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Photos: Sidewalk vendors face possible legalization

Posted June 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Los Angeles is in the midst of a debate about what to do with the city’s large population of sidewalk vendors. It’s a issue that touches on such issues as entrepreneurship, business fairness, and how best to use public space in the city.

News, The Minimum Wage »

The battle to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles

Posted May 19, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Minimum Wage rally

Update: The LA City Council has voted 14-1 in favor of drafting a plan to raise the minimum wage.

At a recent event at Los Angeles’ City Hall to honor L.A.’s small business owners, Mayor Eric Garcetti trumpeted the city’s economic achievements during his time in office.
The audience, business owners listening to Garcetti, sat politely; but just under the surface there was anger and anxiety about proposals …

Arts & Culture, News »

California’s new production tax program aims to keep and create jobs

Posted May 12, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
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A big budget movie called “San Andreas” is coming out just in time for the summer blockbuster season. It’s a film with a very California storyline: Monster earthquakes strike the state, flattening both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
California may play a starring role in San Andreas, but most of the movie wasn’t shot in Golden State. It was shot an ocean away in Queensland, Australia. That’s because the …

News »

California’s nearly forgotten history of resettling Vietnamese refugees in 1975

Posted April 22, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Forty years ago this month, the final shots of the Vietnam War were being fired. In the besieged city of Saigon, desperate South Vietnamese, who had allied themselves with the Americans, were looking for a way to get themselves and their families out by airplane, helicopter or boat.
A hasty rescue effort dubbed “Operation New Life,” organized by the U.S. government would eventually bring more than 130,000 Vietnamese …

Education, Issues, News »

Ay yi iPad: SEC is latest to investigate LAUSD program

Posted April 17, 2015 by and | 1 Comment | ]
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Providing every student with an iPad was supposed to revolutionize education in L.A. schools and prepare students for the future. Instead the computer tablets are creating a billion-dollar headache for LAUSD leaders.
Just a couple of days ago, LAUSD officials demanded a refund from tech giant Apple because the district says educational software on the devices doesn’t work. The software was provided by the New …

Arts & Culture, economy, Environment »

How your garden tells the story of immigration in Southern California

Posted March 19, 2015 by | 5 Comments | ]
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The buzzing of leaf blowers, weed whackers and lawnmowers are part of Southern California’s sonic landscape. And the people usually holding those machines are Latino immigrant men, who call themselves jardineros, Spanish for gardeners. It’s their labor that gives curb appeal to so many homes, keeping lawns neatly trimmed, hedges pruned and weeds at bay.
The story of the jardineros also reveals the long relationship between immigration and the …

News »

Conflict over the Nixon Presidential Library

Posted February 17, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Richard Millhouse Nixon was the 37th president of the United States. He built his early political career as a conservative and staunch anti-communist, but as president he went on to normalize relations with communist China and establish the Environmental Protection Agency. He was known for his keen intellect and deep interest in foreign policy, but critics say he could also be ruthless and paranoid when it came to his political enemies. (Photo: National Archives)

If you love 20th Century American history or are just a political junkie, visiting the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda is a little like being a kid in a candy store. The library is an enormous storehouse of memorabilia related to the personal and political life of the man who went on to become America’s 37th president. Beneath the public areas, …

News »

As the bullet train picks up speed, neighborhoods fight back

Posted February 3, 2015 by | 7 Comments | ]
There are two routes being studied to get the train between Palmdale and Burbank. One involves essentially paralleling California State Route 14 in a series of bridges and tunnels, and then bringing the train through the communities of Sylmar and San Gabriel so that it eventually reaches Burbank. Another possible route for the high speed rail system, called the Eastern Corridor, means tunneling through the Angeles National Forest and building a bridge across the Tujunga Wash, seen in the photo above.  Another tunnel would then be dug under the community of Shadow Hills so that the train can get to a station in Burbank. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

After years of discussion and planning, California has finally started construction on its high speed rail system, which is supposed to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco by the year 2029.
There are countless engineering challenges ahead for the project, but there also challenges when it comes to dealing with communities potentially in the path of the bullet train. How do you choose a route that’s …

economy, Environment, News »

The bullet train is finally coming. Who are the winners and losers?

Posted January 14, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Spend anytime at all in Fresno and you’ll likely see and hear trains. That’s because the tracks of one of California’s busiest freight train lines cuts right through the center of Fresno.
But the railroad everyone is talking about doesn’t exist yet. However, construction of the $68 billion dollar system to run California’s high speed passenger rail, has finally started after years of discussion and planning.
Many in Fresno …

News »

Photos: Breaking ground for California’s bullet train in Fresno

Posted January 7, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
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After decades of talking about it and years of planning and preparation, California officials gathered in Fresno this week for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the state’s $68 billion bullet train project.
When finished in 2029 (or so it’s hoped) the train will connect San Francisco and Los Angeles, whisking passengers from one city to another in 2 hours and 40 minutes. The first 29 mile-long …

Arts & Culture, economy, News, Politics »

