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Stories by Matt Potter

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 ...

Familiar face remains as Faulconer cleans house

Paul Robinson's brow-raising associations and decisions irrelevant to mayor

Continuing a string of appointments of political backers to key spots in San Diego city government, Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer has renewed the long tenure of downtown lobbyist Paul Robinson as chairman of the Mission ...

Immigrants bad for environment, TV ads say

Anti-immigration effort of failed San Diego bank exec buys TV spots

An outfit calling itself “Californians for Population Stabilization” is buying San Diego television commercials as part of what it says is an Earth Day–linked campaign against “mass immigration.” The spots begin with a child asking ...

Plastic Bag People

Fate and fortune turn quickly in San Diego politics, for none more so than Kimberly Hale Miller and Phil Rath, influence-peddlers once employed by a lobbying firm owned by Tom Shepard, political consultant to fallen ...

Smoking, not pot

Smoking giant R.J. Reynolds of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has been handing out some big money lately to California politicos, including $1500 each to Democratic state senator Ben Hueso and Republican assemblyman Brian Maienschein. GOP senator ...

Faulconer funder nails top airport spot

Hotel mogul and major GOP donor re-upped by mayor

What a difference a year can make in San Diego's uniquely rough-and-tumble brand of municipal politics. In March of last year, then-mayor Bob Filner — a longtime critic of what he said were sweetheart Mission ...

U-T San Diego key backer in "jobs tax" defeat

Media operation owned by developer gave more than $42,000 of ad space

The battle over the City of San Diego's so-called linkage fee on commercial development to pay for subsidized housing ended with a whimper last month. San Diego Chamber of Commerce honcho and ex-GOP mayor Jerry ...

$80,000 fine in Filner and Dumanis cash case

City ethics commission settles out with La Jolla luxury car dealer

The San Diego city ethics commission has reached a stipulated agreement with La Jolla luxury car dealer Marc Chase to fork over a hefty penalty in the political-money-laundering case involving a Mexican national, GOP district ...

Manure stench plagues anti-Fletcher donor

Escondido developer with San Diego lobbyist opens front against neighbors

Could a political contribution by any other name smell sweeter to San Diego Republicans? That seems to be one of two persistent questions for Los Angeles developer Michael Schlesinger, who has been battling nearby residents ...

Champagne and free BMWs

UCSD wants to build a costly new biology building, but the state hasn’t yet given it the cash, so University of California regents have said it’s okay for the school to start working on a ...

Grabby god of sun

The recently released University of California report on the “campus climate” at UCSD warns students to be on the lookout for mashers at the upcoming Sun God festival. The document relates that 94 of those ...

Bersin’s bungling?

The Customs and Border Protection department’s Advanced Training Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia — to which San Diego Border Patrol sector trainees are regularly dispatched for a high-tech education in all manner of shooting, ...

San Diego unions violated campaign finance law

Labor council and Oceanside firefighters' PAC didn't disclose campaign cash

Two San Diego County–based labor groups are up for charges at this month's meeting of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. One of the cases dates back to 2010, according to the allegations, when the ...

Qualcomm-linked foundation pays for Davis travel

Well-traveled House Democrat and staffer take mid-winter Florida junket

San Diego House Democrat Susan Davis, infamous for years of free world travel, thanks to various lobbyist-related groups, stuck closer to home in her latest gratis mid-winter foray from the nation's capital. A travel-disclosure form ...

U.S. Customs corruption is chronic, audit says

SENTRI faces "insider threat," needs more lie detector tests of border agents.

Cooked up in 1995 as a way of easing border travel from Mexico to the United States for those who qualify for pre-approval, the so-called Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection Program, SENTRI for ...

Appeals court orders U-T San Diego publisher to pay up

Manchester loses another round in U.S. court case over $477,070 tab.

A Texas banking start-up owned by U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester has lost another round in federal court in its long legal battle with an irate vendor alleging that the La Jolla real estate ...

Potted plans

A noted pioneer of San Diego’s cannabis industry has turned up on an application for a medical pot license in Massachusetts by an outfit called Bay State Holistic. “Executive Director Corey Barnette brings 12 years ...

UCSD’s god of debauchery

In the crosstown rivalry between UCSD and San Diego State University, one thing has always been seen as certain: SDSU is the town’s premier hard drinking party school, as attested to over many years by ...

Faulconer inaugural tab exceeded $91,000, disclosure shows

Mayoral press aide listed as getting $1000 from lobbyist-backed group.

The official report is in, and, as expected by many city hall insiders, new GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer picked up plenty of cash from the city's special interests to stage his inaugural festivities last month. ...

Will county extravaganza avoid Balboa Park mistakes?

Parks and Rec issues request for proposals for waterfront grand opening May 10.

The Balboa Park 2015 centennial celebration may be dead, at least on the grandiose scale once envisioned by ex-mayor Jerry Sanders, but his fellow Republicans on the county board of supervisors are planning to stage ...

Twenty-three percent at UCSD experienced "exclusionary" conduct, survey says

Those defined as "genderqueer" reported highest harassment rates.

The results are in and UCSD has received a generally passing grade in the University of California's recently released "Campus Climate Assessment Project" survey, though there are some downsides. "The purpose of the survey was ...

Distressed real estate kingpin goes big for Brewer

Dumanis foe won't disclose nature of relationship with candidate.

The election isn't until June, but the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of San Diego County political action committee hasn't wasted any time getting signs lined up for its candidate of choice, attorney Robert Brewer, running to ...

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