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Stories by Matt Potter

Comic-Con stymied by San Diego hotel room prices

Rooms with a ConAs this year’s Comic-Con draws closer, threats that the big-bucks event could soon be moving to another city are rising as well, the sharpest via a July 10 dispatch on Forbes.com. “I …

July 17, 2024
Toyota Priuses driven by Chinese men near Mexican border

No Great WallAfter traveling to San Diego’s troubled border region, a senior researcher for the conservative Heritage Foundation has returned to Washington, D.C. and painted a dire picture of burgeoning Chinese immigration across the border …

July 10, 2024
Todd Gloria's dirty tricksters shut down New San Diego

Old San DiegoA controversial San Diego political committee bowed out of city politics by filing its official termination statement with the city clerk’s office on June 21. New San Diego, founded and operated by Democratic …

July 3, 2024
Toni Atkins will allow no one to escape density tyranny

Waste much, want moreGiven the Democrats firmly in charge of both the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and San Diego’s City Council, plus a group of well-heeled contractors and labor unions lurking in the …

June 26, 2024
Still no newspaper union at the San Diego Union-Tribune

Homeless tackledA non-profit foundation tied to a controversial giant San Diego-based healthcare staffing outfit has come up with $75,000 for mayor Todd Gloria’s San Diegans Together Tackling Homelessness effort, according to a February 20 behesting …

June 19, 2024
Marni von Wilpert gets Falck and Zoo to cough up for gay rights

Behest chasingControversial San Diego City ambulance contractor Falck USA gave a total of $5000 on May 16 at the behest of San Diego City councilwoman Marni von Wilpert to Los Angeles-based Equality California, per a …

June 12, 2024
Bill Walton's pain and humiliation

Pain and sufferingWith college players set to begin pulling down cash salaries and pros like Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry leading the NBA with an annual $51.9 million, it’s easy to forget that Bill …

June 5, 2024
San Diego politicians' mixed motives on marijuana

Peace and sanctityAn array of special interests, including pot dealers, funded the February 21 annual state of the county speech by Democratic County Supervisor Nora Vargas, newly posted disclosure filings show. Cannabis dealer March and …

May 29, 2024
Power corrupts a Toni Atkins donor and a former aide

Dark money assetsA $50,000 donor to the California ballot measure committee run by state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins of San Diego has been told by lawyers for the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission to stop …

May 22, 2024
Steve Cushman tasked with Kettner and Vine homeless housing

Old GloriaSan Diego Democrat Todd Gloria promised a new generation at city hall when he was running for mayor four years ago. But as he approaches his reelection battle this coming November, Gloria has quietly …

May 15, 2024
The world of Darrell Issa and Becky Glover

It’s complicatedNorth County Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, apparently assured of reelection this fall in his safe Republican seat, has been largely flying under the national radar of late. That’s a change from his political salad …

May 8, 2024
San Diego's border busiest since 1990s

Alden’s knock-offsWith advertising and page counts continuing to plunge, much local speculation about the San Diego Union-Tribune’s future involves questions about whether the paper’s vulture investor owner, Alden Global Capital, will soon close the print …

May 1, 2024
Toni Atkins sucks in money from ultra rich

Big money DemocratsThe 2026 gubernatorial campaign fund of San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins picked up $5000 on April 5 from Greenwich, Connecticut resident Kaia Ferari, according to an April 8 campaign disclosure filing. …

April 24, 2024
San Diego police buy acoustic weapons but don't use them

Sniper’s watchTwo costly crowd control tools bought by local cops from a controversial San Diego-based high-tech security firm saw zero use last year, per the Annual Military Equipment Report for 2023, recently released by the …

April 17, 2024
UCSD’s docs present for your entire surgery?

UCSD’s simultaneous skin timeAre UCSD doctors violating university policy by conducting simultaneous operations in the institution’s array of surgical suites? “The Policy defines Overlapping Surgery as an ‘operation or procedure in which the actual operating …

April 10, 2024
SDSU pres gets highest pay raise in state over last 15 years

Adela’s big fat raisesSan Diego State University president Adela de la Torre is in line for a five percent salary boost this year, from $533,148 to $559,805, putting her pay at the very top of …

March 27, 2024
Russians and other asylum seekers crowd Tijuana

Travel bug bites Vargas stafferA top staffer for South Bay House Democrat Juan Vargas and two other congressional workers jetted off for free to January’s glitzy Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, courtesy of the …

March 20, 2024
Will L.A. Times crowd out San Diego U-T at Riverside printing plant?

