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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.

Why Is San Diego Evicting an Entire Community of Elderly Residents to Build More Condos?
By historymatters, April 6

The residents that have lived there for decades and have created a community in this mobile home park in east Mission Valley were told that, although they could not buy their lots, the property would never be sold and [that they] had a 90-year lease that could not be broken.

Look at this national article in the New York Times.

“In October 2007, Lehman joined Tishman Speyer in buying Archstone-Smith, a publicly traded company with about 360 upscale apartment buildings across the country. Lehman put in $250 million in equity and led a group of lenders that contributed $4.6 billion in bridge equity for the $22.2 billion deal, which was financed in part by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

So now that Lehman is belly-up Archstone has put its hand out to the city. They have even solicited San Diego Housing Commission for funds.


Trolley Makes Emergency Stop in Cemetery
By Leonard Fry, February 8

A San Diego Trolley was forced to make an emergency stop in the middle of Mt. Hope Cemetery early Tuesday, February 3. At the time, the peak-hour Orange Line trolley was traveling between the 47th Street and 32nd/Commercial stations. Since the distance between these stations is longer than average, trolleys often increase speed along this area to keep on schedule.

A city maintenance vehicle had failed to stop at a trolley crossing within the cemetery, breaking off the wooden arm on the warning device at the crossing. The trolley operator was forced to make a sudden emergency stop to avoid hitting the broken arm. After exiting the trolley to move the arm from the tracks, he received applause from passengers.


Front Line in Mt. Laguna?
By Josh Grant, March 5

Recently, while doing stream surveys in the East County, we came upon a roadblock set up on Sunrise Highway, near Mt. Laguna. Homeland Security (Border Patrol) agents scrutinized all vehicles coming through.

The agents warned us of smuggling activity in the area we were about to survey. We were warned about gun, drug, and human smuggling. The agents advised us to approach and unlock access gates with extreme care, as they might be “booby trapped” with hypodermic needles or other dangerous devices.

Our hiking trails show signs of massive foot traffic and trash, and empty water bottles litter the ground. Hikers seem to be on the front line of border enforcement.

A Mountain Lion Alert
By doweofsteve, March 13

The other day I saw a mountain lion. Though it was far away, I was able to catch its eye. There was a moment of terror, and then it walked out of sight. It didn’t run. I wanted to run but felt paralyzed. When I started to hear myself breathe again, I jogged back to civilization where I felt in my place. I felt pathetic.

This cougar sighting didn’t happen yesterday. It was two years ago. And it wasn’t that close to me, though I was able to see its eyes. I’m reminded of it in my dreams, and when I was staying in Pine Valley recently, I was reminded again of the incident.

Eye of a Firestorm: Pine Valley
By doweofsteve, March 13

Every once in a while I drive up to Pine Valley to get away from the business and noise and distractions of San Diego. I stay at my great-grandfather’s cabin. He built the place himself, back when people did that sort of thing. It’s made of stone and wood. To get from the one bedroom to the kitchen you have to go outside, walk down some stairs, and cross an unpaved path to unlock the kitchen door. My great grandfather was not an architect.


Crash Hinders Robbery Suspects
By Steve Perez, July 8

Josh Johnson was playing a video game in his home near the intersection of Allegheny Street and Calle Tortuosa on Monday, July 6, at around 5 p.m. when he heard a loud crash. He said he looked out the window and saw two black men getting out of a wrecked BMW. Dust from the car’s collision with a fence was still flying as the two men grabbed a duffel bag from inside the vehicle and then ran off, Johnson said.

National City police believe the car was one of two vehicles involved in a jewelry-store heist and purse-snatching.

Grand Theft Video
By Mark Jay, May 13

According to National City Police Department radio traffic, at approximately 10:10 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, two men walked into the GameStop store in Plaza Bonita Mall and tied the employees up, placing posters over their faces at gunpoint. After the employees had been restrained, the suspects took their cell phones and keys to a locked area where video games are stored and to a back room where the game consoles are kept.

The suspects began to load plastic GameStop bags with games and consoles (10 Sony PlayStation 3s, 23 Nintendo Wiis, and several Microsoft Xbox 360s), all worth over $12,000.

National City’s Secret Art District
By hopefund, June 18

Two women in their late 60s approach me and ask me if I know how to get to the dance hall bar. I have just under a half hour to spare before I need to be at work. After a few minutes of relaying directions to their specified address, I tell them that I can take them.

We head off down National City Boulevard, which is basically a long auto mall. They inform me that the dance hall is a gallery and outdoor Filipino market behind a warehouse. Are you sure you know where you are going? I repeat. Do you have someone expecting you? They assure me that the only one waiting for them is a hangover, and they are off and out of the car as soon as I pull up to the curb.


Cold Bus Stop
By Sandi Mackenzie, May 11

At approximately 6:05 p.m. on Thursday, May 7, three San Diego police officers boarded the 15 bus at Interstate 15 on El Cajon Boulevard. Two officers boarded through the rear and motioned to two passengers. A man and woman stepped off the bus and one of the officers questioned them outside.

The other officer re-entered the bus and searched behind the seats and on the floor at the back of bus. He disembarked empty-handed.

The third police officer went through the front door and stopped to question an apparently blind man seated in the disabled section with a service dog at his feet. The officer asked him several times to step off the bus but received no response. Finally, the police officer asked the driver, “Do you know if he can hear?”


Cat Killer on the Loose
By Edmundo Dela, July 16

About a month ago, I was driving my schoolbus route when I saw what I thought was a dead kitten on Cosmo Street. As I got closer, I realized it was an adult cat…chopped in half, just below the shoulder blades.

On July 8, I came across another severed cat portion, this time on 30th Street near Kalmia. Same portion, same condition.


  1. Whoever does this when I’m in the area of these killings, let this be a warning: if you do anything to any of my pets, may the state intervene before I get my revenge!!!
    By crossingtracksgallery, Jul 16
  2. This reminds me of when I was in middle school back in 2001, 7th grade. There was a spot in the field where we used to run our Friday’s mile. Every day, a new dead cat was scatted around. Some of the guts were tied up into a bow and a pair of legs were sticking out of the ground. I remember one time there was one of those devil stars drawn on the dirt with of course cat’s parts around it.
    By XxUrDaddyxX, Jul 16
  3. That was my neighborhood just before I moved away. Cats were disappearing all over the place. People kept saying it was a coyote, but I knew someone was taking these cats and hurting them. Damn you to hell.
    By magicsfive, Jul 16

The Writing on the Wall
By bohemianopus, May 20

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in North Park. Not only because it is wrapped in that funkiness that I love; but because it has a tiny Russian restaurant that contains the mother lode of bathroom graffiti.

I should mention that the food in this restaurant, which is called the Pomegranate, is delicious!

