Stories for September 2003

Thursday, September 25

Deep Roots Long Before Cheetahs

The narrow streets and sidewalks of Trinidad, Colorado, are paved with thousands and thousands of old red bricks, each stamped with the name of the town. In the hot afternoon sun of mid-September, they take ...

City Pension Funds in Red

Drop dead. That's what City of San Diego employees, their retirement board -- and the mayor and city council -- are saying to taxpayers, as well as to current retired city workers. DROP is an ...

Killer Speed

On a recent Friday night at 11:00 p.m., a lone policeman sits in his patrol car watching from 50 yards away a group of souped-up cars in the Target parking lot on Balboa Avenue. "It ...

Recruiting stations

Some well-established faces are set to speak at a "Leadership Conference" critiquing the media and its coverage of the war in Iraq, to be held for the edification of county high school students next month ...

Travel the Stonewall Creek/Soapstone Grade loop in the Cuyamacas by foot, on a mountain bike, or on horseback.

The striped skunk stood defiantly in the middle of the trail, its tail held straight up and its beady eyes tracking my every move. I slunk by, circumscribing a 180-degree arc of 10-yard radius -- ...

Thursday, September 18

All in the Family

David and Michael Copley were both adopted by the late Jim Copley, owner of Copley Press and publisher of the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune. You probably know of David, now president of Copley ...

SureBeam's Numbers Spook Investors

San Diego's SureBeam Corp. is cocksure about its technology. But investors are understandably unsure about the company's prospects. For SureBeam and its onetime parent, San Diego's Titan Corp., which Tuesday agreed to be purchased, it's ...

You Can't Protect Children From Everything

'I met Scott Peters at the opening of our YMCA when he was running for city council for District One in 2000," says Fred Mangarelli. "I introduced myself, but he didn't say, 'Hello,' and he ...

Boiler room grifter

Federal court records show that the late mystery witness in the Cheetahs grand jury investigation was a "substance abuser" who led a lucrative life of crime before being paroled about three years ago to San ...

Shed some light on glow-in-the-dark

Heymatt: Why is it when I open the little paper package that Breathe Right strips come in they give off a bright fluorescent light? They are packaged similarly to the kind of adhesive bandage that ...

Chair man of the plank

Heymatt: One of my family members is running for a school board seat. Why is such a group called a "board"? Is it political? Social? -- PWaggen, the net No, it's furniture. The board in ...

A sticky question, a grain of truth

Greetings Matt Honey. What's up with it? Nearly every container of it I've bought over the years has turned into a crystallized, difficult-to-use mess. Why does the sugar tend to crystallize out of solution? My ...

Climb the highest summit of the Santa Monica Mountains -- Sandstone Peak.

At 3111 feet of elevation, Sandstone Peak lies at the very top of the Santa Monica Mountains. The view from the summit is panoramic, with distant mountain ranges, the hazy Los Angeles Basin, and the ...

Saturday, September 13

Wireless wonderland

Matt: I bought one of those wireless doorbells for my home a few days ago. A neighbor three houses down apparently bought one too, and whenever someone rings their doorbell, mine rings. Last week a ...

Thursday, September 11

Who's Got Your Trash?

We squabble over recycling at my house. I see no reason why the pizza boxes can’t go into the blue bin, but my husband says I’m wrong, that the melted cheese and grease stains make ...

The Zoo May Seek Compromise

Believe it or not, the 800-pound gorilla may not sit down exactly where it pleases. In the middle of last week, there was a sudden consensus shift indicating that the gorilla -- the San Diego ...

Neighbor Battles Neighbor

In February of 1999, superior court judge Frank Brown purchased 73 acres of land along Boulder Creek near Descanso at a tax auction. The property had been owned by a man named Otto Rollins, who ...

That's rich

Based on the personal financial disclosure statement he filed last month, Republican "Gubernator" candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger has a few more personal ties to San Diego than so far have been widely known. Among the muscleman's ...

What the H!?!?

Hello, Matt: My H disappeared off the trunk lid of my '93 Honda Civic coupe. All that's left are two small holes and some black rubber seal where my beloved H used to reside. Was ...

A recall revenge plot

Heymatt: If Gray Davis is recalled and Cruz Bustamante wins the election, could Bustamante appoint Gray Davis as Lt. Governor? Then could Bustamante resign and make Gray Davis governor again? Wouldn't that be a nice ...

The independent nation of California

Yo Matt! What does it take for a state to secede from the US of A? I've been told that there is no constitutional requirement for a state not to secede, and it seems to ...

Take a leisurely bike ride through the pine forests of Mount Laguna.

September temperatures remain warm on Mount Laguna, and both of the large national-forest campgrounds -- Laguna and Burnt Rancheria -- atop the 6000-foot mountain are winding down their busy summer season. During much of the ...

Thursday, September 4

The White Mask: Marilyn Monroe and the Hotel Del Coronado

On Saturday, September 6, 1958, Marilyn Monroe and the 175-person company of Some Like It Hot arrived at the Hotel del Coronado to begin location shots, after filming in Hollywood the previous four weeks. The ...

Sleaze Saga

With still another scandal rocking city government, have you ever wondered how San Diego got the chauvinistic sobriquet "America's Finest City"? It's a sordid story -- justifiably sullying San Diego, its government and establishment, as ...

Second Only To the Cowboy

In San Diego, airport cabbies rest at the top of the public-transportation heap. Their fares are more regular -- and generally larger -- than those of mere city cabbies. Plus, the airport more or less ...

Pink Flamingos

Dear M.A.: I recently heard that flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp as their main diet. But shrimp are only pink after they're cooked. Who cooks shrimp for flamingos? Sounds sketchy to me. -- ...

Let's walkie and talkie.

Heymatt: Walkie-talkies have a range of up to five miles, but cordless phones have a range of only up to about 100 yards. Why can't those geniuses at the big electronics companies figure out how ...

Hike Malibu's Solstice Canyon and learn a lesson or two in fire ecology.

Solstice Canyon Park, a unit of the sprawling Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, invites your attention, with superb oak woodland habitat to enjoy, and lessons in fire ecology to ponder. Since its unveiling in ...

If I'm standing on the moon, can I shoot a guy on Pluto?

Earthling: I was wondering why they don't use normal handguns in space movies instead of fancy ray guns. Would a handgun fire in a vacuum? If you fired it on the moon, say, would the ...