Rape of the Earth
Medal of Dishonor
The year's most infamous award goes to the voters of San Diego, a majority of whom agreed to exchange 39 acres of prime canyonland in Balboa Park for a similar-sized parcel overflown by noisy commercial jetliners, to facilitate construction of the Navy's campuslike medical center (complete with softball fields, tennis courts, and swimming pool). Having given away the last significant tract of undeveloped land near metropolitan San Diego (and with it a chance for a unique cultural and natural resource) we gained instead a construction headache and what promises to be a permanent traffic snarl around Morley Field and the zoo. Although a few citizen and environmental groups still hope to forestall construction, their chances are exceedingly slim. You're new to San Diego? Welcome aboard.
The Roentgen Trophy
A perpetual trophy. Awarded this year to the management of the SDG&E for persistent efforts to bring nuclear power and its accompanying background radiation to San Diego. Particular mention should be made of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, soon to be California's largest, centrally located near downtown San Diego, Escondido, Oceanside, San Clemente, and points north. The trophy, several pellets of uranium dioxide inside an attractively styled concrete container, can be used to power an electric toothbrush or carving knife. Comes complete with an operating manual that any plumber with a background in nuclear physics should understand.
The "After You, Alphonse" Award for Government Bureaucracy
Plaques depicting a government official dropping a hot potato are awarded to the state fish and game department and the Army Corps of Engineers, who both failed to resolve the issue of illegally dumped fill dirt in the Famosa Slough. The dirt first appeared in September 1978, filling the edges of the slough, which provides a small but vital habitat for water and shore birds in this land of diminishing open space. Both of the agencies are responsible for preserving coastal tidelands, but throughout 1979 neither of them managed to do anything about this violation.
The Golden Greaseball
Awarded to the City of San Diego for repeated violations at its Point Loma sewage treatment facility, including the discharge of "floatable solids." Although officials have insisted the plant is being upgraded to meet state and federal standards on sewage treatment, in October the EPA termed the city's efforts "grossly deficient" and threatened legal action if violations were not curbed. Gilded tampon inserters are also hereby awarded to the thousands of San Diego women who use "disposable" plastic brands (which comprise the bulk of the escaped solids) instead of paper ones.
The Speed in City Planning Award
Given collectively to members of San Diego city council who approved the first phase of planning for North City West, the huge (40,000 population) development to be built on the hills east of Del Mar. The council approved North City West in spite of concerns over its impact on the area's air pollution, water supplies, and above-mentioned sewage treatment facility; and over objections of the Del Mar city council, which mostly voted to sue to prevent North City West from being built. Several San Diego City Council members have said repeatedly that people can't be prevented from moving here, but with this vote confirmed that the concept of responsible city planning sometimes bears a remarkable resemblance to the chamber of commerce's old roll-out-the-red-carpet approach. Award: a photograph of Torrey Pines State Beach, with the sand still visible.
Debate of the Year
A chorus of "Baaaa humbug" to the U.S. Navy, which has jurisdiction over nearby San Clemente Island and its 4000 wild goats. Last year the EPA complained that the goats were threatening to gobble up several species of endangered plants and the brushy habitats of at least three rare subspecies of birds. So, the Navy worked out a plan to shoot the goats from helicopters — at a cost of $100,000 — but found that project halted in May as a result of a suit brought by several animal protection groups. These groups favored rounding up the goats and bringing them to the mainland, but their solution went down the drain when it was revealed that the transported goats would likely die within days from mainland parasites they've no defenses against. The debate dragged through the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for months, with neither side willing to give in. Finally, last week the Navy agreed to pay Jim Clapp, a trapper from Northern California, to capture the goats and bring them to the mainland for use in the U.S. Forest Service's brush-clearing program. Clapp's asking price ($80,000) gives him full title to the goats.
Key to the Country
The City of San Diego's second award, a key made of poison oak, is given for lack of action when the Ukegawa Brothers, the large agricultural firm based in Poway, bulldozed over several rare vernal pools in Penasquitos Canyon last March to plant tomatoes. When the city claimed it had no political responsibility in the matter (the canyon, located near the junction of Interstate 5 and 805, is zoned for agricultural use; "improvements" to the landscape are therefore generally not subject to review), the Los Angeles office of the Army Corps of Engineers threatened to assume jurisdiction over all planning and development in the area. That got officials moving, who this month finally announced a plan to preserve many of the remaining pools, which harbor several rare and unusual species of plants and have aroused the interest of botanists and biologists nationwide.
The year's customary tail-end prize goes to Tijuana, Mexico, for continuing to postpone construction of a sewage treatment plant in favor of a scenic waterfall of raw waste that cascades down to the ocean several miles south of the city. Prize includes an all-expense-paid vacation at the outfall site for the city's mayor, Lic. Xicotencatl Leyva, and Baja California Governor Roberto de la Madrid. Swimming, diving, surfing, and all the (local) fish you can eat.
— Gordon Smith
Good Sports, Bad Sports
If some compulsive sports aficionado would take the time to compile a composite of the major sports team standings in any given year, and would then rank these standings by city, he would very likely find that the lowest-ranking sports town in the nation would be none other than America's Finest. The generally accepted notion that the seasons never change in San Diego has prompted local sports spectators to (a) resume their devotion to the city from which they migrated, (b) concoct a reason to follow a winning team ("Well, I like the Yankees because my father lived in New York as a kid"), or (c) sever all relations with the majors and develop an enthusiasm for other spinet-ingling events such as the Andy Williams Open, the Hobi Cat Invitational, or Aztec football ("Hey, how about those Aztecs!")
Whereas towns like Los Angeles and Pittsburgh (way out in front in the composite standings with current championships in both football and baseball) offer their citizenry reason to turn first to the sports page at the morning breakfast table, San Diego has traditionally vied with Chicago and Atlanta for that lonely spot deep in the cellar. However, the respectable finishes in 1978 of the Padres, Chargers, and Clippers allows San Diegans to begin tossing around such phrases as "not bad," "contenders," "close game," "exciting" ... all of them unfamiliar phrases in these parts. I am pleased to announce that this year's cellar dweller is the City of Detroit (it was no contest), which had a dismal overall record in football, basketball, and baseball.
When considering San Diego's year in sports, one should not neglect those non team professional activities that made news even if they didn't make big headlines. There were some pleasantries locally this year: the World Wrestling Championships, the world racquets tournament, and the Wells Fargo Tennis Open, with Tracy Austin upsetting Martina Navratllova. Unfortunately, no significant WBC or WBA boxing cards ended up' in our burgh. Norton almost fought LeDoux at the Sports Arena, but it was cancelled due to bruised ribs, poor ticket sales, or both, or neither. All the good pugilism (Danny "Little Red" Lopez, John Tate, and Sugar Ray Leonard) took place on the tube. As for golf, which was the method by which the rich white kids at my high school always got out of gym class, well, there is always the Andy "Yes, Claudine and I Are Still Friends" Williams Open, the reassuring fact that San Diego County has more courses per capita than anywhere else, and the presence of La Costa, where you can sit in the clubhouse and pass the time gazing at celebrities and their undercover FBI scouts (the G-men are the ones with blond hair).
The professional team sports can be grouped this way: the Big Three (football, baseball, basketball) and the Little Three (ice hockey, soccer, and team tennis, assuming team tennis still exists at all). First,
The Little Three
If you should innocently forget .to read the day's sports section, or worse, depend on radio sports reports for information, you could easily miss the acquirement or sale of a San Diego hockey franchise. In one year and out the next, the christening, sinking, and scrapping of the Gulls, Mariners — whoever — always takes place swiftly, usually in the middle of the night. By the way, this year we don't have a team. In fact, the whole league has been dissolved.
Speaking of liquidation, the World Team Tennis league is also gone, and with it, the San Diego Friars. The Friars didn't play shabbily, though, making it to the playoffs but choking early on. The nice thing about the WIT was that it brought highly rated tennis pros such as Evert and Connors to San Diego.
The most solid team in this category, and threatening to become a major sport (average attendance was close to 12,000 last season), is the San Diego Sockers. Winning their division for the second straight year, Socker soccer offers its devotees high excitement. Our team is composed of internationally acclaimed players from Latin America, Scandinavia, Africa, and Eastern and Western Europe, which has led to an odd situation; they can't really converse with each other. Under the coaching (and sign language) of Hubert Vogelsinger, who has· orchestrated shrewd trades, acquisitions, and draft picks, the Sockers are sure to be in the running for the Socker Bowl this upcoming season, which they missed playing in last year by a header. Let's just hope the North American Soccer League doesn't go the way of team tennis.
The Big Three
In their maiden season, the San Diego Clippers finished a healthy notch above .500, bringing the home-town hordes some rousing basketball. and ended the '78-'79 edition of the NBA just a shot (or two) away from the playoffs. Granted, their defensive game was sloppy (and sometimes nonexistent), and their offensive posture erratic albeit exciting, yet the Clippers were giving San Diego a team that you wanted to root for. But the ingredient the Clippers needed to stay alive in a very tough division was a strong center who would not only alleviate their defensive maladies, but institute some ball control and playmaking on offense. It was this search for the big man that led to a major overhaul of the infant Clipper franchise.
That search ended, of course, with the signing of former Portland Trailblazer Bill Walton, one of the best players the game has ever seen. However, NBA Commissioner "Hello Larry" O'Brien made sure the Clippers suffered (through "compensation") dearly for their prize. San Diego closed its eyes, crossed its fingers, and took in a deep breath, only to open its eyes and exhale to discover that Kermit Washington, Kevin Kunnert, Randy Smith, and draft choices were going to be the price (punishment?) for the center, whose most exciting moment this year came in the middle of his weekly radio show on KSDO, when an irate caller demanded that Million Dollar Bill personallv refund that fraction of all season tickets used to pay his salary.
