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Stories by Matt Potter

Cory Briggs' real estate

Brian Maienschein, now a friend to big labor

Million-dollar lawyering Attorney Cory Briggs, a perennial target of local developers who is taking on San Diego city attorney Mara Elliott in next year’s primary, owns at least a $2 million interest in rental property ...

San Diego green bureaucracy prepares to ramp up executive spending

"At the outset..approximately 15-20 staff members...growing to 40"

As local utility rates soared, the rush to dump San Diego Gas & Electric as the area's sole energy distributor grew into a political frenzy, capped by the October 2018 acquiescence of San Diego mayor ...

Ex-U-T reporter Lisa Petrillo joins Mara Elliott staff

The lucrative job of being a flack

Facing at least two challengers in next year's rapidly approaching March primary, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott has put former Union-Tribune reporter Lisa Petrillo on the city payroll as the office's assistant for "community ...

Bradley Fikes (R.I.P.) spoke openly about San Diego media

San Diego State booster Ben Clay to investigate student death

Non-freedom of speech The surprise death of Union-Tribune biotech writer Bradley Fikes, at 62, brought forth a sentimental obituary in the paper, which labeled the scribe “part Dr. Dolittle, part Inspector Gadget,” and “a walking ...

Faulconer taps lobbyist Rebecca Rybczyk to replace lobbyist Greg Block

Mayor favors ThreeSixty Public Strategies and Southwest Strategies to help run San Diego

With the final year of Kevin Faulconer's term dawning, the revolving door at the San Diego mayor's office continues to twirl. As previously noted, six-figure public relations guru Greg Block, who most famously grappled with ...

Faulconer staff churning

Atkins money machine knows no bounds

The revolving door turns Another staffer for mayor Kevin Faulconer has quit the city to join the ever-growing special interest circuit of government persuaders. Felipe Monroig, who was the Republican mayor’s deputy chief of staff ...

E-mopeds could be next weapons in S.D.'s high-risk transit wars

"I hope Revel users have signed their organ donor cards"

As the termed-out administration of San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer continues to grapple with the explosion of so-called e-scooters, another kind of e-mobility device likely to hit congested city streets is spending big to assure ...

How Embarcadero Park shunned Ellsworth Kelly

Irwin Jacobs, angel in Flint, Michigan

Death of good taste The November 12 passing of Gerald Hirshberg at the age of 80 of glioblastoma has rekindled memories of the days when San Diego’s cultural aspirations, at least in tony La Jolla ...

Faulconer staffer Greg Block flees through revolving door

Mayoral spinmeister jumps to help spouse Rachel Laing's firm

Add another name to the growing roster of ex-staffers for termed-out San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer ahead of next year's November election, widely expected to result in a top-to-bottom political house cleaning by whoever ...

Ex-Gomez aide and council hopeful faces political ethics penalty

$3,140 spent for “cash withdrawals at local food establishments” and “the Men's Warehouse for menswear”

San Diego city council candidate Kelvin Barrios, a former aide to city councilwoman Georgette Gomez, vacating her District 9 seat in a bid to replace fellow Democrat Susan Davis in Congress, is being hit with ...

L.A. Times and San Diego U-T sweat the online numbers

Pete Wilson allies pass away

Honey, I shrunk the subscriber goals As advertising and circulation falls at the San Diego Union-Tribune year over year, Norman Pearlstine, executive editor of the U-T’s parent Los Angeles Times, is less optimistic than his ...

Are San Diego streetlight spy cams leaking privacy?

“Users, particularly Mayors, can access the platform via their mobile devices”

What is the city of San Diego up to with its controversial installation of 4200 streetlights that spy, reported here in February? Although the city council has yet to take up questions of privacy regarding ...

Will reparations make up for past pot busts?

Barrio Logan, Mid-City, Sorrento Valley all top illegal marijuana locales

Are reparations due to those most impacted by police busts back in the day when marijuana was illegal? Such is the question pending before the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee of San Diego's city ...

Fortistar helps Faulconer charity

Barona and Sycuan tribes feed San Diego politicians

Pay for praise San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer is gassing up his One San Diego charity operation, thanks to a $5000 contribution on September 27 from New York recycled methane maven and city lessee Mark ...

Clan linked to yesterday's Mexico slayings once rocked San Diego

Polygamous leader dispatched tenth wife for blood atonement

It was January 1975, and San Diego was making big news in the New York Times, as violence from a notorious polygamous cult spilled into the county from Baja California. "A search centered on San ...

San Diego retirement system man on the go

San Diego cops target San Francisco DA race

Non-transparent travel Jamie Hamrick, the fast-traveling senior investment officer of the San Diego City Employees Retirement System, hasn’t been as swift in filing so-called behesting reports revealing to the public who paid for all those ...

Convention center group refunds GEO money

The homeless industrial complex

Add another campaign cash disgorgement to the pile of payouts made since last year’s revelation that private prison giant Geo Group was a donor to San Diego GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assembly Democrat Todd Gloria, ...

