On Assignment: Vegans Have A Beef With California’s Handling of The Drought


Plant eaters gathered at the World Vegan Summit & Expo in Los Angeles this month say going vegan would go a long way in solving the California drought.

Activists and academics say eschewing animal products would blow water other conservation efforts out of the water as the state enters the fourth straight year of drought.

My report on FSRN.



Lorelei Plotczyk, founder of  the grassroots organization Truth or Drought says“The idea that someone could be fined for watering their lawn on the wrong day, but could then go inside and serve their family a pound of beef at dinner which uses enough water for a year of showers by some estimates is completely and totally insane.”

A 2012 study by the Pacific Institute on California’s water footprint found meat and dairy production accounts for almost half of the water use in the state while household use accounts for only four percent. Find more of my radio reporting here.




On Assignment: Live Tweeting From a Chicken Coop

More than once my mother has referenced tending to chickens when she was a young girl growing up in Malawi, Africa. I have been lucky enough to go back to Africa to see the coops there, and we are talking about truly free range chickens. In my imagination that was the way all chickens were raised.

But then I started looking into the new California law that mandates bigger quarters for all the chickens that lay the eggs that are sold in California.

That is what prompted my visit to the backyard chicken coop of Roe and Trish Sie. It is where I discovered just how little I knew about the chicken and the egg.
Learn more in my report for Deutsche Welle.

Listen to more of my stories on my Reporting page.

1st Person: My Almost Interview With Mario Cuomo


I was a freshly-minted, albeit temporary, East Coaster. And one of my first assignments was in the NYC. I was excited as much as I was scared. Which makes sense considering my assignment was to do a story about crime in the Big Apple.

How serious was the crime rate? Forget statistics. One of my cab drivers showed me a small pipe that he had at the ready. It was designed to disabuse anyone who tried to rob him.
“It will hurt them, but not kill them,” he told me earnestly. Exactly how he calibrated that, I will never know. But his comments only added to my fear factor.

Cut to 1PP. Only then I only knew it as the NYPD cop shop. It would be awhile before I learned the nickname for 1 Police Plaza by watching “Law & Order.” So there I was rolling with my clique. A photog. A sound engineer. And a very kindly producer.

On the way in I spotted him casually chatting in front on the building with, well I don’t know. But I knew him. Yes, Mario Cuomo. I instantly recognized him. He smiled, benevolently. I smiled, Jimmy Olsenly. He kindly asked, “What are you doing?” “I am here to do a story about crime in New York City.” Of course I was angling to interview him. My answer was not what he expected. He seemed a bit annoyed. Maybe he expected a softer response because l was wearing pink that day. As for any illusion that I had about getting an impromptu interview, well the gov shut it down right quick. There was not a handler in sight and I knew it was a long shot.I returned to 1PP a few times after that. I couldn’t tell you about subsequent interviewees and I don’t remember the color I was wearing.

I will always remember almost getting an interview Mario Cuomo.

Rest in Peace.