Imperial Beach Stories

Smuggled by Surfboard

At about 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 7, U.S. Border Patrol Agents spotted a surfer paddling north about 200 yards off the Imperial Beach coast, near the Mexican border. On the orange surfboard, agents could ...

Unpunished

Fifteen minutes before the Wednesday, June 3, meeting of the Imperial Beach City Council was set to start, a dozen residents, a few reporters, and a television news crew congregated outside council chambers. The residents ...

Freaky Thing

An explosion rocked the residents of an Imperial Beach apartment complex at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 28. Residents of the Imperial House Apartments at 1047 Seacoast Drive were sent scurrying from their units when ...

Democracy Inaction

Imperial Beach councilman Fred McLean died of cancer on Sunday, May 24. Three days later, former mayor Diane Rose was appointed by the city council to fill his seat, despite the fact that an ad ...

Define Art. And Graffiti?

Brian McCauley owns Traditions Tattoo shop at 1835 Palm Avenue, an old metal warehouse that once was home to an auto-parts store. “The neighborhood is messed up” says McCauley, a soon-to-retire Navy sailor. “We have ...

Not So Beaching

While Imperial Beach lifeguards prepared for a public safety demonstration on Saturday morning, May 23, a father and son aboard a sinking fishing boat gave rescuers a real emergency to deal with. “A fishing boat ...

Middle of the Class

At the foot of the wooden Imperial Beach pier on a gray Wednesday morning, environmental group Heal the Bay issued San Diego County’s annual report card for water quality at its beaches. There was some ...

Mar Vista Lockdown

Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach was locked down shortly before dismissal time on Friday, May 8, while sheriff’s deputies conducted a neighborhood search. Deputies sought two males, 17 to 18 years of age, ...

For 2000 Instead of 20

I’ve been unemployed for ten months and have been able to provide for my family, but after filing my taxes and having to pay, I knew I could use a little help. Our local elementary ...

Here Comes the Sandman

It’s not even Memorial Day and people are arguing over sand on the beach. But this isn’t just any sand. The argument is over new sand, or what its supporters prefer to call “beach renourishment.” ...

Biker Friendly

On Saturday April 18, a section of the Bayshore Bikeway was officially opened. The new bike path, built atop the levee formerly occupied by the old San Diego & Arizona Eastern railway tracks, stretches a ...

Not So Great Escape

Shortly before 11:00 a.m. on Monday, April 6, a female driver fleeing an accident on Eighth Street lost control of her late-model Ford Escape and nearly crashed into a house a couple blocks away. John ...

Duel Down the Avenue

Near midnight on Sunday, April 5, police radio traffic indicated that a fight had broken out between two men on the 1300 block of Iris Avenue. A Hispanic male and a Hispanic female had been ...

I.B. Neighbors More Than O.K.

On Sunday March 1, just before noon, contractors working at South Bay Union School District’s VIP Village preschool discovered a fire in a classroom and immediately called 911. "We lost materials and mementos," said school ...

Endless Bummer

The surf breaks from Imperial Beach Pier down to the Tijuana Slough are some of Southern California’s best. In that area, surfers can find good waves and light crowds. The water quality, however, is bad. ...

For the Children

On March 5, the South Bay Union School District voted to eliminate 80 teaching positions, but it was not the slam-dunk many expected. District superintendent Carol Parish addressed those attending, saying, “We had to start ...

Lil Flowerpot of Danger

Looking for bargains last Saturday morning at the South Bay Drive-In swap meet, I picked up what I thought was some lacing material out of a decorative flowerpot and, to my horror, held in my ...

Cold Dip, Cold Trail

Imperial Beach -- A 40-year-old male went missing after heading into the water 30 yards from the Tijuana river mouth on February 15. According to transmissions over the police radio scanner, at 8:30 p.m. a ...

New Park for I.B.?

On Thursday, February 12, a mostly senior crowd attended an exploratory meeting to discuss the potential for a new park in the Oneonta neighborhood. At the Oneonta Elementary School cafeteria, Imperial Beach public works director ...

Shooting in I.B.

At approximately 11:45 a.m. on February 12, shots were fired in an apartment building on Elder Avenue just east of Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach. A 21-year-old woman was shot in the stomach ...

The Promised Land

Author: Valentine Cardinalis Neighborhood: Imperial Beach Age: 23 Occupation: Software tester Ever since the 1800s, people have been crossing the American West in an attempt to create a better ­life. I grew up in the ...

Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke It

During the past year, city officials in Imperial Beach have tried to pass an ordinance banning the sale of tobacco paraphernalia commonly used to smoke illegal substances. Last October, deputies raided two “smoke shops” for ...

I.B.'s Five Faves

During the October 15th meeting of the Imperial Beach City Council, a request for a continuance by applicant Jim Kennedy to install a T-Mobile telecommunications tower next to an apartment building resulted in a bad ...

Ye Olde Planks

A recent inspection by Blaylock Engineers found that the Imperial Beach pier is in need of a makeover — a $1.6 million makeover, even though the port commission deems the pier to be in “generally ...

Chickens Closer to Crossing the Road

Moments before Wednesday’s meeting of the Imperial Beach City Council — which would include a debate over allowing residents to own pet chickens — city manager Gary Brown brought out a bucket of fried chicken ...

I.B. Weighs Color Palette Options

What's Next? Lilac Lifeguard Towers? At a July 15 city council meeting, former Imperial Beach mayor and current chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners Michael Bixler stated how he believes Imperial Beach should look ...

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? To get to I.B.!

Last week, the Imperial Beach City Council voted to overturn a citywide ordinance that banned chickens as pets. Coronado is now the only city in San Diego County that is not considered a haven for ...

