San Diego Reader
I Have More Money Than We Could Possibly Spend In Our Lifetimes Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

20020418(San Diego Reader April 18, 2002)

Perched atop a flagpole at One Times Square sat the New Year’s Eve ball, ready for its traditional drop. For this drop, marking the end of the millennium, the famous orb had been sold to Waterford, legendary Irish glassmakers, and re-spangled. It was now the Waterford crystal ball. Such advertising was emblematic of the 1990s: From Tiger Wood’s hat to movie titles on NASA rockets, panoptic exposure seemed valuable at any price. Awaiting the Waterford’s fall, bodies had back-filled midtown Manhattan all day until, at 11:59, nearly one million gleeful voices began counting down the ball’s light-pulsing descent, synchronized to the (now-forgotten) "Anthem for the Millennium." In that moment, most revelers believed the Y2K scare was bogus and the new year would arrive intact, granting not so much a new age but, what was truly hoped, continuity with the one passing, its incontinent dot.com profits a testament to the prodigal investor. Everywhere people were betting that the American good life had another good act to go.

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How Steam and Sun Can Light Your Life Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

20011206(San Diego Reader December 6, 2001)

Who among us has not twitched a little during this, the year of California’s power crisis, upon hearing Tales of the End Time of the Fossil Fuel. For more than a billion years, the planet’s organic matter has laid down its life to form combustible sumps of oil, gas, and coal. And now, petroleum engineers predict, the cache is dwindling—lo, accelerating its dwindling—as we dig and siphon more of that cache every day. Here is the prognosis again, in case you missed it. At present rates of consumption, recoverable world coal reserves will last no more than 1000 years. U.S. coal reserves will last us 275 years. Recoverable world oil and natural gas reserves will last between 100 and 200 years. U.S. oil and gas reserves between 50 and 75; that is, without Alaska and without West Coast offshore drilling.

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Not Only the Man Down the Street: Unpacking Megan's Law Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

20010712(San Diego Reader July 12, 2001)

At the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, David Provost loads the Megan’s Law CD of California’s serious and high-risk sex offenders, all 86,000 of them—that is, all the convicted ones—into a computer. You (concerned parent, informed citizen) have requested to see the registry. You’ve brought in the names of a dozen Little League coaches, your ostensible purpose, and your real hope, to identify the man who lives down the street, whose hand you saw linger too long on the shoulder of your nine-year-old son. You have the man’s hair color and his approximate weight; your son mentioned a heart-shaped tattoo on his forearm, Cupid’s deviant. Though you don’t have the man’s name, you find the CD can be searched by Zip Code.

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Swords Unsheathed: Donna Frye vs. Steve Danon Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

Donna_Frye_2004(San Diego Reader May 31, 2001)

Next week's runoff election in District 6 for the city council seat vacated by Valerie Stallings last January will close a match between first-time candidates Steve Danon—former chief of staff to Ron Roberts and frequent Republican campaign manager—and Donna Frye, a Pacific Beach environmentalist and founder of STOP, Surfers Tired of Pollution. Danon has accused Frye of courting "big labor's" endorsement, implying that out-of-town interests are directing her with money and more. For her part, Frye seldom brings up the identity of Danon's well-heeled donors.

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The John Moores Exemption Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

20010412(San Diego Reader April 12, 2001)

Valerie Stallings’ guilty plea in late January to two state misdemeanors for not reporting gifts from Padres owner John Moores resulted in the payment of a $10,000 fine and her resignation from the City Council. And yet the revelations of Moores’ four-year gift-bounty to Stallings have some San Diegans in disbelief—fuming, really—as to why Stallings took the fall and Moores was exonerated, and why neither were charged with a federal offense after being investigated by the FBI. From 1996 to 2000, Moores gave—airline tickets, baseball memorabilia, cash, use of car and vacation home, access to a Neon Systems stock IPO, miscellaneous items (the total value of things that remain in her possession has not been reported, though estimated at $10,000)—and Stallings received.

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Jenna's Dad Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

20010111(San Diego Reader January 11, 2001)

I had only begun to follow the renowned grief specialist Dr. Ken Druck and the grief he bears for losing his 21-year-old daughter, Jenna, when he called one day to say he was with two dads he wanted me to meet because their kids, roughly the same age as his, had also died. He said if I aimed to tell the whole story of families and the horror of losing their children, there was no better way than to hear it from these men, who were "raw, brutally honest, and in constant pain." He emphasized men, because I'd be close to their psychology and, a father myself, I might "get" (understand) some of their sorrow.

Dr. Druck had "got" it, full-fathom. He had lost Jenna, whom he calls "the finest human being I have ever known," while she was studying abroad with Semester at Sea, a cruise-ship campus that voyages to various sites around the world. Beginning in the Bahamas, crossing the Atlantic to Africa, then on to the Far East, the ship docked in Madras, India. There she and a group of 55 students flew to New Delhi to take an overnight bus south into the mountains. Their destination: the Taj Mahal, the world's most beautiful monument to love.

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The Adult Boys of Rancho Penasquitos Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

20001207(San Diego Reader December 7, 2000)

Last March California voters approved Proposition 21, the anti-juvenile crime initiative, by a gang-busting 62 percent. San Diegans passed the measure by a full two-thirds. To date it’s been a galvanizing nine months for local prosecutors, who are using the law to charge violent teenagers with new trial mandates and prison sentences. The main thrust of Prop 21 requires that juveniles, aged 14 to 17, who commit murder, sexual offenses, and gang-related violence, be tried in adult court. The law also permits teens to be tried as adults for robbery, arson, carjacking, and kidnaping, where the degree of violence is the determining factor. To allow district attorneys to decide the venue of the prosecution means bumping a convicted defendant up from the rehabilitation guarantees of a more lenient juvenile court to the harsher incarceration penalties of adult court. You do the adult crime, you do the adult time.

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