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Stories by Siobhan Braun

Juan Vargas loves lobbyists, the Dominelli fake-out, Pala tribe civil war, SDSU hates undergrads, UCSD wants blood south of I-8

Leavin' On a Jet Plane Tax dollars fund airport blitzkrieg. The stealth campaign that spends your money to buy your vote. CEO Thella Bowens proudly pointed to the poll's key finding: that public support for ...

September 13, 2020
Mexico after the millenium

Smugglersville “The cops mess with us. The thieves mess with us. Everybody messes with us.” I was hobbling back from the store with a liter of milk, when I saw three young men sitting on ...

Juan Vargas as cash magnet, J. David Dominelli as town sugar daddy

San Diego State's growing contempt for undergrads “We have pulled resources out of undergraduate education in order to build expensive, elite PhD programs that cater to very few students proportionately." By Joe Deegan, March 27, ...

May 16, 2020
El Cajon – from rednecks to immigrants

The slow end of the Kalasho regime At a city council meeting in September Elia spoke publicly to Kalasho: “Ben, you need help. It hurts me to see fellow Chaldeans spiral like this. It might ...

Best Reader stories from 2017

Spruce Street suspension bridge brings out demented thoughts It’s early, the marine layer still a veneer over the city, when we park the car just shy of the suspension bridge. The day promises to be ...

March 28, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2015

Cartel tunnels to Otay Mesa are infrastructural marvels The amount of warehouse space in Otay Mesa has nearly quadrupled since the mid-’90s, and the expansion has been almost as frenetic in Garita de Otay. Forklifts, ...

March 21, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2013

Movie lover's paradise Meanwhile, Blockbuster and Hollywood Video have shuttered their local outlets. Owner and buyer Guy Hanford understands why. “When you went into a Blockbuster or Hollywood to rent a film, you never engaged ...

March 14, 2020
Reader writers attempt to tone up

High on fitness Patrick Henderson Pyles Peak Corner of Golfcrest and Navajo Drives Mission Trails Cowles Mountain is a very popular, very crowded hike — especially if you’re taking it from the Golfcrest/Navajo staging area. ...

March 11, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2009

A San Diego Charger football game is one thing, fandom is something else Silva's powder blue coffin was trimmed with gold — Charger colors. His body was dressed in a jersey honoring his favorite player, ...

February 29, 2020
Jacumba – the far edge of San Diego

A quiet street and an old hotel Jacumba is a kind of living ghost town out in southeast San Diego County, on the Mexican border, in what’s called, the Mountain Empire district. It has come ...

Idyllic Tierrasanta

East Shepherd Canyon East Shepherd, or Greenbelt, trail is interesting in all seasons, with a combination of native coastal sage scrub and nonnative plants in the canyon. Walk north on Santo Road for about 160 ...

Siobhan Braun and the Reader

-(Jan. 31, 2018)

July 21, 2019
San Diego Reader 2019 Arts issue

Birds sing, elephants dance, and monkeys paint, but only humans turn those activities into art. And only humans evince a bottomless hunger for it: hence the endless parade of pictures on Instagram, stories on Netflix, ...

February 27, 2019
San Diego Reader 2018 winter fun issue

Drums, giants, and Mother Goose Stargazing in Anza-Borrego 652 Palm Canyon Drive Borrego Springs This year, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was officially designated an International Dark Sky Community, thanks to years of concerted effort to ...

November 7, 2018
Are these new college grads ready for life in overpriced San Diego?

When my husband and I moved to San Diego from Lawrence, Kansas, upon him receiving his first “real job” out of college, we assumed what normal Midwesterners would — that we would live in an ...

April 11, 2018
Quirky artsy spots sprinkled all over the county

Thanks to our constant sunshine, San Diego is one the most photogenic cities in the country. And then there are the views from of our coastlines, inland valley, desert, and mountains. We don’t lack for ...

February 7, 2018
The casino's been built — Jamul is still fighting it

The Jamul Indians’ next 12,000 years will be air conditioned.

