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Stories by Walter Mencken

ZIMMERMANHANDLED

On March 4, Shelley Zimmerman was confirmed as the new Chief of Police for San Diego. Hopes were high that the new chief — the first woman ever to hold the position — would bring ...

UCSD and SDSU Engage in Social Drinking Contest

ALL HANDS MANNING THE STOMACH PUMP, LA JOLLA — The battle between established party paradise SDSU and the upchucking upstart UCSD has officially gone public, thanks to the social networking platform Twitter. Two weeks ago, ...

San Diego Opera Director Ian Campbell brings down the final curtain

San Diego Opera Director Ian Campbell is being sought by police after allegedly igniting a blaze that consumed the San Diego Civic Theater during an onstage address to attendees at what may have been the ...

The real reason Zimmerman got the SDPD chief gig?

In the day following ex-SDPD Chief William Lansdowne's February 25 announcement that he would retire, politicians, pundits, and police experts pronounced pious platitudes promising prolonged public participation in the process of picking a replacement. The ...

Coming Soon: The Wizard of Opera

The Wizard of Opera tells the story of Dorothea, a sweet girl from Rolando who dreams of singing for an adoring and appreciative audience. But when a terrible financial maelstrom forces her home underwater, she ...

San Diego Opera reforms as San Diego Popera

"Popular opera! What a concept!"

The San Diego Opera, long considered one of the best in the country, recently announced that financial difficulties necessitated its closure at the end of its 2014 season. But in his farewell speech before fleeing, ...

San Diego Zoo readies pugnacious pachyderms for War Elephant exhibit

"The San Diego Zoo is a city institution," said Zoo Director of Mammalian Armory Walter Tusk. "SeaWorld, on the other hand, is a relative Johnny Come Lately, owned by an out-of-town corporation. So why does ...

Ted Leitner's On-Air Suitcase Meltdown Explained

Methinks the Leitner did protest too much.

Officially, Ted Leitner has made no public statement since his on-air meltdown in the final seconds of the San Diego State-New Mexico Mountain West Conference title game, during which he castigated the venue's security personnel ...

Mayor Faulconer makes dramatic plea to save San Diego Opera

"Cincinnati has an opera, people. Cincinnati."

Just one day after San Diego Opera announced that it would be ceasing operations at the close of its season, a visibly shaken Mayor Faulconer called a special public session of the City Council to ...

Obese woman sought for questioning in San Diego Opera closure case

"Apparently, she sang."

"Operas don't just disappear," says San Diego Opera Director Ian Campbell, speaking of his company's imminent closure at season's end. "Especially not 50-year institutions operating near the top of the field. Somebody has to get ...

San Diegans shocked by news of San Diego Opera's closure

"We have opera?"

Yesterday, U-T San Diego reported that the San Diego Opera will cease operations at the close of its current season. SD on the QT hit the streets to get the public's reaction to the stunning ...

Frat Spat

Newly formed UCSD Muslim fraternity Alpha Lambda Mu came under administrative scrutiny this week after reports surfaced that the organization was incorporating controversial practices sometimes associated with Islam into its pledge initiations. First, pledges were ...

SeaWorld announces shift from orcas to sharks

On March 7, California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom introduced the Orca Safety and Welfare Act. If passed, the bill would outlaw the use of orcas for "entertainment" or "performance purposes." Bloom told the press that ...

Leaked: SDPD "Touch Guide"

USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF GENDER JUSTICE, DOWNTOWN — New San Diego Chief of Police Shelley Zimmerman says that her first order of business is "obviously, the restoration of trust between the Department and ...

Local biotech seeks solution for water shortage

Drink like a fish.

NERVOUSLY LOOKING AWAY, BIOTECH VALLEY — "As usual, big, loud, and dumb gets all the headlines," says Dr. Pisco Scales at the Sorrento Valley biotech Nucelis, LLC. "They're spending a billion dollars on that Carlsbad ...

Playboy praises pervy pol

The Last Hurrah

In what is perhaps a first for the storied men's magazine, a man has graced the cover of Playboy: former Mayor of San Diego Bob Filner. "Even more than President Clinton," explained an unsigned editorial, ...

City thanks Peggy Shannon for not suing

"Sometimes, justice is its own reward," said Turbo Attorney Gloria Allred at the City Ceremony honoring Peggy Shannon last week. "Other times, you get paid." The ceremony was held to honor Ms. Shannon's decision to ...

UT-TV Hires Ron Burgundy for New Web Venture

THINKING WHAT COULD BE DONE AT SD ON THE QT WITH $5 MILLION — When word came down that UT-TV was closing its cable TV operations, U-T Chief Operator John Lynch-Mobbe "couldn't help thinking what ...

