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Stories by Moss Gropen

The Case of the Wandering Charles Fries and Ivan Messenger Oils

Even if it’s at the expense of the public, the City of San Diego wants to ensure that certain employees of America’s finest city have an appreciation for fine arts — or so it seems, ...

San Diego's water’s monopoly

Privatize the delivery?

"You want to privatize my water? This isn’t Bolivia, Pal. We’re not going to let you thieve from us so you can get a seat on the board of directors of the winning firm. Take ...

Who gets parking perks at Lindbergh Field

Denise Ducheny, Bonnie Dumanis among many others

Airport parking at San Diego International is expensive — unless you’ve snagged a free pass, that is. For most of us, it’s $4 an hour, $21 maximum for 24 hours; long-term parking (three days to ...

For iPadniks, New Newsreader

‘I woke up one morning and thought, I hate looking at news on my iPad — it’s boring. I called my friend Matt Ausonio with an idea. He was gracious enough to jump in — ...

Wave Energy Hits the Rocks in San Onofre

Chon Hung Kim wants to be a wave farmer, but the State of California has other ideas. “They don’t want to help guys like me.” Kim, a mechanical engineer who logged a 20-year stint at ...

Escondido traffic checkpoints take families' cars

Tow company profit center

Police drunk-driving checkpoints are big business. Just ask the City of Escondido, which has been racking up profits courtesy of federal grants and an aggressive vehicle-impound regime instituted by the Escondido Police Department with the ...

San Diego State college housing will ruin Del Cerro

Washington palms mark the path of Alvarado Creek

There’s a wild place in the heart of San Diego that only a few people know about — visited by even fewer — and if San Diego State has its way, it may share the ...

San Diego County Bar attacked for judge recommendations

Craig Candelore, Harold Coleman Jr., Larry “Jake” Kincaid, Bill Trask try to unseat incumbents

"It’s like the Star Chamber,” quips Craig Candelore. “It’s all done in secret. And they don’t even have the authority to do it in the first place.” That’s what this local family law attorney and ...

San Diego Bike & Kayak Tours lobbying of Mayor Jerry Sanders

Influence paddling

It's not clear whether Mayor Jerry Sanders has ever paddled a kayak, but apparently, a local kayak tour company knows what it takes to float ­Jerry’s boat — and keep it afloat — courtesy of ...

Media Hawk, April

Zero Tolerance, Few Details Apparently, some of the kids at Thurgood Marshall Middle School held a “Bring Your Guns to School Day” on Thursday, March 18, but the administrators were less than impressed with the ...

San Diego goes to smart-energy meters

"A way to raise rates without ‘raising rates’ ”

Chris Faust thinks San Diego Gas & Electric’s approach to installing the new, much-ballyhooed smart meters isn’t “smart.” In fact, he alleges, it’s dishonest — part of the utility’s campaign to raise rates whenever possible ...

Media Hawk, March

Given the amount of ink — virtual and otherwise — flying around San Diego media-land these days, one might think that World War III had broken out at UCSD. The online NBC San Diego headline ...

These San Diegans live right next to I-5, I-15, the 94

Freeway close

“It’s not for most people; I wouldn’t recommend it.” I asked Johnny and a selection of other freeway-side dwellers around San Diego County: With all the choices available in “America’s Finest City” (and outskirts), why ...

Media Hawk, February

The Other Bureaucrats The bureaucrats at the San Diego Unified School District make too much money. At least that’s the word on San Diego Rostra, where on January 23, a blogger who calls himself “rego” ...

Rockstar San Diego gaming manufacturer accused of shorting pay

"A workplace that might as well be in Pyongyang, North Korea."

‘When the people in power are completely senseless with regards to human values and their ideal is a sweatshop, you are screwed.” That’s a man who identifies himself as Brian Meidell, talking about Rockstar San ...

No I.D., No Comment

Voice Growing Fainter? Numbers have taken a free-fall to 20,000–25,000 The beginnings were auspicious enough — and Voice of San Diego garnered copious praise from various media-watchers who anointed it as a model for the ...

Blowing in the Wind

Conductor Robert Zelickman hopped on the podium and performed an impromptu jig — or was it the twist? With that, he fiddled with the microphone and announced the night’s first selection, “Suite of Seven Dances” ...

Corporate chain stores suffer in Westfield center downturns

The pall on the mall

Window-shopping at Helzberg Diamonds in Westfield’s North County Shopping Mall, Grace, the manager of nearby John’s Fifth Avenue Luggage, says, “I’d think twice before plunking down $10,000 on a ring in this economy.” She enjoys ...

Richard Eckfield's crusade to get a train stop built at Del Mar Racetrack,

Del Mar mayor Crystal Crawford says she’s on board

"This story isn’t about me!” Richard Eckfield, who’s been on a three-year crusade to get a train stop built at the Del Mar Racetrack, is adamant. “It’s a much larger issue.” But Eckfield’s relentless dedication, ...

Reader writers' favorite drinks and where they drink them

You don’t know how to make a Tora!Tora!Tora!?

There are times, sometimes in the midst of otherwise polite conversation, when it comes out that I make my living writing for the Reader. The follow-up to this revelation is almost never “Oh, that’s right, ...

Soju at Shozen & Manpo

Whenever I go to Shozen & Manpo, I drink soju, and whenever I drink soju, my wife and kids tell me it does strange things to me. I’m not sure if they’re right, but even ...

San Diego treasure hunters. We're not as nerdy as you think.

“When I go to the beach, I don’t see sand and water; I see dips and hollows"

It’s Monday, 5:00 a.m. at Mission Beach. Russ Gish and his son Lance have already been here an hour, sweeping the sand with a contraption that looks like a skinny, upright vacuum cleaner with a ...

Kearny Mesa comes close to being our cigar district

I never inhale

Double-bladed, surgical steel guillotine cutter in hand, a fellow in a Hawaiian shirt slices off a little less than a quarter of an inch, and the cap falls to the floor. It’s a clean, decisive ...

San Diego’s secret missile-testing sites

Sycamore Canyon and Sycamore Annex

I never wanted to move to Scripps Ranch — not with its swarming real-estate agents and white-bread, attend-the-church-of-your-choice ethos, its compliant shrubs, its matrons in SUVs, that whole lifeless suburban drone. And where the hell ...

Sweaty days in La Jolla boiler room

Dialin' and Cryin'

Cruise down Miramar. As you suck in diesel fumes and feel the ruts and gouges in the pavement cut by the incessant pounding of tractor-trailers, you’ll know the San Diego that the phone jockey knows.

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