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Stories by Matt Potter

Behold Gannett, prospective master of San Diego

Giant newspaper chain hikes Ponzi-style bid for Chicago-based tronc

Just how much does newspaper giant Gannett Co. want to own the downtrodden dailies of tronc, proprietor of the San Diego Union-Tribune? Enough to pay a minor king’s ransom, based on the latest news out ...

Dirty football

Sanders and new city council political business

San Diego’s ex-mayor Jerry Sanders is so far batting .500 in the new city council political business this year, but not because he hasn’t been laying out a lot of cash. The Greater San Diego ...

Mayor’s office not so transparent

Free information

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer proclaimed a new era in transparency when he recently rolled out a new automated way for the public to request records previously hidden away in the dark warrens of city ...

SDPD would like permission to access your cameras

False sense of security

A low-profile, high-tech plan by San Diego police to tap into the feeds of private video surveillance cameras across the city has so far managed to corral five participants, according to documents released following a ...

Big money Mexico-tied donor backs Trump

Rich Tijuana scion aids GOP hopeful in San Diego mega-money race

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has labored long and hard in the campaign-cash vineyards of San Diego's super-rich, chief among them Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs, one of the first off the blocks with $50,000 for ...

California watchdog limits freebies for Latinos for Israel

AIPAC to host first Hispanic Outreach Summit in Arizona

San Diego city hall lobbyist and Southwestern Community College District board member Humberto Peraza has been invited to a splashy event in Phoenix put on by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, more commonly known ...

As thick as thieves

Ignoring the revolving door law

San Diego’s political merry-go-round of big-money influence-peddling never stops. Ex–Republican assemblyman and onetime mayor of Anaheim Curt Pringle, known as one of Orange County’s most powerful politicos in recent memory, has been making the rounds ...

The cost of voter approval

Shepard’s cow pie

How much does it cost a well-heeled San Diego developer to obtain voter approval for controversial North County real estate ventures? In the case of Accretive Investments, would-be builder of 1700-house Lilac Hills Ranch, a ...

Revolving lobbyist

Tony Young eyes supervisors seat

Ex–San Diego city councilman Tony Young, said to be interested in running for the county board of supervisors seat held by termed-out Ron Roberts, has been pulling in lots of cash as a city hall ...

tronc to San Diego: you're fired

Tweets bring bad layoff news for troubled daily newspaper

How much of San Diego can be run by robots controlled by unscrupulous industrial kingpins? That's one of the questions being posed in local media circles by word that the city's only daily newspaper, the ...

Qualcomm V.P. funds wife's House race with $2.1 million

Cozy marital political action committee draws notice from conflict watchdogs

As La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs and Qualcomm cohorts continue private talks with San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer over naming rights to the billionaire's mammoth Balboa Park road and parking-garage plan, can another super-rich Qualcomm ...

To China

Have campaign cash, will travel

Republican county supervisor Ron Roberts, who will finally be departing his job in two years because of term limits, has found another way to use leftover campaign cash from his last run for the board ...

Microtrenching threatens city streets

Will Google get what it wants?

High-tech giant Google, Inc., all over the corridors of San Diego power in its quest to build a new fiber-optic communications system in the city, has been pulling out all the stops, an influence-peddling disclosure ...

Utah’s spousal San Diego freebies

Free spending was uncovered

A July 20 audit of the Utah Local Governments Trust by Utah’s state auditor tells the tale. Trustees, who oversee an insurance co-op for municipalities and other government entities, have been running amok with public ...

Private summit sealed GOP mayor's Balboa Park Jacobs deal

Well-heeled Qualcomm executives weigh in for Faulconer, letting campaign cash do the talking

On March 17, Republican San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer — in the midst of a record money-raising drive to fund his June reelection bid — slipped away from city hall to make an unheralded trip ...

Trump picks San Diego’s big-money garbage brain

Controversial American steel-maker and political trash-digger loom large among advisors

Can a controversial economics professor rooted in San Diego's garbage can-picking political culture of the 1990s teach Donald Trump the ropes of world finance? Will a super-rich University of San Diego law school grad who ...

Influence peddling

The ethics of the ethics commission

San Diego’s ethics commission, its enforcement count already falling like a rock, has come under fire by the county grand jury for being overly subject to political influence. In 2012, according to the grand jury’s ...

Chamber of politics

From city hall to big business

The revolving door between San Diego’s city hall and big business spins on under mayor Kevin Faulconer, with Republican aide Jaymie Bradford heading off to become vice president of public policy and economic research for ...

