January 29, 2003

By Michael Strickland

San Diego Sleepy No More

San Diego might be known as "America's Finest City," but it's no longer the secret paradise it once was. I don't have the time right now to research the data, but a travel professional I recently spoke to estimated that San Diego's population has tripled since 1984. Personally, I think that's a conservative estimate.

I moved up to Los Angeles in 1999, and put up with the crowds and congestion of such a giant metropolis for three years. My thoughts often turned to the idealized memory I had of San Diego: its beautiful scenery, vast open space and relatively low population. Sure, even in 1999, development in San Diego had already reached an alarming rate. Wild mesas I once hiked as a teenager have long since been paved over with cookie-cutter homes. But the city still retained its sleepy, spread-out, serene character.

That character had all but vanished when I moved back last year.

While the city's scenery remains, traffic has reached critical, nearly L.A.-level proportions. The rapid pace of development has continued, has perhaps even increased. People continue to move here in droves (more than a few, I'm sure, attracted by the city's climate and scenery as seen in Super Bowl broadcasts). Housing—not just affordable housing, but all housing—has become scarce, contributing to a huge bubble in an already over-inflated real estate market. I was shocked by what a difference three years made.

I've lived in San Diego my whole life (with a few absences here and there for college, work or the military), so the enchantment of this city will probably always be in my blood. Despite the ever-increasing crowds, it's still a lovely city (as I testified to here). But its personality has irrevocably changed. I don't feel like a native anymore. I feel the same as any of the thousands (millions?) of transplants who now call San Diego home. Like them, I no longer live in the city where I grew up.


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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I used to be disgusted, now I'm just amused.

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I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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1/28: Edith Keeler Must Die
1/27: Public Enemy Number One
1/26: Rondo alla Turca
1/25: Back in Uniform
1/24: Hitting the Wall
1/23: It's a Small Web After All
1/22: War is Hell
Watching the Wheels
1/20: Bring on the Mayhem
1/19: Pigskin Ponderings
1/18: More Stupid Lawsuits
1/17: Finding My Passion
1/16: Gulf War Memories
1/15: Meet the New Boss
1/14: Man's Other Best Friend
1/13: Sea of Fire
1/12: Back to the Books
1/11: America's Finest Climate
1/10: Sunshine in a Bottle
1/9: What Would Jesus Drive?
1/8: Southwestern Sojourn
Wheel of Fortune
Class Warfare
1/5: Very Large Dream
The New Nuclear Age
Going Solo
New Year, Old Cave
1/1: All Things End

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