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Best Reader stories from 1998

Baja rock art, Broderick in jail, Alan Bersin, San Diego's orphanage, U.S, Grant Jr., top ten San Diego high schools, Porsche owners, Okies

Peter Navarro and Lynn Schenk, April 1996. Lynn is a tough, intelligent, articulate, and stunning blonde who looks, acts, and sounds perfect for politics.
Peter Navarro and Lynn Schenk, April 1996. Lynn is a tough, intelligent, articulate, and stunning blonde who looks, acts, and sounds perfect for politics.
  • My very beloved Chanita

  • San Francisco, Nov. 4, 1863
  • It has been twelve years since we were married and I have been reminiscing about you and the wedding. Do you remember how chiflada (scatterbrained) you were that day? Do you remember that you danced a great deal? Do you remember the toast that Francisco Rodriguez wrote?... I also remember that it has been two years since you celebrated the first ten years of your marriage in Guadalupe [Baja California].
  • By Therese Adams Muranaka, Dec. 10, 1998
Jose Matias Morena II: "Take good care, dear one. of the expected baby"
Harry Crosby at El Batequi cave painting, 1974
  • “The most beautiful rock art I had seen since Lascaux”

  • He hired a local guide in the Sierra de San Francisco, the mountain range north of the oasis town of San Ignacio, and for two weeks the party rode on mules over precipitous trails, visiting a dozen ranches and collecting legends, oral history, and anecdotes. On the last morning of the trip, over breakfast, the guide suggested a short detour to visit some nearby paintings. “Nothing about his manner implied anything out of the ordinary.”
  • By Jeannette DeWyze, Nov. 19, 1998

Three Bullets and Nine Years Later:

If a reporter wants to know what Betty Broderick’s life as a convict is like, he or she has to visit her posing as a friend. The reporter has to listen hard, trying to memorize Betty’s words and how she looks. Only after leaving the prison walls can notes be tape-recorded or scribbled down in an attempt to reconstruct the information. I’ve done this three times in the past few months.

By Jeannette DeWyze, Nov. 5, 1998

Betty Broderick at 50 years old, November 1997
  • How to grow perfect grass for San Diego

  • When they were releasing water from the Rodriguez Dam in Mexico it was flooding the Tijuana River Valley. In 1979 there was a flood in December that went into January 1980. The sod farm in South Bay was flooded out. The flood in 1979 took the whole farm out of production. Floods in 1982 and 1983 took half the farm. In 1986, a flood took a third of the farm, and in 1990 another flood wiped out a third."
  • By Douglas Whynott, Oct. 8, 1998
“When people look at turf, their blood pressure drops and their heart rate decreases."
  • Alan Bersin, border fixer, and his Clinton ties

  • Alan D. Bersin arrived here in early 1992 to take over the Arkansas governor's San Diego County presidential campaign operation. But in the apparent wilderness of San Diego politics, Bersin seemed to have discovered instant opportunity. In what other major city in America could a Los Angeles lawyer, who had lived for years in the fancy Los Angeles enclave of Marina del Rey, quickly relocate, set up shop as a visiting professor at a prominent law school, and soon insinuate himself so completely into the heart of the local establishment?
  • By Matt Potter, Sept. 24, 1998
  • When we had an orphanage – San Diego Children's Home

  • At the turn of the century, they were called orphans, and they lived in a home on five acres in Balboa Park. Those who weren’t orphans were “half-orphans,”“abandoned children,” or “those for whom we temporarily provide.” The San Diego Children’s Home was built in the days when a home was supposed to look like one, and it did: three stories, all wood. White paint, brick chimneys, balconies, and dormers on the corner of 16th and Ash.
  • By Laura McNeal, Sept. 10, 1998
Rose, Bill, Agnes Miller Wade, Betty, Uncle Arthur, Agnes Mondon, and Charlie (kneeling), c. 1943
  • Poet Stephen Dobyns hires escort and takes her to reading at D.G. Wills in La Jolla

  • The woman is sexy but very classy. She is tall, about five feet nine, with tousled brown hair. Her skirt and tight white blouse show off her figure in a way to bring about cardiac arrhythmia in youngsters and oldsters alike. She walks as if she owns the very air around her. She is 26 and her measurements are 34-24-34. She calls herself Michelle. She carries a beeper, a cellular phone, and pepper spray on her key ring,
  • By Stephen Dobyns, Aug. 6, 1998
Michelle and Dobyns
  • San Diego's least-remembered great man – U.S. Grant Jr.

