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Exploring the noir halls of LA County’s Hall of Justice

The Hall of justice

For most of the 20th Century, one building was synonymous with crime and punishment in  Los Angeles County, downtown L.A.’s Hall of Justice. The building, which opened in 1925, was where both the county’s D.A. and sheriff had their offices. The mammoth building saw some of Southern California’s most infamous criminals held and put on trial, from 1930′s era gangsters and gunmen to more …

economy, Headline, News »

California’s new Latino plurality

The rate of growth in California's Latino population is starting to slow. Population experts say that's become a decrease in immigration, both legal and illegal, from Mexico and Central America and Latino families in this country choosing to have fewer children. (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)

This month, March of 2014, California will quietly break a population history, with Latinos surpassing whites as the state’s largest racial or ethnic group. Latinos become the single largest racial or ethnic group in California at 39.9% of the population. Whites now come in second at 38.8%. Looking ahead, demographers say the state’s Latino population will grow and increase relative to whites and other ethnic …

Environment, Featured, Headline, News, Politics, water »

Inside Mission Control: Southern California’s water management system


Your water takes a very long journey before it comes out of your tap. It travels through thousands of miles of pipes and aqueducts, enormous open-air and underground reservoirs, and a network of treatment plants that ensure the quality of our drinking water.
Southern California’s vast water delivery and storage system also has a kind of mission control center. Think NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center, but for …

Headline, News »

Building the Wilshire Grand: L.A.’s tallest tower

Some workers on the Wilshire Grand Project will spend the next two years helping to build the skyscraper. Although much has changed in how skyscrapers have been built over the past century, a lot of it still comes down to muscle, sweat and strong backs. (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)

Serious construction is about to begin on something big in downtown Los Angeles: a building that when completed will be the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi. Called the Wilshire Grand Tower, it will feature more than 900 hotel rooms, offices and retail spaces. It will be topped by a sail-shaped glass pediment crown. Because of its height alone — 1,100 feet with a …

Environment, News »

Photos: Making LA a bee-friendly city

Rob McFarland is the co-founder of HoneyLove, a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect honeybees and promote urban beekeeping. He's seen here harvesting honey from a hive of bees we visited in West Los Angeles. "Bees are the most fascinating creatures" says McFarland. "The more you learn about them, the more they pull you into their world." (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)

In many parts of the world honeybees are in trouble, with their populations in sharp decline. That decline has scientists, environmentalists, farmers and bee lovers worried because of the bees/ importance to pollination and, thus, agriculture.
But there’s some good news: here in Los Angeles the wild bee population is thriving, with as many as a dozen hives per square mile in some neighborhoods. And …

Environment, Headline, News »

The Northridge Earthquake at 20

northridge-earthquake (1)

This week, Southern California is observing the 20th anniversary of an event that many wish had never happened, but which remains a vivid memory in the minds of hundreds of thousands of people who lived through it.
On January 17th 1994, at 4:31 in the morning,  millions of Southern Californians were awakened by violent shaking and a deafening roar. It was an earthquake, the most …

Headline, News »

Remembering Northridge: Living atop the epicenter of the ’94 quake

XXXX lived 15 feet away from what scientists say was the epicenter of the Northridge Quake, just over the wall behind him.

Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake, a 6.7 temblor that was one of the most powerful to strike an American urban area. The quake toppled buildings, snapped freeways, and sparked hundreds of fires, causing more than $20 billion in damage. It also injured thousands of people and killed 57.
Although most of the physical damage caused by the Northridge quake has …

economy, Featured, News »

One Thing: State Politics


From politics and music to television, health and sports, what were the most important stories and trends of the year? Nine of our sharpest local observers weigh in on the one thing that shaped 2013. 
Barbara O’Connor talks about California’s positive year. “Our bond ratings have gone up, our unemployment rate has gone down, and now California is being touted as a model for the rest of …

Education, Featured, News »

One Thing: Education


From politics and music to television, health and sports, what were the most important stories and trends of the year? Nine of our sharpest local observers weigh in on the one thing that shaped 2013. 
“Every parent, every student wants their school to be great. Every elected official wants the schools to be great,’ says LA School Report’s Jamie Alter Lynton. ”The question is, ‘how do you get …

Environment, Featured, News »

One Thing: Science


From politics and music to television, health and sports, what were the most important stories and trends of the year? Nine of our sharpest local observers weigh in on the one thing that shaped 2013. 
Los Angeles Times science writer Amina Khan talks about the how the Voyager Space Shuttle, despite being launched in the seventies, “is still going strong and is sending us back information from …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Photos: A changing Broadway

Broadway is one of the oldest streets in Los Angeles, dating back, according to some accounts, to a city plan laid out in 1849. The historic core of Broadway, stretching from 1st Street to Olympic Boulevard, was long L.A.'s main commercial street, home to glittering department stores and movie palaces. Many of Broadway's buildings, like the Bradbury Building, are on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

When talking about the British capital, the 18th Century British essayist and biographer Samuel Johnson is reported to have once said,”Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
With apologies to London, the same words could be applied to one of L.A.’s most famous streets, Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. …

Education, Headline »

Inside the world of LA’s ‘Teacher Jail’


