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Stories by Matt Potter

Jamie Hamrick travels for free again

City employee gets around

An already well-traveled executive at the San Diego city employees’ retirement system has been on the road again, taking another trip to New York City courtesy of a well-heeled investment fund. The free trip is ...

The fix is in. Possibly.

Who will operate the new film commission?

Is the fix in for choosing a future operator of San Diego’s putative new taxpayer-funded film commission? So worries an unidentified respondent to the city’s October 29 “request for ideas” regarding setting up a new ...

Ace Parking gets the contract again?

They’ll probably seal the Parkade deal, too

San Diego’s controversial but well-connected Ace Parking has been around since 1950, making it one of the city’s most well-entrenched special interests. As is the case with the Evans hotel family, another influential local dynasty, ...

Like congress member, like staffer

Aide to Democrat Susan Davis heads off for Tunisia and Kiev

Five years ago this past May, congressional Democrat Susan Davis, then known for being one of the most frequent junketers in the House, took off with her husband Steve on a weeklong mission costing $21,327 ...

UCSD's $516,000 temporary executive

Interim health system shoe-filler collects retroactive six-figure cash

The intrigue surrounding the saga of UCSD Health's departed top man Paul Viviano continues, with a lengthening search underway to fill the vacancy, and approval by U.C. regents of a $516,000 interim appointment. As previously ...

Tony Young lobbies on

As of November 23, add Airbnb to the list

Ex-Democratic city councilman Tony Young continues to grow his lucrative city hall lobbying business. Already flush with a bevy of well-heeled clients, including SDG&E, shopping-mall developer Westfield Corporation, and San Francisco’s Zirx, a start-up specializing ...

Chargers’ coach nearly lynched

Do rowdy fans pose a danger in the final days?

With the departure of the Chargers for Los Angeles looking likelier than ever, according to many accounts, do rowdy fans pose a real danger to what could be the team’s last days in Mission Valley? ...

From Broad's mouth: Rupert was wrong

Deal denial unlikely to slake thirst for U-T ownership change

To buy or not to buy. That was the question still pursuing Eli Broad as he issued a denial of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's tweet that Broad wants to take over the L.A. Times, and ...

KPBS and U-T plug Jacobs airport-moving scheme

Media money talking as billionaire and Burnham team for PR push

With the fate of the Union-Tribune still very much in limbo, Malin Burnham, who once aspired to take over the newspaper, and Irwin Jacobs, his longtime political comrade in-arms, have hatched yet another scheme. The ...

Airport staff to fatten up in exclusive digs

Private dining proposed for employees as public concession cash leaps

The prices and controversial quality of food and atmosphere at San Diego's international airport, also known as Lindbergh Field, has long been a matter of contention among air travelers who eat there during flight waits. ...

Emergency memo warns of library security breaches

City auditor hits "non-existent" and outdated "policies and procedures"

Spending and security at San Diego's public library, ensconced in luxurious new digs, is out of control, endangering safety and the city treasury. So indicates San Diego city auditor Eduardo Luna in a December 2 ...

Another Juan Vargas staffer gets it free

Lodging with lobbyists

A staffer to congressman Juan Vargas has accepted a free overnight in Manhattan courtesy of a Washington think tank. This time it’s Scott Hinkle, legislative director for the border Democrat, who took off for New ...

Marty Block gets funny to get money

Be a $2500 sponsor at Chicory Coffee and Tea

State senator Marty Block, locked in a rough-and-tumble primary race with fellow Democrat Toni Atkins, termed out of her Assembly seat, is going all out to attract donors to his financially challenged campaign war chest. ...

Polling political footballs

A Kansas public opinion outfit aims to end-run San Diego “community activists”

San Diego officials have denied a link between a "public satisfaction" survey now on the streets and online here and the embattled efforts of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer to keep the Chargers in town with ...

Faulconer's trickle-down turkey freebies

Pre-Thanksgiving block party paid for by host of special interests

Kevin Faulconer's One San Diego, the nonprofit that boosts the Republican mayor's anti-poverty agenda — in the process yielding glowing media accounts benefiting his political profile — has picked up some cash from two San ...

NFL Owners: A dysfunctional gang at best

Colts owner’s girlfriend reportedly rode the horse till she died.

Evidence collected near Wundrum’s body in the $139,500 townhouse Irsay had given her the year before included an “orange plate w/white powder, straw, razor.”

The County of San Diego leaps into print

Merits must be extolled

The County of San Diego, which already operates a high-dollar video news operation to extoll its merits, now wants to leap into print. According to an October 16 request for quotation posted online, the county’s ...