  • On a Sunday in September of 1929, 15 members of San Diego’s elite gathered to carry the coffin of an old friend. Among the pallbearers were a future mayor, a founder of the city’s oldest bank, the owner of the leading department store, and a state senator of legendary influence. The man they came to bury was Ulysses Simpson Grant Jr., second son and namesake of the warrior president, Ulysses Simpson Grant.
  • By Phyllis Orrick, July 2, 1998
In 1910, Buck had completed the U.S. Grant Hotel, the most tangible legacy he planned for his father.
  • San Diego's top ten high schools

  • Along with Torrey Pines and La Jolla, Poway High ranked in the top ten in all four of the following categories tor the 95-’96 school year SAT average, percentage of students who take the SAT, percentage in college prep courses, and percentage receiving college credit through AP exams.
  • By Ernie Grimm, Matthew Lickona, June 4, 1998
Play rehearsal, La Jolla Country Day
  • San Diego confidential

  • (First of four stories)
  • Running for Congress was not something I wanted to contemplate. After all, I had lost three of the closest elections in San Diego history in just the last three years — for mayor in 1992, for city council in 1993, and for county supervisor in 1994. Despite the closeness of my losses, I was gaining a reputation as a perennial loser.
  • By Peter Navarro, April 23, 1998
  • Porsche owners are purposeful people.

  • You have seen them, these Porsches — on highways, on city streets, in parking lots — and you have coveted. You have gazed at them as they passed you, stopped and walked around them when you find them parked, peered through the driver’s side window, curious about the biggest number on the speedometer.
  • By Matthew Lickona, Feb. 12, 1998
Roger Roberts: "I’m sure there are some people who would perceive me as elitist."
  • Smoking Out Okies in San Diego County

  • Jim says he presented himself as a Nebraskan, not an Okie, which he kept secret. He took journalism, wrote on the school paper, became a ’50s-era surfer and hot-rodder, driving a supercharged dragster. He even dated classmate Raquel Welch. “In essence,” he muses now, “I became a California Okie.”
  • By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jan. 15, 1998
Jim Heck - like the other Okies I met in San Diego last summer, Heck not only does not forget, he makes a point of remembering
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Peter Navarro and Lynn Schenk, April 1996. Lynn is a tough, intelligent, articulate, and stunning blonde who looks, acts, and sounds perfect for politics.
Peter Navarro and Lynn Schenk, April 1996. Lynn is a tough, intelligent, articulate, and stunning blonde who looks, acts, and sounds perfect for politics.
  • My very beloved Chanita

  • San Francisco, Nov. 4, 1863
  • It has been twelve years since we were married and I have been reminiscing about you and the wedding. Do you remember how chiflada (scatterbrained) you were that day? Do you remember that you danced a great deal? Do you remember the toast that Francisco Rodriguez wrote?... I also remember that it has been two years since you celebrated the first ten years of your marriage in Guadalupe [Baja California].
  • By Therese Adams Muranaka, Dec. 10, 1998
Jose Matias Morena II: "Take good care, dear one. of the expected baby"
Harry Crosby at El Batequi cave painting, 1974
  • “The most beautiful rock art I had seen since Lascaux”

  • He hired a local guide in the Sierra de San Francisco, the mountain range north of the oasis town of San Ignacio, and for two weeks the party rode on mules over precipitous trails, visiting a dozen ranches and collecting legends, oral history, and anecdotes. On the last morning of the trip, over breakfast, the guide suggested a short detour to visit some nearby paintings. “Nothing about his manner implied anything out of the ordinary.”
  • By Jeannette DeWyze, Nov. 19, 1998

Three Bullets and Nine Years Later:

If a reporter wants to know what Betty Broderick’s life as a convict is like, he or she has to visit her posing as a friend. The reporter has to listen hard, trying to memorize Betty’s words and how she looks. Only after leaving the prison walls can notes be tape-recorded or scribbled down in an attempt to reconstruct the information. I’ve done this three times in the past few months.

