Stories for July 1998

Thursday, July 30

Porn King of La Costa

Birds do it, bees do it, and Al Borda makes a mint from it.

The mob that built La Costa scattered long ago. Moe Dalitz, the fixer out of Cleveland via Las Vegas who tapped Jimmy Hoffa's Teamsters Central States Pension Fund for $57 million to build the place, ...

Unofficial mayor of Chinatown

Ah Quin recruited railroad workers and kept a diary

Quin, his wife Sue Leong, and their children lived in a two-story house on Third Street. Quin managed his store on Fifth and oversaw real estate holdings throughout Southern California.

Walk the curvy hillside streets of La Jolla and emerge atop Soledad Mountain.

For a unique look at La Jolla -- bottom to top -- climaxed by the conventionally famous yet still fabulous view of the city from Soledad Park, try this unconventional six-mile (round trip) walking or ...

Med Vehta's Remembering Mr. Shawn

Interview regarding life at the New Yorker

Mehta in Remembering Mr. Shawn’s New Yorker, merges the history of his own development as a writer with a biography of Shawn. Anyone interested in how a writer works will find Mehta’s book usefully instructive.

New Kid on Vice

Take it from Jim Duncan: this is how it is between midnight and 3:00 a.m. around El Cajon Boulevard. "You pull up, roll your window down, 'You need a ride?' 'Going to a party?' She'll ...

Breaking Story

'I have known persecution and oppression all my life," Neuman Britton says and clasps his callused hands above his coffee cup in an Escondido Denny's. "Oppression and prejudice. We were more discriminated against than any ...

America's finest felons

A twice-convicted Omaha drug dealer who bailed out of jail, moved to San Diego five years ago, and got a degree from California Western law school may soon be heading home to do some hard ...

Thursday, July 23

San Diego's Strange Struggle for Pandas

Sex and politics and cuteness

The World Wildlife Fund argued that only captive-born animals should be loaned in order to minimize the incentive to capture more wild pandas. It criticized the zoo for charging ahead in its pursuit of a loan.

How San Diego's Growth Machine Works

"Anatomy of failure: planning and politics in San Diego's north city, 1970-1995"

Norma S. Damashek’s thesis examines the “micropolitics” of San Diego: how the “growth machine” dominates local land use and how institutionally embedded practices, “routinely employed by city government,” facilitate the planning process. She uses the ...

The 6-mile "waterfall" trail through Los Penasquitos Canyon serves hikers and bikers

Crickets sing, cicadas buzz, and bullfrogs groan. A sparrow hawk alights upon a sycamore limb, then launches with outstretched wings to catch a puff of sea breeze moving up the canyon. A cottontail rabbit bounds ...

In gospel music, how are the "Five Blind Boys" related?

Matthew: I've been listening to a lot of gospel music lately, and I'm confused about how many Blind Boys groups there are. There's the Five Blind Boys from Alabama. Are they related to the Five ...

Why are runners running in the car lanes, and why are they running against traffic?

Dear Matt: With no disrespect to runners -- why the hell do I see so many of them now not only running in my car lane, but also against traffic? Is it legal or just ...

Why do masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation?

Dear Matthew: Why do the so-called masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation? What led Thoreau to make such an observation? -- D, Kensington Pick one: (A) Because from his porch at Walden Pond, ...

Why is the center of the Earth still hot?

Hi, Matt: I was wondering why the interior of the earth is still red hot. It would seem that after four billion years, it would have cooled off by now. -- CH, San Diego Pick ...

Why don't newer office buildings have windows that open?

For Matthew Alice: Why don't newer office buildings have windows that open? Is it for security reasons? To keep computer and office equipment at a certain temperature? -- Tim Carlson, Just Want to Smell the ...

Why do critics of fakery always single out pro wrestling?

Question: Ever wonder why critics of fakery always single out pro wrestling? Charles Bronson movies are fake. Stallone's not really Rambo. Broadway plays, cartoons, operas -- where are the critics there? If they're gonna bemoan ...

The first human to touch my daughter's head

Doctor daddy.

“Don't push!” The command leaped from my lips as it had countless times in the past nine years, but this was different. The perineal skin blanching white just two feet from my face belonged to ...

I Had to Inspect His Mouth for Roach Eggs

Bugs and baby don't mix.

Let me explain. I managed to make it through about 19 years of life without ever seeing a roach in the horrible, hard-shelled flesh. On a visit to my brother Mark, who was living in ...

Low End of the Dope Chain

Low End of the Dope Chain By Bob Owens The chiefs of Mexican narcotics cartels get the headlines, but they couldn't make a nickel without burros or mulas -- donkeys or mules -- who smuggle ...

Wild Dogs of Hillcrest

San Diego's amazing tunneling coyotes

The reason coyotes survive in San Diego, he says, is our canyons. "L.A. is just one big flat ancient ocean basin. It doesn't have coyotes as we do. San Diego is an archipelago of canyon wildlife islands."

Larry's revenge

The U.S. State Department stands accused of stonewalling a request filed by a Washington lawyer for files involving the late Coronado hotelier and ambassador M. Larry Lawrence and his young blonde widow Shelia. The inquiry ...

Thursday, July 16


How a nice little girl became an addict

This cover story has not yet been posted. However, you can download the digital edition to view any story from this issue.

A small revolution

More than 40 Indian rancherias joined to attack San Diego Mission

A severe earthquake in December 1812 seriously damaged the church structure and killed 43 of the Indian worshippers in the church at the time. Everything seemed to go downhill for the mission after that.

