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Stories by Matt Potter

Texas oil funds San Diego hit spots

Valero, Tesoro kick in against Lori Saldana

With San Diego's nastiest race of primary season 2018 hitting new lows almost daily, a political committee funded by Sacramento's oil lobby checked into the contest with $35,000 on May 18 to help pay for ...

Atkins's money counters DeMaio's recall efforts

and; unbecoming behavior at the Balboa Navy Hospital

Gassed-up recall San Diego’s Toni Atkins, leader of the state senate, has been digging deep into one of her campaign kitties in a rough-and-tumble effort to save the seat of fellow senate Democrat Josh Newman ...

Cleaning up at Parks and Rec

Custodian fingered for stealing cleaning supplies and water

San Diego city auditor Eduardo Luna has gotten to the bottom of a case involving some long-missing cleaning supplies and water theft: the custodian did it. "Our Office received an allegation that a Parks and ...

Fletcher couple rumbles over spousal support

Custody and visitation rights loom in candidate’s court fight

The public persona of Nathan Fletcher, Republican-turned-Independent running for county supervisor as a Democrat, is embodied in the photo atop his Facebook page as a portrait of a happily blended family: he and second wife, ...

Out-of-town money cascades into supervisor race

Hit pieces funded by N.Y. labor, drunk driver, and MDs lobby

Whether settling past scores or anticipating future favorable votes from the county board of supervisors, a host of well-heeled special interests funded from outside county borders are pouring big money into the race to replace ...

Voice needs an editor; Chula Vista mayor needs hotelier cash

La Jollans freaking about more UCSD traffic; Sempra spending big on lobbyists

Job of Voice The Voice of San Diego news and opinion website is seeking “an investigative reporter to dig into issues of education quality, inequity, youth issues and related criminal justice storylines.” Adds the online ...

Private prisons back con center measure

Boca Raton outfit kicks in for homeless tax vote

So far short of sufficient cash to pay the seven-figure price of the average San Diego initiative drive, the group seeking to raise the city's hotel tax to fund a convention center expansion and accompanying ...

SDSU errors hit taxpayers, Cox flips on net neutrality, UT stories for sale

You know who not to trust

SDSU’s costly Confucius Officials at San Diego State University have had to address negative findings made by state university system auditors about cost overruns plaguing campus construction projects. “We found that although one of the ...

Nathan's spousal support

Gonzalez Fletcher funnels hubby immigrant prison cash

It helps to have a political spouse with clout, and plenty of special interest money. So, it appears with the political pairing of one-time Republican Assemblyman, now Democrat, Nathan Fletcher and his wife, current 80th ...

GOP's Facebook king boosts Cate and Zapf

Cruz's digital guru says privacy worries overblown

Britain's Cambridge Analytical is shutting down in the wake of its Facebook privacy scandal and German justice minister Katarina Barley is calling for the social media site to crack down on personal data abuse. But ...

Grandpa Irwin’s TV money

Politicians spending big on television ads

As next month’s primary election grows near, it’s open season for political advertising at San Diego television stations. Early off the blocks has been Sheriff Bill Gore with a $9100 purchase of 47 spots from ...

Cox, LimeBike, Monsanto, and more paying the influence peddlers

Dockless bike company spent $11,000 on local lobbyists

Following news earlier this month that Cox Communications has filed to lobby against the issue of so-called network neutrality, its cable competitor AT&T has joined the cause, disclosing in an April 19 statement that it ...

Manter’s rays costly to con-center ballot bid

Mayor’s friend adds another notch to City Hall money belt

Word on the street has it that the current effort by labor unions and downtown hotels to qualify a tourist tax measure for the November ballot has hit a funding wall, with a paltry $630,531 ...

Safety last in SDSU labs, state audit finds

Asbestos, bad air, shower stations plague research thrust

How safe is it for students and faculty in the laboratories of San Diego State University? Not enough, concludes an April 24 report by California state auditor Elaine Howle blasting the school and three other ...

Refs not vetted enough, says city auditor

Even though they're not alone with kids

San Diego City Auditor Eduardo Luna is out with a report slamming city officials for inadequately vetting the backgrounds of the city’s youth sports league referees. “In general, there are Citywide procedures to require individuals ...

San Diego State slick magazine touts Mission Valley plan

Voters still have to approve $250 million project

Taxpayer-funded San Diego State University, locked in battle with privately-run SoccerCity over who will get to develop the choice city-owned parcel once known as Qualcomm Stadium, has rolled out a glossy mail piece touting its ...

