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Stories by Matt Potter

What WikiLeaks reveals about San Diego

Burghers beg and badger big politicos.

Presidential politics is about the imperial exercise of power, but this year, agents from a much older empire have seemingly penetrated the deepest realms of America’s ruling establishment, scattering secrets both profound and embarrassing across ...

Quid pro Peters

More from the WikiLeaks dump

An old Bill Clinton White House hand has shown up in the WikiLeaks dump of Hillary Clinton campaign honcho John Podesta’s emails, singing the free-trade praises of La Jolla Democratic House member Scott Peters. “I ...

Homeless PR agent

Tapping a Democratic practitioner of the art of spin

San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, a veteran of the high-dollar public relations world via the firm of NCG Porter Novelli, has tapped a Democratic practitioner of the art of spin to run his flagging ...

Closed-door meetings with Chargers preceded mayor's stadium backing

Behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing may have flouted influence-peddling laws

With the election little more than a week away, questions continue to bedevil San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer regarding the motives behind his deal with the Chargers to endorse the team's tax-subsidized downtown stadium and ...

Tronc'ed again: Union-Tribune faces yet more jobless fears

If Gannett deal dies, could bio-tech billionaire still grab piece of L.A. Times?

It may be curtains for media giant Gannett's multibillion-dollar deal for tronc, the Chicago-based newspaper chain that owns San Diego's Union-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, leaving employees of the troubled print-based business in more ...

Yes on K?

Todd Gloria appears confident

The Union-Tribune’s Successful Aging Expo last month featured booths for Carefree Vacations and Eyeglass World. But one sponsor raised eyebrows among some: the Hemlock Society, with tips on how to best use the state’s new ...

SANDAG meets well-financed opposition

DeMaio’s strange bedfellows

A bid by the San Diego Association of Governments, otherwise known as SANDAG, the tax-financed public agency in charge of funding everything from freeway routes to trolleys and buses here, has run into some resistance ...

Mobbed-up memories evoked by Trump's SD donor list

Widow who sued Arianna Huffington over Clinton Coronado adultery report kicks in for Hillary

The ghosts of two of San Diego's most controversial real estate moguls live on among the ranks of September San Diego donors to the Clinton and Trump presidential campaigns. Son of a San Diego bootlegger ...

Book booze

Bring your library card and a designated driver

The old downtown public library was notorious for hosting legions of homeless inebriates haunting the stacks. Now the city is looking for a vendor who can purvey the hard stuff to higher-dollar crowds. “From a ...

Election law brawl

Soros versus Lincoln

San Diego Republicans are facing off against liberal billionaire George Soros in an improbable big-money brawl about whether the city should change its election laws. The way it is now, candidates for city office who ...

Kris Michell offers “year-round vibrancy”

Wonder woman

As questions continue about why San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer has endorsed a hike in the city’s hotel tax to pay for a new $1.8 billion Chargers downtown stadium and meeting venue, the controversy has ...

What's in a stadium name?

Balboa Park building billionaire gives $5000 against Spanos stadium measure

The man most responsible for the expansion of Qualcomm stadium for the Chargers in 1997, ultimately handing the team a taxpayer-funded venue and a controversial ticket guarantee — along with an out-of-town exit pass — ...

SDSU’s beachy breakfast

Chamber goes all out to defeat Measure K

As the cost of running campaigns in San Diego has grown, so has the influx of major corporate and union contributions. An example is the big money rolling into the San Diego Chamber of Commerce’s ...

Miserly Moores and his minions

Measure D and muddy waters

Ever since his slate of members for election to the homeowners’ association board that runs Rancho Santa Fe was defeated in a controversy-filled election this past summer, mega-millionaire ex–Padres owner John Moores has gone to ...

How to die with $60 million worth of the Chargers

Late restaurateur and U-T publisher who boosted taxpayer subsidy ended up owning shares of team

With this week's death of Chargers minority owner George Pernicano at 98, his heirs may be looking at a $60 million payout from his 3 percent interest in the team, according to a back-of-the-envelope calculation ...

The Dick and Margaret show

Former San Diego Union reporter took on Ronald Reagan

Before she became a PBS news star, Margaret Garrard Warner was a reporter in the 1970s at the San Diego Union, the newspaper owned by wealthy Republican Helen Copley and run by editor Jerry Warren, ...

Is Proposition X a black hole?

Grossmont Community College and debt

The Infrastructure PAC of the Associated General Contractors has been giving heavily to back some controversial school bond measures around San Diego County appearing on November’s ballot — with one glaring exception. On September 15, ...

