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Stories by Matt Potter

Kevin Faulconer's pricy plan to privatize planning

Mayor's plan to revamp department has an $8.5 million price tag

The departure of Bill Fulton as city planning director at the end of August was taken as a given by a host of San Diego inside political watchers. The renowned land-use expert, author of the ...

Soviet Ebola ghosts haunt San Diego labs

Can federal cash cure growing epidemic?

In the midst of the international panic spawned by the Ebola epidemic, it’s hard to tell what is going on at the top of America's biological warfare pyramid and whether it is having any effect ...

Get out of jail free fare

Democratic Assembly speaker Toni Atkins has been getting plenty of special-interest love from local car dealers of late. The New Car Dealers of San Diego kicked in $4100 to her reelection campaign on September 23. ...

UCSD’s Canadian alien

UCSD has hired its very first “vice chancellor and chief financial officer,” according to an October 6 message from chancellor Pradeep Khosla, and the new employee is from Canada. Pierre Ouillet, formerly vice president of ...

Up in the valley

The real-estate development business is booming in Mission Valley, at least on paper. U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester is leading the way with plans to build 200 residential units in the parking lot of ...

All in the family at the Port District

Employment of executive’s daughter clean, says state watchdog

After July’s demise of San Diego Unified Port District honcho Wayne Darbeau at the hands of waterfront developer Douglas Manchester’s U-T San Diego, port officials apparently aren’t taking any more chances. Though he denied wrongdoing, ...

Faulconer readying real estate sell-off

GOP mayor advertising for brokers to lift city's property burden

GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer has taken a quiet step toward privatizing the sell-off of "surplus" city real estate, which a U-T San Diego columnist recently estimated could be worth a billion dollars. "The City has ...

SDSU's top spook

Real-life James Bond led colorful, lucrative life of cash and intrigue

The death of Charles Hostler, a longtime contributor to the financial wellbeing of San Diego State University, has been marked by tributes at the highest levels there. “Charles Hostler was a visionary and a true ...

Biosafety first in Point Loma?

"Lack of welding in this duct can cause the release of infectious agents”

As the U.S. military readies 4000 troops to deal with the growing emergence of the Ebola virus in West Africa, a little-known biosecurity lab on Point Loma could find itself playing a key role in ...

Papa’s peculiar predicament

U-T San Diego’s publisher Douglas Manchester, known as “Papa” whenever the paper writes about him, has decided to downsize his proposal to build residential units next to the U-T’s Mission Valley headquarters. The new 200-unit ...

Balls and chains

Democrat Fabian Nuñez — the San Diego born-and-bred ex-speaker of the California Assembly who obtained an abbreviated prison term for his son by being friends with GOP governor Arnold Schwarzenegger — has come up with ...

Golden freebies

The San Diego Unified Port District is reporting yet more dinner freebies for its board and executives. According to a July 11 disclosure only recently posted online, commissioners Marshall Merrifield and Bob Nelson, along with ...

Peace gives PG&E a chance

Brown-spurned utility cash welcomed by San Diego PAC

Jerry Brown may have sworn off political cash from Pacific Gas and Electric, but one high-flying San Diego ex-legislator is doubling down with the giant Northern California utility's money. The Democratic governor's reelection campaign reported ...

Jacobs backs Tuck

Irregular ally U-T San Diego blasts "rapidly aging coterie of teachers"

Irwin Jacobs, the Democratic La Jolla billionaire who founded Qualcomm, is in the thick of the battle over California's school chief with a $4000 contribution on October 2 to the campaign of charter school advocate ...

Manchester's Grand Del Mar approved by commission

"The behavior of this developer impugns all developers."

In January 2013, Douglas Manchester cut a deal with the City of San Diego to remedy years of permit violations at his Grand Del Mar resort, which included illegal grading and destroying natural habitat. In ...

Extra killer drones not justified

Air Force may waste $8.8 billion at General Atomics, says government report

A tightly held audit report by the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General says that the Air Force did not properly justify the planned acquisition of 401 so-called Reaper drones costing an estimated $76.8 billion. ...

