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Stories by Neal Matthews

Port District does not like cab competition

Right now, San Diego taxicab owners can charge any fare they like up to $1.40 for the flag drop and $1.80 a mile thereafter. Some of the city’s 892 cabs are charging the full $1.80 ...

October 26, 1989
Reader writers: the story I wanted to write... but didn't

Sandy and a girlfriend had gone into a liquor store, robbed the clerk, They locked the clerk in a walk-in cooler. Sandy started feeling bad about the guy. She went back and let him out.

What the city’s sewage is not doing to the Pt. Loma kelp beds.

A first-hand look at marine life near the sewage outfall at Point Loma.

September 21, 1989
The case of former doctor Philip Kees

Philip Kees lives downtown in the Armed Services YMCA. and as he shuttles about on Broadway in shorts and a sailor hat pulled down over his bald head, he's indistinguishable from the mass of sidewalk ...

August 24, 1989
Eric Show, thinker with a sinker

Manager Jack McKeon says he talked to Show about his politics in 1987, and he told him "to give it a rest. Personally, I don’t have any problem with it. But sometimes, Eric just talks too damn much.”

San Diego transexual Jerri Sousa recants

It’s the hottest place in hell you can imagine: not knowing what you are,” Jerri Sousa declares. She’s been there. Born a woman, wishing, and fantasizing, and finally believing that she was really a man ...

July 13, 1989
Don Zub – symbol of and insult to Coronado

It was one of those Friday afternoons along Orange Avenue in Coronado when even the threat of rain couldn’t chase off the boys in wetsuits pulled down to their waists, the women in muumuus and ...

May 25, 1989
They fix Miramar's Screaming Eagles

It is the E-3 airmen and the E-4 third class petty officers who do most of the work on the airplanes. “It takes a college degree to break an F-14, and a high school diploma to fix it.”

April 13, 1989
The F-14: a bad bird?

The F-14 Tomcat prototype crashed on its maiden flight December 21, 1970, and ever since then questions about safety have dogged the Navy’s frontline fighter/interceptor. Five F-14s, four of them based at Miramar, crashed in ...

April 13, 1989
Larry Stirling may be the most self-righteous, impatient, indignant state senator in California history

Early on a frigid Tuesday morning in Sacramento, state senator Larry Stirling is quietly answering constituents’ letters in his office. You walk in, he jumps up and says, “You asked me yesterday about what I’ve ...

February 23, 1989
Old downtown San Diego landlords replaced by Japanese

Four high-rise office buildings opened for business downtown in 1982, flooding the market with 1.7 million square feet of office space and immediately giving San Diego the highest vacancy rate in the nation. But what ...

December 1, 1988
Do California drunk-driving laws make the problem worse?

Eugene Ellis is a forty-nme-year-old San Diego lawyer specializing in defending drunk drivers. He recently agreed to speak with reporter Neal Matthews about the changing nature of drunk-driving enforcement Matthews: In the city of San ...

October 27, 1988
Unlikely result of San Diego's massage parlor crackdown

Now that he’s out of jail, off probation, and living contentedly in Vista, former San Diego vice squad officer Bob Hannibal can finally talk publicly about the job that precipitated his downfall. He says that ...

September 22, 1988
New Hope Rock, Boomer Beach, Bird Rock

At the Thirty-second Street Naval Station, the instructors made us conduct a search on the bottom of San Diego Bay at night without lights. There was no moon, and we crawled along the bottom muck in total darkness.

August 11, 1988
La Jolla gallery owner Tasende at the top

José Tasende has one request: “Make me the subject of your interviews, not the object. Take what I say and use it. But don’t make me the story. Write about what I say, not what ...

Central Federal and a seedy tale of San Diego bankruptcy court

When Jay and Geri Sobarnia filed for bankruptcy in 1980, they owned a $550,000 house, a couple of small businesses, and two apartment houses, and their monthly payments were current on the $1,670,000 they owed ...

May 12, 1988
Final days of vegetable farming on Otay Mesa

It’s not quite 7:00 a.m., and the fog hangs so thick over Otay Mesa that Richard Cacho cannot see all the way across his cucumber field. At least it’s not windy, or raining, or freezing, ...

