Ex-Marine Retreats but Takes Animals With Him

As a retired Marine staff sergeant, Bob Farner hates retreating, but he knows when he’s licked.

After a two-year political fight, he’s evacuating the animals from his Vista-based Wildlife Rescue and Education Center to a 12-acre ranch in Valley Center.

Badgered by complaints from Farner’s neighbors, the Vista City Council had set a March 27 deadline for him to reduce the

animal population on his half-acre site to no more than 25. In the eight years he’s tended hurt and abandoned creatures, the census has sometimes reached 150.


“His neighbors have been very patient, but now they’re fed up and I can’t blame them,” said Councilwoman Nancy Wade. “The mountain lions have been fine, but the deer, possum and raccoons have gotten out and caused trouble.”

The gulls, parrots, ravens and crows have been placed with the Green Oaks Ranch, a rehabilitation facility for teen-agers in rural Vista. The snakes as well as bobcats and other mammals--including a mountain lion named Sheba--are off to Valley Center.

Farner, 65, says Vista is becoming anti-animal. The council this week ordered an overhaul of its animal limit laws.

“It’s going to hurt a lot of people who like to keep horses, cows and sheep,” Farner said. “People say my animals caused noise, stink and danger, but this is the country, not the city.”


Letter Out of the Past

New carpet is being installed in the offices of San Diego City Council members, and odd things are being found in odd places. Like the letter found stuck behind a drawer in the desk of Councilwoman Judy McCarty.

Dated Dec. 29, 1966, it’s a request from the San Diego Chamber of Commerce to then-Councilwoman Helen Cobb. The chamber wanted the council to pass a resolution praising a federal official named Margaret Bayles and encouraging her to keep helping small businesses get government contracts.

McCarty’s office has now sent a memo to the chamber asking if it’s too late to revive the request. Could be. Bayles retired a decade ago.


The Humor Was Lost

It seemed funny at the time so two fraternity boys at San Diego State dressed up in sombreros and serapes and started singing “La Bamba” and “La Cucaracha” in broken Spanish and pretending to beg for spare change.

After all, the two were manning a fraternity-sponsored nacho stand on the quad to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. But a Latino student passing by found the high jinks offensive.

The ensuing campus controversy has led to: an apology by Phi Delta Theta, a committee being formed to establish rules for “ethnic” celebrations, a promise to teach “multicultural sensitivity” to frats and sororities, and a demand by Latinos that SDSU’s fraternity adviser be fired.


Doug Case, the adviser, said the incident, which he deplores, was thoughtless but not meant to be malicious.

Tom Carrasco, chairman of MEChA, a Latino student group, said Case is not taking the incident seriously. “Thirty miles south of here, Mexicans are starving to death, and here on this campus we’re mocking them,” he said.

Carrasco said minority students had already been rubbed raw by two other fraternity-sponsored costume events: Slave Day and Hiroshima Day.

Heroic Crew Gathers


It’s been called the Ship That Wouldn’t Die--the aircraft carrier Franklin, hit by two 500-pound bombs from a Japanese dive bomber 66 miles off Japan on March 19, 1945.

Of a 3,400-man crew, 724 were killed and hundreds were badly injured. Still, the survivors brought the crippled ship back to Pearl Harbor, becoming one of the Navy’s most decorated crews (including two Medal of Honor winners).

The Franklin story has been told in three movies and an NBC documentary. And today, Saturday and Sunday, about 250 Franklin sailors from World War II will meet for a reunion at the Bahia Hotel in San Diego.