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Stories by Matt Potter

UCSD's questioned body business

Audit finds problematical use of cadavers and parts from outside sources

The question of who has the body parts at UCSD and where they came from has drawn the attention of university auditors, who say that the increased use of anatomical materials from commercial sources has ...

Contemporary art pay

The substantial income level for La Jolla’s Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has been generally treading water of late. During the 12 months ending last June 30, the institution raked in total revenue of ...

Made-up news on steroids

Channel 10, the television station owned by E.W. Scripps Company, is seeking new blood to get creative with local news, long known for plugging SeaWorld and other local commerce promoters. “KGTV, San Diego’s ABC affiliate, ...

Under Beutner’s influence

“Our own city has seen a chorus of ethics violations and influence peddling from city officials,” wrote Austin Beutner, the new publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, now owned by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing. “Advisors to ...

Israeli drone pioneers get Jacobs backing

Will billionaire Democrat rejoin costly Balboa Park battle?

What is Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs up to next? That is the question making the rounds at San Diego’s city hall in the wake of a state appellate court ruling against superior court judge Tim ...

Council Democrats and staff rack up $10,000 travel tab

Tax dollars spent on DC trip to attend National Geographic gala

If nothing else, a taxpayer-funded special on the National Geographic Channel touting San Diego's food, culture, and business environment has paid off for junketing elected officials and their staffers. As earlier reported here, Republican county ...

Old lifeguards and low funds imperil beach safety

Too white and overly male, auditor says about San Diego's aging water rescuers

About 40 percent of the City of San Diego's Lifeguard Services’ full-time lifeguards will be eligible to retire within the next five years, which is both good and bad, according to city auditors. The departure ...

Cultural acne cure-all

Name-changing has become a busy business at San Diego’s two state-sponsored universities. At UCSD it’s been announced that the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies is being renamed the UC San Diego School of ...

Law and disorder

Termed out of office next year, controversial Republican San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith has finally zeroed out his campaign committee with two last political gifts: $500 to the GOP Lincoln Club and $900 to ...

Bonnie’s leadership camp

San Diego district attorney Bonnie Dumanis, hit by critics for lack of leadership and disorganization in her office, is sending for reinforcements. “The District Attorney’s Office is committed to developing all employees to become leaders ...

Drunkards in a basket

Qualcomm heir Jeff Jacobs, who is such a fan of the San Diego State University basketball team that he came up with $1.1 million to help build the school’s new hoops performance center — named ...

UCSD's $100,000 National Geographic adventure

Tax-funded university helps pay for Fox channel's SeaWorld hype, but not foreign junkets

How much does it cost to get a lengthy plug on the National Geographic Channel, a partner of Rupert Murdoch's international media empire? In the case of the University of California, San Diego, it was ...

Union-Tribune’s new master claims his due

Publisher got $1.2 million for last year's four and a half months in L.A. Times spot

The nation’s daily newspapers are having a rough financial time of it. At least some of their executives, on the other hand, aren't doing so badly. Among them is Austin M. Beutner, the former Wall ...

U-T San Diego now belongs to L.A.

Political coverage to change under new ownership, CEO suggests

"Papa" Douglas Manchester's rowdy reign as the big-money Republican owner of the U-T San Diego has come to the end with the closing of his $83 million deal to sell the newspaper and its smaller ...

Cate debt fund gets big Kilroy cash

Lobbyist and execs backing lucrative One Paseo ante up for payoff committee

The ongoing battle between Los Angeles–area real estate giants Kilroy Realty and Donahue Schriber over the fate of Kilroy's One Paseo mega-development has been financially fortuitous for both San Diego's city hall lobbying corps and ...

Papa Beutner’s gifts of politics

The soon-to-be publisher of U-T San Diego — recently unloaded by exiting publisher and local Republican titan Douglas Manchester to Chicago-based Tribune Publishing — is, like his predecessor, a big money giver to California politicos. ...

San Diego water torture

The death of Chris Burden last week of melanoma at the age of 69 merited an extensive obituary in the New York Times. He was, the paper wrote, “a conceptual artist who in the line ...

SEAL base stripper tabs uncovered by audit

Pentagon finds charge cards used at casinos and nude dancing emporiums

Some members of the military have been running up sizable tabs at gambling establishments and strip clubs across America using their government-issued charge cards, according to a May 19 audit by the Pentagon's office of ...

