Selected Journalism

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Los Angeles Media & Culture

The Hot Seat
Dean Baquet has one of the toughest jobs in American journalism: saving the Los Angeles Times.
Civic Unrest in Santa Monica
Why do so many in prosperous Santa Monica feel that things are not so good?
Valley of the Pols
It would have been easy to imagine a mayor of the San Fernando Valley becoming a media star.
The Big Breakup
There is ample reason to view the Valley as separate from Los Angeles, but they also are more alike than ever. Is divorce the answer?
Intrepid Pioneers Rediscover Alternative L.A.
Romantics pine for downtown Los Angeles to rise again as the city center. Maybe, just maybe it will.
The San Fernando Valley
The Valley floor could hold the city limits of Boston, Washington and San Francisco with generous space left over.
Exploring the heart of the city
Imagine downtown Los Angeles as a big playground with fun diversions for kids, some history and a little culture for parents.


Empty Feelings
After a disastrous run for state attorney general, Rocky Delgadillo learns it's only hubris if you fail.
Pop Star Mayor
Los Angeles finally has a mayor it adores, but has the office already changed Antonio Villaraigosa?
Hidden Powers
When Yvonne Brathwaite Burke retires from the Board of Supervisors, L.A. black politics should get interesting.
Power Politics 101
Antonio Villaraigosa plans to become the most powerful public education figure in California.
Thinking Big
Eric Garcetti is the most educated and traveled member of the Los Angeles City Council.
Winner's Circle
Whenever Los Angeles gets a new mayor, old insiders make way for a fresh bunch of Blackberry-toting confidantes.
Ready to Rumble
Ten signs to help you decide who to bet on in the great Hahn-Villaraigosa rematch of 2005.
Second Chances
Bernard Parks served a necessary role as the conscience of the election for mayor of Los Angeles.
Reign Maker
Bill Wardlaw can make or break political careers with his Rolodex and a bit of a mean streak.
Mr. Clean
District Attorney Steve Cooley wants any Los Angeles politician who thinks of breaking the law to fear him.
Average Jim
Lots of politicians try to seem more common. Jim Hahn has the opposite problem: People don't think he's mayoral enough.
Blunt Force
Where other politicians couch and evade, Laura Chick speaks her mind.
Money Player
Doug Dowie doesn't object to anyone believing he runs the most powerful PR shop in Los Angeles.
Showtime at the City Council
Career aspirations used to be a poor fit for a job on the Los Angeles City Council.
Unraveling L.A.
Rethinking the metropolis has become all the rage since voters took secession off the table for now.
Power Play in East Valley
Hunched over a bowl of oatmeal with raisins, James Acevedo doesn't come across as the godfather of anything.
Winning the Home Front
How progressive activists elevated affordable housing to the A-list of city hall priorities.

California and the West

The California Experiment
"Didion is right. We need to make it work." A review of Peter Schrag's book, "California: America's High-Stakes Experiment."
Legends of the San Quentin Gas Chamber
For every killer who seemed to go easy, there was a Leanderess Riley whose death was a reminder that executions can be wrenching, emotional affairs.
Las Vegas Courtroom Goes Ape
With performing orangutans, chorus line dancers and a few laughs, this trial has the makings of a hit on the Las Vegas Strip.
Ghost Canyon of the Stanislaus Reappears
After ten years at the bottom of a lake, the famous rapids of the Stanislaus River canyon are runnable again.
Doesn't Anyone Miss Two Teenage Girls?
Sgt. Davis first saw the girls lying beneath the trees three days after Easter Sunday. For the nine years since then, he has thought about their horror.
True Believers of Mono Lake Vanquish L.A.
Tourists come and go from the homey visitor center without having any hint of the sophisticated public relations war being waged in the back rooms.
Trouble in Paradise: Yosemite at 100
Yosemite Valley on a January morning is so peaceful that a weary coyote limps unmolested in the middle of a road. But what of the future?
Summer of the Hungry Meat Bees
Many Californians will remember this summer for the meat-eating yellow jackets: "Those suckers are eating us alive."
Peace Vote Touches a Raw Nerve
Arcata is the kind of clean, green place that city folks dream of escaping to some day. The war opened wounds here.

