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Wildfires: The (long) season of living dangerously


A badly burned body has been found in a transient camp in Carlsbad – the first apparent death connected to a series of wildfires ranging in San Diego County. At least five fires continue to burn, with homes threatened and thousands of residents under mandatory evacuation orders. Two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of trying to spark brush fires in Escondido and investigators …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Featured, Headline, News, Politics, Power and Water »

Coastal agency wants to put Venice curfew to bed


A long-running fight over a city-imposed curfew on Venice Beach could heat up again. The California Commission has consistently opposed the midnight to 5 a.m. curfew – arguing that the state’s Coastal Act calls for the public to have access to the ocean 24 hours a day. In a letter earlier this month, commission officials asked the city to reopen talks on the curfew. …

Featured »

Timeline: The legacy of Sheriff Lee Baca

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca announces his retirement during a news conference at Los Angeles County Sheriff's headquarters in Monterey Park , California January 7, 2014. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Reuters

Today, John Scott replaces Lee Baca as sheriff of Los Angeles County. Baca served for 15 years. When he announced his retirement back in January, he said, “I don’t see myself as the future. I see myself as part of the past.” It’s a past plagued by scandals, including abuse at the county jails. We take a look at his tenure going all the …

Featured, Warren Olney »

Interview with LA County Interim Sheriff John Scott

Orange County Sheriff's Department Undersheriff
John Scott

Orange County’s Undersheriff John Scott will replace Lee Baca, who retires from office Thursday amid an FBI probe into corruption and allegations of abuse in the jails. Before moving to Orange County, Scott spent 36 years in the department he’s about to lead. He’ll serve until June–if one candidate gets a majority in the primary election–or until November if there’s a runoff. Warren talked …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Baca defends Sheriff’s Dept. after federal indictments


L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca says the indictments of 18 current and former deputies on federal charges don’t suggest that he’s the lost the ability to police his own department. Baca – who’s running for reelection next year – has gone into defense mode since the indictments were unsealed. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the charges stem from a long-running FBI investigation that showed some …

Featured, Interviews, News »

Californians startled by wireless AMBER Alerts


California Highway Patrol issued an AMBER Alert last night for the two missing children of a woman whose body was found inside a burned-out house in rural eastern San Diego County.

The sheriff’s department says the home in the town of Boulevard is owned by James DiMaggio, who is believed to have killed Christina Anderson and one child. Police are looking for 16-year-old Hannah Anderson …

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 …

News, Recent Shows »

The hunt for Christopher Dorner

Man Hunt On For Former LAPD Officer Suspected Of Shooting Police Officer

Christopher Jordan Dorner was formally charged today with killing a Riverside police officer and attempting to kill two others. So-called “special circumstances” make him eligible for the death penalty. In his lengthy manifesto on Facebook, Dorner vows “unconventional warfare” against all officers involved in his firing by the LAPD — and their families. In many Southern California neighborhoods, armed guards have been assigned to …

Featured »

Christopher Dorner manhunt hits home

My dog Ziggy checks out an LAPD officer and detective.

The hunt for ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner came close to home this weekend. I returned to my Glendale house Saturday evening after a night out to find a pair of plain-clothed LAPD officers hunkering down on my front patio. 
The two bulky men in baseball caps and sweatshirts had pistols strapped to their thighs and shotguns in hand. They were standing in the dark on …

Featured, News »

Ex-LAPD cop subject of statewide manhunt

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. Photo by Avishay Artsy

Updated Monday 9:30 a.m.  A false sighting led an LAPD SWAT team to a Lowe’s in Northridge Sunday,  as the massive manhunt continues for accused killer Christopher Dorner. In addition to the two women who were mistakenly fired on, a man driving a truck similar to Dorner’s was also targeted by police.  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced yesterday that the city is putting up a $1 million …

Arts & Culture, economy, Issues, Today's News »

Today’s News: Church abuse files; LA crime rates; Clippers roll


Naming names. The fight over secret church files dealing with sexual abuse cases isn’t over yet. The L.A. Roman Catholic Archdiocese’s $660 million settlement with abuse victims included an order that the files be made public. Previously, a judge ruled that the names of officials – including Cardinal Roger Mahony – should be redacted to avoid further embarrassment for the church. But an L.A. …

economy, Featured, Interviews, Issues, News, Politics, Recent Shows »

Implementing a reformed ‘Three Strikes’


California’s Three Strikes law was first passed in 1994, at a time of anxiety over violent crime. Offenders previously convicted of two violent or serious crimes could be sentenced to 25 years to life for any third conviction. Now, state prisons are so overcrowded that federal courts have ordered population reduction, but the state’s voters may be ahead of the game. By huge margins …

News »

First inmate released after Prop. 36

Passed overwhelmingly by voters on Nov. 6, Prop. 36 effectively revised  California’s “three-strikes” law. The easing of the law made it so felons could no longer be locked up for life for non-violent crimes. This change in law affected some 3,000 inmates and now first of those inmates has been released. As UT San Diego reports:
In a hearing that took less than eight minutes, …

California Elections, Featured, Issues »

California Propositions: Prop. 34 – a bid to end the death penalty


Proposition 34 aims to repeal the death penalty in California and replace it with life in prison without parole.
This isn’t the first time California has wrestled with the death penalty. Back in 1972, the state Supreme Court declared the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment. It was reinstated through a voter approved ballot measure six years later.
This time backers of Prop. 34 are pointing …

California Elections, economy, Featured, Issues, Recent Shows, Warren Olney »

Prison populations and realignment

Warren Olney

The US Supreme Court has ruled that California’s overcrowded prisons constitute cruel and unusual punishment. To reduce the population, Governor Brown and the legislature enacted “realignment,” which provides that non-serious, non-violent, non-child abuse convicts be sentenced to county jails. That’s where parole violators are going now, too. But the state prisons are still not emptying out fast enough, and three appellate court judges are …

News »

Police seek suspect in homeless stabbings

David Ben Keyes, photo courtesy LAPD

Police are seeking a suspect in a strange case. Three homeless people have been stabbed, but not killed, and notes were left behind that police describe as “death warrants.”
The three homeless people were attacked in their sleep. Police think it might have been another homeless person who committed the crimes, and who left behind typed and signed “death warrants.”
The first attack was reported July …

Featured, Interviews, Issues, LA Noir, News »

Living next to Whitey Bulger

Mugshots of James Bulger and Catherine Greig, US Marshals Service

Remember that sweet old guy in Apt. 303? Well he was picked up for murder and racketeering…
It’s been a year since FBI agents swooped down on brutal Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger and his lady friend, Catherine Greig in Santa Monica. They’d led a quiet life there since going on the lam back in 1995. Writer Gideon Brower (and KCRW freelance producer) happened to …

la riots, News »

The LAPD then and now

By LifeSupercharger on Flickr

What was it like to be a Los Angeles cop back in 1992, right before the riots? What did the LAPD learn from those days of violence and fire? And how has the relationship between the department and the sprawling city it patrols changed over the last twenty years? These are some of the issues I explore with cop-turned-historian, Glynn Martin, the executive director …

la riots, Warren Olney »

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on the disconnect between LA and LAPD

Warren talks to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck 20 years after the Rodney King Riots. A sergeant at the time, Beck says that “even though it was a failure of the Los Angeles Police Department, it wasn’t just the failure of the Los Angeles Police Department.” He says that the community and the police department have a much better relationship today than back in ’92. …

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