Chargers stadium destiny and Dick Cheney's daughters

Koch-tied GOP politicos revealed as key to San Diego's NFL ballot battle

What with La Jolla Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs's revived Balboa Park bulldozing project, and the battle between Republican city councilman Chris Cate and GOP ex-mayor Jerry Sanders over a hotel-tax hike to finance a Chargers ...

Big Sorrento Valley cash to be had from Zika

San Diego biotech unit gets emergency FDA permission to test virus diagnostic kits

The number of San Diego Zika virus infections continues its relentless growth, bringing the county to within one case of California Zika count leader Los Angeles, but at least one local big-money biotech outfit is ...

“No show” Fletcher shares intimate DNC moment on TV

Bloomberg-backed Qualcomm politico turns up in Philly with main squeeze

It's been a big convention for La Jolla Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs and his longtime political protégé Nathan Fletcher, the onetime Republican assemblyman–turned–independent and, finally, Democrat. Fletcher, who twice ran unsuccessfully for mayor of San ...

San Diego wants more optic fiber

Google it

Google Fiber, which is negotiating behind closed doors with San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer over the terms of possible high-speed internet system here to compete with cable operators and AT&T, has signed on the international ...

New Mission Hills library gets adornment

Clocked-out artwork

Esoteric may not be the only word to describe the city’s latest tax-financed public arts project, but it could turn out to be the kindest. Numbers recently posted by San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Open ...

SDPD’s evidence integrity spiked by water leaks

Cops’ property rooms leaking, unpoliced, costly, city auditor finds

More than a year after the county grand jury called out San Diego police for critical lapses in handling the department's property and evidence storage units, major issues remain, with evidence integrity threatened by water ...

Let them eat steak, Union-Tribune's master proclaims

Black box with c-note and golden deck of cards invites Chicago's super-rich to birthday bash

The San Diego Union-Tribune's corporate owner, infamously known as tronc, may soon be sold — or not, depending on who is doing the talking — but one thing seems certain: tronc’s current honcho Michael Ferro ...

Military-Industrial complex infiltrates Comic-Con

Manchurian Candidate mind-control contractor hypes wares at fantasy fest

In what might be a page from the script of a sci-fi action-adventure flick, a super-stealthy San Diego military contractor with big funding from U.S. taxpayers has emerged from the shadows at this week's Comic-Con ...

Lori’s loan

Saldaña needs your help with campaign debts

Democrat-turned-independent Lori Saldaña, who placed third in last month’s race for San Diego mayor, is looking for more campaign cash for a low-five-figure post-election personal payback. “I will formally close my campaign account at the ...

All the mayor’s moneyed friends

North County’s Issa has been active

A high-dollar charity blow-out “honoring” San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer three days before San Diego’s June 7 mayoral election drew a bevy of the city’s wealthiest politicos and special interests, according to a behested payment ...

Should Comic-Con fans stay home?

Heavily costumed revelers could pose public safety threat, transit official says

Could this year's Comic-Con turn into a first-person shooter for real? Just how much overtime is being paid and what kind of technical wizardry is being deployed by San Diego police to keep the event ...

Amidst Jacobs family crack-ups, can charity prevail?

Facing fight over park bulldozing, San Diego's richest man endures domestic ruptures

Word that a son of La Jolla billionaire Democrat Irwin Jacobs is behind the port district's controversial plan to demolish Seaport Village has come quickly on the heels of the elder Jacobs's own backroom deal ...

Parsing Parsky’s billions

The California Hedge Clippers get to work

Longtime Rancho Santa Fe resident and Cayman Islands tax-haven figure Gerald Parsky, who in 2006 bitterly battled a new school in the wealthy enclave north of San Diego, is now in the crosshairs of a ...

Stadium crashers

“Jobs and Streets First!”

The political committee set up to defeat the Chargers drive to build a downtown, taxpayer-subsidized stadium and meeting complex finally has a name: “No Downtown Stadium – Jobs and Streets First!” More interesting to local ...

Smartphones smuggled into prison

Can you hear me now?

Gone is the era when hacksaws were smuggled into prisons via cakes and other baked goods produced by wives and grandmothers. These days, the contraband items of choice are smartphones and the tiny subscriber identification ...

Nearly $1 billion blown on General Atomics contract

Pentagon audit questions safety and reliability of costly Blue brothers’ high-tech carrier gear

General Atomics, a pillar of San Diego's lucrative military contractor economy and the source of millions of dollars in campaign contributions to federal, state, and local officeholders of both parties, has a nine-figure lemon on ...

