Back to profile

Stories by Joe Deegan

If We're the Best, Imagine the Worst

Mark-Elliott Lugo, who is an energetic-looking 59 years old, might well be the poster child in the San Diego public transit system’s campaign to increase ridership. Lugo has been taking San Diego buses for over ...

An End to the Evil Euc

In 1909, newspaper magnate Edward Willis Scripps began planting eucalyptus on the San Diego ranch he’d bought 11 years earlier. Those trees and their descendents have become the signature emblem of today’s Scripps Ranch. So ...

Hope for the Hopelessly Drunk

Serial inebriates battle the bottle.

Paul Bacon had long since advanced from detox to stints in jail. It was 2002 and he was incarcerated again, looking at 90 days. One morning, a public defender arrived at his cell to offer ...

The Park After Dark

Asking that her name be withheld, a woman emailed us a few months ago about a liquor store that was “bad, bad news for the community and the south end of Balboa Park.” The writer’s ...

The Solar Argument

Local solar power activist Bill Powers is crashing the pages of Natural Gas and Electricity. The industry journal’s August edition will feature an argument by Powers that photovoltaic arrays can be as effective and cost-competitive ...

Big Agency Burns Little Volunteers

The history of wildfires in San Diego’s backcountry has yielded a vigorous volunteer firefighting subculture. Its foundations are self-reliance, strong community involvement, ingenuity, independence, and thrift. Today, those who embody the tradition feel threatened. They ...

Eat Here and Get Towed

Call it blind loyalty, if you like. For a place to tell me his story, Clark Waters chose the Denny’s restaurant at the corner of Pacific Highway and Hawthorn Street. Only days earlier, he had ...

Keep on Truckin' That Gas

If ever a scheme needs a good euphemism, it’s the Beneficial Use of Digester Gas. Nevertheless, the plan passed its first smell test. The City presented it to the local planning board at its July ...

Portraits of the Perps

A mural at the San Elijo Retail Center in Cardiff-by-the-Sea has gone away. Local artist Kevin Anderson completed the four-by-seven-foot painting a year ago at the request of Commercial Facilities, Inc. The company manages the ...

The Voices Online

In January, I began teaching two philosophy classes, one in the classroom and the other online. “The thing I don’t like about online classes,” says one of my classroom students, “is that you can’t see ...

Rock, Paper, Busted

Many of the more than 100 vendors at Rock Paper Scissors, a consignment store on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, have been clamoring for their money after the business stiffed them when it closed in ...

Our Favorite Drinks and Where We Drink Them

You don’t know how to make a Tora!Tora!Tora!?

There are times, sometimes in the midst of otherwise polite conversation, when it comes out that I make my living writing for the Reader. The follow-up to this revelation is almost never “Oh, that’s right, ...

“Hallelujah!” “Hey, keep it down!”

Many are the tales locals tell of dodge-and-deny tactics the City of San Diego uses to avoid enforcing its own laws. The most common excuses, especially in this time of budgetary woes, are that it ...

Admiral Baker Says No!

Last spring, Lee Campbell was looking for an apt way that Friends of Tierrasanta Canyons might participate in River Days. The celebration is staged annually by the San Diego River Park Foundation and was held ...

Worms Eat My Reader

Some readers want us to eat our words. David Shean worries about what happens when he eats them. “I eventually feed [the Reader] to my worms along with my kitchen scraps,” Shean writes us in ...

Mira Mesa Meets Caltrans

Granted, Mira Mesa needs traffic relief, especially for entering and exiting the I-15. But how does Caltrans justify a project that is likely to increase already dangerous traffic next to a local elementary school? The ...

Use Me, Then Lose Me

For the past ten years, Louie Holton has owned and operated Louie’s pub at Aztec Center at the southeastern edge of the SDSU campus. While serving beer and wine to students weekday afternoons and evenings ...

Canyon Trails Traffic Jam

Trail biking in a north San Diego canyon seems to be running up against its own popularity. Deer Canyon is part of a new preserve in the City of San Diego’s open-space system, whose management ...

Not By Sight, By Touch

Hiro Iwamoto loves to sail. Not so unusual — except for one apparent drawback. He is blind. Before moving from Japan to San Diego two years ago, Iwamoto led a Tokyo team to the Blind ...

Gas Trackers

Kenneth Reisig belongs to a bevy of volunteers who post retail gasoline prices on sandiegogasprices.com. The resource belongs to GasBuddy Organization Inc.’s collection of websites that allow consumers to compare gas prices in cities all ...

Autism at the Eye of the Storm

In the 1970s, a fellow student used to confide in me about his family problems. His little girl had been diagnosed with autism. While he showed plenty of concern for the child, my friend seemed ...

Don't Ask, Just Pay

Ever wonder why public works cost taxpayers so much? Consider the case of one small project, the new Otay Valley Regional Park ranger station and restroom. Under a joint powers agreement among San Diego County, ...

Crow Nuisance, Crow Delight

As children growing up in Riverside, my friends and I were captivated by crows, big birds that were bold. We used to see how close we could creep toward them, while they seemed to contemplate ...

Troublemakers Unlisted

Two days before the June 3 election, MaryRose Consiglio and Tom Sherman emailed a group of candidates running for membership on the San Diego County Republican Party’s Central Committee. “We are sure you have noticed,” ...

Get Out, Stay Out

In February 2007, the Barona Band of Mission Indians sponsored state legislation entitled Unlawful Entry: Tribal Land. San Diego County’s board of supervisors, as well as Sheriff Bill Kolender and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, signed ...

