California Elections, Headline, News, Warren Olney »

A rare race for LA Sheriff


Los Angeles County voters have a rare opportunity this primary election: bringing a new sheriff to town.
There’s almost never been a race for LA Sheriff without an incumbent on the ballot. And no sitting sheriff has ever been defeated in an election— not even the late Sherman Block, who was re-elected even after he died during his 1998 campaign.
Out of seven candidates running to …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Headline, News »

Can South LA alleys become pedestrian-friendly parks?

2014-01-22 02-54-26 -0800

This is your typical South LA alley: The pavement’s crumbling, lots of graffiti, some scattered garbage, dogs yipping at any sound of footsteps. You might see panhandlers or the occasional group of teens walking home from school but few people use the alleys as thoroughfares.
There’s a lot more activity at night, according to LAPD Officer Daniel Marrufo.
“Whether it be prostitution, drug use, drug sales, …

Featured, Headline, News »

Do e-cigarettes hook us or help us?

Vaping. Photo via by planetc1/ Flickr/Creative Commons

This week I inhaled Unicorn Blood for the first time. That’s not some Satanic drug ritual or a Harry Potter-themed beverage — it’s one flavor of nicotine liquid, or “e-juice” among the hundreds you can buy for an e-cigarette. What’s it taste like? Skittles and black tea. I also tried Nightwatch (coffee and doughnuts), Nice Melons, Harvest Berries, and Papa’s Cough Medicine.
If that sounds …

Arts & Culture, Headline, News »

The story behind the March on Washington soundtrack

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan at the March

We all know music was essential to the civil rights movement, but what is it like to be the musician who opens for Martin Luther King Jr?
After I performed and did my part, Dylan and I walked away and we were just walking around and we were kind of sitting on the edge of one of the monuments behind the Lincoln Memorial smoking, just …

Bad Driving, Headline, News »

North Korean ‘underground railroad’ leads to Torrance


LiNK is a group based right here in Southern California that helps North Korean refugees escape through an underground railroad and resettle them in South Korea or the United States. They also give scholarships, tutor English and provide asylum services to the refugees. So far, the non-profit has rescued and resettled more than 100 North Korean defectors.
The group also wages a campaign for hearts and …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Headline, Interviews, Issues, News, Politics »

YACHT releases anti-surveillance manifesto ‘Party at the NSA’


L.A.’s electro-pop outfit YACHT teamed up with L.A.-based comedian Marc Maron to protest the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs the old fashioned way — with a protest song. “Party at the NSA” is a pay-what-you-want download. According to the band, all profits will be donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights group.
Band members Claire Evans and Jona Bechtolt joined KCRW’s Steve …

Headline, News »

Push for Echo Park gang injunction spurs civil rights outcry


Don’t expect consensus among neighborhood leaders and residents on whether Echo Park needs a gang injunction, as evidenced by our readers’ comments this week. But the debate is over at L.A. City Hall.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has finished studying the details of the proposed injunction he inherited from his predecessor when he took office in July. His spokesman said Friday that Feuer …

Featured, Headline, Issues, News, Recent Shows, Warren Olney »

Is your empathy colorblind? Studies say, no.

Demonstrators gather outside the federal courthouse in Los Angeles last weekend for a vigil in memory of Trayvon Martin. Photo by Avishay Artsy

The awareness, sensitivity, and understanding that lets us feel others’ pain — in a word, “empathy” — is a hard thing to force.
But it may also be a hard thing to forego. Social science researchers have increasingly homed in on empathy, or the lack thereof, as one explanation for problems as complex as the racial disparities in health and justice. What’s been termed “the …

Featured, Headline, Interviews, Issues, la riots, News »

What does Latasha Harlins teach us about Trayvon Martin?

(L) Latasha Harlins (R) Trayvon Martin

In 1991, 15-year-old Latasha Harlins walked into a liquor store to buy a bottle of orange juice; she was fatally shot. Twenty years later, Trayvon Martin was killed on his way home from a 7-11 with an iced tea and a package of skittles. He was 17. The shooters in both cases were not dealt jail time. And that’s not where the similarities end.
The …

Headline »

Rush for marriage licenses as gay couples tie the knot

Anti-Proposition 8 protesters wave a rainbow flag in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, March 26, 2013. Two members of the U.S. Supreme Court, both viewed as potential swing votes on the right of gay couples to marry, raised doubts about California's gay marriage ban on Tuesday as they questioned a lawyer defending the ban. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

[View the story "Gay marriage rush in California" on Storify]
Updated Monday, July 1: Same-sex couples rush to get married in Southern California today. 
More than 500 gay and lesbian couples have applied online to the L.A. County Clerk’s office for marriage licenses since Friday afternoon, when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order allowing same-sex weddings to resume in California. Long lines are expected as people try …