North Park Skaters
By pmrocks99, April 30

NPS — North Park Skaters…or switch out the S for anything you choose…stoners, scrubs, slackers…etc. I grew up in North Park and now I am about to go back to North Park as I am in escrow on a condo in my beloved San Diego community. When I moved from Mission Hills to North Park in 1985 at the age of 7, all I heard was comments under the breath and nay-sayers from our neighbors and my parents’ friends.

I found the NPS kids when I was about 12 years old. My friend’s boyfriend was a North Park Skater and that was all it took to meet all of them. The girls would all go watch the guys skate in the parking lot at the Bank of America on 31st and University. Another favorite skating spot was on the steps of the Baptist church located at Bancroft and North Park Way.


  1. I too grew up in North Park, and though we moved to Normal Heights, P.B., and even Oregon, I found my way home to North Park. We went through the video game phase (that arcade up on Grim St. where you paid $2 and played as much as you wanted for 2 hours)…then came the skateboard phase…the BMX phase…I came about 10 years before you, but I may have been at Tuba Man’s while you all were skating by outside.
    By stevo420, Jun 18

True North Park
By domcarrillo, April 30

I’m sitting here at the corner bus stop in front of a store called Discount International Fashions. Inside you can buy three T-shirts with American flags and President Obama prints for just $10 — all part of the American Dream; not very international or fashionable, though. Here’s the thing: Discount International Fashions has been here for a long time. It was here before Heavenly Desserts, Urban Solace, and True North moved into the area.

Conscientious Dumpster Diver
By tcjohnston, February 14

I lived in west North Park in an apartment right on University Avenue for eight years, starting in 1989. We always put our recyclables out next to the dumpster, and they were always gone by the next morning.

Now I live in east North Park. Every two weeks we put out the blue bin for recyclables for the city to pick up. Homeless people often roam the street clearing out the bins. I’d go out at about 6:00–7:00 a.m. and holler, “Don’t make a mess!”

Last couple months, there’s only one guy working our street. He wears an orange industrial apron and manages to push a shopping cart with, like, 12 lawn bags of recyclables about. Looks like a massive black Jiffy Pop — like 8’ wide and 7’ high. I asked him where he goes to recycle. It’s east two to three miles away. This week he said he was not going up the substantial hill on Swift Street because the load is too heavy, so he had to go around northwest (Landis) then east down University.

I asked his name: It’s Ninwood. He said that’s what his mom called him.


Transformer Taken Down by Parrot
By Casey Bollier, June 25

Residents in southern Ocean Beach began Wednesday, June 24, without power. At about 8:30 a.m. one of the many parrots inhabiting O.B. landed on a transformer in the alley between Santa Cruz Avenue and Del Monte Avenue, causing it to explode.

The parrot was thrown from the transformer onto a nearby car. Shawn McGinnis, the owner of the car, found the bird and called animal control. The parrot had survived the blast, but its green feathers had been singed by the electricity. As McGinnis and others tended to the injured bird, about a dozen other parrots screeched on the wires above until animal control arrived to take the bird away.

No More Eyesore in O.B.
By Steve Perez, June 22

On a recent overcast Saturday morning, an ad hoc group of volunteers scrambled over the slippery rocks, hauling in power generators, air compressors, and painting supplies, and hauling out bags of trash. Organized online via OBRag.org and social-networking sites, the volunteers from O.B. and surrounding communities joined to take a first pass at sprucing things up. “I never realized how unsightly it was, and I walk these cliffs every weekend,” says Shawn Conrad, an O.B. resident and volunteer.

Cliff Hanger
By Casey Bollier, April 30

At approximately 12:30 p.m. on April 21, a middle-aged woman fell down a cliff above the beach at the end of Santa Cruz Avenue. An ambulance was called, and within minutes police cars, fire engines, and lifeguard vehicles were on the scene. From the fenced end of the street, the woman tumbled 30 feet, onto a concrete path above the beach. While her injuries appeared to be non-fatal, she was uncooperative with emergency personnel.

No Flight Risk
By Steven Kendrick, April 8

Wednesday morning, April 8, as I was strolling down Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, I noticed that one of O.B.’s most controversial stores had been vandalized.

Wings Beachwear, located in the Strand Theatre building at 4948 Newport Avenue, had apparently been hit by vandals the night before. In addition to graffiti all over the storefront, the taggers wrote “GET OUT OF OB” on the window.

The store has been a source of controversy in a town that feels strongly about its locally owned, mom-n-pop type of businesses. Wings Beachwear Inc. has 28 stores nationwide.


  1. The only people who put that on the window were a couple of homeless cats who couldn’t beg for change in front of their store!!!
    By SpliffAdamz, Apr 9
  2. The ONLY good thing about Wings is that they repaired the Strand building. It is now up to California earthquake standards. The place looks great. I hope that this big Corp will go bankrupt and sell the building. It would make the best music venue in O.B.
    By Bajadeano, Apr 10

The Accidental Hippie
By patriciarahhal, July 5

It’s 1979, school at Sacred Heart Academy has let out. I run down Saratoga and then Cable Street to get to Newport Avenue, where my mom has a clothing store in Ocean Beach. I was the only child of a divorced working mother. Looking back now, I can see my mother at 36, tall, thin, with long black hair, she was stunning. Ironically, I now recognize that my friends probably dreamed of having a beautiful mother and an exciting life.

An Altered State of Place
By nmacklem, May 31

We pedaled out of O.B. on mid-west mountain bikes like proper transients, choosing the scenic route. Pelicans dove for prey in front of Sunset Cliffs. Waves rolled and crashed below a Sunday-morning sun. The plan: meet up with our friend Chump and his brother Dante at Point Loma Sea Foods.

Dylan and I stood above the ocean, watching the surf and planning our route downtown. Some dudes were getting high in their truck with the doors open, so we asked which hill was the easiest to climb. “None of them,” they said. We headed up Alhambra on a gamble and were soon walking our bikes.

We found Chump and Dante outside of the fish market, laughing at sea lions that were mugging for tourists’ cameras. Chump is Grade-A OBeacian, face pierced, dreadlocked, and trucker-capped. His brother stuck out like a sore thumb from L.A. Wild-eyed yet quiet, he boldly rocked a Dodgers jersey amidst a sea of RVCA and Hurley gear.

We ordered smoked wahoo with crackers and mustard. Since it was almost noon, we decided it was time to start drinking, so we rolled over to Captain’s Quarters. The bartender poured margaritas that were more like tequila shots and whoa! we were ready to roll.


Crossing the Line
By Ken Harrison, May 13

Three weeks ago, to increase downtown parking space, the City of Oceanside added diagonal parking on Civic Center Drive, a five-block street behind City Hall.

Someone forgot to measure the width of the street. In the first few days, it became obvious something was wrong: Drivers had to cross over the double yellow line to negotiate around the end of parked SUVs and big trucks.