Not to say that the Clippers aren't faring admirably considering the circumstances. Free is still his All World self. As the second leading scorer in the NBA, he displays cocksureness when anyone takes him one-on-one, and is expert at drawing the foul. Complementing him at guard is Brian Taylor, with his quick hands and league-leading three-point-play conversions. Swen Nater, as Walton's backup at center, is undoubtedly having the finest season of his athletic career, currently second only to MVP Moses Malone in rebounds. San Diego rotates three forwards: Bingo Smith, Joe Bryant, and Sidney Wicks. This appears to be the weakest position right now, but patience should reveal these players to be good forwards for Walton's game (someday).
Coach Gene Shue deserves praise for making sense out of all this (can you imagine Free and Walton playing on the same team?), and has remedied problems when they occurred. She is a Philadelphia expatriate, as are Free, Bryant, and play-by-lay announcer Ted Leitner who, unfortunately, will never let us forget that he's "just one of the guys from PhilIy."
Every soothsayer from Las Vegas to Esquire had the Padres slated to finish second in the National League West in 1979. Following a decent 84-78 season the previous year, the Padres readied themselves for an even higher finish this year. But as has often been the case so often in the past, the Padre Front Four (owner Ray Kroc, president Ballard Smith, general manager Bob Fontaine, and whoever the manager was at any given moment) proved themselves to be the most inept choreographers in major league baseball today. The team ended the year at 68-93_ When batting instructor Billy Herman recently resigned. he labeled the team "the weakest club I've been associated with in twenty-five years" and said it was "going backwards." Here are six examples of how management screwed up the Padres in 1979:
1) The endless jockeying around of batting line-ups and defensive assignments is a loser's strategy. The teams that are still playing ball in October are those that maintain a consistent and solid order. Scrap the useless notion of platooning players to match up right-handers facing left-handers and vice versa.
2) The Padres' front office demonstrates a proclivity for wrong-guessing when it comes to player trades and acquisitions. Their entire farm system is composed of Tim Flannery; the trade and free-agent draft are their only means for improvement. They constantly whine about not having a first baseman, yet they relinquished Willie McCovey, Mike Ivie, Dave Kingman, and recently Mike Hargrove (who, after exiting the Padre organization, went on to hit .325). The Padre outfield of 1978 (Winfield, Gamble, Richards) had the highest batting average of any team in the league, so the Padres got rid of Gamble (and before him Hendrick) and moved Richards to center, platooning him at the plate. Other great moves included signing Aurelio Rodriguez after securing a good third baseman in Paul Dade, and spending millions of dollars on two free-agent has-been pitchers when the money should have gone to heal the wounds they inflicted on two of the best pitchers in the league — Gaylord Perry and Bob Shirley.
3) The handling of outfielder Gene Richards is further evidence that the Front Four don't have baseball in their blood. Richards finished off the '78 season as the top batter on the Padres, and was fourth in the National League in hitting (.311). The management shook up his fielding sensibilities in 1979 by moving him to center field. He made some errors there, and they often benched him. Here we had a team that was last in overall batting in the league (.242) and they wouldn't start one of the best lead-off hitters in baseball (Richards was in the top five in average, triples, and stolen bases.) Sacred cows Randy Jones and Ozzie Smith would always be left in the game even if they were performing poorly because they were continually "building their confidence." However, when Richards misjudged a fly ball, he was taken out for "playing lousy."
4) I'm not sure the Padres realize that they can improve Dave Winfield's already awesome offensive strength. This is the guy who led the league in RBI's while playing on a team that never had anyone on base for him to knock in. It's just not that difficult to prove to the world that the big man really does deserve the MVP award. When will a manager place people with high on-base percentages in front of him, and someone who can hit (so pitchers won't keep throwing him junk) behind him?
5) The hiring of Jerry Coleman as manager immediately following the close of the '79 season was a tactical blunder. Instead of waiting a few days, at which time such managers as Danny Ozark, Herman Franks, Alex Grammas, Jack McKeon, Whitey Herzog, Preston Gomez, and Maury Wills would have become available, president-poseur Ballard Smith hired a broadcaster who gets hopelessly confused when J.R. Richard is pitching to Gene Richards. A bigger blunder may have been Smith's giving Coleman a multiyear contract after earlier stating that he would never hire a manager for more than a one-year agreement.
6) The unending support of such mediocre players as Kurt Bevacqua, Dan Briggs, Fred Kendall, and Bill Almon, who has a third foot in the web of his fielding glove.
One local team which certainly has not been hampered by front-office/managerial bunglings is the San Diego Chargers. On the contrary, it has been the insight and sagacity of the Charger management and coaching staff that has kneaded the team into the contender it is today. If you were to select the two key elements that would account for the Chargers' Success, they would have to be (1) the wisdom of the team's draft choices, and (2) the hiring of head coach Don Coryell.
Whereas baseball utilizes a farm system to groom its young ballplayers for the major leagues, football franchises are solely dependent on the annual college draft. If you don't get what you need during the draft, you'll have to depend on chancy trades and the erratic free-agent market; and it's not often that a Charlie Joiner comes along. The best example of the importance of the draft is the Pittsburgh Steelers: Not one member of the Steelers' 49-man squad has ever played for another team. The Chargers have been steadily going uphill since the beginning of the 1976 season, and if you take note of their draft picks currently on the team, (especially '75), it's not difficult to see why. Pre-1975: Russ Washington, Dan Fouts, Don Goode, Charles DeJurnett, Bo Matthews; 1975: Louie Keicher, Fred Dean, Big Hands Johnson, Billy Shields, Mike Fuller, Mike Williams; 1976: John Lee, Ray Preston, Artie Owens, Bob Horn, Woodrow Lowe, Don Macek; 1977: Clarence Williams, Bob Rush, Pete Shaw, Keith King. Cliff Olander; 1978: John Jefferson, Milton Hardaway; 1979: Kellen Winslow, John Floyd, Cliff Thrift.
When Don Coryell took over for Tommy Prothro last season, everyone just knew that the final ingredient for a winning team had just been added. Coryell's touch, coupled with that deft accumulation of personnel, has given San Diego its most arousing and competent sports team of 1979. Coryell's brand of a pass offense is more a religion than a tactic. Detractors claimed throughout the year that you can't possibly build a winning team in the toughest division in the NFL on the pass alone; that a team must develop a balanced attack. They harped that there was no breakaway back, and that in some games the Chargers didn't even gain one hundred yards on the ground. See you at the Super Bowl, Chumley. (The argument espousing the necessity of a balanced offense is a flawed one. You don't hear anyone kvetching at NCAA powers such as Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas to pass more than six times a game and develop a "balanced attack." The only reason the pass alone rarely works is because it requires a coach of high caliber and confidence [such as Coryell], and besides, as Fouts once explained, the Charger backs are perfect in the context of a passing game — they pass-protect and receive well.)
Injuries are always a major factor in the sudden downfall of a team, and like other franchises, the Chargers lost the full-season services of key players. However, the ability of their backups to perform when needed lessened the loss of the following men: Louie Keicher (Wilbur Young), Don Goode (Ray Preston), Rolf Benirschke (Mike Wood), Kellen Winslow (Bob Klein), and Don Macek (Bob Rush).
Leafing through the statistics of "points for" and "points against" in the 1979 NFL season, you will see that the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers had the best overall combination of offense and defense, which in my book makes the Chargers one of the two top teams in pro football.
— Greg Kahn, Director of San Diego International Film Festival and Freelance Writer
The Depths of Fashion
The Sandwich Board Look
Popularized during the Depression, this look now appears as the blurb T· shirt. An especially popular form of self-sploitation this year, the walking billboard does volunteer work for the economy by advertising surf shops, rock bands, restaurants, punk clubs, life styles, ad nauseam. Whether the graphic is an alligator, lightning bolt, or an D.P. anything, the new volunteer not only wears the company uniform day and night, but pays for it as well. Recent examples: "Wrap your ass in fiberglass — Corvette," and "So many women. So little time."
The Hawaii Complex
Aloha shirts, shapeless with short sleeves, were still big in 1979. This craze developed during the Fifties, when San Diegans were indoctrinated by the imagery of Harry Owens and his Royal Hawaiians, one of the few programs on their newly purchased TV sets. This shirt is not accompanied by slide guitars, but by the sound of rubber sandals slapping the pavement.
The Surf Nazi
Descendants of the Hawaii Complex, the finest specimens in San Diego this year could be found loitering outside the 7- Eleven on La Jolla Boulevard at Westbourne in baseball caps, straight blond hair, down vests, C.P. shorts, and carrying in one hand a giant surfboard. Their stance is the antithesis of posture.
The Over-the-Line Line
The mature Surf Nazi this year favored baggy boxer shorts, which were usually visible below the hem of his Australian Quicksilver trunks. CAT hats, down vests, and a slightly inebriated expression, completed the OMBACian look for '79. The Over-the-Line look begins with young boys who are taunted by classmates ridiculing the visible bands of their jockey shorts. "Bun huggers," they jeer. It's more than an adolescent boy can take, and soon he sheds his jockey shorts for the baggy boxer style. The "Load-in-the-Rear Look" becomes mandatory in the teen years, with baggy Levis falling off the hips to expose a hint of cleavage above the proudly displayed boxer band . The New Macho Man feels safe in his boxer shorts. He can wear tight pants and will escape catching the dreaded "Fairy Fever."
Backless mules and slides could be heard slapping the bottoms of pedestrians of all persuasions in '79.
The Ugly Feet Awards
"Candies" — mules with bad hides staple-gunned to their plastic soles.
