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Stories by Bill Manson

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 ...

God, Take My Topless Clubs

At the halfway house near 14th and Market, inmates sit on the balustrade, smoking cigarettes and chewing the fat. When you ask When you ask them about Fred Levy, they point toward the office around ...

Rich Gang, Poor Gang

The news is good. Murder down 50 percent. Robbery down 18.2 percent, burglary 13.9 percent -- all for the first six months of 1998 (compared with the same period last year). Violent crimes are decreasing ...

These Guys Are the Pits

Gang members have a new weapon against the cops in City Heights. Pit bulls. According to police, the teenage own owners walk their dogs on long leashes down such main thoroughfares as University Avenue. It's ...

Body Found, Killers Wanted

What really happened to the late Bill Wiggins on that Friday, July 18, 1997? This much is known by Coronado police: "We discovered the body about 1:35 in the afternoon. And by the time we ...

Roger Hedgecock and His Vegas Lawyer (2)

Oscar Goodman, 59, known as "The Big O," the Las Vegas attorney who local papers sometimes dub "The mouthpiece of the mob,"drives his dark Mercedes sports car toward the desert beyond the city limits. He ...

New Kid on Vice

Take it from Jim Duncan: this is how it is between midnight and 3:00 a.m. around El Cajon Boulevard. "You pull up, roll your window down, 'You need a ride?' 'Going to a party?' She'll ...

Wild Dogs of Hillcrest

Last time Kevin Crooks crawled through a culvert under Genesee, he was thrilled to find tracks other than his own. "The culvert links Tecolote Canyon with a smaller canyon. I could see their tracks right ...

Queen of Surrogates

Will Halm spreads his hand over the bulging sphere of Elizabeth's stomach. His eyes search the ceiling as he feels for movement. "He turned right around yesterday," says Elizabeth (last name omitted for privacy). "That ...

Air of Scandal

Wednesday morning, 9:45. Gloria Penner's Editors' Round Table on KPBS. "Isaac Cubillos," she says, "do you agree with Bob Kittle? Do you think our Port District is doing what it is supposed to do?" "I ...

Crash and Burn (3)

'The rotor head of a helicopter doesn't know what kind of mission it's on," says Jeff Frederick. "It just goes 'round and around at 4000 revolutions per minute, and when metal fatigue reaches a certain ...

The Worms Turn

You've seen it on Hard Copy, read about it in the paper. Now, how about the truth on the millionairess, the parasite, and the million-dollar horse she claims was murdered, South Pacific? Start with the ...

Fly Babies

For the first time since the 1978 PSA plane disaster over North Park, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) is changing San Diego's air traffic control system. According to Jerry Hargarten, the FAA's new plan looks ...

Designated Bulldozer

The photographer pretended to be looking at carpet samples. Then he started snapping pictures of the arklike interior of Julie Melim's carpet warehouse. Melim looked up from her office, walked out, and asked if she ...

Nag, Nag, Nag

Jill McEwan's life reads like a Dick Francis novel. McEwan, a graduate of USC's paralegal program, is a racehorse trainer who mixes horses and the law. "I'm just like a home appraiser, except I appraise ...

A Complete Idiot's Guide to Corporate Welfare

Why did the city use $250,000 of taxpayers' money to get the National Baptist Convention to come to San Diego? Blame MERF. Why was Alcoholics Anonymous promised a similar quarter-million-dollar gift if they held their ...

Wrong Way Love

It was one of the worst shootings in Michigan for a long time. On November 14, 1996, Gerald Atkins, a 29-year old ex-soldier and glassmaker, shot his way into a Ford auto plant in Wixom, ...

Child Sex in Tijuana

A shocking report from the United Nations claims Tijuana is the child-abuse capital of Mexico. And San Diego is part part of the problem. The report, delivered last week in Geneva to the 54th session ...

Eat Your Luminous Greens

If San Diego's Mycogen Corporation has its way, you'll soon be eating food from fluorescent plants and wearing fluorescent cotton T-shirts. Even Disney World in Florida is celebrating the invention. This month and next, Disney's ...

Possession Obsession

To his parishioners in Old Town and Rancho Bernardo he was just another aging priest come West to enjoy a good-weather parish. A reward for years ministering in frigid Minnesota. To the fellow priests he ...

Pixel Envy

Question: "Can people really get addicted to cybersex? I am spending more and more time at porn sites. My wife walked in on me a few weeks ago, only to find me in a compromised ...

Enemy on the Vine

Does the blue-green sharpshooter spell doom for San Diego's nascent wine industry? The question is serious for the county's largest winery, Escondido's Orfila Vineyards. This year, with a combination of a warm, wet winter and ...

Who Owns the Bay?

Lawrence Graf says the San Diego Unified Port District has no right to build any convention-center extension on land reclaimed from San Diego Bay because it's an illegal authority. The bay belongs solely to the ...

Larry's Best Gal

Larry Lawrence, the late owner of the Hotel del Coronado and Bill Clinton's one-time ambassador to Switzerland, achieved posthumous ignominy when it was revealed that his purported wartime service in the Merchant Marine was a ...

The Ocean Has a Long Memory

Can malaria be predicted by changes in ocean temperatures? Can you foretell a dengue fever epidemic by reading atmospheric pressures? Does hantavirus disease follow El Niño? Are climatologists the doctors of the future? The answer ...

Hey, Hey We're the Monkeys with Herpes

The macaque monkey lets a golden stream tinkle from his perch on the upended tree trunk. Maybe he's nervous. He's five feet behind the fence here in the Sun Bear Forest area of the San ...

