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Stories by Matt Potter

Party like its 2016

With next year’s June primaries less than a year away and campaigns growing ever costlier, local politicos have been throwing a record number of parties to attract well-heeled donors. Democratic congressman Scott Peters, whose campaign ...

Juan’s foreign affairs, cont’d

Fresh from an April junket with his wife in the Bavarian Alps paid for by nonprofit foundations backed by German industrialists, House Democrat Juan Vargas embarked alone on another free foreign journey in May, thanks ...

Mayor's $1.6 million drought PR plan is back

Water “messaging" consultant to serve GOP's Faulconer

After being abruptly pulled from the city's procurement website two months ago, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer's $1.6 million anti-drought public relations campaign is back out for proposals, as costly as ever. As first reported ...

Conflict of interest charges haunt city's Chargers bid

Controversial high-dollar stadium consultant also employed by Saint Louis

San Diego's long-running stadium wars have been very, very good for Dan Barrett. It was way back in 2002 that the city's first Chargers task force hired Barrett and his firm, Barrett Sports Group of ...

The nepotism case that won't die

Cousin of ousted port commissioner checks in regarding son's lifeguard proceeds

There are many family ties in San Diego government, some legal, some not so much. For instance, the ghost of Wayne Darbeau, ousted as chief executive officer of the port of San Diego after a ...

UCSD finally gets body parts oversight board

As FBI lurks, shadowy human tissue acquisitions undergo review

Under fire from a year-old audit for mishandling human body parts in its research and teaching operations, UCSD has finally announced creation of a new high-level committee to help clean up its act. "As many ...

Party on Wall Street

An investment officer at San Diego’s city employment retirement system has been traveling for free of late, thanks to some big-money pension outfits. On April 16, Jaime Hamrick headed off to New York City for ...

Stuck in the rough

They won their election battle with Michael Schlesinger, but residents around the former Escondido Country Club golf course where the controversial Beverly Hills developer wants to build condos now have to reckon with the state’s ...

Fishing for dollars

Birch Aquarium at Scripps still seeks executive director

Already well into the term of its second temporary chief, Birch Aquarium at UCSD’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography is still trying to find a permanent executive director to run the multimillion-dollar operation. It is said ...

Do secret Jacobs subsidies presage Chargers deal?

Sons of La Jolla's Qualcomm billionaire benefit from Sacramento billboard giveaways

As San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and county supervisor Ron Roberts run up the public's tab in their frantic bid to keep the Chargers in San Diego, a trial in Sacramento is revealing the kind ...

In San Diego versus Chargers, is next move up to Beutner?

Wealthy publisher favored moving Comic-Con to Los Angeles

The battle between San Diego's Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer and the Chargers, growing fiercer by the day, has turned the San Diego GOP's historic relationship with the team-owning Spanos family on its political head. Patriarch ...

Pastuszka plagued by untracked artwork

Roosevelt portrait and copier placed at risk by negligent accounting

San Diego county supervisors, accustomed to lurking in the shadows of local government as their fellow public servants at city hall endure chronic controversy, have lately been getting their own share of negative public attention. ...

Have hit pieces, will travel

Republican political consultant Tom Mitchell, who worked for Carl DeMaio and had the distinction of being fired in 2011 by voluble GOP district attorney Bonnie Dumanis — as well as being San Diego city attorney ...

Campaign captive

The campaign of Kirk Jorgensen, who took on fellow Republican Carl DeMaio in last year’s primary race for the 52nd congressional seat held by Democrat Scott Peters, got into some leftover hot water with the ...

Small circle of nepotism

After the newspaper then known as U-T San Diego last year ran a series of stories about port honcho Wayne Darbeau tapping port tenants to provide summer jobs for his son, Darbeau was allowed to ...

County worker felonies unreported by D.A.

Dumanis “special ops” office vows change after audit exposes disclosure gaps

San Diego, known for its mayoral miscreants, also has a goodly number of felonious bad apples further down in the barrel of public servants. And until a recent audit exposed the problem, repeated failures by ...

Gambling backs $882 million Vikings stadium debt

San Diego promoter pushes New Jersey family’s model for Chargers venue

Ex–Cox cable honcho Bill Geppert says he's come up with a killer model for the new Mission Valley Chargers stadium being touted by Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer and his county supervisorial cohort Ron Roberts. "Interestingly, ...

Turning out the lights on Chargers Charities

Can U-T's Beutner make up for nonprofit giving if team leaves for L.A.?

If the Chargers leave town, San Diego won't be losing just a football team, it also will likely be bidding adieu to a charity that in its time has spread some major money around town. ...

Of cops and marijuana

San Diego police are on the lookout to buy some heavy duty high-tech laser guns made by Applied Concepts of Plano, Texas, maker of the Stalker line of speed detectors. “The Stalker X-Series [light detection ...

Rental car monopoly

A national car-rental giant has been caught underpaying fees at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, according to an April 24 report by airport authority chief auditor Mark Burhyett. “Enterprise Holdings, Inc. d/b/a Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent-A-Car ...

Rain of politics

Former U.S. Attorney and San Diego school district superintendent Alan Bersin, the Homeland Security functionary whose wealthy wife Lisa Foster works for the Justice Department, was reportedly on the short list of Barack Obama’s candidates ...

Road tripping with a Congressional Democrat

Record free traveler racks up another global excursion

San Diego's most freely traveling member of Congress has hit the road again, this time to Montreal, Canada, for a four-day seminar entitled “Diplomacy and Extremism: Iran, ISIS, and U.S. Interests in an Unraveling Middle ...

Kevin Faulconer’s stealthy web war

Lincoln Club unloads on Chargers as mayor’s re-election site omits stadium questions

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer may fall short of the goal in his costly effort keep the Chargers in town, but one thing is certain: his new 2016 re-election website isn’t talking about it. Instead, ...

Plug-in cars threaten SDG&E's power grid

Idaho lab uncovers electrical glitches and hidden costs in SDG&E’s troubled transformers

Local economic and political powers, including UCSD and Sempra, have been spending big bucks touting San Diego as a haven for electric cars, with Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer leading the PR parade. "Smart Cities San ...

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 ...