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Thirty Years Ago The phone is answered, and the voice I hear is Mort Sahl's. "In an article in the Los Angeles Times [August 8, 1977], you were quoted as saying that there should be 50 comedians doing what you are, but there aren't any."

"What about David Brenner, Robert Klein, Chevy Chase?"

"Brenner does the New York/airline stewardess bit, Klein is a traditional monologist, and Chase has a whole flock of writers who do his work. The same is true about women. Gracie Allen was funny. Carol Burnett is funny. Lily Tomlin thinks she's funny, but sometimes she's anti-working class." -- "SAHL: THE THINKING MAN'S RIOT," E.J. Rackow, October 13, 1977

Twenty-Five Years Ago Why would the Ralphs supermarket chain want to build a new store on the parking lot of the former Sports Arena FedMart? Ralphs already has a handsome wood-and-glass market in the Midway Towne Center, just a half mile west at Midway Drive and West Point Loma Boulevard.... -- CITY LIGHTS: "FOOD CHAIN MAY THROW UP ANOTHER OUTLET," Neal Matthews, October 14, 1982

Twenty Years Ago According to Bustamante, other studies have established that between 45 and 50 percent of the total flow of Mexican migrants to the United States is through the city limits of Tijuana, and 75 percent of that is through the soccer field, which is known by the Mexicans as Cañon Zapata. -- CITY LIGHTS: "GIVE US YOUR NUMBERS,"Jeannette De Wyze, October 15, 1987

Fifteen Years Ago Yeah, I work at a downtown hotel -- let's call it the Farmer. Night manager. More like a glorified, janitor-bouncer-babysitter for a zoo-full of strange things, which are sometimes not quite human and sometimes all too human. The electrical system has to be the living nightmare of every fireman in downtown San Diego. Open wires spliced to bare wires. Switches that have no covers and were probably conceived by Edison. Switches that invite involuntary electrocution. Bulbs hanging by exposed wires dangling from the ceiling. -- "RESERVATIONS," Lawrence Freeman, October 15, 1992

Ten Years Ago He stands with a solid, bovine mixture of contentment and resignation until -- BANG! -- the bullet disappears into his skull and then his legs fold and he drops straight down and rolls on his side and kicks and gasps as the eight-inch butcher knife saws an opening in his neck. A few more great kicks at the air and his motion stops, but the blood will keep pouring from that hole for a long while yet. The blood is blood-red; other reds do not describe it, it describes other reds. A girl washes the concrete with a hose while he bleeds out, and the blood feathers out in the water as they stream together toward a sewer grating, leaving long black clots that must be helped along by the direct spray of the hose. Randi, a reticent 13-year-old girl, was "very fond of him. I couldn't watch him get shot." But she can watch him be skinned and gutted. -- "PISTOL PETE WAS FAT IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES," Matthew Lickona, October 16, 1997

Five Years Ago While David Westerfield prepares for life in prison or an endless series of appeals from death row, most San Diegans have overdosed on opinions about his guilt or innocence. One group that has not been heard from, however, is the inmates at downtown's central jail, where Westerfield was held during his trial. Michael Collins, 34, was jailed for possession of a methamphetamine pipe and spent none of his time watching the Westerfield trial. "None of the other inmates watched it either. We were wondering where he was. They all thought he was guilty. Me too. With all the forensics evidence? Yeah. You bet your ass. When the law gets you, man, the law gets you." -- CITY LIGHTS: "BURN HIM ALIVE," Robert Kumpel, October 10, 2002

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