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Stories by Bob McPhail

Imperial Beach, town without pretense

Complete public sleeping ban Imperial Beach has banned camping or sleeping in public with an ordinance that reaches into every last corner, from pavement to median, "including but not limited to dirt or landscaped areas." ...

Bob McPhail and the Reader

Bob McPhail came to the Reader from the Oceanside Blade-Tribune in 1987 and has written stories for the Reader through 2018. McPhail's favorite stories he has written for the Reader: Camp Pendleton Marine kills older ...

August 17, 2019
San Diego characters you should have known

Bad blood in Barrio Logan Ducheny is most unpopular with those who run the government-funded agencies, people such as Rachel Ortiz, who directs the Barrio Station youth program; Jess Haro, chairman of the Chicano Federation; ...

July 21, 2018
Tijuana vigilantes nab suspected thief

Early on the morning of February 18, residents of the Hacienda Los Laureles neighborhood of Tijuana captured a suspected burglar, roughed him up, and tied him to a utility pole until police arrived. According to ...

February 22, 2018
Ensenadan to be prosecuted for abortion

A young Ensenada woman faces up to five years in prison after physicians at the city’s general hospital reported her to authorities for allegedly using pills to provoke an abortion. Abortion remains illegal in Baja ...

January 14, 2018
Tijuana nursing-home fire kills six

Six residents of a Tijuana nursing home died Friday, October 27, and two others were injured when a fire swept through the crowded facility in Colonia Flores Magón, according to multiple press accounts. The victims ...

October 28, 2017
Too scared to cook in Baja?

International chefs invited to the seventh annual Baja Culinary Fest, scheduled October 19-22, have opted to stay out of Baja California over fear for their lives, according to El Sol de Tijuana. Chef Javier Plascencia ...

October 17, 2017
Tijuana animal-rights lawyers win one for zonkeys

Only real estate — not living beings — can be considered part of Tijuana’s cultural heritage, a federal judge has ruled, revoking an earlier decision by the Cultural Heritage Council of Baja California declaring zonkeys ...

Mass shutdown of Tijuana's Chinese restaurants

Citing various violations of health regulations, municipal health inspectors in Tijuana have ordered the closure of 18 Chinese restaurants until the problems are corrected. According to a report published by the daily newspaper El Sol ...

August 17, 2017
Bold assault at Tijuana office-supply store

A group of armed, hooded thieves forced their way into an Office Depot in Tijuana shortly before midnight on July 3, tied up store employees with plastic bands, and stole cash, cellular phones, computers, and ...

July 7, 2017
Tijuana priest hospitalized after attack by thief

A Catholic priest was reported to be in stable condition at a Tijuana hospital on Friday, June 9, following surgery after he was stabbed with a screwdriver by a thief trying to rob his church. ...

June 10, 2017
It doesn’t look like a Catholic Church

Tijuana’s new archbishop has rejected the design of a new cathedral that has been under construction since 2006. In an undated press release posted on the new cathedral’s website, Archbishop Francisco Moreno Barrón said, among ...

May 30, 2017
T.J. General Hospital running out of chemotherapy drugs for children

Fifty-six pediatric cancer patients being treated at Tijuana’s General Hospital are in danger of relapse and death because the state-funded facility is running out of chemotherapy drugs. “Up to now no child has lost treatment, ...

May 21, 2017
Tijuana orders cancellation of concert by Miguel Comando at Las Pulgas nightclub

Tijuana authorities abruptly ordered the cancellation of a concert by Miguel Comando, a singer of narcocorridos, that had been scheduled for the night of April 28 at the Las Pulgas nightclub on Avenida Revolución. Narcocorridos ...

Panic at the Coca-Cola plant

More than a thousand workers at a Tijuana industrial park had to be evacuated around 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, after a strong odor of gas in the area created panic among employees. El ...

April 21, 2017
Tijuana makes the list of least-friendly cities

According to the August 15 edition of Condé Nast Traveler, only Newark, New Jersey, rates as less friendly than Tijuana in its annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey. Here’s what the magazine had to say about ...