Last week the City corrected its mistake by sandblasting away five blocks of diagonal parking on the north side of the street and moving the double yellow center line over about 18 inches to allow more room to back out of spaces on the south side.

Doggedly Determined
By Jennifer Blanchard, April 2

On Sunday, March 29, over 200 people and 250 dogs showed up at Oceanside Harbor. The group, known as Friends of Oceanside Dog Beach, walked around the area to show support for an off-leash dog area at the mouth of the San Luis Rey River. Currently, there is no dog-friendly beach in San Diego County north of Del Mar.

Three people with “No dog beach” T-shirts stood near the bridge as the group walked from city parking lot #20, over the Pacific Beach Bridge, and down the sidewalk to the grassy area west of the Nautical Bean Coffee Company. There, the group gathered for a walk past Rockin Baja Lobster, Joe’s Crab Shack, Monterey Bay Canners, all the way to the Oceanside Harbor Police station and back.

Berry Good for Business
By Ken Harrison, March 26

Each year, around January 1, a miracle of Mother Nature occurs at a little strawberry farm in Oceanside. Since 1989, the farm has opened weeks before other California strawberries are ready for harvest.

The Williamson Farm consistently beats Mother Nature’s timing, according to farm owner Judy Williamson. Global warming? Not according to farm manager Albino Guzman, who credits the warm winter microclimate in this part of coastal North County. He points out that most California strawberries usually harvest between March and August.


Smoking Trolley
By Robert Duffy, June 29

At approximately 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, as an M.T.S. Blue Line trolley en route to Old Town arrived at the Civic Centre stop, commuters onboard were forced to evacuate the train as smoke poured from underneath the front of the lead car.

No sign of a fire was evident, but a passenger noticed the smoke and gave warning to fellow passengers.

Picket Lines in Old Town
By Hayden Beames, February 2

Picket lines paraded through Old Town San Diego in protest on Saturday, January 31. Approximately 30 workers beat drums, repeated chants shouted through a leader’s bull horn, and marched in and outside of the grounds of Plaza del Pasado. The picket lines were organized by Unite Here Local 30.

In early January, 130 workers employed by restaurant operator Delaware North were informed that they would be terminated in early March. A subcontractor, Old Town Hospitality Group, is taking over the state lease to operate concessions at Old Town. The new subcontractor has refused to say whether they will retain the current workers.


That Dog Will Manhunt
By Frank Marrazza, March 19

On March 17 at 4:05 p.m., an SDPD helicopter circled the neighborhood at I-5 and Tocayo Avenue. Police announced over their P.A. system that they were in pursuit of a suspect described as a black male, 5’10” tall, 140 lbs., wearing black shorts and a white shirt.

At 5:09 p.m., the Border Patrol, San Diego cruiser units, and officers following on foot converged at International Road and Dalisay Street. At 5:11 p.m., at the intersection of Deep Haven Lane and Pikake Street, a resident yelled, “There he goes — he’s jumping the fences.”

At 5:25 p.m. the suspect was apprehended on the 2600 block of Wardlow.

Confusion in Otay Mesa
By flapflip, March 7

It was a humid summer afternoon in my home-neighborhood of Otay Mesa, California in 1999.

My grandpa was out back digging a trench for the sprinkler system he had bought from a friend of his. “Maybe you should go out back and help your grandpa, take him this,” my mother said as she handed me a glass of water and ice.

“Here, grandpa, mom said this is for you, and that dinner should be ready in about an hour,” I said. I went to play with my puppy, when my little brother came around the corner holding a shovel, no doubt from my grandfather’s tool shed. “I’m gonna go halp gwampa,” he said as he turned to walk away, but as he turned, the shovel hit me above the right eyebrow.

My grandfather came running to see why we were crying, and he slapped my hand, because he thought I had hurt [my brother] because he was crying. “What happened?!” cried my grandfather as I looked up. I lightly touched the spot on my head that hurt, then looked at my blood-covered hand. He turned around and started spanking [my brother]. It wasn’t until later that I could explain to him that it was an accident, but to make up for it, he took us out for ice cream.


P.B. Underground
By jcamp.b.ell, April 24

Everyone, even my friend from Ohio, knows that P.B. is full of douchebags. So when I said I was going to move to the beach, I didn’t have a lot of support from my homies.

There wasn’t a lot of overt protest though either, come to think of it. Maybe that’s because I was living in Mira Mesa at the time and starting to dissolve into that neighborhood’s monochromatic sprawl. The bulk of my friends, the too-cool-O.B. kids, the way-too-cool-North Park kids, mostly just said, “Oh, P.B. huh?”

For the first few weeks I felt like I was awash in a sea of beach cruisers and tribal tattoos. I felt like I should pull my socks up to mid-calf and get my T-shirts embroidered.

We Call Him Baby Huey
By MM1465, April 14

Look out — it’s Memorial Day Weekend in P.B.! By 4 o’clock he’d climbed to the top of the house next door. He was naked, singing, and prancing around the roof like one of Santa’s reindeers. It wasn’t long before the guests across the street at the Catamaran Resort began voicing complaints. The cops ensued shortly thereafter looking for the offending “tally whacker.” Summer had officially begun.

Jakes on the Prowl in P.B.
By paulcaraccio, April 8

They say if you catch the right sunset, you’ll see some kind of green flash. I don’t know about that, but I do know that if you catch the right moment on Grand and Dawes, you’re certainly liable to see a bulldozed skateboarder hurtling through the air or a law-abiding driver getting rammed right in the ribs by a right-turn-only rebel or a drunk smashing several parked cars or even a pedestrian carrying a surfboard catching a gentle love-tap from a Volvo.

You Can Find Me at the Club
By paulcaraccio, April 2

Our complex has been known to transform into Club Dawes most every weekend and on some scattered weeknights. A couple of weeks to a month or two back, when the core of the Club Dawes crew was formulating and getting tight, we’d have some nights where we’d be having such a blast here at the club that we’d eschew P.B.’s famed bar scene and just kick it here out in front for a good chunk of the night, drinking and dancing around like fools.

The War Zone
By charlypaigeart, March 25

The band playing in the parking lot was the best. Not only did the loud speakers set to 800 decibels vibrate the walls of my little house and the elbow-to-elbow crowd threaten to knock the fence over, but the police showed up in force. Kahuna’s Bar behind me was craziness. One night this drunk drove his car through the front door of Kahuna’s. Wasted revelers climbed over my back fence. Steve was the neighborhood vigilante for a while as he ran petitions with the other homeowners to get Kahuna’s closed down.

Life in P.B.
By brianwb, February 23

Ah, P.B. A magical, mystical land of hippies, gypsies, lawyers, and junkies…and I ain’t leaving, baby.

