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Stories by Ken Leighton

A meeting in Fire Mountain about David Fischbach

Sober living homes plague Oceanside neighborhoods

Twenty homeowners met May 9 in a living room in the upscale Oceanside Fire Mountain neighborhood. They weren’t carrying pitchforks, but they were fuming, outraged that an aggressive entrepreneur with a dubious history was building ...

San Diego radio's pre-recorded weekends

Why the Poway Chabad shooting showed up on national radio first

When a national news story breaks in your backyard, big enough to get non-stop coverage on CNN, don't expect your local news radio station to be bothered. The Poway synagogue shooting may have postponed commercials ...

Larry Flynt tries Oceanside

Closeness of Oceanside High and Ocean’s Eleven Casino may be roadblock

Q: What do you do if you want to open an adult business where it’s not permitted? A: If you’re Larry Flynt’s attorney you simply proclaim you are not an adult business and hope no ...

No one wants to talk about Oceanside's Sparsha Pharma

“I heard that’s not good for you”

I happened to be at the May 16, 2018 Oceanside City Council meeting when David Newman gave an emotional rant during the “items not on the agenda” segment. He and his wife Amber had been ...

How to spend Oceanside money – pools or police?

High schools want Olympic-sized pool at El Corazon like Carlsbad’s Alga Norte, but...

Oceanside is on a spending binge. Thanks to an extra $11 million coming in this year from the Measure X sales tax increase approved in November, the city council voted to rebuild its downtown fire ...

Curtain closes on Scott Kaplan of Mighty 1090

San Diego sports radio star moves over to internet for now

When Wolfman Jack voiced his last show on “The Soul Express” (XEPRS-AM 1090) on a Saturday night in April 1972, the legendary R&B disc jockey was allowed to give a proper on-air goodbye to his ...

Soapy Joe's too popular for Oceanside strip mall

Can they move to the old CHP lot?

"There have times when my customers can’t leave because the Soapy Joe's line of cars has taken over the entire parking lot. Their customers waiting in line often won't let anyone out of their parking ...

Welcome to Ramona! Now go away.

Three legal dispensaries good for customers, but not for business

That was the unstated sentiment as Ramona’s third medicinal cannabis dispensary Releaf Meds held its grand opening with a live concert and an official community meet-and-greet in January. The local love was there, but the ...

San Diego Reader 2019 Music Issue

Guitar-based bands, children of hip-hop, jazz stories, funk scene, record label turmoil, art of music

Guitar bands spotted in the wild Here’s a fun-fact: contrary to popular opinion, guitar-based bands aren’t on the endangered species list. They may not generate the national coverage they once did, but if you venture ...

Cavalier mobilehome owners in Oceanside tripped up trying to sell

“We sold it to a salvager who paid $5,000 and took it to Mexico"

Could mobile homes be an answer to the affordable housing crisis? Recent developments in Oceanside suggest not. In fact, it’s only getting worse for those who invested their lifesavings on their prefab homes. The corporations ...

North San Diego County GOP survivors: Chris Rodriguez, John Franklin, Rocky Chavez

Rodriguez attends Democrats' meeting but poked into leaving

“The Republican party asked me to run against [Congressman] Mike Levin in 2020,” says GOP-up-and-comer Christopher Rodriguez. The Hispanic father of six checks a lot of political boxes. He’s a Purple Heart-decorated, USMC Iraq War ...

North San Diego County – newspaper desert

Vista had access to seven different dailies

Bartender Steve Menzel easily sees between 75 and 300 customers daily during his eight-hour shifts at Larry’s Beach Club. Menzel has been a bartender at the restaurant/bar on Oceanside Boulevard west of Coast Highway for ...

Oceanside's Pour House owners have big plans for Firewater

“This is still a blue collar, gritty surf community”

The harsh way Firewater Saloon in downtown Oceanside was closed September 25 is not how the state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) usually deals with bar owners it doesn’t like. Firewater owners were given a ten-day ...

