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San Diego in books - UCSD, Market Street, mobs in San Diego

Wesley Marx, Wade Miller, Mike Royko, Eric Higgs, David Darlington, Michael Franzese and Dary Matera, Robert Purtill

IF YOU SEEK ROGER REVELLE'S MONUMENT, take a walk around the campus which has spread on the mesa. Looming near and over the center is the very good Central Library. An upside-down pyramid of glass fully utilized from morning to midnight, it’s one of the few interesting buildings around, Engineering being another. Someone has scratched an obscenity on a wall in one of the men’s rooms, but “Lassie Eats Chickens” is more typical of UCSD graffiti....

The idea was that all the colleges would grow to be roughly the same size. As it has turned out, Muir is by far the most popular. “Flexibility” is the motto here, i.e., no core to speak of, virtually the run of the catalogue to do it your way. It’s very good for “exceptionally able students with well-defined academic interests,” as Muir’s ad says. While some Muirites, like Michael of the conservative California Review, may be in that category, most aren’t — Muir is home to lots of kids who want to take it as easy as they can....

A “geek” ... is a person so devoted to studying that he’s incapable of socializing — formerly, geeks were called nerds, and when your reporter was at Harvard a generation ago, they were grinds. The worst thing at UCSD isn’t to be a geek, however, but a “weasel,” that is, insincere. To “wease” is to speak or behave insincerely, to have ulterior motives....

Does the level of lecturing at UCSD connote and inspire a genuine life of the mind among undergrads, or does it obscure their real business, i.e., racking up grades?... [Anthropology professor Donald] Tuzin, it seems, visited Harvard recently — how wonderful, he says, it would be to hear at UCSD the kind of “intellectual talk” he heard in the Freshman Union there!

Edward Norden “A Month in Paradise” The American Spectator April 1992

WE WERE GOING ALONG A STREET that turned steadily scruffier, with porno movie houses and “adult” book stores interspersed with bars and pawnshops, all closed and looking dirty and squalid in

Ae dear morning light. An indefinable hightening in the sky in

the direction in which we were going told me that we were headed toward the ocean. We passed a sign that said Market Street, and this street reminded me of the more rundown parts of Market Street in San Francisco, near the bus station. I saw a tattoo parlor and remembered that San Diego was very much a navy town.

Richard Purtill Murdercon 1982

I MET CAMMY'S PARENTS and took them out to dinner that night at a spruced-up Black Angus in Anaheim. I spent a great deal of time talking with her father [Mr. Seferino]. He told me that when he was a teenager, he lost five teeth and was shot in the leg when a gang of Mexican-born drug pushers ambushed him and his friend Alex Moreno after a New Year’s Eve party in San Diego in 1959. His face was slashed with a straight razor, and his chest was gashed with a flattened can opener. His teeth were dislodged by a gang member wielding a lead horseshoe stake. The drugged sociopath was about to crush his skull when Moreno whipped out a .22 pistol and shot him in the stomach. Moreno shot a second pusher in the groin before the gang scattered. Moreno, a 150-pound fifteen-year-old, lifted Seferino’s bleeding, 160-pound body from the paveMent and carried him six blocks rough a thick fog to Seferino’s sister Eva s house. The teenager hid his gun in the toilet tank, along with the .38 Seferino had never gotten out of his belt.

Moreno had saved Seferino’s life, but the police weren’t impressed. He ended up doing eighteen months in a tough youth prison for his heroics.

Seferino told me he’d ducked the police by traveling across the border to Tijuana, and giving a horse doctor a few pesos to carve the bullet from his leg sans anesthesia while he screamed in pain. He told the veterinarian he’d been shot by the border patrol.

He returned to San Diego and was brought to Paradise Valley Hospital, where doctors mended his face, mouth, and chest with 160 stitches. He told the American doctors he had gotten into a fight while in Mexico.