March 17, 1988
San Diego could go another 150 years without another earthquake. But it’s possible the whole damn thing could blow tomorrow.

San Diego's first and only official earthquake alert was sounded in June of 1985, after swarms of small earthquakes started a five-day rumble beneath San Diego Bay. Three of the biggest shakers, with Richter scale ...

January 21, 1988
Southeast San Diego: it's more than mean streets

He turns a corner near 38th and Acacia, where a new auto body shop has been squeezed between two homes. Nielsen shakes his head. "Only in Southeast. Where else would that be allowed to happen?"

Jerry Gross – San Diego's sportscaster who sued the Padres

Thirty years of accumulated sportscasting experience was about to be marshalled into two hours on the evening of September 30, when Jerry Gross sat down at the microphone to perform his radio show, Hotline Sports, ...

October 15, 1987
The Spaceman of OB Checks In

In May of 1986, Clint Cary, the Spaceman of Ocean Beach, was convalescing in a South Bay nursing home. It looked like curtains for him, after the sight in his one remaining eye was destroyed ...

October 8, 1987
Neglected trees of Balboa Park

IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, the San Diego City Council will be grappling with a proposed master plan for Balboa Park. In all, there are now six alternatives to that original plan, drawn up by ...

September 3, 1987
No Mexican steers entering U.S. will have hard ticks

IT IS SIX IN THE MORNING at the stockyards in Mexicali, and Frank Enders is rummaging for his cowboy boots and his ancient straw cowboy hat in the back seat of his U.S. government-issued Chevette. ...

July 23, 1987
The controversy surrounding the California condor may well outlive the species

On Sunday, April 19, the last known California condor was snatched from the wild. Depending on your viewpoint, this event was a great tragedy that marked the extinction of the wild condor or a great ...

May 7, 1987
The importance of Avenida Revolucion

Avenida Revolucion, where two great civilizations collide to form a Himalayan range of apposite images and attitudes, has made business geniuses out of men like Hector Santillan. Starting as a shoeshine boy in the 1940s, ...

April 23, 1987
Engineer claims damage from PCBs at Westgate Hotel

George Gueria was an engineer at the posh Westgate Hotel on Second Avenue downtown from 1978 to 1984. now he's designated by the Social Security Administration as "totally disabled." he contends in a lawsuit filed ...

April 2, 1987
Anti-Castro Cubans take on Mayor O'Connor

Today Ataricio Loriga Gomez’s right wrist works again, and Pablo Pena Valdez no longer shows the unmistakable symptoms of starvation. When the two former political prisoners were released from Cuba six months ago and introduced ...

March 19, 1987
Larry Himmel — Channel 8's clown

In a morning’s work in Alpine, Larry Himmel has interviewed Aggie McGuffie at her soda fountain, provided some smart-ass, on-camera commentary poking fun at the Alpine Mobile Estates sign, spent five minutes trying to get ...

February 5, 1987
Camp Mataguay — not for sissies

The first time the Boy Scouts wrecked a backpacking trip for me was in 1976, on the trail up San Gorgonio in the San Bernardino Mountains. Two of us had struggled for most of a ...

September 4, 1986
So many cars stolen in San Diego

Greg Garver has the look of a man who knows his way around dual carbs. More precisely, with a rounded mustache and goatee on his boyish face, he looks like rock star Bob Seger, which ...

July 31, 1986
The Indians and Edward H. Davis

George G. Heye a wealthy New Yorker established the Museum of the American Indian in New York City. In 1915 Heye purchased Davis's collection and appointed Davis a field collector for the museum.

June 12, 1986
San Diego & Imperial Valley Railroad hopes for profit

It is just past 9:30 on a cool Thursday night when locomotive engineer Jim Scudella radios for clearance from the San Diego Trolley controller to move out across the trolley tracks at Thirteenth and Imperial ...

April 3, 1986
San Diego Mission's oldest remains covered up

In the beginning of the end, which for West Coast Indians was 217 years ago, the site of Mission San Diego de Alcala was an Indian village known as Nipaguay. Indians had occupied the site, ...

February 20, 1986
The seven wonders of San Diego

The biggest shootout in San Diego police history took place on April 8, 1965 at the Hub pawnshop downtown. The shootout is the case the California Supreme Court used in abolishing the state's death penalty in 1972.

