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Stories by Matt Potter

Jail diplomas in demand

Please apply, if you can teach for free

San Diego County jail is looking for some new education providers for its incarcerated citizens. “The current program services allow inmates to increase their level of education, teach practical life skills, and teach a trade ...

Smell the campaign lilacs

Controversial North County development gets new push

Fallbrook real estate broker Paul Schumann has taken the helm of a new political committee established to run an initiative campaign on behalf of Lilac Hills Ranch. The controversial North County housing and commercial development ...

Gotta watch those Navy “internal control weaknesses”

Swamped

There’s big trouble brewing with the Navy’s bill-paying setup in San Diego, and taxpayers face the unpleasant prospect of being robbed blind. So says a February 25 audit of the military’s Invoice, Receipt, Acceptance, and ...

Audit breaks up city workers' purloined scrap metal party

History repeats in San Diego fleet service case of wined-and-dined staffers

An investigation into charges that San Diego workers were illegally hoarding scrap metal to raise cash for an employee bash has uncovered chronic problems with the way the city has been running its industrial recycling ...

Big Khosla is Watching

UCSD chancellor joins board of Canadian high-tech surveillance outfit

Facial recognition software, one of the latest frontiers in big-money high-tech security, is not without its controversies, both local and national. Last summer, Democratic senator Al Franken of Minnesota said he was worried about privacy ...

The Chargers stadium and a vanished Faulconer political operative

Mission Valley aide slips away on mysterious vacation as downtown football battle looms

Where is Anthony George and what is he up to? Back in March 2014, newly elected San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer announced George would join his city hall staff as the mayor's "community representative" for ...

Financial debacle is a résumé highlight

Lawyers, again

There was a lot of nasty fallout from San Diego’s infamous pension mess of the early 21st Century, starting with the political demise of Republican mayor Dick Murphy, who abruptly quit office in April 2005 ...

Wage hike campaign begins

Tiki poison

Politically ambitious San Diego Unified school-board member Kevin Beiser is throwing a bash to raise cash on behalf of the campaign for the minimum-wage measure on June’s ballot, saying, “The best way to help kids ...

UCSD and USC battle in court

Pricey legal fees, unforgettable

The costly legal battle between taxpayer-supported UCSD and private Los Angeles–based University of Southern California continues to slowly wind its way through federal court here, as lawyers for both sides run up more billable hours. ...

Lifeguard to run for mayor

Ed Harris (along with Lori Saldaña) to challenge Faulconer

Longtime lifeguard, union chief, and onetime city-council member, Democrat Ed Harris has declared he will run for mayor against incumbent Kevin Faulconer, according to a statement of intent filed with the city clerk’s office on ...

Will Oscar freebies change Union-Tribune’s destiny?

Chicago newspaper mogul stirs L.A. Times furor by grabbing reporters' Academy Award tickets

How likely is Michael Ferro, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s new uber-master in Chicago, to sell the paper to someone else, in particular Los Angeles Democratic billionaire Eli Broad? Speculation has been hot and heavy among ...

Border Patrol’s forward bases collapsing into disrepair

Broken TV cameras and bad air conditioning plague “actionable intelligence” outposts

A little-known system of "forward operating bases" run by the U.S. Border Patrol along the Southwest border with Mexico suffers from a host of “security issues, safety and health concerns, and inadequate living conditions," according ...

Is the Chargers' favorite city about to get dirtied up?

Political hitman, illegal city-council gift purveyor, flagging Chicago-owned U-T enliven stadium saga

A flagging Chicago-owned newspaper desperate for sports business, a wealthy NFL owner with an option to relocate the family football team to Los Angeles, a consultant steeped in the dark arts of the campaign hatchet ...

Let’s lay some pipe already

...just don’t breathe in

The California Pipe Trades Council, based in San Francisco, has spent $8368 lobbying San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and city attorney Jan Goldsmith regarding its “opposition to proposed building standards ordinance to approve ABS and ...

The GOP’s generational black hole

Millennials do not get it

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has brought renewed attention to the conservative legacy of Republican president Ronald Reagan, who appointed Scalia to the high court in 1986. In those days, Reagan was ...

Make Mexico want it

SANDAG pushes freight border crossing

San Diego government officials, set on building a new freight-oriented border crossing with Mexico in east Otay Mesa, want higher-ups in Mexico to pressure the United States to proceed with the project, and they’re prepared ...

Will Union-Tribune finally lose its master from hell?

Latest Chicago shake-up could open way for L.A. billionaire’s U-T takeover

Life under the influence of the national newspaper chain from hell just got even more uncertain for the remaining scribes at the San Diego Union-Tribune, as well as the declining readership that continues to rely ...