Wavy soles — obviously designed for walking across the top of a Quonset hut.
Platform rubber soles with rainbows spray-painted their sides.
Birkenstocks and Roots.
The Worn-Out Awards
Any name-brand pants.
Leotards on women who aren't dancers.
Tennis clothes in the supermarket, especially sports shoes with the little yarn ball at the heels.
Jogging outfits worn out to dinner. (Who cares if it cost $150?)
Running shorts worn over a full jogging suit for no known reason.
Mirrored sunglasses; in particular, those with red, white, and blue plastic frames.
The Annie Hall look in general; neckties for women specifically.
Men's shirts with big, floppy collars; men's shirts with priestlike, Victorian collars.
Bush pants with thirty-two pockets.
White painters pants for women.
All turquoise jewelry.
The Lost-in-a-Time-Warp Award
The Hippie Look for nostalgics who never learned to drink.
The Drugstore Cowboy — western shirt, dry-cleaned Levis, and filthy boots — for those who don't know whether to migrate to or from EI Cajon.
The New Elite Award
Salespersons wearing an eighty-dollar silk shirt, $200 jacket, seventy-dollar pants, eighty-dollar shoes, and lots of gold jewelry. "Can I help you?" they ask. "Yes, how do you dress like that on $2.90 an hour?"
— Winifred West, Reliable Source
Open to Page One
I did not read as many books as I had hoped to in 1979, but being an inveterate bookstore browser, I did read the beginnings of many of the year's most important new novels. While the old saw "You can't judge a book by its cover" is certainly true, it's equally true that you will judge an awful lot about a book by reading its first sentence. Think about the opening sentences of some of the great novels of the past that have become chiseled in granite for us. Any schoolkid can tell you that "Call me Ishmael" is the first sentence of Mobil Dick (well, schoolkids used to be able to tell you that), and though hardly anybody reads Pride and Prejudice anymore these days, its opening sentence remains one of the most controversially quotable in the language: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
It's unlikely that any of the first sentences in the novels of 1979 will achieve the immortality of these two, but the year did produce some striking opening gambits. Here are a few likely to turn up on English exams in the year 2079:
Most Literary Opening Sentence
"It was the last daylight hour of a December afternoon more than 20 years ago — I was 23, writing and publishing my first short stories, and like many a Bildungsroman hero before me, already contemplating my own massive Billdungsroman — when I arrived at his hideaway to meet the great man."
This gem, from Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer, will elicit immediate recognition and praise from the writers and English majors among us. Others will need to consult a Handbook of Elementary Literary Terms.
Most Ambiguous Opening Sentence
"They sometimes met on country roads when there were flowers or snow." So begins Bernard Malamud's Dubin's Lives. Who are "they"? Did they sometimes not meet on country roads but on city streets? Or did they sometimes not meet at all? Was it Spring? Winter?
Most Unpromising Opening Sentence
"Fabian decided to get a haircut." This riveting observation occurs on the first page of Jerry Kosinski's Passion Play, the title of which apparently refers to an event other than the one indicated in the first sentence.
Most Promising Opening Sentence
"The hour is late, the hour rings with confusion, the voices and laughter of strangers, and something is happening to Albert St. Dennis."
The opening line from Joyce Carol Oates's new novel, Unholy Loves, is the one which made me most want to read further because it has all the ingredients of first-rate narrative. Naturally, you want to know what is happening to Mr. St. Dennis, what all the confusion at this late hour is about, who those voices belong to, and off you go into Unholy Loves.
Most Philosophical Opening Sentence
"The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it."
V.S. Naipaul has emerged this year as the darling of the literati, and this beginning, from his widely heralded novel, A Bend in the River, helps you to understand why. Obviously this is a no-nonsense writer who abhors sentimentality and gets right down to business. Readers of Erich Segal beware.
Most Vonnegut-like Opening Sentence
"Yes — Kilgore Trout is back again." Kurt himself gets the nod for this opening from his new novel, Jailbird. The book also deserves recognition for having the most Vonnegut-like concluding sentence: "Goodbye." A strong contender for the latter honor, however, is Gilbert Sorrentino's Mulligan Stew, a wonderful hodgepodge of a novel which ends with the sentence, "Cheers!"
Most Surprising Opening Sentence
"I have been sent on errands to our Colonies on many planets." A perfectly ordinary opening line for a scl-fi novel, but the fact that it is the entry to a Doris Lessing novel makes it a surprise. Many of her fans, who are often down-to-earth types, are saying "Et tu, Doris?" because her new novel, Shikasta, roams among the galaxies.
Most Violent Opening Sentence
In this category I found it hard to choose. For graphic violence, I'll have to go with the first line from James Baldwin's Just Above My Head: "The damn'd blood burst, first through his nostrils, then pounded through the veins in his neck, the scarlet torrent exploded through his mouth, it reached his eyes and blinded him, and brought Arthur down, down, down, down, down." (Baldwin's sentence is also the most repetitive opening sentence of the year.)
For understated or flatly described violence, my choice is the first words of Alan Saperstein's grimly titled Mom Kills Kids and Self: "When I arrived home from work I found my wife had killed our two sons and taken her own life."
Opening Sentence Which Tells Most About the Book that Follows
"Gold had been asked many times to write about the Jewish Experience in America." Anyone unable to guess what Joseph Heller's Good As Gold is going to be about after reading its first sentence needs a course in Bonehead English.
Opening Sentence Which Tells Least About the Book that Follows
"Brenda was six when she fell out of the apple tree."
Though literary critics in the years to come will endlessly explicate this first sentence of Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song — loss of innocence, Garden of Eden imagery, connections to Faulkner, Hemingway, and so on — who would think that the line begins a book about a cold-blooded killer and his execution?
Most All-Purpose Opening Sentence
I don't hesitate to choose the first line of Gilbert Sorrentino's Mulligan Stew. It's such an all-purpose line that it seems a perfect one with which to conclude these observations: "How absurd to find myself in this dilemma."
— Fred Moramarco
Dining: The Best, The Worst
Every city gets the restaurants it deserves. The more complex the social structure, the more varied the restaurants; the richer the city, culturally and financially, the more sophisticated the dining. San Diego has come a long way from the period in its evolution when it was known primarily for its Mexican restaurants on the one hand, and the stability of its venerable establishments (La Valencia Hotel, Hotel del Coronado, Grant's Grill, Lubach's) on the other. Today, food from the farthest reaches of the world increasingly becomes available to us, and enriches our palates.
What's most to be applauded is the persistence of excellent small family restaurants where both the wife and husband are involved in cooking and management. The most admirable ones to surface this year were Catch of the Day Seafood Restaurant (3760 Sports Arena Boulevard), Sun's Kitchen Mandarin Restaurant (621 Pearl Street, La Jolla), and a brand-new one, a Turkish-Greek restaurant, right in the heart of Mission Beach, Effendi. These serve honest products, well-prepared, and with prices commensurate to what is being offered. La Tavernetta, a mother/son operation in Encinitas, also deserves attention for its attempt to produce good pasta at reasonable cost.
The year's biggest surprise was the discovery of Casa de la Paloma, a fine Mexican restaurant in the proverbial "middle-of-nowhere" behind a small shopping center in El Cajon.
The greatest persistence award must go to the Oriental families who open shop at 4965 El Cajon Boulevard. Within a period of a year, this storefront restaurant has been occupied by Kim's Vietnamese Dai La Thien Vietnamese, and currently by Thai Diego. It is not the physical plant, minimalist in form and decor, that causes these restaurants to fold; rather, it seems to be a lack of familiarity with American "business." Though the two former owners had restaurants in Saigon, they had a difficult time joining service to product. The service at the current Thai Diego falls short even of its predecessors. Still, one wishes all of these refugees well.
The biggest disgrace continues to be the restaurants on Prospect Street in La Jolla. This section of San Diego serves a wealthy population of its own, as well as tourists who are accustomed to spending money. Yet, there is no correlation between price and product. In truth there's not an outstanding restaurant on the street, and many of them are just plain awful. When the Blue Parrotopened a few months ago, I rushed to try its Caribbean specialties. The meal proved one of the most disastrous I've had all year, including a King Konk dish (similar to abalone) that was so tough I couldn't cut into it, and a chicken dish with burned almonds on top and raw chicken inside. I intended to return, but didn't because I hate to throw good money after bad, and heard from several reliable sources that the cooking hadn't improved.
With the exception of La Valencia, where the food is never exciting but at least edible, and Alfonso's, where the food is fresh but you need steel nerves to endure the bustle and din, the rest are either ho-hum or should be avoided. I no longer bother reviewing the new ones on Prospect because of the impoverishment of culinary spirit. In fact, when I pass some of the outdoor cafes and see some of the food on the plates, I glance away quickly. Why the restaurateurs of this street have assiduously pursued mediocrity escapes me. For 1980, I'd like to see a really good restaurant, where people would congregate with anticipation and pleasure, on restaurant row in La Jolla.
The sound of both hands clapping must go to the French contingent, for their high standards of professionalism. These include La Chaumine (1466 Garnet), L'Escargot (5662 La Jolla Boulevard), La Maison Henri (2236 Carmel Valley Road), and Piret's (902 W. Washington). At the last you can have a charming French-style breakfast of croissants and coffee, as well as lunch and dinner.
The mixed blessing award goes to The Menu (3784 Ingraham Street) for serving fresh food (and a great deal of it ) at modest prices. However, because the quarters are small, the owner makes it a policy to play loud music all the time so that the patrons won't linger and tie up the precious few tables. He knows that the music prevents people from dawdling, and encourages their early departure. While his product is good, driving people out with indiscreet music is a form of exploitation.