Qualcomm does Koch

A political action committee going by the name of Team Republicans for Utilizing Sensible Tactics (TRUST) picked up a $5000 contribution from San Diego chip-making giant Qualcomm’s PAC on August 22. Other major givers to ...

Dryer than ice

Dry ice and flying don’t mix. That’s the word from Los Angeles, where two ex-airport workers were each sentenced to three years’ probation and 480 hours of community service for setting off dry-ice bombs at ...

Hard time city

September has been a tough month for layoffs in San Diego, according to an online bulletin posted by the state’s Employment Development Department. The biggest unemployment numbers were generated Microsoft-owned Nokia, with 378 permanent layoffs. ...

Cronies and fricassee in DC

Water lobbyist sponsors Mayor Faulconer's reception in nation's capital

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer had a grand time in Washington DC with the local chamber of commerce, fellow politicos, and the nation's infrastructure lobby earlier this month, based on an official itinerary of the ...

Manchester's immodest Burnham buildup

Wild claims and GOP money mark U-T publisher's peculiar path

It's almost election time, usually the season Douglas Manchester opens his checkbook wide for favored GOP causes. As if not to disappoint, the mega-millionaire developer and U-T San Diego publisher came up with $25,000 for ...

Drug-fueled Sun God chomps into UCSD budget

Task force says another committee needed for more study

How much did it cost to stage this year's Sun God, the annual drug and alcohol-plagued rock festival at the center of an ongoing internal controversy at UCSD over the May 17 drug overdose death ...

Faulconer chooses scandal-linked lobbyist

Darius Anderson — fined $500,000 in 2010 — to be new influence peddler

At first glance, stranger bedfellows couldn’t be had than ex-San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, the voluble Democratic ex-Assembly speaker, and Kevin Faulconer, the former public relations diva who is San Diego's GOP mayor. But in ...

LaRue’s big day

It’s nothing compared to the thousands of dollars of special-interest money spent by San Diego congresswoman Susan Davis on junketeering over the years, but the office of fellow Democratic House member Juan Vargas has also ...

Politically hacked

Some subscribers to U-T San Diego, the daily newspaper and website operation run by Republican kingpin and hotel developer Doug Manchester, recently received an unsettling reassurance. Customers using the so-called EasyPay service of automatic credit-card ...

Lincoln Club heaven

The San Diego Lincoln Club, locally famous for its takedown of Republican-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher during last November’s mayoral primary, has gotten involved in a campaign with lesser stakes but greater apparent spirituality. On September 8, ...

Who will rule Mayor Faulconer?

San Diego’s politicized nonprofit journalism sector may face new disruption

Word that San Diego financier and philanthropist Malin Burnham is organizing a bid to take over U-T San Diego through a nonprofit corporation, as reported here Saturday, has local politicos and participants in the city's ...

Burnham confirms U-T takeover bid

Point Loma financier says publisher Manchester backs move to nonprofit

Downtown financier and philanthropist Malin Burnham has confirmed that he is organizing a nonprofit corporation to take over U-T San Diego, the city’s daily newspaper and website, as first reported here earlier this week by ...

Diversity guru still sought by UCSD

Search to fill controversial — and lucrative — post launched after long delay

It may have taken a bit longer than expected, but taxpayer-funded UCSD has finally launched a national search for another pricey vice chancellor of "equity, diversity, and inclusion." "The desired outcome of these efforts," according ...

Strange, odd, peculiar, weird bedfellows

Port district has deal with University of Phoenix — alleged diploma mill

The for-profit University of Phoenix has been taking its lumps of late, but not with the San Diego Unified Port District, which has a deal to promote the controversial school among its employees, according to ...

Political cheetah

The Sycuan Indian tribe, which runs an East County casino and also owns two downtown hotels, has turned up as a contributor to the GOP Lincoln Club — waging political war on behalf of downtown ...

