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Stories by Walter Mencken

NASCAR king Jimmie Johnson thanks El Cajon hometown at ceremony

"I'm putting this whole town in my rear view."

From this day forward, June 17 in El Cajon will be known as Jimmie Johnson Day, in honor of the six-time NASCAR Spring Cup Series champion who spent his childhood there. Mayor Bill Wells made ...

Beachfront Benghazi?

Hillary Clinton denies involvement in raid on Mitt Romney's La Jolla compound.

Former Secretary of State releases statement for the press: "Look, if some overzealous taggers get busy on a property that's already been slated for destruction, I don't think that's any of my business. It's simply ...

Tony Gwynn, "A hero for our time, er, town."

Faulconer calls Gwynn "a pretty good ballplayer for a pretty good city."

Remarks from San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer at a free public ceremony honoring deceased Padres star Tony Gwynn, Petco Park, June 26. "Tony Gwynn was a consummate gentleman, a team player to the end. His ...

San Diego Recruits Bear Grylls as Water Conservation Spokesman

As part of its ongoing campaign to encourage water conservation, the San Diego Public Works Department has partnered with Man vs. Wild star Bear Grylls, who famously drank his own urine on an episode of ...

Armed robbers hold up La Mesa donut shop

MEDITATIVELY MUNCHING ON A TIGER TAIL, LA MESA — "The donut business is a tough business," says La Mesa Yum Yum Donuts manager Tim Tomake, whose shop was held up on June 18. "Profit margins ...

OB Marshmallow Party?

LISTENING FOR THE FIFE AND DRUM, OCEAN BEACH — "Ocean Beach has always been about freedom," says Ocean Beach Citizens Brigade Confectionary Sergeant Ralph Wegmans. "And now a tyranny — once benign, but now malignant ...

Special interactive feature: help us choose the drug-related cop joke

Dear Reader readers: We just couldn't decide which was the better aspect of the Officers Charpentier case: the (alleged) fact that married police officers needed to sell hydrocodone to supplement the notoriously low pay offered ...

Padres notch 50th moral victory of the season on day of Gwynn's passing

Following their 5-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on June 16, the day Tony Gwynn died, the San Diego Padres' record fell to 29-41, making them one of only three teams in the Major Leagues ...

SDSU appoints Tony Gwynn Statue to take over Tony Gywnn's coaching contract

The tragic death of San Diego baseball great Tony Gwynn came just days after he signed a one-year contract extension for his position as San Diego State's men's baseball coach, which he has held since ...

Fallen heroes

The sad and untimely death of San Diego Padre great Tony Gwynn on June 16 from salivary gland cancer caused by a lifetime of dipping tobacco while playing baseball should in no way bring to ...

San Diego Zoo Safari Park issues clarifying statement on Tiger Power

Following the alleged horrific stabbing of a Wisconsin girl by two 12-year-old classmates who were seeking to prove their dedication to the fictional character of Slender Man, and following the horrific Isla Vista shooting spree ...

Petco seeks home field advantages

"It's often been said that the hometown crowd is a kind of tenth man," says Petco-Padres liason Des Perate. "As the San Diego Padres continue to struggle this season, we here at Petco have been ...

With apologies to William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night How did you end up in there, Trapped beneath my vacant stare? Am I supposed to quake in awe At thy claws, thy fearsome jaw? ...

Low voter turnout blamed on lingering Malaise Layer

"Mayor Faulconer is the face of the good-ol'-boy establishment," said Area Man as he cracked a fourth Dos Equis while sitting on his patio and watching his grass wither on Election Day. "District Attorney Dumanis ...

San Diego joins effort to clean up nation's airports

In 2012, the San Diego Airport Commission removed the huge mural of Charles Lindbergh that had adorned the San Diego Airport Commuter Terminal for 15 years. In 2014, they replaced the mural with Jari "Werc" ...

RACIST group proposes new name for San Diego Padres

"We know that it's more helpful to propose solutions than it is to simply complain about problems," says Samantha Serious, community organizer for Rename All Culturally Insensitive Sports Teams (RACIST). That's why we here at ...

Twitter suspends #YOLO hashtag following tweet from San Diego arsonist

Twitter spokeswoman Tammy Twiterrier today announced the social network's first-ever hashtag suspension, after a user posted a tweet that seemed to take credit for starting the Cocos fire near San Marcos. The as-yet-unidentified user, posting ...

The Wizard of SpanOz

SOMETHING SOMETHING GASLAMP GASBAG — Fans attending last Thursday night's game between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Dodgers might have been forgiven for believing they'd come down with an unseasonal case of ...

Padres = Bad Dads?

"The Donald Sterling scandal has had one good effect," says Samantha Serious, community organizer for Rename All Culturally Insensitive Sports Teams (RACIST), "the first serious, ownership-level discussion about racism in professional sports since the Atlanta ...

Chargers' Owner Spanos: "Loose Lips Sink [Clipper] Ships"

An audiotape has recently surfaced in which a man tentatively identified as San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos chides former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for talking "about anything that matters to a woman." ...

Found: another proposal from the now-disbanded Balboa Park Centennial Group

San Diego, then and now

From the minutes of the December 2013 meeting of the Balboa Park Centennial Group, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and a fifth of Glenlivet: Mr. [REDACTED] noted that, during the 1935 Expo, ...

Undeleted City emails reveal Balboa Park Centennial Group proposal for 2015 XXXPosition

SLOWLY COUNTING TO 2.6 MILLION IN AN EFFORT TO MAINTAIN CONTROL, BALBOA PARK — The combined decisions to halt the deletion of City emails and to audit the now-defunct Balboa Park Centennial Group have produced ...

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 ...

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