Back to profile

Stories by Matt Potter

The cigarette smugglers among us

Porous duty-free enforcement allows quick turnaround

California's legalization of recreational marijuana may have taken some of the sizzle out of cross-border pot smuggling, but a recent report by the Government Accountability Office sheds new light on how tobacco tax evasion continues ...

SANDAG needs spin help

Applicants asked to “describe why it is important for SANDAG to have both public information and public involvement programs.”

Newly reconstituted by legislation sponsored by Democratic assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, the San Diego Association of Governments, blasted in the media for its lack of transparency, is seeking a spinmeister. “The Senior Public Outreach Officer ...

SDG&E pillow talk

Hedberg was found to have a “remote interest” in any business with the power company

A member of the board of the San Diego County Water Authority, married to a computer engineer for San Diego Gas and Electric, will have a little less voting to do, as a result of ...

Close encounter of the drone kind

The drone passed less than 100 feet below the airplane

The pilot of an Airbus passenger jet descending for an August landing at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field has reported a harrowing encounter with an unmanned aerial vehicle at 1200 feet. “The drone passed less than ...

Double-duty lobbyist

City hall influence-peddling

The lawyer representing San Diego city councilman Chris Cate in matters related to state attorney general Xavier Becerra’s investigation of Cate’s leak of a confidential memo to SoccerCity lobbyists has been doing a little city ...

Hotel barons circle convention-center board vacancy

Hepatitis politics and real estate battle loom over ill member replacement

Could one of San Diego's wealthy "hoteliers" make it to the board of the city-subsidized convention-center corporation? That is city hall's question of the hour as the controversy-prone administration of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer continues ...

The fate of San Diego Sports Arena

Hockey players

Besides disposition of the stadium formerly known as Qualcomm, the fate of the San Diego Sports Arena, now called the Valley View Casino Center, hangs in the balance. As usual in the political netherworld of ...

Dallas oilman’s blessing

Friends of SDSU vs. SoccerCity

Friends of SDSU, a political committee set up to collect signatures for an initiative that would turn the city-owned site formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium over to San Diego State University, is preparing to do ...

Councilman Cate can use campaign cash for legal, PR costs

State watchdog greenlights defense money from reelection committee

Ever since Republican San Diego city councilman Chris Cate got into hot water over leaking a confidential city document to a lobbyist for SoccerCity, the controversial plan to privatize the former Qualcomm Stadium, city hall ...

Solar-powered pot

Continues to be a significant cash generator for local lobbyists

The fight over what San Diego’s marijuana regulations will ultimately look like when pot goes legal in California next year continues to be a significant cash generator for local lobbyists, as evidenced by Lani Lutar’s ...

Ira Copley's Elgin Courier-News led to tronc slaughter?

Illinios newspaper famous for "thin gold watch" shrinks to three days a week

A piece of San Diego's once mighty Republican newspaper legacy is dying in Illinois, with word that Chicago-based tronc will cut publication of the Elgin Courier-News, formerly a daily, to just three days a week. ...

Roush report: SoccerCity politics heading for CSU board

Costly details left out of presidential update on Mission Valley makeover

California State University officials are warming up their board of trustees for next year's big game in San Diego, otherwise known as San Diego State University's showdown with SoccerCity over title to the stadium formerly ...

Super-charged

It isn’t the first time Sempra has anted up for a Roberts cause

Termed-out Republican San Diego County supervisor Ron Roberts continues to rake in so-called behests to charity on his behalf by big-money special interests. Latest to tithe is utility giant Sempra Energy, currently fighting locals who ...

Big lobbyist is watching

Verizon pushes Smart Cities

Verizon Wireless has paid the San Diego lobbying firm of MJE Marketing Services $30,000 to push for “approval of a public-private partnership for implementation of Verizon’s Smart Cities and Communities programs,” according to an October ...

Boling for airport dollars

Big-money history dates back to Faulconer’s February 2014 election as mayor

The lobbying shop founded by San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer’s top political guru is again at the center of conflict-of-interest questions, this time regarding ace GOP campaign treasurer and onetime city-council candidate April Boling. ...

Taxpayers ante up for Faulconer's political spinners

Pay, car allowance, and benefits draw familiar faces to city hall

San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, under fire from critics who fault his handling of the city's hepatitis A epidemic, has been on a PR and political hiring spree of late, and the cost to ...

Political fútbol

La Jolla hedge-fund mavens are after (former) Qualcomm Stadium

The election isn’t until next year, but the group of La Jolla hedge-fund mavens seeking to privatize the former Qualcomm Stadium and its grounds have already anted-up $3.4 million for a not-so-motley assortment of local ...

No San Diego jobs here

The editorially challenged U-T is hiring

“Tronc is hiring!” says a hopeful announcement regarding the oddly named newspaper chain newly posted on the website of builtinchicago.com. But ink-stained wretches, otherwise known as reporters, are not among those in high demand at ...

Juan Vargas’s military eviction lobby

Money came from an array of special-interest donors

San Diego’s poster boy for shadowy members of Congress, Republican Duncan Hunter, continues to rack up big legal fees paid for by his campaign committee. Meanwhile, the fundraising and spending practices of local Democrats have ...

U-T subletting newsroom space

Adieu to 25 percent of "cool" millennial digs

When the San Diego Union-Tribune announced in November 2015 that it would vacate its 43-year-old Mission Valley headquarters in favor of a $40 million, 15-year lease of four floors in a downtown high-rise, the paper ...

Manchester’s Navy Broadway complex: hurry up and wait

Warren Buffet, mortgage banker, called in to find loan for Trump backer’s mega-project

Ex–Union-Tribune owner and Republican kingpin Doug Manchester, still awaiting confirmation as ambassador to the Bahamas, also continues his quest for $650 million to finance his long-stalled Navy Broadway complex in downtown San Diego. An October ...

Bay Area influences

Big labor gets into the city-hall advocacy game in a big way

As Republicans’ grip on San Diego’s city council loosens, big labor has filled the void by getting into the city-hall advocacy game in a big way. The latest player to file as a labor lobbyist ...

DROP-out chief hits Las Vegas

Already this year Zimmerman has logged at least five major out-of-town trips

As she counts down the days until her lucrative retirement on the city’s notorious Deferred Retirement Option Plan, widely known as DROP, San Diego chief of police Shelley Zimmerman has increasingly taken to the road, ...

Sempra's homeless cash shuffle

Democrat and Fox friend both go greenback in dash for cash

San Diego's Sempra Energy has long been a cash cow for Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer's One San Diego nonprofit, which pays for his annual Thanksgiving turkey handouts in poorer parts of town. Lately, though, the ...

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 ...

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!

Close