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Stories by Matt Potter

Union-Tribune owner’s war of escalating insults

Yet another spin-off rumored if Gannett prevails

If today's economically besieged newspapers are cutting back their press runs, the same can't be said of the voluminous verbiage piling up in the war for control of Chicago-based Tribune publishing, owner of the San ...

Chargers' political tab already approaching $900,000

Eight-figure campaign for lucrative public subsidy includes fundraising House members

Let the big-spending political game begin. So says Dean Spanos and his wealthy extended family from Stockton, as related by the first financial filing with the city clerk's office of a campaign committee calling itself ...

Strictly Strickland

Come up with $2000 or “raise $8000”

Wealthy Democratic money bundler Christine Forester of La Jolla is throwing a May 4 fundraiser for Ted Strickland, an ex–Ohio governor running for U.S. Senate this year. To be a cohost of the party, donors ...

Sand quality study

Sixteen sampling events proposed

Those controversial La Jolla seals can look forward to more disturbances. “The City of San Diego plans to conduct a sand quality study at the Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla,” says an April 4 ...

Greenhouse politics

Mega-million-dollar super PAC in action

San Francisco hedge-fund mogul Tom Steyer, said to be considering a run for California governor two years hence, is investing some of his big money in a new effort to register voters in San Diego ...

Gannett wants a crack at the Union-Tribune

As Chargers hype mounts, will NFL-linked publisher from Chicago go quietly?

Will the sixth turnover finally turn out to be a charm? That's the question of the hour as yet another would-be master of the San Diego Union-Tribune surfaces in the form of Gannett Co., owner ...

Sheriff Bill Gore's Disinformation 101

Online espionage showcases "techniques on how to legally access some private content"

With San Diego cops anteing up $18,000 for a so-called open-source intelligence tool to tap into the whereabouts and activities of social-media users, can county sheriff Bill Gore be far behind in local law enforcement's ...

The Jacobs-Faulconer dance

Qualcomm execs donate to the mayor's reelection campaign

When Republican Kevin Faulconer first ran for mayor in the fall of 2013, Qualcomm then-CEO Paul Jacobs, the son of company founder and Hillary Clinton-backer Irwin Jacobs, backed Republican-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher for the job. After ...

Gamer’s costly rise and fall

UCSD was in as much of a hurry to get rid of Steve Gamer as it had been to hire him

In January 2014, University of California regents thought they had a hustler in Steve Gamer, so much so that they hastily agreed to pay him the princely annual salary of $455,792 to become UCSD’s new ...

Junketing for Hillary

High-dollar lobbyist hosts 2016 strategy talks in Virginia

Judging by the fierce electoral contests currently being waged around the country, the nebulous political “center" isn't the most popular place to be. But that's where Michelle Dorothy, chief of staff to La Jolla House ...

San Diego cops a deal for online espionage

$18K contract yields "Raw intelligence...captured from social media"

San Diego cops aren't just checking their Twitter feeds anymore, they are now tapping into a vast font of personal information generated by online social network users, with the public none the wiser. That's the ...

Food without the TSA hassle

Eating and drinking on the Pacific Highway

Those who crave the taste of airport food without the bother of navigating Transportation Security Administration checkpoints may soon have a new option, according to a request for qualifications issued March 24 by the San ...

Money for helmets, not for books

Say goodbye to Lexis-Nexis

Money for college sports at tax-funded San Diego State University has been growing at a rapid clip. Not so, the school’s library funding, according to a dire State of the Library report presented April 5 ...

Is not paying taxes tantamount to terror?

San Diego sheriff seeks to ramp up battle against Sovereign Citizens

Mysterious FBI and Homeland Security aircraft are already buzzing San Diego County, trolling for "terrorists, spies, and serious criminals,” according to FBI deputy director Mark Giuliano. Now comes Sheriff Bill Gore, a former FBI Special ...

Peters fundraiser sponsors have checkered past

Bevy of big-time real-estate special interests to chow down at DC lunch

When political action committees for the real-estate business team up with resort developers, a lucrative fundraiser may be bound to ensue. But next week's event for congressman Scott Peters at the Congressional Mews condo complex ...

Physical therapy business has become a thorny issue

Therapeutic conflict

The Republican mayor of Encinitas, currently challenging incumbent Democratic county supervisor Dave Roberts, runs a physical therapy business on the side. What to do when a lawyer for DCM Properties, a real estate developer suing ...

Sleep doctor no more

Implicated as a user of prescription and recreational drugs

A drug-plagued La Jolla psychiatrist specializing in sleep disorders has agreed to permanently surrender his license to practice medicine in California, according to a stipulation with the state’s medical board. On November 5, 2014, the ...