AEG greases mayor's palm

So do Sunroad and mayor's mom

San Diego cash arena As word percolates that AEG Management, the Los Angeles-based operator of San Diego’s city-owned Valley View Casino Center (formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena), is lobbying for a lucrative ...

Back to Doug Manchester’s future?

As Soon-Shiong dallies, ex-U-T CEO makes tronc play

Is the ailing San Diego Union-Tribune fated to return to something akin to its days under the lash of La Jolla-based mega-millionaire and Donald Trump donor and ambassadorial nominee Douglas Manchester? Nearly three months ago, ...

Ace friend seeks Horton Plaza deal

Mall's collapse could prove costly for taxpayers

Downtown's Horton Plaza shopping mall, which used millions of tax dollars to level acres of historic buildings in the late 1970s, has itself been hollowing out of late. Multiple levels of vacant storefronts bear grim ...

Caremark RX, Phillips 66 keeping Toni Atkins well fed

A convenient set of circumstances

Caremark RX, the Rhode Island-based pharmacy benefit management subsidiary of drugstore giant CVS, kicked in a total of $6300 on April 4 to the 2020 re-election fund of Democratic California Senate leader Toni Atkins, disclosure ...

Revolutionaries join San Diego DA race

Bernie’s revenge

Real Justice PAC, a political action committee of former Bernie Sanders operatives backing the district attorney candidacy of Genevieve Jones-Wright, has rolled out the beginning of a so-called peer-to-peer texting campaign on her behalf, an ...

Cate hits up city workers, pays another fine

Councilman concedes further ethical transgressions

With investigators of the California Attorney General's office still looking into his leak of a confidential memo to lobbyist contributors, San Diego city councilman Chris Cate has agreed to pay yet another fine for breaking ...

Was Soon-Shiong outsmarted?

U-T's cult-of-personality profile jumps deal's gun

Sunday, April 15 was the Union-Tribune's celebration day for Los Angeles physician Patrick Soon-Shiong, the paper's putative new owner, also set to acquire the L.A. Times from the oddly named and deeply troubled tronc, Inc. ...

Tronc turmoil threatens Union-Tribune sale

New billionaire buyer surfaces as prospective owner

Who's on first at troubled tronc, and does it matter anymore to what appears to be an increasingly desperate attempt to save the last vestiges of San Diego's only daily newspaper? From the New York ...

D.A. Summer Stephan's incumbent protection plan

plus: Grassroots group hires lobbyists

A political committee run and mainly funded by a payroll tithing plan for prosecutors in the district attorney’s office has picked up a donation from the political action committee of the Sheet Metal Workers Local ...

Want to build condos? Pay the pol

An army of influences peddlers marches on city hall

Steve Cushman, whose family’s Riverwalk Golf Course’s imminent conversion into condos and commercial space by Houston, Texas-based Hines development hinges on city hall approval, has just kicked in major money to this year’s reelection bid ...

Cox mobilizes ex-Peters influence-peddlers

Cable company files to lobby against net neutrality

A nascent movement at city hall to do away with Cox Communication's cable and internet monopoly in the name of so-called net neutrality appears to have the Georgia-based giant's lobbying contingent here scrambling for the ...

County Fire's unfixed asset

Only volunteer fire department left in the county weighs disbanding

As the only volunteer fire department left in the county weighs disbanding and turning over its duties to the San Diego County Fire Authority, auditors have recently discovered that the firefighting assets of volunteer operations ...

The color of LimeBike's money

Rental bike company needs you and your car

San Mateo’s LimeBike, one of a host of controversial free-standing bike and scooter rental services to enter San Diego’s frenzied sidewalk transportation market, has retained the lobbying firm of Rath Miller LLC to help juice ...

Stepson falls close to Wilson's tree

Ex-governor and kin battle sanctuary

The stepson of Pete Wilson — the ex-California governor and one-time San Diego mayor who championed 1994's Proposition 187 to cut off state services including health care and public education to undocumented immigrants — is ...

Don't take on Delaware North

Elvin Lai forbidden to vote on customer's contracts

Centerplate Corporation — which lost a lucrative deal to peddle food and booze at Qualcomm Stadium after the firm's CEO was caught on video kicking a puppy — is back in some more ethical soup, ...

Dog lunges at librarian

Spending in the name of the environment; Dem racking up cash

Small, white, and poodle looking “Your privileges to use any San Diego public library location are suspended,” says a December 11, 2017 notice addressed to one “unknown female’s dog.” Checked violations include “patron is behaving ...

