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Stories by Matt Potter

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 ...

Tronc to Union-Tribune: attrit now!

L.A. Times shoulders editorial burden for little San Diego sister

Wall Street analysts at NobleCon13, an investor conference run by Noble Capital Markets, were recently presented with a fundamental truth about the newspaper business, but it wasn’t good news for readers of the San Diego ...

Gambling and plastic politics

Dart wants recycling considered before San Diego bans the troublesome material

As food containers made of polystyrene continue jamming San Diego’s landfills, a maker of the ubiquitous plastic has been pouring money into the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee at a record-setting ...

Trumping Tronc

U-T insists that its ideological slant is determined in San Diego

President Donald Trump hasn’t been drawing much support from the traditionally Republican San Diego establishment, much of which derives a big chunk of change from its free-trading ties to Tijuana and cheap manufacturing. Another component ...

Latham joins Mission Valley's public land war

Super-rich La Jolla hedge-funders lay out big cash for L.A. lobbyist

How many dollars are San Diegans willing to surrender to developers of a new stadium for professional soccer and San Diego State University, biding its time for the lucrative opportunity to hike the price of ...

Mayor privately plied by developer chef’s gourmet grub

Mission Valley stadium promoters stage posh closed-door lunch

Last fall, after months of secret city hall meetings with representatives of the Spanos family, Kevin Faulconer, San Diego mayor and putative Republican gubernatorial hopeful, announced he was endorsing the $1.8 billion, taxpayer-subsidized downtown football ...

Cash rains on supe

Ron Roberts spends his political money

A termed-out San Diego county supervisor who last month voted himself a $19,000 raise and a comparable hike in benefits is also tapping in to a five-figure campaign bank account left over from his final ...

Fought-over Fourth

Omar Passons files for spot on the Board of Supervisors

While Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher continues to mull his options regarding running next year for the board seat being vacated by Ron Roberts, another supervisorial hopeful has jumped into the race ahead of him. Lawyer Omar ...

Viva Las Vegas

Three days of trade-group freebies

While North County Republican congressman Darrell Issa has been jousting with critics and backers of president Donald Trump who gathered outside his Vista office, a top aide has drawn lighter duty. For three days beginning ...

Just how real is news purveyed by the U-T?

Getting pushy

“Conquer your fear of sharing fake news by keeping it real,” goes a recent email pitch for bargain online subscription rates from the financially flagging San Diego Union-Tribune. “148 years of trusted journalism is a ...

Immigrant prison cash flows to SD politicos

Atkins, Gonzalez, Fletcher got big bucks from detention firm

San Diego politicos and business types have been unsympathetic to president Donald Trump, but one major border enterprise that has been a big campaign provider to legislators of both parties here could be in line ...

Hirshman hit for ducking ex-Soviet deal signoffs

Federal money tied to U.S. intelligence backs SDSU campuses

San Diego State University president Elliot Hirshman — also called the $492,000 man in honor of his salary, the highest of all state university presidents — has by some accounts been busy behind closed doors, ...

NFL’s nastiest word

“Subsidy,” as foul-mouthed as you can get

Sports media were atwitter last week after new Chargers coach Anthony Lynn made a couple of verbal faux pas. “I am so proud to be the new coach of the San Dieg — ugh, L.A. ...

Nathan, hot dog

Fletcher castigates the county board

Twice-defeated San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher has taken to the news and opinion website financed by his political godfather — La Jolla billionaire Democrat Irwin Jacobs — to castigate the county board of supervisors ...

Faulconer’s marauders

Stepping on the mayor’s news

With the Chargers safely out of town, Kevin Faulconer’s allies have been upping their post-game attack on team owner Dean Spanos and special counsel Mark Fabiani for setting up the mayor for political failure. “Throughout ...

Mayor's staff chief getting campaign cash

Puetz paid for offices, travel, hotel, and meal at Washington political event

San Diego's Republican mayor has been into plenty of denial lately regarding his future political intentions, but a series of expenses recently disclosed by his 2016 reelection committee suggests a different story. After pledging he ...

Big Fletcher donors behind MLS venue grab

Ex-Qualcomm exec, hedge-fund manager to unveil stealth stadium deal

When it comes to disposing of city-owned Qualcomm Stadium, it appears that San Diego taxpayers are the last to know. As reported late Sunday (January 22) by KNSD’s Derek Togerson and others, an "investment group" ...

Border Patrol audit: 45 percent San Diego “recidivism”

Cost per detainee: $135 in Laredo to more than $80,000 in Rio Grande Valley

How much does it cost to deport the thousands of undocumented immigrants intercepted each year by the Border Patrol along San Diego's frontier with Mexico, and what is the true "recidivism" rate of illegal border ...

City council self-fulfillment

Scott Sherman collects funds

Republican San Diego city councilman Scott Sherman, chief promoter of a Mission Valley land giveaway to benefit the Chargers — along with a bevy of local developers hoping to grab pieces of the city-owned Qualcomm ...

County board members vote themselves a $19,000 raise

Stocks and fines

Besieged by editorialists and irate citizens, the county board of supervisors maintained their resolve last week, approving a 12.5 percent boost in their own pay in a 4-1 vote, with newly elected Kristin Gaspar the ...

Will an early Alvarez get the political cash?

Democratic councilman already fundraising for 2020 supervisor bid

If they can't be mayor of San Diego, maybe races for county supervisor will work out, keeping two well-known San Diego politicos in the good financial graces of La Jolla Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs. Jacobs-backed ...

U-T's stadium love affair with John Moores

Subsidy scandal figure behind SDSU Mission Valley hype

With the blood of the Chargers stadium massacre barely crusted over, is the Union-Tribune in an unseemly hurry to serve up yet another public money development scheme for the 166-acre chunk of city-owned real estate ...

Spanos and SD's sweetheart Chargers Park deal

1995 city giveaway used $6.3 million from police-earmarked property

The year was 1995, and the distinctive voice of a noted elected official was on the line, insisting on going deep, deep background. "You can’t let anybody know I’m talking, I’d be crucified. But I ...

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