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Stories by Matt Potter

Could Stephan surrender Cate investigation?

Shared political gurus, cash from lobbyists cloud ethics optics

In San Diego's intimately intertwined netherworld of influence-peddlers, public-relations purveyors, and political consultants, critics say, the cause of ethics and the law rarely stands a chance. That's why the eyes of insiders are riveted on ...

Crime on campus

Stats for UCSD and SDSU

Rape was on the rise at UCSD during 2016, with ten cases reported, versus eight the year before, according to the school’s latest Clery Report, required by federal law to be filed annually. Arson reports ...

Public relations hiring binge

VP of PR for the Padres joins Faulconer

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, besieged by critics who blame him for mishandling the city’s epidemic of hepatitis among the homeless, has gone on a public relations hiring binge. Last month he snapped up ex-SDSU ...

Transactional ethics

Questionable expenses by wealthy UCSD professors

In recent years, University of California auditors have unearthed a range of shortcomings, including questionable expenses by wealthy UCSD professors. “Travel and entertainment reimbursements were not always submitted in a timely manner, and some travel ...

County pound hit for dangerous dogs and faulty euthanasia

“Behavioral concerns" and inadequate put-down policies haunt animal services

Public safety has been jeopardized by potentially hazardous canines put up for adoption by the county's already embattled Department of Animal Services, per a June 22 report, recently posted online by chief county auditor Juan ...

Pradeep’s raise

The amount may sound generous...

UCSD chancellor Pradeep Khosla got a 3 percent pay hike from University of California regents at their September 14 meeting here, boosting his annual base salary to $462,684, retroactively effective as of this past July ...

Newspaper union battles tronc's L.A. Times

Bitter labor skirmish could have unpredictable impact on U-T

The last time the Newspaper Guild was heard from in San Diego, the once-mighty union was quietly leaving town, evicted by a narrow vote of Union-Tribune employees after a rough-and-tumble decertification campaign waged by the ...

Common man Scott

Peters has lately attempted to cultivate a common-man image

Democratic congressman Scott Peters, who has fought off a series of GOP challengers for his La Jolla district seat, is behind a new effort to divert San Diego Democrats from policies favored by the left. ...

Carlsbad’s rainmaker for the right

“Matt [Hoskins] is in it for whatever Matt can get out of it. It’s not anything more than that.”

The victory of Roy Moore over Donald Trump–backed Luther Strange in last week’s bitterly fought Senate Republican primary in Alabama spelled good news for Republican fundraiser Matt Hoskins of Carlsbad. Thus far this year, his ...

San Diego hepatitis carrier caused mass outbreak in Arizona

Downtown infectious disease conventioneers advised to get vaccinated

With San Diego's soaring death rate from hepatitis A, where better to hold IDWeek — a big-money infectious disease convention featuring the nation's top epidemic experts — than the tony reaches of the city’s downtown ...

Sally Roush’s suite life

SDSU brass parties hearty in exclusive stadium skyboxes

Sally Roush — who took over as interim honcho of San Diego State University following the departure of Elliott Hirshman in June, just as the fight over who would rule what used be called Qualcomm ...

Money gatherers

“The Reporter is expected to participate in station on-air fundraising activities...”

With the Union-Tribune in full attrition, having bid adieu to its mainstay business columnist Dan McSwain, San Diego’s nonprofit news sector is picking up the slack, but at the price of blurring the traditional line ...

Viral funding

Faulconer continues to gather cash for his inner-city charity fund

Beset by a hepatitis A epidemic spawned by sprawling homeless camps on downtown streets, mayor Kevin Faulconer continues to gather cash for his inner-city charity fund, but how much if any of the money will ...

Nathan tales

I Heart Nathan, devoted to bashing Nathan Fletcher

The entrance of GOP ex–district attorney Bonnie Dumanis into next year’s race for the District 4 seat on the county board of supervisors being vacated by Ron Roberts has coincided with the advent of a ...

Faulconer's new hepatitis spinmeister

Public relations honcho tackles city hall's deadly disease meltdown

Besieged by a burgeoning hepatitis epidemic that threatens to destroy his long-cultivated image as California's progressive Republican candidate of the future, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer has rolled out a new public relations man to ...

La Jolla lifeguard tower rife with cost overruns

Baby bird, seal-pupping, and bad waste pump blamed for budget surprises

City officials are blaming seal pupping and a baby seagull for a portion of the months-long delay and a near million-dollar cost overrun that plagued construction of a posh new lifeguard station in the city's ...

