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Stories by Bob Owens

Bob Owens and the Reader

Bob Owens wrote for the Reader from 1983 through 2001. Editor's picks of Owens' stories: Tijuana’s upholstery heyday Jose Quezada, 47, calls himself a talón. “A talón is like a hustler. And a talón is ...

September 1, 2019
Tijuana’s upholstery heyday

Jose Quezada, 47, calls himself a talón. “A talón is like a hustler. And a talón is important here. Some of the workers–” he rolls his eyes back to the shop where men are banging ...

August 30, 2001
Hacking It in Baja

I know this guy -- call him Dave -- who spent much of February and part of March searching San Diego stores for a set-top receiver compatible with the DirecTV system. He had no use ...

March 29, 2001
Americans rush to Tijuana's 1000+ farmacias

Time was when a tourist driving through Tijuana might have thought this a metropolis of auto-upholstery shops. To a visitor on foot, the ubiquity of curio stores suggested the city was about purses and blankets. ...

August 24, 2000
Just Say Nay

Two of Mandella’s horses tested positive for scopolamine, Mandella successfully appealed to an administrative judge and claimed the drug was in the animals' systems because they had eaten jimson weed with their feed.

August 24, 2000
The Guns of Mexico

Gun ownership is illegal in Mexico. This statement has been heard more than once on Southern California talk radio. Sometimes a host or caller will qualify the comment by saying it is handguns that are ...

April 6, 2000
Borderline Truckers

Long-haul, big-rig truck drivers who flow into San Diego consider the area one of the least friendly in the country, mainly because of the absence of full-service truck stops. Not long ago Dan and Terry ...

January 6, 2000
Crossroads of the West Gun Show at Del Mar warns customers of pending bills

On Saturday, July 7, dozens of people were waiting outside the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Del Mar Fair-grounds for the 9:00 a.m. opening. Inside, Crossroads owner Bob Templeton had gathered key ...

August 12, 1999
Tijuana man gets $5k/week as burro for drug kings

The chiefs of Mexican narcotics cartels get the headlines, but they couldn't make a nickel without burros or mulas -- donkeys or mules -- who smuggle the contraband across the border. A Customs department spokeswoman ...

July 23, 1998
Should You Buy Diesel in Tijuana?

The fact that diesel fuel prices in San Diego are now as low as they've been for a while does not allay Michael Morgan's anxiety. Morgan owns AFM Transportation, a trucking company in Point Loma. ...

April 2, 1998
Brothers killed by retaining wall in Lomas del Rubí neighborhood of Tijuana

On Wednesday, February 4, 1998, José Tovar Serrano, 35, and his brother Rubén, 33, were killed in the torrential El Nino storm that began on the night of February 3. They were among the first ...

March 5, 1998
Cholos from U.S. driving out Rosarito tourists

Tourism from Southern California is huge in Rosarito Beach; it's the town's principal revenue-generating industry and bigger now than ever. But a problem has emerged in the past few years that threatens those revenues and ...

August 28, 1997
San Diego's porno king Donald Wiener denies owning part of Baby Rock

The cover story in the February 24 issue of U.S. News and World Report dealt with the "inferno next door," the narco-corruption in Mexico. In the story, reporter Linda Robinson wrote that "trafficking has become ...

July 10, 1997
Smash and grab in Tijuana's Zona Rio

I shouldn't have been shocked to see the smacked-in passenger side window of my car when I emerged on a Sunday evening from a friend's apartment in Tijuana's Zona Rio area. I knew, after all, ...

April 17, 1997
San Diego packs heat

Shirley Starr has lived with fear for more than two years, ever since she looked into the eyes of a man she believes had just killed someone. In the summer of 1993, Starr, an active ...

February 29, 1996
Submarines lying close off San Diego beaches, including the amazing S-37

The night sea off the coast of La Jolla was smothered in fog on December 18, 1917, and in those pre-sonar days the American submarine F-1 had no way of knowing that she was on ...

September 10, 1992
Imperial Beach City Attorney sleeps on floor

A Spartan existence is a tiny cottage a block from the Imperial Beach pier doesn’t bother Dana Clark. Nor does the mattress on the floor that covers a third of his living space; he’s never ...

Mexican revolution and the role played by Tijuana

Consider first a fiery Mexican revolutionist who refused to travel a mere hundred miles to be at the scene of his greatest victory. Add an army of several hundred men, mostly American and European revolutionists ...

February 25, 1988
Under William Walker Americans invade Baja

Some historians have questioned whether Walker was interested in bringing slave states into the Union. But Walker had stated that he had no intention of merging into the American Union. He wanted to rule a country.

June 18, 1987
The amazing and slightly sordid story of Aqua Caliente racetrack Part 2

The sun’s early-morning light revealed total destruction: everything that eoald bum or melt or crumble had succumbed to the inferno of the night before. Tijuana’s Agua Caliente racetrack lay in smoldering ruins; the grandstands, offices, ...

July 28, 1983
The amazing and slightly sordid story of Aqua Caliente racetrack, part 1

The latest chapter in the. strange and turbulent history of the Agua Caliente racetrack in Tijuana began at about 10:30 a.m. last September 13, a Monday. Forty-six-year-old Edward M. Spector pulled into the primary inspection ...

July 21, 1983
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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