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Stories by Matt Potter

Questionable political fundraising? Roger on that

Hedgecock and KFMB hit with unfairness charge in DeMaio race

Is one of San Diego's wealthiest women — whose family foundation backs nonprofits linked to the billionaire Koch brothers — abusing her lucrative radio and TV broadcasting licenses to muzzle an electoral opponent of Republican ...

Murder in Mexico

Drug-related homicides have been up sharply in Tijuana, but there’s a political shoot-out over just how much, according to a new report by the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico project. Though drug-gang conflict ...

Life in the rich and political lane

Democratic Assembly speaker–elect Toni Atkins hasn’t wasted time cashing in her newly won influence for campaign dollars to support the party’s roster of San Diego City Council candidates. Democrats are throwing a $125-a-head (up to ...

SEAL suits

War may be bloody hell, but life as a La Jolla venture capitalist isn’t a bed of roses either, according to an email making the rounds of local Harvard Club members. The group is offering ...

Douglas Manchester backs a Horton

U-T San Diego owner drops small bundle on Lincoln Club candidate

Real estate developer and U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester has boarded the Board of Equalization bandwagon of GOP ex-assemblywoman and former Chula Vista mayor Shirley Horton, kicking in $6000 on April 21, according to ...

Mayor's nominee withdraws from major appointment

Gray says he backed out of civil service commission role to avoid conflicts

Insurance consultant and Republican Lincoln Club leader Douglas E. Gray has backed out of an appointment by San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer to the city's civil service commission. Interviewed in his downtown C Street office ...

Familiar face remains as Faulconer cleans house

Paul Robinson's brow-raising associations and decisions irrelevant to mayor

Continuing a string of appointments of political backers to key spots in San Diego city government, Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer has renewed the long tenure of downtown lobbyist Paul Robinson as chairman of the Mission ...

Immigrants bad for environment, TV ads say

Anti-immigration effort of failed San Diego bank exec buys TV spots

An outfit calling itself “Californians for Population Stabilization” is buying San Diego television commercials as part of what it says is an Earth Day–linked campaign against “mass immigration.” The spots begin with a child asking ...

Plastic Bag People

Fate and fortune turn quickly in San Diego politics, for none more so than Kimberly Hale Miller and Phil Rath, influence-peddlers once employed by a lobbying firm owned by Tom Shepard, political consultant to fallen ...

Smoking, not pot

Smoking giant R.J. Reynolds of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has been handing out some big money lately to California politicos, including $1500 each to Democratic state senator Ben Hueso and Republican assemblyman Brian Maienschein. GOP senator ...

Faulconer funder nails top airport spot

Hotel mogul and major GOP donor re-upped by mayor

What a difference a year can make in San Diego's uniquely rough-and-tumble brand of municipal politics. In March of last year, then-mayor Bob Filner — a longtime critic of what he said were sweetheart Mission ...

U-T San Diego key backer in "jobs tax" defeat

Media operation owned by developer gave more than $42,000 of ad space

The battle over the City of San Diego's so-called linkage fee on commercial development to pay for subsidized housing ended with a whimper last month. San Diego Chamber of Commerce honcho and ex-GOP mayor Jerry ...

$80,000 fine in Filner and Dumanis cash case

City ethics commission settles out with La Jolla luxury car dealer

The San Diego city ethics commission has reached a stipulated agreement with La Jolla luxury car dealer Marc Chase to fork over a hefty penalty in the political-money-laundering case involving a Mexican national, GOP district ...

Manure stench plagues anti-Fletcher donor

Escondido developer with San Diego lobbyist opens front against neighbors

Could a political contribution by any other name smell sweeter to San Diego Republicans? That seems to be one of two persistent questions for Los Angeles developer Michael Schlesinger, who has been battling nearby residents ...

Champagne and free BMWs

UCSD wants to build a costly new biology building, but the state hasn’t yet given it the cash, so University of California regents have said it’s okay for the school to start working on a ...

Grabby god of sun

The recently released University of California report on the “campus climate” at UCSD warns students to be on the lookout for mashers at the upcoming Sun God festival. The document relates that 94 of those ...

Bersin’s bungling?

The Customs and Border Protection department’s Advanced Training Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia — to which San Diego Border Patrol sector trainees are regularly dispatched for a high-tech education in all manner of shooting, ...

