Stories for October 2004

Thursday, October 28

Elections San Diego Style

Anointed conservatives run our town.

A Mostly Republican History What chance is there in San Diego for an honest young lawyer who is a Democrat? — J. Robert O'Connor, U.S. attorney for California (1900) "A choice, not an echo" was ...

Explore woodsy Happy Camp Canyon near Moorpark in eastern Ventura County.

Happy Camp Canyon, near Simi Valley and Moorpark, nuzzles in a crease between two long, rounded, oak-studded ridges -- part of the many caterpillar-like, parallel segments making up Ventura County's share of the east-west-trending Transverse ...

They're Practically Salivating

Mark Ruford (not his real name) understands that the cab company he works for makes plenty of money off people stranded when their cars are towed at the beach. He drives them so often to ...

Sempra's Murphy juice

The struggling reelection campaign of San Diego mayor Dick Murphy has been getting some under-the-table financial support from Sempra Energy, the utility giant that owns San Diego Gas & Electric and depends on Murphy's friendship ...

Pols Wanted to Give Candy to Unions

Who dines on filet mignon when pension accounting is baloney? The Securities and Exchange Commission may look at that question, now that it is probing how phony pension accounting is used to inflate companies' profits. ...

Aww, do we really need to count all these votes? I've got a date tonight.

Hello, Matt: I was talking to a customer at my business yesterday about the election. I commented that I found it handier to go to the Registrar of Voters office on Ruffin Road and vote ...

One mouse plus one mouse equals�

Mr. Alice: Here it is. There is a mouse, a rodent, and a mouse, a thing you direct the arrow with on your computer. Plural for a mouse, the rodent, would be mice. I know ...

Thursday, October 21

The Curse of the Ranch

Divorce between millionaires seems uglier.

Ever since its founding as a railroad resort for millionaires back in 1915, Rancho Santa Fe, primarily known these days as America's wealthiest zip code, has had plenty of misery to go along with its ...

Wild Nights

Karl, of course, was into blood sports. I learned a lot from him about that world of anonymous sex and violence.” “Karl” is Karl Keller, for 20 years a professor in San Diego State’s English ...

October 27th's total lunar eclipse is perfectly timed for San Diego observers.

Lunar eclipses, often overlooked in favor of the more spectacular solar eclipses, deserve more respect than they get. Unlike the rare total solar type of eclipse, which is visible only along a narrow track sweeping ...

Equal opportunity reporting

A bit of California history is being made in this year's Solana Beach city-council elections. It involves the status of Dave Roberts, 43, a former congressional staffer who is one of four residents running for ...

The Nuttiest Thing I Have Heard

The so-called outside board members of Peregrine Systems insist they didn't know of the corruption inside the company, but they have a credibility problem: beginning in 1999, former chief executive Stephen Gardner warned the board ...

Mayor's Favor Miffs TJ Playwright

Tijuana mayor Jesús González Reyes faces the prospect of finding a new job come December 1 when mayor-elect Jorge Hank takes office. González also faces the possibility, albeit remote, of going to jail. The twofold ...

What's in Bush's wallet?

Heymatt: Do you think the president carries a wallet? I can't imagine he ever has to pull out a credit card or cash or flash his drivers license. -- Wondering, the net Not even Grandma ...

Why is farting rude?

Matt or Grandma Alice: Can you pinpoint when it was exactly that farting became a social faux pas? Flatulence is totally natural. My twin sons fart all the time. Why when someone farts in, say, ...

What's "good money"?

Hey Matt: Where did the saying "good money" come from, as in, "I paid good money for that car"? -- Dawn, the net People might just mean "a lot of money" when they say good ...

Thursday, October 14

Live to Be One Hundred

Centenarians seize the day.

At the start of 1904, the U.S. population included 82 million people. Almost all of them are dead now, but Bert Wilbur, Geneva Chester, Pearl Alsten, and Archie Owen have survived. In 1904, five-year-old Bert ...

Rise above the mists of the San Gabriel Valley on the Schabarum Trail.

Schabarum Regional Park in Rowland Heights (eastern Los Angeles County) features a green-grass strip extending nearly a mile into the Puente Hills and lots of steep, brushy hillsides affording some great panoramas of the San ...

Dr. Laura's Tell-All Lover

Wouldn't you know it? San Diego's most infamous love affair took place in Los Angeles. It was three decades ago, and it was between talk radio's meanest moralist, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and talk radio's wittiest ...

Frye Addles Fat-Cat Moochers

Some in the national media say that write-in mayoral candidate Donna Frye "came out of nowhere." Wrong. She came out of the perfect place: the sewers. Long before she was elected to the city council, ...

Inside cash

Employees of the San Diego State University Foundation -- which is using the city's help to develop thousands of new residential units and a mammoth shopping area around the SDSU campus and has been criticized ...

Tale of a talk show

Hey Matt: My boyfriend says that The Jerry Springer Show is fake, that the guests are really actors, not insane trailer trash dating their sisters. Is he right, is it fake? -- Farah Daye, the ...

Thursday, October 7

Beautiful Light

San Diego light makes the world available.

It's not even noon and already I'm closing the blinds on the south-facing windows of my home office. That pesky natural light is overrunning the glow of the lamp by which I work. Too much ...

Poke around the ruins of old mines along Old Banner Grade east of Julian.

Honeycombed hillsides and bits and pieces of rusted equipment -- that is the legacy left behind by Julian's gold-mining heyday over a century ago. Although a few mines continue to be worked sporadically even today, ...

Frye Attacks Secrecy Culture

Two essential elements of financial fraud are secrecy and contrived complexity. And one driving force of the criminal mind is to continue doing what you have been doing, because if you stop, someone will get ...

Over Mom's Dead Body

Sunday's startling endorsement by the Union-Tribune of Democrat Mike Aguirre for San Diego city attorney seems to have turned conventional wisdom on its head. But there is a big reason behind the U-T's seeming madness, ...

It Would Turn You To Toast

Pete Scully, a battalion chief for the California Department of Forestry's fire protection agency, stands next to his camper-shelled pickup truck at a Highway 94 turnoff east of where Campo Creek turns south into Mexico, ...

Dog spit

Dear M.A.: I give my dinner plate to Queenie the Loveable Lab every night, and will lick it clean (except when we have broccoli). But why when she's through is the plate so slimy? It's ...

Friends don't let friends smoke clove cigarettes

Smoking Mattster: Tell my friend that clove cigarettes are worse for you than regular cigarettes. Thank you. -- A Friend, Chula Vista Dear Your Friend: Clove cigarettes are worse for you than regular cigarettes. Best ...

Earthquake kitty

Hey, Matt: How is it going? How was summer vacation? Here's my question. Can cats and dogs really feel the vibrations of a pending earthquake? The reason I ask is, this morning the cat was ...

Monday, October 4

Moon Shiner

It is a certain kind of person that is dedicated to life in the theater these days. For one thing, it's a perpetually archaic art form that attracts less and less interest in this age ...