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Stories by Ken Leighton

Vista squeezes pot clinics with 4375 percent fee rise

By playing by the rules and turning in an estimated $175,000 a month in extra tax dollars the city of Vista has rewarded its six pot dispensaries with a remarkable thank you gift. “They told ...

Fixx Solutions housing not going in at Del Mar Fairgrounds

Without the fair and special events held throughout the year, the Del Mar fairgrounds has announced it expects to be $65 million in the hole by the end of summer. A hat-in-hand plea to borrow ...

July 28, 2020
North County feral cat rescuers out on a limb

KB has been helping feral cats for ten years. She traps them and then gets them spayed or neutered. Sometimes others in her rescuer network brings them to her. “You keep them in a separate ...

Oceanside – eclecticism reigns

Homes at end of Oceanside Blvd. claim emergency The city never got approval,” says Mackin. “They just started doing it. These homeowners had carte blanche to put as much rip rap as they wanted on ...

Oceanside Democrats feud over membership

Latest figures show that only three of San Diego County’s 18 cities (Poway, Santee, Coronado) are majority Republican. In five cities, Republicans are the third-largest voting group surpassed in numbers by those who claim “No ...

How they pry Marines out of downtown Oceanside

Since the ‘80s downtown Oceanside’s Unisex House of Style focused on a Marine clientele. Ex-Marine Richard “Pops” Sanders launched the shop in the historic Dolphin Hotel on Coast Highway to serve men and women. But ...

Pro-China station broadcasting from Rosarito

On Monday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) told the operators of URadio 690 AM with its 77,000 watt powerhouse transmitter in Rosarito Beach, that it had 48 hours to get its application in order or ...

June 23, 2020
Del Mar Fair asks Orange County Fair for bail-out

Del Mar Fairgrounds executive director Tim Fennell has blamed COVID-19 as the key reason why his 160-employee district, now $20 million in the red, could implode and leave the future of the Del Mar Fair ...

Oceanside police answer criticism

Of the 1,000-plus who attended the Black Lives Matter rally last Sunday afternoon in downtown Oceanside, about a third displayed their emotions on a cardboard sign. Some hoisted self-made posters that referred to bad cop ...

Underground water in Carlsbad plays tricks on developers

Andy Davis knew last year that a developer would be coming to demolish his popular downtown Carlsbad hang known by locals as the Cantina. The 20-year-old Mas Fina Cantina restaurant and bar on State Street, ...

Will Carlsbad's State Street go pedestrian-only?

The once bustling Wednesday afternoon Carlsbad Farmers Market has re-opened with a fraction of its former clientele. “We don’t know if or when we will ever get back to those [packed] days at the market,” ...

Who stole your iPod, don't embarrass the Hell's Angels

Don't Embarrass the Hells Angels They will not tolerate someone pretending to be a member who is not really a member. By Eva Knott, July 25, 2012 Roman Abramovich Yacht on San Diego’s Embarcadero It ...

May 23, 2020
Palomar College pours money into Rancho Bernardo campus

White college kids in Rancho Bernardo get a real campus. But the Latinos and Native Americans near Fallbrook get trailer park classrooms. That was the gist of an outburst given by board member John Halcon ...

The powerful Oceanside firefighters and their pliable candidate

Behind the scenes, a labor union connected with the city of Oceanside is spending thousands of dollars to elect a candidate who left a number of unpaid vendors from her last election. The Oceanside Firefighters ...

Pro-pot, Nathan Fletcher goes after vaping

Update: Minutes after this story appeared, James Canning, spokesman for Nathan Fletcher, said, "The Vaping Ordinance will now not come back before the Board until September." “They are trying to force people to stop vaping, ...

Oceanside's cheapest housing is in the harbor

Since Sunday April 26 the water in the Oceanside harbor has taken on a rich brown hue. Although the coffee-colored water looked like it could be a briny fecal stew, harbor fisherman explain that it ...

April 28, 2020
Corona touches ex-gang members

Is the pandemic bringing more pain to poorer, ethnic neighborhoods? Yes and no. For Sandra Mora, the Covid shutdown is a unique opportunity to bring hot meals seven days a week, to the families of ...