Regrets go to the departure of Varley's, the one and only Portuguese restaurant, which closed a few months ago and now is the site for Mario's. San Diego needs another Portuguese dining establishment, as well as a Russian restaurant.
The trend towards large restaurants must be noted — among them, Thank God It's Friday and D.O. Mills, both in Mission Valley and each with a bar such as could enliven a cruise ship. Their size isn't for me, but it demonstrates a trend based on the theory that bigger is better. Of course, the new Andalucia (8950 Via La Jolla Drive) seats more than 200, and while it's broken into a series of rooms as well as a patio and a separate bar, it's larger than some inns in Spain.
The most beautiful dining room award goes to Milles Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe, which has the sort of quiet elegance not found elsewhere in San Diego. And the most disappointing is the much-heralded Heritage Park Restaurant (2470 Heritage Park Row), for its extremely high prices and dubious service.
As the year draws to a close, it should be noted that finding a good dinner for $5 is exceedingly difficult. If you eat at an Oriental restaurant and order a single dish, you can still make it for that price. But in most places, the norm seems to be $6.95 for the two least expensive items on the menu, such as chicken or fish. This price does not include beverage, dessert, tax, or tip. That means the "average" dinner is now approximately $10 per person, which should give most of us pause.
Escalation of prices is also evident in the cost of a minimum order, which is usually written in fine print. Recently, some of my friends who often frequent Hillcrest's Casa di Baffi, left in a huff. They decided to share a large entree (pork chops) and were told there would be a charge of $4 "for the plate." Restaurants should be more accommodating about sharing, especially in cases such as at Casa di Baffi, where diners are likely to order expensive wine, appetizers, and desserts. Charging $4 "for the plate" may discourage people from dividing one entree into two, but it permanently divides diners from the restaurant itself.
While restaurateurs affix higher and higher prices to meals, they run the risk of the ultimate putdown: suppose you cooked a dinner and nobody came? Everyone is aware of inflation, especially this year; but people still want value, and they deserve it.
— Eleanor Widmer
Wish I'd Heard That One
Donald H. Harrison, Politics Writer, San Diego Union
1) Pete Wilson asking Barry Goldwater what in the hell he was doing endorsing Si Casady. Barry Goldwater asking Barry Goldwater, Jr. what in the hell he was doing endorsing Pete Wilson. San Diego voters asking themselves what in the hell the Goldwaters are doing in a local election anyway.
2) Congressman Bob Wilson explaining to constituents on both sides of the Proposition 0 question (Balboa Park naval hospital) why he considered all their efforts meaningless.
3) Tom Gade telling Steve Wittman what smart political sense it would be to ask for an investigation into charges that he misused the city council office.
4) Pete Wilson telling Alan Lord how much it would enhance his banker's image and civic prestige to take on the job of chairman of America's Finest City Week. (Why, Pete probably even told Alan there was a fun picnic he could go to.)
5) County Supervisor Paul Eckert explaining to his constituents why he believes there should be an affirmative action program for Ku Klux Klan members. In the same conversation, Eckert telling constituents that he shared their problems, and needed a salary raise to pay for his maid.
6) Lionel Van Deerlin and Pete Chacon deciding how they should launch their aides, Rudy Patrick Murillo and Jose Diaz, into careers as officeholders.
7) Richard O'Neill explaining to local Democrats why the party should not go to any great lengths to register Chicanos or Pilipinos — and then explaining to his staff why he should tough out the resultant controversy instead of apologizing right away.
8) Bill Cleator telling Tom Gable how much he liked Gable's wine column — and how the budding political consultant ought to stick to wine full time.
9) Jack Pearson telling members of the Police Officers Association what a stroke of brilliant strategy it was to endorse sure winner Steve Wittman over Mike Gotch, even though Gotch had supported them on binding arbitration.
10) Si Casady telling his son, Kent, what a smart political investor he would be if he'd loan old dad S10,fXX) for a few commercials denouncing Pete WiIson's record on city land sales.
11) Pete Wilson explaining to his staff why it would be smart politically to draw attention to Casady's commercials by denouncing them over and over and over again.
12) Campaign strategists telling Steve Wittman that name recognition is important in politics, and that therefore it makes sense to keep the d.a.'s investigation in front of the public.
13) Jose Diaz explaining his new position on rent control to the Coalition for Fair Rent. Also, Diaz explaining to his family that his name is Joe now, not Jose.
14) Mike McDade persuading Pete Wilson that he was qualified to be his campaign manager, as evidenced by his smashing success in his attempt to capture the chairmanship of the Republican County Central Committee.
15) Staff telling Tom Gade that he could win reelection if he would run again. (The only reason they didn't vote for you for judge, Tom, was because they wanted you on the City council.)
16) Larry Lawrence telling Pete Wilson why he was giving $250 to Si Casady — and predicting all the fun they would have later in the campaign when he would ask Casady to give it back.
17) County supervisors assuring each other no one would care if they had a quiet little meeting, in private, to discuss the matter of pay raises.
Karl Keating, Attorney
Beneath the rotunda of the capitol in Washington is the circular whispering gallery. It is said that if you stand near the wall on one side of the gallery, you can hear whispered conversations going on at the other side. I tried that once. First I stood a couple feet from the wall so I wouldn't look like a tourist trying to see if the story w as true. I heard nothing. Next I put my back against the "Wall, cocked my head, and pretended to tie my shoelace, but still I heard nothing. Then I pressed my head against the wall and came away with nothing more than a sore ear. I am perhaps the only person for whom the whispering gallery is mute.
After this admission. it should come as no surprise to you to learn that, of my many vices, eavesdropping is perhaps the least developed. (The others arc doing fine, thank you.) A good eavesdropper, like a good manservant, combines inconspicuousness with ubiquitousness, and that may explain my problem. I consistently miss out on the juiciest conversations, no matter what schemes I try. I am cursed with the temptation to snoop minus the power, but that does not hinder me. What I miss by artlessness can be supplied by deduction. After all, once you know the characters, the dialogue unfolds naturally. Politicians talk about bamboozles, salesmen about flimflams; teachers about flapdoodles, and charwomen about phenomenology and high finance.
Let me give you an example. You'l! recall that in 1976 Pete Wilson supported Gerald Ford for renomination. Ronald Reagan was displeased. In 1978 Ronald Reagan did not support Pete Wilson for the gubernatorial nomination, and Wilson gal nowhere, perhaps even fatally injuring his chances for high office. Now sadder but wiser, and perhaps a little desperate, Wilson has come out for Reagan and has joined his shadow government as Minister of Liberal Republicans. Wilson's endorsement was not proffered, nor was it accepted, without a gain for both sides. Reagan, of course, wants a big-city mayor behind him, and, when it comes to mayors, Wilson is about the highest ranking Republican. But what is the Wizard of Mission Bay supposed to get out of the deal? 1 suspect the discussion ended something like this:
"Then we're agreed, Pete. You'll endorse me, and in exchange I'll put you in a position where you'll have a chance to show off your skills and get a reputation that will carry you to higher office."
"That's great, Ron, but what post do I get?
"I want you in the Department of Transportation ..."
"You mean Neil Goldschmidt's job?"
"...in a spot that requires someone skilled in urban transportation problems ... "
" ... someone who can work with our friends across the border ... "
"You know my reputation."
"... and that's why I want you as ... "
"Secretary of Transportation?"
" ... Undersecretary for Tijuana Trolleys. What do you say?"
Further afield, readers of People, Us, and other gossip magazines for sophisticates were served titillating speculations of what.Jerry Brown and Linda Ronstadt did in their tent on those long nights in darkest Africa. It really isn't so hard to figure out.
"I'll explain that we need a new vision for the future, Linda."
"Pick up your cards." "I'll say that we should explore the universe."
"That phrase will make my declaration of candidacy memorable."
"You have to put something down."
"What I say should be moving, short, and easy for reporters to remember."
"Ill explain that although we're in an era of limits, big is beautiful now."
I'll put down the threes.
"Except when it comes to nuclear power plants, which I have opposed ... "
"Put something in the discard pile."
" ... as consistently as I have supported ... "
"Thanks, I needed that one."
"... Proposition 13."
Closer to home is the sad case of a disillusioned child named Scott Wittman, whose promising career before the klieg lights was cut short by his father's untimely and unexpected electoral loss. Young Scott was featured in the elder Wittman's television commercial as the object of his desires for the City of San Diego; it was sort of a what's-good-for-San-Diego-is-good-for-Scott approach.
Steve Wittman had the proper breeding - he had been an aide to 'former councilman Tom Gade - and the largest war chest of any council candidate, but he fell victim to allegations of irregularities early in his campaign, and that was apparently enough to let his unknown opponent Whatsisname, squeak through with less than 200 votes to spare.
The outcome of the election was no doubt a surprise 10 one and all, and could easily enough be explained away to inquiring reporters - but what would the candidate say to his son? How do you say to someone, "I put your name in lights, and no ..... you're a has-been?" How would Mrs. Temple have told Shirley that the Good Ship Lollipop had gone down with all hands? I haven't the heart to guess.
Finally, the results of a privately commissioned San Diego poll were received yesterday at the offices of a local paper. I am told that two writers eagerly awaited the verdict, and I suspect the conversation went something like this:
"Here's the envelope, Duncan. Now we'll know."
"A ten spot says I'm still number one, Steve."
"You're on. Frankly, I think. you've lost your touch. In recent weeks my reviews have brought in So much hate mail and so many crank calls that Holman is thinking of erecting a gun turret for protection. "
"What crap. Your reviews generate only petty annoyances, nothing substantial or long-lasting, and that's because you can do nothing better than comment on these posturing adolescents who feign singing and drag In more money than they have any right to, while I ..."