If you cannot sneak up on a wild animal, why are you able to hit one with a car?

What's with road kill? You couldn't sneak up on a squirrel in the woods, but you can come barreling at him with your car and hit him. Why is he smart enough to hide in ...

A Thousand Questions

As City Hall wrestled over how much money is needed to build a ballpark to keep the Padres in town, a new player emerged to add his two cents to the deal. After Mayor Susan ...

Butterflies with Attitude

In search of the "passenger pigeon" butterfly

Thirty seconds after we get out of the car Chris screams, "Quino! Quino!" Gordon is also excited, and I'm caught up too. I see a flash of orange and black, and then...I see another and another and another.

Crime City, U.S.A.

Despite a recent spate of high-profile drug busts here, methamphetamine usage is still soaring in San Diego County. Latest indicator: nearly 60 percent of white arrestees are testing positive for the drug, according to a ...

San Diego Polo Club site developed by Heaven's Gate

Just before they committed group suicide

Exclusiveness breeds itself, so it’s little wonder that when the San Diego Polo Club in Rancho Santa Fe needed a Web page designed, they turned to Higher Source, at the time the most exclusive Web ...

Thursday, July 9

Sugar in Your Ears

Chino's famous fresh vegetable farm

“The morning air humidity at the [Chinos’] farm averages around forty percent — compared with about eighty-five percent in the prolific farm belt of central Florida, where the produce has a more watery, less concentrated flavor.”

San Diego's first woman doctor

Charlotte Baker helped close the Stingaree

The Bakers built a two-story house in Point Loma on nine-tenths of an acre. It was the only house in Point Loma for several years. They sailed to work downtown, making the trip in 20 minutes.

Will a car run on Jack Daniel's?

Dear Matt Alice: I don't know how we got on the topic, but my boyfriend thinks that if you pour a bottle of Jack Daniel's into your gas tank, your car will run. I told ...

How many fights have there been on the floor of Congress?

Hey, Matt: From time to time we see on TV some pretty good fights in foreign legislatures. I started to wonder about our own distinguished lawmakers. They never seem to punch one another. How do ...

And Our Next Pretty Lady Is...

'There are so many beautiful people in San Diego. People just do not realize it. It's totally untapped." -- Staci Bynum, model agency director Fashion magazines portray a fullness of being, a perfection that exceeds ...

Queen of Surrogates

Will Halm spreads his hand over the bulging sphere of Elizabeth's stomach. His eyes search the ceiling as he feels for movement. "He turned right around yesterday," says Elizabeth (last name omitted for privacy). "That ...

Grand Old Padres?

Hottest rumor to hit the Padres ballpark beat: a well-known, very wealthy, highly influential Republican "Mr. X" has quietly told certain members of the San Diego City Council to torpedo any deal with Padres owner ...

Angels with dusty wings

Aileen Mellott and the Flying Samaritans

The wind was blowing hard, and the dust started to swirl up. I dropped down to 200 feet and probably was within minutes of Ensenada airport when the weather closed in and everything suddenly went blank.

Thursday, July 2

San Diego's Least-Remembered Great Man

Ulysses Simpson Grant Jr., second son and namesake of the warrior president U. S. Grant.

Buck Grant was a man of substantial means in 1893 (thanks, in large part, to that $1 million dowry from his senator father-in-law). He bought a 25-room mansion at Eighth Avenue and Ash Street.

Letters from 1849

Boundary commissioner Robert Effinger writes home to Ohio

The greatest sport in this country is dancing. All the California women waltz. Our balls consist in Spanish dances and polkas — a few quadrilles & country dances are for the benefit of those who cannot waltz.

Escondido's Dixon Lake Recreation Area offers shoreline trails

Forgo a dip in violent water

Normally by the time early summer arrives, water flowing down the larger canyons of San Diego's backcountry slows to a trickle. This post-El Niño summer season is proving to be the 10- or 20-year exception. ...

What is the hierarchy of ratings by the ADA, and do the toothpaste manufacturers buy these approvals?

Matthew: I notice that on tooth-care products, the ADA has given ratings such as "Approved," "Professionally Recommended," etc. What is the hierarchy of these, and do the toothpaste manufacturers buy these approvals? Some have no ...

Do any of the shadow towns in the Soviet Union still exist?

Dear Matthew: Tell me about the replicas of American towns constructed in the Soviet Union as training grounds for KGB/GRU/NKVD agents during the '50s and '60s. Do any of these shadow towns or their ruins ...

Bard Mitzvah

On a well-to-do street in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Thursday, June 18, a 60-year-old gentleman named Robin Spark received an anonymous package from San Diego, California, and promptly called the police. In a very short time, ...

Prisoners of Truth

A few weeks ago, some folks in California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho got calls from Calgary Herald reporters informing them that Axciom DataQuick, a San Diego-based company, had given 200 convicts in several Canadian prisons ...

He bought the ranch

The name of a familiar San Diego politico has surfaced in connection with a controversial Arizona ranch for wayward boys and girls. George Gorton, once Governor Pete Wilson's top political handler and ex-boyfriend and advisor ...

Prison penpals

You could start a family — conjugal visits every three months

The Web reaches out. Its name refers to something abstract, to the network of latticed filaments that extend all over the world, flashing currents of information, innovation, and ideas. But for many users, the Web ...

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