Three-Dot Lounge visits North County Notes

Hot Dog on a Stick goes mobile at Three Dot Lounge/Hot Dog on a Stick

We are going to consider a few outstanding three-dot items stripped from below, well below, today’s headlines. But first, a reminder and salute about he who pioneered the three-dot way

Herb Caen at his office, Dec. 31, 1993/Nancy Wong

It’s been almost 25 years since famed San Francisco journalist Herb Caen (1916-1997) died. For journalists and San Franciscans, Caen was a superstar. Known as “Mr. San Francisco,” his columns were a vital piece in the mosaic of one of the world’s great cities.

Caen wrote a column six days a week from July 5, 1938 until 1991 when he cut back to five days a week, then three, before dying in 1997 at age 80. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for lifetime achievement. A special Herb Caen day in The City in 1996 drew 75,000 enthusiastic fans to honor him at City Hall.

Mr. San Francisco was a master of what came to be called “Three-Dot Journalism.” He threw everything from one-liners, gossip, anecdotes and information into this format that became a journalistic staple in the 1930s and 1940s.

There was a method to the madness of presenting San Francisco legend Herb Caen’s three-dot lounge history along with its various re-interpretations. That was to set up Escondido Grapevine’s own three-dot lounge approach to local news. For more about the concept, visit our story here. For more local three-dot news, keep on trucking

Escondido Library want to hear from you

The Esco ‘Brary wants user input for new strategic plan/The Grapevine

Escondido Public Library invites you to help plan the future of your public library by participating in an online survey available through November 17. to participate. The survey is available in English and Spanish. Responses will be used in planning the next five years for the Escondido Public Library.

Survey will guide development of the Escondido Public Library 2022-2026 strategic plan. The plan will include goals and objectives for library operations, services, technology and more. The 2018-2022 strategic plan can be viewed at www.escondidolibrary/strategicplan.

A Strategic Plan is a systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals, objectives, and a sequence of steps to achieve them. 

Creating a strategic plan for the library with participation of community members helps define the library’s core direction, establish realistic goals and objectives, communicate these goals and objectives to the public and officials, reallocate resources to the highest service priorities, and create measurement tools to establish progress and successes.

For questions or assistance, please contact Assistant Library Director Katy Duperry at 760-839-4601 or

Escondido Police want to hear from you…concerning fatal hit-and-run episode

On October 12, 2021, two vehicles collided at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Rose Street. A mother and her seven-year-old son, who were crossing Washington Avenue in the crosswalk, were struck by the vehicles. Both the mother and her son were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries, but sadly, the mother did not survive.

The ongoing investigation has revealed that a red Nissan Titan was traveling east on Washington Avenue and failed to stop for a red traffic signal, colliding with a blue Ford Fusion that was traveling north on Rose Street. The mother and her child were hit after the initial collision as they were crossing Washington Avenue in the crosswalk.

An independent witness confirmed the traffic signal for northbound Rose Street was green at the time of the collision. Neither drugs nor alcohol were a factor in the collision and the investigation has shown that neither vehicle was speeding prior to the collision. The driver of the blue Ford Fusion involved in the collision has been identified as a 51-year-old female Escondido resident and the driver of the red Nissan Titan has been identified as an 82-year-old male Valley Center resident.

The Escondido Police Department understands the need for answers about this tragic incident and want to conduct a thorough and deliberate investigation. An investigation of a fatal traffic collision is complex and often takes hundreds of hours to complete. As is standard with this type of incident, investigators need time to analyze the data and evidence collected at the scene, write and execute search warrants, conduct thorough inspections of the vehicles involved in the collision and conduct follow-up with witnesses and involved parties.

We would like to thank you for your patience and support as we continue our investigation and will provide updated information about this incident as it becomes available.

Follow the Escondido Police Department on social media @EscondidoPolice.

To report any suspicious activities in your neighborhood, you may contact the Police Department directly, or you may make an unidentified call on our “Anonymous Tip Line” at 760-743-TIPS (8477) or via our Web site at

Hot Dog on a Stick goes mobile

Founder Dave Barham — shown in the undated photo — originally called the store Party Puffs, and later changed the name to Hot Dog on a Stick. Barham adopted his mother’s cornbread recipe to make its signature snack. The chain’s first mall shop opened in 1973 in Salt Lake City./Open a Boutique

SoCal original Hot Dog on a Stick, a staple of shopping center food courts that evokes heavy nostalgia for many of us who grew up in the area, is going mobile with a food truck — the first of its kind of the brand — that should be hitting the streets of San Diego County next week.

Its roots date all the way back to 1946, when Hot Dog on a Stick was founded by Dave Barham. And though the mall branch of the company was sold in 2014, his son Gary, granddaughter Courtney, and their family continue to oversee Hot Dog on a Stick’s presence at fairs and festivals around the region.

Courtney Barham, who was born and raised in Encinitas, tells Eater that the idea for the food truck developed during the pandemic when events were on pause. Designed to help the company to be able to reach and service more of the San Diego community, the truck will start by operating in coastal North County neighborhoods where it’ll make stops at local breweries and American Legion halls; its ongoing schedule will be announced and updated on its social media channels.

