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Stories by Don Bauder

PG&E to pony up big for San Bruno explosion

Though judges lowered payout, it will be largest fine ever if okayed

Two California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) administrative law judges ruled today (September 2) that Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) must pay $1.4 billion in fines and penalties for safety violations that led to the 2010 ...

Bitter split at San Diego Opera

Former president says she will neither donate nor attend

The arts section of today's (September 1) New York Times has a generally bullish story on the attempted turnaround of the San Diego Opera. The headline tells the story: "Amid Choruses of Despair, an Aria ...

Poll: San Diegans don't want to subsidize stadium

Even the U-T runs a tiny, buried blurb on the countywide survey

On August 26, Solana Beach–based (W)right On Communications, a public relations firm, announced results of a poll of 375 county residents: 63 percent of county residents would oppose the City of San Diego funding construction ...

La Jollans allegedly caught with phony checks

Authorities say they caught the couple in Lake Arrowhead

According to the Alpenhorn News, La Jollan Michael John Baron and his wife, Sharon McCall-Baron, have been charged with manufacturing phony checks, using a computer and software program. The newspaper heard from a sheriff's department ...

Palomar Mountain Marijuana Co. goes bust

Real estate agent falsely reports girlfriend's income as $420K/year

Marco Luis and Joshua Hester were longtime friends and business partners. "As a real estate agent, Luis had the know-how. As a career marijuana dealer, Hester had the cash," notes a decision from the Ninth ...

Hope for the little people

Has CPUC given up on $3.3 billion ripoff?

At a meeting on September 11, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was expected to take up the so-called "settlement" by which ratepayers of Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric were to ...

Trillion-dollar charity man

And then there's the one about his mining company worth $86 billion

Mark Twain defined a gold mine as a hole in the ground with a liar on the top. Meet William Ison. He pleaded guilty yesterday (August 27) to wooing investors into a private placement program ...

Not exactly chicken feed

Hewlett-Packard executive assistant embezzled $1 million

Holli Dawn Coulman yesterday (August 27) pleaded guilty to defrauding Hewlett-Packard of almost $1 million between 2008 and 2012. She was an executive assistant to a senior vice president of a San Diego branch of ...

Total Wealth mis-Management

Radio show used to promote fraud — ill-gotten money went into gun shop

On April 15, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged that Total Wealth Management, a San Diego investment firm headed by Jacob Cooper, had taken kickbacks without informing its clients. The firm's regular KOGO radio ...

Use brains, stay in California

Some companies move to Texas, but venture money flows to California.

Texas governor Rick Perry touts low taxes and wages, but the companies wanting brains stay in California.

The mayor's wife's power boat is sold

Restaurant Events, Inc., listed as owner

A 28-foot power boat listed in the name of Restaurant Events, Inc., the company owned by Katherine Stuart, wife of mayor Kevin Faulconer, has been sold. Wayne C. Jones Yacht & Ship Brokerage reported online ...

Putting the "Public" back into the CPUC

Senate bill could change the way utilities commission operates

State senator Jerry Hill, a Democrat of San Mateo, has introduced a bill that would require the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to conform to state open-meeting laws. The roots of this proposed bill are ...

Earthquake '14

Brown declares state of emergency in Napa

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for southern Napa today (Aug. 24). A temblor registering 6.0 hit at 3:20 this morning. Power has been knocked out to thousands of people in the area. ...

Earth loses 63 trillion gallons of groundwater

Scripps says earth rises 0.16 inches in 18 months

The ongoing drought in the Western United States has caused so much groundwater loss that the earth has risen 0.16 inch on average in the past 18 months — up to 0.6 inch in the ...

Ob-gyn doctor could lose license

Medical board issues accusation

The Medical Board of California's Department of Consumer Affairs has brought an accusation against Niloufer Dennis, M.D., who practices obstetrics and gynecology and has offices in Kearny Mesa and El Cajon, according to an online ...

What? Drugs and nudity at a rock concert?

Tentatively, SD company loses Virginia concessions license

San Diego-based Best Beverage Company has had its concessions license tentatively revoked by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Last year, the company was concessionaire to the Lockn' Festival in Nelson County. There were ...

Two bad boys

Insider trading by ex-Qualcomm executive and an investor bilker

Robert William Herman, formerly a director of the North America Sales Department of Qualcomm, pleaded guilty today (August 21) to insider trading. Herman was secretly told by his Qualcomm supervisor that the company was contemplating ...

