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Stories by Matt Potter

Building paradise in San Diego

Otay Dreams In 1954 I sat on the school bus every day next to my best friend, Mark Robson. The ride home from Montgomery Elementary School in Otay was a straight shot east on Main ...

July 11, 2020
Is Midway the new Soccer City?

A fog of intrigue has settled over San Diego city hall's muddled plans to redevelop the city-owned sports arena and surrounding real estate into a lucrative residential high-rise and pro-sports complex. It's a familiar story, ...

July 10, 2020
Vista City Attorney and James Buss donate to Trump campaign

Oceanside Laker Trump backer The COVID-19 pandemic may have cut the number of donations from San Diegans backing the reelection of president Donald Trump, but money continues to stream in. Among prominent contributors, per new ...

July 8, 2020
Jorge Hank's wealthy nephew heads for White House dinner

He's said to be a friend of Mexico's president and one of the richest men in the country. He's the nephew of an ex-Tijuana mayor accused by many of being responsible for the killing of ...

July 7, 2020
Nathan Fletcher's viral propaganda push

The sole Democrat on San Diego County's Board of Supervisors, onetime Assembly Republican Nathan Fletcher is looking to load up his county staff with social media and video makers to propel him to new political ...

July 3, 2020
Fabian Nunez fails to work magic for Mercury lobbying firm

Liberally correct Just two days after a June 10 San Diego Reader report regarding Mercury Public Affairs and the controversial Los Angeles-based lobbying firm’s advocacy for a Tennessee ambulance company seeking a piece of San ...

July 1, 2020
Southeast Locals – a well-educated, violent San Diego gang

Trigger Happy or Just Plain Happy? Who is David Medina? Dressed neatly in a white oxford cloth shirt with a blue pullover sweater, David Medina, a.k.a. “Happy,” pursed his lips and appeared to listen closely ...

June 27, 2020
Will Henry Samueli or Phil Anschutz end up with Sports Arena?

More Moores wheels and deals Who will be the lucky bidder to turn the run-down, city-owned San Diego Sports Arena and dilapidated environs into a glitzy and lucrative forest of new high-rises? Judging by a ...

June 24, 2020
High dollar execs remain on board as KPBS layoffs go viral

COVID-19 has finally hit KPBS – the San Diego State University-controlled and funded public broadcasting operation – where it hurts: in the payroll. Three staff layoffs, along with a fifty percent cut in the hours ...

June 23, 2020
Lobbying rises as secrecy envelops San Diego Ethics Commission

Lobbying is way up at San Diego city hall. Anti-corruption enforcement by the city's Ethics Commission is another story. Those are the principal takeaways from the commission's June 11 meeting, held via online hookup due ...

June 19, 2020
Faulconer gets Sara Jacobs round-about money

Faulconer’s Sara Jacobs play Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has raised millions of dollars of special interest money for his nonprofit One San Diego, has a new politically related beneficiary. Per a June 5 filing with ...

June 17, 2020
Cost of overtime haunts UCSD campus cops

Does the growing budget of UCSD's campus police department need a closer look? So may show a new university audit calling out officials for failing to monitor employee overtime costs adequately. The report's findings coincide ...

June 16, 2020
Gonzalez leads legislative pack in cop union cash

As the role of police labor unions has come under increasing scrutiny in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the financial means by which the organizations wield power and influence comes under the ...

June 12, 2020
Tennessee ambulance company hires Clay and Mercury to hustle San Diego pols

Lobbyist chasers A big-money battle over who will be San Diego’s next ambulance and paramedic service has heated up with the hiring of downtown super-lobbyist Clay Company by Knoxville, Tennessee-based Priority Ambulance, per a May ...

June 10, 2020
Gonzalez staffer joins gerrymander firm

Surrounded by controversies – from authoring anti-gig Assembly Bill 5 to a fiery tweet attacking Tesla's Elon Musk for reopening his car factory in the face of COVID-19 restrictions – Assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez may ...

June 10, 2020
Cross-border kidnapping, German cyclist killed at Camp Pendleton

Street neighbor in the East Village Yes, I was on the street, but I was home-schooling my daughter. By John Brizzolara, July 26, 2013 When Vietnamese people say American they always mean white I grew ...

June 6, 2020
Covid-19 hits San Diego political rainmakers

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a bite out of San Diego's financial contribution to national politics, per the latest raw numbers posted online by the Federal Election Commission. From May 1 through May 20, those ...

June 5, 2020
Phil Rath – San Diego's busiest lobbyist

Richly Rath Phil Rath, the longtime Republican insider and close advisor to San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, continues to clean up on the local lobbying circuit, according to his latest personal statement of economic interests, ...

June 3, 2020
Faulconer's politics of carotid restraint

After years of inaction, it took a countrywide inner-city meltdown and the political ambitions of termed-out San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer to end the city's long-controversial carotid restraint procedure, widely known as the chokehold. "We ...

June 2, 2020
I Am My Brother's Keeper gets a Lyft gift

On May 5, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott announced her office was joining a lawsuit against gig transit companies Lyft and Uber for violating Assembly Bill 5, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a fellow ...

