Saturday, December 4, 2010

Big Wave with Jenny and Johnny

Aired on The California Report magazine on Friday December 3, 2010.

Um, I got to sit on the tour bus with Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) and Jonathan Rice (both smart, sweet, approachable) and talk to them about their song "Big Wave."  And then Jonathan talked about the interview on stage that night.  And then I got paid for it.  Lucky, lucky me.

The Future of Small Town California, Part II: Boonville and the Anderson Valley

Aired on KQED Public Radio's The California Report magazine on Friday, December 3, 2010.

For outsiders, Mendocino County's Boonville used to be a "blink-and-you-miss-it" spot along Highway 128. Through the years it's been home to sheep ranchers, apple farmers and marijuana growers. But recently, Pinot Noir grapes have put Boonville and the Anderson Valley on the map -- and that has some residents worried. 

If you please, listen to the story, then look at the pretty photo slide show and read the reporter's notebook!  

Friday, December 3, 2010

Micro-micro businesses...right in my neighborhood

Here's a podcast I did on the food marketplace in Bernal Heights (311 Cortland) for the small business website AllBusiness:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Future of Small Town CA part 1: Lindsay

Aired on KQED Public Radio's The California Report Magazine Friday, November 5, 2010.

After listening to the story, check out the photo slide show (including historic images loaned by the great folks in Lindsay) and reporter's notebook, where I include more stories about reporting in Lindsay.

Small towns in California face an uncertain future.  The economies that created many of them – like logging, or mining – have died or changed.  The populations and cultures of those towns have changed. too, which I'll explore in my series:  New Harvest: The Future of Small Town California.  First up is Lindsay, CA, a Central Valley town of 12,000 built up around olive and citrus groves.  Twenty years ago, a state-wide freeze signaled the start of a series of events crippling Lindsay’s economy.  But the town forged a new identity, and it’s celebrating its centennial this year. 

Series: New Harvest: The Future of Small Town California

My series on small town California has begun.  Each story will feature a place that grew up around one economy and, as that industry died or changed, adapted.  This is the series page that will host the stories:

I'll also post each story as it airs.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Aired on American Public Media's The Splendid Table on September 25, 2010.

In 2004, Summer Bicknell was a corporate drone.  She was living in Nashville, TN, working too many hours at a dissatisfying IT job.  After eating a Mexican popsicle – called a paleta – Bicknell downsized her life, quitting her job, selling her house, moving to Mexico then Durham, North Carolina.  She hasn’t looked back.  

Friday, August 6, 2010

An Entrepreneur's Investment in a Neglected Urban Corridor

Aired on the AllBusiness podcast, August 6, 2010.

There's a two-block stretch of Market Street in San Francisco that many locals and tourists avoid. But one small business owner, David Addington, sees this neighborhood not for its seedy reputation, but for its potential for arts, entertainment -- and business.

Friday, July 16, 2010

From Eyesore to Art: Art in Storefronts

Aired on The California Report Magazine, Friday July 9, 2010.

In neighborhoods across California, vacant storefronts act as visual reminders of the economic downturn. In San Francisco, many of them are now filled with commissioned art. An innovative program here is gaining statewide and national attention, with other cities wanting to learn from San Francisco's success.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Legalizing Marijuana: Some Pot Growers Face a Marketing Challenge

Aired on the AllBusiness podcast July 15, 2010.

This November Californians will decide if marijuana should be legal. In response, Northern California pot growers are already thinking of the branding and marketing possibilities.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Greening the Marijuana Grow (last time on the radio, folks)

Aired on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, June 27, 2010:

The environmental impacts of growing pot indoors gets a national audience....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

California's Native Tribes Concerned about Marine Life Protection Act Implementation

Aired on The California Report on Tuesday, June 22, 2010

California is implementing a 1999 law that aims to conserve the state's ocean resources by setting up protected areas along the coast. But native tribes worry that measures imposed under the Marine Life Protection Act may prohibit them from using coastal resources in centuries-old traditions

Monday, June 21, 2010

Stockton Police Union Fights Layoffs (again)

Aired on NPR's All Things Considered on Monday, June 21, 2010.

The union for the city of Stockton's police force is responding to budget cuts and layoffs of more than 50 officers in an unusual way. It's launched a $20,000 billboard campaign across the city. The billboards -- some of which appear to be bloodstained -- warn about the city's current "body count"; call Stockton the second most dangerous city in the nation; and state "don't lay off cops."