Science and Nature

Are Sperm Whales Really Gentle Giants?
Gourdlike heads contain the planet’s largest brain and a prodigious reservoir of highly prized oil. New research suggests a mean streak too.
One Mean Weed
What is three feet tall, armed with sharp needles, loiters in the grass and kills a dozen or more horses every year?
Keeler's Dust Hazardous to Your Health
Jack Riley tries to get home quickly when he sees a dust plume rising off Owens Lake, the salt pan created by Los Angeles' thirst.
Chemical Spill Kills a River
Of course the fish are gone, but look here -- no bugs. Even if the fish survived, what would they eat?
Quiet Summer Day in Yosemite Valley
No aroma of frying bacon drifted down river from packed campgrounds. No traffic snarled on the bridge.
Bark Beetles and Drought Devour the Forest
Scarcity of water is not killing the trees, which have withstood worse droughts. Burrowing, mating bark beetles are the culprits.

Los Angeles History

Epitaph: Harry Hay
Almost from the start, Harry wrote later, "we were in love with each other and with each other's ideas."
Boulevard of Churches
Wilshire Boulevard's stature as the grand concourse of Los Angeles owes in part to the city's most architecturally distinct synagogues and churches.
Ritchie Valens' Star Burned for Pacoima
So many stars have made the San Fernando Valley their home that it's easy to become jaded here by brushes with celebrity. Still, Valens had something.
The Day the Sixties Died
Sketchy details began emerging that day from a gruesome murder scene in exclusive Benedict Canyon, at the home of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate.
The Disaster That Broke Mulholland
Almost from the start, the St. Francis Dam seemed prone to leaks. Just small ones, nothing too serious.
Hometown Memories Jostled by Quake
It's a strange feeling to have your hometown suddenly become known around the world after a lifetime of undeserved obscurity.


Final day at the Times
Most of the reporters and editors taking an L.A. Times buyout offer will discover that this was their final day in Big Journalism.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
For every Silver Lake boho who cringes at the thought of the Valley, there's a counterpart in Reseda who loathes the city.
A Million Stories, Half From the Valley
Secession talk has helped give overdue recognition to the concept of the San Fernando Valley as a separate, identifiable place.

Water Wars

Water Ranching for Budweiser
In Owens Valley lore, Los Angeles is the villain who came for a drink and never left. Now Anheuser-Busch wants the water too.
Rice Farmers and Proud of It
Richvale's lone cafe is run by rice farmers, for the noontime pleasure of rice farmers, in the heart of California rice land.
Reno's Water Grab on California
Once again an arid, growing city has come to an agricultural valley looking for water — and the natives fear that history will repeat.

Style and Design

Time Management
A $150 chronograph with sub-dials for elapsed time, pulse rate and hour of the day in Istanbul suggests that a man really likes to know the time.
In the Bedrooms
If you have a bedroom, you also have a bedroom style. Your own personal world view of the sleeping quarters helps define you.


The Ducks did what?
Even people who quit trying to like hockey long ago can appreciate the beauty of Anaheim taking the Stanley Cup.
The Big Chill
Wayne Gretzky's omission from the wall of honor is a glaring oversight, but you can't throw a gala party if the guest of honor refuses to show.
The Cult of Durchsetzungsvermögen
Andy Murray is the only National Hockey League coach to quote Nelson Mandela to his players. It's not his lone distinction.
Field of Dreams in The Cal
The California League is where 19-year-old hotshots learn the niceties of professional baseball and has-beens come to grips with lapsing talent.
Oasis with Bases in the Mojave
A new era in America's love for minor league baseball began at a stadium that rises like a mirage in the odd little high desert city of Adelanto.


Strip Style

Two phone calls got the last room at the Chateau Marmont, the Sunset Strip hideaway of Greta Garbo and Howard Hughes, famous for libertine high jinks and an artistic clientele.
Crazy Kayak Caper at Mono Lake
Millions of brine shrimp swirled beneath us. Slipping silently through a semi-submerged tufa grove, one sees majesty in the ancient towers.
Cheapest Best Place on the Coast
Like anyone who has driven the coast route, we noticed the Miramar's blue-shingled roofs and formed an opinion. We gave it a chance anyway.
Night at the Grand Ahwahnee
For once we weren't outsiders, but rather were legitimate guests at the landmark built of granite and concrete beams stained to resemble redwood.
Room Key to Magic Kingdom

Tomorrowland is a lonely place at 7:30 on a Monday morning. No soaring rockets, no loud upbeat singing, no lines.


Ghoulish Souvenirs For a Good Cause
This souvenir shop is upstairs from the Los Angeles morgue, and such close proximity to several hundred bodies, even unseen, can be creepy.
'What Else Can Go Wrong?'
Ferrying mail over the desert into Saudi Arabia is "the most boring flight in the world" until the plane starts to break down.
Berlin Airlift Had Nothing On This
Most cargo arrives at this airfield swept by winds off the Persian Gulf, not much farther from the Iraqi troops than Los Angeles is from Las Vegas.