December 8th, 2011
This report concludes that the [Division of the State Architect] is unable to certify that a large number of completed school construction projects meet requirements in the Field Act, a law designed to protect the safety of pupils, teachers, and the public. The division reports that over 16,000 projects remain uncertified. Elements of the act hamper the division’s ability to enforce the certification requirements.

From the California State Auditor report "The Division of the State Architect Lacks Enforcement Authority and Has Weak Oversight Procedures, Increasing the Risk That School Construction Projects May Be Unsafe."

The new report confirms the findings of our On Shaky Ground investigation into the seismic safety of California’s schools.

July 6th, 2011


Before it was dammed, the Salton Sea area experienced dramatic ebbs and flows from the Colorado River. Scientists say those floods caused small quakes on local faults — and a few large ones on the massive San Andreas. Dams have ended the flooding, which may help explain why the “Big One” is overdue

Photo: The Salton Sea. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Reblogged from Los Angeles Times
June 28th, 2011
We’ve been baffled as to why the southern San Andreas hasn’t gone. It’s been compared to a woman who is 15 months pregnant.

Debi Kilb, seismologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, and  co-author of a new study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, that says ruptures along the San Andreas Fault may be tied to fluctuations of the Salton Sea and Colorado River. Diversions and dams engineered along the Colorado River may have upset a natural cycle of flooding that perhaps triggered several of the fault’s quakes.

And without the periodic release of energy and pressure those flood-related quakes triggered, the pressure currently stored in the fault could generate a monstrous magnitude 7.5 or larger earthquake.

May 23rd, 2011
It’s just overwhelming,” said Lois Richardson, 75, who moved to Joplin three years ago from California, where she survived several earthquakes. “I’ll take two earthquakes to one tornado any day,” she said. “There’s nothing that compares to a tornado.
May 20th, 2011
April 29th, 2011
The best investigative reporting lays bare issues, reveals, exposes and has a crucial role in our society to protect democracy. We will help audiences engage in this story, but there are times when it is up to the public to take responsibility as well. - Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director of CIR.
April 26th, 2011

California Watch’s investigation reveals serious flaws in a California state agency’s enforcement of earthquake regulations for public schools. Two residents of a coastal community have spent months trying to determine whether the school their children attended is safe.

April 21st, 2011
It seems to me that stories like “On Shaky Ground” make that pivotal education/health/journalism connection; send “Shaky Ground” to your favorite billionaire and urge him to sign on.
April 21st, 2011

Convicted inspector monitored safety at dozens of schools

Courtesy Doug Devine/Los Angeles Department of Building and SafetyA school construction inspector previously convicted of a felony in a construction safety related case has worked on at least 15 school projects in Southern California in the last few years, records show.

Read full story.

April 20th, 2011

150 years of California earthquakes

Earthquakes in California have been recorded since at least 1769, when an estimated magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck in the Los Angeles Basin. Since the mid-1800s, quakes have been much more systematically logged. This map shows the locations and magnitudes of 189 earthquakes that registered at least 5.0 in California or just offshore since 1865.

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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.