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Ten to Remember: How We Covered 2017

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Perhaps no year in living memory presented greater challenges and opportunities to the press than 2017, and Capital & Main was no exception. In response to the Trump presidency, we expanded our coverage well beyond California, while continuing to investigate the fault lines that undergird the nation’s most populous state. We also deepened our reporting on immigration, hate and white nationalism and climate change – issues that will define the Trump era. And we began a long-term commitment to examining business and social responsibility.

Here are 10 series and stories from 2017 that offer a window into how Capital & Main made sense of an extraordinary year in the history of our nation and state.

  1. Investigating Labor Secretary Nominee Andrew Puzder’s Fast Food Empire
  2. The Golden State of Hate: California and White Nationalism in the Age of Trump
  3. Charge Time: Electric Car Workers Accuse Tesla of Low Pay and Intimidation
  4. Fire and ICE: Inside California’s Fight Against the Trump Immigration Crackdown
  5. The Bottom Line, a podcast on business and society.
  6. Promise Breakers: How Regulators Failed to Stop a Sacramento Lead Hazard
  7. Can Unions — and the American Middle Class — Survive the Supreme Court’s Janus Decision?
  8. Can California Ban Fracking?
  9. Trouble in Eden: A Divided Marin County Community Gets a New Charter School
  10. Deadly Detention: Why Are Immigrants Dying in ICE Custody?

Promise Breakers

Promise Breakers: Scenes From a Regulatory Failure (Video)

Today Capital & Main publishes an investigative series on the failure of Sacramento and two state agencies to safeguard the public from the hazards of lead.

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Joe Rubin

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Video Credits: Reported by Joe Rubin. Camera and editor Matthew Maxwell. Aerial photography Devon McMindes. Additional camera Jessica Obert


Today Capital & Main publishes an investigative series by reporter Joe Rubin on the failure of the city of Sacramento and two state agencies responsible for safeguarding the public from the hazards of lead. Read Rubin’s Promise Breakers stories and watch this video created by Rubin and his multimedia team.

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Labor & Economy

Jaime’s Story: Left Behind by the American Health Care Act

A severely disabled boy and his caregiver face an uncertain future with the passage of the American Health Care Act.

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A severely disabled boy and his caregiver face an uncertain future with the passage of the American Health Care Act.

(Also see AHCA stories by Paul Tullis and Rex Weiner.)

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Fire and ICE

Fire and ICE Video: Whitehouse Supremacy

For decades white nationalists were a fringe element in American politics. But now anti-immigrant extremists with ties to white supremacists hold key positions at the highest level of government.

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For decades white nationalists were a fringe element in American politics. But now anti-immigrant extremists with ties to white supremacists hold key positions at the highest level of government.

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Fire and ICE

Fire and ICE Video: Adelanto — Rendered Invisible

Co-published by Newsweek
The Adelanto Detention Facility, operated by a private, for-profit prison company for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is California’s largest immigrant detention center. Recently two detainees died within weeks of each other there.

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Co-published by Newsweek

The Adelanto Detention Facility, operated by a private, for-profit prison company for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is California’s largest immigrant detention center. Recently two detainees died within weeks of each other there.

Also: Read Robin Urevich’s “Detention Deaths in the High Desert.”

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California Dreaming

Video: California Dreaming

A video by Marco Amador capturing the optimism of Californians in a time of uncertainty.

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The Golden State of Hate

The Golden State of Hate: Balmeet Singh Interview

A video account by a Bakersfield Sikh who was seemingly targeted for his skin color and turban.

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A video account by a Bakersfield Sikh who was seemingly targeted for his skin color and turban.

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The Golden State of Hate

Video: The Golden State of Hate

A continuing series on hate and extremism in California and the nation.

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Politics & Government

“No Ban! No Wall!” Scenes from the LAX Protests

Video of protests against the Trump administration’s travel ban.

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State of Resistance

Video: State of Resistance

More than any other place, California is well positioned to push back against the agenda of the incoming president. In a special series, Capital & Main examines why and how the Golden State will both lead the resistance to Donald Trump and continue to advance progressive ideas and policies.

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Politics & Government

Video: L.A. Supervisors’ Immigration Hearing Erupts in Shouting Matches

President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t yet sworn his oath of office, but his announced policies have already thrown a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting into pandemonium. BY LEIGHTON WOODHOUSE

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Leighton Woodhouse

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President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t yet sworn his oath of office, but his announced policies have already thrown a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting into pandemonium.

Yesterday, supervisors met to hear public comments and to vote on a measure to create a new Office of Immigrant Services, and to direct a civilian review board to oversee policies on the handling of undocumented immigrants in county jails by the L.A. Sheriff’s Department. It was pretty humdrum stuff, compared to what state legislators are doing.

But that’s not what you’d guess from the reception the hearing received.

Seated before an audience of hundreds in their sleek auditorium the size and shape of a movie theater, with a bevy of cameras surrounding them like a firing squad, the supervisors struggled to slog through a long series of dry presentations by county bureaucrats on the measure, followed by over a hundred oral comments from the public.

Every five minutes, from some corner of the room, a clamor of cackles, chants or boos erupted, either from the large contingent of immigrant rights activists in the crowd, or from the only slightly smaller throng of Trump supporters decked out in red T-shirts and “Make America Great” baseball caps.

“ICE out of L.A.!” a dozen pro-immigrant activists chanted at the assistant sheriff, after he testified that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is in county jails “on an almost daily basis.”

The pro-Trump crowd, mostly seated together on one side of the aisle, met the chant with noisy boos. They turned their live-streaming cellphones, held perpetually aloft in front of their faces, in the direction of the perpetrators. “Kick them out!” they yelled to the supervisors.

The outbursts and counter-outbursts repeated themselves another half dozen times through the half hour or so of reports by county officials, initiated first by one side, then by the other, like dueling fans at a USC-UCLA football game. Over and over, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who presided over the meeting, warned that offenders would be ejected from the room, his threats sounding increasingly weary and empty with every repetition.

Then it was the public’s turn to recite their comments. The majority of them, by far, favored the resolution, which was mildly pro-immigrant. But the handful of outraged voices aligned against it did score points for creativity.

One middle-aged woman who identified herself as an L.A. public school teacher accused Democrats of smuggling millions of undocumented immigrants into California in order to turn them into child prostitutes.

A middle-aged man invoked Vice President John Calhoun and the Nullification Crisis of 1832 to charge each of the supervisors of being Confederate sympathizers for putting “states’ rights” before federal authority in their support for “sanctuary laws.” A young man from West Covina complained that his city’s switch to district elections, made to help increase Latino representation in city government, showed that California was becoming an “apartheid state.”

A weathered-looking white woman declared that California was becoming “a petri dish for globalists,” and called for Trump to “intervene in California’s affairs.” The pro-Trump audience members clapped and cheered. Ridley-Thomas pleaded once again for quiet.

Another commenter explained that the Mexican drug cartels are lashing out, upset about being deported. The argument didn’t make much sense, but was greeted with a hearty “Deport them all!” from one Trump supporter.

Finally, after two hours, Ridley-Thomas made good on his threat. He declared that the board was going into executive session, which meant that the entire audience was barred from the room. The auditorium emptied.

The proposal passed by a 4 to 1 vote, except for the part about oversight of the sheriff’s department, which was supported unanimously. A few hours later, with a week and a half left until Trump takes office, President Obama gave his farewell speech. He deplored the deep divisions in our country, rallying his supporters to defend political pluralism, and to safeguard the Constitution against intolerance and autocracy.

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