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Stories by Matt Potter

In face of Covid, San Diego city council dreams of bigger conventions

The San Diego hotel lobby has long used other peoples' money in the form of an ever-growing tax on transient room occupants to underwrite its developments and finance its powerful sway over city hall. Most ...

April 10, 2020
When San Diego had the Spanish flu

It was a municipal battle of life and death, witnessed by the frightened citizenry of century-ago San Diego, crowded into the musty confines of city hall, an ornate Victorian building at the corner of Fifth ...

April 8, 2020
Virus sets up San Diego fight over paying rent

Viral lobbyists Mega-developer H.G. Fenton Company became the first registered San Diego influence seeker to jump into the fray over the financial impact of coronavirus legislation. Fenton wants “new policies regarding eviction moratoriums during COVID-19,” ...

April 8, 2020
San Diego city council quietly greenlights $525,000 harassment deal

A two-year-old lawsuit involving a ream of explosive sexual harassment allegations by an 18-year veteran of San Diego's fire and rescue department has been settled with a $525,000 payment quietly approved by the city council ...

April 7, 2020
Padres bribe city councilwoman (Moores gets off), Padres and the mob

Fun with Ralph: Excerpts From a Busy Man's Calendar Councilman Inzunza’s frantic lunch hours. “Virtually every business day at the stroke of 12 noon, the 34-year-old councilman can be seen strolling out of his 12th-story ...

April 5, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2019

Hillcrest: gayborhood or ghetto? “I was only in West Hollywood for four years and I came from the East Coast by way of Las Vegas,” he says. “To me, Hillcrest is just normal. At least ...

April 4, 2020
COVID-19 screening lapses plagued San Diego veterans' care

A snap audit by agents for the Veterans Affairs inspector general has called out San Diego region Veterans Health Administration staffers for failing to properly screen visitors for the coronavirus and asserted that local V.A. ...

April 3, 2020
Darrell Issa foundation tips hand to North County Farms

Wartime messiah Ex-House Republican Darrell Issa, seeking this fall to reclaim a congressional seat in a new district, has a potent political weapon in his arsenal called the Issa Family Foundation, which he runs with ...

April 1, 2020
San Diego airport increasingly vacant, salaries aren't

As the worldwide coronavirus crisis rages on, San Diego's tourist economy has cratered, bringing down with it a small army of maids, bartenders, drivers, and service workers cast out of their jobs for an indefinite ...

March 31, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2018

Adam Parfrey goes to the San Diego Zoo It is not generally appreciated that famous publisher Adam Parfrey once lived just off Lincoln Boulevard, a dismal stretch of gasoline-alley slightly east of Venice, California, and ...

March 29, 2020
San Diego Police buying 1200 more tasers

Fake news filter Aethlon Medical Inc., a San Diego biotech star of the 2014 Ebola virus scare, is in hot water with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission over what the firm calls the Hemopurifier. ...

March 25, 2020
Walter Mencken's guide to self-quarantine

Walter Mencken [descending stairs]: Oh, hello! Welcome to my humble abode, situated in the renovated bomb shelter on the estate of Mt. Helix’s famous Grindle House. (As ever, don’t try to find it on Google ...

March 25, 2020
Susan Davis dumps Alaska Airlines, Royal Caribbean, loads up on Chinese surveillance giant Baidu

San Diego House Democrat Susan Davis, once the queen of congressional travel freebies thanks to special interests, has been dumping personal travel-related assets of late, gaining the notice of the Washington press corps. "Previously unreported ...

March 23, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2015

Cartel tunnels to Otay Mesa are infrastructural marvels The amount of warehouse space in Otay Mesa has nearly quadrupled since the mid-’90s, and the expansion has been almost as frenetic in Garita de Otay. Forklifts, ...

March 21, 2020
Patrick Soon-Shiong thins editors, reporters

Voluntary leave-takings The other shoe remains to fall in what local media watchers are calling the great Union-Tribune buyout of 2020. The story starts on February 20 with reports by CNN that Los Angeles Times ...

March 18, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2014

Udo was gone Despite the occasional car and North County bus whizzing by, they rode in perfect harmony, each rider knowing when it was time to pick up the pace or leapfrog to the front. ...

