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Stories by Matt Potter

UCSD refuses to reveal Padres medical discounts

University spurns records act request for high-dollar sponsor data.

The San Diego Padres, perennial laggards on the playing field, are getting millions of dollars in cash and a secretive deal for discounted medical care from UCSD as part of a costly endorsement and promotional ...

No comments, please, we’re SDSU

Opinionated viewers are invited to use Twitter and Facebook

San Diego State University’s KPBS broadcasting operation is suddenly slamming the door on website comments, some of which have questioned the political direction of the station whose newsroom is named after billionaire Democrat contributor Irwin ...

The push for a U-T advisory board that isn’t one-sided

Guided by values

Back in July 2011, after Beverly Hills vulture capitalist Tom Gores bought the Union-Tribune from an ailing David Copley, ending decades of local ownership, the paper’s new editor Jeff Light announced he had come up ...

Homies behind in Qualcomm Stadium cash war

But SoccerCity foes putting up major money as signatures arrive.

The battle between a Wall Street hedge fund multimillionaire from La Jolla and two old-line developers over the destiny of Qualcomm Stadium is looking more formidable than ever. On Thursday April 13, a political committee ...

Mother’s milk

Former San Diego city manager Jack McGrory gets honorary degree

Former San Diego city manager Jack McGrory, controversial for his role in the costly downtown Padres stadium project on behalf of mega-millionaire John Moores and later a big-time real estate developer in his own right, ...

Mission Valley green

Big money wants the Qualcomm Stadium site

The ongoing battle over whether to turn over the 165-acre, publicly owned Qualcomm Stadium site to a group of La Jolla hedge-fund managers seeking to develop a soccer stadium and commercial complex has been very ...

Qualcomm gave $1 million to Trump inaugural

Free-trading chip giant and Doug Manchester made seven-figure contributions

San Diego’s Qualcomm, Inc., cofounded by La Jolla Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs, has lobbied long and hard to greatly increase so-called H-1B visas, the entry permits issued by the federal government, allowing lower-wage foreign engineers ...

Real job, fake news

Can you disseminate information to the media?

The City of San Diego’s communications department, already chock full of public relations hands speaking favorably of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer (himself an ex-PR man), is looking for more of the same. The new employees, ...

U.S. audit rebukes improper UCSD spending

Costly Apple picking and post-dated five figure trip claims

Last-minute purchases of high-end Apple computers and a host of other questioned expenses has gotten UCSD into hot water with auditors for the National Science Foundation's office of Inspector General, who have called out the ...

Deep state GOP justice?

D.A. hopeful's husband, a federal judge, axed personal belief exemption

Some are calling it the deep state of San Diego Republican justice. A plan by incumbent District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to step aside in favor of her chief deputy Summer Stephan is accompanied by what ...

High-dollar Democrats

General Motors tapped for cash

San Diego City Council Democrat David Alvarez, who has already set up a campaign fundraising apparatus for a shot at the District One county supervisor’s vacancy opening in 2020, has tapped behemoth carmaker General Motors ...

Little San Diego intelligence

Calling all spies!

There’s a dearth of professional online spies at San Diego’s so-called fusion center, the costly, high-security law-enforcement complex set up in Kearny Mesa by the federal government to combat terrorism by sharing super-secret data between ...

Mr. Issa goes to Hollywood

And Bill Maher pays for it

North County congressman Darrell Issa made news when he appeared on liberal Bill Maher’s HBO talk show in late February, calling for a special prosecutor to investigate Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election. “We ...

Fisher bids adieu to $1.2 million annual compensation

SDSU basketball coach dictated school’s head coach-in-waiting

Given last month's abrupt demise of Balboa Park's Hall of Champions, retiring San Diego State University head basketball coach Steve Fisher will have to settle for the virtual Valhalla of the heart that the city's ...

Ghost streetlights cost taxpayers, benefit SDG&E

Mayor's political mainstay overcharges city for power

San Diego taxpayers have been overbilled by millions of dollars in energy expenses, says a new report by city auditor Eduardo Luna that fingers SDG&E and the city administration under Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer - ...

Goldsmith’s lobby break

One-year post-employment cooling-off period

As long expected by city hall insiders, ex–city attorney Jan Goldsmith is one more step along the road to his big-money reward in the lucrative world of influence-peddling. “As Of Counsel, Jan will be leading ...

The holdings of top ethics officials

Stacey Fulhorst leaves no paper trail

As the city’s ethics commission slumbers during the reign of San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, executive director Stacey Fulhorst has been buying and selling lots of securities, according to her personal financial disclosure report for ...