Monster Paws’ Mario Rivera edits Strange 80s documentary for charity

Documentary is about mental health is perceived and how depression can impact everyone

Once again Mario Rivera has proven that operating a video editing console can be as valuable to your band as playing an instrument. The video he created for “Champagne Bike Ride” not only helped him ...

Vista's main pot promoter loses chance for own dispensary

“My ball came up 31st out of 31"

In spite of city council opposition, citizens of Vista voted in November to allow 11 new dispensaries to sell medicinal weed legally. But due to a last-minute decision by the city, the man largely responsible ...

No major changes to Fairfield Inn and Suites in Oceanside

Neighborhood groups get money but won't say how much

City council candidate Michael Odegaard should be happy that local activist Nadine Scott sued a developer who wanted to build the “prison hotel” development in his neighborhood. Scott sued in June over plans to build ...

Camp Pendleton Marine faithful to homeless brothers

Will ask Palomar College for part of parking lot

Florida native Anthony White II taught marksmanship to new recruits in bootcamp. Like many Camp Pendleton Marines, White had a post-Corps life plan when his four years of service was over in 2015. “When I ...

Wild West at Oceanside Airport

Monday night's death in fog

Tim Broom was not happy that a small plane crashed about 700 yards from his home near Highway 76. But when his interview aired on News 8’s 11 pm Tuesday night newscast, he could not ...

Shindigs enjoy bountiful record label attention

“When I first heard about it, it seemed very, very odd,”

For the first seven albums he’s appeared on, bass player Grant Glibert did what most local artists do. He and his bandmates in four different bands (Splavender, Slay Dean, Big Bloom, Citrus) ponied up their ...

Punk Big Bang

The Penetrators reunite for the Casbah’s 30th anniversary

While the Casbah’s 30th is a milestone, the Penetrators reunion show packs a bigger numerical punch. Their first reunion show in five years on Friday marks the 40th anniversary for the trailblazing band that dominated ...

Former cop Ryan Keim gets surprise nod for O'side council

Witowich takes name out of consideration

Being tied to Oceanside Police can either be a blessing or the kiss of death if you want to become an Oceanside city councilman. It worked just fine for Jim Wood who was elected to ...

Change coming to Oceanside pier

Tiki culture to make an appearance

“Bamboo Ben” Bassham has been involved in creating more than 20 tiki bars from San Francisco to Georgia. After he remade them in his version of Polynesian paradise, the bars and restaurants saw business pick ...

Oceanside council pick a done deal?

Witowich would keep conservative majority

“Oceanside is a big city. But it’s just like a small town. You can’t keep a secret here.” That’s from one of 23 candidates who applied for a vacancy created on the city council that ...

Born to drum

Three minutes of percussion glory

This is the 50th anniversary of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by San Diego’s Iron Butterfly. The 17-minute rock opus was known for taking up one entire album side. Its mid-song drum solo helped grease the wheels for the ...

Big Sonic New Year’s Eve

XIV can veer from “Erykah Badu-meets-Radiohead” to industrial-Afrobeat

Consider XIV, a loosely-structured La Mesa congregation that joyfully lives in the loungey music groove known as Big Sonic Chill. Nathan Samuels (keyboards, trumpet, vocals) and wife/partner Kelly Samuels (vocals, flute, keyboard, percussion) have anchored ...

Mexicans cut off the Max 105.7

American operators behind in rent?

A high-stakes struggle over the airwaves between a Mexican radio owner and his San Diego-based operator spilled over onto the airwaves today resulting in DJs being yanked off the air and commercials for San Diego ...

Brylcreem roots

Find Navy SEALs favorite watering hole in Coronado

Founded by former Navy SEAL Greg McPartlin 36 years ago, McP’s in Coronado is probably most famous for being the favorite local watering hole for current and former Navy SEALs. Or for being the place ...