Like councilman, like aide

Vivian Moreno follows Alvarez collecting developer, marijuana money

The hand-picked would-be successor to termed-out Eighth District San Diego city councilman David Alvarez, who is currently raising money for a county board of supervisors race in 2020, has been faring well in the big-money ...

SDSU’s climate inaction plan

Nick Stone and Rick Caruso drop money on local GOP

As San Diego State University sets out to acquire a big chunk of Mission Valley in the form of a bitterly fought Qualcomm Stadium takeover, many of the big toys it already owns are being ...

As McSwain attrits, what's next for U-T?

More Chicago layoffs and “cognitive decline” in San Diego gnaw on tronc

Could the latest news of five more Chicago-area newsroom layoffs by tronc, the oddly named newspaper chain that owns the Union-Tribune, spell yet further staff reductions for the once-mighty San Diego daily? The cutbacks in ...

Cheetahs scandal: the novelization

Ex-city councilman publishes fictionalized take on federal prison time

Ralph Inzunza — the only one of three San Diego city-council defendants in the notorious Cheetahs strip-club influence-peddling case to go to prison — is out with a novel said to be based on his ...

And now a message against SoccerCity

From U-T panelist Gary London, whose consulting firm got money from opponents

On February 3, the Union-Tribune’s business page asked, “Would a soccer stadium give the economy a boost?” Real estate consultant Gary London of the Union-Tribune’s EconoMeter panel of business experts replied: “It would be an ...

Humane Society hires big dog lobbyist

Wants to take over county's animal business

Critics say San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer — beset by legions of the downtown homeless and a bitter controversy over the future of Mission Valley’s Qualcomm Stadium — couldn’t get elected dog catcher these days. ...

Alvarez sees green in pot lobbyists

Cannabis influence-peddlers show up in force to back supervisorial bid

As a sweeping new marijuana law opposed by departing chief of police Shelly Zimmerman made its way through city hall early this week, one of the biggest winners aside from local pot emporiums was the ...

Encanto post office flunks audit

Unspecified “safety concerns” fingered by postal service report

Some San Diego post offices have taken a hit in a new facility condition audit by the U.S. Postal Service, which calls out a series of deficiencies ranging from neglected landscaping and insufficient lighting to ...

A little bit country, a lot of lobbying

Issa crew members get a trip to SoundExchange

Two staffers for North County Republican congressman Darrell Issa — picking up heat from local Democrats who aspire to unseat him come next year — have been singing a happier tune in Nashville. The pair, ...

High balling

Hundreds of Golden 1 Center tickets go to city officials

Erin Donnette, legislative director for GOP state assemblyman Brian Maienschein, copped two free tickets to an April 9 Sacramento Kings vs. Houston Rockets basketball game worth $401.66, thanks to telecommunications giant AT&T, according to the ...

DeMaio gasses up

Turning back governor Jerry Brown’s gasoline-tax hike

Ex-San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio, who got into the radio talk-show business following his defeat by Democratic incumbent Scott Peters in a bitter 2016 La Jolla congressional race, is out raising money to turn ...

Take my newspaper, please

Union-Tribune owner tronc paid to take over New York Daily News

The newspaper chain known as tronc has struck again, this time getting 49.9 percent of a 25-acre printing plant in Jersey City in exchange for accepting the keys to the financially troubled New York Daily ...

Trump stalking

Navarro maintains influence through proximity

Economist Peter Navarro, the onetime perennial San Diego candidate for office who is now one of Donald Trump’s top trade advisors, has his own way of influencing policy, according to Politico. “Navarro has earned a ...

SDSU’s newest rainmaker

The school is looking for a big-dollar fundraising powerhouse

As San Diego State University and a group of loyal alumni continue to wage war against SoccerCity, the proposal by some wealthy La Jolla hedge-fund managers to convince city voters to give them control of ...

Union-Tribune, apple of Jobs’s eye?

The latest L.A. Times shake-up

The carnival that is Chicago-based newspaper chain tronc’s attempt to boost plunging revenue and circulation picked up another colorful act last week with the announcement that L.A. Times publisher and editor Davan Maharaj was being ...

Public employee unions wield hefty Atkins stick

2020 election cash speaks loudly as big labor nails Sacramento win

Democratic assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher’s high-profile bill to restructure wonky-sounding SANDAG may be getting all the attention, but San Diego's Democratic legislative delegation is also busy doing quiet favors for the county's labor unions, a ...

Faulconer commands the merry-go-round

Chamber lobbyists switch places on staff and convention center board

Call it a revolving door or merry-go-round, the faltering city-hall operation of San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer continues to reshuffle its deck chairs to the benefit of a major financial booster, the San Diego Regional ...