March 15, 2020
ExxonMobil lobbyist bankrolls Ben Hueso supervisorial hopes

What is Urban Associates, Inc., and why has it so far spent $50,000 on a rough-and-tumble bid to elect Senate Democrat Ben Hueso to the San Diego County board of supervisors? An elaborate trail of ...

March 13, 2020
Newland Sierra backs a winner – Kelvin Barrios

Sierra Club’s top enemy Developer Newland Sierra lost the campaign for Measure B, its ballot battle against the high-end Golden Door spa over a massive residential project in North County in last week’s election. The ...

March 11, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2012

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney roots deep and wide in San Diego It is Matt Romney who takes public credit for calling his part of the Romney clan to San Diego County. “My wife and I ...

March 8, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2011

Dad was a bum Mike Elliott’s father disappeared when he was 13 years old. Not disappeared as in vanished mysteriously. Disappeared as in left and never came back. Some 27 years later, on a rainy ...

March 7, 2020
Big money fails to save San Diego convention center tax hike

When San Diego's hotel lobby, backed by a host of out-of-town operators, began its quest for an expanded downtown convention center via a 2018 tax hike initiative, some local political professionals were skeptical. Their doubts ...

March 6, 2020
San Diego's fragile ethics commission

Fractured ethics With official data showing a continuing slide in the enforcement of conflict-of-interest and campaign spending laws by the city’s ethics commission, the group’s soon-to-retire executive director Stacy Fulhorst is spinning hard. “In terms ...

March 4, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2009

A San Diego Charger football game is one thing, fandom is something else Silva's powder blue coffin was trimmed with gold — Charger colors. His body was dressed in a jersey honoring his favorite player, ...

February 29, 2020
The Great Behest: favor seekers line up to tithe for San Diego lawmakers

Behesting, the practice by elected officials of raising money for charitable, governmental, and semi-political causes by soliciting special interest donors for the cash, has burgeoned over the past decade as a major tool of influence ...

February 28, 2020
Nathan Fletcher's change of heart

Nathan’s change of heart While the high-profile races of California’s March primary in San Diego are already awash with special interest cash, some smaller contests are picking up sizable contributions here. County supervisor Nathan Fletcher, ...

February 26, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2008

Tijuana is the first stop to suicide Faye Girsh, vice president of the Hemlock Society of San Diego, knows that Exit International has been publicizing the Mexico option for its members. “But we do not ...

February 23, 2020
Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Queer Caucus fronts effort for Todd Gloria

Yet another torrent of special interest money, produced by unions and corporations lobbying the California legislature, is making its way to San Diego on behalf of Assembly Democrat Todd Gloria, seeking to replace termed-out Republican ...

February 17, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2005

Salvation Mountain The Slabs are Slab City, three miles east of Niland, between the sultry Salton Sea and the Chocolate Mountains. Years ago the concrete slabs supported the barracks of Camp Dunlap, where General George ...

February 15, 2020
Yes on C and gun owners use Facebook for campaigning

Facing Facebook While tourist industry advocates of San Diego’s Measure C, the proposition to hike hotel taxes for expansion of the convention center and homeless relief, inch towards a multi-million-dollar funding goal, Michael McConnell is ...

February 12, 2020
Todd Gloria gets hand slapped

Gloria’s staff fly for free Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s 2020 reelection fund, which drew a lawsuit from a critic who pointed out that the Democrat was running for San Diego mayor, not the Assembly, has quietly ...

February 5, 2020
Local destroyers Howard and Pinckney unprepared for shooting war

An audit by the Pentagon's Office of Inspector General has concluded that the Navy's Arleigh-Burke class of destroyers, including two San Diego-based warships, has been unprepared for battle due in part to repeated training lapses ...

February 4, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2001

How San Diegans reacted to 9-11 “Where were you when the World Trade Center was hit?” “At home.” “And you happened to have the TV on?” “No, my little sister called. She woke me up ...

February 1, 2020
Kevin Faulconer's homeless California roadshow

Old California politicians never die; they just set up ballot measure committees and start raising more campaign cash from special interests. Such appears to be the story of termed-out San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who ...

