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Stories by Matt Potter

General Atomics opens munitions sales office in India

E-catapult pushed by New Delhi's Gandhi blasted by Trump

One of San Diego county's most lucrative businesses is also one of its quietest, churning out politically-incorrect products that draw sparse local media coverage while playing a key role in the world munitions market and ...

Money squeezed from Get It Done, San Diego

Qualcomm hires opposition research team

Rough operators Qualcomm, the home-grown tech giant known locally for take-no-prisoners political plays, is quickly getting a national reputation for dirty tricks. A November 21 report by the New York Times outlines Qualcomm’s hiring of ...

Public integrity league shuts down

Republican Lincoln Club gets $18,000 refund from hit-piece sender

San Diego's Lincoln Club, which steps forward each election time on behalf of Republican candidates by savaging their opponents with hit pieces, has shut down its latest political committee, called the Public Integrity League Opposed ...

Liberty Station quietly sold for $71 million

San Francisco Giants mogul inked deal a week before Thanksgiving

Control of Liberty Station, obtained from the city of San Diego by the Republican mega-donor McMillin family during the controversial reign of GOP mayor Susan Golding in 1999, has quietly changed hands for more than ...

Uber joins Sempra in sugar daddy game

Barona treats Dems and Reps to free meals

Party before the storm Utility giant Sempra Energy and its subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric, enmeshed in a bevy of California controversies — including an ongoing effort to resist so-called Community Choice Aggregation in ...

San Diego sole-source overrun soars by $7 million

Chronic change orders and departed workers plague permit system

A sole-source contract touted by development officials for bringing new efficiency to permit processing as it breezed through city council three years ago has come a cropper, according to a November 16 report by interim ...

Idle Navy attack subs hit by audit

$1.5 billion spent on vessels with "no operational capability"

The Navy's fleet of 51 attack submarines, a portion of which is based in San Diego, is suffering from a series of "significant maintenance delays and operating and support cost expenditures," that could jeopardize the ...

Scooter lobbyists behind scenes

Peters' help in ousting Zapf

e-scooter pay-off The Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University is out with a study likely to gladden the hearts of San Diego e-scooter riders, plagued by a rash of accidents and beset by ...

Best and worst of times for Soon-Shiong

U-T owner's biotech tanks; Times hiring soars; Viesselman out

Patrick Soon-Shiong, reputed by some to be the richest man in Los Angeles and the wealthiest physician in America, is currently worth $6.8 billion, per a real-time ranking by Forbes, which as of November 20 ...

Did Qualcomm use GOP oppo research against Apple?

Jacobs family has long local history of deploying cash for political gains

Qualcomm's co-founder, Democrat Irwin Jacobs, is famous for high-dollar political intrigue, including attempts to alter the school board, conceal campaign money, and promote a massive parking garage in Balboa Park with well-timed cash for mayor ...

Zapf falls to Campbell

Anti-Trump off-shore drilling wasn’t enough to get Republican re-elected

Anti-Trump trumped A flurry of last-minute advertising on Facebook attacking president Donald Trump wasn’t enough to get Republican Lorie Zapf re-elected last week against anti-Trump Democrat Jen Campbell. “Lorie Zapf will stand up to Trump’s ...

Democrat Peters goes after McMillin

Faulconer funder under fire in Navy chapel-to-restaurant conversion

The gloves are off at San Diego city hall as mayor Kevin Faulconer and fellow Republican Lorie Zapf discover that newly empowered Democrats are not likely to play nice, given their new House majority in ...

Phil Rath fined again

San Diego influence peddler sanctioned $5000 by state

Phil Rath, a prominent member of San Diego's well-compensated local influence peddling corps and chairman of the board of Civic San Diego, has agreed to pay a $5000 fine to settle conflict-of-interest charges brought against ...

Israel treats La Mesa bureaucrat

L.A. Times resumes voter guide

La Mesa’s foreign freebies Taking off on an all-expense paid junket to the Middle East, courtesy of a non-profit fund closely tied to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which styles itself as “America’s pro-Israel ...

Developer Moores in last-minute SDSU money move

Will the baseball stadium plaques come back?

Ex-Padres owner John Moores, long a lurker around the margins of San Diego State University's attempts to take control of the city-owned acreage formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium, has finally outed himself. On November 2, ...

Chevron, builders, and trash hauler counter union cash

San Diego Council Moreno-Martinez, Zapf-Campbell races get attention

Last minute money has been arriving in torrents during the final week of San Diego's Campaign '18 and is being spent in record amounts, funneled through a byzantine network of political committees that make it ...