Are funny numbers bad news for Union-Tribune?

"It's worrisome as to how extensive the lack of controls were.”

Just how serious are the accounting problems that have surfaced at Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune? Worse than ever, suggests a write-up by Crain's Chicago Business of the financial crisis besetting ...

GOP-TV not priceless: Faulconer forks over $50K to KUSI

Karl Rove tie surfaces in dirt-digging against mayoral foe

Let the big-money mayoral TV advertising war begin. Such is the word from San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer's reelection team, which has so far purchased 280 spots on the Republicans' favorite local station, KUSI, ...

SDG&E and the behesting tales of two Roberts

County supervisors with same last name also share penchant for special-interest speech money

Last month, county supervisor Ron Roberts gave the annual state of the county address, in which the Republican vigorously sang the praises of San Diego Gas & Electric. "No one is a better partner in ...

Old homes week

Property added to personal portfolios

Far from receiving a decent burial, the La Jolla bones of San Diego’s old Copley newspaper empire have become touchstones for two wealthy San Diego powerbrokers, who have laid out big money to add them ...

Beer, money, influence, and Accela

True local brewers, take note

A downtown influence-peddling shop dear to the heart of San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer has picked up yet another controversial big-money client. Multinational beer giant Anheuser-Busch has retained Presidio Public Affairs Group to lobby for ...

Red light revenue

There’s a “material decrease” in money coming in, notes county auditor

Cash from San Diego traffic-ticket fines is seriously down, says the county auditor’s office. Over the past five years, according to a March 4 report, “collections from penalty assessments fell from $13,749,562 to $7,910,885 (42 ...

$35 tab for Moores dog-and-pony SDSU stadium show

Scandal-beset university benefactor may try again for "public-private" real estate deal

Taxpayers eager for information on the behind-the-scenes machinations regarding a downtown Chargers stadium and expanding San Diego State University to Mission Valley will have to fork over at least $35 for the privilege. That's the ...

Fox tip-toes out of Bridgepoint's hen house

Ex-UCSD chancellor departs investigation-beset private college company

An ex–University of California chancellor and UCSD chemistry professor who made a gross annual state salary of $212,711 in 2014 has surrendered another lucrative corporate board seat in the world of private education. "On March ...

Copley doles it out

Former executives who gave away the money were paid big

While he lived, one-time Union-Tribune owner David Copley wasn’t shy about dipping into the funds of the nonprofit foundation created by his adopted father Jim Copley, distributing big money to an array of his favorite ...

Minimum wage, maximum campaign

San Diego decides in June

A political committee belonging to ex–Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, running for the state senate seat now occupied by fellow Democrat Marty Block (who recently left the race), has come up with $25,000 for the minimum-wage ...

Tribune editorials speak as one: monopoly rules

Obama lawyers go after Chicago newspaper chain’s jugular

Editorialists employed by Chicago's Tribune Publishing, otherwise known in media circles as the newspaper chain from hell, have wasted no time condemning the U.S. Justice Department for killing Tribune's putative deal to seize control of ...

Chargers charity continues skid

Perryman provides window dressing for taxpayer stadium ballot run-up

While anticipation mounts regarding the Chargers plan to build a new downtown stadium with a big assist from San Diego city taxpayers, the latest filing of the team's nonprofit foundation shows yet another decline in ...

Pandora's box of Issa staffer's freebies

Embattled streaming music service from Oakland stages Manhattan junket

One of the earliest players in the streaming music business is facing an uncertain future and locked in a money war with recording artists. What to do? Hire a Wall Street banker to shop the ...

Cowboy John

Gobbling up real estate

Ex–Padres owner John Moores, who is helping the initiative drive of lawyer Cory Briggs to raise hotel taxes that could aid siting of a new Chargers stadium near Moores’s property downtown, is also busy building ...

Gambling conventions

Mini horse-betting parlor springs up

There was bad news for the San Diego Police Department vice squad when it asked the office of city attorney Jan Goldsmith whether there was a chance of passing city laws to regulate so-called mini-satellite ...

Roe’s show boat

Ethics and conflicts of interest

Due to his position as chief political advisor to Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, GOP campaign guru Jason Roe is used to having plenty of clout around city hall. But last year Roe was singled out ...

Will Faulconer dare touch Trump's third rail?

H-1B visa for city staffer up to San Diego's chief Rubio backer

Just as Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio ramp up attacks regarding the controversial H-1B high-tech visa program, Rubio's most prominent San Diego backer may soon be asked to authorize use of the ...

