Del Mar Stories

Papa Del Mar

Grand del Mar resort owner and GOP publisher Douglas Manchester’s U-T San Diego appears to have gotten itself a pretty good deal from the board of the fair district. According to a board report on ...

Los Peñasquitos Lagoon sand removal, redux

Release of “urban drool” necessary for salt marsh health

San Diego city crews started sand removal from the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon on the morning of June 11. Less than a month ago, California State Parks did an emergency lagoon opening to release stagnant water ...

Del Mar cat fight

Wrist-slaps for Border Patrol agents who should have known better

Border Patrol agents Kallie Helwig and Gerald Torello were both accused of being involved in a sex act in public at the Del Mar Fairgrounds last year that resulted in a physical altercation between Helwig and an accuser. A jury found Torello not guilty; Helwig got probation.

First Hour at the San Diego County Fair

Mainstays and middle-aged hip-hop ladies

For the 28th consecutive year, Escondido’s Margaret Austin, known as the “Pink Pig Lady,” was the first to walk through the front gates at the opening of the San Diego County Fair on June 8. ...

Los Peñasquitos Lagoon reopened to ocean tides

Two months since saltwater flowed

At 7:00 this morning, California State Parks personnel began the process of opening the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon in Del Mar. On hand are Natural Resources personnel as well as heavy-equipment operators, lifeguards, and maintenance crews. ...

Got a permit for that, Manchester?

Doug Manchester needs no permits, just lawyers and ineffectual city government.

Food-truck fight in Del Mar

Del Mar City Council delays permitting of food trucks within city limits.

John Moores' house can be yours for $23 million

You could have a moat!

Former Padres owner John Moores’ Del Mar pad up for sale.

Del Mar Racetrack’s long lost airport

You could take a plane

If the recent plan to have a train stop at the Del Mar Fairgrounds falls through, resurrecting the adjacent former airport is certainly a nonstarter. Located on the San Dieguito River wetlands between the Del ...

Story poles and oleander along I-5

Hi Matt: Travelling between San Diego and Oceanside via the 5 I’ve noticed a couple of things. At the Via de la Valle turn-off on both sides of the freeway there are white PVC pipes ...

Crazy Tree

Will you map the distance from Mia and Kerry’s place to the theater?” I called to David from the bathroom, where I was busy patting my head with wet hands to de-frizz my hair. “Why?,” ...

Accessible Gourmet Fare

Mid-range restaurants, gastropubs, and shops taking things to the next level.

Nowadays, I spend much of my time eating in restaurants or locked up in my office documenting those experiences. But before I wrote my first word about food, most of my time was spent in ...

Crest Canyon Open Space Park

Walk among Torrey pine trees through coastal sage scrub and chaparral plants.

Dangerous/Classy Fans at Offspring’s Del Mar Show

The Offspring show at the Del Mar Racetrack on Friday evening, August 10, kept sheriff's deputies, medical officials, and Elite security guards on edge all night. A large, boisterous crowd waited for the concert to ...

First Hour at the San Diego County Fair

Margaret Austin of Escondido was the first person in line at the fair's front gate and said she has been for at least the past 25 years. She woke up at 3:00 a.m. to board ...

Media Men and News Babes Gather, Gobble, Report on San Diego County Fair

A preview of this year's San Diego County Fair in Del Mar was hosted Friday night, June 1, along the midway of the fairgrounds. The exclusive invitee list included hundreds of local members of the ...

Big Deals at the San Diego County Fair

When the San Diego County Fair paid $80,000 to Gym Class Heroes to be a Grandstand headliner in 2007, one talent buyer said the New York hip-hop quartet was paid $45,000 more than they would ...

Jerry Brown’s Gift Horses

The true source of the bulk of a $15,000 contribution given to the 2014 reelection bid of Democratic governor Jerry Brown by the Thoroughbred Owners of California PAC has finally been revealed. As we reported ...

Carl Hilliard Goes Off to the Races

Lawyer and Del Mar mayor Carl Hilliard, now running for third district county supervisor in a crowded field that includes Steve Danon, aide to GOP congressman Brian Bilbray, and Democratic Solana Beach deputy mayor Dave ...

Jerry Brown’s Horse Race

The election isn’t until 2014, but Democratic governor Jerry Brown is already out raising money for his reelection campaign. Recent donors include beer-making giant Anheuser-Busch, with a $25,900 donation on January 28, and the California ...

Secret Love

“Once, I had a secret love/ That lived within the heart of me./ All too soon, my secret love/ Became impatient to be free.” So sang Doris Day in the Eisenhower-era film Calamity Jane. My ...

That's Not Rockabilly

Newly appointed Del Mar Fair trustee David Lizerbram says he wants the fairgrounds to host more major music events. That’s just not going to happen, according to promoter Garry Thayer, who organized the Hellbilly Fest ...

Fairgrounds Just Got Fairer

A longtime member of the local music scene has been tapped to help run the Del Mar Fairgrounds. David Lizerbram occasionally sits in with Rio Peligroso when the Americana band plays the Riviera Supper Club. ...

Harvest Evangelical Church

San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon? PL: I think, on average, more than 20 hours. I usually follow a book of the Bible, choose a passage and study the words ...

All’s Fair in the Lobbying War

A newly formed lobbying outfit in Sacramento has picked up some of San Diego County’s heaviest political hitters as clients, including one very influential public agency. According to state disclosure records, Capitol Strategic Advisors, LLC, ...

Del Mar Dog Beach Child Molester Admits Guilt

Today, July 18, at the Vista courthouse, a 61-year-old Carlsbad man admitted to molesting a 5-year-old girl on Dog Beach in Del Mar more than a year ago. William Wright Harris was free on his ...