April 21, 2020
Oceanside pro-weed advocates envy Vista's marijuana clinics

“The state got us last time, and apparently a pandemic got us this time.” David Newman admits that his second attempt to allow legal pot shops to open in Oceanside is now dead on the ...

Oceanside anguishes over its businesses

COVID-19 has, “…unleashed an economic war on our city. We must go on the offensive and support struggling businesses and the thousands of employees they support.” With that, Oceanside city councilman Christopher Rodriguez unveiled his ...

Carlsbad's Lhooq Books – the after story

In September Lhooq Books was told it had two months to pack up and get out of of Carlsbad’s downtown Village area. The Lhooq Books story does have a happy ending. But it’s not due ...

March 31, 2020
Tariffs began the end of Oceanside fish exports

Because he fixes their equipment, Ken Corwin knows how good it’s been for fishermen based in the Oceanside harbor. “Blue fin started really showing up five years ago,” says Corwin from behind his work bench ...

March 24, 2020
UPDATE: The dirty tricks of North River Farms

The controversial North River Farms project that promises to build 585 homes on Oceanside’s last remaining agricultural district hit a serious roadblock on Thursday. The county registrar certified that the self-described “anti-sprawl” group called Let ...

March 19, 2020
The fight against 5G cell towers moves to Oceanside

What lowers property values and forces people to leave town? Gangs, poor schools, and overcrowding are the usual culprits. The newest suburban bane may be the escalation of low-hanging 5G antenna which some medical professionals ...

Heartbreaking Homeless Court in Oceanside

Every time Oceanside’s police chief appears at a community forum to speak with irate residents about the homeless, he makes it clear that his hands are tied. “We can no longer arrest people for being ...

March 10, 2020
Palomar, SDSU, City College – which one for future DJs?

Although KPBS-FM is officially non-profit, it took in over $26 million in donations in the 2019 fiscal year. KPBS-FM regularly finishes in the top three in the Nielsen ratings among all San Diego stations. KKSM ...

Carlsbad Village Coins evicted from State Street

A landowner of prime commercial property in Carlsbad’s Village district has given one of the oldest downtown businesses a 30-day eviction notice. Neighboring businesses are allegedly “terrified” that a similar fate may come to them. ...

February 25, 2020
Behind the San Diego Democrats' vote against Measure A

Does the surprise move by San Diego Democrats to endorse a “No” vote on Measure A signal a sea change for the party that has long stood up to developers? Or does it say that ...

February 19, 2020
Not wanted in Oceanside – more palm trees

Enough with the palm trees already! Joan Bockman is known to many locals as Oceanside’s unofficial Johnny Appleseed for native plants. She celebrates and encourages homeowners who introduce cottonwood or desert willow trees in their ...

February 11, 2020
The dirty tricks of North River Farms

Those signature gatherers in front of Home Depot or Ralph’s are usually in it for the money. They might get $3 to $5 per signature. They may or may not care much about the point ...

Best Reader stories from 2002

He's sad for ships DeRosset doesn’t speak abstractly about his work. He’s a storyteller. “What’s really nice,” he told me before I’d had a chance to see the painting at the church, “is that I’ve ...

February 2, 2020
Look at the San Diego radio casualty list

A massive firing spree just rocked the local radio careers of DJs and talk show hosts on KGB, KOGO, Alt 94/9, Sunny 98.1, Jam’n 95.7 and Channel 9-3-3. The pink slip spree impacted Coe Lewis ...

January 28, 2020
North County Women's March "was not anti-Trump"

Was the North County San Diego Women’s March Rally a progressive woke-fest where strident speakers and organized flash mobs railed against guns, sexual abuse and inequality? Where lefties get to wear rainbow flag capes and ...

January 21, 2020
The North County battle over artificial turf

An episode of Nan Sterman’s “A Growing Passion” show on KPBS-TV mentioned the idea that unlike trees and grass, synthetic turf causes a “heat island effect.” She showed how one spread of ersatz lawn measured ...

20 fields for soccer in Oceanside

Both of Oceanside’s high school football teams made it to the CIF finals last month. But according to youth coach Jason Mageo, that feat was achieved in spite of the support youth football gets from ...