After he healed, Seferino said, he plotted his revenge. He hunted the remaining gang members like an urban terrorist. He and a friend cornered one in the lights of his friend’s 1955 Chevy, knocked him down, then ran over his legs, crushing them. Tipped that another gang member had been arrested and was going through heroin withdrawal at the San Diego jail, Seferino had himself brought in and jailed on a minor charge, located the sick and emaciated drug addict, and beat him nearly to death.

Michael Franzese and Dary Matera Quitting the Mob 1991

MARVIN REACHED the end of his walk. It was called Yogi Beach, a little bit of land at the mouth of the San Diego River Floodway, right next to the Mission Bay Channel jetty. He looked back toward Ocean Beach, where cars were moving slowly along the beachfront road, silhouetted against the lights of stores and houses and apartment buildings.

The beach itself seemed unpopulated, but he counted four bonfires in the barbecue pits now, wavering like distant beacons....

He took the bus back to Ocean Beach — gas for the Datsun was now a luxury item.... It was late afternoon, almost sunset. The commercial section of Ocean Beach was uncrowded, with the liquor stores doing most of the trade. A big Harley blatted through an intersection, and for one cold moment Marvin thought it might be Dell. But the biker was far heavier and his hair was black as coal.

The parking lot near the municipal pier was half-full, with groups of young and not-so-young surfers and bunnies sitting on hoods, talking in groups, car stereos almost a match for the thudding surf. There was a faint tang of marijuana in the humid air.

Marvin went up the pier’s concrete staircase and started the long walk down its weathered boards. The wooden railing was marked with faded stencils at regular intervals, and he read them with idiot concentration: NO OVERHEAD CASTING NO SITTING ON RAIL....

Eric Higgs Doppelganger 1987

UPON ARRIVING IN CALIFORNIA, {Agoston ] Haraszthy ignored the gold fields of the north and headed instead for San Diego, a southern frontier village of 650. His farsightedness enabled him to see that agribusiness — not precious metal — was the place to realize long-term profits. (Indeed, all the gold produced in California in the century following the gold rush was worth less than the state’s agricultural output in 1960 alone.)

In San Diego Haraszthy duplicated his Wisconsonian behavior, planting orchards, opening a livery stable and a butcher shop, and speculating widely in land. Somewhere along the way he picked up the popular rank of colonel, and in 1850 he was elected sheriff of San Diego County; soon after that he was appointed town marshal. Meanwhile, his father, Charles, became a magistrate and land commissioner, establishing a greater oligarchy than any that the family had enjoyed in Bacska.

The most notable illustration of the Haraszthyan headlock in San Diego affairs was the building of the local jail. The city council, presided over by Charles, awarded the construction contract to Agoston despite the fact that his price of five thousand dollars more than doubled the lowest bid. As the story goes, the jail’s first prisoner broke through the wall to have a drink at the bar across the street, whereupon the council awarded Agoston another two thousand dollars to upgrade the questionable construction job. The money was raised through the issuance of scrips, which Haraszthy sold before leaving town; the incident has been called California’s first occurrence of municipal graft.

In the 1850s, however, California was a place where such comportment could be seen as enterprising. Never one to be deterred by disgrace, Haraszthy next sought higher office and allied himself with an ex-Mississippian and pro-Southern militant, William Gwin of the California Democrats, in calling for a north-south division of California. The ostensible rationale was an unbalanced tax structure that favored the north, but the pro-Southern leaders also hoped for a transcontinental railroad from New Orleans to terminate in San Diego. Campaigning on this platform, Haraszthy won a seat in the state assembly, which brought him north to the state capital for the first time in 1852. Soon thereafter he liquidated his Southern California holdings and moved to San Francisco.

David Darlington Angels' Visits: An Inquiry into the Mystery of Zinfandel 1991

Mike Royko

A FRIEND OF MINE once moved from Chicago to the San Diego area to take a job managing a big pizza joint. The owner hired him because he wanted somebody with that well-known Midwestern drive and energy and capacity for hard work.

