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Stories by Mike Madriaga

Kahlee310’s snitch rapper reactions

San Diego hip-hop heads were baffled as to how Tekashi 6ix9ine and Nicki Minaj’s “Trollz” copped the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 list on June 12. Near the beginning of the three-plus-minute cut, ...

How Baja's new Prohibition is working

On July 2, approximately 10,000 containers of beer in a delivery truck were seized by the city council of Mexicali — according to Mexican news outlets. There’s no mention of the location where the smuggled ...

July 7, 2020
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." ...

Mexico's Green Angels cut back

Michelle Cardenas from San Diego became worried to hear that Angeles Verdes (Green Angels), a free of charge and national road service, might be discontinued in certain parts of Mexico. “The Green Angels towed our ...

June 30, 2020
Multi-faceted 619

On June 19, some San Diegans celebrated Juneteenth, while others paid homage to San Diego County’s circa-1982 area code “ ‘619 day’ was more of an unspoken holiday, but it didn’t come to be until ...

Arturo Gonzalez suffers with BLM protestors downtown

“Be ready for the gas grenades!” yells a protester. Seconds later: boom... boom... boom. “The sun just went down and everyone’s getting violent out here,” says Arturo Gonzalez into his phone’s microphone. “Look at how ...

IB Pier fishermen fight off surfers and restaurant

If you want to fish, you have to be west of the checkered flag,” blared a voice from the PA speaker above us, “there’s also no fishing on the south side of the [Imperial Beach] ...

San Diego skateboarders – bad boys of the lock-down

On May 28, Spring Valley resident Camille Cruz was one of 1.1 million-plus viewers that saw a Chula Vista-filmed skate video on TikTok. “My past self applauds the kids for sneaking into the [Aquatica] waterpark,” ...

Z-Boi, Kiyoshi, Heartbreaka, and other rappers on COVID-19

What’s going on with our rap artists during lockdown? Rosarito based record producer Z-Boi is self-quarantining and producing reggaeton music and rap-beats from his Shock Da World Recordz studio, located 18 miles south of the ...

May 28, 2020
San Diegans head to Phoenix

It’s almost Zonie season, that time of year when the arrival of triple-digit heat prompts Arizonans to head west in search of cool ocean breezes. But over the last year, I’ve been driving east to ...

May 27, 2020
How San Diego school kids will ride buses

Many parents of children that ride school buses in our districts were “taken for a ride” on May 20 — myself included. That morning, I was on my desktop computer and noticed a meme on ...

May 26, 2020
22 surfers nabbed at Rosarito Saturday

22 surfers were arrested and detained on Saturday, May 16 for surfing at Cantiles Dorados in Rosarito — about 28 miles south of the border. The El Imparcial news outlet from Tijuana posted a photo ...

Off-roaders head to desert but watching for thieves

On the morning of April 23, Jasmine King and her family's flatbed trailer was stolen from the front of their Escondido home. "People are getting desperate," she said to me on May 9, "there's been ...

San Diego freeways are like the Autobahn

May Carrasco and her Imperial Beach neighbors noticed an increase in fast and reckless drivers on roadways since lockdown. “Cars race up and down the streets of IB all the time,” she said on May ...

Breakin’, Kraftwerk, and the broomstick challenge

“It’s April 21, and my broomstick is still standing up on its own — look!” exclaimed Johnny B. from City Heights. NASA was quick to debunk the #BroomstickChallenge a couple of months ago when San ...

April 30, 2020
South of Ensenada there are 'crazy, tough' covid restrictions

In the next few days, Ann Reid and her husband will trek from their Ensenada home to San Diego to pick up their mail and shop for essentials not available in Ensenada. The transplants are ...

April 27, 2020
What is filling San Diego's Comic-Con gap?

On April 17, Ellis Zeraus from Chula Vista woke up to “a bad” Facebook notification. “We have made the sad decision to cancel Comic-Con for the first time in its 50-year history,” posted the non ...

April 21, 2020
How the hip-hop community bounced back

“Beat this, chump,” my cousin challenged me via Instagram. He dove onto his back with both legs crunched in a near fetal position, then feverishly spun in circles on his back. I watched the 15-second ...