January 7, 2020
Poway – city in the country

I Crawled Inside Brenda van Dam's Head and Tried to Guess What Went on in There Dad’s is probably the most famous barroom in America, at least this week, and what goes on here is ...

The life and death of Oceanside mobile homes

Even though mobile homes remain the largest form of affordable housing in California, a state of California/Stanford University report said that because mobile home park property is worth five to six times more if it ...

January 3, 2020
Oceankamp development promises surf park

Disneyland has relied on themed neighborhoods like Fantasyland or Tomorrowland for decades. Now developers who want to build big in Oceanside have also tied their housing projects to enticing themes. Orange County’s Integral Communities pitched ...

December 24, 2019
Carlsbad on road to Manhattan Beach

“It used to be the Village by the Sea. But it’s not a village anymore when you can build buildings that are four stories tall…really five when you count the top deck.” DeeDee Trejo was ...

December 17, 2019
Homes at end of Oceanside Blvd. claim emergency

The California Coastal Commission is the state agency that is supposed to protect the coast and preserve public access to the beach. But what happens if one coastal city allows beachfront owners to dump tons ...

December 10, 2019
Bread of Life closes overnight homeless shelter in Oceanside

For the first time in 15 years, Oceanside, a city of about 180,000, will have no wintertime overnight shelter. Bread of Life, run completely by some 50 non-paid volunteers, operated the shelter which was open ...

December 3, 2019
Oceanside realtors not too worried about oceanfront homes

Has the threat of rising tides or the reality of denuded beaches triggered a rush to sell beachfront property in Oceanside? The Strand is Oceanside’s most traveled seaside roadway. Many of the scenes in TNT’s ...

November 26, 2019
Anger against North River Farms may lead to recall, referendum

Platinum recording artist Jason Mraz has done well with his transition from singer/songwriter to Oceanside farmer. His Mraz Family Farms gained international publicity for growing and marketing homegrown avocados and coffee beans. City councilman Christopher ...

November 19, 2019
The ethics of covering someone else's art with yours

Oscar-winning artist John Lamb is not happy how his “beach-billy” mural was painted over. “It looks like somebody scribbled over my art,” says Lamb about how a new mural replaced his hundred foot hand-painted art-piece ...

Thrown out of a North County Democratic meeting

Has an organized Democrat group become too petty for its own good? I was given a heads-up that the September 29 DEMCCO meeting (Democratic Club of Carlsbad Oceanside, self-billed as North County’s largest Dem group) ...

Colorful vendors hope for Oceanside Strand future

After 20 years as Oceanside’s unofficial greeter, Hot Dog Marty is hanging up his wiener hat. Then again, maybe not. “When I say I plan something, God laughs,” says Marty Goren, who turns 86 November ...

October 29, 2019
Farewell to KFMB radio

The break-up of the KFMB stations predicted last year is happening. Big changes may be coming to news-talk KFMB-AM 760 and 80s hits KFMB-FM 100.7 as they split off from TV mothership Channel 8 and ...

October 21, 2019
Garrison Elementary sunk by sinkhole

In late July, it was announced one of Oceanside’s elementary schools had to be shuttered because it was imploding. Two sinkholes at Garrison Elementary caused the Oceanside Unified School District to declare that the school ...

October 15, 2019
Lhooq Books shocked by lease loss

Sean Christopher says his Lhooq (pronounced “look”) Books in Carlsbad is one of only about seven independent book stores left in the county. “I have the final hand-typed draft of the Pulp Fiction screenplay with ...

October 8, 2019
Michael Murray, assembly candidate, tries to leave raunchy video behind

It probably won’t draw the same attention as Donald Trump’s “grab her by the p–” clip. But a prominent Oceanside city official, who is running to represent the 76th Assembly district, has been haunted by ...

October 1, 2019
Oceanside's conservative Anglicans out of St. Anne's, then in, now out again

Founded in 1883, the congregation of the St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Oceanside was torn apart ten years ago when the more liberal, establishment part of the church embraced female priests and gay bishops. The ...

September 24, 2019

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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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