September 6th, 2012

How to track West Nile virus in your county

There have been more reported cases of West Nile virus in the U.S. so far this year than at any time since 1999, when the disease was first detected in the country. Nearly 2,000 people have been infected, and 87 have died as a result. 

California has had 69 human cases of the virus this year to date, including three fatalities. Have there been cases in your county? Here’s how you can find out: 

September 6th, 2012

Inside Oakland’s pot politics

Oakland pot entrepreneur Dhar Mann (pictured) has become a national figure, expanding his medical marijuana business weGrow across the country. But newly obtained emails and a police report offer hints of Mann’s close relationship with city leaders that helped build his pot empire.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the city politics and business dealings that fueled the Oakland’s marijuana boom from reporter Zusha Elinson.

Photo by Adithya Sambamurthy / The Bay Citizen

August 31st, 2012

Average number of days that a veteran who goes to the Los Angeles, California waits for the government to respond to his or her disability claim as of 07/2012. Increased by +39.0% in the prior 1.3 years.

See how long veterans in your area are waiting to hear on their disability claims in this interactive map from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

August 30th, 2012
It tells you something about the state of electoral politics when going to a fundraiser hosted by somebody who was convicted of money laundering seems like a good idea.

Oliver Luby, a former San Francisco ethics officer, commenting on an ex-City College of San Francisco official who is now raising money for a City College trustee’s re-election campaign after pleading guilty in a political fundraising scandal. 

Read the full story here.

August 29th, 2012

Disabled vets stuck in backlog limbo

Disabled troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face an unexpected battle: the Department of Veterans Affairs’ growing stack of disability benefit claims, leading to processing delays of six months or more.

In California, veterans who file claims with any of the VA’s three regional offices – in Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego – wait more than nine months on average for a decision.

Read the full story here. You can also explore our new interactive map to see how long veterans are waiting for benefits decisions nationwide.

August 24th, 2012

Get an inside look at California’s forgotten prison population.

Under federal court order to reduce overcrowding in state prisons, California is now releasing thousands of prisoners or transferring them to county jails. But the rapidly aging and dying prisoners confined to state prison hospices are often left behind. As many as 3,300 inmates in the U.S. die in prison every year.

August 21st, 2012
A gram of heroin is the price of one pill. A gram of heroin could last you three or four days. One pill could last you a couple of hours. So the calculation is simple. Sell the pills you get, make money and get free dope.
Evan, 23, a resident of Orange County, Calif., who spoke to us about moving from using prescription pain killers to heroin. Read our story and learn more about Evan in our online video. (via centerforinvestigativereporting)
August 20th, 2012

“The very second I let go, I knew I had made a big mistake.”

In 2000, at 19 years old, Kevin Hines made his way to the Golden Gate Bridge, where he wept for a long time before jumping. He is one of a few dozen people who have survived the 220-foot jump from the span.

“Against the odds, I was alive, so I knew I had to make a difference for others,” said Hines. He now works with The Bridge Rail Foundation in its effort to install a net under the bridge and speaks out about suicide prevention.

Read more about Hines’ story in our latest Change Agents profile.

August 20th, 2012

Man who armed Black Panthers was FBI informant, records show

The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training – which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s – was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report.

One of the Bay Area’s most prominent radical activists of the era, Richard Masato Aoki was known as a fierce militant who touted his street-fighting abilities. He was a member of several radical groups before joining and arming the Panthers, whose members received international notoriety for brandishing weapons during patrols of the Oakland police and a protest at the state Legislature.

Get the full story and watch the exclusive video for more information.

Photo: A young Richard Aoki is involved in a 1969 protest at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way near the UC Berkeley campus. CREDIT: Courtesy of the Oakland Tribune

August 17th, 2012

Radiation history on Treasure Island more widespread than reported

Radioactive contamination at the Treasure Island Naval Station, where San Francisco plans to build a high-rise community for 20,000 residents, is more widespread than previously disclosed, according to a new U.S. Navy report and other documents obtained by our reporters.

The draft report marks the first time the Navy has fully acknowledged that the island, created from landfill in 1937, was used as a repair and salvage operation for a Pacific fleet exposed to atomic blasts during the Cold War.

Read the full story here.

Loading tweets...


California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team operating in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. Areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process.