

While other statements grossly exaggerated trends or the status quo, Graham ignored the city Ethics Commission’s $32,000 fine and her own no contest plea to a misdemeanor crime. Since she used misinformation to cast herself in a better light, we dubbed the statement Huckster Propaganda.

Only two of the original 15 contenders didn’t receive any votes: Statements by county Supervisor Pam Slater-Price (about how much the county saved from streamlining) and former sheriff candidate Jay LaSuer (about the number of illegal immigrants in state prisons).

So which blunder was the worst? Send an email to and explain your reasoning.

You can also contact Keegan Kyle at 619.550.5668 and follow him on Twitter:

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