Working parents should live in Chula Vista

South Bay city comes in 12th in the nation; San Diego, 56th

NerdWallet, an organization that keeps statistics on metropolitan areas, says that Chula Vista is the 12th best city in the nation in which working parents can raise children. The study was done in conjunction with ...

Sunshine-taxed to the max!

Buy? Rent? Both unaffordable in SD

Should you buy or rent a home in San Diego? Neither, if you look at such a decision from an economic perspective. According to Zillow.com, the share of median income needed to buy a home ...

Dude, that fish taco place called again

Rubio's says remote messaging not sales calls, seeks FCC clarification

Rubio's, the Carlsbad-based Mexican fast-food chain, on August 11 asked the Federal Communications Commission to clarify Telephone Consumer Protection Act applicability. In 1991, the federal government passed the act to protect people against pestiferous telephone ...

Proposed La Jolla music venue challenged in suit

Tapenade Restaurant charges fraud

La Bastide, a corporation which owns the tony Tapenade Restaurant, has sued the owner of a La Jolla shopping center on which La Jolla Music Society plans to build a $40 million performing arts center. ...

Shames lawsuit thrown out

Aguirre, Peffer get summary judgment

Superior Court judge Ronald Prager today (Aug. 15) threw out remaining claims that Michael Shames, former head of Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), filed against whistle-blower David Peffer and Peffer's lawyer, Mike Aguirre. Earlier, Prager ...

July jobs down, unemployment rate up

Local education jobs drop

The San Diego County unemployment rate rose to 6.6 percent in July, up from a revised 6.1 percent in June. County jobs declined by 5,900 in the month, mainly because a loss of 12,700 government ...

Ian Campbell blasted in opera magazine

Where did that "amendment" come from?

The September edition of Opera News, the magazine for opera lovers published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, has a long, sizzling investigative piece on the demise and (hopefully) rebirth of San Diego Opera. Ian Campbell, ...

SD pension mess hits Journal's front page

County gambling with derivatives

On the front page of today's (August 14) Wall Street Journal is a story titled, "Facing a Pension Shortfall, San Diego Dials Up the Risk." The article tells how the county's pension fund, only 79 ...

Later on, San Diego

Gen-Xers depart — demographics change could have "serious implications"

People 35 to 49 years old — Gen-Xers — have been leaving San Diego and taking their children along, notes Kelly Cunningham, economist for the National University System Institute for Policy Research. One reason is ...

SeaWorld stock tanks

Blackfish documentary, earnings hurt company

Stock of SeaWorld Entertainment has plunged 31.51 percent this morning (August 13) to $19.18. Earnings per share in the second quarter were 43 cents, down from the 59 cents Wall Street analysts expected. Revenue was ...

Do good, do well

Corporations would be well advised to please, not screw, the public.

Some politicians tell us corporations are people. Yeah — greedy people. Two years ago, one poll showed that 83 percent of people — real people — believe that companies should pursue their business goals while ...

Bladder smuggler

Totoaba fish is endangered

Song Shen Zhen was sentenced to a year in custody and told to pay $120,500 to the Mexican environmental protection agency today (Aug. 11). Last year, Zhen had been caught smuggling dried Totoaba bladders — ...

More sweat, more money

Endurance events pump up economy

San Diego's endurance events — marathons, open-water swims, triathlons, 5ks, and mud-runs — are bringing in money, according to a study by the National University System Institute for Policy Research. Last year, more than 134,000 ...

Unconventional logic

Combined stadium/convention center plan "ridiculous," says expert

Since the convention-center expansion was thumbed down by the appellate court, the corporate-welfare crowd — particularly the Chargers and U-T San Diego — has switched to touting a combined football stadium/convention center. "It's going from ...

Sempra under investigation, says Mexican press

Charges of corruption, influence-peddling, money-laundering, and organized crime

The Mexican press reported this past weekend that Sempra Energy is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security. Imagen del Golfo, a news agency in Veracruz, reported that Sempra is being investigated for corruption, ...

Oh, Hyphen Man, where are you?

Comic-Con, and Utah's Comic Con slug it out

San Diego's Comic-Con has sent a cease and desist order to Salt Lake City Comic Con. According to Salt Lake's papers, the Tribune and Deseret News, Salt Lake has no intention of backing down. It ...

In Bed with Wall Street

Regulatory corruption exposed, thanks in part to Gary Aguirre

An enlightening book, In Bed with Wall Street: The Conspiracy Crippling Our Global Economy, has been published by Palgrave Macmillan. The thesis is that Wall Street, its regulators, and politicians conspire together for their own ...