Marine Life Protection Act meets the North Coast

Aired on The California Report, Monday June 21, 2010.

California is in the middle of a grand environmental experiment up and down the coast. The state is putting into effect a 1999 law which aims to save the state's precious marine resources. But some residents of the North Coast say a law that looks good on paper may not work well in the real world. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Stockton Cops Fight Budget Cuts with Billboards

Aired on The California Report Magazine on Friday, June 11, 2010.

The recession hit Stockton hard. The Central Valley city has 20 percent unemployment, nationally ranked foreclosure rates and a $23 million deficit. Even though its violent crime rate is second highest in the state, the city says it has to slash the police department budget. But the police officer's union is fighting back.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sweet Dreams Sewing Cooperative

Aired on the AllBusiness podcast May 25, 2010.

Sweet Dreams Sewing Cooperative helps at-risk teenage girls  learning business skills through sewing and fashion design.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Greening the (Marijuana) Grow...once again

Aired on The California Report Magazine on Friday, May 21, 2010.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

La Lucha Continua...continua!

My lucha piece is currently featured on this great website:

Check out its wide selection of pieces.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Greening the (Marijuana) Grow

Aired on KQED Public Radio's Quest on Monday, May 10, 2010.

Voters in California will consider a measure on the November ballot to legalize and tax marijuana. Amid the debate over pros and cons, another issue has been gaining visibility -- the environmental damage pot cultivation can incur. Illegal pesticide use and creek water diversion at large-scale outdoor operations are well-documented. But environmental concerns are also growing over indoor marijuana cultivation, and I went to Humboldt to learn more.

Check out the slide show and blog, too.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Small Businesses: Where Have All the Farmers Gone?

Aired on the AllBusiness podcast, April 14, 2010.

The number of small business farms is shrinking. Here's another version of my FarmLink story.  It's a Sonoma County-based organization using an innovative approach to grow the next generation of farmers.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Loudon Wainwright III talks about "Grey in L.A.

Aired on The California Report Magazine on Friday March 5, 2010.

Bear Hunting

Aired on The California Report Magazine on Friday, March 5, 2010.

And NPR's All Things Considered on March 31:

The Department of Fish and Game holds hunter education clinics throughout the state of California, like the bear hunting clinic I attended in Diamond Springs, near Placerville. Bear hunting is getting a lot of attention right now as the department is proposing changing regulations to expand where and how Californians can hunt bears.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gaining Historical Empathy Through Slave Narratives

Published on on March 6, 2010.

Some amazing teachers in Oakland help students give voice to slaves through a collaborative slave narrative project.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Gypsy Innkeepers

Aired on The California Report Magazine on Friday, February 26, 2010.

Lots of folks fantasize about spending their lives on the road, traveling wherever, whenever. But few do it. On a recent trip to Desert Hot Springs north of Palm Springs, I met a couple in their 50s who really did take to the road. This aired as part of the series "Turning Points," profiling Californians who make life-altering decisions.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Modernism Week in Palm Springs

Aired on KQED's The California Report Magazine on Friday, February 12, 2010.

Besides the great weather and gorgeous mountains, is also boasts spectacular examples of mid-century modern architecture. This weekend, fans of modern design will flock to Palm Springs for the fifth annual Modernism Week. I paid a visit, and learned about my own grandparents' role in the creation of Palm Springs' style.

(there's a slideshow, too!)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

La Lucha Continua: Mexican Wrestling in the Mission

Aired on KALW's Crosscurrents on Thursday, January 28, 2010.

About twice a year, a high school gym in San Francisco’s Mission District fills with hundreds of Latino families for an unusual fundraiser. Kids wear facemasks, grandmas yell, dads blow plastic horns for Lucha Libre. It’s a form of Mexican wrestling, a hybrid of sport and spectacle that pits good guys against bad. The idea first hit the U.S. mainstream with the film Nacho Libre and now there are lucha-themed restaurants and even lucha-dance clubs. But it’s not just a form of entertainment: it’s also a theater for social commentary. I go ringside.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti Relief Benefit Concerts in California

Aired on KQED radio's The California Report Magazine on Friday, January 22, 2010.

As search and rescue teams wind down their efforts in Haiti, the island nation is still in desperate need of humanitarian support in the form of food, water and shelter. Fundraising efforts continue across the globe, and of course here in California. I report on a small but passionate community of Haitian musicians planning dozens of concerts to benefit their devastated homeland.