October 24, 1985
Ballast Point's whaling station unearthed

The season of the gray whale migration is approaching, just as archaeologist Ron May and his volunteers complete their summer excavations on the old Ballast Point whaling station. The group had discovered the station during ...

September 26, 1985
Bill Kellogg fights Imperial Beach breakwater

“They don’t know what they’re doing, but they go ahead and do it anyway,” says William Kellogg, referring to the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Coastal Commission, and the City of Imperial Beach. The ...

September 23, 1985
Archie Moore still doesn't pull his punches

“You’re like my opponents. Inquisitive. But they are not to touch me.” — Archie Moore Archie Moore was true to his words. I never really touched him. You don’t touch the Mongoose, by consensus the ...

September 19, 1985
Escondido's Stephan Reiss finds primary water – where no one else can

Just three weeks ago an octogenarian, who is either truly brilliant or merely skillful, moved down from Ojai, southeast of Santa Barbara, to rural Escondido. His name is Stephan Riess. He’s eighty-seven, and for fifty ...

June 6, 1985
San Diego homicide teams descends on Golden Hill

Late on a cold Monday night Jose Griego took his place on a pile of weeds outside his small apartment in Golden Hill, the seventh of what were to be nine San Diego murder victims ...

April 18, 1985
San Carlos family deals with adult schizophrenic son

November 5, 1984 I returned home around 6 o’clock to find Billy in yard shouting obscenities loud & clear. Neighbors came over to say that police had been called — that Billy was breaking things, ...

January 24, 1985
Tight-lipped submariners aboard the Blueback open up

Twilight has descended on the eight officers and ninety-four enlisted men of the submarine Blueback (SS-581), and on this warm Saturday evening in mid-October the waning of an era has occasioned some serious celebrating. Garbed ...

November 29, 1984
Boxing comes to the Palisades Garden roller rink

Two hours before the fights begin, the boxing ring is a clean canvas framed by loose ropes and illuminated from above by stars of blue neon. Surrounding the ring, the wooden floor at the Palisades ...

September 27, 1984
The luring of the 1988 Super Bowl to San Diego – and all that went on before

So rabid for a stadium was Jack Murphy that several of his columns dealt with an idea, proffered by a local design firm, for building a floating stadium in newly developed Mission Bay.

June 28, 1984
San Diego's last vaquero – his dad drove cattle from Pendleton to Cuyamaca

I’ve always been really puzzled at what kind of grudge Teddy Roosevelt had agin’ ol’ Grover Cleveland, to name this goddam brush patch here as a forest after him.

Duke Cunningham's dogfight with MiGs over North Vietnam

Randy Cunningham taxied the F-4 Phantom onto the catapult aboard the USS Constellation, and both he and Bill Driscoll, the radar intercept officer in the back seat, turned to look at the spinning fingers of ...

Cops in Pacific Beach blame Diego's

Diego’s nightclub in Pacific Beach may be all the rage with the disco/video set, but its popularity also extends to the nightstick/badge set. Officer Gary Hill, who patrols the beach on the late shift, says ...

March 8, 1984
Drunk on a bike on Mission Beach boardwalk

Until last October 7 at 1:15 a.m., John “Dirty Foot” Shultz thought he’d seen it all. Since graduating from Mission Bay High in 1961 Shultz has pretty much been a regular along the boardwalk in ...

March 1, 1984
Naval Electronics Lab: SWATH boats, pulse-height analyzer, compass checker, lift sling

“The patent office people call me all the time, asking about new stuff like this that might be patentable,” says Cooke, who holds four other patents for the navy and three for General Dynamics.

February 2, 1984
United Front Vietnamese and the murder of refugees here and in Texas

They massed in the parking lot of the Lockheed building on Harbor Island one Saturday in mid-September, a disciplined group of Vietnamese refugees all wearing the brown shirt and tan slacks that constitute their uniform. ...

October 6, 1983
Bodysurfers from Oceanside to the IB Pier

It was a ride that replays itself periodically in his mind, a rare moment of physical and spiritual revelation. The place was Petacalco, on the western coast of southern Mexico, where the waves break inside ...

September 8, 1983

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