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Reader stories from 1995

Drums, cholas, hospice care, Eckankar, French school, gangs, Michael Reagan, Bishop McKinney, Orchids and Onions

Recent local Eckankar meeting. Eckankar took off like wildfire, growing from three students to thousands in less than three years.  - Image by Dave Allen
Recent local Eckankar meeting. Eckankar took off like wildfire, growing from three students to thousands in less than three years.
Rancho Bernardo

Orchids and Onions — 20 years later

“You could actually turn off Highway 80 at various points and go to the farms. Mission Valley Center was the one thing that changed the whole character of the valley. I mean, anybody would have to be stupid to put a shopping center in the middle of a floodplain. And they did it. Maybe we should have just kept letting everything flood until somebody finally got the point and started to move out.”

By Matthew Lickona, Nov. 22, 1995 | Read full article

Bishop McKinney in the pulpit. Average offerings from the 2700 families amounted to $22,000 every week.

Has Bishop McKinney fleeced his flock?

By the early ’90s, Del Rio had become interested in news accounts of the financial struggles of Rev. Robert Ard’s Christ Church of San Diego and Rev. Timothy Winters’s Bayview Baptist Church. Working together. Winters, Ard and Del Rio convinced Union Bank to make $30 million in loan money available to black churches. About that time, Del Rio says, he got a call from McKinney, whose church had a couple of problems, including an urgent need for cash.

By Jeannette DeWyze and Melinda Powelson, Nov. 2, 1995 | Read full article

Aaron and Austuriano. “I’ve based many of my papier-mache statues on skeletons done by Rivera."

Grand banquet of the skeletons

“The only local Mexican guy I can think of, the only one in Baja California who works principally with Day of the Dead, is this artist named Asturiano. He lives in Tijuana. Every year he does a big Day of the Dead display in this store called Interiores Los Tres Rios in Rosarito. He lives in Colonia Rubi in Tijuana. He’s kind of hard to get in touch with, because he doesn’t have a phone."

By Abe Opincar, Oct. 26, 1995 | Read full article

Independence sun deck

I sail in Hawaii with Michael Reagan

Word of Wednesday’s Oklahoma City bombing has filtered onto the ship. I take a deck chair nearby, careful not to interrupt Wayne’s story. Someone can’t understand how a U.S. citizen — a former military man at that — could commit a terrorist act, predictable enough for an Iraqi. Wayne doesn’t condone the crime but tries to make it comprehensible. He’s telling a complicated story of the FBI, Randy Weaver, and Ruby Ridge.

By Madeline DeFrees, Oct. 26, 1995 | Read full article

Maureen Durkee: “By letting go of the guilt, I was able to let go of a lot of the Catholicism."

Altars are as old as water

“In Jamaica we were staying at this yoga center when one day I got possessed by a spirit. I don’t know what spirit it was; I still don’t. But it was so powerful it knocked me down to the ground. Right afterwards I could actually hear spirit voices talking. I heard those voices when I was a child too, though in this culture there’s no community to nurture that.”

By Jory Farr, Oct. 19, 1995 | Read full article

Fred Markland: "I took a deep breath and the air came out a hole in my back. I was out of ammunition, and most everybody else was probably dead."

Golden Hill gangs, winter in Korean War, concentration camp to Del Cerro

One day, when Henry was 14 years old, “I was walking down by Commercial, me and my cousin Ruben and two little friends, walking south toward Logan. And this car was coming north. One dude came out and — boom — my cousin was gone. His neck and face were blown away. I held Ruben in my arms and cried. All I thought about was revenge.

By Jory Farr, Aug. 3, 1995 | Read full article

Raissa Marchetti Koslov starts reading. In French. The first line, "Dans Paris il y a une ecole..

San Diego's first French school

“Well, the big joke would be to say to their kids, ‘Once you speak French, I’ll take you to Paris, and you can translate for me whenever I need a cup of coffee.’ After all, these kids are forced into a language that they didn’t choose. It’s their parents’ choice. So basically you are given students who haven’t volunteered for this. It’s not that they hate you, the teacher, it’s just that they don’t see what the point is.”

By Bill Manson, June 29, 1995 | Read full article

Paul Twitchell. Lane discovered information that led him to believe that Twitchell copied “whole chapters from Radhasoami texts, lied about biographical details.”

Hi Fubbi, this is Gakko

“I found all this fun, interesting stuff. I talked to Twitchell’s first wife. Nobody knew he’d been married before. I was excited — 20 years old, in the moment of discovering something new. I had huge phone bills, because I had called this professor or this person. So I sent my term paper to Eckankar, and then they turned around two months later and said they were going to sue me if I published it."