May 29, 2020
Lorena Gonzalez still feeding from Disneyland trough

Lorena’s fantasy Disneyland has been closed since March 14, sending ripples of angst through the ranks of investors and tourists alike. But before the park locked its gates against the COVID-19 pandemic, a crew of ...

May 27, 2020
Will a $46,000 federally funded COVID-19 drone fly in El Cajon?

San Diego politicos are finding some novel uses for federal COVID-19 bailout funds, judging from a review of coming city council agendas from the county's eighteen incorporated municipalities. In El Cajon, the police department wants ...

May 22, 2020
San Diego Convention Center – homeless shelter way beyond this summer

Homeless convention When Measure C, a $5.8 billion convention center expansion and homeless relief plan to hike the tax on hotel stays, died at the polls last March, some backers vowed to challenge the public’s ...

May 20, 2020
Public relations power sought by SDG&E foe

While a host of local public bodies are vowing to slash programs and lay off staff in the face of the financial onslaught that is the COVID-19 pandemic, the newly hatched San Diego Community Power ...

May 20, 2020
Cave paintings of Juan Cabrillo ship, marijuana farmers of Cuyamaca

Mommy, why are they shooting at us again? “I don’t take my kids to the park anymore on Sundays,” says Luís, a young Tijuana father of three — eight- and six-year-old sons, and a five-year-old ...

May 17, 2020
Juan Vargas as cash magnet, J. David Dominelli as town sugar daddy

San Diego State's growing contempt for undergrads “We have pulled resources out of undergraduate education in order to build expensive, elite PhD programs that cater to very few students proportionately." By Joe Deegan, March 27, ...

May 16, 2020
Tesla cash backs Democrats Atkins, Ward, and Weber

Those wondering why Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s twitter attack on electric car and space rocket maven Elon Musk for opening his Tesla-making plant in violation of COVID-19 quarantine rules wasn't more widely endorsed by fellow Democrats ...

May 15, 2020
UCSD admissions not entirely clean

Exceptional failures UCSD, unscathed by last year’s college bribery scandal, still has had its share of problematic admissions practices, says a March 31 report by the university’s Audit & Management Advisory Services unit. “UCSD did ...

May 13, 2020
Lorena Gonzalez’s Twitter "F*ck” to Elon Musk

For better or worse, Lorena Gonzalez has long had a special way with tweets. Even before the rise of twitter-master Donald Trump, the Assembly Democrat, married to county supervisor Nathan Fletcher, has been sharing her ...

May 12, 2020
How safe are UCSD's coronavirus experiments?

As the battle between Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro and the Chinese government mounts regarding whether laboratories of the Wuhan Institute of Virology were ground zero for the COVID-19 pandemic, one of his former academic ...

May 8, 2020
Kilkennys help Faulconer, Gloria, named to Civic San Diego, land SeaWorld account

Viral influence peddling The COVID-19 crisis continues to provide a cornucopia of new work for San Diego city hall lobbyists. Latest to benefit is the Intesa Communications Group, whose principals include Maddy Kilkenny, onetime aide ...

May 6, 2020
Will Covid-19 turn San Diego’s water plan into Toilet to Grave?

Already under siege by cost overruns and litigious contractors, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer's $1.4 billion plan to turn the city's sewage into drinkable water faces new doubts and questions of increased costs brought on ...

May 1, 2020
UCSD cancer center blasted for trip, meal, and event spending

As COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, officials at UCSD's Moores Cancer Center are no longer spending heavily on global travel and entertainment, at least for the time being. But just months before the pandemic ...

April 29, 2020
Why did Ashok Israni give money to Faulconer, Gomez, Moreno?

Buy low, sell high The ostensibly humanitarian work of finding places for the city’s homeless legions to live during the COVID-19 onslaught may also be lining the pockets of some of San Diego’s wealthiest real ...

April 29, 2020
Sara Jacobs self-funds House campaign to the tune of $2.74 million

The intra-partisan battle to succeed Democratic House member Susan Davis in California's 53rd Congressional district has taken a back seat to the COVID-19 pandemic. But already there is an emerging winner, at least when it ...

April 22, 2020
Union-Tribune owner as Corona savior

Race for a big-bucks cure Newspaper advertising has fallen off, so billionaire Los Angeles physician Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune, is using his papers to promote a ...

April 22, 2020
San Diego history you never knew

90 Years of Curl Elwell says Kahanamoku surfed the OB Pier, and when he did, he asked a teenaged lifeguard named Charlie Wright if he could store his board in Wright's beach shack. By Jeannette ...

April 19, 2020
Soon-Shiong folds two ex-Copley newspapers

When billionaire physician Patrick Soon-Shiong bought the L.A. Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, and a raft of other papers two years ago, many hoped that he was finally the Daddy Warbucks with enough free cash to ...

April 17, 2020
Irwin Jacobs funds PAC attacking Trump on coronavirus

Faulconer’s COVID-19 bust Add San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer to the list of locals hit directly in the pocketbook by the coronavirus shutdown of San Diego’s tourist business. Last year, Restaurant Events, the convention-related food, ...

April 15, 2020
Will furloughs haunt Faulconer's city-paid political staff?

Due to talk of draconian layoffs appearing inevitable at San Diego city hall, insider attention is shifting to the expense of maintaining the political and public relations operatives employed by termed-out GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer. ...

April 14, 2020
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

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