Meals and wheels

...and Sempra Energy spends on politicos

California assemblyman Adam Gray picked up a free meal worth $160.23 at the Barona gambling tribe’s resort in Lakeside on June 30. Fellow Democrat Marc Berman settled for a $14.87 meal and a free $137.50 ...

Rock city’s hard cash

Big changes to the Carroll Canyon Master Plan

Hanson Aggregates, the San Diego cement giant owned by a giant British-based multinational, has been trying to up its lucrative real estate development game with big changes to Mira Mesa’s Carroll Canyon Master Plan. “The ...

Fake news, real attrition

“Digital Agency Launches in San Diego”

The Union-Tribune broke exclusive word on its front business page last week of a smart new online advertising player in town. “Stats Digital is part of the tronc family of companies, which includes the San ...

Any new employment at the U-T will be digitally related

Justin time

Struggling with an explanation to investors as to why tronc, Inc., the oddly named newspaper chain from Chicago, has slipped in both revenue and web traffic from last year, chief executive Justin Dearborn managed to ...

Faulconer’s next Scaramouch

One Deputy Press Secretary needed, stat

While Donald Trump has made headlines with turmoil in his presidential briefing room, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer — seeking to recover face following a rough six months of political setbacks — is taking to ...

Koch brothers to fund San Diego paramedic takeover

AMR Rural/Metro about to be flipped in $2.4 billion deal

American Medical Response Inc., proprietor of AMR Rural/Metro of San Diego, the city's always-controversial but politically munificent paramedic operator, is about to get a new owner itself, though Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer doesn't appear eager ...

San Diego big labor’s deceit on propositions K and L

Fine against campaign run by Tom Shepard — guru to two fallen mayors

Tom Shepard started, and almost finished, his career as a political guru back in the1980s when he masterminded the victorious bid for mayor by Republican county supervisor Roger Hedgecock, subsequently brought down by the infamous ...

Bonnie Dumanis’s self-service ATM

The ex-DA still has some bills to pay

Bonnie Dumanis may be out as the county’s district attorney, having stepped down last month — thereby giving her establishment-backed successor Summer Stephan the advantage of the incumbency to run for election next year, but ...

Charge it to the Chargers

John DeBello has finally gotten paid for his efforts

The co-creator of those oddball movies in the Killer Tomatoes series didn’t do as well with the media he pumped out for the ill-fated ballot bid of the then–San Diego Chargers to build a new ...

U-T’s Hoy is so yesterday

Paper's Chicago version that began as a daily is now once a week

In Chicago, the downsizing of the once-mighty daily Spanish-language newspaper Hoy to a weekly by parent tronc, Inc. has caused only a muted outcry. Launched in 2003, the paper “that began as a daily and ...

Less foreign cafeteria food, pledges San Diego Unified

State audit calls out California school districts for not buying American

Public school cafeteria food is the latest battleground in the war against foreign intrusion into American commerce. That word comes not from president Donald Trump, but instead via a new report from the California state ...

Summer Stephan's family money tree

D.A. collects political cash the old-fashioned way, from friends, relations, and lawyers

Back in Richard Nixon's presidential days, San Diego's most infamous saga of family loyalty involved the powerful Alessio clan, popularly viewed as the border town's version of the Corleone family. Progenitor Johnny Alessio, the big-money ...

A cornhole by any other name

Rebranded as “Councilman Chris Cate’s D6 Charity Toss Tournament”

The name may have been changed to shield a city councilman from off-color jokes, but big money is still being provided by a lineup of city hall’s favored corporate special interests. Such is news about ...

Seize control of that stadium land

The “Friends of SDSU opposing SoccerCity” make their presence known

Wealthy ex–city manager Jack McGrory, who has emerged as a key foe of the SoccerCity plan to privatize the city-owned land now occupied by Qualcomm Stadium, has put some money into the battle, kicking in ...

Trump’s local lady

Rancho Santa Fe is home to the county’s top donor

President Donald Trump may not be the most popular politico on the Left Coast, but San Diego County’s super-rich enclave known as Rancho Santa Fe is continuing to produce much of his California campaign cash, ...

Hunter aide schooled in Trump-age ethics

House member’s legislative director attends media-handling conclave

Republican house member Duncan Hunter, a hero to the Union-Tribune when the paper was owned by GOP mogul Doug Manchester, has been in the dog house under the daily's latest owner, tronc, Inc. of Chicago, ...

Un-retiring freebies

Learn to make communities more livable, all expenses paid

An unidentified principal administrative analyst in San Diego County’s Aging & Independent Services unit took off on an all-expense-paid junket to the Hilton Pasadena this April 25 and 26 courtesy of Washington DC’s AARP, formerly ...

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