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Thirty-Five Years Ago
The taxpayers of San Diego pay mayor Pete Wilson the middlin’ wage of $20,000 a year. Some say we get a lot for our money. Everybody would agree on one bargain, though: we also get the services of Mrs. Pete Wilson...for free. Betty Wilson is the first working mayor’s wife since wartime San Diego. If being thought of as a political asset sounds tag-a-long and passive, she gets to wear an independent, self-starter label in her paid job, as a realtor.
“WHO IS BETTY WILSON?” Gale Fox, April 3, 1975

Thirty Years Ago
Two weeks ago [St. Charles Borromeo Catholic church and academy was] awarded $67,000 as their share of a much-heralded $1.9 million settlement against the San Diego Port District. The church had joined scores of property owners in Loma Portal and Golden Hill in the suit four years ago, claiming that jet noise had caused the value of the affected properties to decline.
CITY LIGHTS: “WHO’S THE PATRON SAINT OF LITIGATION?” Mark Orwoll, April 3, 1980

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Just east of the Salton Sea, between the towns of Brawley and Mecca, there’s a growing cluster of commercial aquaculturists — though among themselves they prefer to call each other simply “fish farmers.” At first this rocky, arid, and alkaline stretch of desert might seem like an unlikely place to raise fish, particularly if you consider that the fish are to be shipped to consumers on the coast, which is already saturated with an abundance of seafood.
“AND ON THIS FARM THEY HAD SOME FISH,” Steve Sorensen, April 4, 1985

Twenty Years Ago
Of all the various instrumentalists that I have proffered skull to, and once in a while damned, I have never been more appreciative or confrontational as I am with trumpeters/flugelhornists/brass players of any stripe. Every man who has picked up that horn has been considered either a genius or a thorough fool — or is that an oxymoronic redundancy?
OF NOTE: “HARRY ‘SWEETS’ EDISON,” Stephen Esmedina, April 5, 1990

Fifteen Years Ago
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, most have long been abandoned. For a look at one of the first mines to be discovered (1870) and one of the last to be extensively worked, try this short hike down the Old Banner Grade.
ROAM-O-RAMA, Jerry Schad, March 30, 1995

Ten Years Ago
San Diego has been host to a number of public-art fiascoes. Most recent was Nancy Rubins’s boat-hull leviathan, planned to span Harbor Drive. Public outcry sank that before it happened. That revived memories of Ellsworth Kelly’s concrete-arch-and-steel monolith planned for Embarcadero Park and Vito Acconci’s airplane-parts sculpture garden at Spanish Landing. Both of those 1980s projects were killed before they materialized.

Heading the list of public-art disasters is the late Split Pavilion. In 1987, Carlsbad paid Andrea Blum $20,000 to design a piece of art for an ocean-front plot at the corner of Carlsbad Boulevard and Ocean Street. The result was 7500 square feet of erect steel bars, concrete, and reflecting pools. Carlsbad’s residents proclaimed the Pavilion a disaster, saying it was ugly and it obstructed their ocean view. In June 1998, they voted in a ballot referendum to remove the pavilion.
CITY LIGHTS: “A LOCAL’S COLORS,” Ernie Grimm, March 30, 2000

Five Years Ago
Back in the 1880s the University of Southern California planned to build the San Diego College of Arts of USC at Normal and Campus Streets. Land speculators went nuts. The resulting real estate boomlet gave us present-day University Avenue and University Heights. The boomlet went bust-olio three months later, and with it went USC’S plans for a San Diego campus.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, March 31, 2005

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