April 16, 2020
Surfers get around the ban at Trestles

On the morning of April 8, surfer and jujitsu instructor Don Abadie went live on Instagram. “There’s a big swell right about now,” he said in part on the 1:15 minute video clip. “Does anybody ...

April 13, 2020
Kearny Mesa – not really a neighborhood

Giovanni's leaves cribbage fans homeless I used to come to Giovanni’s at the turn of the century when they were located at Balboa Avenue about a mile west from the I-805 freeway. I remember playing ...

Some Mexican border travelers are undaunted

“Please stay in the U.S. whether they let you cross or not,” Cathy G. pleaded to her fellow-expats on Facebook. “It’s your choice to make, knowing the consequences — you could be a carrier with ...

March 30, 2020
YOLOs on Pacific Beach boardwalk scorned

“I believe I had this COVID-19 virus a few weeks ago,” said Sunnie. “I never felt so sick in my life." Sunnie, 54, from Pacific Beach and a registered nurse, requested we not publish her ...

P-Lo’s hecka dope

“Rapper P-Lo’s style of music is 100 percent ‘Bay Area’ — the type of music you can dance to, whether it’s with a partner or by yourself, and just good vibing,” said Vanessa Wong, a ...

March 19, 2020
Rocket Con postponed, WonderCon canceled, what about Comic-Con?

On March 12, the Rocket Con promoters postponed their upcoming comic book, toy and collectibles show in Mission Valley, to August 1-2. Anaheim’s WonderCon — a subsidiary of Comic-Con International: San Diego — also cancelled ...

March 17, 2020
Fallbrook Kid's guitar and amp stolen

On February 28, Anthony “Fallbrook Kid” Cullins’ music gear was stolen. I reached out to the blues rock guitar player and as of press time, I haven’t receive a response; his social media tells the ...

March 16, 2020
ℒund-induced stress

When ℒund’s “Reflection” dropped on YouTube and SoundCloud four months ago, I couldn’t decipher his style of music. The 2:47 song begins with a bass guitar rhythm reminiscent of the Bully video game theme song, ...

March 12, 2020
Talking San Diego earthquakes

“This scenario report concludes that the San Diego region could suffer severe damage to its buildings and lifeline infrastructure with devastating consequences to the communities and economy following a major RCFZ earthquake,” says the San ...

March 9, 2020
gianni & kyle: feel good music for everyone

“Honestly, when I first heard this on Spotify, I thought they were black,” said Matthew Hellier underneath gianni & kyle’s “do u even miss me at all?” official music video on YouTube. “Thought the first ...

March 5, 2020
Behind T.J's black market for cars

When Lando Martinez returned to his south San Diego home on January 20, his 1995 Honda Del Sol was missing. “I parked the car in front of our new house on the 16th,” he said, ...

March 4, 2020
Tijuana Chinese restaurants under the gun

On February 22, Van S. passed by Kim Long, a Chinese restaurant in Playas de Tijuana; the restaurant reportedly contained a rat cage and insects inside the kitchen about a week before. "It was empty, ...

February 25, 2020
Uber still illegal in Rosarito

On February 12, American spring breakers grew concerned about a photo posted on Facebook by Jose Martinez. The photo depicts an "Uber vehicle" getting towed, with an official Playas de Rosarito vehicle bearing the name ...

Baja teachers finally paid

Alexis, a public school teacher in Ensenada, received 20,000 pesos (about $1062) in back pay on December 20, after going months without being paid. “And some of my colleagues received up to 80,000 pesos (about ...

February 5, 2020
San Diegans playing at the Super Bowl on Sunday

On February 2, there’s a handful of San Diegans that will be on the Hard Rock Stadium field in Miami for Super Bowl LIV. “As a lifelong 49ers fan here in North County, I know ...

January 31, 2020
M. Hernandez and Armin Van Buuren: from raving to raging

M. Hernandez scoffed when he saw the “rave safe with these 10 essentials” list posted on the iEDM site last summer. Hernandez, now in his 40s, is prepping to watch EDM veteran Armin Van Buuren ...