January 31, 2018
San Diego Reader writers dig deep into Christmases past

Every Power Rangers toy known to man The exact moment the sleigh bells stopped jingling — by Chad Deal Sister Santa’s once-a-year smile I adored American Christmas — by Tam Hoang We were ruthless Christmas-letter ...

We were ruthless Christmas-letter mockers

When I married my husband Aaron I was well aware of his political leanings, his thoughts on religion, and that he was a saver not a spender. What I did not know was that he ...

December 20, 2017
A holiday tourist in my own city

When Christmas season rolls around I like to become a tourist in my own city. My kids are out of school, my husband takes a week or two off of work, and the family and ...

December 6, 2017
Border Angels takes water out to Jacumba area for migrants

A small crowd gathers in the courtyard outside the Border Angels headquarters located at the Sherman Heights Community Center on Island Avenue four blocks south of State Route 94 and five blocks east of Interstate ...

August 16, 2017
San Diego Reader 2017 Fun issue

Climb the California Tower in Balboa Park Balboa Park’s California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man was closed to the public in 1935, but after extensive construction and safety renovations it reopened for ...

June 21, 2017
For San Diego high schoolers, college is kind of scary

Last year, when my 16-year-old was a freshman in high school, we attended his school’s open house. I was interested in meeting his teachers and getting an idea of what his school day was like. ...

February 1, 2017
Stung on her first day

Name: Darian Alexandra Age: 23 Location: Pacific Beach Occupation: Server at Kono’s Cafe Darian Alexandra moved to Pacific Beach from northern Indiana on Christmas day 2014 with the sole purpose of learning to surf. She ...

December 28, 2016
Musicians, hippies, and travelers in Ocean Beach

For some travelers, hope is the worst drug out there.

December 7, 2016
San Diego Reader 2016 guide to Holiday Fun

I read somewhere that the reason you’re sad around Christmastime is because it’s a reminder of what you’ve lost since childhood: the belief that the world is a magical place that is interested in your ...

November 30, 2016
Not territorial yet

Name: Christopher Mirendil Age: 30 Occupation: Engineer Location: Tabletops, Cardiff by the Sea On a two- to three-foot day, I find Christopher Mirendil nursing a bloody foot after a surf session at Tabletops. “Today I ...

November 23, 2016
Waves worth getting sick for

Name: Colton Koons Age: 22 From: Serra Mesa Occupation: Beach Lifeguard Location: Ocean Beach Jetty Colton Koons is in the parking lot at the end of Santa Monica Avenue peeling off his wetsuit and getting ...

October 26, 2016
Swami’s with 100 guys — not so fun

Names: Justin Mendhan, Walter Graen, and Mikial Tolmosoff Location: Tijuana Slough Mikial Tolmosoff, a visual artist, and Justin Mendhan, construction worker, both 28, have been riding waves together in Imperial Beach since they were 10 ...

September 21, 2016
Get a Costco foam board

Name: Nick Manverg Age: 23 Occupation: Bartender/Student at the University of St. Augustine Location: Crystal Pier Board: Firewire 5’6 Nick Manverg grew up in Temecula, an excruciating 40-minute drive to the beach. As a kid ...

August 24, 2016
PB surfer departs for Texas

Kelsey Gonzalez Age: 25 Hometown: Point Loma Favorite Surf Spot: Old Man’s, Pacific Beach Kelsey Gonzalez is moving to Texas in one week. She is trying to get into the water as much as possible. ...

August 3, 2016
Sometimes I.B. looks like Pipeline

Name: Jake Wilsie Age: 19 Occupation: Surf Instruction Location: South Mission Favorite Surf Spot: Sunset Cliffs It’s a Tuesday afternoon, and Jake Wilse is peeling off his wetsuit after giving a private lesson to a ...

What are you doing here? I'm married!

Rachel looks like a soccer mom. On most days her minivan is cluttered with backpacks and sports gear. Leftover Goldfish and Cheerios are ground into the floorboards. When dropping her kids off at school in ...