By Dodie Bellamy, June 22, 1995 | Read full article

In the building across from El Torito sit five black metal bookshelves with a set of every edition ever printed.

Electronic heaven

When Britannica introduced its consumer CD-ROM last summer, it bore a $995 price tag — compared to less than $ 100 for the likes of Compton’s, Encarta, Grolier’s. Says Esposito, " Now I like Encarta. I like Compton’s. I like Grolier’s. These are great products. But what we do does not really compete with them. The only thing Britannica shares with those other products is the word ‘encyclopedia.’"

By Jeannette DeWyze, June 8, 1995 | Read full article

Charles Bess: “I feel healthy. I’ve been healthy all my life, so far. Just of late I’ve had this little heart congestion.”

Grief is like carbon monoxide

Ten years ago he was in his patrol car with his partner and a young woman observer, a “ride-along.” They pulled over a pickup truck driven by Sagon Penn. A fight developed, during which Penn managed to grab Donovan’s gun. He shot Donovan in the neck, then shot Donovan’s partner, killing him, shot the woman in the car, then drove the car over Donovan as he lay on the ground. Donovan probably came as close to dying as humanly possible. He lost 17 pints of blood....

By Tim Brookes, May 25, 1995 | Read full article

Vanessa: If a guy from one gang hits on a girl from another gang, her gang “will probably be mad or something,"

San Diego's Black Orchids

“Before three years ago, the party crews seemed nice. It was a whole bunch of people getting together and going out, having a good time, dancing. But it’s, like, after a while you have to watch yourself because, you know, the crews can become dangerous.” They were at a crew party not long ago when somebody got into an argument over a shirt. Somebody started firing, and one guy was killed and another wounded.

By Cecil Brown, Jan. 12, 1995 | Read full article

Omar Moore: “There are impostors representing African culture in this town.”

Drums: the secret language of insurrection

“Africa’s so poor, The culture is for sale. We’re suffering from slavery; they’re suffering from colonization. Whereas we’re trying to get back, they’re trying to get out. Not only are we trying to restore our Africanness here, but we’re trying to get in touch with our brothers and hope they can understand us. All I’m saying is, ‘European brother, your time is coming.’ I can share with you comfortably only if I know that my house is in order.”

By Jory Farr, Jan. 5, 1995 | Read full article

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Recent local Eckankar meeting. Eckankar took off like wildfire, growing from three students to thousands in less than three years.  - Image by Dave Allen
Recent local Eckankar meeting. Eckankar took off like wildfire, growing from three students to thousands in less than three years.
Rancho Bernardo

Orchids and Onions — 20 years later

“You could actually turn off Highway 80 at various points and go to the farms. Mission Valley Center was the one thing that changed the whole character of the valley. I mean, anybody would have to be stupid to put a shopping center in the middle of a floodplain. And they did it. Maybe we should have just kept letting everything flood until somebody finally got the point and started to move out.”

By Matthew Lickona, Nov. 22, 1995 | Read full article

Bishop McKinney in the pulpit. Average offerings from the 2700 families amounted to $22,000 every week.

Has Bishop McKinney fleeced his flock?

By the early ’90s, Del Rio had become interested in news accounts of the financial struggles of Rev. Robert Ard’s Christ Church of San Diego and Rev. Timothy Winters’s Bayview Baptist Church. Working together. Winters, Ard and Del Rio convinced Union Bank to make $30 million in loan money available to black churches. About that time, Del Rio says, he got a call from McKinney, whose church had a couple of problems, including an urgent need for cash.

By Jeannette DeWyze and Melinda Powelson, Nov. 2, 1995 | Read full article

Aaron and Austuriano. “I’ve based many of my papier-mache statues on skeletons done by Rivera."

Grand banquet of the skeletons

“The only local Mexican guy I can think of, the only one in Baja California who works principally with Day of the Dead, is this artist named Asturiano. He lives in Tijuana. Every year he does a big Day of the Dead display in this store called Interiores Los Tres Rios in Rosarito. He lives in Colonia Rubi in Tijuana. He’s kind of hard to get in touch with, because he doesn’t have a phone."

By Abe Opincar, Oct. 26, 1995 | Read full article

Independence sun deck

I sail in Hawaii with Michael Reagan

Word of Wednesday’s Oklahoma City bombing has filtered onto the ship. I take a deck chair nearby, careful not to interrupt Wayne’s story. Someone can’t understand how a U.S. citizen — a former military man at that — could commit a terrorist act, predictable enough for an Iraqi. Wayne doesn’t condone the crime but tries to make it comprehensible. He’s telling a complicated story of the FBI, Randy Weaver, and Ruby Ridge.

