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Stories by Matt Potter

Does Union-Tribune face a digital dearth?

Bond-rater jumps on L.A. Times and U-T parent for missing online boat

It may be regarded by some as piling on, but Moody's Investors Service, the Wall Street debt-rating outfit, has come out with the latest hit against Tribune Publishing, parent company of the San Diego Union-Tribune. ...

Student dishonesty and alcohol use spiked at Sun God 2015

Snoop Dogg's UCSD festival posts boozy numbers, report says

Unlike 2014's overdose demise of student Ricardo "Ricky" Ambriz, there were no reported deaths this year at UCSD's notoriously rowdy Sun God Festival, held on campus each May. But despite attempts by administrators to clamp ...

Will Soon-Shiong grab San Diego’s U-T?

Mega-billionaire medic surfaces in war for Southern California news empire

As speculation continues regarding the putative takeover of the L.A. Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune by Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad, other would-be suitors are emerging who could challenge the wealthy Democrat in a ...

San Diego sheriff's costly overtime overpay

Nearly half of sampled approval records missing and can't be verified

San Diego taxpayers may have been taken for a costly ride over excess overtime pay awarded to county workers, including those in the sheriff's department, says a newly released August 21 report by county chief ...

Juan Vargas passes the contribution hat again

Leadership amok

Democratic congressman Juan Vargas has been passing his campaign-contribution hat again. An invitation circulated to Washington lobbyists for an hourlong 8:30 a.m. September 18 breakfast event at Johnny’s Half Shell on North Capitol Street Northwest ...

Joan Kroc gets the Hollywood treatment

Her big fat Faberge film

With Dean Spanos and the rest of his extended Chargers-owning family possibly poised to pull the plug on San Diego, the eccentric history of another super-rich local team owner is about to get the Hollywood ...

San Diego killer drones for North Dakota

General Atomics Predator foreign pilots academy to be built at “Grand Sky”

The big sky country of North Dakota will soon be filled with a new flock of Predators from San Diego as La Jolla–based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems prepares to build a 16,000-square-foot "drone academy" for ...

Feared U-T job cuts aren't San Diego's only layoffs

As workers let go, nine-dollar hourly shuttle spots offered by parking giant from L.A.

San Diego's cut-rate job picture, bemoaned by University of Southern California sociologists, is bad and getting worse. "The economy is developing in a way that will generate further income inequality, with higher-paying jobs out of ...

The rise, fall, and re-rise of Nathan Fletcher

Flurry of public appearances coincides with Broad U-T takeover talk

The layoffs have begun at Qualcomm, once cited as the future hope for San Diego's industrial and commercial independence from Los Angeles, and now but a flickering beacon in a murky morass of California media ...

Party like you're in the city council skybox

Political lubrication

There was a wild and crazy time this spring in the city council’s luxury skybox at downtown’s Petco Park, judging from the ballpark suite’s official second-quarter attendance sheet filed with the city clerk. On April ...

Will self-driving cars and delivery drones take your job?

Publisher’s perils

Forty-eight hours before Union-Tribune and L.A. Times Democratic publisher Austin Beutner was fired last week, the U-T was out with a prescient Labor Day editorial entitled “The foreboding future of work.” Said the paper’s opinion ...

Two Qualcomm billionaires give big to Democrats

Lawyers in love

Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs and wife Joan, big-money backers of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, have kicked off the La Jolla giving to the U.S. Senate campaign of California Democratic attorney general Kamala Harris with $1000 ...

80 L.A. layoffs may forebode Union-Tribune woes

County supervisors "strongly urge" Times be run by local or sold to L.A. interests

The bad news continues for Tribune Publishing, the underperforming corporate owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and other troubled newspapers. The latest inside report, via Poynter.org, has it that 80 workers may ...

Is Broad behind Beutner’s big-money brouhaha?

Billionaire-linked dark-money groups funded 2000 San Diego hit pieces

With a storm of controversy continuing over the firing of Austin Beutner as publisher of the L.A. Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, a companion issue is now growing: is the pro-Beutner campaign being engineered ...

Eli Broad's billion-dollar blackjack?

Fresh from Iran nuke victory, super-rich Obama backer could widen California media war

The battle over Barack Obama's nuclear control agreement with Iran has yielded more than a few San Diego winners and losers. Among those perched on the negative side of the ledger in the wake of ...

Layoff czar takes over Union-Tribune

Past union busting and forebodings of more San Diego cuts

Workers hunkered down in their warrens at the San Diego Union-Tribune reportedly didn’t see much of Austin Beutner, the paper's ex-publisher, whose unceremonious firing this week was accompanied by word that Los Angeles Democratic billionaire ...