Susan Davis, queen of the London freebies

Congresswoman racked up $200,652 on 28 jaunts to exotic destinations

Democratic congresswoman Susan Davis of San Diego’s Kensington neighborhood was once one of the House of Representatives’ most-traveled members, thanks to a bevy of nonprofit, corporation-supported foundations eager to provide her with free trips abroad, ...

Mayor’s flip-flop leaves his political guru out of the money

Faulconer's "brain" in ethics battle with Fabiani vanishes from the stadium scene

The National Football League, known for its cast of loyal political bedfellows, has just picked up yet another apprentice, said by insiders to be enticed by the enormous pile of cash the league's mega-billionaire owners ...

Cate's Corn Hole stuffed by SDG&E's hard cash

Seeker of "thought leadership" pays for councilman's Mira Mesa charity tournament

The money-stuffed fists of San Diego Gas & Electric, subsidiary of utility giant Sempra, have once against demonstrated the company's formidable political punch by injecting a sizable dose of corporate cash into an event accruing ...

Meet the Filthy Rich Spanos Clan

They want you to buy them a stadium

How rich are members of the Spanos family, the NFL owners asking San Diego city voters to hike the tax on hotel visits and hand it over to subsidize a $1.8 billion professional football and ...

SDSU’s digital humans

The country’s first research-oriented digital humanities program focused on human and global diversity

San Diego State University may be more noted for sports than the humanities, but school higher-ups are currently looking to hire what they call a Digital Humanist. Not a robot, but “a humanities scholar who ...

Chick bait and the big-money merry-go-round

Clients seeking favor at City Hall include Airbnb, BOOS Development West, EBI Consulting, and Topgolf International

Yet another turn of the San Diego City Council staff’s rapidly revolving high-dollar door has landed former Chris Cate aide Julianna Chick in the offices of California Strategies, the influential lobbying and government affairs outfit ...

Georgia is on wandering Hunter’s mind

Fundraiser starring GOP congressman benefited charity picking up his foreign trip tab

San Diego congressman Duncan Hunter, who took sustained political fire earlier this year for personal use of campaign funds and since hired a lawyer to deal with the legal and regulatory fallout, took advantage of ...

Alpine’s Islamic fashionista antes up for Clinton

Presidential contenders vie for big money in wealthy San Diego neighborhoods

Democrat Hillary Clinton bumped up her San Diego county fundraising game last month, collecting a total of $520,590 from county residents, compared to a July take of $435,595, according to a computer analysis of the ...

Will the U-T go to Gannett?

Remote controller

As closed-door talks continue over a possible takeover of Chicago-based tronc, owner of the Union-Tribune, by giant newspaper chain Gannett Co., some are hoping for yet another fresh start for the San Diego daily, hobbled ...

Politicians backed by Brady campaign

Gun fight

Some county gun owners are said to be irate about a recent local political endorsement by the Washington DC–based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, but whether they will be loosening their campaign purse strings ...

Details scarce in death of Nobel Prize–winner

Death and an un-taxing salary

UCSD’s big-budget public relations department, charged with playing up good news at the taxpayer-financed school, doesn’t always do as well relaying the solemn aspects of university life and death. Such was the case last month ...

California's big labor backs San Diego sales-tax hike

Measure A bankrolled by out-of-town infrastructure interests and one environmental group

Don't call them building-industry special interests — they'd rather be known as "a coalition of construction professionals to repair San Diego's roads," according to campaign disclosure filings. But by any name, Yes on A forces, ...

San Diego U-T, brought to you by SDG&E

Newspaper's website makeover sells exclusive sponsorship to giant utility for undisclosed fee

San Diego's big shark in a small pond, otherwise known as Sempra Energy — long noted for having a hand in behind-the-scenes major money doings of local politicos and media outlets — is currently flexing ...

Wandering weapons

A couple here, a couple there...

San Diego cops are having trouble keeping track of their weapons stash, based on an inventory of lost or missing firearms recently released by the city after a request under the California public records act. ...

Empowering young Muslims

And endorsing Democratic candidates

A group of Muslim students from high schools around the county have set up a campaign committee to gather cash for political causes, according to an August 12 filing with the county registrar of voters. ...

Sizable chest

Alvarez serves the leftovers

San Diego City Council Democrat David Alvarez, who collected a sizable war chest to back his June bid and those of his allies to obtain spots on the party’s central committee, is deploying the leftovers ...

