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Stories by Moss Gropen

San Diego bars for adults

Filippi's, Small Bar, Red Rooster, Nite Owl, La Valencia, Jose's Courtroom, Aero Club, Starlite, Silver Fox

This isn’t meant to be an comprehensive, exhaustive, or even representative sampling of the options available to the (relatively) mature San Diegan who seeks a copacetic watering hole. In a city with hundreds (if not ...

The voluble Carl DeMaio on his gas tax revolt

Why Californians are not freeloaders

There’s a showdown looming down at the gas pump, and Carl DeMaio will be there on Election Day to confront the man he views as the chief bandit, Governor Jerry Brown. As for the preliminary ...

Someone's teed off in Coronado

Not graft and corruption... courtesies

“Roger Miller has run roughshod, and there’s no oversight.” No, not that Roger Miller, “King of the Road,” but Roger Miller, grifter of the greens, who calls the shots at Coronado Municipal Golf Course, where ...

Scripps Ranch — cows gone, rattlers remain

Safe, dull, quiet, and expensive

Nowadays, while the rattlers remain, steers have been replaced by SUVs, Bambi and his kin are in a witness protection program, and the ranchers have been plowed over by glad-handers who lasso real estate. If ...

Breeders’ Cup comes to Del Mar

Track regulars shut out

I’m at my usual spot in the corner next to the winner’s circle, where the yellow fire hydrant sits against the rail, right across from the finish line. If I reach out, I can pet ...

San Diego's piano bars

Where karaoke is a dirty word and rap is “crap”

Scott Skinner — the Godfather There’s an iron man caressing the ivories over on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, and if you miss his act this weekend, don’t worry; he may still be playing there 40 years ...

Not your dad’s youth group

Interview with C3 Church pastor David Chiddick

Arms wave in the air, hands outstretched as if to grab something fleeting. It’s Friday night at MyCity Youth, fists and music pumping. Teenagers and preteens sway transfixed, all eyes on the stage, where a ...

San Diego lifeguards in winter – what do they do?

Off-season brings tourists, often weak swimmers

Tanned bodies, shimmering sand, and a touch of glamour. That’s the life of the lifeguard, right? But as I stand in the lifeguard tower just south of Casa Beach in La Jolla, the images of ...

I wept for the lagoon

The slaying of Agua Hedionda’s green menace.

It’s a mild, breezy afternoon at Agua Hedionda Lagoon. From the vantage of the visitors center, I can see small boats and jet-skis carving whitewater trails off to the west. Right above me are massive ...

Civic San Diego and city council are so wrong about cars and bikes

The case for car-centric planning

Did you ride your bike to work today? If so, you’re part of the vaunted 1 percent. If, instead, you took the trolley or the bus, you’re still among the elite — the small minority ...

Off-duty El Cajon cop kills beer thief in Santee

Sometimes, mercy is better than justice

The bloodstains have long since faded, courtesy of Scram, sun, and time. More than a decade ago, in the parking lot of a Vons in Santee, Christopher St. Louis, 18, lost his life in the ...

How eucalyptus has hurt San Diego

Taking them all out would not be fine and dandy.

“Deport the eucalyptus back to Australia!” That’s Johnny Sevier, a certified arborist, on the tree he loves to hate but that many San Diegans revere, the ubiquitous eucalyptus. Long an arboreal staple in San Diego ...

How San Diego comedians got their start

How dare you not like me!

Jocose journeymen offer counsel.

Green invasion

Showdown with the bull thistle

What exactly is an invasive plant, and why should we give a rotten rhizome if one crops up in our side yard? Dan Gluesenkamp answers: “One widely accepted definition includes two components: It’s not native ...

City bites doggie daycare for $100K

Bureaucracy run amok at Camp Run-A-Mutt

Wishful doggy daycare doyennes bedeviled by details.

Casa Mira View — city of villages or mecca for crime?

Two views of a housing project

Will Mira Mesa mega-development become a slum?

Triple Crown dreams from $2000 to $230,000

Triple Crown dreams begin with two-year-olds, and some of those dreams were for sale in Del Mar on May 28. If you want to buy a horse, specifically a thoroughbred, the action’s at the auction, ...

Who's giving injections at Planned Parenthood?

Court case pits nurse practitioner against former employer

There’s a showdown downtown scheduled for Friday, August 14, when the case of Murray v. Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest goes to trial in superior court. Carla M. Murray, a nurse practitioner, had worked ...

Coronado Bridge to eternity

Could officials do more to prevent suicides?

If you want to die, the odds are in your favor if you’ve chosen the Coronado Bridge as your suicide site. And since the steel-and-concrete span opened in 1969, over 250 people have made the ...