After a few months, my friend was back. He couldn’t take it anymore. As he explained:

“At first, I liked it. The sunshine was terrific. It was always shining. The city was so clean. The houses were pretty. I rented a place that had fruit trees in the back yard. I’d go out every morning and pick oranges so I could have fresh juice to mix with my breakfast vodka.

“But then it started. One day I got a call from a couple of the people who worked for me. They said they wouldn’t be to work that day. I asked if they were sick. They said, ‘No, the surf is up.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute, you’re not coming to work because the surf is up?’ They said, ‘Yeah, it’s terrific.’

“So I told them, ‘You can’t take off and leave me in a lurch with the lunchtime crowd because the surf is up.’ They said, ‘Huh?’ Like they didn’t understand what I was talking about. 1 told them, ‘Look, this is your job.’ They said, ‘Yeah, but the surf is up.’

“I finally told them that if they didn’t show up for work on time, that I’d fire them. They told me, ‘Sure. Do what you have to do, man. We understand.’ And that was it. They didn’t care if I fired them. They went surfing.”

Mike Royko Chicago Tribune October 2,1984

MINDY HAD GOTTEN ME a hotel room at the Hyatt Islandia in Mission Bay, and I pulled in there around 3:30 in the afternoon with the temperature at eighty-six and the sky cloudless. They assigned me a room in one of the pseudo-rustic cabanas that ran along the bay, as a kind of meandering wing to the tall central hotel building. I stashed my bag, got a list of addresses and my city map, and headed back out to work.

San Diego, like San Francisco, and like Seattle, seems defined by its embrace of the sea. The presence of the Pacific Ocean is assertive even when the ocean itself is out of sight. There is a different ambient brightness where the steady sunshine hits the water and diffuses. The bay, the Navy, the bridge to Coronado seemed always there, even when you couldn’t see them....

I had supper in a place near the hotel, on the bay, that advertised fresh salmon broiled over alder logs. I went in and ate some with a couple of bottles of Corona beer (hold the lime). It wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be; it still tasted like fish. After supper I strolled back to the hotel along the bayfront, past the charter boat shanties and the seafood take-out stands that sold ice and soda. Across the expressway, gleaming with light in the murmuring subtropical evening, the tower of Sea World rose above the lowland where the bay had been created.

Robert B. Parker Stardust 1990

THE SUN WAS RIMMING the Point Loma hills as Walter James eased his Buick out Rosecrans Boulevard. A stiff breeze was blowing off the bay. He rolled the car window higher.

Past the small shopping center, he turned left and followed the street around the bay. A curved archway loomed ahead.

The paint-chipped letters said EL REY YACHT CLUB. Two rows of straggly palm trees led toward a rambling fence building at the water's edge. Small piers jutted haphazardly out into the bay, each with its cluster of sailboats and motor launches.

Wade Miller Deadly Weapon 1946

THE CONDITION OF SAN DIEGO BAY in California has been greatly enhanced by upgrading of standards on waste discharges and improvement of municipal and industrial treatment facilities. Sludge deposits accumulated over the years — some 7 feet in thickness — are finally beginning to decompose as the bay regains its self-purifying ability. The San Diego Regional Water Quality Board, a state agency established to control discharges, has spearheaded this cleanup drive. Raw sewage has continued, however, to gush into the bay from a source beyond the effective control of the board, the U.S. Navy.

Wesley Marx Man and His Environment: Waste 1971

The Reader will pay $10 for submissions to “Out of Context” that are selected for publication.

Choices must be drawn from books or out-of-town periodicals. Include author, title, date of publication, and your phone number. Send photocopies only, not transcriptions. Mail to “Out of Context, ” P.O. Box 85803, San Diego, CA 92186-5803. ■

The Reader will pay $10 for submissions to “Out of Context” that are selected for publication.