San Diego unions violated campaign finance law

Labor council and Oceanside firefighters' PAC didn't disclose campaign cash

Two San Diego County–based labor groups are up for charges at this month's meeting of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. One of the cases dates back to 2010, according to the allegations, when the ...

Qualcomm-linked foundation pays for Davis travel

Well-traveled House Democrat and staffer take mid-winter Florida junket

San Diego House Democrat Susan Davis, infamous for years of free world travel, thanks to various lobbyist-related groups, stuck closer to home in her latest gratis mid-winter foray from the nation's capital. A travel-disclosure form ...

U.S. Customs corruption is chronic, audit says

SENTRI faces "insider threat," needs more lie detector tests of border agents.

Cooked up in 1995 as a way of easing border travel from Mexico to the United States for those who qualify for pre-approval, the so-called Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection Program, SENTRI for ...

Appeals court orders U-T San Diego publisher to pay up

Manchester loses another round in U.S. court case over $477,070 tab.

A Texas banking start-up owned by U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester has lost another round in federal court in its long legal battle with an irate vendor alleging that the La Jolla real estate ...

Potted plans

A noted pioneer of San Diego’s cannabis industry has turned up on an application for a medical pot license in Massachusetts by an outfit called Bay State Holistic. “Executive Director Corey Barnette brings 12 years ...

UCSD’s god of debauchery

In the crosstown rivalry between UCSD and San Diego State University, one thing has always been seen as certain: SDSU is the town’s premier hard drinking party school, as attested to over many years by ...

Faulconer inaugural tab exceeded $91,000, disclosure shows

Mayoral press aide listed as getting $1000 from lobbyist-backed group.

The official report is in, and, as expected by many city hall insiders, new GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer picked up plenty of cash from the city's special interests to stage his inaugural festivities last month. ...

Will county extravaganza avoid Balboa Park mistakes?

Parks and Rec issues request for proposals for waterfront grand opening May 10.

The Balboa Park 2015 centennial celebration may be dead, at least on the grandiose scale once envisioned by ex-mayor Jerry Sanders, but his fellow Republicans on the county board of supervisors are planning to stage ...

Twenty-three percent at UCSD experienced "exclusionary" conduct, survey says

Those defined as "genderqueer" reported highest harassment rates.

The results are in and UCSD has received a generally passing grade in the University of California's recently released "Campus Climate Assessment Project" survey, though there are some downsides. "The purpose of the survey was ...

Distressed real estate kingpin goes big for Brewer

Dumanis foe won't disclose nature of relationship with candidate.

The election isn't until June, but the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of San Diego County political action committee hasn't wasted any time getting signs lined up for its candidate of choice, attorney Robert Brewer, running to ...

Maintenance deferred

It’s an open and shut case, according San Diego’s city auditor. The operator of Old Town’s Presidio Golf Course, owned by the city, was using it as an illegal parking lot over last year’s Cinco ...

High-pressure sales job

How to get students to attend UCSD? Get the professors to work the phones. That’s according to a memo last month by executive vice chancellor Suresh Subramani. “Research indicates that faculty interaction is a key ...

No sewer sleeping

San Diego is looking for a few good watchdogs to monitor its sewers. “The City needs enhanced security guard services at its various water and wastewater critical infrastructure sites located throughout San Diego County on ...

Work for the Port or the City? You’re exempt from lobby laws

Ex-San Diego redevelopment chief Jeff Graham strikes gold as influence peddler.

Jeff Graham — who used to run the post-redevelopment Civic San Diego and before that worked for the now-defunct Centre City Development Corporation, both city agencies — has just made a lucrative move to the ...

Dumanis set to open TV ad war

Embattled District Attorney lays out big cash for pre-primary television spots.

San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, beset by a well-funded opponent and a high profile federal case against a wealthy political backer, is laying out big bucks for television spots prior to June's primary election. ...

Broadway bayside blighted, Manchester lawyers say

U-T San Diego publisher wants judge to throw out state's case against project.

The way lawyers for Douglas Manchester see it, the Republican developer and U-T San Diego publisher is doing San Diegans a big favor with his controversial, mega-million dollar Navy Broadway bayside development deal. "The Navy ...

San Diego Navy privatization costly, audit says

Taxpayers fork over increased housing allowance to bail out Pacific Beacon

As newly elected GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer begins his behind-the-scenes ramp-up of what is expected to be a sweeping privatization at San Diego's city hall, a federal audit cautions that rampant outsourcing is not necessarily ...