Congressman Scott Peters did a lot of buying and selling in July

Peters' picks

This July, not long before world stock markets headed south last month, La Jolla Democratic congressman Scott Peters did a lot of buying. According to a disclosure filing with the House ethics commission, from July ...

Can the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport sell enough tickets to San Diego?

Dumping ground

Call it the battle of the high-flying San Diego subsidy. Back in June, the board of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport voted to approve an “incentive package” valued at more than $1.3 million to entice Portland, ...

Labor-union trouble at the Navy shipyard in Maine

General Dynamics takes a bath

There’s heavy-duty labor-union trouble brewing at the Bath Iron Works, the Navy shipyard in Maine run by General Dynamics, owner of National Steel and Shipbuilding here. Last year, as part of a turnaround effort, the ...

U-T’s Democratic publisher Beutner ousted

Attempted Union-Tribune takeover by L.A. billionaire figures in Clinton political intrigue

Austin Beutner, who rode into San Diego this May as top gun of the newly rechristened Union-Tribune, has been fired by Tribune Publishing, the Chicago news chain for which Beutner simultaneously served as chief of ...

Chargers owners get cash back from California Assembly speaker

South Bay war of the Democrats could set new political spending record

With rumors abounding of a possible blockbuster intramural Democratic primary in San Diego County's South Bay state-senate District 39, both candidates in the putative contest have been raising plenty of special-interest money for what could ...

Bonnie Dumanis collects for a “community crime prevention event”

Cash behind bars

As some wait for the other shoe to drop in the federal case against José Susumo Azano Matsura, the Mexican national and sometime Coronado Cays resident charged with heavy-duty campaign finance violations, one of the ...

Our pension system’s investment officer jetted off to Amsterdam

Tripping for pensions

San Diego city workers who are slowly saving up for post-retirement dream trips to Europe may now experience the same vicariously through the travels of their pension system’s investment officer Jamie Hamrick. According to an ...

Hillary’s felonious San Diego darling

State Department email shows Clinton tie to imprisoned La Jollan’s law firm

Richard M. Nixon frequently referred to San Diego as his "lucky city," so great was the power of Union and Tribune publisher Jim Copley to sway public opinion. "Dear Jim," began a November 1954 letter ...

Chargers, Airbnb, and Mark Fabiani’s vicious knife fighter

"Master of disaster" partner signs on as influencer with home rental outfit

Two colleagues from the White House of Democratic president Bill Clinton and his vice president, Al Gore, have followed twisted but prosperous paths since those halcyon years of Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky. Arguably the most ...

Free airport politico parking? Priceless.

Lobbyists’ scrum vies for new big-dollar influence-peddling deal

When it comes to favors done for members of the California legislature, those free and walkable parking spaces quietly maintained by the San Diego Regional Airport Authority for politicos are regarded as among the best ...

The state of the U-T and Tribune Publishing

Wall Street says thumbs down

Taking a cue from the late New York mayor Ed Koch, a loyal newspaper reader might ask, “How is the San Diego Union-Tribune doing?” More to the point, how is the financial condition of the ...

Chargers stadium “satisfaction survey” will cost taxpayers

But the City of San Diego will not say how much

There have been a few changes in San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to run a public opinion survey before his proposed January vote on a new Chargers stadium in Mission Valley. A revised request ...

San Diego's Section 8 drug and crime wave

$3 million in fraudulent overpayments amid lax reporting and enforcement

Fraud, drug use, and other criminal activity has been going unpunished in the county's so-called Section 8 subsidized housing program, with lax enforcement by officials causing multimillion-dollar havoc. So says an August 3 report by ...

Bounty-hunters from L.A. bug UCSD music pirates

Hundreds of cease-and-desist notices charge unauthorized content distribution

Illegal file-sharing, long a problem at UCSD, is still going on, subjecting students and faculty to big-dollar jeopardy. So says an August 18 campus warning posted online by the school's director of academic computing and ...

Betsy Manchester’s divorce lawyer-lobbyists fined $1000

Repeat offenders backing Bry for city council tagged for Faulconer funding lapse

As controversy continues to swirl around its future, San Diego's ethics commission has handed one of the city's longtime law and lobbying shops a $1000 fine for failing to fully disclose its political giving. The ...

Dr. Paul Aisen and USC contersue UCSD over claims of denied access

Flack-wielding flacks

UCSD’s war with the University of Southern California over the future of a national Alzheimer’s research program is costing taxpayers plenty in legal fees. Besides lots of lawyers, the state-funded school has also deployed its ...