Dressed to Excess

Ask Janet -- not her real name -- and she'll tell you there are three things wrong with life in San Diego if you're a transsexual. "We need employment protection, we need homeless shelters that ...

Courtroom Treasure Hunters

James Nesbit, the editor of the San Francisco Bulletin, sat quietly on deck, writing. He made out a will. He wrote notes to loved ones. He wrapped the documents in oilskin and tied them to ...

Sealed Fate

When is a SEAL not a SEAL? Too often, says Darryl Young, an ex-SEAL who trained in Coronado. Young heard of so many many SEAL impostors that he helped form a group called the "U.S. ...

McPhatter's Rage

Captain Thomas McPhatter, 74, USN, retired from the Navy Chaplain Corps, stands up. He looks gravely at the dozen people gathered around, mostly African-Americans like him. The meeting comes to order. "In your own way, ...

Should Bears Have Arms?

If the bears had not ripped Fred Gilbert's arms off, he might never have made the connection with Maria Amparo 40 years later. The accident happened when he was a boy. He'd gone to see ...

Ringing the Bell

A friendly item by Union-Tribune columnist Diane Bell about pregnancies among the staff of Mayor Susan Golding has inspired a not-so-friendly anonymous hit by a group calling itself "City Moms." According to the October 7 ...

Emerald Triangle Moves South

Is more marijuana grown in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties than in Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity and Del Norte counties? And do Mexican nationals produce close to 90 percent of San Diego County's crop? Yes ...

Give Me Back My Baggie

Legalize it, legalize it, being in America should be about being free/ Legalize it, legalize it, it's a basic right for you and me. First off, Norman "Kyoti" King has a CD out. Second, he's ...

Come Float at My Dock

It's a cloudy, scuddy day in Bremerton Sound, Washington, with a burst of sun playing chase my shadow over the battleships Missouri and New Jersey, a rack of fast frigates, and the flight decks of ...

Does Coronado Train Killers?

The headline that brought me to a Navy seal reunion in Coronado is simple and startling. "seal training caused murder, lawsuit says." The story was published in the Virginian-Pilot, a daily paper out of Norfolk, ...

Kindly Folk Are to Blame

'Pst psst. Kitty kitty. Tsk tsk tsk." "Not so loud! They'll hear...." It's 2:00 a.m. The only time we can feed our illicit colony without alerting the neighbors. "Dzit dzit dzit." At the bottom of ...

Black Wooden Boxes

'Racism is alive and well in the funeral industry," says the Reverend George Walker Smith. "You can quote me on that." Reverend Smith, pastor of Christ United Presbyterian Church of San Diego, is speaking out ...

The Case for the Port Chicago 50

When 50 African-American U.S. sailors were arrested for mutiny 53 years ago, assistant U.S. Attorney Randy K. Jones wasn't even born. Yet Jones, 39, a San Diego federal prosecutor since 1987, wants President Clinton to ...

The Reverend and the Lady

A former San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau executive has become enmeshed in a sex-and-money church money church scandal that's making headlines in Florida, Wisconsin, and Tennessee. "Baptist Leader Linked to Second Woman Who's Not ...

Accused Pedophile Priest Sets Up Housekeeping in Little Italy

Why is Roman Catholic priest Rudolph Kos, a.k.a. Rudy Edward, a.k.a. Father Rudy, whom a Dallas jury found liable for sexually abusing 11 boys, able to live without supervision near an elementary school in downtown's ...

I Would Prefer that He Were Dead

Imagine for a moment: Hitler is found alive and is arrested. That's the kind of shock that went through San Diego's Cambodian community when they heard Pol Pot had been captured. The Khmer Rouge chief, ...

Couldn't they Have Used Mace?

'I want this to come out in print," says Walter Velechovsky. "What happened to my son. Why they could blow him away. I haven't even had the guts enough to ask my daughter what happened. ...

It Will Ruin This Town

Does Bill Clinton's favorite hostelry, the Hotel del Coronado, need saving? By all appearances, the 109-year-old, 692-room historic landmark is doing fine. Depending on whether you talk to the town's mayor or the hotel's manager, ...

Sniff those $20 Bills Before You Send Them to San Diego

Some would say Richard Barnett and Sheldon Sherman are in the ill-gotten gains business. The two downtown attorneys earn money honestly, all right, but not always from honest people: they often help drug dealers get ...

Rudy? He's Very Charming

I make a call to the San Diego Police Department's Sex Crimes Unit. "Have you ever heard of a priest named Rudy Kos? He's accused of molesting 11 boys - most of them altar boys ...

Friends Remember Cunanan Victim

The metal gate creaks in the twilight. Dogs behind a second gate hear the squeak and set up a barrage of barking. This is protection. I knock at the black metal screen door. No reply. ...

Refuge for Canaries in the Mine

Where do you find a refuge from the 20th Century? Down a dusty drive in the highland backwoods of Potrero, about 45 miles east of San Diego. It sits huddled beneath clusters of century-old olive ...

Half the Town Would Run toward the Pier

The SS Catalina is about to move again. This time she's being hauled south from Ensenada to Puerto Vallarta, to be turned into a party gambling ship. And J.C. Wilkinson wants to know why she ...

We Don't Even Need Their Water District

Come September, Tecate's border crossing, the hilly country 43 miles east of San Diego, will get a $10 to $12 million expansion. San Diego entrepreneur Tom Hom hopes this signals the birth of the border ...

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