I met an amazing guy this week, Charlie Ortiz, owner of Charlie’s Chop Shop. He opened his barber shop 12 years ago in Bell, not knowing a soul, but he’s come to adopt the town as his own.
I wrote about him in this article at kpcc.org.  I limited my writing there to his insights about how the city has changed for the better since city manager Robert Rizzo, assistant administrator Angela Spaccia and six then-current and former city council members were arrested on public corruption charges.
But there’s more. A Christian and former drug user, he has helped others pull away from addiction.  Red Bolin, pictured in the plaid shirt, brought his son Joshua, 19, for a haircut while I was visiting.
Bolin teared up as he described how Ortiz confronted him about his drug use at a time when Bolin was hitting bottom.
My week was made a lot better for having stumbled over this uplifting group of folks.

I met an amazing guy this week, Charlie Ortiz, owner of Charlie’s Chop Shop. He opened his barber shop 12 years ago in Bell, not knowing a soul, but he’s come to adopt the town as his own.

I wrote about him in this article at kpcc.org.  I limited my writing there to his insights about how the city has changed for the better since city manager Robert Rizzo, assistant administrator Angela Spaccia and six then-current and former city council members were arrested on public corruption charges.

But there’s more. A Christian and former drug user, he has helped others pull away from addiction.  Red Bolin, pictured in the plaid shirt, brought his son Joshua, 19, for a haircut while I was visiting.

Bolin teared up as he described how Ortiz confronted him about his drug use at a time when Bolin was hitting bottom.

My week was made a lot better for having stumbled over this uplifting group of folks.

Interesting experiment. Tweet to or about @EricGarcetti, then sometime later, go to www.ericgarcetti.com/ and add your Twitter handle to the URL. Up will pop your Twitter profile, nicely framed on Garcetti’s page. Guess what? You “opted in” to the Garcetti campaign by interacting with a social media tentacle of the Garcetti machine.
This is just one feature offered by the NationBuilder suite of tech and social media interaction tools increasingly used by local campaigns.
I had no idea until I started researching this story that when you like the Facebook posts of a NationBuilder-connected candidate, they have the ability to match your Facebook persona to your voter file. It’s all public, of course.
And — I’m not getting up on my high horse —  I’d do it myself in service of my own stories if I could. Here’s the article and on-air piece at kpcc.org.

Interesting experiment. Tweet to or about @EricGarcetti, then sometime later, go to www.ericgarcetti.com/ and add your Twitter handle to the URL. Up will pop your Twitter profile, nicely framed on Garcetti’s page. Guess what? You “opted in” to the Garcetti campaign by interacting with a social media tentacle of the Garcetti machine.

This is just one feature offered by the NationBuilder suite of tech and social media interaction tools increasingly used by local campaigns.

I had no idea until I started researching this story that when you like the Facebook posts of a NationBuilder-connected candidate, they have the ability to match your Facebook persona to your voter file. It’s all public, of course.

And — I’m not getting up on my high horse — I’d do it myself in service of my own stories if I could. Here’s the article and on-air piece at kpcc.org.

adonohue:

I’ve spent a considerable amount of words trying to describe my project in its early stages. In just firing off an email quickly, I got it as succinctly as I have yet:

* Build an investigative beat together with a community from scratch. ID needs, expose them, search for solutions….

apmgincommunity:

Congratulations to our MPR Media Challenge team: Lisa Radzak, Mickey Moore, Diana Flotten, Suzanne Pekow, Suzanne Schaffer, Patricia Tinder, Tracy Kompelien, Steve Nelson, Johnny Vince Evans, Marc Sanchez, Fred Child, Jeff Bina, Andy Martin and Tom Weber.
I believe this is the first time we’ve had an MPR team compete as part of the Media Challenge in the TC10 –  here’s hoping to have even more people next year.
Leah Lemm ran the full-marathon — way to go Leah!
Congratulations to all of you on this great accomplishment!
Jon McTaggart

Hey, congrats MPR team. I was there, leading the 5:30 pace group in the full marathon!

apmgincommunity:

Congratulations to our MPR Media Challenge team: Lisa Radzak, Mickey Moore, Diana Flotten, Suzanne Pekow, Suzanne Schaffer, Patricia Tinder, Tracy Kompelien, Steve Nelson, Johnny Vince Evans, Marc Sanchez, Fred Child, Jeff Bina, Andy Martin and Tom Weber.