August 25, 2016
Where to go for Tijuana AIDS

At least 30 new cases of HIV infection are reported each month in Baja California, and the leader of a prominent AIDS organization says he knows what's behind the alarming statistic, particularly in Tijuana. Steam ...

August 15, 2016
Baja bullfighting ban back-burnered

Opponents of bullfighting in Baja California waited for hours on Thursday, April 7, expecting the state legislature to debate and vote on a proposed law that would have outlawed the bloody spectacle, but at the ...

April 11, 2016
Tijuana amusement park shut down

By order of the Tijuana Fire Department, the long-popular amusement park Mundo Divertido was closed following a Tuesday evening, April 5, accident in which a ride collapsed and injured at least 12 people, including seven ...

April 7, 2016
Arson attack at U.S. consulate in Tijuana

An arsonist doused several vehicles parked at the U.S. consulate in Tijuana with gasoline during the early-morning hours of New Year's day and set them on fire, according to multiple press reports. The vehicles — ...

January 3, 2016
Warning registered on road's instability

Baja California's scenic toll road between Tijuana and Ensenada is at risk of another major collapse similar to or worse than one that occurred on December 28, 2013, a scientific expert has warned. Luis Alberto ...

December 24, 2015
Tijuana businesses under siege

A wave of armed robberies has swept across Tijuana in the past year, claiming the lives of six small-businesses owners and forcing many neighborhood shops to install security bars through which transactions with customers are ...

December 22, 2015
Shot on a motorcycle in Tijuana

A young motorcyclist suffered a bullet wound to his leg on Saturday, November 28, when a Tijuana police officer mistakenly opened fire, according to a report in El Sol de Tijuana. According to the newspaper, ...

November 30, 2015
She hailed a cab, they hailed the rocks

Drivers of yellow taxis situated near the international border in Tijuana attacked the driver of a competing taxi libre on Tuesday, October 27, then set his cab ablaze, according to an account published by El ...

October 30, 2015
Tijuana sex-promotion project goes limp

Anaheim has Disneyland. Las Vegas has casinos. And Tijuana has, well, prostitutes. Red-faced city officials are back-pedaling ferociously after a high-ranking functionary suggested in a recent television interview that Tijuana should promote sex-for-sale as a ...

October 27, 2015
Boy hitman in Tijuana

A Tijuana youth who allegedly responded to a solicitation on Facebook seeking a gunman for hire has been arrested on murder charges. Local news media are referring to the 14-year-old suspect as “the boy hitman” ...

October 15, 2015
Robber gets money, deodorant, condoms

A thief who held up a Tijuana convenience store in the wee hours of Sunday, October 4th, got ahold of cash and merchandise, including four packs of condoms. Tijuana’s daily El Mexicano reported on October ...

October 6, 2015
Tijuana doctors speak up for pedestrian victims

As many as 30 pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles in Tijuana each week — and few of them survive, a recent report issued by health authorities revealed. The report, in the form of a ...

October 2, 2015
Mexico on $4.27 a day

Beginning today, October 1st, workers across Mexico will see a three-peso hike in the minimum wage — the equivalent of about 18 cents in U.S. dollars. The increase will bring the minimum wage to 70.10 ...

October 1, 2015
Baja's/Tijuana's mortgage crisis

An estimated 362,000 homes in Baja California have been abandoned by their owners and another 60,000 are at risk of abandonment, according to the national director of El Barzón, a Mexico nonprofit founded to assist ...

September 3, 2015
Gunman opens fire outside Tijuana funeral home

An AK-47-wielding gunman opened fire outside a Tijuana funeral home minutes before midnight on Tuesday, August 25, killing two and injuring seven others. Mourners had gathered at La Esperanza funeral home on Avenida Negrete at ...

August 27, 2015
295 homicides in first six months this year in Tijuana

Compared to the same period last year, homicides in Tijuana have increased by 19 percent, according to a citizen's group. From January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015, there were 295 homicides in the city, ...

July 25, 2015
Tick-borne illness spreads to TJ

A second case of rickettsiosis, a potentially fatal tick-borne bacterial illness, has been reported in Tijuana, state health officials announced on Wednesday, July 15. Earlier reports of the disease had been confined mostly to Mexicali, ...

