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Stories by Thomas K. Arnold

Kearny Mesa – beyond car dealers and Korean food

Separated from Clairemont since 1972 by Interstate 805

If Clairemont is San Diego’s first bedroom community, then Kearny Mesa, all 4400 acres of it, could be described as its utility room. Bounded by Interstate 805 to the west, Interstate 15 to the east, ...

San Diegans who entered death row in the last 16 years, part 2

Michael Flinner, Jean Pierre Rices, Derlyn Threats, George Williams

Continued from last week’s issue… Michael Flinner — condemned to die on March 29, 2004. Flinner, a landscaper from Alpine, was sentenced to death for killing his 18-year-old fiancée in 2000 to collect insurance money. ...

San Diegans who entered death row in the last 16 years

Eric Anderson, Manuel Bracamontes, Adrian Camacho, Scott Erskine

When the California Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of convicted double murderer Jeffrey Young last July, the number of San Diegans on death row went down by one, to 37. Young, 44, had been ...

Best Reader stories from 1981

A San Diego bookie, Jacquelyn Littlefield, Fidel's and Prophet restaurants, Jerry Herrera, cystic fibrosis, Gustavo Romero, San Diego's biggest cattleman

Postcards From Western Civilization Some years ago at Christmastime, when I was a teller at a bank downtown, I came to know Wayne Boyer, who was then an apprentice bum. I met him in the ...

Reader writers tell funny stories about dead colleague, Steve Esmedina

Blubbo's world

Esmo’s phone manner was so hugger-mugger that I could be sitting four feet away and could not make out a single word. For all I could tell, he might have been laying fifty on a pony.

Drunk on 163

Blubbo, oh Blubbo, where do I begin? You’re dead, gone, laid out rotting in a casket somewhere in the ground; and if that’s just your body, your corpse, your shell, God, I hope so, because, ...

Has Jacor,, the megamillion-dollar radio holding company, broken antitrust laws?

You can buy all ten of our stations in San Diego

Has Jacor, the megamillion-dollar radio holding company that owns or controls ten San Diego stations, including KSDO, KGB, and KOGO, broken antitrust laws in its haste to gobble up the local radio market? Jacor confirms ...

Harry Mathis says he didn't know ESPN's plans to turn La Jolla Shores Bl. into a racetrack

Community activists in La Jolla blame Mathis for oversized "trophy houses"

Had it not been for his wife, Harry Mathis says he never would have known about ESPN's plans to use La Jolla Shores Drive for a high-speed X Games skating demonstration - plans that were ...

Why Did They Fire John Coleman?

John Coleman says he can pinpoint the day Rodger Hedgecock turned from being a vocal supporter of the referendum drive to put stadium expansion on the ballot to an ardent critic of those efforts. It ...

The growing Copley mansion, Fox Hole, at 1252 Virginia Way

Crystal chandelier shaped like an ascension balloon

Construction crews are again hard at work at David Copley's corner of La Jolla, where three years ago they added what the San Diego Union-Tribune at the time called "a many splendored wing" that more ...

Qualcomm paid $18 million for the stadium name for 20 years

"Just a standard boilerplate"

Next month it will be Qualcomm Stadium, but ten years, five years, maybe even one year down the road, San Diego sports fans could be trooping down to watch the Chargers play at the Bud ...

UCSD nurse threatens William Rehnquist

A head of steam

Susan Viola Klat, until recently a night-shift nurse at UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, is now sitting in a Washington, D.C. jail. Three weeks ago she was convicted of making threats against William Rehnquist, chief ...

San Diego concert promoter Bill Silva gets a sweetheart deal

Donations and free tickets grease the skids

Three months after he cohosted a "birthday party" fundraiser for City Councilwoman Valerie Stallings's 1998 reelection campaign, veteran San Diego concert promoter Bill Silva has been given what critics are calling a sweetheart deal to ...

Did Ticketmaster Squeeze Ringling Brothers?

Ticketmaster's legal problems may have disappeared from the headlines, but they are far from over. The country's biggest sports and entertainment ticket broker is once again facing an antitrust action in court, this one brought ...

Monica Pollard has every right to return to Oceanside

"This Is Just Like O.J."

San Diego may soon be home to a notorious New England killer. On a hot summer day in July 1985, in the northwest Vermont farming town of St. Albans, a man named Monica Pollard plunged ...

Hamels of Mission Beach mad at city, ready to quit

Sand scraped, boardwalk cracked

The Hamels are ready to call it quits. After 30 years of running their sportswear and bike rental emporium at the foot of Ventura Place in Mission Beach, brothers Dan and Ray Hamel want to ...

KGTV Channel 10 news operation placed under marketing director

Does your wife need a bikini?

