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Stories by Matt Potter

Millennial millions

Another staffer for Republican House government oversight and reform committee chairman Darrell Issa has hit the road, this time for a quick trip to Hot Springs, Virginia, to attend the 2014 GOP “Chiefs of Staffs ...

Pump and dump

San Diego’s economy has long been supportive of biotech, but a small portion of the industry may have just taken a big hit. It comes in the form of a warning letter sent last month ...

Pimpo and Singleton do London

But it’s former rear admiral Heinrich who’s accused of big taxpayer waste

One more notable little secret of San Diego–bred Navy brass has finally found its way into the open. A rear admiral who was a top supply officer here has been caught with his hands in ...

You name it, moneyman

County to use names of trails, pools, and playgrounds as cash lure

For San Diego's billionaires, megamillionaires, and the corporations they love, renaming public real estate has long been a hallowed tradition. Qualcomm, founded by La Jolla Democrat Irwin Jacobs, has its name on the stadium in ...

Scandal-raising questions at U-T San Diego

Editorialist's relationship and other unmentionables mark dark coverage

Days after a sweep of many key election races in his favor, San Diego real estate developer Douglas Manchester's U-T San Diego has run an unorthodox front-page pitch for subscribers. The entire page is blank, ...

Budgetary trauma, outsourced

Should San Diego open its police department “psychological services” contract to competitive bidding? No, says the department in a memo to city council. “The utilization of another counseling firm would require all employees utilizing services ...

To lobby is divine

The tortured saga of the City of San Diego’s high-priced Washington lobbyist entered yet another round of possible contention with a request last week by GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer for proposals from a fresh round ...

Parking structure, SDSU style

Trustees of the California State University system advanced a plan to spend $142.7 million to build Plaza Linda Verde at San Diego State. The so-called mixed-use facility, in the works since 2011, “will house 659 ...

Lobbyists bungle in the jungle

Hunter aide gets down with party animals in posh tropical junket

Victoria Middleton, chief of staff to San Diego Republican congressman Duncan Hunter and a longtime member of the capitol's junketing class, appears partial to jungles. Back in 2011, she jetted off to Africa on an ...

Liquor-store owners get a pass on late report

State watchdog gives repeat Fletcher funding violator a warning

Knocked out of serious politics by a relentless barrage of hit pieces dispatched by the GOP Lincoln Club, Nathan Fletcher — the onetime Republican assemblyman who became an independent and later a Democrat in his ...

Passport to terror?

Investigation turns up information mishandling by Postal Service

How secure is the personal information given to post offices by those seeking U.S. passports? Not very, according to an investigation by the U.S. Postal Service conducted after a snafu caused a San Diego woman ...

Barrio hit piece silent on maquiladora job loss

General Dynamics exports San Diego shipyard employment to Mexico

It's the dirty little secret of the military contractors’ campaign against the Barrio Logan community plan update, several San Diego industrial insiders say. General Dynamics — the defense-contracting behemoth that owns National Steel and Shipbuilding ...

Manchester wins a Navy Broadway battle

Judge swats down bid to halt massive bayfront development

U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester's long battle to build a giant commercial and office complex on Navy property at the foot of Broadway downtown appears to be a legal step closer to reality with ...

To Berlin, with politics

Termed-out GOP state senator Mark Wyland long ago threw in the towel on a planned bid for the Board of Equalization, passing San Diego’s torch to ex–Chula Vista mayor and former Republican assemblywoman Shirley Horton. ...

Toxic tarpaper

Special interests lined up for sponsorship rights to this month’s unveiling of the packed new water park around the county administration building downtown. So-called behest disclosure filings required by state law show that the Viejas ...

Boarding cash

Mayor Kevin Faulconer continues to hand out city appointments to some of his biggest campaign givers. One of the more conspicuous is Guy Asaro, president of McMillin Homes, who has become a member of the ...

Florida pot-stock promoter backs Brewer for D.A.

Law-enforcement PACs also dole dollars for Dumanis challenger

Over the years, San Diego has known its share of newly rich political sugar daddies, spending their up-and-coming wealth on their chosen candidates of the hour. Disgraced banker C. Arnholt Smith, drug-money-laundering Jack-in-the-Box mega millionaire ...