I believe this is the first time we’ve had an MPR team compete as part of the Media Challenge in the TC10 –  here’s hoping to have even more people next year.

Leah Lemm ran the full-marathon — way to go Leah!

Congratulations to all of you on this great accomplishment!

Jon McTaggart

Hey, congrats MPR team. I was there, leading the 5:30 pace group in the full marathon!

newschallenge:

1. What is your project? [1 sentence]

Whisper enables collection of accurate, ground-level information by reporters and researchers by creating communication channels via mobile phones with people who would otherwise be inaccessible.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and…

I know how fast I do an Ironman, run a marathon and a half-marathon, Paul Ryan apparently does not. Do I know how fast I run a 5K or 10K, a distance I rarely race? ‘Fraid not. Here’s my Storify piece on Ryan and rounding down.
(By the way, the IM time is at Kona 2011, the marathon is Surf City, 2011, and the half is Rock ‘n’ Roll Vegas, 2011. It was a record-setting year for me, more than 20 years after I started running.)

I know how fast I do an Ironman, run a marathon and a half-marathon, Paul Ryan apparently does not. Do I know how fast I run a 5K or 10K, a distance I rarely race? ‘Fraid not. Here’s my Storify piece on Ryan and rounding down.

(By the way, the IM time is at Kona 2011, the marathon is Surf City, 2011, and the half is Rock ‘n’ Roll Vegas, 2011. It was a record-setting year for me, more than 20 years after I started running.)

On my desk today: Super PACS

Last week I learned a bit about super Pacs. As Steve Colbert demonstrated, they are easy to start. And there are hundreds of these organizations which are political committees that are formed to spend money in support or opposition of candidates (or ballot measures? I need to check that out) without coordinating with an official campaign committee.

They span the alphanumeric spectrum from 1911 United — which is a pro-Obama super PAC to Zombies of Tomorrow, a light-hearted effort by a Florida guy named Mel Patel to get young people to register to vote and become “undead” in the political system.

Today, I’m looking at the impact of super PAC money on California Congressional elections. Our state’s Congress races brought in more super PAC spending than any other state — about $4.5 million. Two races, one in the Inland Empire and another out in Ventura County consumed about half the California super PAC money.

If you’re involved in a campaign that is or was touched by the impact of super PAC money, you can tell me by being a source in the Public Insight Network.

Something new

I’ve been doing Public Insight Journalism at KPCC Southern California Public Radio for the past three years, but next month, I move to a new beat here. I’ll be doing political and governance reporting on issues that matter to Southern Californians.

Cathro via Flickr Creative Commons

The topic areas are pretty open and undefined right now, but is sure to include a hard look at how governments are spending your tax money, at how politicians are raising and spending citizen and corporate money, and how well they are governing.

I’ll be on the radio, writing for kpcc.org and blogging on our new political/governance blog, which desperately needs a name.

Got one? Tell me here:

http://www.scpr.org/network/questions/elect2012lovehate

Meanwhile, this was my contribution to the national journalistic pile-on last Saturday when Gov. Mitt Romney named Rep. Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential running mate. Quite simply, I went to look at Paul Ryan’s Twitter feed, realized he (or his Twitter proxy — I couldn’t quite nail down who actually tweets for Ryan) follows just one Twitter account, @nationaldebt. I pulled the string and it led to a very interesting billionaire, Peter G. Peterson, and the former head of one of my favorite federal agencies, the Government Accountability Office.

Yes, I’ll be back to the blog soon. Out running.  (Taken with Instagram)

Yes, I’ll be back to the blog soon. Out running. (Taken with Instagram)

Training ramping up for my 100th marathon (Taken with Instagram)

Training ramping up for my 100th marathon (Taken with Instagram)