Former Union-Tribune cartoonist Steve Kelley goes to Pittsburgh

Paul McCartney venue in Rancho Santa Fe for sale

Kelley’s next stand Former Union-Tribune political cartoonist Steve Kelley, who departed the paper in the aftermath of a 2001 dispute over “butt cracks” he allegedly snuck into print, is back behind the inkwell, this time ...

Duncan Hunter's smoke-filled spending

Firm tied to smoking, vaping, and misused Facebook data gets $50K

Republican congressman Duncan Hunter, fighting for his political life in the wake of a federal indictment for campaign finance violations, has called upon the services of a consulting firm linked to a controversial Wisconsin political ...

Second District hit pieces leave murky money trail

Avoiding discredit for the mire of San Diego politics

The fundraising battle between two political committees waging a war of hit pieces against their foes in San Diego's Second District city council race currently favors the Republican incumbent, thanks to a fresh cash infusion ...

John Cox or Venezuela

Alpine Chamber gets $75K for Snow Festival, Christmas Parade, and honey event

Bombs away San Diego’s bigger-than-life public art world is in turmoil. A proposed million-dollar pair of oversized plastic straws designed in Los Angeles to grace the entrance of San Diego’s new toilet-to-tap water plant has ...

Cops endorse SDSU West, get $5K from SoccerCity foe

Last minute real estate money flows to San Diego Police Officers Association PAC

The lobbying unit for San Diego police - pouring cash into four city council races – now has helpers in the form of Mission Valley real estate titan Thomas W. Sudberry, Jr. and Los Angeles ...

Scandal for profit

Is L.A.'s Soon-Shiong casting San Diego to fill content maw?

Can a revived investigative reporting push be the key to saving the Union-Tribune from losing its identity, as well as its already dwindling advertising business, to its big northern sibling, the Los Angeles Times? Or ...

L.A.Times gets Big Willie and Room 20

U-T gets “Who gets to keep the dog in a divorce?”

Jerry’s female side The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee led by Republican ex-mayor and former police chief Jerry Sanders has come up with a creative name for its latest political venture: ...

November's ballot looms, but June cleanup continues

Two San Diego city council hopefuls cough up ethics fines

As the November finish for some bitterly-fought campaigns approaches, San Diego's ethics commission has been cleaning up legal loose ends left over from June's electoral contests, with costly outcomes for two failed city council hopefuls. ...

SDSU backer kicks in against rent control

Big San Diego landlords ante up against local option

Local development giant H.G. Fenton, battling against the incursion of proposed SoccerCity into the Mission Valley real estate franchise it shares alongside burgeoning Sudberry Properties, has spent a total of $1,502,865 this year as of ...

Atkins garners horse money, DeMaio frets about gas tax repeal title

Fletcher and spouse do Chinese fire drill with committees

Tax dollars at play Now that termed-out San Diego county supervisor Greg Cox has become president of the National Association of Counties, insiders are on the lookout for a flood of staff junketing. The first ...

Unions back city hall incumbents, with one exception

Cops' money is on one Democrat, two Republicans

With one deep-pocketed exception, local labor unions prefer city hall incumbents, whether Democrat or Republican, based on the most recent campaign expense data on file with the city clerk's office. In the hotly contested Fourth ...

Union-Tribune's chief photographer heads for the Times

Longtime San Diegan morphs into L.A.'s deputy of transformation.

Though locals would be none the wiser, the Union-Tribune may soon be stripped of its best longtime talents, signaling to worried insiders that the hometown daily could be on the precipice of being subsumed into ...

Drones gone wild, Manchester late again, state pols like to spend in San Diego

Leaky drones U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which surveils San Diego from the skies with costly state-of-the-art drones, is not being mindful enough of the privacy and security of the citizenry below. So concludes a ...

Private prison $10K goes to Lincoln Club

And Lincoln Club antes up $5,000 for Voice of San Diego

San Diego politics, not always considered a charitable calling, has of late been the source of thousands of dollars given to some local non-profits by committees as November's election time grows near. While most campaign ...

Lincoln Club's public integrity league returns

Developers ready last-minute stink bombs

It's fall again, time for some pre-election political shenanigans from the GOP Lincoln Club. The developer-backed group, famous for its direct mail hits on local Democratic hopefuls, has returned for a round of opponent bashing, ...

Food, ballgame, concert tickets — San Diego pols bought so cheap

Vic Bianes quits amid wrong water bills and workers playing hooky

Payoff for play A pair of staffers for state Assembly Democrat Todd Gloria of San Diego picked up some high-dollar tickets to a glitzy Gloria Trevi and Alejandra Guzman concert at downtown Sacramento’s Golden 1 ...

Undisclosed sex felons pose risk to talent school

Mental health inmates could imperil Mission Valley children

A Mission Valley mental health clinic treating federal prison inmates has been operating steps away from a talent school, exposing unknowing neighborhood children to the risk of contacts with sex offenders, says a recently released ...

