Murrieta mob

Hot Springs history features different kind of mob

Some commentators say that last week a "mob" of Murrieta protesters blocked immigrants seeking to enter the United States.

If you go back 40 to 50 years, Murrieta was known for a different kind of mob — the kind associated with shattered knee caps and dirty Teamsters Union money.

Murrieta Hot Springs is a resort that in 2002 was annexed to the City of Murrieta. The city was taking on the hot springs' dubious past, which was intimately tied to San Diego's tainted real estate transactions of yore.

The resort was owned by Irvin Kahn, the controversial developer who at one time may have controlled 25 percent of San Diego's developable land. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Kahn financed his developments with money from the notorious Teamsters' Central States, Southeast and Southwest Area Pension Fund. As a result, Kahn was under constant scrutiny of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service, as well as investigative reporters. Kahn developed Rancho Peñasquitos, much of Clairemont, and parts of La Mesa, Chula Vista, and University City. He developed two hotels on Shelter Island and had 11 bowling alleys in the county.

And he owned Murrieta Hot Springs resort, which was once raided for illegal gambling on the premises. Teamsters' leader and ruffian Jimmy Hoffa was a guest of Murrieta Hot Springs shortly before his disappearance in 1975.

Kahn died suddenly in 1973, and ownership passed to his associate, St. Louis attorney Morris Shenker, a lawyer for Hoffa and a thoroughly mobbed-up Midwesterner. In 1977, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Shenker with fraudulently obtaining a $28.5 million loan for Murrieta from union pension funds. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter wrote that Shenker "was a financial genius of the calibre of [notorious mob financier Meyer] Lansky. It was Shenker who tapped the Teamsters Union's Central States Pension Fund to finance much of the mob's penetration of Las Vegas casinos."

Murrieta Hot Springs subsequently went into bankruptcy several times. At one point, San Diego ponzi schemer Gary Naiman, who wound up in prison, had control of the resort but couldn't keep it as his empire collapsed in scandal. It is now a religious retreat.

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The mob, back in the day, may not have been the nicest bunch of guys you'd ever meet, but they were decent people compared to the lowlifes who are objecting to children coming here. Those greedy dirt bags in Murietta seem to forget their granddaddy's were immigrants once too. The fact that we take in those looking for a better life defines who we are as a people and has always worked to our benefit. Or, it used to until stupidity and greed took over. Just like in Iraq now, we don't know who we are or who we want to be.

The USA is wealthy as a nation but we do not have unlimited resources. If we allow unlimited entry to the United States - even unlimited entry for children - this will strain our social systems far beyond capacity.

ImJustABill: Admitting these young people will strain capacity -- yes. But we can't just shut these people out; we have caused many of their problems. Best, Don Bauder

Who's this "we", Don? I didn't. I didn't vote for anyone who did bad things to them. Yet I'm to be presented with an open-ended bill? Sorry, no. I have no responsibility to Central Americans, and I will make every effort possible to see to it that I and tens of millions of Americans who didn't do anything wrong don't wind up stuck with the tab.

And if you believe "we" have a responsibility, that must be quantified. How many "immigrants" can we absorb? How much can we pay? For how long? What happens after we meet our quota and millions more still want to come? If you can't give quantitative answers to these questions, calling for your open-border policy is irresponsible and immoral.

jnojr: U.S. foreign policy is partly responsible for the genocide in Guatemala. In the 1950s, supposedly to fight communism and to support United Fruit Company, the U.S. helped depose the democratic government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. Admittedly, the genocide had deep cultural roots, but we definitely exacerbated the problem. Later, President Reagan excused the massacres of Rios Montt, who was greatly responsible for genocide against Mayan groups.

To thwart Los Angeles street gangs, our government is deporting thousands to Central America -- thus sending our problem to those countries.

You may think you were not involved in this. You are an American, and presumably a voter. Think again. Best, Don Bauder

Javajoe25: The mobsters who hung around Murrieta Hot Springs were not desirable; many were more repugnant than Hoffa.

I agree that those who blocked the children from coming in last week were frightening. I watched their expressions -- scary.

Again, I say that Americans must consider that the problems in Central America were caused in great part by bad U.S. foreign policy. That should be a factor in deciding whether we want these people. Best, Don Bauder

I think if the U.S. were to admit everyone from all the countries damaged by bad U.S. foreign policy that would be a very long list.

Sorry but I don't think reparations are practical.

I think a better course is to start seriously scaling back our military and reduce foreign military interventions in the future to only those rare times when it's truly necessary.

ImJustABill: You make a very good point. Should we open our ports to everybody from the Middle East who suffered from our horrendous foreign policy? (Of course, if we could make a straight trade -- our neocons for their homeless -- it might be a good deal. Best, Don Bauder

I don't understand why anyone thinks we do not have the resources to accommodate new immigrants. Just look at the millions we provide to other countries, some not even our friends. A $Billion to Pakistan - the country that allowed Osama bin Laden to hide there. The list goes on. It is not that we don't have the resources; it's just that we've been led to believe that being a decent, caring country is expensive and that making war is cheap and profitable. Many of these kids that are coming here now are the result of our failed policies in other countries. These are just the chickens coming home to roost.

JavaJoe25: The hostility to immigrants is related to one of our biggest economic problems: the income and wealth inequality. As the middle class sinks, as it is now doing, people are more and more antagonistic toward newcomers. People think the immigrants are stealing their jobs, when in fact it is corporate top managements and Wall Street stealing the jobs. Best, Don Bauder

Daniel Klein: I hate to say this, but from the looks of the protesters I saw on TV in Murrieta, I think they would cheer if they knew their antics would imperil the health of immigrant children. Best, Don Bauder

Give the neoconservatives Texas. Take away their Internet and construct a fool-proof fence to keep them there.

shirleyberan: You may not realize how close to the mark you are. There is a movement in Texas to secede from the U.S. At one time, Gov. Rick Perry talked favorably of that movement. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: Im not sure I get your drift. Best, Don Bauder

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