Las Colinas is something to Yelp about

Definitely not coming back

“For the only jail I’ve been to, I guess it’s okay. I slept well and wasn’t disturbed. The holding cell I was confined to had a phone and I was able to make unlimited phone ...

San Diego's wishful world of tiny houses

Cottage industry

Tiny houses are great if you’re fresh from a divorce.

Hysterical complaints on the city of San Diego’s website

Someone’s living in a container at the cemetery

Yapping pooches, non-complying porches, and that fowl odor. Did your neighbor rat you out or not?

Now read this if headed for malted barley along San Diego County's SR-78

Cops and hops

“It’s not like we’re going to camp out in the parking lot of an establishment.” Lt. Eric Skaja, spokesman for the Escondido Police Department, maintains that the “Avoid the Eight on the 78” campaign isn’t ...

San Diego grape growers don’t blame it all on the rain

Tough vines

When it comes to the California aggie scene, news headlines scream “drought,” conjuring up, at least in the minds of outsiders, sepia-toned images of impoverished farmers toiling in Dust Bowl grit. But whatever havoc has ...

San Diego checks on City Farmers’ recycling practices.

Waste not since ’72

“When you’re running a small business and you get this stuff in the mail, you go, like, ‘Oh, crap.’” That was the initial reaction of Bill Tall in June when he received a letter from ...

Kill Devil, Twisted Manzanita, Ballast Point – pioneers of San Diego’s craft distilling movement

There are no laws on how to make moonshine

"Eventually there will be a face-off between distillers and the feds.”

San Diego's hustlers, jugglers, bottom-feeders

Some people make livings. Others piece them together.

From bubble-making to the skid-row standbys, the buck must be turned.

Non-locals only at San Diego County fair

Why not have local musicians?

If you want to sniff an Encinitas-grown rose or pet a Ramona-bred goat, come on down to the San Diego County Fair. But if you yearn to grab an earful from the county’s best musicians, ...

Scripps Ranch to Walmart: Put it in Mira Mesa

This would substantially alter the character of Scripps Ranch,” fumes Jenny Marshall, whose 15-member Save Our Scripps (“SOS”) Ranch group is determined to stop a big-box project from crashing the gates of the “Ranch.” In ...

Ramona winemakers don't stand on ceremony

Magic in a bottle.

Ramona winemakers are a humble lot. They don’t care that Temecula gets all the limos because they have the wine.

Are the volunteers getting hosed?

Firefighting is no less than an American tradition in Julian.

County government is poised to take over the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. Whether that’s good or bad is an open question, even to those residents who are emotionally involved.

Ramona fights solar panels

Wrong project, wrong place

Some Ramona residents don’t like at all the plan to install 42 acres of solar panels on a neighboring property…mostly for aesthetic reasons, despite assurances, promises, and revised plans from the contractor.

Apartments unwelcome

La Mesa’s plot for vacant lots

"People in apartments aren’t stable; they don’t become part of the community,” grouses G.W., who lives in La Mesa near Mt. Helix. She fears that her tony neighborhood will take a turn for the worse ...

In an appy mood

Smart-phone therapy

“Give it a try. It can change your life,” exults Kimberly Knox, who’s convinced that Mood Watch, her new app for Apple devices, will make a palpable difference in the lives of those who fork ...

What am I doing here?

Meet Buddy, an East Coast transplant, cultural chameleon, and private Peace Corpsman who knows the joy of being alive.

San Diego as ground zero in the fight against incivility

Catfish Club sponsors discussion at Kroc Peace and Justice Theatre

Beneath the high-domed ceiling of the Joan Kroc Peace and Justice Theatre, an opulent facility at the University of San Diego, a crowd of perhaps 80 convened on Monday, April 9, for what the hosts ...

Poway's Wayne Branstetter, the winningest coach in California prep wrestling

“The mental aspect is far more important than the physical part"

“You play basketball, you play football — it doesn’t work when you say you ‘play wrestling.’” So sayeth Wayne. Who’s Wayne? That would be Wayne Branstetter, the winningest coach in the history of California prep ...

San Diego's Dreams for Change lets you sleep in your car

My house has wheels

“I’ve never been homeless before.” At least Osiris Murillo still has her car — where she and her three-year-old daughter will sleep tonight, behind the gates of a designated “safe lot” in an unsafe neighborhood. ...

Clairemont couple kills lawn, plants tomatoes, passion fruit

"We can grow just about anything”

“For my 50th birthday, I bought myself a gutter,” quips Janet Lancaster of Clairemont. She’s talking about a rain gutter, that is — the one that Lancaster and her husband Kelly installed on their roof ...

Saddlehorn Ranch West in Jamul – for retired thoroughbreds

Where do they go when the races are over?

And where do they go — not after the gates spring open — but after the race is run, after all their races are run? After the society matrons’ $1000 hats are back in the ...