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Stories by Matt Potter

Stone deaf

After the wildfires in San Diego this past May, some hearing-impaired viewers of television station KGTV complained to the Federal Communications Commission that the broadcaster’s so-called closed captioning didn’t work very well. The station provided ...

Juan’s campaign laundry

Freshman Democratic congressman Juan Vargas has many political mouths to feed. In addition to tending this year’s campaign fund, Vargas has been raising cash for his 2010 California senate election committee, which still owes about ...

Green and Made in the U.S.A.

Ex-prison labor king gets "Champion of Change" award

It's been a big day in Washington for two high-tech San Diego farmers. Pierre Sleiman and his son Pierre Sleiman, Jr., who run a North County outfit called Go Green Agriculture, have been fêted at ...

Doing the Doug Manchester dodge

Documents sought in bad debt case, ex-Padres exec says "no comment”

In March 2013, an electronic banking vendor won a $466,310 federal court judgment against a would-be bank bearing the name of U-T San Diego publisher and mega-millionaire real-estate developer Douglas Manchester. In March of this ...

Peters late, DeMaio reveals Reason

Disclosures show shifting personal finances of congressional combatants

Freshman Democratic congressman Scott Peters, locked in a tight re-election battle with former San Diego Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio, has been given another 30-day extension to file his personal financial disclosure report with the ...

UCSD cash speaks with loud Voice

$20,000 deal with nonprofit news site guarantees good coverage

UCSD, which has traditionally enjoyed red-carpet treatment from local media, has encountered a bit of turbulence of late. Word that the school has been the target of its own auditors' public safety critique, first noted ...

Pit bully

Jan Combative GOP San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith has long been a fan of the corporate and real-estate lobbying group that calls itself the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. Last year he dressed up ...

Horton’s dowry

Readers of the U-T San Diego editorial page may still be wondering about the connection between GOP ex-assemblywoman Shirley Horton and U-T editorial writer-in-chief Bill Osborne, but there’s no doubt Horton sank some heavy personal ...

Cashing in the chips

It was back to the heartland for La Jolla–based Qualcomm last month — back, at least, to the Heartland Values political action committee “created to help ensure that the common sense, conservative values that served ...

UCSD's almost-million-dollar man

Fall of cancer institute, sex case mars tenure of pay-boosted hospital chief

Someone at UCSD just got a $21,600 raise, and it wasn't chancellor Pradeep Khosla. The school's top-dollar pay boost belongs to Paul Viviano, whose title is associate vice chancellor and health systems chief executive officer ...

Manchester’s size-matters debate rivets Texans

All eyes on Austin as promised September mega groundbreaking approaches

This past May, the development arm of Douglas Manchester got some good news from the media arm of the mega-millionaire La Jollan. "Construction on the 1,054-room Fairmont Austin, which will be linked to the Austin ...

Diary of a Young influence-peddler

Democrat picks up lucrative GOP Lincoln Club clients

Back in January 2013, Democratic city councilman Tony Young resigned his seat in the midst of his term to take command of the regional Red Cross, after rumors circulated that he actually wanted to work ...

Violent crime and bad records plague UCSD

Audit finds safety and security jeopardized, risking fines from feds

Increasing crime on UCSD's sprawling campus is dangerously under-policed and inadequately monitored, placing its students and faculty at growing risk for life-threatening incidents, not to mention stiff financial penalties from the federal government, based on ...

SDSU’s self-report draws a blank

It took almost two weeks, but KPBS, the public broadcast operation owned and run by San Diego State University finally got around to reporting on a state audit blasting the school for mishandling its sexual ...

Standup guy

What does it take to be a TV anchor in San Diego these days? Judging from a recent job notice by Tribune Company, owner of Fox affiliate KSWB, 1970s parody Ron Burgundy might still make ...

Fountain of traffic

A May announcement in U-T San Diego by Charley Marchesano, project management chief of the county’s Department of General Services, that Qualcomm would be staging an exclusive party for 5000 at the county’s new bayside ...

Harry Reid's anti-Koch PAC hits town

DeMaio-Peters clash is target of Democrat-funded television ad buys

It appears increasingly that San Diego's 52nd District battle between Republican Carl DeMaio and freshman Democratic congressman Scott Peters may become ground zero in a TV proxy war between Democratic senate majority leader Harry Reid ...