Juan Vargas’s July pay drop

Democratic congressman Juan Vargas, who has a safe seat, continues to pay off old debts from his days in the California state senate. An August 6 filing covering the period of last month shows his ...

Without Papa Doug, need Peters fear GOP?

National Republican Congressional Committee prepares to hit La Jolla Democrat with TV ads

Back in February, the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a 14-member "Frontline" list of its most threatened House incumbents. La Jolla congressman Scott Peters was featured prominently. "Each one of these members knows what ...

Israeli state of mind for Issa staffer

June-July junket preceded prickly exchange on Capitol Hill

Amid the battle raging over whether to approve president Barack Obama's nuclear agreement with the government of Iran, a staffer for North County Republican congressman Darrell Issa headed off on a tour of Israel, courtesy ...

Will tax-funded poll back Faulconer’s stadium?

City wants "resident satisfaction survey" done before January Chargers stadium vote

With polls from the GOP Lincoln Club and the Chargers already vying over whether Kevin Faulconer's hurry-up stadium play has gained traction among San Diego's citizenry, the city is about to launch yet another public ...

Toni’s Native American retreat

Democratic Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and entourage stopped by the Barona Casino for free food and drink at the Italian Cucina there this spring, the tribe’s disclosure shows. Atkins got a meal worth $29.20 on ...

Bob White strikes it rich

California Strategies and Advocacy, founded by Bob White, the nattily attired top aide to Pete Wilson during the latter’s rise from San Diego Assemblyman to mayor of the city and then on to the United ...

Kevin and Tony’s business model

Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer has picked up yet another contribution to his One San Diego non-profit corporation from a well-heeled donor with business at city hall. In a July 28 filing with the city clerk’s ...

Spanos cash goes to Issa, not mayor

Chargers-owning clan keeps political wealth from San Diego

As they ramp up to take the Chargers to Los Angeles, the days of the Spanos family’s big-money backing of San Diego politicos appear to be over. With one exception…and it’s not Republican mayor Kevin ...

The malling of UCSD’s La Jolla

Merry-go-round mount of government developers joins university

The revolving door of real estate development officialdom continues to rotate with the latest move at UCSD, troubled of late on another front by the defection of a top Alzheimer’s researcher. Jeff Graham, onetime chief ...

60 Society for Professional Journalists members felled by norovirus after awards at Bali Hai

Just ahead of Tiki Oasis 2015

If the Tiki god doesn't exactly admire the state of San Diego journalism, what does he think about a gaggle of mid-20th century nostalgia worshippers soon to emerge from over the horizon? Such is a ...

Like SDSU, like Faulconer?

Does school’s decade-long environmental impact fight portend mayor's stadium fate?

How sticky can a legal battle over an environmental impact report get? Plenty, based on an August 3 ruling by the state supreme court against San Diego State University that may be regarded as a ...

When pensions fly

That well-traveled investment officer at the San Diego city pension fund has been at it again. This time Jamie Hamrick flew off to Boston from May 20 to 21 courtesy of Long Wharf Real Estate ...

Homeless library patrons must park their gear at the door

City librarian Misty Jones had a thorny problem for city attorney Jan Goldsmith: how much gear can homeless readers take in from the cold? “Some library patrons have asked to bring all of their belongings, ...

Suit claims police raids at Cheetahs caused loss of business

Naked justice

A federal court battle over whether San Diego police illegally disrupted the lives and finances of local strippers during vice squad raids on the Cheetahs nightclub is destined to continue, a judge has held. “Plaintiff ...

Big cash for Myrtle Cole from Mission Valley

Legal defense fund reaps well-timed money before stadium vote

How important is cash on the barrelhead to members of the San Diego City Council? Plenty, judging by the latest batch of financial disclosure reports delivered over the weekend to the city clerk's office. One ...

Beutner’s U-T opinion role minimal, editorial chief says

L.A.-based publisher not exercising previously touted clout, interview asserts

Each new publisher who takes over the chronically dissipating San Diego Union-Tribune seems to have Charles Foster Kane at the back of their minds. “I will provide the people of this city with a daily ...

Opponentless mayor backed by $1.2 million

Cash flows to San Diego's Faulconer from many wealthy directions.

On the heels of a report from the University of Southern California chiding San Diego's wealthy establishment for running the town as an "exclusionary enterprise" for big money special interests, campaign reporting season has arrived, ...

Bombs away from USC against San Diego insiders

L.A. report calls San Diego establishment an “exclusionary enterprise.”

Call it the University of Southern California's revenge. The wealthy and politically powerful school to the north has lately been hitting some setbacks to its advance on San Diego. The most prominent of which, the ...

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