War is a junket

San Diego Unified Port District commissioner Garry Bonelli is looking to go on a spring junket to Israel and Jordan, but before making his reservations the retired two-star admiral checked in with the state’s Fair ...

Ticket fix

Over at San Diego–based utility giant Sempra Energy, the lobbyists’ handouts were more sizable than those at Barona. Miguel Martinez, field deputy for Democratic assemblyman John Perez, got two admissions to a December 28 event ...

Culinary institute for Democrats

Democratic governor Jerry Brown, on an apparent easy course to reelection this year, last week bagged a $10,000 campaign contribution from San Diego’s Qualcomm, founded by billionaire Barack Obama–backer Irwin Jacobs. Not much more surprising ...

Developer Stuck in the Rough gets warning letter

No fine levied against silent backer of Lincoln Club’s Fletcher hit pieces

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission has handed a warning letter — but no fine — to a five-figure financial backer of the GOP Lincoln Club’s war of hit pieces against Nathan Fletcher last year. ...

As new fee imposed, university exec gets a raise

UCSD to California State University transfer pays off for administrator

While SDSU prepares to levy its new $200-per-semester "student success fee," yet another highly paid university administrator from San Diego is going on to even bigger money at the California State University system's headquarters in ...

Military contracting giants gird for barrio battle

Multinationals chip in big to defeat community plan at polls

With San Diego's mayor in its pocket and a bundle of cash already laid out, the world’s military contracting lobby appears to be leaving nothing to chance in its bid to kill the Barrio Logan ...

SD County Indian gambling board lacks disclosure

State audit implicates Sheriff Gore, Supervisor Jacobs, and more

The county of San Diego has been playing fast and loose with transparency and the distribution of Indian gambling cash awarded to it by the state, ostensibly to cover the adverse impacts of tribal casinos ...

Water and the mother’s milk of politics

As drought ravages California and other parts of the West, the political giving habits of the state’s private water merchants and brokers are coming under increasing scrutiny. One is La Jolla–based Pico Holdings on Ivanhoe ...

Cowboy Doug

2013 was a very good year, politically speaking, for La Jolla developer and U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester, who saw his top nemesis, Democratic ex-mayor Bob Filner, vanquished in a sexual harassment scandal. Then, ...

Shamu pays off big for San Diego pols

Execs for controversial aquatic park spreading fishy political wealth

With their bread and butter, and anchovies and chum, under attack by animal-rights activists, executives at Sea World, the profitable San Diego aquatic park, have been turning to a traditional American means of persuasion: campaign ...

San Diego legislators hit the road for free

Head of controversial nonprofit says, "These are not golf trips to Maui."

Who was the top junketeer among local legislators in 2013? That would be Democratic assemblywoman Shirley Weber, according to just-filed state personal financial disclosure reports. The California Foundation of the Environment and Economy picked up ...

Handwriting on the wall for city’s anti-graffiti bid

Audit blasts weakened enforcement, watered-down vendor contract

To outsource or not to outsource seems to be the question for new GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer, generally a privatization proponent, in the wake of a report by the city auditor's office on failures in ...

More clients drop San Diego's Sacramento lobbyist

Sloat fined for illegal gifting — will GOP influence-peddler be kept by Faulconer?

Sacramento’s Sloat Higgins Jensen & Associates, the lobbying firm fired by San Diego ex-mayor Bob Filner and rehired last year by interim mayor Todd Gloria, continues to face controversy and deserting clients after its agreement ...

Off limits to media, mayor's bash draws crowd of lobbyists

Billboard hustler and trash maven among insiders at Faulconer downtown inaugural party

It may not have been the Oscars exactly, but some of San Diego's most well-heeled developers and best connected lobbyists and influence peddlers didn't seem to mind as they made their way past a blaring ...

School board's Beiser draws opponent

Democrat backed by Irwin Jacobs and Scott Peters challenged by tech advocate

San Diego Unified School District board member Kevin Beiser, whose holiday fundraising bash late last year at the estate of once-imprisoned super lawyer Bill Lerach drew a bevy of Democratic political stars and donors, including ...

Scott Barnett bows out of school-board race

Incumbent posts message saying he's done at SD Unified district

Scott Barnett, longtime political consultant, journalist, and onetime head of the GOP Lincoln Club, has decided not to seek reelection to the board of San Diego Unified School District. He posted the announcement on Facebook ...