Big loan brewer

Criminal defense attorney Bob Brewer of Del Mar, who ran a lackluster campaign against Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis this spring, has finally folded his campaign committee. A disclosure statement filed with the county Registrar ...

Mother’s drunk of politics

Democratic state senator Ben Hueso, busted for drunk driving after a well-publicized bender on a capitol balcony during which he was photographed by fellow Latino Caucus legislator Lorena Gonzalez, is perhaps not a surprising magnet ...

Drunken Sun God quelled by 15 cop shops

Heavy police response said to have cut UCSD drinking and drugging

The May 17 drug-overdose death of UCSD undergraduate computer-science student Ricardo "Ricky" Ambriz continues to quietly shake the foundations of UCSD, with administrators in a behind-the-scenes struggle over the fate of the Sun God Festival, ...

A congresswoman’s wartime vacation

Susan Davis’s strife-torn globetrotting funded by Israelis and special interests

San Diego Democrat Susan Davis, traditionally the county's top junketeering member of Congress, has not disappointed this summer. In the past, the Kensington resident has been off to Vienna, Tokyo, Barcelona, Canada's Whistler Resort in ...

Del Mar’s super brew of politics

Jerry Brown appointee recuses himself from fair-board brewpub vote

“If one vice doesn't work, try another” appears to be the motto of the Del Mar fair board, the gubernatorially appointed body that runs the state's 22nd District Agricultural Association. After years of dismal financial ...

UCSD employees lack criminal checks

Audit finds omissions that could spawn theft and violence at the university

How certain is UCSD that its employees and volunteers aren't ex-convicts? Not as sure as it should be, according to a report by the school's audit and management services department critical of lapses in university ...

Will tweet for food

Twitter addicts now have their very own job description. That’s the word at UCSD’s Rady School of Management, which is looking for a social-media director. Applicants must have “experience thinking creatively to identify topics for ...

Water war

The top contributor to Republican Darrell Issa’s reelection committee this campaign cycle is internet search giant Google, Inc., with $22,145. Next is the Washington law and lobbying firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, ...

DeMaio labors on the Vineyard

An invitation posted on PoliticalPartytime.org says freshman Democratic congressman Scott Peters threw a fundraiser July 15 at the offices of one of Washington’s top lobbying shops. Admission was listed at $250 per individual — $2000 ...

San Diego Unified scores mine-resistant Army truck

"We can drive up to the building, cram 30 kids in, and get them to safety."

Tons of surplus weaponry have rained down on California from the Pentagon's excess property giveaway, otherwise known as the 1033 Program, with a sizable allotment landing in San Diego County. San Diego's police department got ...

What Faulconer didn't tell Candy Crowley

Mayor’s Washington terror talk on CNN omits city audit-found shortcomings

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who back in May quietly left town to burnish his image at a Memphis gathering of the Republican National Committee, has been sighted on the road again. This time Faulconer ...

How Darbeau's hide was nailed

Ex-U-T reporter and Faulconer aide got big bucks from Port District

The story broke May 19 on U-T San Diego’s website: "Port CEO seeks tenant work for son," read the headline. "Darbeau asks for help from those he holds sway over." On its face, the paper ...

Did Qualcomm cash grease Peters endorsement?

Chip-maker paid U.S. Chamber of Commerce $645,000

Score a round for La Jolla billionaire Democrat Irwin Jacobs against his longtime political nemesis, Republican U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester, in their long-running campaign proxy war of the titans. On Wednesday, September 3, ...

Sun God kills, baby

Autopsy on student’s overdose death adds to UCSD drug woes

The post-mortem on a UCSD computer-science student who died hours after this year's controversial Sun God festival has finally been released, confirming widely held suspicions that an illicit drug was responsible for the fatality and ...

Romney's La Jolla teardown not priceless

Lobbying expenses for Dunemere project at least $62,000

Presumably they've got Labor Day off, but demolition and construction crews along a certain well-heeled street in La Jolla have lately been as busy as the inhabitants of the symbolic Mormon beehive. As noted last ...

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 ...

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