Back to profile

Stories by Joe Deegan

Make Room for FIDO

The Mission Bay Park Master Plan of 1994 presented a vision of Fiesta Island's future that was general enough for different decisions to fill in the picture. Recently KTU+A, a local "land planning and landscape ...

Turnstiles for Lake Murray

'They might want to consult history," Jim Brown says of city officials who are trying to overhaul the San Diego Water Department's reservoir recreation program. Brown served as the program's director from 1974 through 2003 ...

Under Covers

Much of the downtown hotel industry gets a "double subsidy of taxpayer support plus public assistance for its hardest workers," Micah Mitrosky tells me. That's one conclusion she reached after taking the Graduate Student Practicum ...

A Park? A Road?

If you think volunteer advisory boards are rubber stamps for San Diego's municipal shenanigans, meet attorney Bob Ottilie. As a member of the Park and Recreation Board, Ottilie has lately been causing heartburn in at ...

Lockup 101

'The first thing that came to my mind," remembers Tom Miller, "was to arm myself with a screwdriver. The Rodney King riots were taking place in Los Angeles, and the tension in the yard was ...

I Own It

While delivering flyers in University Heights one day last spring, Mary Wendorf saw the tenants of an old home she admired moving out. They told her the house was to be torn down and a ...

Chancellor Suarez and His Friends

What were they thinking? Sometime in August, Omero Suarez, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, and Deanna Weeks, the district's governing board president, signed a secretly altered version of the chancellor's contract. The change ...

An Issue of Public Safety

The San Diego Police Department is either resuscitating affirmative action or its promotion practices are meant to reward "team players." So thinks Sergeant Mark Sullivan, whose highest possible promotional rating of "exceptionally qualified" the department ...

The Trick Is To Benefit Your District

How best to survive? Should a member of Congress coddle his district or make himself a national name? After newspaper and television broadcasting careers, Lionel Van Deerlin in 1962 won a seat in the U.S. ...

Airport Answers and The $800 Ashtray

Former congressman Jim Bates is telling me the story about the first vote he cast as an elected official. "It made me an enemy for life," he says. The previous fall, in 1970, both Bates ...

Otay Water District's Pump Problem

The prodigious thirst of EastLake and other new communities in eastern Chula Vista has prompted the Otay Water District to build a $6 million pump station. According to the district's website, the new EastLake Greens ...

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare a Book?

'I love to read," says Beverly Griffin, with a glance up from the bedding she is arranging against a chain-link fence behind the sidewalk on Front Street. As many as 40 homeless people will sleep ...

SDSU Preserves San Diego's Political History

Elected to the House of Representatives in 1952 and serving for 14 consecutive terms, Republican Bob Wilson saw plenty of paperwork come across his desk. In 1973, he began depositing it for future researchers at ...

Barbie in Bondage

Offense, too, is in the eye of the beholder. On April 29 and 30, the Imperial Beach Art Guild sent eight members to display their work at Little Italy's ArtWalk San Diego. The guild's president, ...

Mayor Takes Office Crew to Washington

This week Mayor Jerry Sanders traveled to Washington, D.C., for the third time since becoming San Diego's mayor. The trip was less extensive than the mayor's second visit to the capital, at the end of ...

Sanders Reps Our Town in Big Apple

During last fall's election campaign, Jerry Sanders told voters that if elected mayor he would take a positive message abou San Diego on the road. In late March, Sanders traveled to New York and Washington, ...

Reservoir Keepers Get Sweet Deals

In houses only minutes from their jobs, reservoir keepers remain on call 24 hours a day. Who would begrudge them the low rents they pay the city? I ask keeper Diane Dine what it's like ...

Park and Road Snag

In a surprise visit, San Diego District 7 councilman Jim Madaffer appeared at the City's December 1 Planning Commission meeting. Visits by councilmembers are "rare," writes Commissioner Carolyn Chase in the April San Diego Earth ...

American Dreamers

Vicky Lin Yu-tzu gently removes her son's fingers from the laptop. Youxuan is 22 months old, but his tiny grasping hand is the only distraction he has caused us. His mother and I are inspecting ...

We're Sorry About Mike Aguirre

'I apologize to San Francisco," said Ben Haddad when the California Coastal Commission met for its monthly meeting in the Bay Area city on December 14. "As for [city attorney Mike] Aguirre...," said Haddad, an ...

Dingbat Eyesores, Loving Eye

On a recent Saturday afternoon, Phil Chart and his girlfriend Janice Morten went out to -- what else? -- sketch an old house. "What I like about San Diego is the variety of its neighborhoods," ...

Academics Exchange Fire

On March 7 of last year the Grossmont College academic senate gave its highest administrator a vote of no confidence. The rancor between faculty and Omero Suarez, the chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, ...

Sensitive Riders

He started to notice the problem while driving at night. "Quite rapidly my eyes deteriorated," says Art Seamans, professor emeritus of literature at Point Loma Nazarene University, "and I drove when I shouldn't have. Finally, ...

Social Security Numbers Up For Grabs

Greg Cook, a ham radio enthusiast who runs his own computer networking business, places the police scanner on the table next to my coffee cup. "If I leave it on while we talk," he tells ...

La Jolla Taco Shop Cited for Gaud

In early October a woman phoned Ryan Hill at Don Carlos Taco Shop on La Jolla's Pearl Street to complain about his signs. They're illegal, and besides that, she ranted, "They are ugly, gaudy, and ...