Volvo politicsYet another editorial staffer has departed under Alden Global Capital, new owner of the faltering San Diego Union-Tribune. The departure edges the paper further to the right, a move celebrated in some quarters. And …

March 13, 2024
Carlsbad mayor Priya Bhat-Patel restrained herself on gun storage rules

Guns awayDue to a personal conflict of interest, Carlsbad Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Priya Bhat-Patel, a high-profile North County gun control advocate, will be required to wait a few months longer to participate in efforts …

March 6, 2024
San Diego Dems get cash from RCS Harmony Partners

Liberal richiesThe political committee called the San Diego Labor Coalition, Sponsored by Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 89 has received another major round of developer cash for its direct mail “Democratic Choice Voter …

February 28, 2024
Toni Atkins moves her special-interest lieutenant governor cash to governor race

Moralist in disguise?Cappy McGarr, a big-spending hedge fund insider from Dallas, Texas, is among those who’ve kicked in the maximum $1350 for incumbent Democratic Mayor Todd Gloria’s re-election bid. (McGarr has lived part-time in La …

February 21, 2024
Pimps control San Diego adjacent to National City

Touchy feelyRobert Hertzberg, an ex-state Senate Democrat from Los Angeles widely known as “Huggy Bear” because of his unwanted serial embraces of female staffers and politicos during his years in the state Capitol, gave $1000 …

February 14, 2024
Joel Anderson and Todd Gloria share a fundraising loophole

Six-figure loophole?Republican County Supervisor Joel Anderson is running for reelection this year. He’s also campaigning for a seat on the Republican County Central Committee. Anderson is raising big money for the latter effort using a …

February 7, 2024
General Atomics selling hunter-killer drones to India

DeSantis bluesNow that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has dropped out of the Republican race for president, some wealthy San Diegans will have to write off their losses. They include General Atomics chairman and CEO Linden Blue, …

January 31, 2024
Alden sale of Baltimore Sun stirs up Union-Tribune flight of fancy

Non-Sunny scenarioCould the San Diego Union-Tribune be in play — and headed back into local hands? That’s the wishful thinking of those on both sides of the political aisle, brought on by last week’s sale …

January 24, 2024
San Diego ship USS Preble lasers slow to track drones

HELIOS hits and missesCostly new high-energy laser weapons — installed and tested on San Diego-based ships — aren’t being used against deadly Houthi drones and rockets in the Red Sea, causing consternation in the Defense …

January 17, 2024
FPPC warns Faulconer not to use lists from previous campaigns

Campaign money mazeA December 27 advice letter from the California Fair Political Practices Commission has drawn back the curtain on the convoluted fundraising for GOP ex-San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and his county supervisor race …

January 10, 2024
Union-Tribune online for $3 a year

U-T on the cheapA year-end offer of cut-rate, online-only subscription prices has triggered another round of speculation that the once-venerable San Diego Union-Tribune may be losing its life in print. New subscribers can get the …

January 3, 2024
San Diego Union-Tribune ends up with no Spanish version

Fin de U-T San DiegoIt’s the end of the line for the all-Spanish weekly tabloid published by the Union-Tribune, a newspaper that’s been shrinking all over under current owner Alden Global Capital. “The last issue …

December 27, 2023
Alden Capital salaries for U-T reporters sink

Back to the border?More than 13 months after Union-Tribune border reporter Wendy Fry departed for a new gig at non-profit CalMatters, the paper, these days operated by MediaNews Group — a chain owned by vulture …

December 20, 2023
Eli Lilly, squeezed by Bonta, gives $5000 to Toni Atkins

Behesting blastsChula Vista mayor John McCann continues to collect so-called behests from the city’s developer and a related crowd, according to a series of disclosure filings with the city clerk’s office. On October 12, Vulcan …

December 13, 2023
Belmont Park owner gives boost to Lincoln Club

Abe’s money clubThe Republican-leaning San Diego Lincoln Club, noted for fierce hit pieces dispatched against opponents in local elections, has a new role: drumming up developer cash for GOP ex-mayor Kevin Faulconer’s bid to knock …

December 6, 2023
Border Patrol beds scrutinized

Worn and dirty bedsBorder Patrol outposts in San Diego County have been called out again, this time by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Homeland Security Department for worn and dirty detainee bedding, …

November 29, 2023
Padres bribe city council

Masters of DeceitPadres' bribes of councilwoman Valerie Stallings“On December 14, 1999, despite urgings from the San Diego Taxpayers Association and others to delay its vote, the city council voted to push ahead with bonds for …

November 27, 2023
San Diego book clubs – only for girls?