The fight over San Diego High School

53 reports filed with the Fraud Hotline

High school hijinks An October 11 Union-Tribune op-ed by San Diego Unified school board trustee Richard Barrera argues for keeping San Diego High School in Balboa Park, citing voter approval in 2016 of a measure ...

Jacobs versus Gomez: all about family valuations

$90,899 pours in from donors named Jacobs

Members of the wealthy Jacobs family, heirs to the Qualcomm fortune created by billionaire patriarch Irwin Jacobs, are chipping in big for the 53rd District House race of his granddaughter Sara, fresh filings with the ...

Matt Potter and the Reader

Cheetah's strip club, Copley and Scripps families, Fotomat and Jack Kemp, Bruce Henderson and Chargers, Bali Hai, Kennedy assassination insider, UCSD Polyheme experiments, Bin Laden's brother

Matt Potter has been a staff writer and editor at the Reader since 1989. He reports on politics and local institutions such as the Union-Tribune, UCSD, SDSU, and the City and County of San Diego. ...

San Ysidro border detectors missing fentanyl

Data policing coming to your front porch

Blind eye to fentanyl Back in July, U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer proclaimed that San Diego was facing a desperate public safety crisis caused by the proliferation of the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl. “That heroin, ...

Summer Stephan untangles herself from San Diego Republicans

Adios, Lincoln Club

The traditionally Republican bastion known as the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, which has long denied being partisan, now can boast of a flesh-and-blood independent among the raft of GOP candidates it has boosted ...

Sara Jacobs vows to take no PAC money

Strange bedfellows in bed with Todd Gloria

Sara’s PAC blow-up When 75-year-old Democrat Susan Davis announced she was finally going to give up her seat in Congress, House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith was quick to dispatch a press release of praise. ...

Ben Hueso paws greased by payroll loan company

Duncan Hunter aide feeds on exotic Russian food

Hueso’s county payday California Senate Democrat Ben Hueso, off and running for the First District county supervisorial seat currently held by termed-out Republican Greg Cox, is tapping controversial out-of-state cash for his bid. Hueso, a ...

SDSU science labs still unsafe for students

"We found a chemical spill that had been only partially cleaned"

Can San Diego State University be taken at its word? Not necessarily, judging by a September 13 report by California State University vice-chancellor and chief audit officer Larry Mandel. The audit dings SDSU – currently ...

Morgan Dene Oliver, after losses on SoccerCity and Harbor Island, gets UCSD Foundation seat

Faulconer turns to Challenged Athletes Foundation

Miscreants of influence Morgan Dene Oliver, who sparked a months-long scandal when he hosted a secretive January 2016 luncheon with backers of SoccerCity and San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, has a new position of influence. ...

Faulconer paid $4000 ethics penalty with campaign cash

San Diego mayor 's 2016 political committee covered dinner, airfare, public relations

As San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer tours California in search of good ink and his next elective office, he's dipped into his mayoral campaign fund to pay for some personal baggage at home. Weeks after ...

Doug Manchester 's PR disaster tour

Ex-U-T publisher hits TV news trail promoting Bahamian relief and himself

Former Union-Tribune owner Douglas Manchester, his appointment by Republican President Donald Trump to be ambassador to the Bahamas stalled for over two years in a GOP Senate, has been promoting his charitable good work on ...

Still no replacement for San Diego auditor Eduardo Luna

Sara Jacobs money edges others out of race

The auditors are still out San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, a veteran of the public relations business, put a few good ones over on out-of-town media members covering the California Republican Party’s annual convention in ...

No-name no-bid contract cost San Diego millions, city auditor charges

“Solicitations from other vendors were intentionally ignored or actively rejected”

Suspicious circumstances involving a multi-million-dollar, no-bid data processing contract awarded by the administration of lame-duck mayor Kevin Faulconer without city council approval has drawn scrutiny from interim city auditor Kyle Elser. A September 11 audit ...

Gloria backers borrow name of Faulconer’s dubious charity

Susan Davis, Mike Levin put on the miles

Boobs of influence Will San Diego’s lame-duck Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer try to block the hijacking of his charity’s name by backers of his would-be Democratic successor Todd Gloria? That’s just one of many questions ...

Irwin Jacobs' $9.9 million drives granddaughter’s House hopes

49th to 53rd Congressional District jump

With the abrupt retirement of House Democrat Susan Davis, followed shortly afterwards by the declaration of Sara Jacobs as a candidate in California's 53rd district, eyes are turning to her billionaire grandfather for clues to ...

Realtors hand off cash to Faulconer cause

Manchester's ties to Trump questioned

Throne of the Vulcans San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, fresh from being slapped with a $4000 fine over his failure to disclose a $10,000 behest to his One San Diego charity fund, has revealed a ...