Hillary's big fat San Diego payday

Billionaire Democrat's Qualcomm forks over $335,000 for a single speech

With the purchase of the city's daily newspaper by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing — owner of the Los Angeles Times — San Diego may be fast on its way to becoming a frequent campaign stop for ...

Pepper spray incident to cost city $643,000

Lawyer in Busby 2009 sheriff's fracas wins another big one

The matter of paying the ultimate cost of an early-morning Gaslamp Quarter brawl involving San Diego police is coming up for approval by the city council, and the price for settling a pepper-spray case again ...

City influence peddling nears $4 million

Record haul by local lobbyists benefits three ex-council members

Douglas Manchester, departing publisher of U-T San Diego, has long been a big employer of high-dollar influence peddlers, which could be why his newspaper hasn't talked about them. In his role of mega-developer, the wealthy ...

Justice delayed

A top lobbyist for San Diego business interests has switched jobs, but as is traditional with the city’s revolving-door politics, he hasn’t wandered too far from home. Sean Karafin, formerly registered as an influence peddler ...

Sempra’s organic influence

It was off to the virtual organic farm earlier this year for a crew of California Democratic legislators being wooed by San Diego–based Sempra Energy, not always known for its love of nature. According to ...

Clintonite, Obama-backer, and U-T publisher

Democratic power player set to seize GOP's favorite California paper

The new publisher favors raising the minimum wage and used to work with Democrats Bill Clinton and Antonio Villaraigosa. His vice president for public relations is an eight-year veteran of Barack Obama's political team. So, ...

Walmart gets charitably cozy with mayor

Faulconer's nonprofit nails $15,000 from Arkansas retail giant

As the coming takeover of U-T San Diego by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing threatens to upend the city's old establishment order, a nonprofit corporation set up to advance the agenda of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer continues ...

Strange bedfellows converge in Faulconer’s Gonzalez attack

City gives big money Democratic funder $39,000 for three months of peddling influence

San Diego politics may soon be destined to change with today's sale of U-T San Diego to Chicago's Tribune Publishing, but for now at least, San Diego Republican kingpin and mega-developer Douglas Manchester has thrown ...

Boomtown lobbyist

Bid deadline passes for Cleveland Elementary, site of 1979 school shooting

Eight children were wounded, a principal and a custodian died, and Bob Geldof got a song out of it. Now the site of San Diego’s former Cleveland Elementary school is drawing the attention of a ...

City-council Democrats hitting the road

Political fellow travelers

San Diego’s city hall has been a point of departure for lots of local politicos of late, most famously Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has gone to the East Coast and back several times and ...

Wanted for cash: SDSU drop-outs

They don’t know it yet, but thousands who graduated from San Diego State University are regarded by campus fundraisers as “lost.” To hit up the missing, the school has been combing through “thousands of digital ...

Boston's budget-minded spooks

Tour of taxpayer-sponsored military lab marks Vargas staffer junket to Boston

With the boss heading out on a free junket with his wife to the Bavarian Alps, Scott Hinkle, legislative director for Democratic congressman Juan Vargas, took his own gratis spring-break trip to Boston. Hinkle's two-day ...

Billions of dirty ore dollars

Dormant radioactive uranium mine key to Blue brothers' future fortune

Called the Grants Uranium District, a dusty stretch of New Mexico's San Juan Basin near Gallup has the potential to make billions of dollars for a wealthy La Jolla family and its heirs. But first ...

The Gaslamp cop cam case that won't die

San Diego convention blowout figures in continuing New Mexico procurement scandal

A sole-source body-camera contract scandal rocking New Mexico has taken a new turn, with findings in a state audit that Albuquerque’s former police chief Raymond Schultz and his then-deputy attended a police convention bash at ...

Juan and Adrienne's Bavarian spring break

San Diego Democrat and wife hosted by German industrialists

The list of free-traveling spring-breakers among the ranks of San Diego's Congress members and staff has grown yet again with the addition of Democrat Juan Vargas and his wife Adrienne, who recently spent a luxurious ...

Rainmaking 101

San Diego State University’s business school is seeking to hire a schmoozer-in-chief in the form of a full-time “events coordinator.” According to the job posting, “These events are done for the primary purpose of providing ...