Choices must be drawn from books or out-of-town periodicals. Include author, title, date of publication, and your phone number. Send to “Out of Context,” 2323 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92102.

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'Tis the season for local trout and long range trips

IF YOU SEEK ROGER REVELLE'S MONUMENT, take a walk around the campus which has spread on the mesa. Looming near and over the center is the very good Central Library. An upside-down pyramid of glass fully utilized from morning to midnight, it’s one of the few interesting buildings around, Engineering being another. Someone has scratched an obscenity on a wall in one of the men’s rooms, but “Lassie Eats Chickens” is more typical of UCSD graffiti....

The idea was that all the colleges would grow to be roughly the same size. As it has turned out, Muir is by far the most popular. “Flexibility” is the motto here, i.e., no core to speak of, virtually the run of the catalogue to do it your way. It’s very good for “exceptionally able students with well-defined academic interests,” as Muir’s ad says. While some Muirites, like Michael of the conservative California Review, may be in that category, most aren’t — Muir is home to lots of kids who want to take it as easy as they can....

A “geek” ... is a person so devoted to studying that he’s incapable of socializing — formerly, geeks were called nerds, and when your reporter was at Harvard a generation ago, they were grinds. The worst thing at UCSD isn’t to be a geek, however, but a “weasel,” that is, insincere. To “wease” is to speak or behave insincerely, to have ulterior motives....

Does the level of lecturing at UCSD connote and inspire a genuine life of the mind among undergrads, or does it obscure their real business, i.e., racking up grades?... [Anthropology professor Donald] Tuzin, it seems, visited Harvard recently — how wonderful, he says, it would be to hear at UCSD the kind of “intellectual talk” he heard in the Freshman Union there!

Edward Norden “A Month in Paradise” The American Spectator April 1992

WE WERE GOING ALONG A STREET that turned steadily scruffier, with porno movie houses and “adult” book stores interspersed with bars and pawnshops, all closed and looking dirty and squalid in

Ae dear morning light. An indefinable hightening in the sky in

the direction in which we were going told me that we were headed toward the ocean. We passed a sign that said Market Street, and this street reminded me of the more rundown parts of Market Street in San Francisco, near the bus station. I saw a tattoo parlor and remembered that San Diego was very much a navy town.

Richard Purtill Murdercon 1982

I MET CAMMY'S PARENTS and took them out to dinner that night at a spruced-up Black Angus in Anaheim. I spent a great deal of time talking with her father [Mr. Seferino]. He told me that when he was a teenager, he lost five teeth and was shot in the leg when a gang of Mexican-born drug pushers ambushed him and his friend Alex Moreno after a New Year’s Eve party in San Diego in 1959. His face was slashed with a straight razor, and his chest was gashed with a flattened can opener. His teeth were dislodged by a gang member wielding a lead horseshoe stake. The drugged sociopath was about to crush his skull when Moreno whipped out a .22 pistol and shot him in the stomach. Moreno shot a second pusher in the groin before the gang scattered. Moreno, a 150-pound fifteen-year-old, lifted Seferino’s bleeding, 160-pound body from the paveMent and carried him six blocks rough a thick fog to Seferino’s sister Eva s house. The teenager hid his gun in the toilet tank, along with the .38 Seferino had never gotten out of his belt.

Moreno had saved Seferino’s life, but the police weren’t impressed. He ended up doing eighteen months in a tough youth prison for his heroics.

Seferino told me he’d ducked the police by traveling across the border to Tijuana, and giving a horse doctor a few pesos to carve the bullet from his leg sans anesthesia while he screamed in pain. He told the veterinarian he’d been shot by the border patrol.

He returned to San Diego and was brought to Paradise Valley Hospital, where doctors mended his face, mouth, and chest with 160 stitches. He told the American doctors he had gotten into a fight while in Mexico.