Sure, they’ve stolen my $600 mountain bike (while locked in a secured garage in a secured building), but what the hell. Another day I came home to find my patio barbecue grill, “Ol’ Blackie,” gone-a-miss’n. Ah, them’s the breaks, kid. I hadn’t cleaned the greasy soot for a while…I wish them cancer.

Alien Lands in P.B. Revisited
By john_obrien, February 22

Mike is the name of a bartender in P.B. He calls himself a local with pride. He has tattooed letters on his bicep: “P.B. Rat Dog.” He shares an apartment with three other tattooed guys down the street.

What Are Your Thoughts on Alcohol in the P.B./M.B. Community?
By carolyngrace1111, February 10

I created this blog to hear the community’s thoughts on alcohol in the Pacific Beach/Mission Beach area.


  1. Police are omnipresent, patrolling the beach areas in the event of trouble. Is this all about their jobs becoming easier, so they might have to do something other than flirt with a pretty girl in a bikini?
    By islandon22, Feb 15
  2. Islandon, it never was about getting every drop of alcohol off the beach. It was about getting the raging keggers off the beach, and the problems caused by the out-of-control drunken behavior. Before the ban, cops could not cite or arrest a drunk until they did something to endanger themselves or others.
    By escortalex, May 13
  3. Get real…the beach alcohol ban was the best thing to happen to P.B. since the invention of sunshine. We GOT faster police response times citywide, fewer impediments to lifeguards doing their job, and less underage drinking. We GOT dramatically less trash on the sand. The July 5 volunteer cleanup was a bust…. We went from NINE TONS of trash on the beach to NO trash on the beach. Of course, the streets of P.B. are still a cesspool on Friday and Saturday nights, thanks to all the nice friendly drunks who come down to do stuff that wouldn’t be tolerated in their own neighborhoods.
    By escortalex, May 13, 2009


First Swine, Now Squirrels
By Cindy Winslow, April 25

On April 2, a ground squirrel from the Doane Valley Campground on Palomar Mountain tested positive for plague, the “black death” disease that ravaged Europe and killed millions during the 14th Century.


I Should Call Him Bas
By RDVaughn, February 27

His name is Bas, he is a retired store owner from Nakhon Pathom. I am new to the building and look like a Japanese princess. He tells me this by way of introduction. He presents me with a plate of chicken and beef satay, perching it atop my bag of groceries. The satay was followed over time with a noodle dish, coupons for Fresh & Easy, a small pot of pink azaleas, sticky rice, a single energy-efficient light bulb, the admonishment to get married and have children as soon as possible, then more satay.


Pity for the Spanish
By Cindy Winslow, March 7

On Thursday, March 5, beaches at Spanish Landing and Shelter Island reopened after being closed due to a sewage spill.

The spill, which began at 10:35 a.m. on March 4, released approximately 1400 gallons of sewage at the intersection of Roosevelt and Truxtun roads in the Liberty Station area of Point Loma.

“Grease blockages are the second-leading cause of sewage spills,” said Brian Drummy of the city Wastewater Department.

I Played God
By MsGrant, May 29

For the last several days, I have noticed a small, black cat in the more deserted area of Liberty Station, near where I work. I first encountered him when I was driving on Truxton, the main drag in Liberty Station. He darted in front of my car, then ran into one of the undeveloped building’s courtyard.

I brought him food for the next two days, wondering what to do about him. At this point, I would observe him from a distance because every time I tried to get too close, he ran into his hole.


Green by the Sea
By Christine Spicer, March 9

Students at Point Loma Nazarene University voted in favor of a “Green Fund Proposal” on February 19. In accordance with the proposal, student fees will increase by $5 per semester in order to boost campus sustainability.

The Associated Student Body predicts that energy-efficient lighting, more front-loading washing machines, more fuel-efficient campus vehicles, a community garden, and expanded recycling efforts are likely to top the list of projects.


False Idols in God’s Country
By Origami_Astronaught, June 12

I had bicycled out to Potrero beneath a brutal midday sun, 20-some miles east of Jamul with a substantial elevation gain.

I told of my encounter with what appeared to be a meth-addled redneck down the street, who had found my tent beneath an oak tree in the bed of Potrero Creek and roosted me out with loud promises of shotguns and shackles. Jim recounted the Harris fire of ’07, which destroyed at least 1500 homes, burned over 500,000 acres of land, and forced the evacuation of over a million San Diego residents — the largest evacuation in American history.

“My mother-in-law’s was the first place to go,” said Jim. “Fire started right up the road. They told us to evacuate, but boy, you can bet we stayed right here and fought that thing. None of these buildings would be here today if we didn’t.”


Thin White Thief
By Mark Jay, May 25

On Friday, May 22, according to county sheriffs’ radio traffic at about 11:50 a.m., the sheriff’s department received a call on a bank robbery in progress at the Citibank located at 13408 Poway Road.

The bank teller was given a demand note by a male who wore all black and a golf hat. The teller then handed $2000 to the thief, who then fled the bank to a waiting, new, black Jaguar sedan occupied by a female passenger.

At about 12:15 p.m., sheriff’s deputies located the suspect vehicle traveling southbound on SR-67 from Poway Road. The deputies were unsuccessful at pulling the vehicle over and pursued southbound on the 67 toward Lakeside.

Abundance of Caution
By Peijean Tsai, May 7

A bomb scare caused the shutdown of the Poway Skate Park and library on Saturday, May 2.

The county sheriff’s office forced dozens to evacuate the library and cordoned off the area just after 4 p.m. The sheriff’s bomb-arson unit was called in to investigate a bag filled with what was described as sticks of dynamite by a man who found it in a dumpster at a nearby apartment complex. The supposed threat turned out to be fireworks.

Big Fly in the Sky
By Cindy Winslow, April 30

A low-flying helicopter hovered over Sabre Springs on the morning of April 29. Its mission was to kill mosquito larvae in three areas of standing water near the intersection of Poway Road and Sabre Springs Parkway.

The helicopter, commissioned by San Diego County Vector Control, dropped larvicide on the mosquito-breeding sites at about 9:00 a.m. The County hopes the aerial application will help keep the mosquito population in check and reduce the possibility of the spread of West Nile virus during warmer months.

Oleanders Are Dying in San Diego

By Ron Hamilton, Thursday, February 5

A bacterium commonly identified with grape vines (Xylella fastidiosa) is the suspected cause of “oleander leaf scorch,” which is resulting in the slow deaths of thousands of oleanders in San Diego County.


Message in the Sky
By quillpena, May 18

When I was 16 we lived in Ramona on Hanson Lane a few miles away from our community’s small downtown. In the countryside surrounding our town, the houses are spaced remotely from one another, usually by fields that hold cattle or horses.