Will These Keep the Lights On?

Sunrise Powerlink — a chess game for the big guys

The Sunrise Powerlink gleamed for the first time in Sempra Energy’s eye on November 1, 2002. At the company’s San Diego headquarters, an energy-management expert from Shell Trading gave a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the potential ...

Little Pay, Big Deal

On April 21, local attorney Bob Ottilie went to the city council meeting with a Personnel Department list of salaries made by city employees last year. That day the council would reverse a decision it ...

Paddle Battles

If the worst that could befall sidewalk diners were a swinging kayak paddle whacking margaritas off their table, they’d be lucky. It would be irksome nonetheless. And that is one reason pressure is mounting in ...

Strife Span

You want to construct an addition to your house that requires a building permit. Wouldn’t it be wise to get the permit before buying a detailed architectural plan? The San Diego City Council is proceeding ...

The Principal’s Principles

Correction: Since publishing the story below, the following statements have been disputed by an attorney for the subject of the story, Michael Rood: 1) “Alexandria Melchior thought of Rood as her advertising representative at the ...

Backcountry Building Woes

Paul Sommers promised his mother, when she was dying in 2002, that he would wisely invest the money she was about to leave him. After she died, he began looking for land in East San ...

Saved from Smoke and Flames

Each day, Jim Grant drives from Shelter Island to his job at Hammond and Masing General Contractors in Mira Mesa. On Tuesday morning, December 11, as he approached Midway Drive on Rosecrans Street, he saw ...

Pressing Need

You decide to take the trolley to Tijuana. The day goes well, and you're ready to start homeward. Before boarding the Blue Line, a cup of coffee at the McDonald's Trolley Station in San Ysidro ...

Kensington Terrace: Who Knew?

Developer writes persuasion letter to the San Diego Development Services Department. What else is new? Read on. "Today I was brought into the fold on the neighborhood uprising regarding the Kensington Terrace project," stated Jim ...

The Sun Sets on the Moon Cafe

Mistake. As soon as I mentioned the storyline, the Chinese lady waiting tables in the Gaslamp Quarter's Moon Cafe clammed up. "We don't talk to the newspapers," she said. That was that. Of course, she'd ...

The Lunch of Shame

The School Nutrition Association announced Monday that Biff Burger won the election. He beat Jesse Wrap, Yumi Rice Bowl, Pippa Potato, and Patty Mac 'n' Cheese in the Vote for School Lunch competition. On August ...

Mission Valley Motion Mixup

If you ever suffer insomnia, you might play the streaming video of a San Diego City Council meeting. While you're at it, check whether the minutes of the council meeting are accurate. The video of ...

America's Smartest City

After numerous San Diego Union-Tribune hit pieces, a brand on the city attorney's head now reads "frivolous and futile litigator." No need to heed this guy's advice. Could that be what the city council was ...

Aged Out, Jumped In

Sherrie Ross, a real estate agent, was looking for ways to persuade kids to stay away from San Diego gangs. So she was happy two years ago to meet Travis Stocking at a community-organizing event. ...

Trashlamp Quarter

Imagine the food and trash that restaurants in San Diego's tony Gaslamp Quarter throw away every night. For more than 15 years, an alley on G Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues made things easier. ...

She Hated Adverbs

Judith Moore remembered

My long conversation with Judith Moore about writing began in 1980. We first met at a monthly campus ministry shindig for the faculty of Central Washington University, in Ellensburg, Washington. Judith was escaping the small-town ...

Willful Blindness To Golden Hill

Members of the Greater Golden Hill Community Development Corporation recently discovered a ruse that might help them overcome opposition to assessing their fellow citizens nearly $489,000 in increased taxes. Heretofore the development corporation has not ...

Development on a Slippery Slope

Community height limits for buildings in San Diego will face another test this summer when the San Diego City Council revisits plans for the Pacific Coast Office Building in Mission Valley. At issue is the ...

Public? Private?

As if Grantville didn't have enough traffic problems, local developer Leon Parma wants to build 588 new condominiums, plus new restaurant and office space, on land he owns in the area. The property sits on ...

Where the City Draws the Line

Merrilee Miller, a resident of Goleta, northwest of Santa Barbara, believes she has the right to vacation in a recreational vehicle on the banks of San Diego's Lake Murray. Or to plant banana trees near ...

The Cart-Theft Posse

'Paying a company to return shopping carts that people were taking off our lot got too expensive," says the manager of a supermarket in San Diego. "The truck driver who brought the carts back said ...

Justice, Politics, Paradise

In February, a Nicaraguan court convicted former UCSD student Eric Volz of murdering a beautiful young Nicaragüense he had previously lived with. She was found dead early on an afternoon last November, strangled and hog-tied ...

Live Simply, Share With the Poor

The two friends were engineers, one trained in California and one in the Soviet Union. "He could talk about anything, from mathematics to world literature," says Imperial Beach resident Ralph Sherman of his departed friend ...

Tenants Turn Up the Heat

In 2003, Bruce Francis was driving a taxi late into the night and sleeping daytimes at the Baltic Inn on Sixth Avenue downtown. One day he lodged a complaint. "I told the managers, 'A lot ...

Down by the Levee

Ocean Beach real estate broker David Stebbins is like a man standing in the front row at a theater: when viewers behind him ask him to sit down, he yells, "I paid for this seat; ...

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close