"... while you make fool comments on obscure films that only affected dilettantes would watch. Where do you dig up this celluloid trash, anyway?"
"Jealousy will get you nowhere. Have you forgotten my praise of the Star Trek movie?
"Mere cowardice. You knew you'd be drawn and quartered by crazed Trekkies if you revealed that William Shatner had to wear a corset to look the part of a starship captain."
"Enough of your carping. May I have the envelope, please?"
"And the winner?" "Sorry Buckwheat. You lose. I'm still the most hated man in town."
Simon Casady, Former Newspaper Publisher
1) The conversation between Gene Freeland and Mayor Pete Wilson when the mayor asked attorney Freeland if he could win a libel suit against Si Casady, unsuccessful mayoral candidate, for broadcasting TV commercials saying that Wilson had been selling city land to former campaign contributors at half price.
2) What his bail bondsman said (and to whom) after learning that Walter Wencke, attorney, financier, and former Democratic candidate for congress, had vanished shortly before he was to have gone on trial, thus causing the bail bondsman to payout about $100,000 in forfeited appearance bond money.
3) What Tom Hayden said to Jane Fonda after learning that State Senator Jim Mills of San Diego had agreed to debate with Hayden as to whose view of the world is more palatable to California voters.
4) The conversation between Congressman Bob Wilson and the police officer who arrested Bob on a charge of driving while drunk, and with the officers at the jail who released Bob without making him spend any time behind bars, a degree of leniency not customarily extended to the average citizen.
5) A conversation between Port Commissioner Louis Wolfsheimer (close friend of Mayor Wilson) and an imaginary committee of irate taxpayers wanting to know why the Port Authority has just spent millions on a new terminal building at Lindbergh Field when Mayor Wilson and the city council are advocating that the airport be moved to Miramar.
6) The numerous conversations between actors in a variety of excellent dramatic productions at the Fox Theatre during 1979, where the acoustics are so bad that large numbers of the audience have difficulty hearing what is being said on stage.
7) An explanation from Gerald Trimble, pushy czar of the Hahn downtown "redevelopment" project, as to why he wants to start demolition of the handsome old Knights of Pythias building at Second and E (with the "Eyes of Picasso" mural on its south wall) by February 1, 1980, when no final. binding agreements have been signed yet by Hahn, and construction of the proposed Horton Plaza Shopping center cannot begin, if ever, for at least a year.
8) What publisher Helen Copley said to the Hearst newspaper organization (or any other newspaper chain), which came to inquire during 1979 as to whether she would consider selling the San Diego Union, the Evening Tribune, or any of the smaller dailies in her profitable publishing stable.
9) The conversation between University of California president David Saxon and his board of regents about the intrafaculty row which culminated in the resignation of chancellor Bill McElroy, for many years boss of the UCSD campus in La Jolla.
David Helvarg, Freelance Writer
I could have sworn l overheard this ....
Among SDG&E executives after three mice ate through some wiring at San Onofre, shutting down the nuclear power plant
"Are you saying three mice shut down our plant and cost us half a million dollars?"
"Well, apparently they got into the system and were unable to see- their way out."
"Three blind mice?" "Well, two after the fire, actually."
"There was a fire?"
"Well, I wouldn't call it a fire, exactly. One of the mice was incinerated." "Incinerated?"
"Perhaps that terminology's too strong. Singed, say. Singed beyond recognition."
"You know what those rats in the media are going to make out of this."
"I think we should just point out how this improves the effectiveness of our backup safety systems. If those mice had gotten into a coal-burning plant, no one would have even known they were there." "How did we find out they were there?"
"By the glow."
"By the glow?"
"And the dead cat, sir. Mauled to death."
"By three mice?"
"They'd been in there a long time, sir. They'd grown to over fourteen feet in length."
"I don't believe it." "Perhaps we'd best not mention that part in the press release. What's wrong, sir? You're looking pale."
"I don't know, sometimes I just don't think it's worth it. You know what I mean? Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat."
Among doctors after turning away a sick Mexican national at University Hospital
"You think that was a wise move, turning that guy away?"
"I don't know, he looked healthy enough to me, although his color was a little off."
"But you don't know, he might have been seriously ill."
"Sure, with some disease that rightfully belongs to an American. I'm sick and tired of these people crossing the border stealing American germs from American workers."
"But we're the county hospital. We're supposed to treat any poor people who come to us."
"Don't be ridiculous. If you treat the poor, you only encourage them. You give them incentive to go out and get sick again."
"So what's your solution?" "We have to educate people to adjust their discases to their income level. Take all these Mexicans with T.B. Very showy; ostentatious even. They should stick to bronchial infections and maybe a little gastrointestinal disturbance if they want to get fancy. Now if they work· hard and succeed in society, then maybe they can start developing problems like Mr. Smith in Room 428."
"What's wrong with him?" "Extreme meUowing complicated by jet lag." "Sounds bad."
"Luckily, I've specialized in 'Lotus Land Syndrome,' diseases associated with the Southern California lifestyle. So I'm able to treat Mr. Smith and look forward to the day that he leaves this hospital a healthy man, the day he turns to me and says those three words that mean so much to me."
"Thank you, Doctor?"
"No, 'Cash or Charge'?"
Between air and ground control after the port commission decided not to move Lindbergh Field
"Air to ground, come in please."
"This is North Island air control. Is that you, Commander Struthers?"
"Er, no, this is a civilian United DC-10approaching Lindbergh."
"Dammit. You haven't seen an AS-E up there by any chance, have you?"
"I don't know. What's it look like?"
"Sort of short, pointy at the front, with rockets under its wings."
"No, I sure haven't, lots of Cessnas and Piper Cubs, though."
"Hey, Ernie, what about over there?"
"No, Charlie, that's just a Coast Guard helicopter." "No, below the helicopter. That little spit of land. I told you I was looking to buy some real estate around here."
"Oh, that's Point Lorna. Let's go down and take a closer look."
"This is Lindbergh Field to Flight 648. We have you on our screen. Wait a minute! How come these blips are white and those blips are black? Did one of you guys put something in my coffee again?"
"Look out, Ernie! Wow, that was close."
"Stupid people shouldn't build their TV antennas so high. You okay, Lindbergh Field?"
"No problem, just some fruit flies, Look like little black blips. They forgot' to fumigate in here again. Say, we have something on the screen here. Looks like it might be a flock of pelicans or something." "We got it, four o'clock high. Not pelicans; it's a flight of hang gliders heading in over the harbor. What's that banner they're dragging behind them, Charlie?"
"It says, 'For the best music buys #in town, component parts, and car stereo. ' Can't make out the rest, better take evasion action." "Look out Ernie! Wow, far out. Another close call." "What was that, 648?" "We almost ran into the governor on our final approach."
"That's funny. I don't show .. plane on my screen."
"So who's talking about a plane?"
Between Mayor Pete and a citizens committee from Del Mar after the city council voted for construction of North City West
"Hiya. hiya, hiya. Always nice to meet with people from our sister city of Del Mar. How're the races going?"
"Let's put it this way: if there was a race for dogcatcher in Del Mar, you might be elected as the bait."
"Wonderful, I always liked horses. So what can I do for you people?"
"You can keep 40,000 immigrant jetbacks from moving in on top of us."
"Right, we like our community just the way it is — small and wealthy."
"Right, we don't need a lot of developers tearing up some of the finest marijuana cropland in California."
"Now, now, I understand your dilemma. You're wondering, Is it possible to balance the needs of the environment against an ever-growing population to link dynamic growth in the economy to a sound and healthy future, to move from teh ninth largest city in the country to, say, the fifth largest, without losing our small-town character? Well, I assure you that it is, or my name isn't Governor Wilson, er, Mayor Pete."
"Look, we're not against visitors. Every year we have a big festival in Del Mar to welcome the whales. But how do you think we'd feel if those blubber boats decided to stay — just moved in and started having their sex orgies in Camino Del Mar instead of down in Baja. They wouldn't be very welcome then, let me tell you."
"Of course I understand your feelings, but I have a larger responsibility. I have to think of the little guy. The working-class fellow who builds cruise missiles during the week and meditates on the weekend, the average San Diego citizen who arrives here with only one or two hundred thousand dollars to put down on a suburban tract home. Where's he going to live?"
"How about Los Angeles? San Diego County doesn't have the resources for continued growth. Take water, for example. Can you imagine what a drain 10,000 additional hot tubs in North County would be?
Between a border patrolman and a Marine drill instructor at the Body Shop following recent brutality trials
"I don't understand. How are we supposed to make Marines if we can't toughen 'em up a bit? 1 mean, how arc we gonna recruit them, even? Say, 'Join the Marines and become a hostage'?"
"I know what ya' mean. We got the same problem with the Mexicans. A guy attacks your foot with his face and the first thing ya' know ya' got the Civil Rights Commission breath in' down yer neck." "Exactly. Like I believe in the corps, the Marines are looking for a few good men."
"To beat each other to death with pugil sticks?" "Hey, that ain't funny. I mean, I hear these antimilitary creeps talking about the corps: 'Join the Marines, visit far-off, exotic lands, meet interesting and exciting people and kill them.' But hell, that ain't all we're about. Hell no, we learn how to interrogate and torture, too."
"But for what? So this country can be overrun by Mexicans, long-haired Russian ballerinas, and friends of Henry Kissinger's?"
"Well, that's what you guys are supposed to be there for — to keep our borders secure from all those tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breath free ... the wretched refuse and what have you."
"It's pointless. We get no support. Even if we built a wall 16 feet high, all we'd do is turn Mexico into a nation of pole vaulters. I swear, sometimes I feel like putting on a white sheet."
"What're you, a transvestite or somethin'?"
