Back to profile

Stories by Matt Potter

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 ...

San Diego’s homegrown FBI hacking hit

Smartphone snooping kiosks subject to massive abuse by rogue cops

Mobile phone and computer snooping by police, long a staple in the war against crime, got a boost here 15 years ago with the opening of the nation's first FBI-run regional computer forensics laboratory. "The ...

Insider hacking and the Coast Guard

Potential threats from trusted employees multiply, federal audit says

Is the United States Coast Guard, a key San Diego player in the battle against drug smuggling and human trafficking from Mexico, setting itself up for computer attacks mounted by its own most trusted employees? ...

Deadly white whale infection

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has concluded that SeaWorld Florida did not violate the federal Animal Welfare Act in the February 20 death of Nanuq, a beluga whale loaned by the Vancouver Aquarium to SeaWorld ...

Lawman and profiteer

San Diego sheriff Bill Gore mistakenly ferreted away more than $5 million of profits from commissaries at local jails, according to a recent audit by the county’s office of auditor and controller. “The Commissary allows ...

Approaching lunacy

It’s going to take some hefty cash for San Diego State University to finally find its way, judging by a new campus navigation project described at a recent board meeting of the school’s nonprofit Campanile ...

Faulconer’s "drought messaging" tab: $1.6 million

High-dollar media consultant sought to tell "about the need to conserve water"

If anyone ends up happy about California's drought, it may be the recipient of a new $1.6 million PR contract from the City of San Diego, already noted for out-of-town promotional pilgrimages made by ex–public ...

Tasering the competition

Conflicts of interest and Sheriff Gore’s costly shopping spree

Sheriff Bill Gore is out shopping for body cameras just as the provider of the costly electronic devices to San Diego police is coming in for a sizable dose of national scrutiny. A March 20 ...

Faulconer insider bags rich stadium deal

Qualcomm food and booze nod given to big client of mayor's political aide

San Diego's growing reputation for secret city deals with those financially linked to GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer is unlikely to be dispelled by the latest news from the Qualcomm Stadium front. The trend first received ...

Council Democrat travels free on labor's dime

Alvarez excursions, Faulconer’s cash from conventions revealed by disclosures

It's the first week of April, time for San Diego's politicos to fess up about the outside income they received and the gifts and trips they accepted in 2014. As usual, mayor Kevin Faulconer did ...

Political labors

State senator Joel Anderson, preparing for a political wrestling match with fellow Republican Dianne Jacob for her county supervisorial seat next year, is on the prowl for a few new student interns. “Leapfrog your peers ...

UCSD bombshell

Last July, auditors for the University of California dropped a bombshell on the San Diego campus. Following the May death of undergraduate computer science student Ricardo “Ricky” Ambriz after a Sun God Festival drug overdose, ...

Padres TV takeover

A big new dose of video advertising is in store for baseball fans at Padres games this year. “Five new ribbon displays will be added to the seating fascia at Petco Park along each baseline ...

Referendum renderings

Chamber of commerce chieftain and ex–San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders — widely credited with pioneering the use of the referendum process to outrun city-council decisions on hiking the minimum wage and planning for Barrio Logan ...

More special interest cash for mayor's non-profit

Sunroad, Padres, SDG&E offer up financial homage to city's top politico

Contributions from a growing set of city hall's biggest special interests continue to pour in to One San Diego, a nonprofit corporation set up by San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer. Ostensibly established by the Republican ...

No penalty for Sun God drugging

Official beer garden and drug testing advice mark UCSD blowout

In yet another attempt to tame a nasty run of drug and alcohol poisoning at its annual Sun God rock festival, UCSD is setting up an official beer garden, to be ringed with double fencing, ...

Issa's new beard and an aide's free travel

House member vies for rock star status, takes shots at Hillary at SXSW

An assistant to North County Republican congressman Darrell Issa — whose failed bid for a repeat term as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been chalked up by some to his ...

Manchester sells Grand Del Mar to Di-Fi's hubby

U-T remains on the block as would-be power brokers jockey

The San Diego footprint of Douglas Manchester, the Republican financial kingpin who likes to be called "Papa,” has been poised to shrink substantially with the putative sale of his U-T San Diego newspaper operation. Now ...

Billion-dollar wait

Some hold-ups have developed in the Navy’s Mobile User Objective System, a way for the Pentagon to connect its forces via satellite. Developed by San Diego–based Lockheed Martin Space Systems, the elaborate space and ground ...

Political entertainment

San Diego Democratic assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, mentioned in some circles as a possible candidate to replace retiring U.S. senator Barbara Boxer, was out and about the state last year, courtesy of corporate and nonprofit donors. ...

Onions and onions

Would a crooked politico smell just as bad under a new name for San Diego’s ethics commission? That was the question discussed at last month’s meeting of the body tasked with meting out justice for ...

San Diego mayor's PR journey resumed

Faulconer's Sacramento trip pays off with gubernatorial speculation

Another day, another PR road trip for San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who showed up in the state capital Monday, March 23, to pitch himself at a global warming seminar put on by a nonprofit ...

What’s holding up U-T San Diego sale?

Potboilers could be more lucrative than newspaper as Chargers move looms

It's been almost three weeks since a noted newspaper analyst reported the possible imminent takeover of U-T San Diego by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, with not a peep of confirmation or denial out of the Mission ...

Faulconer’s costly PR jaunt snared on CNBC’s line

Mayor’s New York City vanity tour made interesting by Andrew Ross Sorkin

From February 9 through the 13th, Monday through Friday, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer was on the road to New York and Washington DC, appearing on a gaggle of cable TV news shows, interviewing with ...

Israeli junkets and talk of a "Final Solution"

Chiefs for Peters and Vargas hear from AP critic, Fox News champion

Relations between president Barack Obama and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel haven’t been the best of late, but that hasn’t gotten in the way of some free tripping by two staffers for San Diego ...

Drunk with power

The online home-vacation-stay service known as Airbnb has been making a lot of local news lately, thanks to a city regulatory crackdown that has threatened some bedroom renters with back-tax bills. To the rescue have ...

Zipping right along

Though he’s not disclosed exactly how much he’s worth, North County Republican Darrell Issa is estimated by many observers to be the wealthiest member of Congress, with minimum assets of $432.25 million, according to a ...

SDSU’s oversized travel tabs hit by audit

Unauthorized hotel expenses and flight upgrades pad taxpayer-funded travel costs

Taxpayer-funded travel has been out of control at San Diego State University, with executive staff and faculty spending greater than allowed amounts on hotel rooms and business-select class airfare without adequate receipts and justification. To ...