Jack jumps

Stock soars 10.5% on earnings, outlook

Stock of San Diego's Jack in the Box fast-food chain leapt 10.46% today (Aug. 7) to $61.25. The company, bolstered by booming sales of late-night and breakfast offerings, reported third-quarter earnings of 65 cents a ...

Cherry-picking a no-no

Mausner, Drennan banned from securities industry

A Securities and Exchange Commission administrative-law judge yesterday (Aug. 5) banned Ian O. Mausner and Douglas F. Drennan from the securities business. Mausner, was a cofounder and chief executive officer of J.S. Oliver, an investment ...

Ho-hum bandit gets heave-ho

Judge adds 70 months to sentence

Adam Lynch, known as "the Ho-Hum Bandit" for the nonchalant way he robbed San Diego banks in 2010, was sentenced today (Aug. 4) to an additional 70 months in prison. This brings his total sentence ...

Bucket gist

Lucia Capital takes on executive with curious recent past

The financial-planning media are abuzz about the departure of San Diegan Derek Bruton from LPL Financial, which has headquarters in San Diego and Boston, and has 17,000 financial advisers under its wing. Publications such as ...

Death of a thousand cuts

Mayor Faulconer didn't support urban planner Fulton or his ideas

The word is getting around town on the resignation of nationally known urban planner Bill Fulton after slightly more than a year on the job. "He had very little support from the mayor and there ...

San Diego's famed urban planner — leaving so soon?

Bill Fulton, hired last summer, to leave at the end of August

San Diego's planning director, Bill Fulton, has resigned, effective August 30. Fulton was brought in by ex-mayor Bob Filner in June of last year to head the planning department, which had been dismantled by former ...

Sure beats jail time

San Diegan banned from securities business for five years

The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday (July 31) announced an agreement by which Jason D. Huntley of San Diego will be banned from the securities business for five years. Huntley agreed to the judgment without ...

Who made these errors?

Under pressure, California Public Utilities Commission releases report

The California Public Utilities Commission late today (July 31) released a report that is devastating to both Southern California Edison and its protector, the commission. The U-T today ran a story about the CPUC's refusal ...

Will NFL neglect welfare of birds?

With all its glass, the new Vikings stadium will kill them

The American Bird Conservancy has asked the National Football League to modify plans for the soon-to-be-built Minnesota Vikings stadium. It will feature large expanses of glass that will kill thousands of birds over time, says ...

Peeved, to be sure

Newspapers call for utilities commission chief Peevey's head

This week, two events affecting Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and CPUC president Michael Peevey, have ignited a firestorm of justifiable indignation. First, the City of San Bruno managed to ...

"Official ticket site," in a pig's eye

FTC nails local company for online deception

The Federal Trade Commission and the State of Connecticut have fined three online ticket resellers $1.4 million for deceptive advertising. One of the companies, SecureBoxOffice, is run out of San Diego by James Moran. SecureBoxOffice ...

Some of that California money

Manchester hosts cash roundup for Texas candidate — $5000 gets you in

Doug Manchester, who intends to build a long-delayed hotel in Austin, is putting on a glitzy fundraiser for Greg Abbott, the Republican who is running for Texas governor against Democrat Wendy Davis. Manchester and his ...

Auditor Luna gets snubbed

The downtown corporate-welfare crowd wants an “independent” auditor.

City Auditor Eduardo Luna was promised he would be independent. But after stepping on toes of the downtown crowd, he is catching flak.

No love

Suspension of La Jolla Tennis Club president results in backlash

Tonight (July 29), the board of La Jolla Tennis Club suspended its former president, Phifer Crute, until January of 2016. She was earlier deposed as president — a post she did not hold long. Crute ...

Yes, we will defend Jan Goldsmith

Council approves city attorney's request for lawyer expenses in email lawsuit

The city council today, (July 29) by a 7-1 vote, approved spending taxpayer money up to $150,000 to pay city attorney Jan Goldsmith's legal bills. The lawsuit against Goldsmith forces him to reveal the contents ...

Encinitas? You're pretty snobby

Poway ranked 37th, thanks to high home prices and incomes

Movoto.com, a real estate research outfit, has culled 2010 census data to rank the 50 snobbiest small cities (population 45,000 to 65,000). What counts is highest median household income, highest median home values, largest percentage ...

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