Roping Dogs

Dogs’ Beach in Ocean Beach, 1974. The city council got tough on dogs that year. In two weeks’ time, 232 citations were issued to owners, “the toughest crackdown on stray dogs in county history,” according ...

I'm as Big as a Vons

The Taj Mahal of food banks.

Near the lifeguard station in Ocean Beach, nine homeless people have gathered. One lies in the grass of Saratoga Park, legs crossed and hat tilted over his eyes. One stands nearby, smoking a cigarette. Two ...

Tacos Are a Tiny Taste of Temptation

Eat up, little burros

Fancy wimmen are okay, but there's nuttin' like the real thing: a nice warm adobada taco on a nice cold night beside a nice hot grill outside a friendly taco catering truck, with that marinated ...

Pollution Naysayer

Name: Mark Thompson Lives: Ocean Beach Surfing: South of the pier in Imperial Beach “It’s a known fact that I.B. has some of the dirtiest water, but I mean, I don’t hear of people getting ...

Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst

Adults — wild cards in kids' games

At the Mira Mesa Recreation Center, playing for my fifth-grade youth basketball team, I watched as my coach threw a chair onto the court in anger. On another occasion, the referee threw my coach out ...

Organic Heaven

Gotta be careful here. To say something’s the best. But…oh, to heck with it. This is the best freakin’ sandwich I can remember munching, okay? It’s enough to make a vegan out of me. I’m ...

Imperial Beach, end of Imperial Beach Blvd/Coronado Avenue

Names: Jeff Knox and Seth Fisher Live: Imperial Beach Surfing: Imperial Beach, end of Imperial Beach Blvd/Coronado Avenue Drive to the end of Imperial Beach Boulevard. There you'll meet locals Seth Fisher and Jeff "The ...

All That's Left

Lots of expensive land.

Israel and Lebanon were at war. England and Argentina were at war. In Hollywood, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were formed. Navy beat Army 24-7, the Chargers beat the Dolphins 41-38 to make it to ...

Shelf-Talkers and The Sweet Spot

"Everybody was cutting throats, giving stuff away just to bring the customer in."

Code Dogs Hound the Plank

Ask a nonresident of Imperial Beach to name a restaurant or bar in San Diego County's southernmost beach town. If he can name anything at all, it likely will be Ye Olde Plank Inn. The ...

Ruff, Ruff, Ruff In Imperial Beach

Diana Cartman (a pseudonym) suffers from a recurring nightmare. The dream runs like this: Cartman watches television in her living room a few blocks from the ocean in Imperial Beach. It's getting late, and she ...

Dancing Bike

I got invited to a biker party and imagined characters from the Clint Eastwood movies that I grew up watching -- fat bellies, black widow tattoos, facial hair.As I approached the party in Imperial Beach, ...

Clarity Soup

“The secret to doing well here is don’t come looking for something.”

Dragon’s Blood and Ballistic Missiles

I went to two different parties on the Saturday before Halloween. The first one was in Imperial Beach. Lea, who invited me, told me most of the people attending were employees of the UCSD Medical ...

Best of 2003: Best Place To Buy Balloons

Balloonatics 703 Palm Avenue, Imperial Beach www.balloonatics.com 619-563-1088 In business since 1978, Balloonatics was San Diego's first balloon designer and decorator. Balloon arrangements cost anywhere from $35 to $75 and come laden with candy or ...

Smokey Bandits

From July of 2000 to April 2001, a new kind of crime wave hit San Diego County. Boiled down to penal-code labeling -- 211 for armed robbery, 459 for burglary -- the crimes weren't anything ...

Best of 2001: Best Crab Cake

Tin Fish Imperial Beach Pier, 910 Seacoast Drive, Imperial Beach www.thetinfish.net There are a lot of crab cakes in the naked city -- crumby crab cakes, fancy crab cakes tasting of too much green pepper, ...

Best of 2001: Best Brunch With Imperial Beach Old-Liners

Ye Olde Plank Inn 24 Palm Avenue, Imperial Beach 619-423-5976 The Plank is IB's old-line hangout (it opened in 1886 as a liquor store). The low, palm-frond palapa dangles with nets, puffer fish, mini brass ...

Best of 2000: Best Place For A Rooftop Sunset Barbecue

Seacoast Inn 800 Seacoast Drive, Imperial Beach (619) 424-7556 or (619) 424-5183 There is no better ocean view, period. Not if you like to see as much ocean as you can. The blue-and-white stucco Seacoast ...

Best of 2000: Best Place To Catch Grunion

Beaches from Imperial Beach to Oceanside To find out where grunion are running, call Fish and Game at (858) 467-4201 Legal in March and from June through August. They must be left alone April/May. Grunion ...

Pier Group

“You can just about live without ever visiting a supermarket from what you can catch on this pier.”

One Tough Town

Looking at Imperial Beach today, there are two things to remember — make that three. First, after six decades of sewage hell, the end is in sight, ground has been broken. That’s right, buckaroo, phase ...

No Amount of Pith-Helmeted Colonials Can Protect You From Chaos

The Cays villages, all Caribbean-cute and nautical-spruce, have a distinctly nervous feel.

Take a drive along the Silver Strand area of the beach just south of Coronado on the 75, down toward Imperial Beach, and you come across a little oasis of West Indian architectural chic named ...

City Attorney Sleeps on Floor, Fights High-Rises

A Spartan existence is a tiny cottage a block from the Imperial Beach pier doesn’t bother Dana Clark. Nor does the mattress on the floor that covers a third of his living space; he’s never ...