Headline, News »

Fifth Santa Monica shooting victim dies

Officers at the scene of Friday's shooting

Santa Monica College officials announced Sunday that Marcela Franco, 26, died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She is the fifth victim to die from the shooting rampage that ended on the school’s campus Friday. Counting the shooter, who has been identified in news reports as 24-year-old John Zawahri, the death toll now stands at 6 dead with several injured.
Franco was shot alongside her …

Headline, News »

Police seek motive in SMC shooting

A police officer guards the body of the alleged gunman at the Pearl Street entrance to Santa Monica College

While many details have surfaced about the shooting rampage that terrorized several blocks of Santa Monica on Friday, detectives continue to struggle with the big unanswered question: Why?
Police officials have repeatedly stressed that they do not consider the violence that ended inside the Santa Monica College Library a “school shooting.” The Santa Monica Police Department had scheduled a press conference for noon today.

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Scenes from Santa Monica College shooting


UPDATE — The Santa Monica Police Department revised an earlier death toll from six victims to four during a Friday night press conference. The sole suspect was fatally shot by the police and a second man detained is no longer believed to be involved.
Two of the victims were found in a burning Santa Monica house — the first of three crime scenes. They are …

Arts & Culture, Headline, News »

Here’s the car key you lost at Coachella

Loose keys can be sent back via mail if you send a detailed description to

If you attended Coachella in April and you mindlessly pogoed so ecstatically to New Order playing the Mojave stage that you lost your 2-pound set of car keys on a ratty Zelda carabiner, well, then you were bound to lose something that night, weren’t you? Luckily for the hundreds of carefree careless concertgoers, the party doesn’t stop after the last band packs up.
Every year, …

Featured, Food, News »

A downtown icon gets a foodie facelift

Grand Central Market, with its' massive main floor, food stalls and distinctive neon signs, has been a crossroads of L.A. commerce and community since it first opened in 1917. Food fads have come and gone, but the Market remains.  (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)

When the facelift was announced for the iconic 1917 Grand Central Market cries of concern went up among the regulars (and the chattering class). Will they force out my beloved carniceria to make room for a yuppie oyster bar? Will a fancy cheese shop displace the cheap produce? Where will I get a burrito the size of my head?
You may have heard something along …

Bad Driving, Headline »

Inside the ride-share wars


There’s a Ride-Share War raging in the loading zones of Los Angeles.
On one side, you have a fleet of flashy social media companies with names like Lyft, Sidecar and Uber, which offer car services at the swipe of a smartphone app. On the other side, you have the hardened professionals behind the wheels of United Independent, Yellow Cab and the like.
I was totally ignorant …

Headline, News »

KCRW’s ride along in a ‘ghetto bird’

Photo by davidabailey via flickr

Have you ever been entertaining house guests or relatives from out of town when an LAPD helicopter starts circling above? It’s a quintessential LA experience that can both chill and thrill your out-of-town visitors. (I’ve had Norwegian dinner guests run to the front yard during a meal and stand to watch a low-flying copter for half an hour.)
Want to know WHY your air space is …

Featured, Headline, Issues, News »

The hardest sport you’ve never heard of

The view from the 55th floor of the Aon Building at 707 Wilshire. Photo by Stan Schwarz

This Saturday, April 6, the American Lung Association sponsors it’s annual climb of the Aon Building at 707 Wilshire — L.A.’s second tallest. But when that’s over and most of the charity climbers reach for that second plate of celebratory waffles, there are dozens more who will grab their bicycle gloves and spandex shorts and head to the nearest staircase for another steep climb. These …

Environment, Headline, News »

Los Angeles: A climate change lab?

An artist's rendering of the Mt. Wilson station and satellite that comprise the Los Angeles Megacities project (Courtesy of JPL)

The word “Smog” was invented in California, so it seems appropriate that Los Angeles is now becoming one massive laboratory for studying carbon emissions. We talked with Riley Duren, Chief Systems Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and manager of the Megacities project, which seeks to turn all of L.A. into one massive climate change laboratory. At an elevation of almost 6000 feet, Mount …

Featured, Headline, News »

The online campaign to catch a serial killer

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Magazine

On Tuesday’s “Which Way LA?” we heard from Internet sleuth and writer Michelle McNamara who has become obsessed with trying to solve the  cold case of a serial criminal she’s nicknamed the Golden State Killer. He claimed 60 victims of rape and murder from Sacramento to Orange County between 1976 and 1986. Detectives have had little success and an online community of true crime …

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