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Stories by Matt Potter

Political DIY money

As next year’s election season looms ever closer, a couple of local politicos are lining up to place substantial cash bets on themselves. San Diego Republican city councilman Mark Kersey, who didn’t have an opponent ...

It’s raining PR

With San Diego’s water rates set to rise and supply cuts ever growing, that $1.6 million, off-again, on-again public relations contract being issued by Kevin Faulconer to hype his status as the anti-drought mayor is ...

SeaWorld cash, the U-T, and Gloria's endorsement

Beutner-backed Orca park funds Democrat's Assembly bid

Running for the California Assembly from a San Diego city council seat has its advantages, including being up close and personal with the wealthy tenants of a raft of city-owned real estate. In the case ...

Fat arena subsidy good news for Qualcomm chief

Sacramento billboard law "carve-outs" to keep Kings ruled legal by judge

If Kevin Faulconer's Mission Valley stadium environmental impact report case ever gets to court, the mayor may want to consider having it heard in Sacramento. Those still following the Republican's tortured struggle with the Chargers ...

Faulconer's political guru out as stadium lobbyist

Hit by Chargers on ethics grounds, Roe delisted as influence peddler.

Kevin Faulconer's political brain has left the torrid kitchen of city hall influence peddling, but he may not have gone far, based on a July 23 filing with the city clerk's office. As first reported ...

Hillary Clinton: Irwin Jacobs's home companion

Qualcomm billionaire and Sempra board member to cohost Clinton bash

It's official. Hillary Clinton is coming to town again — more specifically to the La Jolla manse of billionaire Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan, whose son Paul, Qualcomm's executive chairman, is fresh ...

Junior G-Persons

Being an FBI agent can involve dangerous work, but can the same be said about attending the bureau’s annual one-day Teen Academy? “Due to the vast diversity in our workforce, any student with an interest ...

Jules Verne was here

UCSD is out to change the world, the tax-funded university says on a recent job posting, but it will take more than a few more dollars to get there. “Professionals working within University Development at ...

Congressional spill

The deepening drought and increasing talk of using recycled sewage for drinking water has been very good of late for city hall lobbyists. Latest to profit is Southwest Strategies, founded by ex-Tribune reporter Alan Ziegaus, ...

Federal audit blasts DEA for informant mishandling

Seventeen confidential sources got $1 million of snitch pay in single year

The raft of San Diego drug-trade snitches used by the Drug Enforcement Agency may not be up to snuff, and that could be bad news for the public's safety and the policing of the region’s ...

Is SDSU chief really hurting for a fatter raise?

Hirshman pay nudged to $420,000 with more possible

San Diego State president Eliot Hirshman, formerly known as the $400,000 man, is likely about to get yet another bump in his annual base pay, making him the newly minted $420,000 man. According to an ...

Iran treaty trashers spending big on San Diego TV

Newly emerged dark-money group with ties to Israel lobby knock Obama's anti-nuke plan

A newly minted dark-money group opposed to the nuclear treaty with Iran worked out by president Barack Obama has opened its campaign with a national barrage of television commercials, including a hefty buy in San ...

UCSD flunks sex crime disclosure 101

California universities audited for Clery Act compliance faulted for errors and omissions

The University of California at San Diego, already beset by myriad high-profile troubles, has another black mark to deal with, although this time the taxpayer-funded school isn't alone. "Our review of six California institutions found ...

Fabiani’s Cabrera money love

Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani, who has been deftly fielding the brickbats of mayor Kevin Faulconer’s stadium task force while launching more than a few of his own in the battle over keeping the team ...

$500,000 terminal art backstory

It’s a big month for art at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, which over the years has spent millions on a controversial collection of creative adornments to distract travelers from long lines, prying TSA agents, and ...

UCSD's costly ad switch: Chargers to Trolley

$1.3 million football deal eclipsed by $27.7 million MTS contract

With the Chargers appearing on the brink of leaving town, the University of California at San Diego is casting about for a new way to spend its prodigious pile of promotional cash. As first reported ...

Sloppy money handling plagues San Diego Unified

$7.6 million in student funds could be at risk of theft, district auditors say

No names are named, but there appears to be plenty of blame to go around in the mishandling of Associated Student Body money at two dozen campuses in the San Diego Unified School District, according ...