Faulconer moves to privatize city email archive

A few details of city’s troubled electronic records finally emerge

One of the first official actions taken by incoming San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer earlier this year was to pledge to keep all city emails around for the indefinite future. Now the Republican mayor, a ...

DeMaio gets campaign fund payback

Congressional hopeful cashes out of his Reform San Diego movement

There's an old saying among longtime political insiders: campaign committees can be a lot kinder than slot machines. They sometimes pay off as hoped for. So it is now for Carl DeMaio, the ex–San Diego ...

Dinosaur Democrat

The more things seem to change in San Diego politics, the more they really stay the same. That might be the motto of Alex Roth, newly named communications director of the reelection bid of Democratic ...

Billionaires on TV

Speaking of Scott Peters, more TV backing for him funded by Wall Street hedge-fund operator James Simons is in the pipeline. Disclosure records made public by NBC television affiliate KNSD show that the so-called House ...

Ghosts of taxpayers past

San Diego county district attorney Bonnie Dumanis easily dispatched the inept campaign of challenger Bob Brewer, a sometime defense lawyer who inexplicably shied from talking about restoration of the office’s long-dormant ethics division. Dumanis is ...

Faulconer campaign gurus back e-cigs & billboards

Political insiders open lobbying shop for CBS Outdoor and Lorillard Tobacco

A nexus of hardened political consultants who played a key role in the February victory of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer is seeking what could be an even bigger payoff in the form of a newly ...

Political mansion’s historic tale of woe

Ex-owner of Fort Lauderdale's China White nightclub seeks Point Loma manse delisting.

The sprawling former estate of a fallen San Diego savings and loan kingpin may soon lose its historic designation in a city council action sought by John Cahalin, ex-proprietor of a once-infamous Fort Lauderdale nightclub ...

In search of the perfect buzz

Despite calls for moderation, UCSD’s Sun God Festival turns deadly

Based on the legend built by real estate mogul Douglas Manchester's U-T San Diego in cahoots with UCSD’s PR department, the university is a happy, well-heeled place, full of high-tech researchers spinning off reams of ...

Cops and jobbers

Mayor Kevin Faulconer is looking for a new executive director for San Diego’s much-maligned police review board. Two years ago the body, officially known as the Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices, came in for ...

Global chair warming

The social medium known as Twitter has exposed the annual “Golden Fleece” awards dinner run by the downtown lobbying group calling itself the San Diego County Taxpayers Association to new online fame. The most recent ...

Brown out

It’s election year, which explains why Democratic governor Jerry Brown has been spotted down in San Diego signing the state budget and personally picking up checks for his campaign. Brown is up against Republican ex–Wall ...

Issa’s house of cards and freebies

Public relations honcho takes off on Philly junket

Up on Capitol Hill, Frederick Hill, whose official title is deputy staff director for communications and strategy of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is best known as Darrell Issa's megaphone-in-chief. His LinkedIn profile ...

In Memphis, Faulconer hails GOP machine’s victory

Manchester money's ground game discussed at Southern soiree

He's no Johnny Cash, but San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer was off to Memphis last month to reveal the strategy of his victory to a Republican Party establishment seeking votes from an increasingly fragmented and ...

Nasty super-rich battle looms in Peters-DeMaio race

Mega-millionaire Kimmel reaps sizable profits from political hits

Connoisseurs of San Diego politics who revel in high-dollar distortions, trumped-up attacks, misleading statistics, and all manner of election-time TV commercial casuistry will be enjoying a record season come this fall. Others will need to ...

Faulconer’s wife: master of cops and conventions

Gaslamp BIO party’s security force tries to block videography

It was the culmination of a year of elaborate planning at city hall and a major source of income to Katherine Stuart, wife of mayor Kevin Faulconer. And word was out to private security forces ...

Electrifying dinners

Eating has been good for state legislators who stay on the good side of San Diego–based utility giant Sempra Energy, according to the firm’s latest lobbyist disclosure filing. At Sacramento’s Downtown & Vine, Sempra played ...

