A Guide to Small Claims Court

Thirty-Five Years Ago
Even the most noble of persons will some time find himself in a petty fight, a small disagreement. And even the most noble of persons cannot always treat petty things as petty things; at least some time in his life he has to treat a small disagreement seriously. He has to take a stand. And what more democratic way to do this than Small Claims Court. A court where a man may — indeed, he must — speak his own case. A court that even the snootiest of aristocrats should take advantage of just for the drama and self-fulfillment it can offer.
“A GUIDE TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT,” Hal Luton, June 19, 1975

Thirty Years Ago
“We figure we can get some exposure by picketing the national headquarters of Alcoholics Anonymous. It should cause a stir. Not that we’d want to interrupt the progress any of those people are making in solving their problems. We’d just like to send a loud message to people that they don’t have to end up Anonymous if they start out Courageous. Alcoholics Courageous — it’s the only way to go if you’re going to drink.”
“WILD HARRY BYRD: “LAST OF THE BIG-TIME TALKERS,” Stephen Heffner, June 19, 1980

Twenty-Five Years Ago
It began so innocently; the second annual Fire Service Day drew several hundred people to the Mission Valley Center parking lot on May 18 to view the latest in county firefighting and emergency equipment. Everything went smoothly until the exhibit closed and it came time to move all the equipment out. A hazardous-materials van owned by the Chula Vista Fire Department was accidentally driven into a Life Flight helicopter and totaled it.

Twenty Years Ago
Not since 1976-’77 has the City of San Diego found itself in such a severe water crisis. Mayor O’Connor fought off attempts to mandate a citywide 10 percent cut in usage, calling instead for voluntary cuts. But some citizens are beginning to wonder why they should reduce their own water consumption when the manager of the 34-member San Diego County Water Authority (CWA), Lester Snow, has said there is no need to restrict water hookups for new residential and commercial developments.
CITY LIGHTS: “LAND IS THICKER THAN WATER,” Brian Alexander, June 21, 1990

Fifteen Years Ago
The Union-Tribune doesn’t carry daily baseball lines, Vegas is too far, as is Tijuana, and so you sit down, study the living room ceiling and return to the question of why you have such a wretched life.

Hang in there, Bucko, coming at you full speed ahead is...CYBERBETTING! Very soon, with the aid of a mere $5000 worth of computer equipment, you’ll be able to wager on sports over the Internet.
SPORTING BOX: “CYBERBETTING IS HERE!” Patrick Daugherty, June 15, 1995

Ten Years Ago
People “hate” Richard Meltzer (Pop Music, June 1)? Not I. Without his Thursday column, it’s the same old grind: no thanks to anything on Friday, worse new fall lineup on Saturday, David and Saul and the Philistine foreskins on Sunday, comfort of cliché on Monday, willed nonexistence of Tuesday, throwin’ money with Puffy goodnuff by Wednesday, and Thursday, if not for Meltzer’s column...the Neckoning, for which only Henry Rollins is prepared.
LETTERS: “I DON’T HATE MELTZER,” Amanda Coutts, Rancho Santa Fe, June 15, 2000

Five Years Ago
Ryan A. ordered drinks. His orders included two bottles of Dom Perignon. A. paid for the champagne by charging the bill to Room #1119. I checked with the occupant of #1119. That person had not authorized any purchase, and was a stranger to Mr. A. A. was starting to leave the bar. I stopped him and confronted him about the room charges he made. He had no money or other means to pay the bar bill.

I searched Mr. A’s pockets. I found 11 expired room keys from our hotel in his pockets. None of those keys was assigned to Room #1119.
IT’S A CRIME: “DEFRAUDING AN INNKEEPER,” Michael Hemmingson, June 16, 2005

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