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Best Reader stories of the late 1980s, part 2

Trees of Balboa Park, D.A. Ed Miller, tough USDA inspector at the border, Cuban ex-pats, short people, Oceanside gay murders, our forests of kelp

The USDA controls the movement of horses through the backstretch stalls at Caliente. - Image by Robert Burroughs
The USDA controls the movement of horses through the backstretch stalls at Caliente.
Pines near Sixth Avenue and Spruce Street are dying out due to excessive soil compaction.

Color them gone

The space theater managers argue that San Diegans need more education in science and technology, but take a look at the size of their gift shop and the types of movies — laser-light rock shows, for example — shown in their Omnimax theater. Why should public parkland be given over to more of this kind of deceptively commercial merchandising?

By Neal Matthews, Sept. 3, 1987 Read full article

Ed Miller himself successfully prosecuted Jimmy “the Weasel” Fratianno, once believed by authorities to be the West Coast executioner for the mob.

Why Ed Miller is still the man

“During the time that I was the United States Attorney, it became very clear to me that San Diego was ripe for a change in its power structure,” says Miller of his decision to run for district attorney. “I felt that C. Arnholt Smith and his sometime partner, John Alessio, were dominating the political arena in this community, and I felt that that dominance reached into the district attorney’s office.”

By Bob McPhail, Aug. 27, 1987 Read full article

Frank Enders: “I’m not going to do the cutting for them. They won't spend the twenty dollars for a water truck to keep the goddamned dust down.”

USDA-Approved

“I haven’t inspected that trailer. How do I know it isn’t full of manure and trash?” he lectures in Spanish. The young Mexican and the track official listen in silence. Enders has the authority to prevent any animal or piece of equipment from being brought onto the backstretch. “You bring that trailer through here, and we might have to bleed all 1100 horses,”

By Neal Matthews, July 23, 1987 Read full article

Nicholas Britto (Andres Mera on left). Britto wrote a letter to Mayor O'Connor demanding that she produce the alleged statistics regarding Cubans in crime.

¡Cuba, sí!

He and four compadres left Cuba one night in a twenty-foot boat powered by a five-horsepower motor. The motor quit on the second day of the voyage, and the men drifted, lost, for two more days after that. When they struck land, they thought they might have drifted back to Cuba. And when a green-clad soldier approached them, they were sure of it: soon they discovered that all was well; Mayea says they had landed at a secret CIA training base near Miami.

By Neal Matthews, March 19, 1987 Read full article

Wilson: "Mother would tell me, ‘The right person always comes into your life when the time is right.’"

Life is looking up

Vella speaks of achondroplastic dwarfs as “achondros” and midgets, or pituitary dwarfs, as “pituitaries” and says a certain standoffishness had always existed between achondros and pituitaries. “Achondros don’t tend to marry pituitary types.”

By Judith Moore, Feb. 12, 1987 Read full article

Since 1977 at least ten murders in Oceanside have had what police call “homosexual overtones.”

Death in Oceanside

It was not long before the attractive young Southerner caught David Smith’s eye. No detailed accounts exist to explain all that transpired between the young Marine and the fifty-five-year-old executive while they remained at the bar. But it is certain that Smith bought Edenfield several beers and that the two left the Countryside together.

By Bob McPhail, Jan. 29, 1987 Read full article

Scuba gear necessary for the study of underwater biology was invented just forty-five years ago.

In the forests of the sea

by late spring of 1985, the major clue was inescapable: up to fifty percent of all the blades on the giant kelp plants in certain parts of the Point Loma forest were curling. The immediate cause was obvious to the kelp ecologists. One inhabitant of the forest is the kelp curler, a tiny invertebrate that makes a cozy home for itself by folding over one corner of a kelp blade and cementing it shut with a gummy mucus.

By Jeannette DeWyze, Jan. 8, 1987 Read full article

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Discovery of priest’s letters reveals tension between church, locals

Culture Clash
The USDA controls the movement of horses through the backstretch stalls at Caliente. - Image by Robert Burroughs
The USDA controls the movement of horses through the backstretch stalls at Caliente.
Pines near Sixth Avenue and Spruce Street are dying out due to excessive soil compaction.

Color them gone

The space theater managers argue that San Diegans need more education in science and technology, but take a look at the size of their gift shop and the types of movies — laser-light rock shows, for example — shown in their Omnimax theater. Why should public parkland be given over to more of this kind of deceptively commercial merchandising?

By Neal Matthews, Sept. 3, 1987 Read full article

Ed Miller himself successfully prosecuted Jimmy “the Weasel” Fratianno, once believed by authorities to be the West Coast executioner for the mob.

Why Ed Miller is still the man

“During the time that I was the United States Attorney, it became very clear to me that San Diego was ripe for a change in its power structure,” says Miller of his decision to run for district attorney. “I felt that C. Arnholt Smith and his sometime partner, John Alessio, were dominating the political arena in this community, and I felt that that dominance reached into the district attorney’s office.”

By Bob McPhail, Aug. 27, 1987 Read full article

Frank Enders: “I’m not going to do the cutting for them. They won't spend the twenty dollars for a water truck to keep the goddamned dust down.”

USDA-Approved

“I haven’t inspected that trailer. How do I know it isn’t full of manure and trash?” he lectures in Spanish. The young Mexican and the track official listen in silence. Enders has the authority to prevent any animal or piece of equipment from being brought onto the backstretch. “You bring that trailer through here, and we might have to bleed all 1100 horses,”

By Neal Matthews, July 23, 1987 Read full article

Nicholas Britto (Andres Mera on left). Britto wrote a letter to Mayor O'Connor demanding that she produce the alleged statistics regarding Cubans in crime.

¡Cuba, sí!

He and four compadres left Cuba one night in a twenty-foot boat powered by a five-horsepower motor. The motor quit on the second day of the voyage, and the men drifted, lost, for two more days after that. When they struck land, they thought they might have drifted back to Cuba. And when a green-clad soldier approached them, they were sure of it: soon they discovered that all was well; Mayea says they had landed at a secret CIA training base near Miami.

By Neal Matthews, March 19, 1987 Read full article

Wilson: "Mother would tell me, ‘The right person always comes into your life when the time is right.’"

Life is looking up

Vella speaks of achondroplastic dwarfs as “achondros” and midgets, or pituitary dwarfs, as “pituitaries” and says a certain standoffishness had always existed between achondros and pituitaries. “Achondros don’t tend to marry pituitary types.”

By Judith Moore, Feb. 12, 1987 Read full article

Since 1977 at least ten murders in Oceanside have had what police call “homosexual overtones.”

Death in Oceanside

It was not long before the attractive young Southerner caught David Smith’s eye. No detailed accounts exist to explain all that transpired between the young Marine and the fifty-five-year-old executive while they remained at the bar. But it is certain that Smith bought Edenfield several beers and that the two left the Countryside together.

By Bob McPhail, Jan. 29, 1987 Read full article

Scuba gear necessary for the study of underwater biology was invented just forty-five years ago.

In the forests of the sea

by late spring of 1985, the major clue was inescapable: up to fifty percent of all the blades on the giant kelp plants in certain parts of the Point Loma forest were curling. The immediate cause was obvious to the kelp ecologists. One inhabitant of the forest is the kelp curler, a tiny invertebrate that makes a cozy home for itself by folding over one corner of a kelp blade and cementing it shut with a gummy mucus.

By Jeannette DeWyze, Jan. 8, 1987 Read full article

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