It’s hard to believe, but it’s the third anniversary of our series about people in San Diego and what they do for money, marked by last night’s story about Farrokh Yadzani — “Frank” — the 36th story in the monthly series.

The goal of this series is simple: to illustrate the San Diego economy through a human lens.

When I stopped for a second last year to reflect on the series’ two years, I noted:

I think one of journalism’s many ideal functions is to help the people who live in a place talk to each other, learn about each other, identify with each other. Part of that means understanding the way a local economy is structured. And a subsequent part of that means knowing and beginning to understand better the stories of their neighbors.

I still feel that way. It’s been a great year.

Photographer Sam Hodgson and I hopped a plane to Vegas with flight attendant Delora Snow, heard the machines whirring in the Taylor Guitars factory with neck and body production manager Patrick Wilson, chilled with laid-off finance worker Dino Manning and marveled at Cristina Bahema‘s prolific tortilla-making skills. We stayed on point in the county’s hair salons with shear sharpener Nick Cutter, dug in the dirt downtown with paleontologist Pat Sena, kept out of the way of opera stage manager Mary Yankee Peters and learned about Balboa Park’s roots with horticulturist Crystal Ritchie. We witnessed Jody Goldstein‘s fight on the front lines against a degenerative disease and learned to trust the science of hot air ballooning with Pete Brunner.

And to think there were 24 people we got to know before these ones! Check them all out here. As always, please send me your tips or suggestions for future pieces in the series. You can e-mail me at


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