After he healed, Seferino said, he plotted his revenge. He hunted the remaining gang members like an urban terrorist. He and a friend cornered one in the lights of his friend’s 1955 Chevy, knocked him down, then ran over his legs, crushing them. Tipped that another gang member had been arrested and was going through heroin withdrawal at the San Diego jail, Seferino had himself brought in and jailed on a minor charge, located the sick and emaciated drug addict, and beat him nearly to death.

Michael Franzese and Dary Matera Quitting the Mob 1991

MARVIN REACHED the end of his walk. It was called Yogi Beach, a little bit of land at the mouth of the San Diego River Floodway, right next to the Mission Bay Channel jetty. He looked back toward Ocean Beach, where cars were moving slowly along the beachfront road, silhouetted against the lights of stores and houses and apartment buildings.

The beach itself seemed unpopulated, but he counted four bonfires in the barbecue pits now, wavering like distant beacons....

He took the bus back to Ocean Beach — gas for the Datsun was now a luxury item.... It was late afternoon, almost sunset. The commercial section of Ocean Beach was uncrowded, with the liquor stores doing most of the trade. A big Harley blatted through an intersection, and for one cold moment Marvin thought it might be Dell. But the biker was far heavier and his hair was black as coal.

The parking lot near the municipal pier was half-full, with groups of young and not-so-young surfers and bunnies sitting on hoods, talking in groups, car stereos almost a match for the thudding surf. There was a faint tang of marijuana in the humid air.

Marvin went up the pier’s concrete staircase and started the long walk down its weathered boards. The wooden railing was marked with faded stencils at regular intervals, and he read them with idiot concentration: NO OVERHEAD CASTING NO SITTING ON RAIL....

Eric Higgs Doppelganger 1987

UPON ARRIVING IN CALIFORNIA, {Agoston ] Haraszthy ignored the gold fields of the north and headed instead for San Diego, a southern frontier village of 650. His farsightedness enabled him to see that agribusiness — not precious metal — was the place to realize long-term profits. (Indeed, all the gold produced in California in the century following the gold rush was worth less than the state’s agricultural output in 1960 alone.)

In San Diego Haraszthy duplicated his Wisconsonian behavior, planting orchards, opening a livery stable and a butcher shop, and speculating widely in land. Somewhere along the way he picked up the popular rank of colonel, and in 1850 he was elected sheriff of San Diego County; soon after that he was appointed town marshal. Meanwhile, his father, Charles, became a magistrate and land commissioner, establishing a greater oligarchy than any that the family had enjoyed in Bacska.

The most notable illustration of the Haraszthyan headlock in San Diego affairs was the building of the local jail. The city council, presided over by Charles, awarded the construction contract to Agoston despite the fact that his price of five thousand dollars more than doubled the lowest bid. As the story goes, the jail’s first prisoner broke through the wall to have a drink at the bar across the street, whereupon the council awarded Agoston another two thousand dollars to upgrade the questionable construction job. The money was raised through the issuance of scrips, which Haraszthy sold before leaving town; the incident has been called California’s first occurrence of municipal graft.

In the 1850s, however, California was a place where such comportment could be seen as enterprising. Never one to be deterred by disgrace, Haraszthy next sought higher office and allied himself with an ex-Mississippian and pro-Southern militant, William Gwin of the California Democrats, in calling for a north-south division of California. The ostensible rationale was an unbalanced tax structure that favored the north, but the pro-Southern leaders also hoped for a transcontinental railroad from New Orleans to terminate in San Diego. Campaigning on this platform, Haraszthy won a seat in the state assembly, which brought him north to the state capital for the first time in 1852. Soon thereafter he liquidated his Southern California holdings and moved to San Francisco.

David Darlington Angels' Visits: An Inquiry into the Mystery of Zinfandel 1991

Mike Royko

A FRIEND OF MINE once moved from Chicago to the San Diego area to take a job managing a big pizza joint. The owner hired him because he wanted somebody with that well-known Midwestern drive and energy and capacity for hard work.