Whatfer over wet fur leads to fisticuffs

An argument over a wet cat turned into a brawl that ended with the arrest of four people in Tijuana last week. Neighbors called police to Colonia Villas de Alcázar at around 11 a.m. on ...

July 6, 2015
Dog days of bummer

Tijuana police have arrested two men who allegedly videotaped their torture of a dog and posted it on Facebook. The video, which appeared on Facebook over the weekend, led to widespread expressions of outrage among ...

July 1, 2015
The price of gringas is about to rise

Beginning tomorrow, July 1, consumers across Mexico will begin paying a 16 percent sales tax on ready-to-eat food, the kind typically purchased in convenience stores. Critics say the new tax will be a financial burden ...

Operation Methabunga bungled

Residents of the Costa Azul neighborhood of Playas de Tijuana last week led police to a surfboard that had washed up on the beach; it had been hollowed out and stuffed with packets of crystal ...

June 21, 2015
Drugs-porn-brothel internet café shut down

Acting on an anonymous tip, Tijuana police busted a downtown internet café over the weekend (June 6) that allegedly was being used as a brothel, a shooting gallery for drug addicts, and a place where ...

June 8, 2015
Hundreds spared, four kids hit

Four children were among eight spectators injured on Saturday morning, June 6, at the outset of the 47th running of the Baja 500 off-road race in Ensenada, according to multiple press accounts. The onlookers were ...

June 7, 2015
For whom the tolls rankle

About 30 residents of Playas de Tijuana, holding placards and passing out pamphlets to motorists, gathered at around 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 30, at the entrance of the toll road to Ensenada. They assembled ...

Suicidal babies

Thousands of baby pelagic red crabs have washed up on the beaches of Playas de Tijuana, the latest in a series of odd occurrences along the shores of Baja California that have left marine biologists ...

Teens with knives steal snacks

Two knife-wielding teens robbed a small neighborhood grocer in the Anexa Niños Heroes neighborhood, getting away with eight bags of potato chips, two packages of cookies, and 450 pesos in cash (about $30), Tijuana's daily ...

May 25, 2015
Rain or pipe leak creates Tijuana disaster

Nineteen families were left homeless over the weekend following a series of landslides in the Anexa Miramar neighborhood of Tijuana, with more mandatory evacuations expected. Initial press accounts on Saturday, May 16, reported a dozen ...

May 18, 2015
Teachers' strike holds strong in Baja

My eight-year-old godson in Tijuana has been sending me various versions of sad emoticons on Facebook for more than a week now. He is unhappy because, after a lengthy Easter vacation, school did not resume ...

April 26, 2015
Baby whale bites dust

Mexican environmental authorities recently buried a juvenile gray whale that died after becoming trapped on the shoreline near the border of Playas de Tijuana and Rosarito Beach. The young whale, about 42 feet long and ...

April 22, 2015
All was not well in Lo Yen City

Four employees and the owner of a Chinese restaurant in Tijuana were arrested on April 7 after food inspectors discovered the eatery was butchering and cooking dog meat. Authorities launched an investigation of the Lo ...

April 9, 2015
Forget Tijuana if you need an organ transplant

Dozens of Tijuanans in need of organ transplants have died needlessly because public health officials have failed to maintain organ-donor programs at government hospitals and clinics, the president of the Association of Transplants and Renal ...

April 2, 2015
No meat, no bullfights, no zonkeys

Animal-rights activists took to the streets of downtown Tijuana again on Saturday, January 31, in their most recent protest against what they say is the maltreatment of the city's iconic zonkeys — donkeys painted to ...

February 3, 2015
Vaya con Dios, Miguelito

For 16 days, seven-year-old Miguel Beltrán battled for his life from a bed in Tijuana General Hospital, the victim of a crime so horrendous that it shocked even the most battle-hardened residents of this violence-prone ...

January 9, 2015
Baja losing U.S.-born tourists

During 2014, Baja California tourism struggled to recover from multiple setbacks but was buoyed by visitors of Mexican-American descent, according to a year-end report by the state secretary of tourism. During 2014, 52 percent of ...

January 5, 2015

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