Faulconer moneyman nabs planning chair

Architect paid $3000 ethics fine in 2012 for failing to reveal clients

$3000 in contributions to a 2014 mayoral campaign fund favoring him have apparently gone down well with Kevin Faulconer, who's just made their principal source, La Jolla architect Timothy Golba, chairman of the city's planning ...

Beware: one minimum-wage proposal called a “sham”

Past ghosts haunt hotel owners' silent contributions to signature drive

Because of a gaping loophole in San Diego's campaign disclosure law, it won't be until the end of July that the public learns the complete identities of the big-money donors behind a minimum-wage proposal currently ...

La Jollan who enslaved maids dies in prison

Sante Kimes and son later convicted for killing and dismembering heiress

It's a chapter of history that wealthy La Jollans — who obtain their legions of domestic servants through a variety of sources, legal and not — would most likely rather forget. In early August of ...

U-T hypes long-delayed Manchester hotel plan

Publisher/real estate magnate says Austin is “Texas’ finest city”

It will be a long, hot day at the end of Austin's typically hellish Texas summer when Douglas Manchester's “Fairmont Austin” convention hotel finally breaks ground. At least that's the latest prediction from the voluble ...

Spooky tourism

Toorcon San Diego is a convention of computer hackers that convenes every fall here to discuss the fine art of electronic breaking-and-entering. “Schools don’t teach hacking, and the Internet hides it for both profit, and ...

Pay for appointments

Two more big-money lobbyists and campaign contributors have gotten the nod from mayor Kevin Faulconer for high-profile city development positions. Donna Jones, a land-use partner at the downtown powerhouse influence-peddling law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, ...

Government gushes tax dollars at bayside bash

Consultant got fat commission for TSA pipeline party on Harbor Island

Did taxpayers get a raw deal at a high-dollar pipeline conference run by the ever-controversial U.S. Transportation and Security Administration — infamous for airport frisking gropes and other mishaps — at a bayside San Diego ...

Political sharpies behind big money hospital deal

Sharp campaign for 30-year lease flying under fact-check radar

It's a very good deal, at least according to an editorial in U-T San Diego, the media operation owned by Republican stalwart and real estate mega-developer Douglas Manchester. "East County voters have an easy decision ...

Media cabal building political machine?

Manchester, McKinnon, and Kimmel give big, GOP backs Dumanis with $130,000

Are San Diego’s big media owners working together to build a virtually impregnable political machine? It’s a question being asked more and more frequently among longtime city hall observers in the wake of political plays ...

Irwin and George

Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs, who recently hosted a Democratic fundraiser with president Barack Obama at his La Jolla mansion, has deserted the party machine in at least one race this year. According to campaign disclosure ...

Everybody loves Darrell

A top aide to Republican Congressman Darrell Issa enjoyed a TV star–filled jaunt from Washington to Las Vegas and back last month, thanks to the generosity of the National Association of Broadcasters. Veronica Wong, Issa’s ...

Hillary is coming to town — awkward!

Special-interest event promises income source for mayor's wife

The 2014 BIO International Convention, to be held at San Diego's downtown convention center June 23–26, has announced that the keynote speaker will be ex–First Lady, former Secretary of State, and presumed presidential candidate Hillary ...

UCSD undocumented

UC San Diego is looking to hire a new “undocumented student support services coordinator,” to be “responsible for the planning, development, implementation, and assessment of programs and services to engage and support undocumented undergraduate and ...

South Bay political mafia buys Horton ads

PAC with ties to Steve Peace shells out for Facebook pop-ups

Ads for a San Diego County candidate for the state Board of Equalization favored by Republican publisher and real estate mogul Douglas Manchester and retired Democratic San Diego South Bay state senator Steve Peace have ...

Dynamically duplicitous dirty old Navy

Execs sign ballot argument as ex-admirals, trying to kill Barrio Logan plan

Call it the ex-admirals' political ball. In any case, it may be one of San Diego's biggest masquerades since Mardi Gras. A longtime General Dynamics executive has signed the ballot argument against a community plan ...

Pot lobby and cop unions fund pro-Brewer committee

Independent supporters of D.A.'s challenger get big bucks from strange bedfellows

Some seemingly strange political bedfellows are behind an independent expenditure committee backing attorney Robert Brewer for district attorney against incumbent Bonnie Dumanis. Calling itself “Public Safety Advocates," the group received $10,000 from the Alliance for ...

