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Stories by Matt Potter

Beer and bar mitzvah

A Jerry Brown appointee to the board that runs the Del Mar fair has decided to throw in the towel after just one four-year term. “I am writing to inform you that I will not ...

DeMaio’s vows

Word out of Washington earlier this month that defeated GOP congressional candidate Carl DeMaio is starting up a new super PAC has been followed by a quick rollout of the committee’s website, which suggests the ...

Wheel-greasing

Republican county supervisor Bill Horn has been getting some reflected financial love from one of the San Diego’s biggest landholders. Rancho Guejito, which is enmeshed in a struggle to develop its sprawling 22,000-acre holding in ...

The case of the Caltrans engineer's illicit remodel

Caught red-handed on personal job site, state worker let off with a warning.

The end of the year is approaching, time again for the California state auditor's report of crimes and malfeasance by state employees, some of which were attributed to a San Diego-based California Department of Transportation ...

Mutiny on the Google Glass

Price and addiction plague Navy over use of wearable gizmos

Google Glass, the wearable gadget from the search engine giant that has yet to become a roaring consumer success, could make a big splash among San Diego sailors. At least that's what an experimental Navy ...

UCSD to lose vice chancellor of rainmaking

Official lured big-dollar donor into giving $100 million for flashy stem cell center.

A high-dollar fundraiser for the so-called health sciences branch of UCSD is heading off to the City of Hope in Duarte to become chief rainmaker there. Kristin Jean Bertell, who was named associate vice chancellor ...

Copley's deadly Cuba ties

Tales of JFK assassination and CIA link haunt paper at center of San Diego journalistic spy nexus

The day after Barack Obama announced his recognition of Fidel Castro's Cuba this week, readers of U-T San Diego were greeted with another first: the paper's own rapprochement with the Communist dictator. "President Barack Obama’s ...

Big money influence

Yet another former congressman is plying his trade for a San Diego biomedical outfit. The latest big name politico is Tim Roemer, a Democrat from Indiana who graduated from UCSD back in 1979. “During his ...

Forest flack

When a tree falls in San Diego, who will be there to listen and how much will she or he cost taxpayers? Such are the questions posed by a job listing posted on the city’s ...

C-plus

The public relations department at UCSD has long touted good news about the school’s purported academic standing, omitting the not-so-good. “The campus took the No. 18 spot in U.S. News and World Report’s first-ever global ...

Horse die-offs and high roller dearth cut Del Mar take

Absence of two unidentified "VIP bettors" responsible for $8 million gambling plunge

The business of betting on California horseflesh has been on the decline, plagued by the rise of Indian casinos, a dearth of high rollers, and a rash of well-publicized equine deaths at Del Mar over ...

Manchester borrows $295 million for Texas hotel

Pope Benedict XVI featured in U-T San Diego publisher’s China funding pitch

With construction of U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester's convention hotel in Austin, Texas finally underway, some details of its unusual non-bank financing have become public. As previously reported here, the hotel project broke ground ...

Hillary’s burgeoning Bersin bump

Border czar of many trades to revisit controversial school district ties.

As the next presidential campaign season relentlessly approaches, so it appears do the Bersins, the former San Diego Unified school district honcho Alan and his wife, ex-superior court judge Lisa Foster. As first locally reported ...

Rubber chicken master assumes city hall throne

New council boss backed by many special interests who funded the old

If past campaign cash is an indication, some of San Diego's most prominent lobbyists and special interests aren't disappointed by the ascendency of Democrat Sherri Lightner to the presidency of the San Diego city council, ...

Retired lobbyist

It’s official. Chris Cate is no longer a lobbyist for the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. So says a December 2 lobbyist disclosure statement filed by the group with the city clerk’s office. This month ...

Artists not residents

The city is getting ready to spend $280,000 for “artwork design, fabrication, and installation” to decorate the soon-to-be constructed Hillcrest and Mission Hills library. “The budget is all-inclusive and must cover all costs associated with ...

Seeking juice

The Chargers and their lobbyist Mark Fabiani, ex-president Bill Clinton’s onetime “master of disaster,” have ostensibly been hard at work on getting a new billion-dollar taxpayer-subsidized stadium in San Diego. But if they build it, ...

