On the Tunies production line (undated photo).

San Diego businessman C. Arnholt Smith bought some local canneries in 1948. In a 1992 interview, he told the Reader: "One guy who worked for us got the bright idea of making hot dogs out of tuna for the Catholic trade. They were called Tunies. They tasted and looked just exactly like a hot dog. Actually tasted better than a hot dog, I think. The poor guy worked his brains out perfecting that. They were in the store, but they just didn't seem to take over."

You can purchase this photo at the San Diego Historical Society Research Library or online at www.sandiegohistory.org. For more information call 619-232-6203, x127.
  • On the Tunies production line (undated photo). San Diego businessman C. Arnholt Smith bought some local canneries in 1948. In a 1992 interview, he told the Reader: "One guy who worked for us got the bright idea of making hot dogs out of tuna for the Catholic trade. They were called Tunies. They tasted and looked just exactly like a hot dog. Actually tasted better than a hot dog, I think. The poor guy worked his brains out perfecting that. They were in the store, but they just didn't seem to take over." You can purchase this photo at the San Diego Historical Society Research Library or online at www.sandiegohistory.org. For more information call 619-232-6203, x127.
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San Diego Mayor John Butler, Mrs. Robert Vogeller, Smith, c. 1953. By the late ’50s I felt I had to get rid of some of the damn things I was running. I think I got a bigger kick out of building and creating things than running them.

Mr. San Diego: Born with the Century

And Solar Aircraft — there’s another institution that we made. And that damn Herb Kunzel. He was president of Solar at the end, and he would eventually be appointed to liquidate West-gate California when it was declared insolvent. But National Steel lugged that Solar Aircraft Company along by supplying them with things they couldn’t pay for. And I think the animosity between Kunzel and me came because we were pushing him to try to collect the debts.

By C. Arnholt Smith, March 19, 1992 | Read full article

Joe Brennan, c. 1920. He conned the Navy into doing the dredging, and they had to have some place to dump the spoil, so they started filling in that area where the airport is and created a solid land mass. The Marine base and the Navy base is all fill too.

The Let’s-Get-It-Done Harbormaster

Joe conned the Navy into doing the dredging, and they had to have some place to dump the spoil, so they started filling in that area where the airport is and created a solid land mass. The Marine base and the Navy base is all fill too.

It was very marshy. Before that was filled in, there were times when you couldn’t go to Pt. Loma from San Diego. The water was too high for cars to go through there.

By C. Arnholt Smith, May 7, 1992 | Read full article

Opening day at San Luis Rey Downs, June 29, 1969. We had about 22 of our own racehorses at San Luis Rey. Helen, my wife, owned a lot of thoroughbreds. They only did so-so. Mostly just so.

Track Marks

I had a home there on the beach at the foot of 27th Street. On race dates and after race dates on Sundays, they’d all kind of gather, sometimes at our house, sometimes at others’. Jimmy Durante, Pat O’Brien, Bob Crosby, Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, Willy Shoemaker, a couple of songwriters, and many others. They’d start someplace, then all come on over and have drinks and beer and snacks — a traveling party all summer long.

By C. Arnholt Smith, July, 23 1992 | Read full article

What They Didn’t Tell You about Mr. San Diego

Hahn subsequently approached Smith with the idea of building a shopping center in San Diego — this time as a full partner rather than just a lender. The result was the Fashion Valley Shopping Center, a joint venture between Ernest W. Hahn Inc. and Smith’s Westgate-California Realty Company. The center cost $50 million to build and opened in October 1969 on 78 acres of land in Mission Valley, on the former site of Smith’s Valley Lane Farms.

By Thomas K. Arnold, Jan. 7, 1993 | Read full article

The Nixon campaign travels down Broadway in San Diego, October 1956

When Dick Nixon Came to Town

San Diego entrepreneur Arnholt Smith, one of Nixon’s earliest supporters, remembered a melancholy evening in the early ’60s when Nixon was holding a meeting and asked him to get Pat out of the way. “Pat was not feeling well physically, and even worse...mentally,” Smith said. “Dick sent word, ‘Could I please take her and hide her from the public, so to speak, let her rest her mind and what have you.’”

By Matt Potter, Sept. 21, 2000 | Read full article

Gadfly Abraham Briloff (left) helped expose infamous San Diego accounting scandals such as C. Arnholt Smith’s (right) U.S. National Bank debacle.

How They Played the Accounting Game

Half a century ago, C. Arnholt Smith was “Mr. San Diego.” Smith and his close colleagues, along with relatives, owned and controlled a slew of assets that would be traded back and forth at inflated prices. The bank would do the financing. The Securities and Exchange Commission pointed out that these deals were put together to hoodwink auditors into believing the transactions were at arm’s length — when in fact they were dubious deals among friends and relatives.

By Don Bauder, Nov. 9, 2011 | Read full article

In Miller Obit, U-T Misses Historic Sleaze Story

[C. Arnholt] Smith was very close to Richard Nixon. When Nixon won the presidency, he replaced Miller with one of Smith's cronies. Miller later ran for D.A. and defeated another Smith crony. Federal prosecutors sent John and Angelo Alessio to prison, but were not able to put Smith away, despite his obvious financial crimes. As D.A., Miller took the case and was able to get Smith on tax evasion. He finally got eight months.

By Don Bauder, Mar 4, 2013 | Read full article

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