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Stories by Bill Manson

Tijuana Plans Respect

A funny thing happened at Tijuana's cultural center the other day. As dozens of kids, teens, and parents lined up near the giant dome for tickets to the highest-tech movie showing in Tijuana or San ...

Electric Juice Master

Nobody expected anything big to be decided at last Tuesday's electric-power summit. The California Public Utilities Utilities Commision (PUC) had called for the roundtable at the Al Bahr Shrine Temple auditorium on Kearny Mesa Road. ...

Names as Weapons

Are San Diego County Health Services failing to stop the spread of HIV? Dr. Cary Savitch thinks so. And it's not just San Diego. "You're looking at the biggest public-health blunder of our lifetime," he ...

A Toxic Tour of Baja

Last Thursday, January 6, Victor Ontiveros arrived on Kettner Boulevard and disappeared into a two-story '60s-era building. When he came out, a couple of Macintosh computers in his arms, he was $3000 richer, with a ...

Television News: The View from Tijuana

If you ask Vicente Calderón, San Diego TV news is mushy. "It tends to be extremely superficial," says the veteran Mexican television journalist. "You [in San Diego] feel you have to connect with the people, ...

Behind the Mixtec Curtain

What's the third-most commonly spoken language in California? Mixtec, according to Professor Tom Davies, director of the Center for Latin American studies at San Diego State. But the only place you'll see that fact reflected ...

Adela Does America

Adela Navarro Bello wants to know what the Americans' problem is with her people. "What gives? Are they afraid of us? Do they fear that, little by little, we Mexicans are going to take back ...

Cross-Border Columbo

Wyatt Earp couldn't. Texas Rangers couldn't. But Enrique Mercado can and does. He chases murderers and rapists and child molesters across international lines to wherever they're hiding out. In the past 12 years he's pursued ...

The Chicano Ambassador

When the time came for Victor Zamudio Taylor to be born, his mother, Guadalupe, deliberately crossed the border -- into Tijuana. She and her husband, Regino, were determined that their son should be born a ...

Doing the Mexican Mailbox Jam

'Hi gang! Having a wonderful time in Tijuana. Wish you were here. Write back soon." I address the postcard, a view of the Jai Alai Fronton Palace on Revolución to myself in San Diego. I ...

White Storm Rising

'It's the worst kind of bullshit!" says Eric E. Sterling. "Preposterous! Totally absurd." He's talking of claims the United Nations makes -- about the Tijuana drug cartel, among others -- in its 1999 Human Development ...

Into the Lions' Cage

Is José Santiago Healy Loera cut from the same cloth as his grandfather? In 1916, José Santiago Healy, son of Irish immigrants to Mexico, risked his life to truly report the Mexican Revolution. He survived ...

Slow Death in Slag Valley

Have two of San Diego's most prominent environmentalists sold out to NAFTA? Lori Saldaña, ex-chair of the San Diego/Imperial Sierra Club, and Diane Takvorian, Environmental Health Coalition executive director, have both accepted White House appointments ...

Shaking the Trees in Tijuana

There's a new paper coming to town. Not to San Diego, Tijuana. And Tijuana already has four regular dailies. Four times what its rich sister-city to the north can boast. As newspaper editors south of ...

La Cosa Nostra Condo

It was March 10, 1998. A Tuesday. Early afternoon. Jim Schield and some colleagues pulled up quietly outside a block of condos in the tongue of land that hangs down into Mission Bay with Ingraham ...

Sisterhood of The Damned

Can Palermo, Sicily, help save Tijuana from its crime wave? The surprising answer is maybe, even though Palermo is known as the headquarters of the Sicilian Mafia. Tijuana teachers are learning that, as in Sicily, ...

Villa of the White Powder

Last week, a big marijuana bust in Chula Vista led to the arrest of ten suspects and the seizure of two tons of marijuana, estimated street value, $45 million. It made all the TV newscasts. ...

Zero-Percent Solution

Birds chirrup in the canyon where ernesto Dominguez's car exploded in flames. a month after someone shot the 21-year-old and rolled his Oldsmobile Cutlass over a 30-foot cliff on Otay Valley Road, a new meadow ...

Tijuana Head-Rush

'Yes, we have it," says Victor Ramírez of the Botica Sherr pharmacy at Third and Constitución. "It costs $10.09 per pill." He's talking about what some say will be Viagra's first real competition, a new-generation ...

Drop a Peso

Last week, amid great fanfare, President Ernesto Zedillo opened Telmex's San Diego telephone operations base. This, he said, was the beginning of a new era in cross-border cooperation. So how come I'm standing by this ...

Drug of Choice

What's cooking? If you're in San Diego, more than likely it's meth. By the "Nazi" method. Dry, odor-free, small-scale, impossible to catch. And if you're selling, you'll still have more customers than anywhere else in ...

Newsburgers Hot Off the Grill

In Khartoum it's the Acropole. In Vientiane it's the Constellation. In London it's Biddy Mulligan's. In Tijuana the place to find "the buzz" is Big Boy -- El Big. El Big, on Agua Caliente Boulevard, ...

Gumshoe vs. SDPD

John Stevens is a driven man. Back in the late '80s in Portland, Oregon, he taught David Stevens the ways of private investigation. Now, 12 years later, his pupil is dead. Last December 23 on ...

Turbulent Water

'I have a dream for Tijuana," says ex-mayor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán. We're sitting in Osuna's office on the fifth floor of a glass complex in the Rio zone of Tijuana. With its trees, plazas, ...

Bordering on Narco-Chaos?

'I would hate to be the president of Tijuana tourism board." So says Andres Oppenheimer, 48, Pulitzer prize-winning Argentinian-born Latin American correspondent for the Miami Herald. He was in town recently to speak at San ...

