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Stories by Ken Leighton

Lhooq Books shocked by lease loss

Carlsbad gentrification apace

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 ...

Michael Murray, assembly candidate, tries to leave raunchy video behind

Aide to Oceanside's Chris Rodriguez blames humor on the Marines

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 ...

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

Settled in at Carlsbad Community Church

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 ...

The true value of Animal Kingdom to Oceanside

"The show isn’t as good as it was"

When the actors of Animal Kingdom talk about why they like to film in Oceanside, the word “grit” comes up a lot. The TNT drama steeped in drug use and debauchery just finished its fourth ...

First the swap meet, now the Oceanside Marketplace to close

But vendors can sell on sidewalk after 7 am and before 10 pm

Mauricio has been fixing bikes for Oceanside locals for almost three decades. He started building his clientele in 1991 when he opened his booth inside the Oceanside Marketplace, often called the indoor swap meet. His ...

Oceanside cop overtime puts city on the line

Not as bad as Harpoon Melba era

Did NBC-7’s report about overtime paid by the city of Oceanside cause heads to roll? On July 3, Alex Presha reported that the Oceanside paid out $3.86 million in police overtime. Some officers made more ...

Vista's Paseo Santa Fe starts out as war zone

New sidewalks, landscaping, roundabouts, but piles of dirt in meantime

After claiming a downtown roadway as an “area blighted and full of problems,” the city of Vista launched a $18.8-million renovation program to transform a mile of South Santa Fe into “Paseo Santa Fe.” The ...

Alpha Project, Bread of Life, Solutions for Change – incomparable?

North San Diego County homeless servers step on each others' toes

There was at least one time when struggling addict Mario Duron says the system screwed him. “I had been through drug court. I had been sober for eight months. My probation officer visited my house ...

Trump supporters expose themselves in San Diego County

"We really love the president"

Even though the election was a year and half out, former United States Marine Patty Siegmann thought her commander-in-chief deserved her support. In March, the Republican started a pro-Trump street rally. Every other Friday from ...

Ken Leighton and the Reader

Switchfoot, Dinettes, Queen Bees, ASCAP, Billie Joe Armstrong, Brandon "Tiny Doo" Duncan, Agent 51

How Leighton came to the Reader: It was the end of 1998 when I was told by then Reader music editor Jennifer Ball that editor/publisher Jim Holman wanted to have someone exclusively write breaking news ...

The end of South Oceanside

Red & White used index cards in a tin box

For many longtime locals the Red & White Market is the last surviving holdout from when South Oceanside was Mayberry-by-the-Sea. “I remember when moms would wear pretty dresses just to go and shop in a ...

Oceanside Cemetery vs. Breeze Luxury Townhouses

Will they use ground-penetrating radar to find bodies?

Being buried in Oceanside doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always rest in peace. “Look at what they did when they built the Hungry Hunter and the next-door gas station” says Shelley Hayes Caron. “They were throwing ...

Mikey now gone from KFMB's 100.7

Chris Cantore morning show beat the DSC show in June ratings

One of San Diego’s best paid media figures has just been removed from the airwaves, and this time it had nothing to do with bad behavior. Mikey Esparza once anchored the top-rated Mikey Show on ...

Bonsall – suburbia's edge

San Luis Rey Downs track and golf course, fossilized bison, Highway 76 widened, Vessels Ranch, the Hank Show

Lilac fire survivor comes to the races On December 7, 2017, horse trainer Joe Herrick said, “Hell came to town.” Herrick was was involved in trying to rescue 450 thoroughbred horses caught in the raging ...

Oceanside awards for pot-growing questioned

Four of the five licenses connected to the Mellano family

According to a lawsuit filed last week, it can’t hurt to do business in Oceanside if you have ties to a well-connected local family. “There seems to be a strong nexus between local government and ...

North River Farms not giving up on Oceanside

“They are trying to buy a town just like Doug Manchester did"

I need your support,” Oceanside City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez said in a June 29 Facebook post. The first-year councilman was not after votes or promoting a favorite charity. He was trying to sell the controversial ...

Will Oceanside use groins like Newport Beach to save sand?

“We are not going to back down”

The decimation of Oceanside beaches was the whole point of forming a group called Save Our Sand [SOS] Oceanside. At its first meeting June 17, some 25 people shared their stories about what it means ...

How to deal with Oceanside homeless

Does public shaming work?

Is it a Neighborhood Watch-style Facebook page with members who share local crime alerts. Or is Take Back Oceanside a vigilante site that uses social media shaming to have fun at the expense of local ...

What Santa Anita horse deaths mean for Del Mar

Post-race concerts draw more and more fans

Is Del Mar’s world-famous attraction headed for extinction? “I grew up watching races with my dad, but maybe it’s time we end all this,” said a lifelong horse racing fan at the Santa Anita Racetrack ...

Wave park proposed to take place of Oceanside Swap Meet

Zephyr Partners to use Wave Garden Cove?

The 90-acre Oceanside Swap Meet site was once hyped as a perfect home for a new Chargers stadium. That ten-year-old rumor was just idle folklore. But get ready for an attraction that may be just ...

Carlsbad succumbs to the Orange County look

"There is nothing beautiful about these new buildings"

At least eight businesses in Carlsbad’s downtown Village area have been told they must prepare to move out as their buildings make way for a sleek new restaurant/retail complex. In what seems to cement the ...

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 ...

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