Introducing Faulconer's brain, ethically speaking

City ethics panel taps controversial mayoral insider for political cash talk

There's apparently nothing like hearing it from the horse’s mouth, in this case the orifice of a controversial inside political player closely tied to San Diego's big-money Republican political establishment, judging from a recent announcement ...

Rubio's Roe boat floats Faulconer

Controversial Qualcomm stadium food-service lobbyist heads for presidential hustings

As Chargers owner Dean Spanos continues his public relations tour of friendly local media, one of his key opposites on the political team of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer has suddenly turned up on the presidential ...

SDG&E seeks social journalist

Bilingual in Spanish a plus

Beset by attacks and controversies over everything from soaring electric bills to the high costs of closing the San Onofre nuclear power plant and a chronically leaking gas plant up in Los Angeles, San Diego–based ...

City attorney’s sex talk

Casey Gwinn’s reputation was rooted in sports, sex, and hell

Endorsements are streaming in for candidates locked in the hotly contested race for San Diego city attorney. Last week Democrat Gil Cabrera announced the backing of Republican ex–city attorney Casey Gwinn. A Cabrera release says ...

Spanos clan saves its charity for Stockton

The National Football League, tax-paid stadiums, and the Scrooge test

Now that Chargers owner Dean Spanos is back making nice to San Diego after a yearlong excursion to the ethically challenged City of Carson in search of a billion-dollar-plus stadium deal, more than a few ...

Border Patrol outfit isn't counting its shekels

The soggy cost of Special Operations Group's Israeli super-robots

An elite U.S. Border Patrol unit that has played a role in the robotic detection of drug-smuggling tunnels from Tijuana into San Diego has been hit with a critical audit by the Department of Homeland ...

Families dropped from Vargas blowout fundraiser invite

Torrey Pines golf weekend offers Washington lobbyists drinks and spa option

It's time again for South Bay congressman Juan Vargas to throw his annual winter Torrey Pines Golf Weekend, offering a host of well-heeled capitol lobbyists a chance to break away from the Washington grind for ...

Can Bruce Henderson be detained at Guantanamo until this is all over?

Who will be the last man standing in Chargers stadium fight?

Can Bruce Henderson be detained at Guantanamo? Ex-councilman was scorned after he read Chargers agreement.

Where the streets have no name

One San Diego City Council member has her priorities straight

Neighborhood pavement may be pocked with gaping holes, but before the city gets around to fixing the streets, one San Diego City Council member thinks there ought to be more “honorary street names.” According to ...

Deputy sheriff not trying to be an a**hole

But he can’t say that

Should a certain deputy sheriff have his mouth washed out with soap? So thought an irate motorist who took his case to the county’s Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board this month. “The complainant alleged that ...

Pacific Beach Middle School has vulnerable cash

They’d better lock down those uniforms while they’re at it

The San Diego Unified School District has had plenty of troubles lately, climaxed by the resignation last week of boardmember Marne Foster following her guilty plea to a state political reform act charge after a ...

Political slime haunts Chargers' new point man

$1 billion subsidized stadium riding on anti-DeMaio opposition research king

Yet another chapter in the byzantine history of the wandering football team known as the Chargers has begun with the recruitment by Dean Spanos of Fred Maas to come up with a taxpayer-subsidized scheme for ...

Charter-school backer buys hefty stake in Union-Tribune

Michael Ferro latest player in high-dollar Chicago boardroom political poker

Be it the wandering football team or the fate of the hometown newspaper, rank-and-file San Diegans are usually the last to know about the behind-the-scenes wheeling-and-dealing of their billionaire owners. Arguably there is more popular ...

Roosevelt called Lindbergh a Nazi

Air and Space Museum needs a new display

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, operator of Lindbergh Field, is looking to replace its Lindbergh history display in the lobby of Balboa Park’s Air and Space Museum with a trendier and possibly more ...

San Diego overcharged FEMA $1.2 million for disaster

Bogus recycling costs called out by U.S Homeland Security audit

Just as the city is wrestling with issues of falling trees in the wake of the latest storm, a Homeland Security Department audit of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (known as FEMA) says officials here ...

Austin Beutner is back, kind of

From Inglewood, with glasses

Last May, when Chicago-based Tribune Publishing bought the San Diego Union-Tribune from developer Douglas Manchester, Austin Beutner seemed poised to take the city by storm. Appointed publisher of both the U-T and the Los Angeles ...