One evening my friend Mike had come over to visit. My mother and my younger brother, Jason, were home. Mike and I were sitting at the dining-room table talking, while my mother was in the kitchen a few feet away preparing dinner.

The sun had set, but there was a faint, distant orange light illuminating from behind Mount Woodson and Iron Mountain to the west. Jason was pouring a glass of milk at the counter and Mike and I had our backs to the window as my mother placed the ketchup-glazed meatloaf in the oven and then turned to face us. She crouched down as she approached the table. “Oh, my God,” she croaked. “It’s a UFO.”


Unhappy Mother’s Day
By thestoryteller, May 9

May 10 must be the year’s hardest day for Maryanne. In 1997, her son, Andrew Cunanan, went on a killing spree that ended with the death of fashion designer Gianni Versace, outside his mansion in Florida. In a final act of hatred, Andrew snuck aboard a houseboat and turned the gun on himself. A police photo of Maryanne’s dead son is posted online. I hope she never sees it.

This is how it was around the Cunanan house, even before his dad abandoned them. Once his parents discovered that Andrew had an IQ of 147, all of the privileges were reserved for him. Andrew was the only child [in the family] sent to the prestigious Bishop’s school in La Jolla. He occupied the master bedroom of the house; everyone else, including his parents, crammed into the other bedrooms.

I met Andrew two years before he plunged downhill. His black hair was neatly trimmed. His tanned face was symmetrical and had dark, laughing eyes. He was a manager at Thrifty Jr. across the street from the apartment he shared with his mother. My mom and I went to the store to get Band-Aids for my heel that was rubbing on my shoe.

“Hey, Andrew!” my mom said. “This is my other daughter.” He stood up from his task of stocking a bottom shelf and turned a bright smile on me. “Hi!” Just then, an attractive man Andrew’s age caught his eye. “He’s pretty!” he said, making no secret of the fact he was gay.

The last time I saw Maryanne, she was covered up in an old coat and sunglasses, with a scarf tied under her chin. It was a hearty spring day, no need for a coat, and she dipped a hankie and washed her hands in a fountain at the Mercado.

According to Wikipedia, Andrew Cunanan was the 449th person to make the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list. He was the first person from San Diego to do so.


Boarder Region Reopens
By Scarlet Rosenblum, July 9

The Rancho Peñasquitos Skate Park, located at 10111 Carmel Mountain Road, reopened on June 30 after having been closed for several months due to safety hazards — the four-year-old wooden ramps had deteriorated.

Mad World
By John Mann, May 19

Four thousand people made their way into the Mt. Carmel High School stadium to hear American Idol contestant Adam Lambert sing on Friday, May 8. A return to one’s high school is a requirement of each contestant who has knocked out all but two competitors.

All students at Mt. Carmel High and Black Mountain Middle School were invited. The schools granted students time away from their classes to attend; this meant an hour to an hour and a half of education lost by the Mt. Carmel students and two and a half to three hours lost by the Black Mountain students. Teachers at both schools were required to go, to act as monitors. Mt. Carmel’s advanced placement students, scheduled to take exams, had to be bused off-campus, to Westview High School.

Lambert rode into the stadium in a red convertible, mounted the stage, and sang two songs. The first, Michael Jackson’s “Black or White,” mucked its way through a poor sound system. The second, Tears for Fears’ “Mad World,” came through clearly and gave a hint of Lambert’s talent.

Crime Cam Stolen!
By Cindy Winslow, February 11

On January 21, at 10:00 a.m., upon hearing loud knocking at her front door, a Torrey Highlands resident looked through the peephole and saw a man. She assumed the person might be a solicitor and decided not to answer the door. Moments later, the woman spotted the would-be burglar on the side of her home, attempting to break in. She confronted the man, snapping photos of him with her camera. He ran past her, dropping a chisel in the process, and quickly fled to a waiting vehicle with another man in it.

Undaunted, the resident stood by the side of the street and continued to take photographs of the suspect. At this point, the driver jumped out of the car and confronted the resident, grabbing her camera and knocking her to the ground.


  1. About three years ago, I was at home (Miramar Ranch North) at about 9:30 in the morning when there was a knock at my door. From upstairs, I watched a young Asian man walk across my driveway and over to the side of my house and I knew what he was about to do. An unfamiliar SUV was parked out front. I ran downstairs; out my back door; around the side of the house and repeated “excuse me” as I walked toward him. He stood there frozen with a crowbar in his hand. I asked him “What are you doing?” twice. He never responded and wouldn’t look up. Because I grew up in a “Barrio” in Los Angeles, I was not afraid to confront him (I am 58, 4’11”, 160 lbs., and female), but I knew not to antagonize him, disrespect him, or threaten him. He jumped the gate and ran over to the car waiting out front.
    By reddragonfly, Feb 12


On-Ramp to Peril
By Paul Shepersky, May 25

On Friday, May 22, at about 5:45 p.m., the sound of crunching metal brought neighbors out of their houses. A young man in a late-model Jeep Wrangler had swerved off Highway 94 west and — taking a steel light pole with him — went down the embankment and onto Buena Vista Drive.

The accident occurred just west of the Sweetwater Springs on-ramp, where it merges with the 94. The driver had collided with at least one other car while attempting to merge with westbound traffic. The front of the car was smashed, but it had not overturned.

Fury Lane Incident
By Steve Terry, April 23

At 5:24 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, the plaintive cries of a man could be heard in the parking lot of the shopping center at the corner of Jamacha Road and Fury Lane in Rancho San Diego.

“I didn’t do anything! I didn’t do anything! That hurts my back! My back is hurting!” Two sheriff’s deputies had subdued a shirtless man, possibly in his 20s, and had him handcuffed face-down on the asphalt. One deputy was crouched down with both knees pressing gently on the man, who was agitated and uncooperative.

Within a minute or two they helped the now-handcuffed prisoner to his feet and put him in the back of one of the two patrol cars parked nearby. A deputy then motioned toward the front of the nearby Ralphs grocery store and beckoned a woman, perhaps the complainant, to approach them. She also seemed to be in her 20s, wore a tartan-patterned red-and-white sundress, and had a large tattoo on her back.

Swallows Roost in Rancho
By Steve Terry, March 26

They say the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano on the 19th of March. Rancho San Diego boasts its own colony of the same bird, the cliff swallow. After a long flight from as far south as Argentina, they recently arrived.

According to Mark, a resident of the Tristán condominium complex at the corner of Fury Lane and Via Rancho San Diego, the first swallows appeared on Friday, March 20.

Because of the mess that nesting birds tend to make below their mud nests, Tristán residents are encouraged to interfere with nest construction by hosing off any mud deposited by the birds. This is legal, but once the nests are completed, state and federal laws protect them until the season is over, usually by September.

Secret Stash Revealed
By Sylvia Knust, March 20

East County’s Damon Lane Park is 26 acres of scenic and varied landscape. The secretly stashed park recently received an overhaul, according to County of San Diego Parks and Recreation.