Earlier this week, Los Angeles Unified School District teachers rallied to protest what they call “teacher jail.” These are the places LAUSD instructors and other school staff are sent when they’re accused of some sort of classroom misconduct and are under investigation by school authorities and law enforcement. That inappropriate conduct can range from yelling at a student to sexual abuse.
Currently there are 260 …

Arts & Culture, Headline, News »

Photos: Westwood then and now

11.	BRUIN THEATER PREMIERE, 1948:  Glittering Hollywood film premieres have attracted throngs of movie fans to Westwood Village since the 1930s, eager to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars.  Here the “Adventures of Casanova” gets the Hollywood red carpet treatment in 1948 in a simultaneous double premiere at both the Bruin and Fox Westwood Village Theaters.  The Bruin Theater opened across the street opposite the Fox Theater in 1937, as the second movie theater in the Village.  This City Historic-Cultural Monument was designed by renowned theater architect S. Charles Lee in Streamline Moderne style, with UCLA inspired blue-and-gold neon flashing along the sweeping curve of its Art Deco style theater marquee.  Photo and caption courtesy of Steven Sann.

Silver Lake. Echo Park. Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Highland Park. These are just some of  L.A.’s trendiest neighborhoods in 2013. But long before any of these places were on the mental maps of hipsters and taste-makers, there was Westwood Village in West Los Angeles.
The Village, which was first developed in the 1920s by the Janns Investment Corporation, was for decades a tasteful shopping district serving …

Featured, News, Sonic Trace »

Immigration fraud: One victim’s story

Maria Guitterez, originally from Oaxaca, Mexico and living in the United States illegally, was swindled out of $80,000 over ten years in an extended incident of immigration fraud. How? The con artist played on her fear of getting arrested and desperation to stay in the country. When that didn't work, he started threatening her family. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

Los Angeles is a metropolis of immigrants, but many of  these newcomers are living in this country illegally. That’s what makes L.A. the unofficial capital of immigration fraud, where con artists play on people’s desperation to get residency papers so they can live in this country legally without fear of deportation.
Immigrant advocates such as those at L.A.’s Central American Refugee Center, or CARECEN, meet …

Featured, Power and Water, water »

Part I: William Mulholland’s vision

Photo courtesy: Los Angeles Public Library

Listen below as Madeleine Brand and Saul Gonzalez report on the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
The Mulholland Fountain is named in honor of William Mullholland, the City Engineer who brought water to the Los Angeles area from the Owens Valley via the aqueduct. Mulholland used to live in a shack where the fountain is now located, on the corner of Los Feliz Boulevard and Riverside …

economy, Environment, Featured, News, Power and Water »

Part 3: Where does your water come from?

The Hollywood Reservoir, just minutes from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood Boulevard, is a beautiful spot for hiking and jogging. Like most of the city's big open-air reservoirs, though, it's no longer used to store drinking water for the city. That's because of federal health standards that require the DWP to cover L.A.'s drinking water supply. The DWP is moving forward with a master plan to cover all of its big reservoirs so the water in them  isn't exposed to sunlight. (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)

Listen below as Madeleine Brand and Saul Gonzalez report on the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power engineer Fred Barker knows where your water comes from. Holding a glass of tap water, he explains that it came through the plumbing of the downtown DWP building, through a water main that connects to the Salono Reservoir, which is out by Dodger …

Featured, Headline »

Photos: Amazon’s massive fulfillment center

The Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Bernardino is enormous, 1-million-square-feet in size. To put that another way, that's about the same size as 50 football fields put side by side. When you walk through the distribution center, you're surrounded by assembly lines of workers packaging products quickly and efficiently to send off to customers. It's the closest you can to Santa's workshop without going to the North Pole. (Photo by Saul Gonzalez)

Not so long ago, California and online retail giant Amazon were locked in a bitter conflict over sales tax.  State authorities wanted to implement an online sales tax, but Amazon was bitterly opposed to the idea. That stand-off ended in 2011 when Governor Brown signed a bill that delayed the collection of the taxes for one year in exchange for Amazon dropping an effort …

Arts & Culture »

The Roxy turns 40

Photo via Flickr by ashliewaters/ Creative Commons

We all know those signature sounds of a live nightclub: the yells and whooping of fans, the tuning up of instruments by the band and, of course, the actual performance.
But when KCRW recently dropped by the famed Sunset Strip’s Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip, we heard and saw none of that. We had come to The Roxy when it was at its quietest …

Featured, News »

Photos: LA’s ‘garbage land’


For more than 50 years, the communities of Los Angeles County have sent their household and commercial refuse to the Puente Hills Landfill in Whittier, one of the largest public dumps in the country. But after decades of service, the dump is nearly full and will close for good on Halloween Day.
When Puente Hills closes, it will complicate where dozens of cities in L.A. County send …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Go behind the scenes at the L.A. Opera

Placido Domingo leads the Los Angeles Opera orchestra in this rehearsal of "Carmen" while performers are on stage. Domingo, one of the world's great tenors, is the L.A. Opera's general director.

This week, the Los Angeles Opera opens its 27th season with an epic, big budget production of “Carmen,” that bold and bawdy 19th Century tale of love and temptation by Georges Bizet.
Behind the scenes at L.A.’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, hundreds of cast and crew members have been working to put the finishing touches on the production before this Saturday’s opening night. All of the …

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