Terry Brown's sellout

Hotelier acquiesces to union demands

For decades, C. Terry Brown and his father before him cast themselves as the stalwart guardians of San Diego Republican values, spending major sums derived from their sprawling Mission Valley hotel empire to back GOP ...

High stakes for Lorena and Nathan

Labor union pours cash into San Diego Democratic Party

After months of online skirmishing over who will emerge from the June primary for the Fourth District county supervisor's seat currently held by termed-out Republican Ron Roberts, a big money player is placing its bets, ...

Later, not soon

Layoffs for Soon-Shiong startup, plus political vision

Later, not soon Los Angeles biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, still waiting to close on his $500 million purchase of the Los Angeles Times and its San Diego little sister Union-Tribune, has been doing some downsizing ...

Born and NIMBY

Mike Hansen has concerns about outdoor bars near bedroom windows

Is San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer’s new planning director a closet NIMBY? The term, short for Not in My Back Yard, has been weaponized by the building and construction lobby for use against those who ...

March cash madness

Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher brings in the bucks

Assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher has taken some time away from a busy legislative agenda — including a newly introduced bill to merge the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority back into the port district ...

After Mike Ferro, the deluge?

Union-Tribune owner tronc's Chicago shakeup

First Qualcomm's Paul Jacobs, now Mike Ferro. Each has abruptly surrendered leadership of a corporate board with an oversized say in San Diego life and politics. Ferro, the Chicago wheeler-dealer who took the San Diego ...

Still waiting for Soon-Shiong

What will he do with La Jolla Light?

More layoffs in Chicago and a noteworthy retirement in San Diego have sowed concerns about the pace of takeover by Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong of the Union-Tribune and its big sister, the L.A. Times. ...

Jack McGrory —moneybags lobbyist

$136,257 given since 2013

California politicos insist that nominations to state boards and commissions aren’t dependent on the generousness of campaign contributions, but the experience of Jack McGrory, just named to the board of the state university system by ...

Pure as Venter’s wife?

$800K for him, $150K for her

Genome giant Craig Venter, whose privately-owned Synthetic Genomics was hit with a gender discrimination suit last fall alleging he put his arm around a female executive and said she was “‘the only one without a ...

Union-Tribune's GoFundMe program trimmed

The old wall between writers and ad salesmen

The San Diego Union-Tribune is facing unknown changes as the date for its final takeover by Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong nears. Meanwhile, the paper has abruptly revised its deal with GoFundMe.com intended to steer ...

Will the fall of Jacobs starve Faulconer?

End of era as top Qualcomm political fixer steps aside

The finale may finally be coming into view for cell phone chip making giant Qualcomm, currently the target of a hostile takeover campaign. Echoes of the company's outsized influence on San Diego politics are likely ...

Local journalism may not get the cash

Soon-Shiong: obvious tightwad

As denizens of San Diego and Los Angeles await the pending takeover of their cities’ respective newspapers by wealthy L.A. physician Patrick Soon-Shiong, speculation is rampant regarding the future direction of local journalism. But those ...

Mayor raises big money for One San Diego

Get out of jail, not free

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who appears to have successfully survived the worst of the downtown homeless hepatitis crisis that hit the city last year, has lately been raising big money for his One San ...

Robert Chávez of Park and Rec gets fined

Ethical small change

San Diego’s city ethics commission, suspected by many insiders of turning a blind eye to the questionable timing of political contributions given elected officials by lobbyists, has slapped its first fine of 2018 on Robert ...

SDPD gets pricey mayoral PR makeover

$350K "Branding and Marketing Strategy" rushes cop recruiting

Despite the offer of hefty new pay boosts, worthy prospects aren't exactly falling all over themselves to sign up to be San Diego cops. Now, with SDPD ranks dwindling to 1787 by recent count (down ...

Doug Manchester versus a killer pizza oven

Mass evacuation of long-stalled Texas hotel after gas leak

Beset by a Washington Post exposé of his questionable behavior as Union-Tribune publisher, his nomination to be president Donald Trump's Bahamian ambassador stalled in the Senate, and the downtown Navy Broadway complex continuing to languish ...

The City is looking for a corporate marketing partner

Official city grass

San Diego, besieged by burgeoning budget woes, is trying to sell naming rights for its grass-growing. “The City is looking for a corporate marketing partner to provide yearly monetary support in three areas,” says a ...

Controversial water-mining outfit supports Toni Atkins

Watered-down Democrat

Cadiz, the controversial Mojave Desert water-mining outfit, came up with $4400 for the 2020 reelection campaign of Democratic state senate pro tem Toni Atkins on December 29, per recent disclosure filings, and Cadiz CFO Tim ...

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