January 30, 2020
Faulconer uses Facebook

Cheap enough for Facebook Backers of San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed hotel tax hike to expand the downtown convention center and pay for homeless relief programs are courting Democrats on Facebook. “Democrats, labor ...

January 29, 2020
Santa Monica's Left Hook comes to San Diego politics

San Diego Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his strange bedfellows in the form of big labor Democrats appear to be counting on more than a few left-right jabs from out of town to put their ...

January 27, 2020
Danish ambulance provider Falck versus Faulconer

Are donations of the past about to haunt the final months of termed-out San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer in the form of a confrontation between would-be city ambulance providers? Eager for political advancement despite years ...

January 27, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2000

Rancho Peñasquitos boys, charged with hate crime The teenagers shot at Roman from the Subaru with the BB gun during three or four passes. They took turns shooting at him as they drove by, but ...

January 26, 2020
Best Reader stories from 1999

Was Jesse Ventura a SEAL or a UDT guy? Well, I thought, Jesse certainly looks and sounds like many SEALs I’d known during my 16 years in the Teams. But I’d never known or even ...

January 25, 2020
Juan Vargas and the Remers go way back

Family fat cats Political bloodlines run deep in San Diego, as evidenced by an emailed fundraising pitch by congressman Juan Vargas on behalf of supervisorial hopeful Terra Lawson-Remer. “I am excited to invite you to ...

January 22, 2020
Best Reader stories from 1997

Childhood's End: Dr. Spock at 94 53-year-old Morgan, Dr. Spock’s second wife, has been relentless and inventive in her search for ways to keep her husband youthful and healthy. For his 75th birthday, for example, ...

January 18, 2020
Former San Diego Union-Tribune publisher unloading wife and La Jolla estate

Turn out the lights. The latest matrimonial party is over for ex-Union-Tribune owner and would-be ambassador to the Bahamas Douglas Manchester. The million-dollar-plus Trump donor, called out by the Washington Post last year for having ...

January 16, 2020
San Diego's auditor finds stolen water, mother supervising son, city cars parked in red zone

City corruption running rampant Water is no longer free for an unnamed San Diego business following an investigation by interim city auditor Kyle Elser. “An allegation that the City has provided water to a non-residential ...

January 15, 2020
$250 million One America News deal reported

Proprietors of a right-leaning San Diego cable news operation that has the eyes of President Donald Trump may be about to cash out in a big way, thanks to a takeover attempt by a group ...

January 13, 2020
Best Reader stories from 1996

Mafia in San Diego before World War II (first in series of six stories) “The raids, all made with search warrants, started soon after noon and were not completed until early evening. All of the ...

January 12, 2020
San Diego Convention Center vote under-funded so far

Too poor to pass? With just two months left until California primary election day on March 3, fundraisers for San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer’s convention center expansion and homeless tax boost still have plenty of ...

January 8, 2020
Best Reader stories from 1994

A little bit east of Eden When I was living in Los Angeles years ago, a door-to-door solicitor pitching San Diego vacations and tours showed me a brochure of local attractions. Included on the list ...

January 5, 2020
Bloomberg and Jacobs open San Diego TV ad wars

A tsunami of political TV spots may be about to hit San Diego airwaves, thanks to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg and House hopeful Sara Jacobs, granddaughter of Bloomberg's longtime friend and associate Irwin Jacobs. ...

January 3, 2020
Union-Tribune back in TV business

Faulconer’s unpublic records acts The city of San Diego’s handling of public records requests submitted during the reign of termed-out mayor Kevin Faulconer has been woefully deficient, a December 13 report by interim city auditor ...

January 1, 2020
KPBS recruits Julia Dixon Evans from Voice of San Diego

The battle to determine who will rule San Diego's establishment news roost is on between KPBS, owned and operated by San Diego State University, and the non-profit Voice of San Diego news and opinion website. ...

December 30, 2019
Best Reader stories from 1991

Satan chasers San Diego has many experts in the field of Satanism who say the county is a hotbed of Satanic activity. The hidden canyons of the back country, Ramona, Santee, Escondido, even Oceanside, are ...

December 28, 2019

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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