Last year, a bottle rocket ignited a two-and-a-half-acre brush fire in the center of the park. In the surrounding park area, vegetation has been thick. Of particular concern are the ladder fuels — those dead branches that can carry fire from the ground up into the canopy, upon which fire growth potential explodes.

“We’ve been removing the dead wood, the dead fuel, and cleaning it up. We’ve been removing some of the nonnative species as well, like arundo and tamarisk.”

Nest in Peace
By Steve Terry, March 11

Workers have been cutting down trees and clearing brush from a narrow zone between the Sweetwater River and Jamacha Road in Rancho San Diego. They began near the intersection of Jamacha and Cuyamaca College Drive East a couple of weeks ago. By Friday, March 6, they had reached the corner of Jamacha Road and Willow Glen Drive, behind North Island Credit Union and the new Savannah Grill restaurant.

According to a worker on the scene, only nonnative trees (giant reed, tamarisk, and palm) are being removed. The vegetation removal is part of a project by the National Wildlife Refuge to improve and expand habitat for the least Bell’s vireo, a bird listed as endangered.


Casey’s Place
By Alan Haynes, February 13

A town meeting took place Thursday night, February 12, at Casey’s Place in San Carlos. The purpose of the meeting was to publicize the financial plight of Casey’s Place, a privately owned, not-for-profit community center located near the corner of Navajo Road and Jackson Drive. The meeting was attended by over 100 people, including San Diego city councilmember Marti Emerald.

The center, a community fixture since 2000, is four months behind on rent, which costs $10,000 per month. The difference has been made up by donations, often from Kinslow and his wife Jan.

The Kinslows are no longer in a position to finance the operation.

Rudolf Makes an Appearance Along Mission Gorge Road
By gjensen, July 23

“What’s up with the red noses?” That’s a question I often ask myself while driving the section of Mission Gorge Road between Jackson Drive and West Hills Parkway, the part that runs adjacent to Mission Trials Regional Park. I count four deer crossing signs, two on the north side and two on the south side of Mission Gorge Road. Each sign depicts a leaping deer with a large red dot, à la Rudolf, painted on the tip of their noses.

I talk to Cal Trans PR man Ed Cartagena, who reports that the crimson snouts are not the work of Cal Trans. Then, Ed volunteers this: “Cal Trans workers in Northern California report seeing wild boar crossing signs with red dots painted on the snouts.”


State’s TB Scare
By Cindy Winslow, June 20

A San Diego State University student who attended classes during the spring 2009 semester has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. The student is considered to have been contagious between March 1 and May 21.

University officials have been working to notify approximately 1000 individuals who were in contact with the student. In email and letter notifications, the university is recommending prompt tuberculosis skin testing.


Bicyclists’ Blessing
By Matt Lewis, March 17

The two-lane stretch of Buena Creek Road that connects Santa Fe Avenue and Twin Oaks Valley Road will be undergoing extensive construction during the next two weeks. Construction crews continue to widen the bike lanes along the narrow and windy passage that connects Vista and San Marcos.

The construction is mainly taking place on the left side of the road when going northbound toward San Marcos. The dirt embankments that roughly mark residents’ property lines are being excavated by about a foot in order to allow bikes and pedestrians an easier passage.


Trolley on the Fritz
By T.B. Beaudeau, July 7

The Blue Line trolley came to a stop Friday morning, July 3, after an overhead power line broke somewhere between Palm Avenue and H Street, according to a transit police officer.

North- and south-bound passengers were put on MTS transit buses and driven to where trolley service was still available. The Palomar Station was completely without trolley service for the duration, which began at 8 a.m.

The one-hour-plus delay at Palm Avenue was taken in stride by would-be commuters during the five-hour-long ordeal. Repair crews had things running again by one in the afternoon.

T.J. and More Stuff
By reakins2000, May 31

I’m in and out of T.J., not many American faces down there anymore. Cabs on Mondays and Tuesdays to downtown are around two bucks now. June 1 is only going to make things worse, people having to get a passport just to go to T.J. If you owe the I.R.S. or even have back child-support payments, student loans, or any kind of legal problems you can scratch it. That pretty much knocked off most of the gamblers that still would rather bet off-line and have a couple of tacos and a beer or two.


Found: Bombs
By Grant Madden, March 27

On Monday, March 23, law-enforcement officials at the Santee sheriff’s station on Cuyamaca Street were forced to evacuate their building in response to a credible bomb threat.

Shortly after 2 p.m., an unidentified man had entered the station carrying a bag of pipe bombs he said he’d found nearby.

Before sheriffs detonated the bombs outside the station, nearby businesses were evacuated and Cuyamaca Street was closed. Traffic in the area was diverted around the main thoroughfare, and trolley services to Santee were terminated at nearby Gillespie Field.

Memorial Day in Santee
By wannabe, May 26

It’s Memorial Day and there’s been a heavy vibe everywhere I went today, and I know it’s these wars. I have been worried about this guy I know who is a Vietnam vet. People around town usually ignore the guy because he smokes rolled cigarettes and swings his arms with hubris when telling a story. He’s told me about being curled up like a baby under a cot in Vietnam, scared of the sound of distant mortar fire when a Marine told him to “get out from under there; that fire’s miles away.”


Who Cares?
By dojomo444, June 30

A couple of weeks back, my wife and I go to one of the local concerts here in Hoyt Park. People set up their blankets and chairs (sometimes even the night before) to stake their spots. I sat, cuddling with my wife, and enjoyed the last couple songs of the night. At one point I exclaimed, “These guys are [email protected]#$#@ good!” The woman in front of me turned and glared over her shoulder like I had scooped up a litter of kittens and tossed them into a spinning blender! I leaned forward and apologized to her.

“Rapist! Murderer! Child Molestor!”
By lgoldfarb, March 18

These were the words screamed at my husband as he helped out a neighbor, Lynette, by hand-watering her front yard. This happened almost every time he spent a few minutes with our neighbor’s garden hose. The screamer was Maria, a pleasant, educated, friendly woman when she moved with her husband and young son into a nice house at the end of our Scripps Ranch street. Something happened to Maria’s brain, and our neighborhood has never been the same.

One time, while walking with my young grandson around the block, Maria came outside as we passed her house. She shouted at me, “You prostitute. You Jewish whore. Hitler should have left you dead!” Stunned, with a frightened grandchild, I tried to explain to him about mental illness and its effects. Later I asked Lynette’s husband, “How could Maria know I’m Jewish?” He replied, “She doesn’t. It’s one of her insults. She calls everyone a Jew.”