San Diego book clubs – what's the point?Perhaps it’s the idea of the book club book that we find unbearable. It brings to mind that women’s marketing motto, “Pink it and shrink it.” Pink it: …

November 26, 2023
Faulconer aims for at homelessness, at Remer seat

Fungible exchangeA political action committee tied to Republican ex-San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, largely funded by a Sacramento-based business lobbying group, has closed up shop, distributing its remaining cash to the county GOP. Officially known …

November 22, 2023
Rafael Castellanos needs to resign as Port District chairman before appointed CEO

Public windfall for Castellanos?San Diego Unified Port District commissioners, fresh from a mysterious July scandal that led Chief Executive Officer Joe Stuyvesant to take an indefinite leave of absence, aren’t necessarily barred by state law from …

November 15, 2023
Deathly bike routes: Friars, Nimitz, Pershing

Dangerous bike spotsFriars Road, Nimitz Blvd, University Ave., Pershing Dr., Genesee, Pacific Hwy at Barnett Ave.Safer routes: SD River Trail, West Point Loma, Robinson, GovernorBy Dryw Keltz, Sept. 23, 2015The curvy road from Fallbrook to …

November 11, 2023
Alden Global's bull riders and other investments besides the U-T

Heath Freeman’s bull ridersAlden Global Capital, the vulture investing outfit that in July took control of the San Diego Union-Tribune from Los Angeles biotech mogul and LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, is the target of …

November 8, 2023
What the Bali Hai meant for San Diego

A product of the 1950s Tiki culture“Special Tables for Spies, Espionage Agents to View the U.S. Fleet — Binoculars furnished to U.S. Citizens only,” said a 1950s advertisement for the restaurant. Dressed in one of …

November 5, 2023
Sempra – California politicians' piggy bank

Toni’s Sempra connectionThe biggest donor to California state legislators during the first half of this year was none other than San Diego-based utility giant Sempra Energy. So reports the Sacramento Bee in a September 28 …

November 1, 2023
Not so innocent off trail in Cuyamaca

Citizen pot bustI thought about the spring day my two hiking buddies and I were off-trail, crashing through dense thickets of tangled brush. It was growing dark, and the three of us had gotten separated. …

October 29, 2023
Kicked out of the U.S., kidneapped in TJ

I live in Tijuana, SmugglersvilleI was hobbling back from the store with a liter of milk, when I saw three young men sitting on the steps in front of a house in my Tijuana neighborhood. …

October 28, 2023
Netflix founder Reed Hastings, Toni Atkins, and Utah's Powder Mountain

Inspecting a gift horse’s mouthA number of questionable self-contributions to UCSD have been targeted for audit by the school’s Audit & Management Advisory Services. A June 16 report covers cash donations from UCSD faculty members, …

October 25, 2023
Union-Tribune printing moves from L.A. to Riverside

Fox newsMediaNews Group, the famously staff-slashing publishing outfit that took over the Union-Tribune from Los Angeles pharmaceutical billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong in July, is gradually putting its own people in charge of the San Diego daily. …

October 18, 2023
Stick figures of men and a tall sailing ship – close to the Mexican border

Pictographs of Cabrillo's San Salvador east of Jacumba"There’s some petroglyphs over in Pinto Canyon," Frank said as he passed me on the trail. Frank Johnson, a handsome 75-year-old man, with flowing white hair and a superb …

October 15, 2023
San Diego's coinshooters, prospectors, relic hunters

San Diego treasure hunters, not as nerdy as you think.“Start over there, where the sand is shiny.” For wet-sand hunting, Russ recommends the area of the beach kept perpetually wet by the tide, so that’s …

October 14, 2023
High Tech High can't shake the Covid absenteeism

Agenda unsettingHave San Diego Republicans abandoned any serious attempt to unseat incumbent Democratic mayor Todd Gloria? Such a surrender could be indicated by the October 3 filing of a campaign committee calling itself the San …

October 11, 2023
Why would Todd Gloria stoop to the Democratic Central Committee?

Dining on the P-cardSan Diego County’s so-called P-Card program has been riddled with abuse, mismanagement, and improper spending, according to a report recently posted online by county auditors. “Out of 274,272 P-Card transactions made during …

October 4, 2023
The most important woman

The woman we never forgetBy Abe Opincar, Amy Gerstler, Barbarella Fokos, Deirdre Lickona, Ernie Grimm, Geoff Bouvier, Jeannette DeWyze, Jeff Smith, Jennifer Ball, Jim Morris, Laura McNeal, Mary Grimm, Matthew Lickona, Patrick Daugherty, RF Jurjevics, …

September 30, 2023

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