SOCAL CONNECTED “Fire Station 9”

Washington Bound

Madison Middle School is a public school in North Hollywood, serving a mostly low-income, immigrant community: Latinos, Asians, Armenians. But Terre Fallon, a language arts teacher, was determined that her school’s students get a chance to go to Washington for the Inauguration.

But at one thousand one hundred dollars per pupil, this wasn’t going to be affordable for most of the families; and the attempts to raise outside funds were unsuccessful. So the seventh-grade students got to work.

Cindy Rivera and Jennifer Tran became tag-team salesmen of chocolate bars. 12-year old Edwin Lua, stationed himself outside the Hispanic supermarket every weekend, becoming the school’s top fundraiser by making his pitch in both Spanish and English.

Between the monies these kids raised selling chocolate bars and doing car washes … plus some last-minute donations from sympathetic teachers, 35 Madison Middle School students were set to go on the trip of a lifetime.

But there was one more expense they hadn’t anticipated: These were all children of Los Angeles … if they had ever taken a trip outside southern California, it was to visit relatives in Mexico or Central America. So too survive a frigid Washington in January, coats, gloves and scarves would have to be bought or donated.

But their months of effort paid off. Setting off from their Maryland motel at 5:30 the morning of the Inauguration, they were able to find a place on the National Mall, where they could see the Capitol Building, and watch Barack Obama take the oath of office on huge Jumbotron. Even at ages 12 and 13, they all knew this was a story they would be telling their children and grandchildren.

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The Los Angeles Jets youth track and field club is one of the oldest and most established running teams in California. It was founded in South Los Angeles in 1973 by then West Vernon Elementary school teacher Ron Moore.  Five years later James Robertson and Booker Woods joined as coaches and the team became one of the largest co-ed running groups in the city.

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An investigation reveals how the state and many cities have let developers get away for decades with not paying their fair share when they replace affordable lodging with luxury hotels up and down California’s coast.

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Parents are willing to spend thousands to get the competitive edge in the college admissions process, but at what cost? Socal Connected takes a revealing look at the high stakes world of the for-profit education consultant business.

The following changes were made to the original episode:
Students featured in the #decisionday section were replaced with new photos.

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State and local regulators are overwhelmed and outgunned when it comes to closing down California’s poisonous pot pipeline.

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In the beginning of 2019, California, one of the nation’s most secretive states when it comes to police files, put Senate Bill 1421 into effect. The new law made public thousands of police records pertaining to police dishonesty, sexual assault and use of force. And in an unprecedented move, forty news groups partner to dig into these once-secret police files. But even after a year into the new transparency law, journalists and the public are realizing that the law has its limits when it comes to investigating police misconduct.

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