Back When

Thirty Years Ago Helen Copley, lauded by Newsweek and New West for improving employee relations, has pulled in the reins a bit. Union-Tribune staffers, all 1200 of them, will be paying a dime a day for the paper they produce. "After April 1 no one will be permitted to remove a newspaper from the building unless it is stamped as purchased from a vending machine within the building," reads a March 15 memo. -- CITY LIGHTS: "PAPER MONEY," Paul Krueger, April 29, 1976

Twenty-Five Years Ago Some weeks ago, with no new movie in town worth writing about, I decided to rustle up remarks about my dissatisfaction with my mail at this paper. I went ahead and rustled. And came the deluge! Part of the response to that article can be attributed to postal splurging before the rates went from fifteen cents per letter to eighteen. Majority leader, by dint of time holding the floor, was J. Michael Straczynski. He set the tone for the return-fire by referring to me in his letter as "Dunky" and as "old Dunky" -- a rhetorical device I have rarely run up against since second or third grade. -- "CEASE FIRE," Duncan Shepherd, April 30, 1981

Twenty Years Ago The man lies in a South Bay intermediate-care facility.... His name is Clint Gary, he's seventy-seven years old, and in Ocean Beach he's known as the Spaceman of O.B., a nickname since he first moved there in 1963. Six years earlier, while camping in the California high desert, Gary claims to have been visited by the Rillisporean aliens and taken aboard their space ship, where they told him secrets of the universe. After his arrival in Ocean Beach, he spent time on the beach at the foot of Newport Avenue, telling anyone who would listen of his encounter with extraterrestrials. -- CITY LIGHTS: "SPACEMAN," Thomas K. Arnold, May 1, 1986

Fifteen Years Ago Stranded inside the 15 pounds that make up the proposed San Diego City budget are thousands of items about a year in the life of San Diego. A sampling:

Ordinances and resolutions prepared by city attorney: 3052

Meetings attended by city attorney's staff: 5560

Drunk-driving arrests: 8544

Calls for police service: 1,903,805

Percentage of calls where officers are dispatched: 35 -- CITY LIGHTS: "SO MAYBE IF WE REMOVED OUR OWN DEAD ANIMALS AND LET A LOT OF PEOPLE DROWN, WE'D BE ABLE T0 AFFORD ANOTHER RUSSIAN-EGG SHOW," Colin Flaherty, May 2, 1991

Ten Years Ago "In the early '80s, Mitrovich was director of public affairs for David Dominelli, the local financier later imprisoned for fraud and tax evasion.... [W]hat happened was that Dominelli sent [ Paris Review editor] George Plimpton a thousand-dollar check, and that made you a lifetime [associate of] the Paris Review. So he listed J. David and Company on the back page, with some of the most distinguished names in America, for instance Brooke Astor, doyenne of New York society, who's a friend of Plimpton. So George -- because that's George Plimpton -- he would often ask me, 'How's Dominelli doing?' One day he said to me, 'You know, some of my friends are asking me, "Who is this J. David fellow?"' I said, 'Who's asking?' and he said, 'Well, Mrs. Brooke Astor, for one.'" -- CITY LIGHTS: "PRESIDENT CLINTON SAYS HE READS ABOUT 250 BOOKS A YEAR," Mani Mir, April 25, 1996

Five Years Ago I am writing to you concerning my eldest daughter, who is a high school freshman.... But the high school she will be attending is one in the news recently. She was traumatized by the gunfire on campus and refuses to return to school. We think Charlton Heston and people like him who campaign against gun control are to blame. -- ASK AUNT TRUDY, April 26, 2001

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