A Walk Through the Badlands

The mesquite bushes are thick and sharp. Agent Gabriel Arias weaves up through them, climbing the steep trail ahead of me. He pulls the black pistol out of his back left jeans pocket. Click-clack! He ...

Brain Damage and The Border Patrol

'Slow down! You're not carrying animals back here!" It was the last thing Roberto Alvarado Galindo remembered yelling. The accident happened just before midnight on September 4, 1995. It bore a haunting similarity to last ...

The Masked Men Come to Tijuana

They come out of the chilly night. When they arrive in the pool of light at the top of the stairs, their dark eyes appear more startled and startling because that's all you see. Masks ...

Safe at Last

Under mysterious circumstances, Tijuana kidnap victim Georgina Romero de Crespo was released last week, a day after the Reader wrote about her monthlong disappearance, and is safe at her home in the Coronado Cays. No ...

Kidnapped!

An heiress vanishes.

“I’m sorry, sir, I can’t give any information.” Speaking from his Coronado Cays home, Miguel Crespo sounds tired and shaken. His wife, Georgina, was kidnapped over a month ago. “All the family are concerned about ...

The Magdalenas

It's eight o' clock on a Wednesday night. Outside Tijuana's cathedral, the priests close the giant doors. The street darkens. The beggars pack up. But in a nearby shadowy parking lot the light shines out ...

The Defense Of the Woods

Silverio De La Mora Ceballos is hard to spot among the ten-foot-high reeds of this pristine section of the Tijuana River. "Pristine" isn't a word you think of when you talk about the Tijuana River, ...

The 30-Year War

August, 1997. It is a sunny Saturday on Coronado's Orange Avenue. Bay Books is having a ball. Half a dozen ex-Navy SEALs sit at tables inside, each autographing the book he has written about his ...

Science in a Fog

Get this: Johnny Cloud is into fog. Joel Blanket is into fog. Jerry Estberg (read "East Mountain") is into fog. Fog Cloud, Fog Blanket, Fog Mountain... Is this destiny or what? The three scientists are ...

The Truth About Mexican Media

The press conference is crowded into the front room of the old blue wooden house at 11th and G. That's where Rosario Ibarra de Piedra sits, at the end of an oblong table. Hers is ...

Killers in the Neighborhood

Tijuana has joined a list of cities it doesn't want to join: it has been ranked one of the most dangerous business-travel destinations in the world. Houston-based Air Security International, which caters to private-jet-flying executives, ...

Just Your Average La Jolla Murder

Raymond Chandler never had it so good. His town, La Jolla, is becoming notorious for bizarre murders that don't get solved. And somehow people are always killed in their cars. The case of world-renowned neuroscientist ...

Snarls, Inc.

The elderly gent didn't stand a chance. Last Wednesday morning, 7:20 a.m., two pit bulls jumped him the moment he came out with his trash into the alley at 24th and J Streets in Sherman ...

In a State of Bloody Mayhem

'Drug War Massacre at El Sauzal." "Tijuana Lawyer's Son Slain." "Mexican Army Tied to Drug Gang." "Tijuana Gunmen Slay 6." "Resort Seized By Mexican Drug Agents." "7 Mexican Border Agents Held In Slaying." "Bomb Call ...

Winning at Twinning

On December 26, 1997, Janna and Nancy Sipes thought they were going to die. The two San Diego sisters were trapped through the night 18,500 feet up on Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro in a howling, freezing ...

Cremains Bursting In Air

Woosh! There goes Aunt Josephine. Boom! Put up your umbrellas, folks. She's coming down again! Volcanic ash! Dick Hassenger says there's no ash. The cremated human remains he sends up in giant fireworks so clients ...

Candid Justice

When Superior Court judge Terry Byron O'Rourke was allowed a glimpse at the accusations against him, he admits he gulped. "The candidate is viewed as having one of the worst temperaments among San Diego judges," ...

The Lady Vanishes

The dark green Mustang ragtop looks blue under the hazy floodlights. Here behind the state judicial police station in Tijuana's Otay section, the smart new cars are recovered stolen vehicles, mostly with California plates. The ...

Héctor Huerta Has A New Police Station

Licenciado Héctor Huerta Suárez, the State Judicial Police station commander, looks up at the familiar gray portrait on the wall beside his new desk. "I love that man," he says. "Emiliano Zapata is my hero." ...

The End of Privacy?

In 20 years, are you likely to meet yourself? Could someone clone another you from a Kleenex you dropped? Will your insurance premium depend on your DNA test results? Will a federal DNA data bank ...

Top Brass vs. Low Church

This is the joke among the Navy's evangelical chaplains. "Question: What do you have to do to get promoted in the U.S. Navy? "Answer: If you're a Roman Catholic, you've got to be able to ...

A Body By the Road

Was Veronica Salazar strung up like a piñata and beaten to death in Michigan? Does anybody care? When the San Diego mother of three was murdered last September 1, the event rated 74 words in ...

Death of a Drug-Linked Dry-Cleaner

As usual, Mayor Cianci was at the murder scene. "There was one body on the street. He was in perfect health, outside of a hole in his head. He was lying face down, and they ...

Cunanan's Last Laugh

'Now you can be Andrew Philip Cunanan, 'the gay spree killer,' and experience his final days! You choose where to go. You decide who to meet. It's a sarcastic adventure based on the wildly inaccurate ...

Life Behind The Badge

When San Diego police captain Lesli Lord killed herself on August 25, Joanne Archambault was furious. "I went home raging about who would do this to their children," says Archambault, a sergeant in SDPD's sex ...

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