Under Faulconer, credit card abuse roils city hall

Split transactions “strictly prohibited and viewed as a serious infraction”

When San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer ascended to power three years ago, he promised to clean up the mess left by fallen Democrat Bob Filner, but city hall traditions die hard, including loose handling ...

Private jet ferries mayor's aide to Phoenix homeless shelter

$2000 fly-and-limo package furnished by steakhouse magnate with a cause

When ex-PR man Kevin Faulconer and his staffers undertake something, even looking for a solution to the city's festering homeless issue, they do it in style, courtesy of his ever-generous campaign boosters who stand at ...

No car-sleeping in Encinitas, say lobbying city fathers

Election-runoff killers

San Diego’s Republican county supervisors say they are gunning for legislation introduced by the local Democratic Assembly delegation that would allow for charter amendments requiring a general-election runoff for the top two finishers in primary ...

SDSU’s big birdies’ tab

High-dollar public employees at KPBS

San Diego State University, its future clouded by a brewing fight for control of Mission Valley’s Qualcomm Stadium site, along with the imminent departure of president Elliot Hirshman for greener financial pastures at Maryland’s Stevenson ...

Mission Valley privatization's blazingly fast cash burn

Another million sunk into contentious stadium campaign

If nothing else, the knock-down, big-money brawl over the fate of the 165-acre chunk of public land in Mission Valley otherwise known as Qualcomm Stadium would make a good case study for Harvard Business School, ...

Hedge-fund figures kick in $1.4 million for stadium land grab

"SoccerCity" backers’ deep pockets on display in first financial disclosure

Big money appears to be doing plenty of the talking within the corridors of power at San Diego's city hall and outside the doors of area supermarkets, where hired guns from across the nation are ...

Issa speaks

Mixed messages on hot-button issues

With an internal campaign poll showing that he faces a tough reelection battle next year, Republican congressman Darrell Issa has been showing up at district town halls with some newly mixed messages on hot-button issues. ...

Owner of the U-T not buying Us Weekly after all

Pension gap

The peculiarly named Chicago-based company that owns the Union-Tribune has had some financial fessing up to do before next month’s shareholders’ meeting. “The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC Retirement Plan is currently underfunded,” admits a March ...

Veterans foundation Three Wise Men goes Headstrong

Small big money world

Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat Nathan Fletcher, widely spoken of as a Fourth District candidate for San Diego county supervisor, has regularly promoted a nonprofit he set up in September 2014. “The Three Wise Men Veterans Foundation stands ...

Will latest tronc rift end badly for Union-Tribune?

Board room battle reported at Chicago-based chain with funny name

San Diego's Union-Tribune, accustomed to more than 60 years of family fights and corporate ruptures as it slowly ran downhill, appears in for more of the same, judging by a March 17 report in Crain's ...

Will political money war lay waste to Mission Valley?

Council president sets up 2018 election fund for high-dollar shootout

The battle over city-owned Qualcomm Stadium has been joined by two old-line Mission Valley developers, virtually guaranteeing a costly political fight over the fate of a giant soccer-themed high-density commercial and housing complex on the ...

Tronc’s typos

Owner of U-T wants to buy Us Weekly?

Word that Chicago-based tronc, owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, wants to get into the celebrity news business by buying supermarket glossy Us Weekly from Rolling Stone publisher Wenner Media for $90 million, has not ...

Sempra’s water failure

Conflict of interest for the San Diego power monopoly

Locked in mortal combat with a group seeking to dismantle its longstanding San Diego power monopoly, giant Sempra Energy and its subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric have been busy lining up the services of ...

The Chargers biggest contribution to San Diego was “leaving”

Jason Roe’s Fabiani flail

Proving that old grudges die hard in San Diego politics, Jason Cabel Roe, the high-dollar political consultant known among insiders as Kevin Faulconer’s brain, is still gunning for the recently departed Chargers. “Already playing more ...

Can defunct Hollywood mogul save Gaslamp cinema?

Dry cleaner to the stars and Battlefield Earth maker steps up to razzle-dazzle

San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, with its wild watering holes and less-than-pristine sidewalks, is also known for a series of razzle-dazzle entrepreneurs who regularly sink big money into the boozy entertainment district with distinctly mixed outcomes, ...

Secrecy shrouds Faulconer’s SoccerCity favors

City staff hands inside information to big-money developers

As Democratic Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, a talked-of candidate for governor, bans city planning commissioners from meeting privately with developers, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, another putative aspirant to statewide office, is heading in ...