An empty Holiday Bowl still means a fat check

Chief of city-subsidized bowl association paid $324,329

Local innkeepers and restaurateurs hoping to make a killing on this year's Holiday Bowl battle between the University of Nebraska and the University of Southern California may have to lower their expectations, judging from an ...

Bio-war's San Diego mavens

"Blue ribbon" panel likely to lobby for germ-warfare defense cash

The long-smoldering intrigue over the potential use of so-called weaponized Ebola may soon receive a boost from obscurity by a Washington think tank with a notable tie to San Diego, already a national hotbed of ...

To Cuba, for haute cuisine

UCSD-based think tank sponsors tour of Fidel’s food and politics

As rumors of an impending thaw in relations with Cuba make the rounds, some well-heeled tourists affiliated with a UCSD-related think tank had planned to set off this weekend on a seven-day, $6100-a-person haute cuisine ...

Harrowing dances with drones

New data details near misses involving San Diego air traffic

A passenger plane has yet to be taken down by a drone, but insiders at the San Diego–based Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control center — reportedly the busiest air-traffic facility in the world — ...

Far above the raging hoi polloi...

Last call for city box's $25 food and open bar at Chargers games?

Life in the city’s Qualcomm stadium box is not as civil as it used to be, judging by recent remarks recorded in the minutes of the stadium's advisory board. During the group's September meeting, chairman ...

Pool for poor panned in U-T San Diego

Silent treatment for new Pardee position on water board

Developer Douglas Manchester's U-T San Diego has been all over the fate of the new fountain at the county administration center. Heavily used by inner-city families, the giant water feature has been singled out by ...

Poop deck

For virus expert Don Mosier, who also serves as a city father of beachy Del Mar, it was a smelly, if not costly circumstance. “A sewer back-up on May 25, 2014 in the City of ...

Demos’ dough

Besides Scott Peters, just who has been getting major cash from Democratic fat cats in La Jolla’s 92037 zip code during the election cycle recently concluded? According to Political Money Line’s database, once-imprisoned former super ...

Forecast: politics, as usual

Is San Diego’s new “climate action plan” about to be transformed into an expensive political football, costing taxpayers a bundle for high-salaried patronage positions to tout the wonders of mayor Kevin Faulconer and the city ...

Can new conductor beat Ling's $429,960 deal?

No replacement yet set for departing big-money symphony leader

The price of fine music could be going up even more for the San Diego Symphony with the departure of conductor Jahja Ling. The Indonesian-born Ling said on Thursday, November 20, that he will be ...

Political power reputations haunt TV trio

Cash at the heart of political donors’ broadcast agenda?

The federal broadcast licenses of San Diego's three most politically controversial television stations are up for renewal soon, but despite the complaints of angry partisans, it's unlikely that the wealthy owners and patrons will be ...

Innovative spending

UCSD, otherwise known as a university, is looking to become a high-dollar wheeler-dealer in the world of high technology. The tax-funded school is seeking an associate vice chancellor for “innovative alliances.” The new hire will ...

Combat stress

Back in March 2010, Rebecca Moores cut a deal with husband John Moores to end their marriage without revealing too much about the ex–San Diego Padres owner’s high-dollar finances and extra-curricular affairs. Before their agreement ...

Blow out

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, whose reelection fate has been hanging in the balance, celebrated a bit prematurely with fellow Democrats at a crowded bash hosted September 16 by the Barona Indian gambling tribe. With the $112.17 ...

Newt Gingrich honoree snared in Dumanis probe

Money-laundering donor to GOP district attorney pays $20,000 penalty

Of all the cities in the county of San Diego, one can boast the spottiest history for tow-truck operators. That informal honor has long gone to Escondido, and a recent action by the City of ...

Congressman Peters and the dark arts

Newspaper king of attack campaigns bemoans “slimy affair"

Before it began, San Diego power players predicted that victory in the battle between Democratic House freshman Scott Peters and GOP ex-city councilman Carl DeMaio would ultimately come down to big money and the dark ...

A special-interest blowout reformers love to hate

Once again Steve Peace stages controversial legislative party in Maui

It's mid-November, Halloween is over and the state legislature is on hiatus. It’s time once again for Steve Peace's traditional legislative bash in Hawaii. Every year, newspapers from across California run exposés of the extravagant ...