By Madeline DeFrees, Oct. 26, 1995 | Read full article

Maureen Durkee: “By letting go of the guilt, I was able to let go of a lot of the Catholicism."

Altars are as old as water

“In Jamaica we were staying at this yoga center when one day I got possessed by a spirit. I don’t know what spirit it was; I still don’t. But it was so powerful it knocked me down to the ground. Right afterwards I could actually hear spirit voices talking. I heard those voices when I was a child too, though in this culture there’s no community to nurture that.”

By Jory Farr, Oct. 19, 1995 | Read full article

Fred Markland: "I took a deep breath and the air came out a hole in my back. I was out of ammunition, and most everybody else was probably dead."

Golden Hill gangs, winter in Korean War, concentration camp to Del Cerro

One day, when Henry was 14 years old, “I was walking down by Commercial, me and my cousin Ruben and two little friends, walking south toward Logan. And this car was coming north. One dude came out and — boom — my cousin was gone. His neck and face were blown away. I held Ruben in my arms and cried. All I thought about was revenge.

By Jory Farr, Aug. 3, 1995 | Read full article

Raissa Marchetti Koslov starts reading. In French. The first line, "Dans Paris il y a une ecole..

San Diego's first French school

“Well, the big joke would be to say to their kids, ‘Once you speak French, I’ll take you to Paris, and you can translate for me whenever I need a cup of coffee.’ After all, these kids are forced into a language that they didn’t choose. It’s their parents’ choice. So basically you are given students who haven’t volunteered for this. It’s not that they hate you, the teacher, it’s just that they don’t see what the point is.”

By Bill Manson, June 29, 1995 | Read full article

Paul Twitchell. Lane discovered information that led him to believe that Twitchell copied “whole chapters from Radhasoami texts, lied about biographical details.”

Hi Fubbi, this is Gakko

“I found all this fun, interesting stuff. I talked to Twitchell’s first wife. Nobody knew he’d been married before. I was excited — 20 years old, in the moment of discovering something new. I had huge phone bills, because I had called this professor or this person. So I sent my term paper to Eckankar, and then they turned around two months later and said they were going to sue me if I published it."

By Dodie Bellamy, June 22, 1995 | Read full article

In the building across from El Torito sit five black metal bookshelves with a set of every edition ever printed.

Electronic heaven

When Britannica introduced its consumer CD-ROM last summer, it bore a $995 price tag — compared to less than $ 100 for the likes of Compton’s, Encarta, Grolier’s. Says Esposito, " Now I like Encarta. I like Compton’s. I like Grolier’s. These are great products. But what we do does not really compete with them. The only thing Britannica shares with those other products is the word ‘encyclopedia.’"

By Jeannette DeWyze, June 8, 1995 | Read full article

Charles Bess: “I feel healthy. I’ve been healthy all my life, so far. Just of late I’ve had this little heart congestion.”

Grief is like carbon monoxide

Ten years ago he was in his patrol car with his partner and a young woman observer, a “ride-along.” They pulled over a pickup truck driven by Sagon Penn. A fight developed, during which Penn managed to grab Donovan’s gun. He shot Donovan in the neck, then shot Donovan’s partner, killing him, shot the woman in the car, then drove the car over Donovan as he lay on the ground. Donovan probably came as close to dying as humanly possible. He lost 17 pints of blood....

By Tim Brookes, May 25, 1995 | Read full article

Vanessa: If a guy from one gang hits on a girl from another gang, her gang “will probably be mad or something,"

San Diego's Black Orchids

“Before three years ago, the party crews seemed nice. It was a whole bunch of people getting together and going out, having a good time, dancing. But it’s, like, after a while you have to watch yourself because, you know, the crews can become dangerous.” They were at a crew party not long ago when somebody got into an argument over a shirt. Somebody started firing, and one guy was killed and another wounded.

By Cecil Brown, Jan. 12, 1995 | Read full article

Omar Moore: “There are impostors representing African culture in this town.”

Drums: the secret language of insurrection

“Africa’s so poor, The culture is for sale. We’re suffering from slavery; they’re suffering from colonization. Whereas we’re trying to get back, they’re trying to get out. Not only are we trying to restore our Africanness here, but we’re trying to get in touch with our brothers and hope they can understand us. All I’m saying is, ‘European brother, your time is coming.’ I can share with you comfortably only if I know that my house is in order.”

By Jory Farr, Jan. 5, 1995 | Read full article

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