Back When the Electorate Heeded the Call by Its leaders to Break the Bank

Thirty Years Ago
Re: Greg Kahn’s piece, “Seventy-eight Reasons Why San Diego Isn’t All That Bad” (“Year In Review,” December 21), I love San Diego, but howzabout some New Year’s resolutions? Here are 79 reasons why it is: 1. Arson in Balboa Park 2. The disco palaces 3. The smog 4. Jet noise over Golden Hill 5. Jet noise over Point Loma 6. Agoraphobia in Fashion Valley 7. El Cajon Boulevard 8. Our own method of noncommunication, made up largely of words such as “whatever.”
LETTERS: “LOAD UP THE MOVING VAN,” L. Elise Miller, January 11, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
The $44 million bond debt on the 14-year-old Coronado Bridge should be paid in full by late 1986. With the construction bonds retired, the 14 million drivers who annually cross the span should, in theory, be allowed to pocket the seven million dollars in tolls they pay yearly. But don’t count on it. “This bridge is a moneymaking machine that politicians will find hard to let go,” says H.B. Thysell, the bridge’s manager.
THE INSIDE STORY, Paul Krueger, January 12, 1984

Twenty Years Ago
San Diegan J.J. Kimbrough has an 1849 edition of Douglass’s narrative, its aged pages foxed here and there, among his collection of literature by and about blacks. Kimbrough has been told by other collectors across the country that his collection is one of the best, perhaps the best private accumulation of black literature in the country.
“THE KIMBROUGH COLLECTION,” Jackie McGrath, January 12, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
After Nirvana’s tepid, static performance at our dreaded Sports Arena last week, it was hard not to chime in with Cobain and agree that the larger the venue the more puny the performer is revealed to be. It is true that Nirvana still represents something different, off the beatoff track as rock demigods go, but not enough to make this sparsely attended show any more exciting than had it been pulled off by the average bunch of obscure slobs playing any night of the year in your garage or at the Casbah, Spirit.

Ten Years Ago
By my standard, 1998 was a seminal year for San Diego. In one year, the city’s one-time pro-environment, managed growth, fiscally conservative electorate heeded the calls by its leaders — Susan Golding, Malin Burnham, Neil Morgan, Byron Wear — to break the bank, expanding its convention center at the cost of $300 million, building a new $450 million downtown baseball-only stadium, and adopting a $1.5 billion school-bond measure.

Of course, the city’s corporate media lent a hand. TV sportscaster Ted Leitner became a flack for the ballpark, upon which much of his multimillion-dollar livelihood depends. Cox Cable, which has an exclusive, city council–granted franchise to much of the city’s cable-TV market, and which has a broadcast deal with the Padres, ran endless promotions for both the convention center and the baseball stadium, without providing opponents time to rebut.
“UNPREDICTABLE SAN DIEGO,” Matt Potter, January 7, 1999

Five Years Ago
I was asked if I wanted to meet Jimmy Flynt, and I asked, “Is that Larry’s brother?” The man introducing us said, “Did you see the movie The People vs. Larry Flynt? If you did, you’d know who he was.”

I spoke briefly with Jimmy, and the conversation was going well, even when the GM said, “This guy is from the Reader. The magazine that won’t let us advertise.” Jimmy smiled and talked a little about how their advertisement would be classy and only promote the bar and grill — without mentioning their men’s magazine. Since I don’t work in the Reader advertising department, I just kept saying, “Sure, that would be great. I’ll see what I can do.”
CRASHER: “HUSTLE AND HURRY,” Josh Board, January 8, 2004

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