Today is a great day in the journalism world. The Los Angeles Times (the newspaper for my region) won two Pulitzer Prizes–the coveted public service award for uncovering corruption in the city of Bell and the feature photography award for its series on gang violence. Although the photography award deserves attention, my main focus will be on the public service award.
For those who don’t know about the Bell scandal, to sum it up in a few sentences, it largely involves a city manager named Robert Rizzo (could be related to Rizzo the Rat?), who, after years of scheming and little oversight, managed to earn about $1 million (including benefits). Salary alone is around $800,000. Keep in mind that Bell is a largely working class city with a small tax base and roughly 36,000 people. The question that many ask: Was it worth it?
To sum it up, the authorities caught Rizzo and his gang of city employees and council members (nearly of the part-time council members at the time earned in excess of $100,000), arrested them and are now awaiting trial. The outrageous scandal in this small suburb of Los Angeles prompted more questions about the salaries’ of local government officials and employees and encouraged more news outlets to look into local government. The actions of the journalists at the Los Angeles Times prompted more openness in local government as cities, counties and other local government organizations in California are required to post salaries by orders of the State Controller.
The Los Angeles Times’ Pulitzer Prize win is obviously good news for the aging paper, which has seen cutbacks in its staff and an ownership gone amok. It’s also good for local government transparency. At a recent Artesia city council meeting that I covered for Cerritos-Artesia Patch, the mayor is holding town hall meetings to encourage discussion and to dispel the image that all cities are like Bell. Good for Artesia!
However, challenges still remain at the venerable paper. Does the success of the paper in the investigation front mean more investment in the paper? Will keeping politicians accountable for their actions slow down after Bell? I hope that we can find the answers to these questions. Until then, the Los Angeles Times should be feted for uncovering this corruption and waste in Southern California.
Another year. Another Coachella. While some of you are enjoying the brutal sun and sweat, I’m typing this from an air-conditioned Starbucks at an undisclosed location. I couldn’t possibly list all the bands at Coachella that I’d like to see this year, but here’s a sampling:
Chase and Status
Empire of the Sun
Coachella 2012 better not disappoint me. By that time I’ll have a ton of money saved (and possibly a hotel with a pool!). That is, unless a wedding or some breaking news comes up. Enjoy it you Coachellans!
Well, it looks like NPR and PBS will not face the ax for the rest of 2011. However, the battle for 2012 still looms ahead, so it’s important that people know some things about these wonderful institutions. This regular feature will be less about “SAVE NPR AND PBS” and more about the great things I’ve learned or listened to by tuning into KCRW, one of two local NPR stations in the Los Angeles/Orange County area (the other is KPCC).
Here’s a great tune that I stumbled upon as I was listening to Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW recently. I love the haunting piano melody, the crackling voice of Isobel Campbell and the deep, husky baritones of Mark Lanegan . This song is called “Come Undone” (not related to the Duran Duran song).
I will embark on a photo project that I hope to complete by this summer and I’m looking for a few female models in the LA/OC area between the ages of 18-30. To sum it all up, it involves three things: a park or beach, the novel “Ulysses” by James Joyce and sunshine. If you like two out of the three things or all three, then we can probably work together.
THIS PHOTOSHOOT WILL HAVE NO NUDITY since it will be in a public place and it’s as tasteful as it’s going to get. Since this project will involve no pay (apart from possibly one or two drinks if you’re 21 and older), it’s only great for those looking to get their foot in the door. If you’re interested, please contact me at edfcarrasco [at] gmail [dot] com for more details.
Some of my portraits/examples are below:
A couple of nights ago, after doing my monthly job of covering local government for a certain website in an undisclosed suburb southeast of Los Angeles, I headed straight to the Commonwealth Lounge in Downtown Fullerton. Why? To see Love Grenades. I had the pleasure of seeing the band open for Little Boots a couple of years back and I am enamored with the band’s flirty, sexy composition. Love Grenades has three things going for them: they’re sexy, they’re confident and they’re mighty talented. To pull off a sound reminiscent to ’60s girl groups in today’s overproduced, autotuned music industry is a great feat!
Before Love Grenades did her set, local heroes BEATMO (most of the band went to La Habra High) shined the audience with all their raw energy. While I’m trying my best to avoid comparisons, I have to say that BEATMO has some Yeah Yeah Yeahs elements…at least that’s what some of the band members that I talked to last night told me. They were right. Alexis (the lead singer) exhibited quite an energetic performance moving up and about throughout. This band deserves some love!
More pics from their gig are here.
Keep it posted here for last night’s photos and some darn good bands!
Last month, I had the pleasure to check out Paulie Pesh, which is this large Indie-ish ensemble. If you name an instrument, the band probably has it. Violins, trumpets, horns–it all meshes into some sweet rocking sound. Here’s hoping I will cover this lovely band in the future. If you haven’t downloaded their latest EP “Post Mortem,” check out this link.
My fellow readers,
I haven’t blogged in so long. Perhaps it’s because I’ve had a near-busy schedule. That said, here’s what I’ve been doing for the last four months:
- I currently freelance for three publications: Patch.com (Cerritos-Artesia and Mar Vista), Orange Coast Magazine, and Complex.com. Some of my articles are in the newly-updated “Selected Portfolio” section.
- Did I mention I was in Seattle? Check this awesome photo I took of the Space Needle after this post. It was literally a few blocks from where I was staying in Belltown/Denny Regrade.
- I’m still photographing the Fullerton nightlife. Check out my Flickr site for details.
- Find me on Yelp and Foursquare.
- Always looking for a publication to write for. Editors: If you haven’t looked at my LinkedIn account, you’re missing out!
So there you have it. Expect more stuff from me soon.