economy, Environment, Issues, News, Politics »

State’s fracking wells have alarming levels of benzene

Posted February 12, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
fracking3

Waste liquid from fracking operations contains levels of benzene that can be far higher than state and federal agencies consider safe, according to a new analysis.
That liquid – known as flowback fluid – is often reinjected into groundwater. Benzene is a known carcinogen.
The state passed a fracking law two years ago that requires oil companies to test wells for a variety of toxins. The …

Health Care, Zocalo Public Square »

If you opt out of vaccinations, should everyone know where you live?

Posted February 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
vaccination

Shouldn’t we know where they live?
California’s measles outbreak has touched off a debate about how to reduce the number of parents who choose—in defiance of all credible public health information—not to vaccinate their children. So far, the debate has focused on tightening California laws that make it easy for parents to obtain exemptions from school vaccination requirements. Newly introduced state legislation would eliminate the …

Issues, News »

State ordered to make a plan for resuming executions

Posted February 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
DEATHCHAMBER

The last execution in California took place nearly a decade ago, and family members of some murder victims say that’s unacceptable. Now a judge is aiding their fight to resume executions – saying those family members have a right to try to force the state to fix its system for delivering lethal injections to condemned inmates.
Three years ago, Gov, Jerry Brown ordered state officials …

Zocalo Public Square »

They tried to arrest me for planting carrots in my South L.A. neighborhood

Posted February 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo via Flickr/CC/jbolles

In 2003, long before a warrant was issued for my arrest for the crime of planting vegetables, I remember going to a store in South Central L.A. and picking up some tomatoes. The stickers on them read: “Coated with shellac.” I thought to myself: Isn’t that the stuff we used to coat wood in my high school woodshop? Why is it on these tomatoes? …

Environment, Issues, News »

Big winter blaze could be a glimpse of what’s to come

Posted February 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
california+fire3

A wind-whipped wildfire that tore through the eastern Sierra Nevada this week didn’t get the same attention that many other devastating fires in the state receive – perhaps because it’s not fire season, and few were expecting it.
But this one was bad, and it’s exactly the kind of fire that climate experts warn will become more common in California as increased heat and more …

Arts & Culture »

Here’s the trailer for ‘Straight Outta Compton’

Posted February 9, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Screen grab from the trailer for 'Straight Outta Compton'

In an introduction to the trailer (above, NSFW), Dr. Dre and Ice Cube ride through their old neighborhood, “We put it all in the music, all our frustration and anger,” they say. “Our music was like our weapon, and that’s the most powerful weapon we’ve got.”
In 1988 NWA released “Straight Outta Compton” and changed hip-hop forever. The controversial album punched through the charts with the …

economy, Environment, Power and Water »

Another big solar plant goes online in California desert

Posted February 9, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
DesertSunlight_3

One of the biggest solar energy projects in the country will get an official dedication ceremony today in the Riverside County desert.
The 3,800-acre Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is expected to generate electricty for more than 150,000 homes. Pasadena-based First Solar is building and operating the plant.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is expected to join state and local officials for the dedication today.
The biggest solar …

California Elections, Issues, News »

DMV voter registration? It should be automatic

Posted February 6, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
dmv2

The Motor Voter Law was passed by Congress way back at the beginning of President Bill Clinton’s first term to make it easier for people to sign up to vote. It requires motor vehicle departments around the country to use driver’s license and ID card applications as voter registration forms.
But a report released yesterday by the public policy group Demos found that the Motor …

Arts & Culture, News »

No cameras allowed: Artist Bill Robles makes a career drawing courtroom dramas

Posted February 4, 2015 by | 2 Comments | ]
MichaelJackson

Bill Robles has the mellifluous baritone of a broadcaster, but he’s made a living for over 40 years with his eyes — and his hands. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design, back before it was located in Pasadena, Robles found himself sitting in a courtroom for the trial of Charles Manson in 1970, on assignment for a local TV station. He’s been covering, …

economy, Environment, Issues, News »

California’s plastic bag ban facing two-pronged attack

Posted February 4, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
plasticbag

An Orange County lawmaker is pushing to dump California’s plastic bag ban – even while the law is on hold because of a pending voter referendum.
Costa Mesa Republican Assemblyman Matthew Harper introduced two bills yesterday. One would reverse the plastic bag ban. The other would get rid of the 10 cent fee for paper bags that is part of the law.
Harper says the charge …