San Diego's homeless murders and the $1.5 million All-Star subsidy

Perfect storm for city hall politicos spending tax money on Major League Baseball

The best laid plans of lobbyists and politicos may come to naught as next week's Major League Baseball All-Star game arrives, with an alleged serial homeless killer on the loose, and San Diego cops scrambling ...

Really frequently flown

Pension-fund investment officer took five free trips

An already well-traveled San Diego city retirement fund executive has hit the road again in 2016, picking up luxury hotel, airfare, and food freebies from real estate investment funds doing business with the city. Last ...

Unpeaceful goings-on

Should we change the city primaries?

A non-profit founded by Democratic state senator Steve Peace has just registered to lobby in San Diego. The Independent Voter Project is pushing for a charter amendment to require the top two vote-getters in city ...

Waste a lot, want more

Things are moving slowly at the veterans’ homes

In July 2013, a new computer system was installed at the State of California’s veterans home in Chula Vista, and things quickly went awry. After repeated complaints from clinic staffers, the chief medical officer ran ...

Billionaire Democrat's Balboa Park plan revived by GOP mayor

Cash from Clinton-backing Jacobs family greases city hall wheels

Irwin Jacobs, master of the big-money art of acquiring political influence, is looking to have his best-ever year in 2016. The billionaire La Jolla Democrat, cofounder of Qualcomm, was one of the first to fund ...

Unethical S.D. politics, as usual

Architect Doug Austin has designs

Two years ago, Union-Tribune publisher, developer, and Republican kingpin Douglas Manchester put $356,000 into the campaign to make Kevin Faulconer mayor, and it didn’t take long for the political investment to pay off in a ...

Liberals spending

Saldaña’s bid got five-figured financial help

Former Democratic state assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, who has left the party and become an independent, came in third to mayor Kevin Faulconer and Democrat Ed Harris in this year’s race for San Diego mayor. The ...

CSU San Marcos and nonprofit high-hog hospitality

Foundation with $50 million funding drive called out for messy bookkeeping, missing data

When it comes to big-money hospitality, California State University at San Marcos and its so-called auxiliary organizations don't stint, and that's become more than a minor problem, according to a report released June 17 by ...

Ex-Enron and Sempra exec kicks in for Trump

Diet maven's Manchester mega-fundraiser bids to help GOP hopeful catch up with Clinton 's cash

It's no secret that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is a little low on campaign cash at the moment, but some well-heeled San Diego County GOP contributors are coming to the rescue. Such is ...

Mexico is off limits

Not your Zumwalt’s Navy

It’s almost summer, time for “Career Orientation and Training for Midshipmen West, 2016,” hosted by the Navy in San Diego for the latest crop of Annapolis midshipmen, who are being advised to avoid trouble during ...

Women in politics

Cori Schumacher and Mara Elliott in the news

Former liberal Democratic House member Barney Frank of Massachusetts was set to host a June 18 $500-a-person fundraiser for Cori Schumacher, the one-time world longboard surfing champion currently running for city council in Carlsbad. “In ...

Being served, unforgettable

Electronics forensics enter the battle of the universities

The costly legal battle between UCSD and the University of Southern California over a disputed Alzheimer’s Disease research program that could ultimately be worth billions of dollars in pharmaceutical patents, may come down to a ...

U-T owner omits San Diego from video

Is company known as tronc indifferent to America's eighth largest city?

During the glory days of the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune, publisher Jim Copley often boasted how his papers had turned out the vote for Richard Nixon, and the Republican president concurred, designating San ...

San Diego’s GOP big-money trash angel wants to dump Trump

Dump backer and trolley builder part of cash movement behind Courageous Conservatives

Stan Herzog of St. Joseph, Missouri, onetime Eastern terminus of the Pony Express to California, has long been a financial angel to San Diego Republicans and pro-trash causes, including fallen-mayor-turned-talk-show-host Roger Hedgecock. Herzog is chairman ...

Chargers stadium foe feeds mayor's charity kitty

Online news backer kicks in $25,000 for ostensible anti-poverty group

A week after winning reelection in a big-money campaign that swamped the opposition with the help of cash from the American Petroleum Institute, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer has disclosed that a major player in ...

Sheriff tripping

Another county employee gets a free trip to Israel

A San Diego sheriff’s department commander is the latest county employee to partake of a free trip to Israel courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League. Investigations honcho Peter Callewaert ran up a $5627 tab going to ...

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