The family Falic

Another easy winner in last week’s elections, Democratic congressman Juan Vargas, got some last-minute money from three Florida “homemakers.” Debbie, Gila, and Jana Falic each chipped in $2600 on October 30, as did Jerome Falic, ...

Yakety kayak

It’s time again for the city to hand out contracts for kayak tour operations at tony La Jolla Shores, and lobbyists aren’t far behind. First on the water is Bartell & Associates, where staffer Adrian ...

Sempra’s Brown-in

San Diego–based Sempra Energy, on whose board sits Kathleen Brown, sister of newly reelected governor Jerry Brown and Brown ex-aide Lynn Schenk, has been taking good care of another high-ranking Brown official, according to a ...

Hunter's helper on jungle junket

Flighty congressional aide goes off on another free safari

A top aide to Republican congressman Duncan D. Hunter, already a veteran of one far-off jungle excursion, thanks to the largesse of a SeaWorld-backed, Washington DC-based nonprofit, has done it again. Victoria Middleton, longtime chief ...

El Cajon immigrant shelter draws Iowan's ire

Tilapia and ponies for unaccompanied alien children questioned

How is life for so-called unaccompanied alien children at a federally sponsored youth shelter in El Cajon? Perhaps too sweet, in the opinion of Iowa Republican senator Charles Grassley, as expressed by him in an ...

Fat pay boost for SDSU's Elliot Hirshman

University president's $400,000 salary could bump to $412,000

To hear California university administrators tell it, times are tough all over. Pleading incipient poverty, the University of California is seeking to raise tuition 5 percent a year for five years, and some California state ...

National hotel lobby funded wage referendum

"Small business" coalition is front for corporate backers

National minimum-wage opponents furnished much of the money for this summer's San Diego referendum campaign, effectively killing the local wage-boost law adopted by the Democratic majority of the city council, at least until the measure ...

Qualcomm in the House

Qualcomm, the cell-phone-chip-making giant founded by Barack Obama-backing La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs, continued to send its campaign dollars to Republican candidates during this year’s mid-term elections. Recent recipients include Texas senator John Cornyn with ...

Toilet to lobbyists

Formerly known as toilet-to-tap, the ongoing initiative by GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer to turn the city’s sewage water into a drinkable liquid has become a major moneymaker for local lobbyists. “An initial 15-million gallon per ...

Inevitable: death and board fees

Local charities hoping for a fat payout from the newly enriched David C. Copley Foundation may be a bit disappointed by the non-profit’s recent report for 2013. After the November 2012 death of the onetime ...

U-T publisher and wife slip late cash to DeMaio

Ex-Filner honcho, L.A. stadium promoter give to Peters

Whenever there is late campaign-money intrigue to be had, it seems that U-T publisher and mega-millionaire real estate developer Douglas Manchester and his young Russian second wife Geniya will show up for the party. Such ...

Such a lovely place (such potential for waste)

Plenty of room for accountability at UC's Mexico Casa de California

In April of this year, newly elected San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, councilman Todd Gloria, county supervisor Greg Cox, and a host of other California and Tijuana politicos and representatives of special interests — including ...

Legs of Republican Party platform in peril?

Bush-backing billionaire spends big on San Diego TV ads for DeMaio

In the waning days of the campaign, a political action committee founded by Wall Street hedge-fund billionaire and longtime Republican donor Paul Singer has made good on its promise to spend big for GOP congressional ...

DeMaio's foe backed by big spending biotech lobby

French lobbying contest winner’s employer hails "elected official of the year”

Not many familiar with San Diego politics and the torrents of lobbying dollars that pour into the local and national political system each year would be surprised at this week's news conference to announce San ...

Chilling in the lobby

Will the Saint Louis Rams move to Los Angeles? Will the Chargers stay or join them there? Will taxpayers ante up billions of dollars for a new stadium anywhere? So many questions and so few ...

Crowded art of influence

The lucrative business of peddling city hall influence has never been busier, according to a recently released tally of lobbyist activity by San Diego’s ethics commission. “During the 2013 calendar year, 69 lobbying firms and ...

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