Mission Valley Project May Violate Code

In early September the plan to build the Pacific Coast Office Building into Mission Valley's southern hillside sounded innocuous enough to community watchdog Randy Berkman. Then the building's developer, Robert Pollack, sent him a mid-October ...

To Condemn A Cash Cow

Last summer's trial of San Diego councilmen Michael Zucchet and Ralph Inzunza produced an unexpected candor from the city's Redevelopment Agency. On June 24, Zucchet's attorney Raymond (Jerry) Coughlan called agency employee Alex Greenwood to ...

Kensington Business Balks at New City America

Eight years ago, the Adams Avenue Business Association received a $600,000 "urban forestry" grant from the State of California to mitigate the pollution that would result from Interstate 15 traffic. Kensington business property owners chose ...

Katrina Haunts Mission Valley

Never say never, but a hurricane like the one that hit New Orleans is unlikely to flood San Diego anytime soon. The San Diego River, however, is another story. After a rainstorm last winter, the ...

This Isn't a Free Library

Late last summer, the New York City-based Library Journal named then-San Diego mayor Dick Murphy the 2004 "Politician of the Year." What attracted his editors' attention, the magazine's editor in chief, John N. Berry III, ...

Pray in Such a Way that Everyone Can Say, "Amen"

Grace descends on soldiers.

"A setback is the setup for your comeback," shouts Chaplain Marks to the congregation of 30-plus in the North Island chapel that has served American sailors since December 1945. Knowing that many congregants are miles ...

When the Loud Bell Rang

Beginnings are always difficult.

My first day in school was really my second day. It was September 1950, and that first day my brown uniform shirt scratched, the heavy corduroy pants were stiff with newness, my suspenders would not ...

Trouble at Midnight

In early September 2001, Carol Eklund went to Paris for a fashion show. She was looking for new lines to offer sales representatives of a wholesale business she had started two years earlier. Her return ...

We Can't Reach Everybody

'The survival rate for people who are mentally ill and have alcohol or drug addictions is terrible," said Mike Milsop, who had been served with an eviction notice by the Shelter Plus Care facility on ...

Old Wounds

When Escondido resident Le Ly Hayslip learned that the California State Assembly planned a May 9 award to honor her work, she got ready to celebrate. "My birthday is May 10," she says, "and I ...

His Eyes Were Red and Glassy

Five years ago, criminal defense and civil rights attorney Mary Prévost began investigating how the City and County of San Diego conducted blood draws from people suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. But ...

Their Interests Are Interlocked

The Jerry Sanders campaign website currently touts a favorable poll conducted by national pollster Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates. A link on the site says that the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation "released" the ...

Fear Tracer

The 1999 World Trade Organization riots occurred on Norm Stamper's watch as chief of police in Seattle (he retired in 2000). But the homicide he writes "I committed" was the most traumatic event in his ...

Drowsy Council Muffs Late-Night Vote

At close to midnight during the April 15 meeting of the San Diego City Council's consideration of the Paseo de Mission Hills project, District Seven representative Jim Madaffer observed that moments earlier he had received ...

Playgrounds Slated To Deafen Kids

The April 21 report is called "a cautionary tale that the general public and the San Diego City Council should consider when future major land-use opportunities are presented." Written by the San Diego County Grand ...

Bean Disguise

Abe McNeil says that convenience is what prompts him to buy Café Moto beans to stock the PJ's Coffee and Tea franchise he manages next to the Hilton Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. It's only ...

Man Gets into Beauty Trap

'You're blond, you're thin, you're gorgeous," Christianne De Marco remembers telling then-25-year-old Karina Ivanova (not her real name) the only time she met her. The two women sat by themselves in Harvard business graduate and ...

Stop! That's My Property

Bert Decker remembers calling Midway area tenant Vic Maidhof in early November 2003 to warn him that the San Diego Redevelopment Agency was about to "chop up" his business. Maidhof did not believe it and ...

Choppers Devour Millions

The value of helicopters in fighting fires is "the quick attack," says Brian Fennessy, manager of San Diego's Regional Fire and Rescue Helicopter Program. "If you can get a load of water and a crew ...

I Warn People

You can buy a "Brain Machine" at the online store O2Planet.com. According to the site's promotional material, the machine uses light and sound to "induce a range of altered states of consciousness," "quickly achieve states ...

Something Happened to Michael

'At the beginning of his term, [San Diego District 2 councilmember] Michael Zucchet stopped Sports Arena redevelopment, which already had requests for proposals out," says John McNab. "I'll give him credit for that. But later ...

They're Trying to Kill Us

The electricity transmission industry has long recognized that surrounding underground power lines with a metal shield is the most effective way to block their emissions of magnetic field radiation. But on August 3 of last ...

I've Never Seen the Desert So Green

'The Borrego Valley is a harsh place to make a living," says Anza-Borrego Desert State Park's Brian Cahill. "Creatures have to be opportunistic to survive." For wildflowers, a two- to six-week window of opportunity comes ...

The Treasure of Our Tongue

W e best learn the meanings of words by their context. Yet Charles Harrington Elster, known to San Diegans for his five-year stint on the KPBS radio program A Way with Words, recalls a lesson ...

Why Not Allow Us to Help the Homeless?

'A major complaint we get," says Captain Trish Poochigian of the Salvation Army, "is that the homeless cross the street illegally in the middle of traffic. So I told the clients, 'If you want to ...