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 …

News, Politics »

Tributes for Rick Orlov, ‘the dean of City Hall reporters’

Posted February 3, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Rick Orlov

Los Angeles is a huge, complex city with a government whose machinations are often opaque and always perplexing. Nobody was better at cutting through the bureaucratic haze and back-room dealing at City Hall than Los Angeles Daily News reporter Rick Orlov.
Orlov’s death yesterday at age 66 leaves a huge hole in L.A. government journalism. He was mentor to many young reporters and gave his …

News »

Festival of sacred world music debuts with a soulful Afro-fado beat

Posted January 30, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Waldemar Bastos on the Aratani stage in Little Tokyo

Surviving imprisonment and then escaping the civil war in Angola for Brazil, then Portugal, Waldemar Bastos survived because of music.  Today, he’s considered the voice of his native country, where he now lives again.
You don’t have to speak Portuguese or understand the situation in Africa’s 7th largest nation to appreciate Bastos’ divine sound. He spoke to KCRW’s Lisa Napoli about the life events that inspire his …

Issues, News »

Boy Scouts dodges release of secret ‘perversion’ files

Posted January 30, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
scousts-rockwells

Paying a big legal settlement is sometimes a better alternative than going to trial – especially when trial means the release of lots of potentially damning details.
That appears to be what the Boy Scouts of America was thinking when it settled a lawsuit filed by a man who was abused by a Scout volunteer eight years ago, when he was 13-years-old.
The settlement came three …

Environment, News »

Elusive red fox makes a rare appearance in Yosemite

Posted January 29, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
redfox

An endangered Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in Yosemite for the first time in nearly 100 years.

The rare and elusive animal was captured twice on motion-sensitive cameras that were placed in the national park’s remote high-country by the Yosemite Conservancy– once this month and once last month.
Park officials say that only about 50 Sierra Nevada red foxes survive in the wild. The …

Arts & Culture, Issues, News »

When superheroes behave badly on Hollywood Boulevard

Posted January 28, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
hollywoodsperheroes

Batgirl took a beating, and now Mr. Incredible is going to jail.
A Hollywood Boulevard superhero smackdown that was captured on video and became a YouTube hit has resulted in a battery conviction for 35-year-old man. It’s also led to fresh concerns that a proliferation of costumed, tip-seeking characters is getting out of hand in the epicenter of L.A. tourism.

Muhammet Bilik – who was dressed …

economy, Health Care, Issues, News »

Vast majority of newly insured qualifying for subsidies

Posted January 27, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
People sign up for health insurance information at a Covered California event in Los Angeles

Uncle Sam paid out more than $3 billion to Californians to subsidize their health insurance under Obamacare last year.
That money went to about 80,000 households – with an average annual subsidy of about $5,200, according to Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange.
Folks getting subsidies paid about $1.1 billion in healthcare premiums themselves. That means that for every dollar they spent, the government spent …

Issues, News »

California gets high marks for animal welfare laws

Posted January 26, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
chickens

Citing a “cascade of reform,” the Humane Society has once again named California the most animal-friendly state in the country.
It’s the sixth straight year California has held that title. Oregon placed second and Illinois was third.
The Humane Society says California has passed more laws to combat animal cruelty than any other state. Those include a law that took effect this month requiring that egg-laying …

economy, Zocalo Public Square »

Inglewood isn’t what you think it is

Posted January 23, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
Space Shuttle Endeavour Move (201210120012HQ) 
Space shuttle Endeavour is seen next to the Randy’s Donuts landmark in Inglewood, Calif.
Photo: NASA

To live in Inglewood is to have people make assumptions about you. Recently, people have been making assumptions about what a new pro football stadium, proposed by the owner of the NFL’s Rams, would mean for us. One such assumption now prevalent in the media is that we’ll embrace it, because we’re assumed to be economically desperate—because Inglewood is “over 90 percent minority” (L.A. …

Environment, Issues, News, Politics »

Goodbye Tom Steyer: We hardly knew ye

Posted January 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Investor, philanthropist and environmentalist Tom Steyer speaks at the Center for American Progress' 2014 Making Progress Policy Conference in Washington

Hedge fund billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer says he won’t run for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat in 2016. That could make things a little easier for state Attorney General Kamala Harris, the one Democrat so far to commit to the race.
Steyer – a Bay Area businessman and climate change activist – says he seriously considered making a run for the Senate. But Steyer …

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