Tarnished trustee departure begets costly politics

Foster finally leaves, big-money campaign to follow

Let the frantic fundraising begin. That's the inside scoop following word that San Diego school-board Democrat Marne Foster has resigned her seat after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor political-reform act violation related to solicitation of ...

Could San Diego voters kill Raiders and Moores schemes?

1998's Proposition E and the fallout of mandatory stadium subsidy voting

Dean Spanos and hired gun Mark Fabiani may be finally headed for L.A., but whether the Chargers go or not, plans to use public money to build a new stadium here for them, the Oakland ...

David Copley’s fixer-upper

Historic designation debatable

Another ex-Union-Tribune owner, real estate developer Douglas Manchester, has carried his connection with the paper’s onetime owner, Helen Copley, to the next level, having bought the late publisher’s Fox Hill estate in La Jolla for ...

J.P. McManus fights tax

Gored by the IRS after gambling payday

Alec Gores, brother of onetime San Diego Union-Tribune owner Tom Gores, came out a big loser in a round of betting with Irish billionaire J.P. McManus, but McManus is still fighting to hold on to ...

K.C. gun-for-hire has mayor’s back

Cash-laden special-interest fund raises $610,000 for Faulconer’s cause

As erstwhile Democrat Lori Saldaña prepares to make a widely anticipated announcement of her mayoral candidacy this Thursday, a hired gun from Missouri has hit the ground running here on behalf of Republican incumbent Kevin ...

Saldaña to challenge Faulconer

Will hotel leases, mayor’s lobbyist aides, and stadium subsidy prove controversial?

San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, widely considered a shoo-in for reelection this year, has picked up a well-known left-of-center opponent in the form of ex-assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, according to a January 22 candidacy intention ...

Byzantine hotel tax network funds mayor’s nonprofit

TV turkey handouts and check-giving backed by city fee-funded hotel lobby

Contributions from special interests coveting the favor of city hall continue to pour in to One San Diego, the nonprofit corporation run by Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer. Among other purposes, the money has been used ...

General Atomics: bad welds

Only 35 percent were discovered to be acceptable

General Atomics, the big La Jolla–based military contractor most noted for its Predator killer drones, is in hot water over a bunch of bad welds at a new federal weapons destruction plant in Kentucky. As ...

Marco Rubio hits up Californians

And Faulconer boards the bandwagon

With the presidential campaign of Florida GOP senator Marco Rubio gaining traction among some big money San Diego Republican elites, it was only a matter of time, insiders predicted, before Kevin Faulconer would be rolled ...

SDSU's high cost of finding there there

$2.58 million sought "so people can know that they are at San Diego State"

San Diego State University president Elliot Hirshman, known as the $420,000 man for his record-setting salary, is getting closer to his long-held dream of building an array of costly "gateways" to set the school apart ...

Did Irwin Jacobs just seal Kevin Faulconer's fate?

Fallout of Eli Broad deal gone bad shadows San Diego politics

Whether the Chargers eventually depart for Los Angeles or not, it's a virtual certitude that San Diego's Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer is currently viewed as a shoo-in to be re-elected mayor, a wide spectrum of ...

Spanos All-Star Classic: no news good news?

No word from team on pulling plug on high school playoff

Like the fortunes of the family's football team, the name Spanos has had its ups and downs in San Diego. Will the super-rich Stocktonians cut a deal with billionaire Walmart spouse and San Diego property ...

How to fly the friendly skies

To Jerusalem, with politics

A staffer for Democrat Bob Filner when the fallen San Diego mayor was in Congress, Humberto Peraza, has been cleared to travel to Israel for free, courtesy of the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate ...

Let the Chargers leave for logical reasons

The U-T fires a few shots

After decades of what many have characterized as abject supplication to the Chargers-owning Spanos family, scribes of all varieties at the Union-Tribune have taken off the gloves. Last week a sportswriter for the paper bemoaned ...

Deal gives UCSD "read only" rights to Alzheimer's data

Legal war between San Diego university and Los Angeles's USC continues

According to a newly lodged agreement in federal court here, USC will be holding on to a Bitbucket load of data it controls in the school's bitter court battle with the University of Southern California ...

UCSD's ethics conundrum continues as backstage deals loom

Alzheimer's legal settlement pending, physicist's criminal case to follow

As yet another academic scandal emerges at UCSD, court records show that the school is on the verge of cutting a deal with the University of Southern California, sued last summer by UCSD over the ...

How many visas overstayed? Bersin can't say

Trio of L.A. and San Diego politicos highlighted in H-1B data lack

One of San Diego's most notable big-money political alums is making headlines across the nation while hometown scribes remain mum about a major immigration clash between the White House and Congress. Late last month, Alan ...

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