Money battle now favors SoccerCity foes

John Moores and allies help SDSU option

Since late August, more than $1.7 million has poured into the coffers of forces battling the takeover of city-owned Qualcomm Stadium by SoccerCity, a group of wealthy La Jolla investors who have a friend in ...

Koch-funded college journalism arrives at SDSU

Students "a check on the power of the administration," per sponsor

Could San Diego State University, a bastion of the local business establishment that has carefully guarded its political and financial perogatives, be in for a housecleaning, courtesy of donations from conservative billionaire Charles Koch's foundation ...

Issa aide lives high in corn country

Rachel Laing gets snarky

Corn-fueled junket The Midwest farm lobby, trying to counter Donald Trump’s threats to water down federal biofuel mandates, is spending big to make its point to the administration and the Republican Congress. As reported by ...

Soon-Shiong's Los Angeles-Sacramento-Fresno-San Diego Bee?

More consolidations and layoffs loom for California papers

If anyone is still around who thinks San Diego's future won't be determined by big business from afar, a new bout of behind-the-scenes boardroom jockeying by Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong may ...

Border patrol agents not fully trained for assaults

Drop in clashes here may be due to records glitch, report says

Agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement aren't getting sufficient training to handle the assaults they face along the Mexican border, including the San Diego region, which the government says ...

No In-N-Out burgers on Dem cruise to New Orleans

Patrick Soon-Shiong lists 25 job openings at L.A. Times

Death of an ex-U-T journalist A former Union-Tribune reporter linked to investigative websites funded by the Koch brothers and allied conservative donors has died of unannounced causes in Houston, Texas at the age of 47. ...

U.S. audit hits Sheriff 's crime lab

Justice Department criticism released weeks after re-election

It cost taxpayers $92.6 million to build, but at least the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Regional Crime Laboratory — said by a recently released federal audit report to have experienced extensive security breaches at ...

Cate's craft beer, cocktailing, and private jets

Councilman at the center of SoccerCity scandal finally files charity reports

It's been a busy political season of beer drinking, free cocktailing and glad-handing for Sixth District San Diego city councilman Chris Cate, thanks in part to a torrent of charitable cash anted up by some ...

Goring the golden fleece

Taxpayers association insider spills the beans re endorsement fixes

A key lobbying arm of San Diego's business establishment has taken a direct hit from a well-connected member of its board over repeated incidents of alleged endorsement hanky-panky, possibly damaging the group's longtime ability to ...

The Airbnb referendum money

New Chargers reporter, suit against Soon-Shiong

Cruel and unusual lack of showers Inadequate showering at the county jail has become a target for criticism at the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, where staff has sustained complaints that unidentified guards failed to ...

SDSU prez De la Torre gets raise to $441,504

Sacramento pumps more money into colleges

Adela’s big fat salary It didn’t take long for new San Diego State University president Adela de la Torre, on the job for less than a week, to collect a tidy boost to her already ...

City Auditor heads for the hills of Beverly

Long-time watchdog departs amidst San Diego mayoral meltdowns

San Diego city auditor Eduardo Luna, an eleven-year veteran of rooting out scandals at what insiders assert is an increasingly dysfunctional city hall, is heading for Beverly Hills to assume a similar role in the ...

Avarice and denial shadowed mayor's ballot bid

Short of cash and signatures, Faulconer lashes out

To San Diego campaign watchers, Kevin Faulconer's bid to hike taxes for expanding the city's convention center while lining the pockets of his friends in the public relations industry was an obvious non-starter, though true ...

Susan Davis itchy feet

Lobbyist dream jobs and SDSU nightmares

Summer with Susan Davis Democratic House member Susan Davis, accustomed to partaking of free travel to exotic world locations courtesy of the Aspen Institute, stuck closer to home for her most recent all-expense-paid junket, two ...

Zapf's legal defense gambit

Special interest history of providing legal fund cash

What's a termed-out city councilwoman - or at least one whose reelection eligibility is being challenged in court - to do? In the case of Second District Republican Lorie Zapf, she sets up a legal ...

U-T strange ads: the doctor is in

Roberts and Cox blow left-over money on Vietnam trip and staff party

U-T’s bitter medicine San Diego’s Union-Tribune, beset by plunging circulation and falling advertising, is filling its pages with display ads from a controversial new sponsor closely tied to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who acquired the struggling ...

The city hall honesty test

Mayor seeking headhunter to replace city auditor Eduardo Luna

When it comes to new San Diego city hires, filling the high-profile job of chief of police is always most contentious, with supporters and detractors emerging from the municipal woodwork to expound their opinions of ...

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