New Stoplight Going Up
By johninsd, February 19

What I believe to be the only freeway interchange in San Diego without stoplights is about to lose that distinction. Crews have been busy for the last several weeks pouring new concrete and installing new poles for the signals at I-805 and Phyllis Place in Serra Mesa. This is apparently part of the so-called “traffic mitigation” scheme the city required from developers of new condo projects in Mission Valley. I guess the idea is to use Serra Mesa as a relief valve for the absurd levels of traffic the new developments will bring to MV.


Train Travel Shake-Up
By Steve Horvath, June 24

An earthquake occurred at 6 p.m. Friday evening, June 19, off the coast of Southern California. The USGS website reported the quake as 4.1 magnitude. Train officials were concerned about possible bluff failures along the train tracks in Del Mar. A train dispatcher of the Metrolink San Diego subdivision directed Coaster train number 661 and Amtrak train number 582 to proceed at restricted speed through the bluff area. Amtrak train 582 incurred a delay of 27 minutes into San Diego.

Dug in Deep
By Mark Jay, June 4

According to police radio traffic on Saturday, May 30, at about 2:00 p.m., a man was seen smashing a car window with a shovel in the parking lot of the Vons shopping center on Lomas Santa Fe Drive.

According to witnesses, the perpetrator reached into the car and removed what looked like a rifle, then fled the scene in a red SUV.

Amtrak Management Train Wreck
By William Harper, April 15

The day before Easter, Saturday, April 11, the Solana Beach train station was crowded with people awaiting the northbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner No. 769. Baseball fans, most of them wearing BoSox T-shirts, were headed for Anaheim to see the Angels vs. Red Sox game. Other train-ticket holders were seemingly there to entrain for Orange and Los Angeles County holiday gatherings.

The train appeared down the line at 10:02, two minutes ahead of schedule. When it stopped and the doors opened, the conductor appeared on the platform and announced that only those with connections to flights from LAX and passengers headed for parts north of Los Angeles would be allowed to board. There was no room on the coaches for anyone else, he declared in frustration.


You Are Here, Or So
By harris, February 17

Often I get confused looks, even from longtime San Diego residents, when they ask where I live. “South Park…heh heh…they killed Kenny!” Ha. “No, really, where is that?”

“Near downtown, on the other side of the park,” I say. Or, “South of North Park.”

“Oh, yeah? Huh.”

SanDiego.gov is helpful, sort of. Balboa Park to the west and A Street to the south, okay. And a panhandle to the Southeast, a squiggly line to the east, and somewhere about halfway up the park to the north.


  1. I’ve wondered about a district within the district of South Park: Brooklyn Heights. As in Brooklyn Heights Elementary — which was on Ash Street until Albert Einstein took it over and the new Brooklyn Elementary opened on 33rd Street.

I consider the northern boundary of South Park to be Switzer Canyon — but guess that means it also envelops the “district” of Burlingame — and the eastern boundary to be the 15.
By janeb, Feb 26

  1. Agreed that the canyon is the northern boundary…not sure about the 15.
    By harris, Feb 28


Mystery Tower
By Steve Terry, April 6

Last week in a Spring Valley business park, a tower nearly 100 feet tall sprang up seemingly overnight. It was not there on Monday, March 30, but the thin skeletal structure was noticed on Tuesday morning. It dominated the sky in the center of the block bordered by Sweetwater Springs Boulevard, Austin Drive, Calavo Drive, and Jamacha Boulevard, near the main Spring Valley post office.

At about 2:35 p.m. on Tuesday, I approached three men, dressed as though they might be engineers, who were standing in the parking lot outside NSM Surveillance on Via Orange Way. When I asked them what the tower was for, one of them responded with the joke, “We can’t tell you. We’d have to kill you.”

Slasher Apprehended
By Mark Jay, March 19

According to a police-radio scanner, at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, a 15-year-old male was stabbed on Central Avenue and Troy Street. Sheriff’s deputies arrived and found the victim sitting on the sidewalk. Deputies set up a perimeter and ordered nearby schools into lockdown mode.

The victim stated he was walking down the street when he was approached by two individuals and was stabbed by one of them. According to deputies, both suspects were Hispanic males with shaved heads in their late 20s.

Witnesses directed police to the suspects, who were at nearby Lamar County Park. When police approached, the suspects ran through the park and jumped over backyard fences to try and get away.

Youth Can Be Exciting
By cori_zaragoza, May 31

It was last Friday, my best friend Paulina, my cousin Cassi, and I were cruising around town in her little gold car that makes a funny noise when you turn it off. After getting some grub at our local T.G.I. Friday’s, we sat in the parking lot of Target for a while, wondering what to do.… We drove around for a while longer, with Paulina leading us down more dirt roads and telling us scary stories. We went online to find more scary places in San Diego to explore. Other than the Whaley House, we couldn’t really find any places other than a rumor that there is an old insane asylum somewhere in Spring Valley.


Tierrasanta, Tierrasanta
By Islandman, May 22

Boy, it’s quiet here in Tierrasanta! I first moved here back in ’97. You have Mission Trails as your backyard and the rattlesnakes as your pets. It doesn’t get better than that. I’m always trail-running here in my backyard, and running in them I almost got bit the other day; the snake was curled up and ready to strike.

The Burbs
By Siobhan, May 19

We moved to Tierrasanta from the heart of El Cajon.

My kids think Tierrasanta is peaceful. They don’t mean peaceful in a good way. “It’s so quiet here!” they grumble.

People are always running or riding bicycles. They walk their tiny suburban dogs on designer leashes and actually pick up the poop. In El Cajon our townhome drama was over whose kid started the lice epidemic. In Tierrasanta the moms gossip over which parents allow their children to have high-fructose corn syrup.

People around here take their homeowners’ association very seriously. Members walk around town with shiny clipboards and issue citations if your paint is chipping or if you have noticeable clutter around your home.


Dinky Break
By Nathaniel Uy, July 19

UC San Diego chancellor Marye Anne Fox announced on July 15 a temporary reduction in parking fees for faculty, staff, and students. Starting August 1, 2009, annual parking fees will be reduced by 5 percent. The reduction will be effective through June 30, 2010. Meter, monthly, and visitor parking fees are expected to remain the same.


Getting Wet
By skipcarufel, March 30

When I closed my front door, crows hopped from the treetops and flapped eastward, most likely going to peck garbage at the Miramar Landfill.

My walk skirted the Marine Corps Air Station, passed the water treatment plant (I held my nose), and came to an overpass where the cars below looked like migrating salmon. Farther, among the smog shops and truck rentals, tile outlets and tire shops, were weeds and shallow puddles left over from yesterday’s rain. A sign on the chain-link fence read “Habitat Restoration. Vernal Pools.”

