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Stories by Matt Potter

Ex-Gomez aide and council hopeful faces political ethics penalty

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 ...

November 15, 2019
L.A. Times and San Diego U-T sweat the online numbers

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 ...

November 13, 2019
Are San Diego streetlight spy cams leaking privacy?

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 ...

November 11, 2019
Will reparations make up for past pot busts?

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 ...

November 8, 2019
Fortistar helps Faulconer charity

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 ...

November 6, 2019
Clan linked to yesterday's Mexico slayings once rocked San Diego

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 ...

November 5, 2019
San Diego retirement system man on the go

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 ...

October 30, 2019
Convention center group refunds GEO money

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, ...

October 29, 2019
The fight over San Diego High School

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 ...

October 23, 2019
Jacobs versus Gomez: all about family valuations

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 ...

October 21, 2019
Matt Potter and the Reader

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. ...

October 19, 2019
San Ysidro border detectors missing fentanyl

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, ...

October 16, 2019
Summer Stephan untangles herself from San Diego Republicans

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 ...

October 14, 2019
Sara Jacobs vows to take no PAC money

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. ...

October 9, 2019
Ben Hueso paws greased by payroll loan company

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 ...

October 2, 2019
SDSU science labs still unsafe for students

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 ...

September 30, 2019
Morgan Dene Oliver, after losses on SoccerCity and Harbor Island, gets UCSD Foundation seat

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. ...

September 25, 2019
Faulconer paid $4000 ethics penalty with campaign cash

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 ...

September 20, 2019
Doug Manchester 's PR disaster tour

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 ...

September 18, 2019
Still no replacement for San Diego auditor Eduardo Luna

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 ...

September 18, 2019
No-name no-bid contract cost San Diego millions, city auditor charges

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 ...

September 12, 2019
Gloria backers borrow name of Faulconer’s dubious charity

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 ...

September 11, 2019
Irwin Jacobs' $9.9 million drives granddaughter’s House hopes

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 ...

September 10, 2019
Realtors hand off cash to Faulconer cause

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 ...

September 4, 2019
Tales of a dead fixer and Gina Champion-Cain

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 ...

August 31, 2019
Campland lobbyist showers cash on Dems and GOP on city council

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 ...

August 28, 2019
Where Toni Atkins meets turf lobbyists

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 ...

August 27, 2019
L.A. Times writers plead with readers

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 ...

August 21, 2019
O.C. billionaire Samueli beats out Philip Anschutz for San Diego Sports Arena

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 ...

August 20, 2019
Faulconer ethics fine revealed after Campland bags sweetheart lease

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 ...

August 19, 2019
Drug War reparations tanked by San Diego's city attorney

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. ...

August 14, 2019
Jane Fonda helps an old San Diego friend

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 ...

August 14, 2019
University City – UCSD's bedrooms

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

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 ...

August 9, 2019
Mara Elliott gets Morgan Dene Oliver money

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 ...

August 7, 2019
VA mutes ventilator alarm, paralyzed patient dies

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 ...

August 7, 2019
Todd Gloria returns scandal-tainted Hertzberg cash

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 ...

August 2, 2019
GOP launches right-ward San Diego News Desk

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 ...

July 31, 2019
Faulconer's data man Maksim Pecherskiy quits

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 ...

July 30, 2019
Union-Tribune wants community conversations

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 ...

July 24, 2019
San Diego border agents face fentanyl death risk

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 ...

July 23, 2019
Mayor Kevin Faulconer's city staff flies high on campaign cash

Lame-duck San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, his dreams of higher office in 2018 shattered by the flight of the Chargers and the city's tardy response to a homeless Hepatitis B breakout, sought to salvage a ...

July 22, 2019
San Diego vacation renters' trash eyed

Short-termers’ trashy haul Online vacation rentals of less than a month, already at the center of a popular storm regarding traffic, noise, and zoning, now have another challenge to contend with. “Our investigation determined that ...

July 17, 2019
Todd Gloria spends some cool cash

When Assembly Democrat Todd Gloria closed down his 2018 reelection committee back in March, the former San Diego city councilman rolled $293,078 of remaining cash into his 2020 reelection fund, spending the balance of the ...

July 15, 2019
Four-star Omni stay for Duncan Hunter aide

Ethical vacation As his boss twisted slowly in the winds of federal jurisprudence, a top employee of indicted Republican House member Duncan Hunter took off with his wife for a round of ethics training at ...

July 10, 2019
Streetlight spy shakeup hits San Diego city hall

The ex-chief of San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer's controversial <a streetlights that spy program has filed suit against the city, charging gender discrimination and retaliation for leading an investigation into an "egregious" sexual harassment case ...

July 9, 2019
State auditor attacks SDSU for dearth of student parking

Qualcomm time bomb As the clock continues to tick on super-secret talks between San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and the California University System over turning over the city-owned stadium formerly known as Qualcomm to San ...

July 3, 2019
UCSD heist costs USC $50 million

A high-profile 2015 raid by the University of Southern California on the University of California San Diego's home-grown but disgruntled Alzheimer's research unit will cost the Los Angeles school $50 million, according to the terms ...

July 3, 2019
Russian hackers haunt San Diego Electronic Poll Book

It's being pitched as the latest voting reform elixir, widely adopted by counties across the country, but a call for proposals to create and operate a so-called electronic voting book system for the San Diego ...

July 1, 2019
San Diego's unsupervised tree trimming

Trees falling in the city The ungraceful demise of La Jolla’s semi-famous Lorax Tree may be only the beginning. San Diego’s urban forest has grown increasingly unruly, and much of the blame lies with not ...

June 26, 2019

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