Stories for August 2000

Thursday, August 31

Masters of Deceit

On Tuesday, June 29, 1999, the San Diego City Council went into secret session to consider a series of financial concessions demanded by San Diego Padres owner John Moores. Although the closed-door meeting had been ...

Unlike Any Other Crime

If you watched any local news in late February, then you saw footage of Billy Dean McCall twice shove police chief David Bejarano's daughter on a department-store surveillance tape. It was for that attack, and ...

The Contract from Hell

Confronted with the issue of music piracy on the Internet, the San Diego Union-Tribune took an unequivocal stance in a May 4 editorial. "Property rights must be protected," the newspaper declared. "Legitimate companies will have ...

Unbinding commitments

San Diegan John Moores, who stepped down last month as chairman of the board of Peregrine Systems, the Del Mar Heights-based software outfit he controls, will soon be departing many of the other corporate boards ...

What are the large cylinders for on top of the first hill north of Mira Mesa along the I-15?

Dear Matt A.: There are these large cylinders on top of the first hill north of Mira Mesa along the I-15. I think that the same type of twin cylinders exist (because I've climbed up ...

Little Debbie

‘Little Debbie doesn’t like to give interviews,” said her father, Ellsworth McKee, board chairman and chief administrative officer of McKee Foods Corporation. When I reached Mr. McKee at his Chattanooga home, he was evasive about ...

Hike, swim, or surf at San Onofre State Beach, just south of the Orange County line.

Just below one of San Diego County's few campgrounds dull enough to be insipid lies one of the more agreeably wild stretches of beach to be found in Southern California. Coastward of the 300 tent ...

Thursday, August 24

Drug Rush: The Farmacia Boom

Time was when a tourist driving through Tijuana might have thought this a metropolis of auto-upholstery shops. To a visitor on foot, the ubiquity of curio stores suggested the city was about purses and blankets. ...

Just Say Nay

San Diegans flock to the Del Mar racetrack each summer, making it the most successful racing plant in the land, in terms of attendance. For nonregular racegoers, Del Mar is a another excuse for a ...

What is that UFO-looking thing behind the Design Center building at Fifth and Brookes in Hillcrest?

Matmail: What is that UFO-looking thing behind the Design Center building at Fifth and Brookes in Hillcrest? -- Rachel, UCSD The green spaceship in the canyon was one man's dream of the mobile home of ...

Is there really a governing body in charge of highlighter safety?

Heymatt: I can't help noticing, as I sit here in my cubicle, endlessly shuffling papers and marking up documents with my yellow, pink, and blue highlighters, that the new marks are much brighter than the ...

What would you see if you were inside a giant mirrored sphere?

Mattster: What would you see if you were inside a giant mirrored sphere? -- Dizzy, the net It depends on where you're standing, but if your eyes are dead center in the sphere, you'd see ...

High above the L.A. fog and smog, ascend Mount Islip in the San Gabriel Mountains for a view of the Mojave Desert.

Eight thousand feet above the monotonous, flat grid of San Gabriel Valley streets, Mount Islip pokes its head above the sticky, warm marine layer and basks in cooler, drier, pine-scented air. The view from the ...

Thursday, August 17

Arrivals and Departures: The Muse Strikes the Santa Fe Depot

Here’s the idea: You get a bunch of writers together and you take them someplace cool, someplace evocative — the Santa Fe Depot, say — and you tell them, “Go ahead, write something.” This could ...

American Cabstand

A sort of unofficial United Nations meets near the San Diego Zoo's main exit. On a narrow street shaded by palm and pepper trees, taxi drivers from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria, Italy, Tunisia, Nigeria, ...

Ain't Never Goin' Back

The lobby of the Central Jail on Front Street is like a ticket office. Clerks behind glass windows service visitors, bail bondsmen, and attorneys. The mood is low-key and lazy until the elevator doors open ...

UCSD's gold

How much does it cost state taxpayers to lure administrators to UCSD's La Jolla hilltop campus by the sea? Plenty. Latest example is Edward W. Holmes, new vice-chancellor of health sciences and dean of the ...

A Taste of Wild Honey

All winter I have struggled to hold the bees in the hive of my head. Because I had no time to write about them, they threatened to rise up as a single blonde body and ...

In hotels and motels, why isn't the bottom sheet tucked in?

Matt: In hotels and motels, why does the bottom sheet only extend to the end of the mattress? It isn't tucked in, and when you are tall and/or a restless sleeper, the bottom sheet gets ...

Are any of the rumors concerning British Prince Harry true?

Lord Matt of Knowledge: There are ongoing rumors suggesting that [British] Prince Harry has issues. Or, more precisely, he isn't Charles's issue. Does anyone concerned with the succession to the throne see anything in these ...

Thursday, August 10

Farewell, Worshipful Objects

The tenor saxophone player is missing. While someone tries to call him on a cell phone, the horn players clear their throats and the other ensemble members make the familiar, cacophonous sounds of musical instruments ...

Goat

In 1668 the Marquis de Montespan was seen approaching Versailles in a coach draped in black silk with a pair of stag’s horns wobbling on top. The Marquis no doubt chose stag’s horns because they ...

Back on the Street

Micael Jackson is in a good mood. It's a muggy Saturday afternoon downtown, and he's just been released from jail at Front and C Street after six months inside. "I was in for narcotics. My ...

Helmeted Arts

A team of San Diego artists are among 11 finalists to win one of four $300,000 public-art contracts in Denver. The site of the projects is the new downtown Denver football stadium slated to open ...

High cost of power

SDG&E workers may be taking the brunt of local anger over utility-rate hikes, but executives of Sempra Energy, the outfit that owns SDG&E, are raking in big bucks. According to public disclosures, the Sempra chairman ...

View the Pacific from the south-facing vantage of Leo Carrillo State Beach near Malibu

Upcoast from Malibu, in the serene western half of the Santa Monica Mountains, Leo Carrillo State Beach encompasses a bit more than a mile of ocean frontage plus 2000 acres of interior hillsides and canyons. ...

Thursday, August 3

Home on the Water

From a distance, it looked like the home of a prince or minor lord — the castle’s four turrets and dark crenellated walls. But as I got closer, I saw that what seemed to be ...

Bird Talk

When she walks along Pacific Beach in the warm evenings of summer, Renee Lowe turns heads. The 38-year-old has long brown hair and the good looks that once made her a teen model, but it ...

What's the real deal with divining rods?

Dear Matt: What's the real deal with divining rods? I've used a couple of wire coat hangers and straightened them out thus [clever illustration included], and I have found water pipes. But I'm puzzled as ...

How do you get permission from Caltrans to put up memorial markers between the 163 and 52 overpass?

Hey, Matt: I commute to work by bike down Kearny Villa Road, and between the 163 overpass and the 52 overpass are two markers, one on each side of the road. The west side marker ...

Can you please answer this puzzle for me?

Mr. Alice: This puzzle has been driving me crazy. So there are three guys in a hotel and they order a pizza. It costs $30. Each guy chips in $10. But when the pizza delivery ...

Visit El Monte Park near Lakeside, where massive oaks spread below the stony gaze of "El Capitan" mountain.

Tucked against a rocky, sunburnt hillside in the San Diego River valley outside Lakeside, El Monte Regional Park is a shock to the eye on a bright summer day. The park spreads across 98 flat ...

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