After a few months, my friend was back. He couldn’t take it anymore. As he explained:

“At first, I liked it. The sunshine was terrific. It was always shining. The city was so clean. The houses were pretty. I rented a place that had fruit trees in the back yard. I’d go out every morning and pick oranges so I could have fresh juice to mix with my breakfast vodka.

“But then it started. One day I got a call from a couple of the people who worked for me. They said they wouldn’t be to work that day. I asked if they were sick. They said, ‘No, the surf is up.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute, you’re not coming to work because the surf is up?’ They said, ‘Yeah, it’s terrific.’

“So I told them, ‘You can’t take off and leave me in a lurch with the lunchtime crowd because the surf is up.’ They said, ‘Huh?’ Like they didn’t understand what I was talking about. 1 told them, ‘Look, this is your job.’ They said, ‘Yeah, but the surf is up.’

“I finally told them that if they didn’t show up for work on time, that I’d fire them. They told me, ‘Sure. Do what you have to do, man. We understand.’ And that was it. They didn’t care if I fired them. They went surfing.”

Mike Royko Chicago Tribune October 2,1984

MINDY HAD GOTTEN ME a hotel room at the Hyatt Islandia in Mission Bay, and I pulled in there around 3:30 in the afternoon with the temperature at eighty-six and the sky cloudless. They assigned me a room in one of the pseudo-rustic cabanas that ran along the bay, as a kind of meandering wing to the tall central hotel building. I stashed my bag, got a list of addresses and my city map, and headed back out to work.

San Diego, like San Francisco, and like Seattle, seems defined by its embrace of the sea. The presence of the Pacific Ocean is assertive even when the ocean itself is out of sight. There is a different ambient brightness where the steady sunshine hits the water and diffuses. The bay, the Navy, the bridge to Coronado seemed always there, even when you couldn’t see them....

I had supper in a place near the hotel, on the bay, that advertised fresh salmon broiled over alder logs. I went in and ate some with a couple of bottles of Corona beer (hold the lime). It wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be; it still tasted like fish. After supper I strolled back to the hotel along the bayfront, past the charter boat shanties and the seafood take-out stands that sold ice and soda. Across the expressway, gleaming with light in the murmuring subtropical evening, the tower of Sea World rose above the lowland where the bay had been created.

Robert B. Parker Stardust 1990

THE SUN WAS RIMMING the Point Loma hills as Walter James eased his Buick out Rosecrans Boulevard. A stiff breeze was blowing off the bay. He rolled the car window higher.

Past the small shopping center, he turned left and followed the street around the bay. A curved archway loomed ahead.

The paint-chipped letters said EL REY YACHT CLUB. Two rows of straggly palm trees led toward a rambling fence building at the water's edge. Small piers jutted haphazardly out into the bay, each with its cluster of sailboats and motor launches.

Wade Miller Deadly Weapon 1946

THE CONDITION OF SAN DIEGO BAY in California has been greatly enhanced by upgrading of standards on waste discharges and improvement of municipal and industrial treatment facilities. Sludge deposits accumulated over the years — some 7 feet in thickness — are finally beginning to decompose as the bay regains its self-purifying ability. The San Diego Regional Water Quality Board, a state agency established to control discharges, has spearheaded this cleanup drive. Raw sewage has continued, however, to gush into the bay from a source beyond the effective control of the board, the U.S. Navy.

Wesley Marx Man and His Environment: Waste 1971

The Reader will pay $10 for submissions to “Out of Context” that are selected for publication.

Choices must be drawn from books or out-of-town periodicals. Include author, title, date of publication, and your phone number. Send photocopies only, not transcriptions. Mail to “Out of Context, ” P.O. Box 85803, San Diego, CA 92186-5803. ■

The Reader will pay $10 for submissions to “Out of Context” that are selected for publication.

Choices must be drawn from books or out-of-town periodicals. Include author, title, date of publication, and your phone number. Send to “Out of Context,” 2323 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92102.

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