I walked to the green Pontiac station wagon. The quickest route was through Rose Canyon, following the train tracks to Regents Road. I straddled a guardrail and descended through bushes and weeds to the floor of the canyon. The air was cooler than at street level and smelled like wet wood. I passed the decomposing carcass of a coyote, its pelt dried and torn, white ribs exposed, obviously there for weeks, no doubt the victim of a train.

Wherever You Go, There You Are
By smahin, December 23

For some reason University City doesn’t believe in high-wattage street lights, so when I walk the dog at night I feel like we’re disappearing into the deserted, dark streets where the cars rush by without stopping…

Here at the Starbucks or the Peets or the Coffee Bean — all of which are within a mile of our faux-Italianate beige cube, with its burbling fountains and stands of bamboo whispering and creaking in the Southern California breeze — there are too many blonde girls with too much tanned skin under tank tops and tight denim tucked into last year’s Ugg boots.


The Grass is Always Greener (MUCH greener in this case)
By jeffblankman, June 30

Don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful cafés here in San Diego. Mystic Mocha in University Heights comes readily to mind. They make fresh-baked muffins, mesa-esque pancakes, and chilaquiles heralded by Gabriel himself. The coffee is not bad; in fact, it’s as good as or better than anywhere else I’ve found in San Diego: it’s just not what I now know as “Seattle coffee.”

We do have some great neighborhoods, and some that are very similar to the feel of Seattle. I think if Balboa Park were removed and the Gaslamp District, Petco area, Little Italy, Morena, Hillcrest, Mission Hills, North Park, University Heights, Normal Heights, Kensington, South Park, and Golden Hill, and some wet, green forest were all sucked in toward the center and piled on top of one another, it would rival the density and feel of Seattle.

The Mystery of the Masonic Effigy
By jeffblankman, June 29

“Cream,” as the coffee shop is named, is nestled on a busy corner of this eclectic “uptown” neighborhood populated with ethnic eateries, a school of massage and holistic healing, a small theater, salons catering to every taste and expense, small art schools cum galleries, a Buddhist temple and reading room, independent designer-clothing stores, a few bars, banks, and kitschy boutiques. Yuppies, artists, misfits, iconoclasts, homosexuals, hipsters, students, the odd “bro,” and individuals of all stripes, colors, creeds, and beliefs live in this small urban area. Odd ideas, odd art, odd clothing styles, and odd people are the norm, and people in the neighborhood have grown accustomed to an outlandish comment, amateurish song, pungent odor, sudden exclamation, or tirade issuing forth from the café’s fenestrae as they pass by.

Uh…Porch Studies
By janetgoes, February 28

A recent conversation evolved into pondering the words uh, uh-uh, and uh-huh. We consulted the dictionary. Uh, the sound the voice makes while the brain is busy transforming ideas into words, is also an acronym for University Heights.

UH holds many simple urban pleasures. It’s pedestrian and bicycle friendly. There’s all types of gardens; some thriving and content, carefully tended by humans. Others, having survived neglect, drought, and apathetic tenants, serve as a reference for abuse-tolerant plants. There’s the multitude of textures in xeriscaping and an array of decorative tikis, trolls, and insects. There’s esoteric dead-end canyon streets with intimate neighborhood auras. Endearing architecture of original homes, my favorites being quaint Spanish interior courtyards and Craftsman-style bungalows with big front porches.

The Adams Avenue Simulator
By TheUrbanWitch, January 22

Yesterday, about 5:30 p.m. I was driving up Adams Avenue. It was getting dark.

In the stretch of two short blocks, no less than three people walked in front of my moving vehicle. By the time I got to my destination, I had watched two cyclists enjoying a side-by-side conversation, a dog break free of its owner, and someone back their body into traffic to balance a cup of coffee on the roof of their car while digging for keys with a cell phone scrunched between their head and neck.


SDG&E Serves Up a Shut Off
By oakgirl, July 18

Today’s menu special was served up by SDG&E. A taste of SHUT OFF. Originally this was called “de-energization,” but everyone stumbled over the pronunciation. So now anyone can simply holler “Shut Off” in the back county and we will all know what’s coming down the road — fire prevention by shut-off. Today’s special was an eight-hour shut-down of the electric power.

Yikes! Almost the hottest day of the year, and it certainly is dry — dry eyes, dry vegetation, and hot. The only criteria missing is the wind. It will come. There’s already been spot fires at Guejito, Palomar Mountain’s east grade, and Ramona. But none caused by SDG&E’s downed power lines. I can hardly wait, a taste of the future! We packed the car with some bottled water and left about 10:30 a.m., after the power had been off for a couple of hours. There were five SDG&E trucks across the road, and the repair in question appears to be replacing a wooden utility pole with, wait, could it be? Yes, another wooden utility pole.


At Home At Vista Ranch
By LaPlacaRifa48619, June 19

The part of Vista I call home is a former motel called Vista Ranch. Located on Escondido Avenue, this 1950s-era motor lodge offers a nice place for a single fellow to come home to. A small laundry, a basketball court surrounded by grass, plenty of parking, and decent rent make Vista Ranch worth having to “hang-a-ueee” on Escondido Avenue to get to.

Escondido Avenue runs from Highway 78 to the south, to Eucalyptus Avenue to the north. Across the street from my place is a Vons Grocery, a Yum-Yum Doughnut Shop, a fabric store, a Trendy Indoor Bazaar, and various other shops. The NCTD Breeze’s 334/335 route services it on weekdays, while the 302 can be caught on South Santa Fe Avenue. The Sprinter can be accessed at the Escondido Avenue station, which is a 12-minute walk uphill for me.

During the day, the neighborhood is busy. Transients make South Santa Fe Avenue a rest stop, and the Vons lot is a gathering place for undocumented workers.

There have been two murders (in the Vons lot across the way) since I moved in on February 28, 2008.

Just One of the Gang
By paula, April 28

Me, my son Aaron, and daughter Morgan live in a busy yet cozy old neighborhood in Vista. Our house, the big yellow one on the corner, with a big yard and trees, has become a routine stop for neighborhood dog-walkers and their dogs. The other evening, as we sat outside, a group of five neighbors and their dogs came up the road. There was a new dog in the group, one that was hard to tell what breed it was. As the dogs got closer, this unusual dog with a long curly tail came running up to our yard. At first we thought this unusual-looking dog may have been just an overweight wiener dog. This dog wasn’t a dog, it was a pet pig!

Going Native
By SuT, February 28

The other day I saw a horned toad under one of the sage bushes in our yard. It was about four inches long. It looked like a fat lizard with a stubby tail, its body covered with short spiky horns.

When our family first moved to San Diego County in 1958 the land was much different than it is now. California scrub oak spotted the hillsides, their smallish curled leaves adapted to the semi-arid climate. Rust-colored buckwheat matched the parched earth, its tiny white flowers adorning the very tip ends of its prickly stalks. Gray-green sage was referred to as “brush.”

Part 1: Another Perfect Day

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