"No, you know, join the Ku Klux Klan."
"Oh yeah, the Conehead imitators."
"They're more than that. According to County Supervisor Paul Eckert, they represent the thinking of blue-collar white working people here in San Diego."
"Right, like Brenda Spencer represents the thinking of San Diego's teenagers."
Hot Off the Wire
The following wire-service dispatches appeared this year in the San Diego Union, Evening Tribune, and the San Diego County edition of the Los Angeles Times:
Overcoats Rented to Puerto Ricans
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Leonardo Cordero offers a unique service: He rents overcoats to Puerto Ricans headed north.
"People need a place where they can find winter clothes warm enough for zero degree weather," Cordero said. Temperatures here never drop below 70, but travelers headed to the chilly northern dimes need more than a light shirt and shorts. Since coats are a rare shopper's item here, Cordero does a brisk business renting men's coats for $20 to $40 for the first week. Women's coats rent from $20 to $75.
Husband Is Woman; Suit Filed
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UPI) A 17-year-old girl has filed suit for annulment of her four-month-old marriage because her 19-venr-old husband turned out to be a woman.
Sport of 'Cow Tilting' Becoming a Campus Fad
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Furtive men sneak around in a moonlit pasture like guerrilla soldiers. Their target — an ordinary cow standing placidly in the darkness.
One of the men edges close to the cow, then suddenly rushes up to it and gives it a mighty shove on the ribs. The animal topples over Sideways, and the skulking figures bravely offer up a cheer. This is the sport of "cow tilting," a possible campus fad.
Erik Maerker, a student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, has put together several cow-tilting expeditions on Virginia Tech farms. "Cows lose some of their sense of balance at night," he says.
Electronic Bra Scans Fertility
LONDON (UPI) — A Scottish scientist has come up with a birth control device — an electronic bra that flashes a red or green light to indicate when it is safe to have sex with the woman wearing it.
London's Daily Express newspaper reported that Dr. Hugh Simpson has developed a bra containing a mini-computer that keeps track of a woman's ovulation and indicates with flashing lights her degree of fertility.
"It's easy to joke about fitting flashing red and green lights to light up somebody's bra," Burke said. "But if this idea comes off, I reckon the pope will make me a Knight of St. Gregory!"
MUNICH, West Germany (AP) — A Munich court has ordered a halt to production of toilet paper with cartoons depicting prominent German politicians, including Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
Robbers Must Have Patience
NEW YORK (AP) — Banco' de Ponce, the city's largest bank that caters largely to Spanish-speaking customers, is asking would-be robbers to be prepared to show a little patience, por favor.
Knowing of New York's bank robbery epidemic, officials of Banco de Ponce have posted a sign reading:
"Attention would-be robbers. This is a Spanish-speaking bank. I( you intend to rob us, please be patient, for we might need an interpreter. Thank you, the management."
Beef Settled with Ruling of Slander
KRUGERSDORP, South Africa (UPI) — A judge has made South African legal history by finding a man guilty of slander because he called a woman a cow.
Christiaan Ehrson pleaded guilty to calling Mrs. Katherine Adlem, a liquor store cashier, a cow because he thought she short-changed him.
The decision reversed a ruling 18 years ago that a man could call a woman a cow in South Africa.
Polish Priest Fined
WARSAW, Poland (AP) The Rev. Adam Michalski, a Roman Catholic parish priest, was given a one-year suspended jail sentence and fined $7,500 in absentia for building a church without permission, dissidents report.
Police Tracking Their Namesake — Lost Pet Pig
PRICE, Utah (UPI) — Carbon County sheriff's deputies aren't sure whether to take it as a show of support or an insult, but they don't plan to walk around yelling "Policeman."
Jeff Nelson of Wellington, Utah, just south of Price, reported Monday that his pig had been stolen. He described the animal as white, with red eyes, a black ear and a long snout.
"Unfortunately," investigators said, "the pig only answers to the name 'Policeman.'"
— Amy Chu
One Year In and Out of Tune
I wouldn't argue too strongly with anyone who considered years-in-review a silly tradition, but they do serve a purpose: they revive fond memories, dredge up bitter ones, and provide a few laughs. Perhaps it's a senseless situation to fret about, but I often worry that some year, the best concerts will occur during the holiday season. I hope people realize t hat, although most humans in America recognize December 31 as the last day of our calendar, for journalists working at t hi s newspaper, the year ends approximately two weeks before Christmas.
Elvis Costello gave one of San Diego best performances of 1979
That said, I believe this was a better-than-average year for both rock and jazz. As is typical for San Diego, stretches of ecstasy vied for equal time with dry, uneventful weeks. Though I did not see every concert that was held this year, these, in no particular order, are the ones I enjoyed most:
- The Art Ensemble of Chicago, UCSD Revelle Cafeteria and SDSU Back Door
- Graham Parker and the Rumour, Roxy Theatre
- Billy Bang and John Lindberg, Three's Company Studio
- Anthonv Davis and James Newton, Sherwood Auditorium
- Air, Sherwood Auditorium
- James Taylor, Sports Arena
- Peter Tosh, Roxy Theatre
- Old and New Dreams, Sherwood Auditorium
- Elvis Costello, Fox Theatre
- Albert King, Catamaran
- AI Green, Fox Theatre
- The Penetrators, American Legion Hall and Skeleton Club
- The Clash, Golden Hall
- Anthony Braxton, UCSD Mandeville Auditorium
- Binu, Sherwood Auditorium
- Iggy Pop, Catamaran
- The Alley Cats, and the Dinettes, Skeleton Club
- Talking Heads, SDSU Montezuma Hall
- The Kinks, SDSU Amphitheater
Again in no particular order, here are my favorite records of 1979:
- Squeezing Out Sparks, Graham Parker and the Rumour
- Nice Guys, The Art Ensemble of Chicago
- Armed Farces, Elvis Costello
- Damn the Torpedoes, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- Song for the Old World, Anthony Davis Quartet
- Rust Never Sleeps, Neil Young
- Body Meta, Ornette Coleman
- As Long as There's Music, Charlie Haden and Hampton Hawes
- New Values, Iggy Pop
- Circle in the Round, Miles Davis
- The Clash
- Air Lore, Air
- Life in the Foodchain, Tonia K
- Look Sharp, Joe Jackson
- Drinkin' My Own Sperm, Alvaro, the Chilean with the Singing Nose
- Musics, Dewey Redman
- American Boy and Girl, Garland Jeffreys
- Flag, James Taylor
- Survival, Bob Marley and the Waiters
Albums of varying degrees of disappointment include Randy Newman's Born Again, Roxy Music's Manifesfo, and the Kinks' Low Budget — uneven works by three of my all-time favorite artists.
Now, as is the custom for these strolls down memory lane, I have a few special distinctions, bon mots, cavils, and absolutely worthless observations to dispense:
You Can't Always Be the Right Flavor: Rather lackluster performances were a source of woe again; those by Tom Robinson, Nick Lowe, Fleetwood Mac, Julian Priester and Eddie Henderson, and Santana, made the phrase "okay" difficult to explain. They were all okay, but I anticipated more from each, perhaps too much.
Be There or Be Square: There were shows I could kick myself for missing, the most prominent being Roxy Music's performance at SDSU's Montezuma Hall. I have long admired this band, possibly my favorite rock group. But l had an excuse: I was covering the La Jolla Jazz Festival and Old and New Dreams were playing. It was toss-of-the-coin time, and Roxy lost. Other shows I regret missing: B.B. King; David Johansen; Dresser, Keeney, and French; Dia'manda Galas's "Medea Tarantula"; Sonny Rollins; Marvin Gaye; the Dils, Bonnie Raitt.
Wasted Words: After my eager preview of Robert Palmer, he canceled his Fox Theatre show. Twice before, Palmer appeared here to underwhelming crowds. It appears San Diegans just don't take to this cutie.
Money Talks and BuUshit Walks: Concert promoters this year have been bemoaning slow ticket sales. When prices are allowed to escalate to the point where ten bucks is normal, there is no question as to why sales are down. Oh well, it at least indicates that scalping agencies may be going hungry, too.
You Had No Faith To Lose and You Know It: I deliberately avoided seeing Bob Dylan again because, quite frankly, I detest his work in this decade; his new-found Christianity didn't matter to me. In the parlance of a Hollywood mogul, you're only as good as your last song. I think Dylan's last one was in 1968. Gimme dat ole time religion.
It's a Matter of Life and Breath: Stevie Nicks, whom [admire for both her songwriting and her beauty (that matters, for me al least), at Fleetwood Mac's Sports Arena concert sounded as if she had not only a frog in her throat, but several toads, a couple of cartons of cigarettes, and a gallon of Ripple. The rest of the group didn't fare much better; you expect revelations from a band that demands sixteen bucks for an album and which is constantly compared with the Beatles. Nicks sang badly (but looked great), Lindsey Buckingham acted like a born-again punk rocker, and the others were there. They played competently, and so what?
Tempest in a Teapot: This spring there seemed to be an overwhelming amount of activity in the jazz community. The La Jolla Jazz Festival broughl people to San Diego whom I never expected to see in these parts at all, let alone in three consecutive weekends (Old and New Dreams, Air, Binu, Anthony Davis and James Newton). Then there was the Mingus Dynasty at the Catamaran, and then there was, uh, then there was, uh .... This town has an awful 101 of fledgling entrepreneurs claiming they wish to book famous and renowned jazz artists on a regular basis. For some reason, it has not happened. If I had a magic formula whereby anyone could find means to underwrite such shows, I'd offer it in a second. But it still seems to me that the only way to activate interest in jazz around here is to plug on, take a loss, and keep quality performers visible at all times. To make money you have to spend money. And you also have to take chances.