Crooked ex-admiral fighting Barrio Logan plan

Betancourt pled guilty to conflict of interest, fired by school board in 2007

It isn't a secret that a lot of San Diego money comes from military contractors and every so often some of all that federally funded cash is diverted to illegal purposes, stolen, and otherwise wasted. ...

Rotten with Sempra/SDG&E money

Politicos and local media get low-profile cash from utility giant

Arguably the most powerful corporation in San Diego, akin to the public utility octopuses of old, giant Sempra Energy has the political clout to match. But a big part of the electric company's influence isn't ...

Eau de chicken manure scents council campaigns

Beverly Hills real-estater deposits mysterious money into council race

Michael Schlesinger of Beverly Hills has a big-money thing for San Diego politics, but that's about the only thing known about the mysterious money man and the source of his cash, most famous here for ...

U.S. Marine reported shackled in Tijuana prison

"He is crippled mentally, he is crippled physically," says his mother.

A U.S. Marine who has done two tours of Afghanistan has been shackled to his cot in Tijuana's La Mesa penitentiary infirmary while being held on illegal gun charges, according to the McClatchy News Service ...

Clinton records shed light on Filner, Bersin

Presidential staff played San Diego politics, documents show

It's history now, but the 1990s were a busy time for two San Diego Democrats who jockeyed for privilege and power during the administration of president Bill Clinton. Now, a release of previously restricted documents ...

Performance anxiety and the mob

The mysterious owners of the Las Vegas–based Cheetahs strip joint in Kearny Mesa have opened a new legal front in federal court against San Diego police, claiming that raids by the cops have been illegally ...

No pot in Rachel’s lobby

Rachel Laing, the ex-media handler for GOP mayor Jerry Sanders who later went to work for political consultant Tom Shepard only to quit during the sexual harassment scandal of his top client, fallen Democratic mayor ...

Horning in

The race by Republican county supervisor Bill Horn to hold on to his seat against a challenge by Oceanside mayor Jim Wood is off with a financial bang, with backers of both sides lining up ...

This time you may really be fired, Sloat

Faulconer passes on tainted Sacramento influence-peddler, seeks new one

It may finally be curtains for the Sacramento lobbying firm of Sloat Higgins Jensen & Associates, dumped by a host of big-name clients after it agreed earlier this year to pay a record $133,500 fine ...

Manchester gets his man on planning commission

Faulconer appoints designer of U-T’s Mission Valley condo tower

The election of mayor Kevin Faulconer appears to have paid off as expected for developer and U-T San Diego owner Douglas Manchester, who backed the Republican's campaign earlier this year with $356,000, funneled through GOP ...

Pala Indians battle against Bill Horn

Gambling tribe fighting nearby trash dump has spent secretly in past

It's a strange-bedfellows tale of trash and casino chips. The Pala Band of Mission Indians and their affiliated entity Pala Casino came up with $20,000 on April 23 for a campaign committee calling itself Citizens ...

Questionable political fundraising? Roger on that

Hedgecock and KFMB hit with unfairness charge in DeMaio race

Is one of San Diego's wealthiest women — whose family foundation backs nonprofits linked to the billionaire Koch brothers — abusing her lucrative radio and TV broadcasting licenses to muzzle an electoral opponent of Republican ...

Murder in Mexico

Drug-related homicides have been up sharply in Tijuana, but there’s a political shoot-out over just how much, according to a new report by the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico project. Though drug-gang conflict ...

Life in the rich and political lane

Democratic Assembly speaker–elect Toni Atkins hasn’t wasted time cashing in her newly won influence for campaign dollars to support the party’s roster of San Diego City Council candidates. Democrats are throwing a $125-a-head (up to ...

SEAL suits

War may be bloody hell, but life as a La Jolla venture capitalist isn’t a bed of roses either, according to an email making the rounds of local Harvard Club members. The group is offering ...

Douglas Manchester backs a Horton

U-T San Diego owner drops small bundle on Lincoln Club candidate

Real estate developer and U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester has boarded the Board of Equalization bandwagon of GOP ex-assemblywoman and former Chula Vista mayor Shirley Horton, kicking in $6000 on April 21, according to ...

Mayor's nominee withdraws from major appointment

Gray says he backed out of civil service commission role to avoid conflicts

Insurance consultant and Republican Lincoln Club leader Douglas E. Gray has backed out of an appointment by San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer to the city's civil service commission. Interviewed in his downtown C Street office ...

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