The first week in December, KGTV Channel 10 station management announced that long-time news director Jeff Klotzman would be departing at the end of the month and the entire news operation would be placed under ...

Welcome, GOP Convention Delegates, to San Diego, City of Shame

The maid had been referred to the Wilsons by Neil Morgan’s wife. The legality of her work status was still not known, said Davies. He said Wilson’s ex-wife Betty had handled all of the other details.

Union-Tribune's Self-ish History

San Diego Magazine publisher unrelenting on Copleys

The San Diego Union-Tribune harbors “unprofessional, childlike, head-in-the-sand attitudes toward events and ideas." The paper has "bad journalistic habits, plus [a] tendency to sound the bugle call to action whenever it feels its ideological tenets ...

Wolfman Jack –San Diego top 40 DJ immortalized in American Graffiti

"It’s the image that keeps me going.”

“The trouble is, in the early 1970s the radio people began to take over, the accountants and the researchers, the people who didn’t know what the hell was going on. That’s what screwed things up.”

Neil Morgan biography of Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) skipped the dark side.

Critics pan Green Morgan and Ham

Longtime followers of the Union-Tribune and its predecessor, the Evening Tribune, are familiar with the gentle musings of ex-Trib editor Neil Morgan, and the way he pulls his punches for what he calls the “friends” ...

Arizona Republic writer ignores nastiness of MTV Spring Break

Follows the Union-Tribune hype

Last year, MTV rolled into town for a spring break taping session at Mission Beach, and the Union-Tribune opened the floodgates of hype, churning out column after column about how hip and harmless the event ...

Woman's World Shops leaves El Cajon

Unfriendly to fatties?

San Diego may have lost much of its aerospace industry, but that's nothing compared to the gaping hole El Cajon is about to face. Woman's World Shops - makers of extra-large clothing for the extra-big ...

Press gives Fiesta Island dried sewage black eye

America's Finest Sludge

That gooey stuff spread out all over Fiesta Island may look like dried sewage and smell like dried sewage, but to Susan Hamilton, deputy. director of San Diego's clean water program, it's a precious commodity. ...

John Moores blew more than $200,000 on Kathleen Brown in California and Ann Richards in Texas.

Strike three

It's been 11 years since the Padres were number 1 at anything, but new owner John Moores tops the list of professional baseball team owners who contributed money to federal candidates or a national party ...

Danny Welsh wrote March 1972 cover article in Life, “Tampering with Justice in San Diego,”

The Union assaulted Welsh’s investigative report with a front-page story

How did theSun get Cox’s interview of Wilson? ‘The Baltimore Sun reporter happened to be in town. But he knew Bob Cox and they sat down together one night just to play the tape.”

Union-Tribune, lost 3 percent of its average daily circulation

Down, down, down she goes

Helen Copley can’t be much of a happy camper these days. During the first half of the year, Copley’s flagship newspaper, the Union-Tribune, lost 3 percent of its average daily circulation, down to about 372,000; ...

P.B. Nights: Does Racism Reign?

Pacific Beach, some say, is becoming an increasingly racist place. White gangs like P.B. Vurmin (sic?) have sprung up in the western end of the community, as if to counter the growing presence of blacks ...

Bummed Out, the O.B. Spaceman Passes On

With him gone, what earthly being will the Rillisporians and Elvis have to talk to?

He sold Spaceman of Ocean Beach bumper stickers. He began handing out free “space cards,” assuring their bearers passage to a new planet once the earth was “cleansed” of people in the year 2005.

How C. Arnholt Smith got Ernie Hahn – and Fashion Valley – going

What they didn't tell you about Mr. San Diego

"Smith did everything first class, even if it wasn’t with his own money,” Hahn was quoted as saying, praising Smith for his vision in triggering the revival of downtown with his bank building and adjacent West-gate Plaza Hotel.

Larry Lawrence and the Greening of American Politics

Lawrence is generous to politicians and mean to the journalism whores who ruined Gary Hart's good name

“Bill and I go back 16 years,” Lawrence says. “I met him when he was attorney general of Arkansas. And the first time Shelia met Hillary was at some social function. And she and Hillary hit it off."

L.A. Times leaves San Diego

San Diego County edition was launching pad to other papers, including other Times bureaus

LA Times scoop: “The Police Department has dismissed tickets for Police Chief Bill Kolender’s wife and son, Asst. Police Chief Bob Burgreen’s daughter and some of Kolender’s friends, among them KSDO sportscaster Ron Reina.”

The death of the San Diego Tribune

Madam, God Himself could not Raise this ship!

On the day it was announced that the Tribune was folding — er, merging with the San Diego Union — a lot of things happened that didn't quite make it into the front-page story that ...