Tales of a dead fixer and Gina Champion-Cain

SEC alleges investor fraud by top Todd Gloria funder

Political fate and coincidence sometimes meet in mysterious ways, as witnessed in the uncanny timing of the July 24 death of George Mitrovich at 84, followed soon after by the troubles of Gina Champion-Cain. Like ...

Campland lobbyist showers cash on Dems and GOP on city council

UCSD uses Union-Tribune ad and story (natch) to brag

Both sides now A key lobbyist for Campland, LLC, the bayside resort which convinced the city council to renew its controversial sweetheart lease on city-owned Mission Bay land in June, is raising money for both ...

Where Toni Atkins meets turf lobbyists

Horse racing cash greases Democrat’s political track

As horses have dropped dead at California tracks, some state politicos have been professing public concern regarding racing's public relations nightmare, including state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins. Atkins showed up at Del Mar ...

L.A. Times writers plead with readers

Luis Gomez frets re U-T Hispanic coverage

Immigrant’s plea With talks for a labor agreement between the Los Angeles Times and its reporters’ union lagging, the journalists are beseeching Times readers to get in touch with the super-rich man in charge to ...

O.C. billionaire Samueli beats out Philip Anschutz for San Diego Sports Arena

Lobbyists work the city council

Round one of a high-dollar lobbying war over who will control what was formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena – for now named Pechanga – has concluded, with the win going to some ...

Faulconer ethics fine revealed after Campland bags sweetheart lease

Mayor forks over $4000 for 16-month disclosure delay

Intrigue surrounding the June 24 city council vote for Campland, LLC's five-year sweetheart leasehold extension for choice Mission Bay frontage has deepened with a $4000 fine levied against Kevin Faulconer by the city's ethics commission ...

Drug War reparations tanked by San Diego's city attorney

Can't earmark marijuana tax for cannabis equity fund

Two San Diego city council members exploring ways to tap the city's $12 million annual marijuana tax haul are likely out of the money, based on a July 31 memo from City Attorney Mara Elliott. ...

Jane Fonda helps an old San Diego friend

Disappointing numbers for L.A. Times

Granny power While one candidate takes maternity leave from the campaign trail, the San Diego Democratic Party has set up a so-called independent committee to take on incumbent Kristin Gaspar in next year’s race for ...

University City – UCSD's bedrooms

Trolley, Regents Road Bridge, San Clemente Canyon, Miramar jets, traffic

No trolley in my backyard A group of neighborhood conservationists in University City are hoping to put the brakes on a plan to extend trolley service from downtown San Diego's Santa Fe Depot to a ...

Gavin Newsom carries water for billionaire benefactor

Qualcomm's Irwin Jacobs lines up behind Gloria mayoral bid

The word that California governor Gavin Newsom has endorsed Assemblyman Todd Gloria for San Diego mayor has cemented the reputation of Irwin Jacobs as the city's top political moneyman and would-be city hall kingmaker. Backstage ...

Mara Elliott gets Morgan Dene Oliver money

Lorena Gonzalez eats free $88 meal at Barona

Mara’s marred Morgan Dene money San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, a Democrat, has been raking in super-sized campaign contributions from some of Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s most stalwart backers, including one mixed up in ...

VA mutes ventilator alarm, paralyzed patient dies

San Diego hospital hit by audit for spinal cord injury victim's death

Sloppy supervision, a muted alarm, and lack of training led to the suffocation death of a severely paralyzed patient at San Diego's Veterans Administration hospital last year when an alarm failed to sound after a ...

Todd Gloria returns scandal-tainted Hertzberg cash

A politico’s politician

Assembly Democrat Todd Gloria, running to replace termed-out Republican Kevin Faulconer for San Diego mayor next year, has plenty of support among his legislative colleagues, judging by the ex-city councilman's campaign finance report filed with ...

GOP launches right-ward San Diego News Desk

Unembarrassed Lorena Gonzalez tweets about Disneyland visit again

Costly mayoral affair The revelation that top members of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s official taxpayer-paid staff have been taking out-of-town trips to boost his quest for higher office hasn’t surprised city hall insiders, who ...

Faulconer's data man Maksim Pecherskiy quits

Top vacancies mount as mayor's administration wanes

As the tenure of lame-duck San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer ticks down, city executive ranks have been thinning, spelling difficulties for key services. Most famous on the list of unfilled Faulconer appointments is the position ...

Union-Tribune wants community conversations

Half-page ad touts Soon-Shiong’s NantEnergy.

LA versus SD On July 16 the Union-Tribune, owned by Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, ran a half-page advertisement touting the merits of Soon-Shiong’s NantEnergy. “NantEnergy offers innovative Energy Storage Solutions that deliver healthy outcomes ...

San Diego border agents face fentanyl death risk

Overdose kit and training meltdown imperils enforcers, audit finds

Customs and Border Patrol officials are playing fast and loose with storage of the deadly synthetic opioid known as fentanyl, risking the health and lives of employees as the government grapples with a burgeoning load ...