Cup of politics

GOP House majority leader Eric Cantor’s defeat at the hands of a Tea Party insurgent has stirred the political pot in Washington. Not so much in San Diego, where the only donor to his political ...

Capital news

A pair of unnamed little birds had a rough plane trip from Washington DC’s Dulles International Airport to San Diego last December, according to an official “animal incident report” recently released by the U.S. Department ...

Audit calls out sexual harassment at SDSU

Will state-owned TV station report on university’s own laxity?

Last summer, the scandal surrounding San Diego's then–mayor Bob Filner made sexual harassment a heated topic of discussion on local and national news media, including KPBS, the public broadcast operation owned and operated by San ...

Papa Doug digs Obama’s pond scum

Editorial reveals publisher’s role in federally subsidized algae-to-energy scheme

Beating up on big government spending is a full-time occupation at U-T San Diego, owned by mega-millionaire Republican real estate developer Douglas Manchester. Obamacare, minimum-wage hikes, and the Barrio Logan community plan are a few ...

Eshoo won't be eschewed by Qualcomm

Hidden money to Ripon and No Labels unmasked in latest report

2013 was a bruising political year for Qualcomm, Inc., the cell-phone chip-maker cofounded by La Jolla Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs. With his son Paul, then the company's chief executive, they put the firm's big-money chips ...

Cash comingling, ethics lapses at SDSU

State audit finds lack of disclosure and honesty training risks fraud

An audit of San Diego State University by state investigators has discovered big gaps in the way the hallowed institution tracks and discloses conflicts-of-interests, ethics training, and cash donations. According to the report to the ...

Crown Manor hijinks

Will letters from Coronado haunt the presidential hopes of Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill, whose own campaign for president enjoyed the big-time financial backing of the late M. Larry Lawrence, once the most powerful and ...

Jerry Sanders’s playhouse

It has to be tough being a lobbyist for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce these days. What with taking down the Barrio Logan Community Plan, fighting the minimum wage demanded by labor unions, ...

Juice

More corporate cash to report from the grand opening last month of the new County Administration Center park on the downtown bayfront: $10,000 from AT&T, at the behest of county supervisor Greg Cox, according to ...

Obama’s Del Martian loophole lobbyist

Less-than-transparent nonprofit gets money from lobbyist client

How transparent is Organizing for Action, the big-money "issue advocacy" committee closely associated with Barack Obama's White House? Not enough, suggests the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit based in Washington DC that runs OpenSecrets.org, ...

Off-base Marine sex assaults recounted

Pentagon report says more bad news is actually good

The Pentagon is out with its annual "Report on Sexual Assault in the Military," covering the 12 months between October 2012 through September of last year, and numbers have been on the rise. The Defense ...

For sale: Southeast SD’s complex of death

Cemetery and mortuaries to be bought by Texas funeral giant

A major real estate wheeler-dealer from Houston is set to take over a big chunk of Southeast San Diego real estate, and the tenants aren't in a position to make a fuss about it. Greenwood ...

Inside the buzz on Kashkari and Faulconer

Love-fest with mayor showcased on website run by GOP sugar daddy

Let San Diego's rich GOP insider political intrigue begin — or continue. After a strange, if not bizarre, Republican spring campaign season, onetime Wall Street bailout chief Neel Kashkari is safely on his way to ...

Painful and suffering lawyers

The law firm of the brother of one-term Democratic congresswoman Lynn Schenk — a close friend of governor Jerry Brown and a member of the controversial bullet train’s board of directors — is giving big ...

Millennial millions

Another staffer for Republican House government oversight and reform committee chairman Darrell Issa has hit the road, this time for a quick trip to Hot Springs, Virginia, to attend the 2014 GOP “Chiefs of Staffs ...

Pump and dump

San Diego’s economy has long been supportive of biotech, but a small portion of the industry may have just taken a big hit. It comes in the form of a warning letter sent last month ...

Pimpo and Singleton do London

But it’s former rear admiral Heinrich who’s accused of big taxpayer waste

One more notable little secret of San Diego–bred Navy brass has finally found its way into the open. A rear admiral who was a top supply officer here has been caught with his hands in ...

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