Oceanside flood damage was avoidable

Why was drain clogged? Why was street open?

The video of 19-year-old hot dogger Lukas Soelberg surfing on the flooded South Oceanside block December 8 went viral. NBC-7 reported an immediate 40,000 hits of the street surfer getting towed by a rope. The ...

New beginning for Dewey Defeats Truman

"We realize how fun it is to play music again.”

For a decade bassist/singer James Reader and drummer Scott Frazier were in two different “Casbah bands” that went on to get national buzz: Red Dye No. 5 and, later, Dewey Defeats Truman. The 1995 Red ...

Oceanside – the good and bad news

Hobby Lobby, WinCo, Orfilia Winery coming. TE Connectivity leaving.

Oceanside’s shady days as a wild jarhead romper room are long gone. Residential land values continue to bound upward. Its commercial profile flourishes with the soon-to-be-announced specifics of the new "pier hotel" by developer SD ...

How to bring poor people to Del Mar

Annex Surf & Turf from San Diego

Will Del Mar horse groomers and fairground carnies be the next group to get squeezed out in the ongoing housing shakedown? Those temporary Del Mar fairground employees may eventually feel the pain due to a ...

Coffee music

Daniel Charlson unveils his all-vinyl Dark Horse Coffee Records

“When I saw Starbucks get into music” — selling CDs in-store and running its own label — “I thought it was a genius idea,” says local coffee entrepreneur Daniel Charlson. “I thought what they were ...

Hard rock sweet spot

I have learned if you want to get paid, play for bikers

Rob Farr was embedded in the glammed-up hair metal scene that ruled West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in the mid-’80s. “There was band called Ruby Slippers which were basically Poison before they became Poison,” says Farr ...

Chris Heaney’s venues venture

La Mesa’s Navajo Live — his latest — is now paying off

A glam-metal headbanger from Philly has been hosting live bands in San Diego for 26 years. “My first club was the Playhouse on El Cajon Boulevard,” recalls Chris Heaney about his first venue that he ...

This would be embarrassing for Oceanside - story updated

City treasurer candidate grilled, but no answer

UPDATE: Brenda Moore of the UCLA Registrar's office called back three days after she was first contacted October 30 to confirm Victor Roy in fact did graduate from UCLA with a degree in geography in ...

San Diego’s Ammar Campa-Najjar runs for congress, sings campaign song

Southwestern College professor Peter Bolland enlisted to write it

Ammar Campa-Najjar, who got national publicity as a mixed-race underdog running to unseat an indicted congressman can sing, too. A just-released music video has him singing an original song written by his former professor at ...

Oceanside mulling Brother Benno's

Beneficiaries irritating businesses close by

“Brother Benno’s has got to go,” says an irate businessperson in the Oceanside Industrial Park about how the visitors to a not-for-profit support center has impacted her business. “I don’t have a barber pole because ...

Vice dream job for Unherd host

Local TV producer laments Alex Zaragoza’s move to New York

The on-air hosts producer Scott Richison selects for his locally produced TV shows move on bigger and better things. He tapped music writer and TV novice Troy Johnson to host Fox Rox (2002-2007). The weekly ...

Say goodbye to Java Joe's

The name may be changing, but the music will go on

The name may be changing, but the music will go on

A conscious tone with an unusual tact

Recorded in South Africa, Latex Grenade’s The Cage “is a protest to American exceptionalism”

Legacy reputations have drawn artists to record albums at studios in Muscle Shoals, Rockfield Wales, or the Caribbean island of Montserrat. But South Africa? “We wanted to work with [South African producer/musician] Theo Crous,” explains ...

Dave Myers, rabble rouser

Tells all about Sheriff Gore's body cameras and private jails

When 33-year San Diego Sheriff Department veteran Commander Dave Myers announced he would be running to unseat Sheriff Bill Gore, he says his boss tried to humiliate him in front of the force. “He took ...

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