January 30, 2020
Obamas board Spielberg yacht in Baja

Baja residents are saying the Obamas continued celebrating the former first lady's 56th birthday in Baja California Sur. A photo of former-President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, posing next to three others in Loreto, surfaced ...

January 27, 2020
Sullivan King, Yakz, and Grabbitz: what gamers play

It seems that local concert promoters are nodding ‘yes’ in unison with my basshead brethren lately, and following the lead of video gamers. On January 24, Sullivan King, Yakz, and Grabbitz will perform their dubstep ...

January 23, 2020
How Baja's 16,000 squatters affect your Airbnb

Skyline resident C. Valdez saw the January 12 news of the reported 16,000 abandoned homes in Baja California — with 4,000 in Tijuana — that are “invaded” and inhabited by squatters. “It’s a big problem ...

January 20, 2020
Baja 1000 mis-adventure for El Cajon father and son

El Cajon residents Felipe Mojica and his 15-year-old son Gabriel agreed to speak with me before and throughout the six days (November 19-24) they worked on the annual Baja 1000 off-road race. “The race was ...

January 15, 2020
Friendship Garden at border bulldozed

On January 12 at about 10 am, a handful of San Diegans travelled across the border to meet with Tijuana locals behind the Plaza Monumental de Playas de Tijuana — The Bullring by the Sea. ...

Lil Yachty sails into town

“I miss the old Yachty, the ‘bubblegum trap’ Yachty,” said fan Jhueller, “the never, switch up-Yachty.” “I’ve got songs that sample Mario Bros., Charlie Brown, the Rugrats theme, the music that plays when you turn ...

January 9, 2020
Mission Valley shows the appeal of the mall

Patricia M. and her daughter, Eli, frequent Westfield Mission Valley almost every month; the two have been coming here since 10-year-old Eli was a baby. “We like Nordstrom Rack,” Patricia said to me on the ...

Spin scooters, too good to be true

On Christmas weekend, I looked for Spin motorized scooters to test drive; I hopped onto the Spin app, and noticed two were closeby at City College. I strolled and jogged around the campus, between the ...

Mexican minimum wage raised to $6.50 a day

On December 16, Mexican news outlets reported of a soon to be increase in minimum wage throughout Mexico. The National Commission of Minimum Wages (Conasami) created a new Economic Wage Zone for municipalities located within ...

December 30, 2019
SAYMYNAME: The Godfather of Hardtrap

On December 11, I called BASSMNT to see if they’d permit our preschooler to access their club in two weeks; nobody answered and I left a message. Our preschooler and his playground homies love SAYMYNAME, ...

December 26, 2019
Accident at Ensenada parade of lights

“I was there at that time with my family and after we crossed the bridge,” said Martin G., “it was about 30 seconds after, when I heard it fall.” On the evening or Dec. 14, ...

December 23, 2019
Otay Mesa – so unsettled

Feds plan to make pond of Tijuana sewage Just how smelly are thirteen acres of raw sewage? Soon, very soon, we shall find out. Next Monday a federal agency is planning to start building an ...

December 23, 2019
Comethazine’s SoundCloud bait-and-switch

Comethazine was part of a digital bait-and-switch occurrence last year, which some say helped boost the career of the 21-year-old rapper known as Frank Childress to his family and squad back home in Illinois. In ...

December 19, 2019
The ways they cheat crossing the border

Police at the border have been getting involved in line disputes as line-cutting tactics have grown more sophisticated, and extortion of Americans crossing north more prevalent. “On our way back from Ensenada we came back ...

December 18, 2019
What's left for East County's skaters

On December 13, a Wendi and Steve posted on Facebook that Skate San Diego “is closing” and “we are liquidating everything”; the two posted photos of a large stereo system, “thousands of” roller skate and ...

December 17, 2019
Thief caught and returns tires and rims through San Diego apps

At about 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 22, Vincenzo Cartiera hurried out of his Spring Valley home. He was running late to work. “Is that my car — where are the wheels?” he asked himself that ...

December 10, 2019

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