Dumanis in Casual (Political) Encounter?

REALIZING JUST WHAT THOSE MOTOR CARS ARE SYMBOLIC OF, LA JOLLA — Marc Chase, co-owner of Symbolic Motor Cars in La Jolla and alleged middleman in the Jose Azano Matsura political donation scandal, has come ...

UCSD = UC Seeking Diversity

TIRED OF THE SAME-OLD SAME-OLD, LA JOLLA — In 2012, UC San Diego hired Wisconsin-based law professor Linda Greene to fill the newly created position of Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Now, after ...

Lansdowne Lays Down…the Law

WISHING THOSE POSTERS HAD NOT ACTUALLY BEEN FOUND ON THE WALL IN THE SDPD'S SEX CRIMES UNIT, DOWNTOWN — "Being chief is a tough job," says San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne. "It's hard to ...

Leaked: Kevin Faulconer's Inauguration Poem

SHOUTING "BOO YA!" AT WIKILEAKS AND SNOWDEN, NOBLE EXPERIMENT — Ever since Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer's Media Manager Cara Talkingpoint announced the appointment of San Diego poet laureate Wanmor Bonghit to write the verse to be ...

Fundamental(ist) Flaw

WATCHING THE SKY FOR BRIMSTONE, SANTEE — "It's not complicated," says Second Baptist Church of Santee Pastor T. Rebel Swiftsword, explaining his opposition to the Light & Life Foundation's decision to keep its Creation Museum ...

Alt-Sexy?

QUICKENING MY PACE AS I PASS THE NEWSPAPER RACKS, DOWNTOWN — In honor of Valentine's Day, both the San Diego Reader and San Diego CityBeat released their annual sex-themed issues today. And as usual, both ...

Cop Accused of Multiple Sexual Assaults Pleads Not Guilty

Statement from SDPD Chief Laydown: "In every case, Officer Hays was acting on credible tips from concerned citizens in downtown bars. One woman was said to be carrying 'sweater bombs,' another, 'a pair of bazookas,' ...

On eve of election, Alvarez campaign seeks to distance itself from Cheech & Chong endorsement

THINKING ABOUT MAYBE VOTING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, BARRIO LOGAN — Mayoral candidate David Alvarez's campaign manager today issued a semi-formal quasi-disavowal of a pro-Alvarez endorsement from the famed Latino comedy duo of Cheech Marin and ...

On eve of election, Faulconer campaign distances itself from problematic ad

GIRDING MY LOINS FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION, GOLDEN HALL — Mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer's campaign manager today issued a semi-formal quasi-disavowal of a pro-Faulconer ad placed in local shopping circulars by the Sons of Free ...

Was Dumanis DUPED?

FOLLOWING THE MONEY IN CIRCLES, DOWNTOWN — District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis received over 25 different contributions to her terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad mayoral campaign that were in some way connected to Azano Matsura, the ...

SeaWorld Sends Much Maligned Whale to Debate Young Local Activist

TRYING TO TIME MY CAMERA TO CATCH THAT FIRST SPURT OF BLOOD, SEAWORLD — When young Max Guinn sees a problem, he sets out to do something about it. Guinn, the cofounder of Kids Eco ...

SD Water Authority: "Pine Valley has water! Kill them and take their water!"

ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER, PINE VALLEY — "We always knew this day would come," said Jedidiah McTavish, his eyes fixed on the interstate that would inevitably bring the marauding hordes to his doorstep, gallon jugs ...

Old Person: San Diego's Biggest Priority Should Be Old People

TURNING UP MY HEARING AID SO AS NOT TO MISS A WORD — "The State of your County Government is good," said Dianne Jacob, speaking slowly and distinctly to her visibly graying audience. "But I ...

Ramona Egg Farmer Investigated for Solitary Acts of Abuse

A 56-year-old employee of the Pine Hill Egg Ranch is currently under investigation by the District Attorney for the abuse of several chickens under his care. The chickens, which had slowed in their production, possibly ...

Alleged masterminds behind North Park–based sex-trafficking ring release hit single to raise money for defense

Art describes life.

KEEPIN’ IT REAL IN NORTH PARK — On January 8, U.S. attorney Laura Duffy unsealed federal indictments against 24 defendants, alleged members of a sex-trafficking ring based out of San Diego. The alleged crimes took ...

Latest Leaked Snowden Documents Reveal Collaboration Between Government, Disney, and Local Dronemaker

Disney Exec to General Atomics COO: "If we could make people sympathize with an ecosystem's top predator (LION KING), we can make them sympathize with a robot death plane."

