True newspaper scoops in San Diego, 1979

The best newspaper reporting doesn't always get the biggest headlines; sometimes a series of stories begins on page seventeen of the financial section and in several months works its way to the front page, while other times a good job of in-depth investigation can actually lead to changes in the system. This year was no exception. Each of the editors below was reluctant to select one story above all others, but each agreed that the stories listed here were among the finest printed in their respective publications.

Oceanside Blade-Tribune, Wayman Dunlap, city editor: A three-part series on probable financial corruption on the Oceanside City Council. Writer: Wayman Dunlap. The writer investigated the abuse by certain city officials of city-issued credit cards, including personal meals and even a gambling trip to Reno, Nevada.

El Cajon Daily Californian, John Kowalczyk, city editor: A series of stories on the arrest and conviction last May of the Reverend Dennis (Brother Denny) Goodell, the TV evangelist and faith healer. Writer: Breta Ross. Goodell was convicted of having illegal sexual intercourse with an emotionally disturbed seventeen-year-old girl who had come to him for counseling. Ross's three-part interview with Goodell after his release from jail gave an insight into the character of the man and his church.

San Diego Newsline, Larry Remer, editor and publisher: "Gays and Cops Gear for Showdown." Writer: Larry Remer. This story documented harassment by local law enforcement agencies of the gay community in San Diego by using saturation patrols and undercover officers at homosexual meeting places.

Vista Press, Bill Kennedy, editor: A series of stories concerning the impact of a proposed civic center in Vista. Writer: Gordon Murray. The series covered the implications of a November 6 vote to build a city hall, library, park, and other community buildings. The project was voted down by the citizens.

The Sentinel, Chris Brown, city editor: "Sailor-Resident Tensions Climax in Point Loma Murder." Writer: Larry Keller. Keller's story last September revealed that many citizens living near the Naval Training Center in Point Loma have been arming themselves because of incidents of violence and harassment they say are committed by Navy personnel. The story followed the shooting death of a Saudi Arabian sailor for which a wealthy Point Lorna businessman is now standing trial.

Chula Vista Star-News, Johnnie Lou Rosas, executive editor: A continuing coverage of Chula Vista bayfront plans. Writer: Robin Sjogren. The stories detailed the city's efforts to build a major tourist resort on the coastline; those plans were later scuttled by the state Coastal Commission, and Chula Vista subsequently filed a lawsuit against the state to reverse that decision.

Los Angeles Times, Dale Fetherling, San Diego County editor: "Employees Were Conduit for Political Gift." Writers: David Smollar and Nancy Skelton. The Times was the first paper to report that the housebuilding firm of W&G Contractors funneled political contributions through its employees to Supervisor Lucille Moore's re-election committee in apparent violation of state campaign finance laws. A grand jury investigation is currently underway.

San Diego Evening Tribune, Fred Kinne, editor: A continuing series of stories on problems at the San Diego-Tijuana border. Writers: Jim Redfern, Frank Saldana, Ozzie Roberts, and Bob Dietrich. The writers covered such aspects of the situation as the building of the controversial border fence, the charges of violence against the Border Patrol, and the new spirit of cooperation between the government of Baja California Governor Roberto de la Madrid and the state of California. San Diego Union, Gerald Warren, editor: The extensive coverage of Latin American events. Writer: Alex Drehsler. Drehsler's work included coverage of the Nicaraguan revolution, the stolen-car racket in Baja California, and the censorship of the Tijuana newspaper ABC.

Escondido Times Advocate, Tom Greeley, city editor: "Forgery - A Popular Crime That's Hard to Check On," and "False IDs — As Easy to Get as Knack for Forging Checks." Writer: Carla DeDominicis. In this twopart series, DeDominicisusing the fake name Sue B. Anthony and the Escondido Police Department as a home address - was able to get a California identification card, a driver's license, a Bank of America savings and checking account, and a false birth certificate, and cashed phony checks at dozens of stores. Although the money was repaid and no crime was committed, DeDominicis proved how easy it is for a criminal to do the same thing.

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