Sidewalk Heart

I find new ways to break down complex topics so they’re easy to understand, often through diverse forms of storytelling. 

Here’s how California became the most secretive state on police misconduct

Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2018

California’s laws restricting public access to police misconduct information are the nation’s strictest. This story detailed how they became that way, starting with the shocking story of the Los Angeles Police Department shredding four tons of internal records in the 1970s, and why police union power at the state Capitol ensures they persist. Weeks after the story published, state lawmakers passed legislation to begin to unwind the secrecy rules for the first time and the governor signed it into law.

The story: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-me-california-police-discipline-secret-20180815-story.html

The follow ups: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-police-transparency-bill-passes-20180831-story.html & http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-police-misconduct-rules-changed-20180930-story.html


A major California housing bill failed after opposition from the low-income residents it aimed to help. Here’s how it went wrong

Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2018

California’s housing affordability problems are linked with the state’s climate change goals. To meaningfully reduce prices and reduce driving, the state has to incentivize building lots more homes near jobs and transit. But despite broad support in California for reducing housing costs and greenhouse gas emissions, a high-profile proposal to allow for lots more apartments near transit across the state failed in the Legislature. The reason? Activists for low-income communities of color believed the plan would lead to more gentrification and displacement, revealing their influence on this debate and future ones in the state.

The story: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-housing-bill-failure-equity-groups-20180502-story.html


A Bay Area developer wants to build 4,400 sorely needed homes. Here’s why it won’t happen

Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2017

California has some of the most unaffordable homes in the nation, a problem fueled by a lack of housing supply. This story unpacks how California’s government contributes to the problem. In California, local governments have almost complete authority to decide if developments will get built and the state’s tax structure provides financial incentives for cities and counties to approve hotels and retail shops instead of housing.

The story: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-small-city-controls-big-housing-project-20170728-story.html


California won’t meet its climate change goals without a lot more housing density in its cities

Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2017

California’s ambitious climate change goals often are described in terms of the need for huge numbers of electric cars and solar panels. But this story for the first time described in a comprehensive way how Californians will need to change how and where they live, packing into higher-density cities at a rate not seen since World War II to meet the environmental goals.

The story: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-housing-climate-change-goals-20170306-story.html


How to Pull Off a Massive Infrastructure Loan in 16 Easy Steps

Voice of San Diego, March 24, 2014

San Diego’s roads and other infrastructure have been in a state of disrepair for years, too. City leaders wanted to borrow money to pay for fixes. This story used photos and graphics to explain the common but convoluted financing mechanism officials were counting on to make the repairs.

The story: http://voiceofsandiego.org/2014/03/24/how-to-pull-off-a-massive-infrastructure-loan-in-16-easy-steps/