Damned if I Do and Damned if I Don't: Last year I was considered a jazz fascist for ignoring rock in favor of jazz; lately I have been accused of betraying jazz in favor of rock. Sometimes I wish I were a hypnotist so that I could dangle an amulet in fronl of people and implant the idea that it's "my opinion, my opinion, my opinion .... " I focus on what is at my disposal.
Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice to Deceive: 1359 seats were withheld from public sale for the Rod Stewart concert. Who knows why? Promoter Marc Berman claimed the total number of pulled tickets at first never exceeded 500, then upped it to 1000. Matt Curto, the Sports Arena's box-office manager, countered Berman by saying that 1587 tickets were pulled and that he had received a check from Berman for 1287 of those. Berman threw his hands up in the air and said, "It's not the first time that people didn't know w here the tickets have gone."
Unsportsmanlike Conduct: At the Mingus Dynasty concert, drummer Danny Richmond leapt off his trap set to scream at the sound crew, "Leave it alone!" In the second set, trombonist Jimmy Knepper introduced a song by saying, "This is a tune Mingus wrote with Joni James — I mean, Mitchell. It's called 'Wheelchair in Ihe Sky." Richmond again leapt into action and screamed at Knepper:
"That ain't funny! It's chair! Hear me? Not wheelchair!"
Hecker of the Year: Sue Mingus, Charles Mingus's widow, who jumped from her seat to defend Knepper by explaining to the Catamaran audience that Charles had a sense of humor and would not have minded Knepper's play on words, thereby compounding an already embarrassing situation.
Heckler of the Year Runner-up: The crowd at Graham Parker's Roxy Theatre concert, which, when informed the concert was being broadcast on radio station KGB, responded with a chorus cf boos and obscenities.
Single of the Year: "San Diego Super Chargers:' Captain Q.B. and the Big Boys.
We're the Future, No Future: There were far more new-wave concerts this year in San Diego, but it seemed as though no secure location could be found. The always volatile punks were eighty-sixed out of Glorietta Hall, the North Park Lions Club, the La Mesa American Legion Hall, and the Fourth Avenue Skeleton Club.
Retard's Classic: "Ring My Bell," Anita Ward.
The Kids Are Not All-right and I Don't Wanna Die Before I Get Old: At the Clash concert, despite the sparse attendance, the stage was rushed and I was caught in the morass of sweaty bodies who tried doing the St. Vitus dance on other people. At the Penetrators' Skeleton Club show, the impatient crowd balled up in front of the dub in apparent emulation of the poor saps who were trampled and smothered to death at the Who's Cincinna ti concert.
Names of the Victims Are Being Withheld Pending Notification of the Next of Kin: The Evening Tribune reports on its front page that disco is "dead" and suddenly the whole world is in agreement. I have no intention of weeping, but now that the autopsy has been completed, rock and roll (new and old wave alike) is popping up at more and more nightclubs around town. Will we be seeing "Rock Sucks" bumper stickers from disco nostalgics?
The Coveted Award for Innocuous Muckraklng: The San Diego Union blew the whistle on disc jockeys and unscrupulous music critics who covertly sell promotional albums. It appears that the only one among us who is completely free of sin is Los Angeles Times critic Robert Hilburn, who claims to keep every one of the fifty to one hundred albums he receives each week. Rumor has it he just bought a warehouse to .store the surplus discs.
Welcome Competition: Kicks, San Diego's "only" rock and roll newspaper.
Hopes for the Coming Year: The same as every year. I hope the always simmering jazz scene finally goes to full boil and fulfills the promise of the past spring, and that the emergence of the many fine local rock bands continues. I also pray that there will be more and betterconcerts this year to justify my position on this paper.
New Year's Resolution: To change my telephone number.
— Steve Esmedina
Really Bad Ads
[Camera is at medium distance and centered on single figure perched on stool on empty set; it doIlies slowly up to speaker until only the face is framed at conclusion of statement.]
Hi. Can I talk to you about commercials for a minute? I know you've seen a lot of silly, vulgar, and too-cute ads. Cheryl Tiegs doesn't know the difference between a Broadway opening and a lens opening. Indigestion is just a matter of fun-house distortion and shifting colors. Rod Page is an imitation of himself.
Do you think we in advertising enjoy writing and producing commercials like these? No, we don't enjoy it at all. But stop and ask yourself what would happen if we didn't allow them on the air. Well, for one thing, a Jot of advertising people would be thrown out of work. That's not really a big problem. This is a high-risk business and it always has been. Even in good times we tenet to change age,ncies a lot.
But worse than that, a lot of just plain people would be looking for work. Maybe you. Because, you see, leading economists are in agreement that the only thing that kept this country from sliding into a fullblown depression in 1973 and 1974, and the only thing that for the last five years fought off what many economists said would be an inevitable and deep recession, has been the incredible tenacity of the American consumer. The debt-to-disposableincome ratio has been soaring. Prices have gone out of sight, and still sales show no sign of slowing down. It's the buying public that is keeping the factories and offices open, and we like to think we have something to do with all this.
You know, there are two ways to look at commercials: they can entertain, or they can sell. And when you begin to resent commercials, when you feel yourself start to gag as jerome walks on in his cashmere, preppie pull-over, or when the Security Pacific customer is inter": viewed about what he doesn't want to think about, andyou start rating the worst of them," you should realize that what really counts is the selling of a product or service.
And it's those silly, vulgar commercials that sell. Trust us. We trust you.
Great Western Savings — The Duke is dead; long live Glenn Ford. And when he goes, they can get Henry Fonda. Who says there's no more frontier?
Smells — This is the year to give her perfume, and there's a whole range of goals to shoot for therewith. Traditionalists will like Ambiance (it's been a long hard day of motherhood/ But it's going to be an Ambiance night"). The more upwardly mobile and liberated will prefer Enjoli, whose woman is depicted in a schizophrenic rush from bathrobe and bacon in the morning to work clothes, back to the kitchen again, and finally into something slinky at the end of the day. But the Chanel No. 5 woman doesn't have to sweat for anybody, she simply sweats for art's sake. This is the kind of commercial that makes punkers and new-wavers reconsider how to spend daddy's money.
Budget Plumbing — No problem with the imagery here; he looks the way a plumber should look. It's just that in these times of high unemployment, he shouldn't be teasing us with the prospect of jobs while he's telling us to spend money by enrolling in his plumbing school.
C&R Clothiers — T&A Clothiers
Milk — I'm sick and tired of guys in hard hats and suits. Why isn't he attending a Building Contractors Association meeting and drinking martinis? He ought to grow up and take a planning commissioner out to lunch.
Brim — Why doesn't the mayor grow up and take a building contractor out for martinis? Coffee's for the girls back in the kitchen.
Toyota — Daughter is a sweet, easy rider across the plains, the deserts, and the Golden Gate as Daddy says, "Take good care of her, Toyota." Maybe she'll bring the old man a pound of sinsemilla on the return trip.
Underalls — That portion of the anatomy pointed toward the camera is not supposed to be seamless.
Pete Ellis— He's no longer just a great, great guy. Now he's also honest.
Lee laccoca for Chrysler — Well, I'd hate to have to meet him in a dark board-room. He looks tough, especially when he's looking out at us arid, proclaiming that awful truth, "If your next new car isn't a Chrysler product, that's too bad ... for you and for us." Get it? Just save the rebate money 50 the bite from bail-out taxes isn't as deep. You can only wish he were as tough with his engineers and planners.
Old Spice — The little lady waits atop the lighthouse, passing the days serenely looking for her returning seafarer. He arrives, equally unmusse d, in a dinghy. Popeye and Olive Oyl they ain't.
Minolta Cameras — Bruce Jenner is forever hanging around with really young soccer players and motocross riders. I don't know, somehow he doesn't look so clean any more.
Crossroads Gallery — These are the people who barnstorm the country selling original oil seascapes and sfilllifes. When they hit San Diego, they set up the show in the Sports Arena. "Sofa-sized paintings for only ten dollars." How much? "Only ten dollars!'!"
Waterbed Emporium — She's blond. Is that whv Fred Dean, Wilbur Young, john Jefferson, Charlie joiner, and all the other brothers who are at least as important to the Chargers as Ed White were left out?
Mesa Pontiac GMC — Oh those wonderful Sixties. Remember them? When we all picketed car dealers in our hot pants to protest low prices that are unfair to the competition?
Harvey's Bristol Cream — Gimme a Pabst while I wait in line.
Amtrak — All that money thrown into prim commercials could instead pay for keeping some of the passenger lines open, so that the advertising could have a service to sell.
Miscellany - Any of the car and RV commercials in terms of range per fill-up. And if you think an EPA-rated twenty miles to the gallon is a big deal, check out what even the big luxury cars of the 1930s were getting, or what almost any six-cylinder car got during the Fifties, before there was an EPA.
— Any of the commercials that preceded the features at the Mann Theaters, where you have to sit down in plastic seats in small crowded rooms that smell like thrice-worn socks. We paid three bucks to be tortured.
— Any of the commercials that overwhelm the second half of Saturday Night Live, proving that hipness is no defense against deodorants, hairsprays, blow dryers, eyeliner, instant cameras.
Rula Lenska — British Stage and Screen Star
Hot Air. The least ingenious idea for a commercial in 1979 involved renting a giant balloon, affixing your logo to it, and composing musical accompaniment which even Barry Mani low would poohpooh. This new and unique concept was used by Budweiser, Home Federal Savings, San Diego Federal Savings, Datsun, MG Automobiles, ABC Television Network, and Three Musketeers candy. I'm sure I've overlooked three or four.
