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.

March 30th, 2012

Among its fleet of helicopters, patrol cars, inmate buses and other vehicles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department keeps four long-haul semitrailers ready to go at a moment’s notice. 

Their purpose: Travel the country retrieving discarded – and free of charge – U.S. military hand-me-downs for its deputies to use in California.

M16 rifles, helicopters, microwaves, survival kits, workout equipment, bayonet knives, ammunition cans and more – the LA sheriff’s office snaps up an average of $4 million to $5 million in surplus military equipment annually.

For example, in this photo Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Watkins shows one of five H-3 helicopters transferred from the military. It’s now used for search and rescue and SWAT transport. Read our full investigation.

March 27th, 2012
We don’t want to buy pink slime.

Dennis Barrett, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s director of food services.

Schools across the country have been quick to distance themselves from the cotton candy-colored controversy after revelations that the U.S. Department of Agriculture buys the product, commonly used in ground beef, for its national school lunch program.

March 9th, 2012

Our new investigation has found that there are 14 cities in California where all-white councils preside over communities where either Latinos or Asians make up the majority of residents.

Several are clustered in the Los Angeles area, like Whittier and Arcadia, but they range from Tulelake, on the Oregon border, to Holtville, near the Mexican border.

Another 20 cities have Latino majorities and only one minority on city council.

February 13th, 2012

Southern Californians at risk of death from air pollution

Southern Californians are among those at highest risk of death due to air pollution, according to recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency research published in the journal Risk Analysis.

The study, published last month, was conducted to “provide insight to the size and location of public health risks associated with recent levels of fine particles and ozone, allowing decision-makers to better target air quality policies,” the federal agency said in a statement responding to California Watch inquiries.

“While overall levels of fine particles and ozone have declined significantly in the past two decades, these two pollutants still pose a burden to public health,” the EPA statement said.

Read more.

November 3rd, 2011

Living in industry’s shadow: After years of illnesses, family looks for answers

The Martin family lives 10 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, in a neat yellow house in a city called Maywood.

Starting a few blocks from their home, nearly 2,000 factories churn out Southern California’s hot dogs, pesticides, patio furniture and other products. Trucks rumble off the I-710 freeway into sprawling freight rail yards. Odors of rotting animal carcasses waft through the family’s windows on hot summer nights.

The Martins also have endured years of illness.

The USC Annenberg Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism and California Watch commissioned tests to measure the family’s exposure levels to dangerous metals and industrial byproducts.

September 1st, 2011


Did you feel that Los Angeles?

A 4.2 earthquake hit the Newhall area in the San Fernando Valley on Thursday. The quake was centered four miles east southeast of Newhall at 1:47 p.m. PT.

Reblogged from ABC7 Los Angeles
July 11th, 2011
The general rule seems to be that public transport in Los Angeles has a great future, and always will.
A brief closure of the 405 Freeway is expected to bring misery to travellers in California this weekend. America’s car culture is partly to blame for the coming “carmageddon”. (via theeconomist)
Reblogged from The Economist
July 7th, 2011

Combative LA congressional race brings big spending

Two congressional candidates are throwing down big money in western Los Angeles as they vie to succeed retired Rep. Jane Harman, one of Congress’ wealthiest Democrats, who stepped down in February to head a Washington think tank.

Democrat Janice Hahn, a Los Angeles city councilwoman, and her opponent, Republican businessman Craig Huey, have combined to spend more than $1.5 million so far on the 36th Congressional District race, which will be decided in a special election Tuesday.

As the LA Times has noted, the race has been unusually combative for a district largely seen as a Democratic safe haven. Democrats have an 18-point voter registration advantage in the district and saw Gov. Jerry Brown win by a double-digit margin last fall. Read more.

Image: CarlKeyes/

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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.