Want the news summarized?
Subscribe to The Morning Report.

In this weekend’s Q&A feature, we talk to a San Diego State professor who’s written a book about Mexican morals, American political corruption and a movie star’s memorable encounter with a whole load of manure.

Before Las Vegas, there was Agua Caliente, considered more than Monte Carlo and a lot more affordable. But “Satan’s Playground,” as humbugs called it, had a darker side, and it seeped back over the border on 1929 when mobsters and machine guns found their way to San Diego.


Join thousands of San Diegans who get the day’s news in their inboxes every morning. Get the Morning Report now.

The Tijuana gambling resort didn’t need the stars of Hollywood to give it a special shine, but they flocked south anyway.

So did thousands of other Americans who crossed the border in the 1920s in search of a legal drink (or two or 10), a big pile of winnings and a dip in one heck of a swimming pool.

Be sure to check out the photos with the story. They show just how fancy Agua Caliente really was.

In other news:

• San Diego schools may face an $18 million budget hit if state legislators don’t pass a law pronto.

• This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the days when 3,000 teens and young adults rioted on El Cajon Boulevard to protest a crackdown on drag racing.

There was rock-throwing on the night of Aug. 20 and morning of Aug. 21 along with tear gas and mass arrests.

“San Diego must not be intimidated,” declared the riled-up San Diego Union, which called for a severe crackdown and compared the riot to lynch mobs, student riots and (gasp) sit-down strikes.

Now, the riot is forgotten except by those who took part and leftist historians who say it was a harbinger of ’60s riots to come.

Elsewhere:

• The LAT says The Big One — the huge honkin’ earthquake from hell — should be coming around just about any day now: quakes on the San Andreas fault appear to happen every 45-144 years. The last gobsmacker of a jolt was back in 1857.

•••

What We Learned This Week (Brought to You by the Letter D):

• Mary Shelley, Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone: The week’s news was filled with developments regarding Prop. D, the fiscal reform/sales tax hike measure.

A local activist filed suit against Prop. D, saying it’s a “Frankenstein proposition” and “monstrously unconstitutional.” A campaign consultant, meanwhile, said the pro-D troops are gearing up for battle even though they’ve been mighty quiet.

And: It turns out that one reform won’t save the city a dime.

And the whole package could save about $9 million … or about $855 million. Or somewhere in between. It sure was helpful for the city to clear that up.

Also: We fact-checked a statement by Prop. D foes, examined a claim about poor staffing in the fire department and found a mayoral statement about city health benefits to be short of the truth.

• Disaster Area or Big District that Could?: Students in the widely criticized San Diego schools are actually doing better on tests, and not just by a little.

• A Little Off the Sides, Please: The print edition of the U-T has undergone some shrinkage, becoming 14 percent smaller thanks to a narrower width. (A smaller paper means savings on printing expenses.)

The U-T redesigned the paper too, banishing the comics to the classifieds and adding new graphical touches. A KPBS blogger is not a fan, saying it looks like “a bunch of ads trying to blend in with the rest of the editorial.”

In the U-T’s defense, griping about the local paper and anything it does, ever, is a national pastime. It needs a bit of touching up, but I actually like the redesign.

• Money for Everyone: Almost 250 employees in Oceanside — more than one for every 1,000 residents — make more than $100,000. To clarify my previous mentions of this story, that’s pre-tax pay and benefits.

•••

The Coffee Collection (stories to read over a lapsang souchong with a drip of molasses)

• The Kids Are All Right (the Parents, Not So Much): It should be easy to match tots and preschools. It isn’t. Preschool is still a privilege, not a right, and there are plenty of barriers to the land of juice boxes, sandboxes and educational advancement.

•••

Quote of the Week: “Preschool is a luxury for those who are rich enough to easily afford it, charity for those who are poor enough to deserve it, and a headache for those stuck in between.” — Reporter Emily Alpert in her story about preschool.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.