California gets ready to license undocumented drivers

Posted December 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
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In January, California will begin to offer driver’s licenses to an estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants, living and driving in the state illegally.
One of those unlicensed and undocumented drivers is Mexican-born single mother and retirement home worker Evangelina Ramirez. She’s been driving without a license in California for 20 years. “I am driving because it is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” says Ramirez. “I have …

Arts & Culture »

Photos: The Rocketeers of the Mojave Desert

Posted December 15, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Call it the Cape Canaveral of the desert. Twice a year, hundreds of amateur rocket enthusiasts with the Rocketry Organization of California gather on a dry lake bed in the Mojave to assemble rockets and launch them thousands of feet into the wild blue yonder.
The gathering, called ROCstock (tagline: “peace, love and rockets”), is part science fair, part party, part celebration of ingenuity and engineering …

Cargoland, News »

Cargoland: San Pedro’s search for respect and development on the waterfront

Posted December 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
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If you think of the port community of San Pedro, likely the sights and sounds of its waterfront come to mind, from massive freighter ships moored to their docks as their cargo gets unloaded by enormous cranes to the sounds of seagulls circling above fishing vessels sailing into port, the birds hoping that they’ll share in the catch of the day.
Beyond its waterfront, San Pedro …

economy, News »

Housing wanted: The desperate search for an affordable apartment

Posted November 13, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Southern California is often thought of as the land of the single family home: a home that’s owned, not rented, by its residents. This could be a modest tract house in the San Fernando Valley or a palatial designer residence perched on the sand in Newport Beach. But the image of Southern California as a kind of homeowners’ Shangri-La is something of a myth.
Just over …

Environment, News »

Can hydrogen cars beat electric?

Posted October 20, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
Driving his hydrogen-powered Mercedes-Benz SUV test vehicle, Loki Efaw, an IT manager at a bank, is a rare breed . There are only about 200 hydrogen cars on the streets of California. Efaw chose to lease the car, which is part of test by Mercedes,  because of his environmental convictions and interest in trying new technologies. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

California has big plans for hydrogen fueled vehicles in the coming years as part of its effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.
If your high school chemistry didn’t stick, here are some hydrogen facts: Sitting first on the periodic table, it’s the most abundant element in the universe, the raw material responsible for thermonuclear reactions in stars, including our sun. And, of course, when …

News »

Dark Alliance: The CIA, crack, and a journalism scandal

Posted October 6, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Gary Webb addressing an audience after the publishing of his "Dark Alliance" series in the "San Jose Mercury News." Webb's reporting sparked a national conversation about the role of the CIA in cocaine smuggling and led tot he destruction of Webb's career.

There’s a new film coming out called “Kill The Messenger.” The hero is an intrepid journalist who discovers the biggest story of his career, a story that takes him from the mean streets of South Los Angeles to the jungles of South America to the corridors of power in Washington D.C. Unlike other Hollywood thrillers, though, this film draws from very real events that happened …

Arts & Culture, News »

CicLAvia grows up!

Posted October 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
CicLAvia Route Map

Los Angeles is supposed to be a city where the car rules supreme and cyclists and pedestrians take a backseat to the needs of motorists. CicLAvia has an antidote to that car-centric notion.
Free, open to all, and with no registration required,  it’s hoped CicLAvia gives people the opportunity to experience the city in a new way, while also promoting health and a wider discussion …

News, Politics »

Armed and concealed in Orange County

Posted September 18, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Since Orange County relaxed its laws governing concealed weapons, thousands of people have applied for what's called a conceal carry weapons permit, also called a CCW. Here a candidate for such a permit practices his marksmanship on an Orange County shooting range. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

Like other firing ranges in Orange County, these are very busy days for Evans Gunsmithing, a shooting range in the City of Orange in Orange County where gun owners both practice their marksmanship on targets and take firearms safety classes.
“I used to offer one 16-hour class a week. I am now basically offering two of them a week,” says veteran weapons instructor Greg Block. …

Arts & Culture, economy, Education, News, Politics »

Does assimilation mean the end of gay neighborhoods?

Posted September 4, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
West Hollywood Gay Pride Parade in 1984, the same year the community, located between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, incorporated. After its establishment, West Hollywood fought for an LGBT civil rights agenda that's moved from the fringe to the mainstream (Photo: Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

On a Saturday night on West Hollywood’s Santa Monica Boulevard, the sidewalks, dance clubs, bars and restaurants are packed. The crowd is made up of mostly men; mostly gay, joyfully, proudly and unapologetically gay men. This is West Hollywood after all, the community that’s been called America’s “Gay Camelot” because of its place in American gay life and culture.
It’s been a LGBT enclave in Southern California for decades. …

economy, Interviews, News »

Summer jobs from the strange to the wonderful

Posted August 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Summer is supposed to be the season for rest and relaxation, a time to leave the cares and pressures of our jobs behind. But, of course, lots of work gets done over the summer, interesting and important work that’s often tied to the rhythms of the season. KCRW met an eclectic group of people who hold down some unusual jobs during the summer. In …

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