Mayor’s Jumbotron debt

When Kevin Faulconer announced in January he was setting up a Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group, the Republican mayor insisted one thing was certain: there would be no tax money or city staff time spent on ...

ICE Air’s costly fares

The Department of Homeland Security’s ICE Air doesn’t fly to the North Pole, but it might just as well have for all the empty seats and wasted taxpayer money it has been responsible for. So ...

Faulconer's big-money re-election bid

Brown meet-up, cash committee, stadium deal mark mayoral maneuvers

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, an ex–public relations man, has hit the road again, this time to Sacramento to garner publicity for himself and his water proposals in a high-profile meeting with Democratic governor Jerry ...

New U-T San Diego vice-boss same as the old

Mission Valley newspaper welcomes back exec from Platinum Equity days

U-T San Diego, the newspaper and website owned by Republican kingpin and San Diego mega-developer Douglas Manchester, has lately been twisting in a gale of uncertainty over its future, and a recent executive move may ...

City hall crimes veiled by anonymity

Unidentified employee quietly cops grand theft plea in six-figure theft and bribery case

Crime, fraud, and miscellaneous malfeasance may be taking a major turn for the worse at San Diego's city hall, judging from the most recent Quarterly Fraud Hotline Report from the city auditor. But because of ...

No Sun God class-dodging, professors told

Faculty warned Snoop Dogg's UCSD blowout shouldn't have day of recovery

Rapper Snoop Dogg is set to come to UCSD next month to headline the school's controversial Sun God festival, noted for alcohol poisonings and drug overdoses, and officials there are already plotting ways to keep ...

Mayoral aides turned lobbyists

During the eight-year reign of Republican San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders, his chief media gatekeeper Darren Pudgil was famous for tightly controlling access to the higher reaches of city hall. At the mayor’s news conferences, ...

Travel freebies for politicos include water tours and $4600 airfare

Mission to China

County supervisor Ron Roberts spent some quality time on the road last year, thanks to an arm of the Chinese government. According to his annual personal financial disclosure statement, filed March 20, Roberts was part ...

Clinton Democrats back Issa staffer tour

$3000 European junket paid for by "Third Way" DC think tank

It used to be that San Diego County's most traveled congressional office belonged to Democrat Susan Davis, who over the years has run up an impressive string of tabs, picked up by special interests, to ...

Pepper-spray spree costs SDPD

Jury finds against San Diego cops in Gaslamp bar-closing brawl

December 3, 2011, turned into a bad day for San Diego taxpayers as a result of a federal jury verdict against cops involved in a violent early-morning incident in downtown's Gaslamp Quarter. According to a ...

Could Feds be prowling mayor's Qualcomm food and booze deal?

Staff alleged to have dined on Delaware North delicacies amidst whiff of stadium scandal

How much will it cost San Diego taxpayers to lose the Chargers to Los Angeles? That's the question being bandied about privately at city hall, where an avalanche of bad news and insider lobbying allegations ...

Big-ticket item: Revamping the City of San Diego's website

Proposal requests sought for new content management system

How much more will San Diego taxpayers be required to come up with for mayor Kevin Faulconer’s new PR-centric city website? The outcome hinges on responses to a recent request for proposals to provide the ...

Councilman Gloria's glorious gifts

Word last week that city councilman Todd Gloria is planning to run for the state Assembly seat being vacated by his termed-out fellow Democrat and speaker Toni Atkins marks the beginning of the end of ...

Faulconer’s personal retinue of PR people

Propaganda central

Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani, who has been doing plenty of public outreach lately regarding the fate of professional football in San Diego, picked up $40,000 from the team in the first quarter of this ...

Nathan Fletcher's $3000 triplet flip-flop fine

Republican-turned-Democrat forced to ante up for Hillary backer’s law breaking

Fernando Aguerre, cofounder with his brother Santiago of Reef, the world-famous flip-flop maker, is famed for knowing his way around the worlds of fashion, sports, and high-dollar politics. "Inspired by the beautiful women of the ...

Drug snooping at UCSD's Sun God

Will California cops boycott Snoop Dogg photo ops?

As a corps of well-paid cops from around the state converge on UCSD's drug-and-booze-plagued Sun God music festival next month, their minds may turn to this year’s happenings at a famous Texas music blow-out. Years ...

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