Barham says they’ll serve the iconic, streamlined menu of made-to-order hot dogs on a stick, fries, and “hand-stomped” lemonade and are planning for daily specials like other types of cheese fillings for its cheese on a stick.

Rancho Santa Fe legend Bob Baker dies at age 89

Bob Baker, left, with Rancho Santa Fe filmmaker Glen Palmed-Smith during the 2010 premiere of “Hold at All Costs” based on Baker’s Korea War experiences./The Grapevine

Although his father was a used car wholesaler and at least two of his uncles were automotive salesmen, Bob Baker had no intention of getting into the car business.

A devout Catholic who attended religious schools as a child, Baker wanted to be a priest. 

Instead, perhaps through a combination of fate and need, he would find success in owning more than 25 car dealerships throughout the country during a career that spanned 60 years. He also would anguish over a fatal crash involving one of his vehicles that killed a family and led to a worldwide recall.

Baker, 89, died at his Rancho Santa Fe home on Sunday. His son, Chris, the youngest of five Baker children, said the cause was a mixture of dementia, lymphoma and renal failure.

“Bob was not complicated,” said his friend and former business partner Dave Ezratty, who now lives in Idaho. “He taught you the simple things: ‘Watch the pennies and nickels and that will get you the dollars.’ Bob didn’t hand out anything; he gave people opportunity. If they listened to him, they would be successful. He wanted everybody to succeed, even his competitors.”

Baker was born on Oct. 1, 1931, at Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles, the oldest of four children of Halem and Dory (Peterson) Baker. He grew up in Los Angeles during the Depression and as an 8-year-old, would purchase magazines for 8 cents and then sell them for a dime to help support the family. He later took on a newspaper route.

When he was 10, Baker’s parents divorced and he spent the rest of his childhood in foster homes, boarding houses and on the streets, Chris Baker said.

Chris Baker said that when his father “learned that sons from divorced families weren’t allowed to enter the priesthood,” Baker enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1951 to fight in the Korean War. He was 19. Two years later, he reached the front lines.

Baker was awarded two Bronze Star medals, among others, for his actions in combat.

When he returned from the war to California, he married King and enrolled in business classes at Woodbury College in Burbank. When his wife became pregnant with their first child, Michael, in 1954, Baker began selling cars at a friend’s Ford dealership.

“(My dad) was a natural salesman with a quick and sparkling smile, and he became an instant success,” Chris Baker said. “From sales he was promoted into sales management and eventually tasked with running auto dealerships.”

In 1965, Baker had an opportunity to buy his own dealership in Indiana. He established and grew Bob Baker Chevrolet in Indianapolis into a success. His eldest son, Mike, started working for his dad as a 15-year-old.

Baker eventually sold that dealership and moved to San Diego, purchasing what was then University Ford. He steadily expanded and built up the Bob Baker Auto Group of dealerships with brands such as Chevy, Toyota, Lexus, Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge, Ford, Acura, Cadillac, Nissan and Subaru. And he was behind the catchy advertising jingle, “The Bob Baker Auto Group, where it’s so nice to be nice.”

The last dealership Bob Baker owned was Bob Baker Toyota. He sold that dealership and fully retired in April 2016. He had previously sold the balance of his remaining dealership ownerships to his son, Chris, in 2014. Chris Baker purchased and expanded his Carlsbad locations and is continuing the Bob Baker Auto Group legacy. Chris Baker’s son, Cobi, 27, is also planning to continue in the family auto business.

Baker was preceded in death by his wife, Sherrill; his brothers, Dick and Ron Baker and his sister, Peggy Stewart. He is survived by his children and their families; Mike, Bridget and Austin Baker; Elizabeth (Baker) and Robert Treloar; Theresa (Baker), Sean and Eric Hertel; Mary (Baker) and Mike Ross; and Chris, Maria, Bryan, Cobi and Emily Baker. He is also survived by many half siblings.

Find your name on $713K San Diego County refund list

Many people could use extra cash with the holidays approaching. That’s why the San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office is doing all it can to reunite $713,585 in county refunds with its rightful owners. See if your name is on the list at

“With many people cash-strapped, it’s essential to return this money to the citizens of San Diego,” said Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister. “The average refund is $386, and that can go a long way for those who are the rightful owners and who need it.”

The Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office has 1,848 refunds in a list that is easy to search on its website.

If you are owed money, follow the instructions on the unclaimed money page to file a refund claim by December 17, before the money is rolled into the county’s general fund. You can email your claim to or call 1-877-829-4732 for more information. Anyone can sign up to receive emails when new unclaimed money lists are posted.

“We want all of this money returned to San Diegans, so tell your friends and family to go to to check the unclaimed money list,” said McAllister.

The smallest refund amount available is $10, and the largest refund amount is $36,699, owed to Fidelity National Title Co.

Every year, the Treasurer-Tax Collector makes a strong effort to reunite San Diegans with money they have overpaid on taxes or fees. In the past five years, the office has refunded nearly $­­520,000.

Current state law says countywide money that is unclaimed for three years and property tax refunds that are unclaimed for four years must be turned over to the County’s general fund.

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