By Jeannette DeWyze, Nov. 5, 1998

Betty Broderick at 50 years old, November 1997
  • How to grow perfect grass for San Diego

  • When they were releasing water from the Rodriguez Dam in Mexico it was flooding the Tijuana River Valley. In 1979 there was a flood in December that went into January 1980. The sod farm in South Bay was flooded out. The flood in 1979 took the whole farm out of production. Floods in 1982 and 1983 took half the farm. In 1986, a flood took a third of the farm, and in 1990 another flood wiped out a third."
  • By Douglas Whynott, Oct. 8, 1998
“When people look at turf, their blood pressure drops and their heart rate decreases."
  • Alan Bersin, border fixer, and his Clinton ties

  • Alan D. Bersin arrived here in early 1992 to take over the Arkansas governor's San Diego County presidential campaign operation. But in the apparent wilderness of San Diego politics, Bersin seemed to have discovered instant opportunity. In what other major city in America could a Los Angeles lawyer, who had lived for years in the fancy Los Angeles enclave of Marina del Rey, quickly relocate, set up shop as a visiting professor at a prominent law school, and soon insinuate himself so completely into the heart of the local establishment?
  • By Matt Potter, Sept. 24, 1998
  • When we had an orphanage – San Diego Children's Home

  • At the turn of the century, they were called orphans, and they lived in a home on five acres in Balboa Park. Those who weren’t orphans were “half-orphans,”“abandoned children,” or “those for whom we temporarily provide.” The San Diego Children’s Home was built in the days when a home was supposed to look like one, and it did: three stories, all wood. White paint, brick chimneys, balconies, and dormers on the corner of 16th and Ash.
  • By Laura McNeal, Sept. 10, 1998
Rose, Bill, Agnes Miller Wade, Betty, Uncle Arthur, Agnes Mondon, and Charlie (kneeling), c. 1943
  • Poet Stephen Dobyns hires escort and takes her to reading at D.G. Wills in La Jolla

  • The woman is sexy but very classy. She is tall, about five feet nine, with tousled brown hair. Her skirt and tight white blouse show off her figure in a way to bring about cardiac arrhythmia in youngsters and oldsters alike. She walks as if she owns the very air around her. She is 26 and her measurements are 34-24-34. She calls herself Michelle. She carries a beeper, a cellular phone, and pepper spray on her key ring,
  • By Stephen Dobyns, Aug. 6, 1998
Michelle and Dobyns
  • San Diego's least-remembered great man – U.S. Grant Jr.

  • On a Sunday in September of 1929, 15 members of San Diego’s elite gathered to carry the coffin of an old friend. Among the pallbearers were a future mayor, a founder of the city’s oldest bank, the owner of the leading department store, and a state senator of legendary influence. The man they came to bury was Ulysses Simpson Grant Jr., second son and namesake of the warrior president, Ulysses Simpson Grant.
  • By Phyllis Orrick, July 2, 1998
In 1910, Buck had completed the U.S. Grant Hotel, the most tangible legacy he planned for his father.
  • San Diego's top ten high schools

  • Along with Torrey Pines and La Jolla, Poway High ranked in the top ten in all four of the following categories tor the 95-’96 school year SAT average, percentage of students who take the SAT, percentage in college prep courses, and percentage receiving college credit through AP exams.
  • By Ernie Grimm, Matthew Lickona, June 4, 1998
Play rehearsal, La Jolla Country Day
  • San Diego confidential

  • (First of four stories)
  • Running for Congress was not something I wanted to contemplate. After all, I had lost three of the closest elections in San Diego history in just the last three years — for mayor in 1992, for city council in 1993, and for county supervisor in 1994. Despite the closeness of my losses, I was gaining a reputation as a perennial loser.
  • By Peter Navarro, April 23, 1998
  • Porsche owners are purposeful people.

  • You have seen them, these Porsches — on highways, on city streets, in parking lots — and you have coveted. You have gazed at them as they passed you, stopped and walked around them when you find them parked, peered through the driver’s side window, curious about the biggest number on the speedometer.
  • By Matthew Lickona, Feb. 12, 1998
Roger Roberts: "I’m sure there are some people who would perceive me as elitist."
  • Smoking Out Okies in San Diego County

  • Jim says he presented himself as a Nebraskan, not an Okie, which he kept secret. He took journalism, wrote on the school paper, became a ’50s-era surfer and hot-rodder, driving a supercharged dragster. He even dated classmate Raquel Welch. “In essence,” he muses now, “I became a California Okie.”
  • By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jan. 15, 1998
Jim Heck - like the other Okies I met in San Diego last summer, Heck not only does not forget, he makes a point of remembering
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Treetop Tutoring Center: Jeanne Volk‘s triple tutoring whammy

“Kids miss school friends they were used to seeing and playing with most days.”
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Tom Sudberry, Peter Cooper give to Barbara Bry
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