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Stories by Matt Potter

LaDainian Tomlinson's brutal history

Austin reporter writes about Tomlinson Hill cotton plantation in Texas

Tomlinson is a famous name in San Diego, thanks to the family's most noted member, former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson. It's the same in Texas, but these days another who bears the Tomlinson name ...

Former Filner funders flow to Faulconer

Border kingpins and Mexican sewage mogul help pay down mayor's debt

It used to be that campaign committees for San Diego politicos closed up shop within a week or two after the election, holding a victory or consolation party, paying off a few bills, and occasionally ...

Welfare cheaters

San Diego County officials have been playing fast and loose with the so-called Electronic Benefit Transfer cards used by welfare recipients to buy food and other essentials, according to a July audit. In addition to ...

Influence 101

UCSD is searching for someone expert in the gentle art of political schmoozing to promote the giant taxpayer-funded institution with federal officials in Washington. Reporting to vice chancellor for research Sandra Brown, the new hire ...

Lawyers’ feast

A campaign committee backing a drive by Democratic Qualcomm co-founder and La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs and allies to counter the GOP’s effort to repeal the city’s new minimum-wage ordinance may have the longest name ...

KPBS takes fresh bite of sex story

State-owned broadcaster offers new spin on campus violence and harassment

The clock began ticking June 24 with the release of a state audit blasting San Diego State University and sister institutions for failing to deal with increased incidents of campus sexual harassment and violence. The ...

Audit notes sex incidents at downtown lockup

Metropolitan Correctional Center gets pass from prison-rape reviewer

Some San Diego County jails may be under the gun, but an auditor for the U.S. Justice Department has found that downtown's Metropolitan Correctional Center is in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, despite ...

Senator Hueso busted for DUI, paper reports

DeMaio masturbation witness arrested in south Sacramento

San Diego state senator Ben Hueso was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in south Sacramento on Friday, according to the Sacramento Bee. Citing the Sacramento County jail website, the paper is reporting ...

Still swinging in his 70s

Ex-Wilson chief Bob White ranks high among influence-peddlers

He's into his 70s now, but San Diego's Bob White, onetime chief aide and political intimate of Republican mayor (and later United States senator and California governor) Pete Wilson, is still near the peak of ...

Brian’s revenge

Mindy Fletcher, ex–White House press aide to president George Bush and wife of failed Republican-turned-Democratic San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, has gone into business with Corinne Clark, an ex-staffer for Brian Bilbray, a Republican ...

Thanks for the dough, $hamu!

SeaWorld gives $25,000 to re-elect Jerry Brown

SeaWorld's stock may be down on Wall Street, but it definitely appears to be up with Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. After repeated battering by animal-rights advocates over the issue of orca captivity, the marine-animal emporium ...

MEK Muck-up

It may seem a bit late, but ex-San Diego mayor Bob Filner, who quit office following revelations of sexual harassment last summer, has just received a warning from California’s Fair Political Practices Commission. In a ...

Steakhouse wages

The San Diego Democratic Party is facing off in the fall against the GOP Lincoln Club in what is expected to be a particularly nasty electoral clash. The main battle is between Republican downtown lobbyist ...

Manchester vs. Jacobs, round two

Battle of hit pieces may herald minimum wage campaign

The latest high-stakes confrontation between Republican newspaper publisher and mega-hotel developer Douglas Manchester and his wealthy Democratic foe, La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs, over the minimum wage is likely to make national headlines and attract ...

Rove-linked dark money backs DeMaio

TV costs head for record in big-money battle over 52nd district House seat.

The 52nd district battle between freshman Democratic congressman Scott Peters and Republican ex-city councilman Carl Demaio, already one of the nation's costliest House races, has just gotten even pricier with the arrival of Crossroads Grassroots ...

Big money gambling emporium gets Brown break

Viejas casino, a major political donor, hit by gambling slowdown, governor says.

The traditionally free-spending Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians has received a financial break from Jerry Brown, to whose political friends and causes the Alpine casino and hotel owner has long contributed. In an August 13 ...

