An Execution in the Hills
By Scafidi, March 24

“Hello, Zack. What’s up?” “Uh, hi, uh, Fred? It’s me, Zack.” “Yup.” “My cat’s got a gopher cornered over here. Can you come quick? And bring your shovel!” “I’ll be right there.” “Thanks, Buddy!”

Finally, a chance to avenge the damage. Fred’s own backyard is a moonscape. Every other yard in the area is as cratered and pockmarked as Reynard Way.

“Ah, cher ami, together we have dispatched many a blackguard to the Ultimate Judge of Creation. Come, we must again do our sorrowful duty.”

The shovel smashes down. It misses. The second blow is true, blasting greasy, grimy entrails out of the gopher’s posterior. One moment, a living creature; the next, a tiny swatch of bloody hair.

“What a versatile instrument you are, mon ami! At once the means of execution and interment.” Fred digs the hole, scrapes the little carcass into it. They disperse, one to Lynyrd Skynyrd and a few Coronitas, the other to Spongebob and shrieking grandchildren.

New Year’s Day at the Laundromat
By Christina Lohn, January 23

New Year’s Day was a rainy day. Most businesses were closed or had limited hours of operation. The laundromat in Mission Hills was no exception. They were open, but without an attendant on the premises. Two of our local homeless took their clothes off, threw detergent and trash all over the place, and urinated in the doorway to keep people out.

Homeless Man Struck Down
By Chris Raney, January 1

At approximately 8:30 pm on Tuesday, December 30, 2008, a pedestrian was struck by a red pickup truck near the intersection of Washington Place and Randolph Street. Witnesses to the accident said that the pedestrian was a homeless man who was lying down in the middle of Washington Place between Pioneer Park and the Mission Hills tennis courts. At the time of the accident, there was particularly low visibility due to heavy fog that had set in a few hours prior.


Fire Code Scrambled?
By Randy Berkman, April 9

The City of San Diego requires a 100-foot-wide zone of flammable brush clearance between new buildings and existing brush.

So it was surprising to read a city-planning document (March 29, 2009, Cycle Review) that disclosed that the proposed Hampton Inn, at the base of Mission Valley’s south slopes, is planning a brush-clearance zone of 61.6 feet wide.

In the mid-1980s drought, the valley’s south hillsides ignited and burned over 15 homes in Normal Heights. The Hampton Inn proposes building up five stories to add 87 hotel rooms, south of existing Vagabond Hotel buildings and west of Highway 163.

Y Us?
By Randy Berkman, May 22

At least six residents of the Presidio Place condos in west Mission Valley have had enough with the noise from the adjacent YMCA just south of Friars Road. So they have sued the YMCA.

Ms. Whitley sums up their complaints:

“Parking lot noise 24/7 with no security, car alarms going off, and people yelling at each other, car horns honking in impatience to get a spot, loud, window-shaking music in cars pulling into and out of the east lot. It can be 3 a.m. when some people get back to their cars after a night of partying and their loud departures wake us. Police are called but [they arrive] too late to get to the offenders.

“People have urinated on the side of the Y offices so they don’t have to go inside to do it during soccer games. They change clothes in the parking lot like it is a locker room. Soccer-field noise is at unreasonable levels for a normal person’s sensitivity. Shouts, whistles, screeching, hollering, cheering, and disturbing noises — especially Sunday mornings starting about 7 a.m.”

Playoff Fever
By Chris Raney, January 3

On the afternoon of January 2, it was apparent that NFL playoff fever had taken hold. Chargers fans gathered inside and outside of Seau’s at the Westfield Shopping Centre. Fans waited to get their hands on free Chargers swag. The lengthiest line was for the XTRA Sports 1360AM booth because that’s where the Chargers cheerleaders were signing their latest swimsuit calendar.

Round Trip
By skipcarufel, July 19

I wake up in my Mission Valley apartment and something seems wrong. The marine layer is inches above my head. The coffee is bitter and the newspaper is stupid. The refrigerator goes on-off, on-off. And the bathroom faucet drips.

I got to get away. I don’t want to leave permanently. I just need a roundtrip.

I grab a bottle of water, my ID, some cash and a magazine, and walk ten minutes to the Fashion Valley Transit Center. A local wizard in a blue robe and a black witch hat steps repeatedly on and off the curb, talking to himself. He stops and watches me.

“Spare a little change?”

“Don’t bother me,” I snap back.

A Fantastic History of Mission Valley
By skipcarufel, May 30

James A. Michener hadn’t walked far when he realized he had entered a historical place. The strata of cliffs before him depicted the ages of San Diego: geological, reptilian, native American, Spanish, Franciscan, Mexican, Yankee and American-Commercialism.

When the ice melted, San Diego took shape. Silt from the San Diego River attached the island of Point Loma to the mainland. Shifting sands linked Coronado and North islands. Erosion from Mount Soledad and Crown Point, as well as silt from the San Diego River, filled Mission Bay, which was once deep enough for oceangoing vessels.

Mission Valley after the Floods
By skipcarufel, April 30

Time does fly. Seems like only yesterday the children and I moved to Mission Valley. That was in 1980, same year that flood took them old houses away.

The kids went to Francis Parker, then to Uni High School, then to the University of San Diego — which you can see from here, by the way. Rodney went on to med school. Dinah’s at Berkeley. She plans to teach history. She’ll be home in a couple of weeks. You’ll like her. How about some more tea, Natalie? I’m glad you like it. I get it at T. Cozy’s, on the mall.

Part 1: Another Perfect Day

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