Unforgiving Hospitals

Name: Josh Turner Age: 20 Occupation: Valet Location: Tourmaline Surf Park, PB Favorite Surf Spot: Hospitals, La Jolla Josh Turner’s introduction to surfing came by way of a Surfari Surf School class in Mission Beach ...

San Diego's sex trade is second-largest underground economy after drugs

A leopard-print sign hanging on Andrea Smith’s front door announces, “I am a luxury few can afford.” Three years ago there was heavy truth in that statement. Smith was bringing in about $2500 a night ...

June 22, 2016
SHARK! No, dolphin

Name: Arturo Baravalle Age: 26 Occupation: tennis coach Favorite surf spot: PB Point On a foggy Tuesday morning, Arturo Baravalle suited up to surf La Jolla Shores. Baravalle moved to San Diego last June with ...

June 15, 2016
Charley don’t like 50-year-old guys acting like little girls

Name: Charley Stevens Age: 28 Occupation: Bartender Location: Sunset Cliffs Subs Charley Stevens speaks like a surfer with slow and lazy vowels. He moved to Ocean Beach four years ago. He learned to surf in ...

June 1, 2016
He kept snaking me

NAME: Jackson Lettow AGE: 15 LOCATION: Scripps Pier FAVORITE SURF SPOT: Cardiff or Scripps on a big day with no wind I distinctly remember going out one day with my dad when I was about ...

50,000 Chaldeans live in El Cajon

Speaking English is eighth on their priority list.

April 20, 2016
Quick survey of San Diego primary voters

When a presidential election season rolls around, my husband and I make an effort to avoid voicing our opinions. Our political views have been in contrast for the past 18 years. In the beginning of ...

March 23, 2016
I know when it’s my turn

Sixteen-year-old Julie Schuman, a Cardiff native, ranks among the top three spots in the lady longboarders 18-and-under-category. She has been surfing since she was six years old. “There were always a bunch of kids out ...

"I don't get people being vibey."

Name: Bob Thomas Age: 57 Occupation: English as a second language, San Diego Community College District Lives in: Ocean Beach Surfing: O.B. Pier “This is my favorite spot. I live down the street. My buddies ...

March 16, 2016
Slowly, the population of Grazin’ Pig Acres grew

If you make a right onto Dye Road off SR-67 north, past a sign advertising midget wrestling, tucked amidst dusty chaparral and dirt roads, you’ll find Grazin’ Pig Acres. A kitschy “Pig Lover” sign announces ...

March 9, 2016
Art in every corner of San Diego

There is so much more to San Diego than a good tan and 70 miles of coastline. We are a city overflowing with creators, dreamers, and breathtaking natural beauty. In San Diego, art is found ...

Miss USA vs. Miss America rivalry even in San Diego

“Miss USA girls want to grow up and become lingerie models. Miss America girls want to be doctors and lawyers.”

January 6, 2016
A mournful National Dog Day in Ocean Beach

Regina Lovato liked to take her Maltipoo (Maltese-poodle mix), Aria, and her blue pit bull, Yates, to Ocean Beach’s Dog Beach nearly every afternoon. Since Aria was attacked and killed by a black Labrador-retriever mix ...

August 26, 2015
The Innocence Project wants to help wrongly accused

The California Institution for Women in Chino is dusty and dilapidated. It looks like an abandoned high school outfitted with razor-wire-topped fencing and look-out towers with armed guards. At 8:00 a.m. on an overcast Saturday ...

August 19, 2015
SDSU , UCSD students, others tell worst roommate stories

No fun with mushroom girls and those on China time.

July 8, 2015
San Diego guitar and banjo makers

At Sam Radding’s shop, the twang was destined to meet.

July 1, 2015
San Diego Reader 2015 Fun issue

Urban Adventures Beach Town Suburban Ocean & Bay Backcountry Mexico

June 10, 2015

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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