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Thirty Years Ago Otto Bos, Mayor Pete Wilson's new, young press secretary, was leaning back, telling a reporter about how he had been the head zucchini cooker with Del Monte Foods in Oakland before he became a politics writer for the San Diego Union when Bob White, Wilson's executive assistant, rushed into the office. Finding himself face-to-face with a reporter, White looked terror-stricken. He raised a sheaf of papers in front of him and said three times, "We're low-key here." Then he headed for the back door of the press secretary's office and disappeared.

The 33-year-old press secretary leaned back again and put his hands behind his head. "Now, where was I?" He went on to recount how he had served in a M.A.S.H. unit in Vietnam and came home to protest the war in full uniform, but only once. "I got my picture taken by the FBI and everything," he said, grinning. -- "ALL THE MAYOR'S MEN," Paul Krueger and Richard Louv, July 20, 1977

Twenty-Five Years Ago Movie reviews do not ordinarily make me laugh out loud. But Duncan Shepherd's essay on E.T. was the wittiest and most piercing debunking of Hollywood pretension I have read in a long time. It has doubtless raised up a lynch mob of those long-fingered, green-skinned sentimentalists who hold that E.T. is One and Spielberg is His prophet. I hope Shepherd manages to elude them, since he is the best film critic writing for any publication that I receive regularly. Pauline Kael, reviewing E.T. in the New Yorker, simmered her mush to a thicker consistency than usual by calling the movie a "bliss-out." -- LETTERS: "D.S. on D.S.," David Sewell, La Jolla, July 15, 1982

Twenty Years Ago Developer Ernie Hahn has done enough good for San Diego to be named our godfather, as far as I can figure it. And if he wants to help us again with his plans for improving the sinkhole that lies east of Gaslamp, I say, let him have at it, I'm tired of myopic doomsayers like Paul Krueger ("The Inside Story," July 9) who denounce moves to upgrade the downtown area and try to find profiteering under every newly laid brick. -- LETTERS: "THE FILTHY SINKHOLE," Adam Pendleton, San Diego, July 16, 1987

Fifteen Years Ago The Son, Rick Valdez: In a lot of ways my brother and I were opposites. Steven was conventional and I was the rebel. He was the good boy, and I always questioned things. We were both severe hemophiliacs, and we'd been going to Children's Hospital -- I can't even tell you for certain, but since the mid-'60s. When we were young we were always at the hospital because we were bleeding all the time. -- "TAINTED BLOOD BROTHERS: HEMOPHILIA IN THE TIME OF AIDS," Neal Matthews, July 16, 1992

Ten Years Ago Baby Rock has been a preferred nightclub for some of the super-rich exporters of illicit drugs and their hirelings. A Tijuana resident cognizant of the goings-on in the border city said that the notorious Arellano Felix brothers -- the second most powerful narco ring in Mexico and sought after by U.S. authorities -- used to patronize Baby Rock, although the last sighting of them was two years ago. It is still a popular place for young lower-level executives of the narco trade. -- CITY LIGHTS: "PORNO KING TIED TO T.J. HOT SPOT,"Bob Owen, July 10, 1997

Five Years Ago A steer skeleton lay in the dry creek bed. Tom extracted a tooth from its skull and handed it to me like a picked flower. Its roots were long and brown, so desiccated they looked almost wooden. Only its crown was any bit of white. I slipped the gift into my backpack -- a souvenir of square V17. -- "BIRDS SQUARED," Jeanne Schinto, July 11, 2002

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