San Diego tops for costly Secret Service agents

Low white-collar prosecution rates mean less work for investigators here, audit finds

Are U.S. Secret Service agents living too high on the hog in San Diego? That's one of the findings suggested by a newly released audit of the presidential protection and financial crime investigative agency by ...

Unrestrained boosterism and biased reporting in U-T’s future?

Critics slam Tribune Publishing's move to hand commercial reins to editors

As cheerleading continues for a new tax-subsidized downtown stadium to house the Chargers, the Chicago ownership of the San Diego Union-Tribune is being hit by pundits who assert that the company's latest business strategy is ...

Jail diplomas in demand

Please apply, if you can teach for free

San Diego County jail is looking for some new education providers for its incarcerated citizens. “The current program services allow inmates to increase their level of education, teach practical life skills, and teach a trade ...

Smell the campaign lilacs

Controversial North County development gets new push

Fallbrook real estate broker Paul Schumann has taken the helm of a new political committee established to run an initiative campaign on behalf of Lilac Hills Ranch. The controversial North County housing and commercial development ...

Gotta watch those Navy “internal control weaknesses”

Swamped

There’s big trouble brewing with the Navy’s bill-paying setup in San Diego, and taxpayers face the unpleasant prospect of being robbed blind. So says a February 25 audit of the military’s Invoice, Receipt, Acceptance, and ...

Audit breaks up city workers' purloined scrap metal party

History repeats in San Diego fleet service case of wined-and-dined staffers

An investigation into charges that San Diego workers were illegally hoarding scrap metal to raise cash for an employee bash has uncovered chronic problems with the way the city has been running its industrial recycling ...

Big Khosla is Watching

UCSD chancellor joins board of Canadian high-tech surveillance outfit

Facial recognition software, one of the latest frontiers in big-money high-tech security, is not without its controversies, both local and national. Last summer, Democratic senator Al Franken of Minnesota said he was worried about privacy ...

The Chargers stadium and a vanished Faulconer political operative

Mission Valley aide slips away on mysterious vacation as downtown football battle looms

Where is Anthony George and what is he up to? Back in March 2014, newly elected San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer announced George would join his city hall staff as the mayor's "community representative" for ...

Financial debacle is a résumé highlight

Lawyers, again

There was a lot of nasty fallout from San Diego’s infamous pension mess of the early 21st Century, starting with the political demise of Republican mayor Dick Murphy, who abruptly quit office in April 2005 ...

Wage hike campaign begins

Tiki poison

Politically ambitious San Diego Unified school-board member Kevin Beiser is throwing a bash to raise cash on behalf of the campaign for the minimum-wage measure on June’s ballot, saying, “The best way to help kids ...

UCSD and USC battle in court

Pricey legal fees, unforgettable

The costly legal battle between taxpayer-supported UCSD and private Los Angeles–based University of Southern California continues to slowly wind its way through federal court here, as lawyers for both sides run up more billable hours. ...

Lifeguard to run for mayor

Ed Harris (along with Lori Saldaña) to challenge Faulconer

Longtime lifeguard, union chief, and onetime city-council member, Democrat Ed Harris has declared he will run for mayor against incumbent Kevin Faulconer, according to a statement of intent filed with the city clerk’s office on ...

Will Oscar freebies change Union-Tribune’s destiny?

Chicago newspaper mogul stirs L.A. Times furor by grabbing reporters' Academy Award tickets

How likely is Michael Ferro, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s new uber-master in Chicago, to sell the paper to someone else, in particular Los Angeles Democratic billionaire Eli Broad? Speculation has been hot and heavy among ...

Border Patrol’s forward bases collapsing into disrepair

Broken TV cameras and bad air conditioning plague “actionable intelligence” outposts

A little-known system of "forward operating bases" run by the U.S. Border Patrol along the Southwest border with Mexico suffers from a host of “security issues, safety and health concerns, and inadequate living conditions," according ...

Is the Chargers' favorite city about to get dirtied up?

Political hitman, illegal city-council gift purveyor, flagging Chicago-owned U-T enliven stadium saga

A flagging Chicago-owned newspaper desperate for sports business, a wealthy NFL owner with an option to relocate the family football team to Los Angeles, a consultant steeped in the dark arts of the campaign hatchet ...

Let’s lay some pipe already

...just don’t breathe in

The California Pipe Trades Council, based in San Francisco, has spent $8368 lobbying San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and city attorney Jan Goldsmith regarding its “opposition to proposed building standards ordinance to approve ABS and ...

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