From Brewskie to Booties

Following phenomenal success of BEEROLOGY exhibit, San Diego Museum of Man applies similar format to another cultural craze.

Buttology

From “rump-fed runyon” to “Don’t want none unless you got buns, hon.”

Over 10,000 years ago, playa-gatherers admired the first badonkadonk. Since then, butts have spread across the globe and have come to be known by many names. Other than breasts, and perhaps legs, they are the ...

San Diego Chargers place Philip Rivers on indefinite hiatus following political endorsement

All-Pro quarterback's statement on abortion and traditional marriage "in no way represents the views of the San Diego Chargers football organization."

In landmark deal, bankrupt Detroit agrees to pipe water to thirsty San Diego

San Diego finally gets water-wise!

Interim Mayor Gloria: "Detroit has not one, but two major freshwater lakes in its backyard. And thanks to our city's efforts at pension reform, San Diego has a budget surplus. Really, it just made sense ...

Guest editorial from CityBeat editor Donald Androll about paper's Judge Kreep series

Red (State) Scare

Why we published "Better Dead Than Red (State)," by Donald Androll, San Diego CityBeat Looking back over our previous 49 articles on local Judge Gary Kreep — a man who is not only a Conservative, ...

San Diego selected as test city for CAL-TRANS anti-texting campaign

Selection made on basis of a single week's traffic reports!

DOT Head Don Dent: "We've already contracted with the estate of Paul Evans, whose 1959 hit 'Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the Back Seat)' contains the immortal chorus: 'Keep your mind on your driving/Keep your ...

Gloria Allred files sexual harassment suit against Eyecandy Showgirls in Chula Vista

Celebrity lawyer will represent clients who felt pressured to buy nude lap dances from so-called "fatties."

Even as her sexual harassment lawsuit against ex-Mayor Bob Filner gropes its way through the courts, Gloria Allred is taking on a new challenge: suing hippy strippers for pushing their portly product on queasy customers ...

City of Vista funds graffiti cleanup through graffiti auction

Nearly all costs covered as collectors snap up works by upstart art duo Selik and Slik; gallery retrospective planned

"Thanks be to Banksy," says Vista Mayor Art Krittick. And with good reason. Just weeks after the British graffitist thrilled New York City with a month-long spree of street art that turned ordinary buildings into ...

Chargers Coach McCoy: "The City of San Diego doesn't much care for losers, but what they really hate are winners."

"If we won, we'd have to leave town."

"You ever hear of the San Diego Gulls?" asks Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy as he cracks open a frosty can of Amstel Light. "Hockey team. They were around for eight seasons in the '90s ...

San Diego Police successfully clear homeless veterans from path of Veteran's Day parade

Parade organizer: "It's kind of hard to honor veterans when they're passed out on the sidewalk under an old Smurfs sleeping bag."

Papa Doug Manchester voted "Nice Guy of 2013" by San Diego chapter of Ladies Who Lunch

Newspaper and hotel magnate feted at Del Mar gala: "This time, Papa, let us pick up the tab!"

It looks like nice guys finish first, after all. The luncheon was oh-so-private — strange to see a newspaper man honored by ladies who don't believe it's in good taste to appear in the newspaper ...

Revealed: Nathan Fletcher's secret collegiate history!

Would-be Mayor was "Mayor of Mayhem" at notorious Delta Tau Chi fraternity

Republican San Diego mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer has made political hay from Democratic candidate Nathan Fletcher's refusal to release his college transcripts from his years at California Baptist University. "In these post-Filnerian times, we need ...

Embattled Ex-Mayor of El Cajon insists incendiary statements were taken out of context

Lewis's lament

Mark Lewis resigned as Mayor of El Cajon last week, citing cancer, a stroke, a dislocated shoulder, severe halitosis, acid reflux, diabetes, a nasty hangnail, and mild indigestion as his reasons for leaving office. But ...

SDSU baseball players come under fire for Halloween game costumes

NAACP Spokespeson: "Blackhair has no place in baseball OR Halloween."

Every year, the San Diego State baseball team plays a game decked out in Halloween finery. This year's contest featured a homer-hitting Charger Girl, Facebook at shortstop, and King Kong as third base coach. But ...

In response to Amnesty International report on civilian casualties, General Atomics releases Rainmaker reparations drone

Raining down death, then making it rain

"Here's what's not going to happen," says General Atomics Head of Drone Relations Col Adderal. "We're not going to stop dropping bombs on the bad guys. Not even if the bad guys start standing really ...