Shop Talk

Thirty Years Ago
Two years ago, small businessmen and poor Mexican-American homeowners in downtown Escondido led a campaign against the razing of portions of downtown for a shopping center to be developed by Ernest Hahn. On November 8, 1977, Escondido voters defeated Hahn’s center two-to-one. But Hahn is indefatigable, and he has resources. This time he has reached an agreement with the city council that will permit him to lease from the city 75 acres of Kit Carson Park.
CITY LIGHTS: “SHOP TALK,” Carlos Bey, May 31, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Although I know men and women for whom doing a crossword puzzle is as natural and as necessary a part of a day as the sun rising, I would never have guessed that 50 million people in the United States work crossword puzzles. There are those who praise the crossword as “educational” and “vocabulary building.” On principle I scorn this notion of the puzzle’s utility. In practice, I doubt its validity.
“LOST IN SPACES,” Judith Moore, May 31, 1984

Twenty Years Ago
Four prosperous-looking women are intercepted by an officious young production assistant and routed to some empty seats in the front row of the audience. “Who are they?” asks a curious man in the third row. “I think it’s the mayor, O’Connor,” says another. He is correct but fails to identify her companions, Union-Tribune publisher Helen Copley, burger heiress Joan Kroc, and actress Mercedes McCambridge.

“Shall we look at the egg?” Kroc asks Copley. “Bring it over here, Bill,” she beckons. Kroc pops open the lid and removes the bejeweled, cobalt-blue Fabergé egg that she has recently purchased at a European auction for $2.8 million.
CITY LIGHTS: “THE EGG WOMEN,” Matt Potter, June 1, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
Before Dan Quayle began sermonizing against Murphy Brown’s single-motherhood, there was a time in this country when make-believe characters like Superman and the Flying Nun could flit about without worrying that somebody was going to take them to task for ignoring FAA regulations governing our nation’s skies. For many years Porky Pig has been able to hunt both Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck while displaying a most negligent attitude toward standard safety practices for the correct handling and discharge of firearms and for whatever gaming laws apply in Looney Tunes–land.
AS SEEN ON TV: “IMAGINATION POLICE,” Abe Opincar, May 26, 1994

Ten Years Ago
Back in February, while gas prices were soaring and radio talk-show host Roger Hedgecock was railing against big oil, a group of San Diego city councilmembers and aides traveled to Long Beach for a firsthand look at the situation — courtesy of Arco, the giant oil company.

Arco’s guests included councilwomen Valerie Stallings and Christine Kehoe. Council staffers who joined the tour included Chris Cameron of the office of Councilman Harry Mathis, Michael Wilson from George Stevens’s office, and Byron Wear’s staffer Rudy Alvar, according to records on file with the city.
“WHY DO THEY NEED FREE FOOD?” Matt Potter, May 27, 1999

Five Years Ago
Last year, Parks and Rec granted the Bazaar del Mundo concession contract to Delaware North, a $1.6 billion company that specializes in sports stadium food, state and national park services, and gambling. As related in an April 29 column, Delaware North had shady associations under a prior name.

The losing bidder was Diane Powers, who’d had the concession for 32 years and had singlehandedly lifted Old Town from seedy stores to thriving establishments attracting more than six million visitors a year, tops in the county by far.

Since mid-month, Powers has been battling the state and Delaware North in a hearing before an administrative law judge in Sacramento. A decision should come in July, but the state can ignore it.

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