Droning on

San Diegans for Safe Drones has something to say

San Diego, already famous for the killer Predator drones made by General Atomics at its Poway plant, is becoming the center of a struggle between a group calling itself San Diegans for Safe Drones and ...

Torrey Pines gliderport, take two

A specialty in the hang-gliding business is a must

After a false start last summer, the city has launched another attempt to find an operator for its sometimes controversial 6.74-acre Torrey Pines Gliderport on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean adjacent to UCSD. Arrests ...

U-T gushes over Faulconer event

Influence-seekers gather for a “Neighborhood Experience”

When is a city-hall-lobbying special interest referred to as a “brand”? When the Union-Tribune covers it, per the paper’s write-up last week of San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer’s One San Diego and its annual “Neighborhood ...

Trump fan Soon-Shiong swings huge tronc

Will robotic billionaire U-T owner turn San Diego job killer?

Less than a year ago, folks at Oaktree Capital Management up in Los Angles were mighty unhappy with Chicago’s Mike Ferro, who had grabbed control of Tribune Publishing — owner of the L.A. Times and ...

Lifestyle of a hedge-fund real estate baron

High above Qualcomm Stadium's ground war in a Gulfstream G200

In the rarified circles of La Jolla mega-money men, it isn't the length of the luxury car you drive or the sprawling estate you live in that conveys power over the lives of your fellow ...

Well-heeled tie

A couple of $400,000 men

The long reign of San Diego State University president Elliot Hirshman as the highest compensated president of the California State University system has ended, barely. First known as the $400,000 man and blasted by governor ...

Secret slacker ethics

The city’s ethics committee takes a break

As an unprecedented wave of political intrigue and big money sweeps the corridors of power at San Diego city hall, the city’s ethics committee — chaired by ex-FBI agent Clyde Fuller — has decided to ...

The making of a San Diego county supervisor via CNN

Fletcher's Trump-bashing catches eye of White House–spurned Tapper

One of the ultimate ironies of Hillary Clinton's defeat at the hands of Donald Trump may come with the ascendance of Nathan Fletcher to a county supervisor’s seat in San Diego. Far from Washington’s beltway, ...

How to build a better border wall?

Audit hits lack of accountability for $2.1 billion in "tactical infrastructure"

As Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress ponder how to pay for the president's promised wall along the Mexican border, a new study from the Government Accountability Office contends that the Department of ...

Lobbyists in Mission Valley land rush

Stadium payoffs

The controversial plan by a stealthy group of La Jolla money men known as FS Investors to replace city-owned Qualcomm Stadium with a soccer venue and high-end commercial and housing development is turning into a ...

$250,000 immigration art

"The artwork design should be light and airy, and communicate a sense of welcome and embrace."

Public art, $1.2 million worth, is being commissioned by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority to adorn the main airport’s forthcoming Federal Inspection Services facility, says a February 8 call for proposals. “This opportunity ...

Like Trump, like Bersin

“We went from 3000 Border Patrol agents to 22,000 agents today."

The tumultuous rollout of president Donald Trump’s immigration policy has at least one member of the Fifth Estate yearning for the good old days of Alan Bersin, the controversial border czar under Democratic president Bill ...

Sempra gasses Gaspar

Giant utility a big cash friend of politico favoring its cause

Newly elected Republican supervisor Kristin Gaspar made loud and clear her opposition to funding a study about breaking up Sempra Energy's San Diego power monopoly: “In my view, when you’re ready to move forward and ...

Wrecking crew

Already time to start thinking about the next election

Efforts by Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs to bulldoze a costly road and parking garage project through the heart of Balboa Park has been getting lobbying support from an outfit called Balboa Park United. The group ...

SDSU’s fleeing faculty

Student-faculty ratio increases explained — "is cause for concern"

While San Diego State president Elliott Hirshman and California State University trustee vice-chairman Adam Day jockey behind closed doors for a costly new football stadium in Mission Valley, statistics aired last week at a meeting ...

Unidentified flying Hillary

Emails reveal correspondence between John Podesta and Blink-182's Tom DeLonge

Last summer’s dump by WikiLeaks of thousands of emails generated by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign honcho John Podesta turned out badly for the Democrats’ standard bearer, who later blamed her loss partly on the work ...

Lobbyists push for hasty Mission Valley soccer deal

Stripper-gate figure and Metropolitan Water District on “Taxpayers” board

As the big-money politics behind the drive to turn over the Qualcomm Stadium site to a secretive syndicate of La Jolla money men mounts, one of the city's mightiest pro-developer lobbies has jumped into the ...

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