Fabiani splits with Lehane

The man San Diego fans love to hate

Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani has finally split the business with his longtime Bill Clinton–era sidekick Chris Lehane, the similarly combative political and PR consultant whose 2013 movie Knife Fight about the rough-and-tumble business of ...

Spanos looks to maximize the Chargers

Los Angeles means wheeling and dealing with wealthy Democrats

Word that soon-to-retire Walt Disney Company chief executive Bob Iger is in line for similar duties with the Chargers if the organization is green-lighted by the NFL to head for Los Angeles marks yet another ...

San Diego’s billion-dollar BioWatch terrorism bust

Local military contractors main beneficiaries of high-tech boondoggle

While the latest bout of terrorist attacks has set off a frenzied search for government responses by panicked politicos, one costly federal program left over from post-9/11 days has turned into a big bust. So ...

Is U-T’s new downtown HQ jinxed?

Newspaper runs apparently altered photo of new home

A downtown office building built as the headquarters of fallen San Diego Republican kingpin Gordon Luce is soon to become a venue for what some media watchers anticipate will be the last stand of the ...

San Diegan’s Maui blowout takes on the Bee

Legislators and camp followers eat, imbibe, and lodge at posh Hawaiian resort

The word Maui has been a longtime stain on the reputation of the California legislature, according to critics of a San Diego–based nonprofit that gets little attention in the local paper but lots of ink ...

Flying first class? Better have a note from your doctor.

UCSD’s ailing ethics

UCSD’s ailing ethics When a purportedly sick UCSD professor and his researcher assistant fly first class with taxpayer money, auditors may later ask to see the prescription. So says a recently released University of California ...

Christina Chadwick has more than a friend at city hall

Relatively speaking

Christina Chadwick, vice president of communications at the Downtown San Diego Partnership, an outfit that lobbies for center city business and development interests, has more than a friend at city hall. Husband Scott Chadwick is ...

Friday the 13th: good luck for Eli Broad?

U-T owner roiled by talk of billionaire insider moves and private side deals

Tribune Publishing, the spun-off print stepchild of the once-mighty Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times media empire, is facing yet another fork in the road. Last week was filled with news about the company's 7 ...

The strings attached to SDSU's Confucius cash

Iron lady of Chinese government calls tough shots in education war

Buried in next week's agenda of the California State University’s board of trustees meeting is a $4 million item that could fuel an ongoing national controversy about the role Chinese big money is playing at ...

Juan Vargas, international hipster

Thanks to repeated free trips to Germany

Congressman Juan Vargas and his staff are getting ever more familiar with Germany, thanks to repeated free trips there provided by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and Robert Bosch Stiftung, two big ...

Sempra’s generosity

The best Italian cuisine in Brentwood, anyone?

The Constitution posits a barrier between church and state, but in California nothing can keep politicians and Sempra lobbyists apart, judging by the giant utility’s recent disclosure of its third quarter lobbying activities. On July ...

More Myrtle Cole cash from big time developers

Councilwoman's defamation defense fund taps Atkins and city hall special interests

It's been a lucrative year for the long-lingering legal defense fund of Myrtle Cole, paying down attorney fees and related costs run up during the San Diego councilwoman's battle against fellow Democrat Dwayne Crenshaw over ...

San Diego ethics commission rejects call to recuse itself

City attorney candidate battles over group's alleged conflict of interest

How close is too close? was the question raised this week by a San Diego city attorney–hopeful pitted against a former member of and sometimes counsel to the city's ethics commission. "You are well aware ...

$2612 Hertz tab marks mayor's DC stay

Faulconer's Washington Post puff piece: priceless

Political spin and Hertz appear to be big winners in the latest out-of-town travels of San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and his retinue of local business boosters late last month. A well-timed October 31 puff ...

Atkins throws bash for cash

Team Toni will turn out

Ex-Assembly speaker Toni Atkins, now running against fellow Democrat Marty Block for state senate, has set her first big-money fundraiser. Already flush with cash, the termed-out assemblywoman is throwing a November 18 bash at the ...

From Caltrans employee to Caltrans contractor

Revolving door

Escondido’s James M. McManus ­ was employed as deputy district director of construction in the San Diego–based District 11 office of Caltrans before leaving the payroll this summer. ­­Is he permanently banned from lobbying for ...