No homeless, please, we’re catering

Lucrative after-hours at the library

In an effort to brand the new downtown library as a high-dollar private event venue, the city is searching for a bevy of exclusive gourmet caterers. “Since its opening in September 2013, the Library has ...

Labor and capital pick their pre-election poison

Big-money battle over Measure A fuels DeMaio’s putative funding hopes

San Diego's big-money campaign money-raising merry-go-round has shifted into high gear, with cash from both big business and big labor pouring in for local political causes. Among the heaviest hitters so far is the International ...

Giving back to the GOP

The fund spent $252,214 in an unsuccessful effort to elect Ellis

Republican Ray Ellis has bowed out of his runoff race against Democrat Barbara Bry, who bested him by a sizable margin in the June primary to succeed La Jolla city councilwoman Sherri Lightner. Now a ...

Faulconer’s free Frisco

This is really a “gift” question

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has pledged not to seek higher office during his current term, but his best backers can always hope. Last October, email recovered from San Diego’s ethics commission shows, the mayor took off ...

Pence set to raise lots of cents in La Jolla

Trump vice-presidential hopeful's event backed by ex-U-T owner and Russian-born wife

With the November election swiftly approaching, the campaigns of the two major party contenders are going about the business of raising California cash, including a La Jolla appearance by Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence. Set ...

Mystery lurks behind Chargers latest $1 million campaign cash

Newly created Delaware limited liability company fronts big money for downtown stadium push

While San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer continues to dally about whether he will support or oppose a new tax-subsidized stadium for the Chargers, the team is upping the ante for the politically ambitious Republican by ...

Something's fishy about dismal San Diego seafood sales

Study blames unfamiliarity with snails and globalization for dearth of locally caught ocean species eating

San Diegans could be eating more locally caught fresh fish, snails, squid, and lobsters, says a new study by academics from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and USD, but globalization and a lack of reliable ...

Have Juan, will travel

Scott Hinkle beats the heat

A top staffer to border Democratic House member Juan Vargas has escaped the muggy summer heat of Washington DC with a summer getaway to the fresh breezes of San Francisco, courtesy of the Federal Home ...

Glide control to Torrey Pines

Gliderport lease is up

The 6.74-acre Torrey Pines Gliderport, a longtime hotspot for confrontations between videographer Bob Kuczewski and gliderport leaseholder Robin Marien over what Kuczewski has alleged are unsafe practices at the city-owned facility, is up for a ...

$1 million check cut in big-money sprawl war

Lilac Hills backers vow to crush enviros; Cushman kicks in $5000 against Chargers

Urban sprawl means big money these days in San Diego's North County, the once bucolic setting of pastoral ranches and organic food farms now set for uber-urbanization if voters approve proposition B on November's countywide ...

Behold Gannett, prospective master of San Diego

Giant newspaper chain hikes Ponzi-style bid for Chicago-based tronc

Just how much does newspaper giant Gannett Co. want to own the downtrodden dailies of tronc, proprietor of the San Diego Union-Tribune? Enough to pay a minor king’s ransom, based on the latest news out ...

Dirty football

Sanders and new city council political business

San Diego’s ex-mayor Jerry Sanders is so far batting .500 in the new city council political business this year, but not because he hasn’t been laying out a lot of cash. The Greater San Diego ...

Mayor’s office not so transparent

Free information

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer proclaimed a new era in transparency when he recently rolled out a new automated way for the public to request records previously hidden away in the dark warrens of city ...

SDPD would like permission to access your cameras

False sense of security

A low-profile, high-tech plan by San Diego police to tap into the feeds of private video surveillance cameras across the city has so far managed to corral five participants, according to documents released following a ...

Big money Mexico-tied donor backs Trump

Rich Tijuana scion aids GOP hopeful in San Diego mega-money race

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has labored long and hard in the campaign-cash vineyards of San Diego's super-rich, chief among them Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs, one of the first off the blocks with $50,000 for ...

California watchdog limits freebies for Latinos for Israel

AIPAC to host first Hispanic Outreach Summit in Arizona

San Diego city hall lobbyist and Southwestern Community College District board member Humberto Peraza has been invited to a splashy event in Phoenix put on by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, more commonly known ...

As thick as thieves

Ignoring the revolving door law

San Diego’s political merry-go-round of big-money influence-peddling never stops. Ex–Republican assemblyman and onetime mayor of Anaheim Curt Pringle, known as one of Orange County’s most powerful politicos in recent memory, has been making the rounds ...

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