Where do they go when the races are over?

And where do they go — not after the gates spring open — but after the race is run, after all their races are run? After the society matrons’ $1000 hats are back in the ...

San Diego County Fair Worker Calls for Backup

Visiting the San Diego County Fair is always fun — an exception being Friday night, July 1, when my family and I were leaving the fairgrounds. As our van was parked up on Via de ...

Flower Hill Cineplex to Close, Whole Foods to Open

With the recently announced closing of UltraStar Cinemas' Flower Hill four-plex in Del Mar, North County residents between south Carlsbad and Carmel Valley will be without a multiplex movie theater. The Flower Hill theater will ...

Very Good Flavor Del Mar

Jason Maitland was the final chef at Arterra before the Marriott fired him and everybody else to remake the restaurant from scratch. (I haven’t been to the new incarnation and can’t say I’m eager: for ...

Turkado, I Say, at Board & Brew

Another rainy day: Del Mar is not its usual sunny self. I’ve been sheltering in their grand old library. Big ol’ house. What a gem. Now waiting just across Highway 101 — they call this ...

The Big Rich, Part Two

In last week’s cover story, we described how two of America’s richest and most powerful oil barons took a small La Jolla hotel called Del Charro and turned it into an unlikely base for their ...

Oil and Politics in La Jolla

How two Texas oilmen ran Del Mar and national politicians from a La Jolla hotel.

Hotel del Charro: PART ONE It was the vortex of a dark universe, hiding in plain sight. “At La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya), San Diego’s northern suburb,” the New York Times reported on January 17, ...

Del Mar Retains Legal Counsel for Fairgrounds Purchase

During a January 3 meeting, city councilmembers agreed to retain former city councilmember Crystal Crawford to provide legal counsel, on a pro-bono basis, in their efforts to purchase the Del Mar Fairgrounds from the State ...

Del Murky Mar

On December 27, 3375 gallons of sewage gushed into the Zanja Creek after crews from San Diego's Waste Water Department unblocked a clogged sewage pipe in San Diego's Fairbanks Ranch community. Crews were unable to ...

Why Wild Bill Wins at Addison

Yes, I know. When I reviewed Addison in December 2006, shortly after its opening, I swore, “I wouldn’t go back there if somebody paid me — and somebody does.” Service conformed to some vulgar idea ...

With Betfair I Can Bet on That Nag to Come Last

"Something has to change at the track. We need new energy. We need to excite new people, and this new betting system is going to do that,” says Carl Hilliard in a soft voice. He’s ...

Del Mar and Solana Beach Are Off to the Races

Solana Beach city councilmembers gathered in council chambers on Thanksgiving eve expecting to review the response from Del Mar councilmembers about their proposal for both cities to combine efforts and buy the Del Mar Fairgrounds ...

Neighbors for a Transit Solution Address Del Mar City Council About Train Platform

A group of residents named Neighbors for a Transit Solution appeared before the Del Mar City Council on October 18 to protest the possible construction of a multimillion-dollar train platform between 21st and 24th streets ...

North County Transit Confounded by Photo of Del Martians

Justin Fornelli, Chief Rail Engineer for the North County Transit District, appeared before the transit system's board of directors on October 19 at NCTD’s headquarters in Oceanside to report on the status of the temporary ...

North County Transit Meets with Del Mar Denizens over Temporary Train Stop

Several Del Mar residents and members of the press surrounded a table in Nancy Fisher's Del Mar living room. At the table sat the executive director for North County Transit Matt Tucker, chief rail engineer ...

Where the Surf Meets the Turf Meets the Train in Old Del Mar

"We need to get as many people as possible to attend meetings and write letters. We need to drive the City nuts to get them on our side. Wherever they want to put it is ...

San Dieguito Lagoon Trail

San Dieguito Lagoon’s new “Lagoon Trail” and boardwalk now stretches 1.4 miles between Jimmy Durante Boulevard and the Albertsons shopping center just south of Via de la Valle. The new segment of trail is yet ...

Not All Aboard

Twenty feet from the front door of a stone-fronted Del Mar home, just south of the San Dieguito River, sits a white-wooden structure that houses railroad utilities. The structure marks the spot where North County ...

Pay Up to Park

On July 12, the Del Mar City Council unanimously adopted a new ordinance to declare certain private property open to public parking and added a parking-meter zone on the 1400 block of Maiden Lane. The ...

172,396 Mini Donuts. Yum.

At this year’s San Diego County Fair, a business coup took place that went unnoticed by most fairgoers; but, it was the talk of longtime merchandise-booth owners in Bing Crosby Hall. For over 25 years, ...

Fair Flood

At the San Diego County Fair on July 1, just after 3:00 p.m., a freshwater main ruptured at the O’Brien Exhibit Hall, gushing hundreds of gallons onto the walkways and into nearby booths outside the ...

R.I.P. (or Don’t), M.J.

On the first anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, June 25, the San Diego County Fair celebrated the pop icon by hosting the “Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band,” Who’s Bad. By 7:00 p.m., the Paddock’s stage ...

Tapped Out

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department arrested three people in Encinitas, Del Mar, and Solana Beach for furnishing alcohol to persons under the age of 21 on March 26, according to the state department of ...

Tapas on Tokyo Time

An izakaya is the Japanese equivalent of a tapas bar or gastropub — a place where salarymen flock after work to snack on a variety of small dishes (or some big comforting ones) for a ...

Odds-on favorite

On Wednesday of this week, the State Race Track Leasing Commission was scheduled to approve a new request for proposals for a new lease of the Del Mar track. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, the ...

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