Point Loma Nazarene stalker report

At least none of the offenders were students

The threat of crime has increasingly become a way of life at San Diego universities, as evidenced by their annual campus security reports required to be filed each fall under federal law. Latest to check ...

Lights, cameras, money

San Diego city hall still wants to set up a film commission

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and fellow San Diego politicos who seem on the verge of losing the Chargers to Los Angeles are busy plotting at least one form of revenge: a new movie-making push to draw ...

Can L.A. billionaire’s cash halt U-T layoffs?

Broad foundation funding emerges as source of influence in Los Angeles Times intrigue

Crain's Chicago Business is reporting that "hundreds" of employees of Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, proprietor of the San Diego Union-Tribune, could be departing at year’s end as a result of accepting the troubled company's buyout offer. ...

Polite as F**k

Mayor's friends on both sides of escalating Little Italy eatery war

A battle over the fate of a new restaurant and night spot for Little Italy has taken a controversial new turn as two top friends and associates of Kevin Faulconer have been drawn into a ...

Good for the gander?

This time the shoes are on the feet of Michael Hansen

Even a staffer for Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, uber-champion of the big-money real estate industry, can turn out to be a NIMBY, the acronym for “not in my backyard” used derisively by the mayor’s wealthy ...

As U-T faces sale, hurricane Eli takes NOLA

L.A.'s Dem billionaire supreme antes up for Louisiana public school fight

With many of San Diego's few remaining journalism jobs hanging in the balance, there's fresh word on the street that the Union-Tribune could be in new hands within mere months. "The odds are better than ...

The Union-Tribune's favorite cop

Newspaper strikers had to get by Bill Kolender first

It was a last hurrah of sorts for two San Diego institutions, the late Bill Kolender and his onetime employer, the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Almost nobody didn’t love Bill Kolender,” said the U-T’s October 6 ...

Big-money donors win if Darrell Issa prevails

Speakers cash

As Republican congressman Darrell Issa closes in on a possible run for the Speaker of the House to replace resigned John Boehner, some of his big-money donors stand to win big if he prevails. Through ...

Nathan Fletcher makes a comeback

Old Irwin’s network

Republican-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher, a favorite of SDSU’s KPBS public broadcasting outfit — whose gadget-filled “newsroom of the future” was paid for with $2.9 million from La Jolla billionaire and Fletcher backer Irwin Jacobs — is ...

SDSU has been under-reporting campus crime

San Diego State University’s lying stats

San Diego State University, rattled by a wave of sexual assaults and other violent incidents, has been under-reporting campus crime, says a September 28 audit by the California State University system. “The process to tabulate ...

One big fat political payday?

Mayor’s nonprofit rakes in more special-interest cash

More big money from powerful city hall special interests has found its way into One San Diego, the charity started last year by San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, ostensibly to advance his anti-poverty agenda. ...

Campaign cash pays for Atkins Cuba jaunt

Speaker and spouse hit the road for lobbyist-organized tour

The Democrat-on-Democrat clash of departing Assembly speaker Toni Atkins versus state senator Marty Block for Block's 39th District seat is shaping up as one of the costliest special-interest-funded races in San Diego County history, with ...

Fired San Diego publisher gets journo school platform

Beutner bound for Columbia as anti-Tribune drumbeat mounts

Austin Beutner, the wealthy ex–Wall Street hedge fund veteran who spent 110 days as publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune earlier this year before being canned by Chicago-based U-T owner Tribune Publishing, is heading back ...

Piercing Papa Doug’s veil of cash and influence

Manchester still stiffing Texas creditor over La Jolla proto-bank job

Douglas Manchester has shed a wife, unloaded a mini-newspaper empire, and sold off its Mission Valley headquarters. But San Diego's rich Republican kingpin still can't manage to dodge one persistent creditor, who has chased the ...

Eli Broad continues to give

Broadly speaking

Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad, said to be interested in buying the L.A. Times and San Diego Union-Tribune from embattled Tribune Publishing of Chicago, continues to give big to members of the Democratic Party. Latest ...

Port Commissioner rents yacht berth from Marriot while voting on hotel’s lease

Conflict of interest? Not at all.

Does a San Diego port commissioner’s rental of a luxury yacht berth at the downtown Marriott marina pose a conflict of interest for him when voting on extending the giant hotel’s lease with the port? ...

All fired up at UCSD

Dorm fires and fraudulent wire-transfer requests cause concern

There haven’t been any deaths yet, but multiple fires in the dorms and residence facilities of UCSD have been dangerous and costly. So says the school’s annual fire-safety report released last week, which includes among ...

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