Dumanis aide sings the blues

As the U-T San Diego’s mini-tempest over Bonnie Dumanis’s endorsement letter on behalf of the son of political money-laundering defendant José Susumo Azano quickly fades to black, the GOP district attorney has continued to spend ...

Baby Doug goes Democrat

U-T publisher Douglas Manchester, the wealthy real estate and hotel mogul from La Jolla, put up at least $356,000 to help elect mayor Kevin Faulconer earlier this year. Now Manchester’s son Douglas, working for his ...

Industrial gas and political cash

San Diego–based utility behemoth Sempra Energy has turned to its loyal executives to support some of its political campaign giving. A federally registered campaign fund called the Sempra Energy Employees Political Action Committee has raised ...

Southwestern College president to be fined

Political watchdog nails two South Bay officials and San Diego lobbyist

The president of Southwestern College's governing board is set to pay a $3000 fine to California's political watchdog agency for chronically ignoring campaign disclosure laws. Teresa “Terri” Valladolid, whose day-job is as labor-relations advocate for ...

How about let’s make an Ebola bomb?

Vaccine researchers flush with cash; control of product distribution unclear

As the West's war of nerves with the Russian Federation heats up, Africa’s latest Ebola outbreak is being viewed as both an ominous foreboding and welcome opportunity by San Diego's growing military-biotech establishment. Escaping media ...

Ex-Clinton aide to lobby for nude clubs

Can he avoid fate of previous adult-entertainment influence-peddlers?

Proprietors of San Diego’s adult-entertainment establishments, prosaically known as strip joints, have been persistent about returning to the good old days of the business, when customers could reach out and feel the merchandise. That was ...

Sheriff’s dept. mismanages inmates’ cash

County audit blasts lax prisoner fund-handling at jails

Has San Diego County sheriff Bill Gore been playing fast and loose with cash held for inmates at the county's seven detention facilities, including East Mesa, Facility 8, George Bailey, Las Colinas, South Bay, Vista, ...

A Copley by any other name

Its new website suggests that the David C. Copley Foundation, formerly known as the Helen K. and James S. Copley Foundation, may be about to flex some new-found financial muscle, thanks to major asset sales ...

Buzzing up

KPBS is giving itself a big pat on the back for what it calls its “exclusive coverage of the San Diego Mayor Bob Filner story.” A glossy pamphlet put out by the station, which is ...

Silver bullets

Sheriff Bill Gore, re-elected with no opposition this June, is now sitting on a fat campaign war chest of $59,339, according to his latest disclosure report. Private prison proprietor Corrections Corporation of America, looking to ...

Cole cash

Councilwoman’s legal debt could be bailed by city-hall lobbyists

It has cost San Diego city councilwoman Myrtle Cole at least $24,878 in legal fees to ward off a defamation lawsuit by disgruntled former challenger Dwayne Crenshaw, and the District 4 Democrat has turned to ...

THC-green pastures for ex-Sanders staffers

Spawn of former GOP mayor do the medical marijuana pitch

While San Diego ex-mayor Jerry Sanders lobbies for a border railroad and against minimum-wage hikes, records show some of his former staffers have taken to peddling influence for the city's mushrooming marijuana business; another is ...

Anti-wage boost group spends $114,000

"Ugly" campaign against minimum wage promised by U-T San Diego

"Expect hardball," a U-T San Diego editorial promised this week about an anticipated referendum campaign by the paper's publisher and his political allies against the city council's vote to hike the minimum wage. "It can ...

SDSU sued over living wage

Elite security claims school balks at payment due to mandatory wage hikes

As storm clouds gather over the San Diego City Council's minimum-wage hike — with promises by U-T San Diego publisher and megamillionaire developer Douglas Manchester of an "ugly" referendum battle against the move – his ...

Park it here

This spring, Duncan Solutions, a parking-meter provider from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, paid the CrisCom Company of Chatsworth, California, $5000 to lobby the City of San Diego regarding procurement of its wares. Earlier this year the city ...

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.

It's been a big day in Washington for two high-tech San Diego farmers. Pierre Sleiman, Jr., who runs a North County outfit called Go Green Agriculture with his father Pierre Sleiman, has 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 ...

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