The Shelley Winters Shouting Award goes to Budget Heating and Plumbing on the local level and Nancy Walker for Bounty paper towels on the national level. The guy doin& the Budget spots comes at you like a Marine drill instructor, complete with a good scowl-toloudness ratio, flailing arms, and pointing fingers. During this commercial, local police have received reports. of living room lamps falling over and dogs cowering. When Nancy Walker repeatedly yells to the person two feet away from her, "It's the quicker-picker- upper, " you can just feel the spit all over you. Hey, Nancy, say it, don't spray it.
"America's Favorite General Store" was this year's slogan for FedMart. General store? The last time I visited that "general store" on Sports Arena Boulevard I came across some hopeless chap in the housewares aisle who had been lost for three days. When I brought this to the attention of one of the 36:2j general store employees a duty, she assured me tha he would be okay, as Fed-' Mart is a veritable lifesupport system and could meet all of his needs for an. indefinite amount of timer
Bank of America ran those commercial breaks where young, scruffy artists, carpenters, and other aspiring small bustnessmen explain how simple it had been to obtain capital from the bank in order to start their own enterprises. Can you believe this? How many twentyfive-year-old carpenters and sculptors do you know who've gotten their starts with a B of A loan?
Institutional Advertisements. I have yet to discover why multinational corporations like Boeing, Sperry-Rand, and Bell Telephone spend millions on TV minutes. I mean, what percentage of viewers watching Happy Days is in the market for a 707 jetliner, a fourthgeneration computer, or a public utility? And speaking of utilities, why are SDG&E and Pacific Telephone spending all that money to advertise how they're "looking out for us" and "trying to save us money?" Do they have competitors to worry about? Here's how to save us money — instead of spending it on TV commercials, lower the rates.
Jest a Good Ole Boy. Local advertisers have always used sports personalities inexperienced in salesmanship to promote their products on TV. One of the more hilarious of these spots in 1979 was La Mesa RV's use of Padre pitcher Gaylord Perry. "Ah'm Gaylor Perr fer L'Mes Ah V. Ovair gotta brannew campa that don' use much awl an' 'as goodtars. Ratcheer gotta .... "
Aspirin Confessionals. Unseating Excedrin (remember how their headaches were assigned numbers?) as number one was Tylenol, whose users' testimonials of relief seemed like documented footage of prisoners of war assuring their homeland that they have not been mistreated or brainwashed.
Every City Has One. Furniture salesmen who hog the airwaves with their banal proclamations. Ours used to be Allen Kent of Allen Kent Furniture, who could never pronounce words over two syllables ("The largest furn'ture store in San D'ego"). Now it's Jerome Navarra of Jerome's Furniture Warehouse. What's scary is that he actually seems excited about his furniture. Incidentally, the San Diego Office of Birth Registration reports that, during the past year, fewer newborn boys per capita have been named Jerome than in any other city in the U.S.
The Now Woman. Many advertisers are fatuously tapping feminist consciousness by declaring that their product is "for you, the new, now, active woman." By new woman, they usually mean one who is a fashion designer, invites men over for drinks, and openly talks about the latest tampon developments. "The o. b. method: developed by Johnson and Johnson ... and a woman gynecologist. "
Tartuffe Plaque. This annual award is given to the local entrepreneur who sells himself in stead of whatever product he represents. Last year's contest went right to the wire, with Paul Bloom edging out the KGB Chicken. It was Channel 39's eleventhhour billboard blitz (plastering the city with Bloom's face), coupled with those well-timed TV com merdais attesting to how much Bloom's coworkers respect him (he's just "one of the guys"; sometimes he even rolls up his shirt sleeves and plays pool), which assured the newscaster of the win. And - you won't believe it - we have a repeat winner this year. It's the 1977 Tartuffer, Pete Ellis. If you remember, he pulled in his first Tartuffe with that fabulous spot which announced "what a great, great guy" he is. (Never mind the cars, why not get a great buy from a great guy?) Well, in 1979 he's done it again. With this year's commercials, composed of interviews with San Diegans (who have never met him) proclaiming what a swell and honest man he is, Pete Ellis becomes the second person ever to have his name added to the plaque twice (Al Coupee did it in 1971 and 1976). Pete, you truly are a great, great guy.
Time Warp. Three characteristics of the Sixties were used by Mesa Pontiac GMC in their 1979 television commercials. Their idea men must have slept through the past decade. Actually filmed were woman in hotpants picketing and chanting in unison, "Unfair prices!" while the general manager shouted the text.
Mellow-Speak books will be awarded to all of those nice-looking, wellbehaved, fun-loving, compesstonaee, clever, open-hearted, casually dressed, high-achieving, cheerful, holiday celebrating, positive young adults on the Lowenbrau commercials. "Here's to good friends."
— Bob Dorn
It is often said that statistics are dehumanizing, but the process sometimes works in reverse. There comes a moment when you are looking over crime statistics," for instance, when the reality of the figures becomes appallingly clear; when you suddenly realize that the seven followed by an eight in the fifth column over, eighteenth line from the top, was once a person.
San Diego, like nearly every other city in California, experienced a rise in the total crime rate during 1979. The figures for the first nine months of the year show our city in fourth place statewide, just behind Los Angeles, for the largest rise in total crime (10.3 percent). And while we trail our sprawling neighbor to the north in the rate of property crimes (burglary, larceny, and theft).
Roughly speaking, a typical week in America's Finest City boils down this way: two homicides, seven rapes, fifty-three robberies, ninety-nine commercial burglaries, 278 residential burglaries, 170 grand thefts, 548 petty thefts, 157 car thefts, 180 cases of drunken driving, and eighty narcotics violations. During the first ten months of 1979, a violent crime occurred in our city — ninety-six minutes; a property crime, every fifteen minutes. These and the following statistics from the San Diego Police Department, and reflect only those crimes recorded within their area of jurisdiction:
Burglary: The state penal code defines a burglar as someone who enters a structure — and it is usually a house — to steal property. In San Diego, this happens about 55 times a day. Most burglaries take place during daylight hours, when peopJe are away from their homes, for burglary is a "sneak" crime in which the criminal never confronts his victim.
From January through October of this year, 16,581 cases if burglary were reported here; 12,228 were residential and 4533 were commercial. Altogether, burglars stole property worth of over $9.1 million, or about $550 per burglary.
Theft: Like burglary, theft is a sneak crime. Police say that both burglary and theft are closely related to the problem of narcotics: many of the thieves apprehended locally are junkies trying to support their habits.
Grand theft (theft of property worth more than $200) rose at a rate higher than that of any crime except homicide in San Diego this year - more than twenty- nine percent. As of October 31, 7484 cases had been reported. During the same ten-month period, 25,686 cases of petty theft (under $200) were recorded. In all, thefts accounted for nearly eight million dollars' worth of stolen property, which means that every minute someone in San Diego loses the equivalent of $18.50.
Car Theft: The total number of car thefts rose by ten percent in 1979, to a total of 6908. The SDPD claims that an experienced car thief can break into a car, and drive it off, all within thirty seconds. Older cars are stolen more often than newer ones, which have more sophisticated locks; the thieves' favorite model is a 1%7 Chevrolet Impala. The SDPD also reports that seventy-four percent of the cars stolen in San Diego were recovered (many of them in Mexico), but in only seventeen percent of the cases was the thief actually arrested.
Narcotics Violations: Between January 1 and November 30, 3832 people were arrested in San Diego for felony and misdemeanor narcotics violations of various types: possession of narcotics for sale or transportation, forged prescriptions, and being under the influence of heroin, among others. During the same period, 2624 people were cited for pos~ session of marijuana, a misdemeanor.
Drunk Driving: Citations for drunk driving also rose substantiaIly this year, with 8638 as of December 4 (as opposed to 7780 for the same period in 1978). Most citations for drunk driving are given on the weekends between eight in the evening and four in the morning, according to Captain Pat Rose, head of the SDPD's drunk driving detail. "With a drunk driver behind the wheel, a car can become a lethal weapon. It's just like taking a gun and going out and killing someone," says Rose, whose wife and mother were killed by a drunk driver last March.
Robbery: Robbery is defined as taking personal property from another person by the use of force and/or fear. Whereas burglary and theft are sneak crimes, robbers confront their victims head-on, and the possibility for violence is therefore vastly increased. Most robbers rely on the element of surprise to catch their victims off guard, and use darkness to help obscure their identification.
As of November 30, the SDPD had recorded 1207 robberies in commercial establishments (including banks), and 210 robberies in residences. Eleven hundred and twenty-nine people had been robbed on the street. The average amount taken was only sixty dollars, which, with an average sentence of five years, works out to three and a half cents per day spent in prison. But police admit that only half of the criminals involved in robberies here were apprehended.
Rape: Rapes often go unreported, which makes multiple rapists more difficult to catch, and contributes to the fact that in the last year only fifty-one percen t of the local rape cases reported were solved and the suspect apprehended .
As of October 31 at least 299 rapes had occurred in San Diego, or about one every night (most rapes take place at night, between the hours of eleven and three). The average victim is between nineteen and twenty-four years old, and lives in an apartment off an alley.
Homicide: San Diego made a bid to be considered as a major metropolltan center this year with a startling rise in the number of homicides: as of the fifth of December, 105 cases had occurred, nearly twice the total for the previous year. . Most of the victims (fifty-two) were white; twenty-eight were black, and twenty-two were of Latin descent. Twenty of those killed were women. There were eight cases of persons being shot and killed by the police, all of which were laterconfirmed by the D.A. 'soffice asjustifiable homicide; fifteen other cases are underinvestigation as possible manslaughter Or suicide. Eighty-two of the 105 cases have been confirmed as murder (killing with malice aforethought).