Gangs of San Diego beaches

P.B. Vermin, Zodiacs, O.B Rats, Coronado White Boys, Tuna Boys

Most come from broken homes. The younger ones live either on their own or with their grandparents. The older ones don’t have permanent homes; they stay with friends.

Banned clothes at San Diego high schools

Color me inappropriate

San Diego High: No hats or caps worn in class. Any “colors” that are worn for any particular gangs are prohibited, as are scarves hanging out of pockets and pegged khaki pants with slits at the ankles.

Police crack down on Ocean Beach skateboarders

Transients allegedly beaten by Ocean Beach skateboard gang

Skateboarders, particularly in San Diego’s beach communities, are accustomed to getting citations from police for riding in either in the street or on the sidewalk in a business district. But in Ocean Beach, the penalties ...

First names most popular with San Diego businesses: Bob, Dave, Mike, Jim, Don

A town called Bob

Hundreds, if not thousands of San Diego businesses bear the first names of their owners, and the most popular business names aren't necessarily the most popular baby names. Top honors go to Bob, ranked 21st ...

Reader writers: the story I wanted to write... but didn't

“Maybe an animal story”

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.

Garnet Avenue between Mission Boulevard and Morrell Street – “Main Street U.S.A.”

To cater to residents rather than tourists

It always pays to read the fine print. San Diego city planners learned this lesson the hard way last month, when they belatedly discovered that their two-year-old proposal to rezone the commercial center of Pacific ...

Bloods in trouble at Mission Beach jetty parking lot

Sawed-off shotgun in the trunk of their car.

This summer, the jetty parking lot on the south end of the Mission Beach isthmus became a popular hangout for the Bloods, a coalition of black street gangs whose members invariably wear something red. Their ...

Ocean Beach People’s Food directors take over from founders

Why was the Gang of Four fired?

A month after it began, the workers’ revolt is over. The two-week-old rebel government has been toppled. Its leader and his three top lieutenants have been exiled. Several other “subversive elements,” in the words of ...

Ocean Beach – most dangerous place to swim in San Diego

Conditions worsened with the subsequent construction of three jetties and the Ocean Beach pier

Ocean Beach is the most dangerous place to swim in the entire county, according to recue figures compiles by the various lifeguard agencies that service San Diego’s seventy miles of coastline. During August, city lifeguards ...

Shortcut from La Jolla to I-5 rendered impossible

Soledad Mountain Rd. to Felspar stopped by concrete median

For years Pacific Beach and La Jolla residents trying to reach northbound Interstate 5 have used a short cut to avoid the congested intersection of Garnet Avenue and Mission Bay Drive. (Several blocks north of ...

Point Loma Tennis Club condominium owners getting fined

For spilling grease, wasting water, kids using dumpsters

Aside from their regular monthly mortgage payments, tax bills insurance premiums, and homeowner association fees, Point Loma Tennis Club condominium owners also have to worry about another potential drain on their finances: fines for breaking ...

Hunter S. Thompson's most recent adventure in San Diego

Bedtime for gonzo

At the Radisson’s twelfth-floor concierge desk, a young woman asked, “Excuse me, but are you the Hunter S. Thompson? I heard what you do to hotel rooms. Please don’t destroy your room here.”

Volleyball players take on bayfront homeowners in Mission Beach

The foot of San Luis Rey and Cohasset courts

David Whittaker is the guru of Mission Beach volleyball. When he moved here seven years ago, he recalls, there were only two volleyball courts in Mission Beach, both on the bay side at the foot ...

Pacific Beach steals the nightlife from La Jolla

La Jolla has problem with access, parking, and high rents

La Jollans, to paraphrase an old Kingston Trio song, may well be wondering, “Where have all the people gone?” The office vacancy rate is fifty percent, local realtors say, and recently completed office buildings along ...

USA Today set up 2000 coin boxes in San Diego County

Prompting San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal

The street-level penetration of USA Today into the San Diego market, which began two years ago and now includes 2000 coin boxes countywide, has prompted a number of other out-of-town dailies to try similar tactics ...

Prophet Vegetarian restaurant shuts doors

University Avenue was really changing,

From the time the Prophet International Vegetarian Restaurant opened in 1971 until just recently, the East San Diego eatery served as the mainstay of San Diego's health food crowd. Vegetarians and health food aficionados from ...

Luigi's, Poma's, Square Pan, Giant New York, Rebel Bakers, Pompei Vesuvio – all in O.B.

War Is pepperoni

Back in the late Sixties, the foot of Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach was considered San Diego’s answer to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district becase of a steady invasion of peace/love/brotherhood-espousing “hippies.” A decade and a ...