Viviano abruptly departs UCSD in turmoil’s midst

$10 million in Las Vegas losses, body parts audit, and researcher rebellion hit university

The announced departure of Paul Viviano, who currently enjoys the lengthy title of chief executive officer for the University of California, San Diego Health System and associate vice chancellor for UC San Diego Health Sciences, ...

Dick-rated

Television station KFMB, run by wealthy La Jolla Republican Elisabeth Kimmel, has been having X-rated issues with federal regulators of late. According to a June 1 letter from the station’s Washington lawyers to the Federal ...

Doug and Kevin’s Balboa bash

Veteran political observers call it Douglas Manchester’s last laugh. Just before the voluble real estate developer from La Jolla sold what he called U-T San Diego to Tribune Publishing of Chicago in May, he gave ...

North Island repair shop busts Navy's budget

Audit targets $1 billion backlog of costly fixes for aging aircraft

A big backlog of unrepaired fighter jets has been growing at the Navy's Fleet Readiness Center Southwest on North Island, and the cost of fixing the issue is likely to be steep. So shows a ...

Mayor wins big in spin and dollar wars

Chargers departure might boost Faulconer's political future after all

Skeptics who predicted that the takeover of the Union-Tribune by Chicago's Tribune Publishing wouldn't really change San Diego's big-money media and political culture may turn out to be right, judging from the latest proclamation by ...

Dave Roberts hand-slapped for hidden $5000

California political watchdog lets county supervisor off for unrevealed union payment

As reported here June 10, Democratic county supervisor Dave Roberts was more than a little tardy in reporting a contribution made last year on his behalf by the United Domestic Workers of America. According to ...

Faulconer’s planning director is a nobody

Long-lingering vacancy in key city role looms over Chargers stadium deal

It's been almost a year since the departure of city planning director Bill Fulton was announced by San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer Fulton's two-sentence August 1, 2014, resignation letter to Faulconer, obtained from the city ...

Party like its 2016

With next year’s June primaries less than a year away and campaigns growing ever costlier, local politicos have been throwing a record number of parties to attract well-heeled donors. Democratic congressman Scott Peters, whose campaign ...

Juan’s foreign affairs, cont’d

Fresh from an April junket with his wife in the Bavarian Alps paid for by nonprofit foundations backed by German industrialists, House Democrat Juan Vargas embarked alone on another free foreign journey in May, thanks ...

Mayor's $1.6 million drought PR plan is back

Water “messaging" consultant to serve GOP's Faulconer

After being abruptly pulled from the city's procurement website two months ago, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer's $1.6 million anti-drought public relations campaign is back out for proposals, as costly as ever. As first reported ...

Conflict of interest charges haunt city's Chargers bid

Controversial high-dollar stadium consultant also employed by Saint Louis

San Diego's long-running stadium wars have been very, very good for Dan Barrett. It was way back in 2002 that the city's first Chargers task force hired Barrett and his firm, Barrett Sports Group of ...

The nepotism case that won't die

Cousin of ousted port commissioner checks in regarding son's lifeguard proceeds

There are many family ties in San Diego government, some legal, some not so much. For instance, the ghost of Wayne Darbeau, ousted as chief executive officer of the port of San Diego after a ...

UCSD finally gets body parts oversight board

As FBI lurks, shadowy human tissue acquisitions undergo review

Under fire from a year-old audit for mishandling human body parts in its research and teaching operations, UCSD has finally announced creation of a new high-level committee to help clean up its act. "As many ...

Party on Wall Street

An investment officer at San Diego’s city employment retirement system has been traveling for free of late, thanks to some big-money pension outfits. On April 16, Jaime Hamrick headed off to New York City for ...

Stuck in the rough

They won their election battle with Michael Schlesinger, but residents around the former Escondido Country Club golf course where the controversial Beverly Hills developer wants to build condos now have to reckon with the state’s ...

Fishing for dollars

Birch Aquarium at Scripps still seeks executive director

Already well into the term of its second temporary chief, Birch Aquarium at UCSD’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography is still trying to find a permanent executive director to run the multimillion-dollar operation. It is said ...

Do secret Jacobs subsidies presage Chargers deal?

Sons of La Jolla's Qualcomm billionaire benefit from Sacramento billboard giveaways

As San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and county supervisor Ron Roberts run up the public's tab in their frantic bid to keep the Chargers in San Diego, a trial in Sacramento is revealing the kind ...

In San Diego versus Chargers, is next move up to Beutner?

Wealthy publisher favored moving Comic-Con to Los Angeles

The battle between San Diego's Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer and the Chargers, growing fiercer by the day, has turned the San Diego GOP's historic relationship with the team-owning Spanos family on its political head. Patriarch ...

Pastuszka plagued by untracked artwork

Roosevelt portrait and copier placed at risk by negligent accounting

San Diego county supervisors, accustomed to lurking in the shadows of local government as their fellow public servants at city hall endure chronic controversy, have lately been getting their own share of negative public attention. ...

Have hit pieces, will travel

Republican political consultant Tom Mitchell, who worked for Carl DeMaio and had the distinction of being fired in 2011 by voluble GOP district attorney Bonnie Dumanis — as well as being San Diego city attorney ...

Campaign captive

The campaign of Kirk Jorgensen, who took on fellow Republican Carl DeMaio in last year’s primary race for the 52nd congressional seat held by Democrat Scott Peters, got into some leftover hot water with the ...

Small circle of nepotism

After the newspaper then known as U-T San Diego last year ran a series of stories about port honcho Wayne Darbeau tapping port tenants to provide summer jobs for his son, Darbeau was allowed to ...

County worker felonies unreported by D.A.

Dumanis “special ops” office vows change after audit exposes disclosure gaps

San Diego, known for its mayoral miscreants, also has a goodly number of felonious bad apples further down in the barrel of public servants. And until a recent audit exposed the problem, repeated failures by ...

Gambling backs $882 million Vikings stadium debt

San Diego promoter pushes New Jersey family’s model for Chargers venue

Ex–Cox cable honcho Bill Geppert says he's come up with a killer model for the new Mission Valley Chargers stadium being touted by Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer and his county supervisorial cohort Ron Roberts. "Interestingly, ...

Turning out the lights on Chargers Charities

Can U-T's Beutner make up for nonprofit giving if team leaves for L.A.?

If the Chargers leave town, San Diego won't be losing just a football team, it also will likely be bidding adieu to a charity that in its time has spread some major money around town. ...

Of cops and marijuana

San Diego police are on the lookout to buy some heavy duty high-tech laser guns made by Applied Concepts of Plano, Texas, maker of the Stalker line of speed detectors. “The Stalker X-Series [light detection ...

Rental car monopoly

A national car-rental giant has been caught underpaying fees at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, according to an April 24 report by airport authority chief auditor Mark Burhyett. “Enterprise Holdings, Inc. d/b/a Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent-A-Car ...

Rain of politics

Former U.S. Attorney and San Diego school district superintendent Alan Bersin, the Homeland Security functionary whose wealthy wife Lisa Foster works for the Justice Department, was reportedly on the short list of Barack Obama’s candidates ...

Road tripping with a Congressional Democrat

Record free traveler racks up another global excursion

San Diego's most freely traveling member of Congress has hit the road again, this time to Montreal, Canada, for a four-day seminar entitled “Diplomacy and Extremism: Iran, ISIS, and U.S. Interests in an Unraveling Middle ...

Kevin Faulconer’s stealthy web war

Lincoln Club unloads on Chargers as mayor’s re-election site omits stadium questions

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer may fall short of the goal in his costly effort keep the Chargers in town, but one thing is certain: his new 2016 re-election website isn’t talking about it. Instead, ...

Plug-in cars threaten SDG&E's power grid

Idaho lab uncovers electrical glitches and hidden costs in SDG&E’s troubled transformers

Local economic and political powers, including UCSD and Sempra, have been spending big bucks touting San Diego as a haven for electric cars, with Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer leading the PR parade. "Smart Cities San ...

UCSD's questioned body business

Audit finds problematical use of cadavers and parts from outside sources

The question of who has the body parts at UCSD and where they came from has drawn the attention of university auditors, who say that the increased use of anatomical materials from commercial sources has ...

Contemporary art pay

The substantial income level for La Jolla’s Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has been generally treading water of late. During the 12 months ending last June 30, the institution raked in total revenue of ...

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