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Here's a further sampling of articles I've written over the years that touch on themes I still find interesting, in no particular order:



A once-proud college basketball program unravels


How the University of San Francisco men's hoops program went from scandal to laughingstock, with legendary coach Eddie Sutton along for the ride. Read it


Hemingway in Arkansas


Holed up with second wife Pauline Pfeiffer during several stints in the northeast Arkansas town of Piggott, Ernest Hemingway wrote portions of "A Farewell to Arms," among other things, while leaving a larger-than-life impression. But it didn't result in much admiration. Read it


Iron Lady of Public Radio


The Los Angeles Times front page profile that radio maven Ruth Seymour, whose influence stretched from powerhouse Santa Monica  station KCRW to the halls of NPR in Washington, tried her best to have spiked. Read it


Say what, Otis Chandler?


The late-great LA Times publisher and newspaper scion dropped out of the corner office rat race, first to live with surfer dudes in a Malibu mobile home park and later to hunt big game and tend his private antique car museum on the Ventura County coast. He didn't take kindly to the rapid descent of his paper after Tribune Co. bought and proceeded to trash it. So what does he do? He sits down with me (by then, an LAT ex-pat) to unload on the keepers of his former kingdom. Temporarily unavailable


Harry Truman's Last Stand


The 84-year-old lodge owner at the foot of Mount St. Helens had his proverbial 15 minutes of fame telling reporters he'd never evacuate despite warnings that the mountain was about to blow. Harry wasn't one to eat his words. Read it


Welcome to the Hotel California


Like the shadowy place of the Eagles' hit song of the '70s, the long-tattered Hotel Lido is a last refuge for Hollywood eccentrics, wannabes and has-beens, with more than a little spookiness thrown in. Read it


The girl who almost married Elvis


In Memphis, everyone has an Elvis Presley story. And some of them are true. Read it


Pedophile priests and the hierarchs who protected them


Selected articles from my award-winning investigation of the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church from Los Angeles,

San Francisco and elsewhere. Articles are listed in reverse chronological order. Bottom titles comprise "Legacy of Shame," a seven-part expose of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony published in 2001 and 2002 at a time when he still enjoyed protection from important media outlets, notably the Los Angeles Times. Click titles to read.


  • House of the Accused | In the shadow of San Francisco's cathedral, a priestly residence hall teeming with accused pedophiles

  • Blind Eye Unto the Holy See | William Levada's man to advise U. S. bishops on the sex abuse scandal? An alleged child molestor.

  • Zipped Up | In keeping secrets about clerical sex abuse, William Levada found friends among Bay Area district attorneys

  • Fast Times at Marin Catholic High | Father Gregory Ingels' sordid record as an alleged child molester

  • See No Evil | How San Francisco Archbishop William J. Levada perfected the art of looking the other way

  • Bishop Bad Boy | I go looking for disgraced ex-Santa Rosa bishop G. Patrick Ziemann in the Arizona desert

  • Camp Ped | The sham New Mexico "therapy" center for pedophile priests that U. S. bishops used as a hiring fair

  • Mahony's Cronies | The outsized role of California's St. John's Seminary as alma mater to miscreant priests and hierarchs

  • Holy Hypocrite | Roger Mahony casts himself as a leader among U. S. prelates on the sex abuse issue

  • Cardinal Coverup | How Roger Mahony for years systematically swept priestly sex abuse under the rug

  • Mouth Wide Shut | Roger Mahony's dismal record as Bishop of Stockton comes back to bite him

  • Unholy Alliance | I lay bare Cardinal Mahony's secret deal to commercialize the Los Angeles Archdiocese's cemeteries

  • Taj Mahony | Amid a budding scandal, L. A.'s cardinal forges ahead with a grand new cathedral


Inside the Mexican Mafia


A look at the notorious prison gang whose highly-intelligent--even erudite--leaders confound common misperceptions about them, a piece awarded the Silver Medallion for Excellence in investigative reporting from the California State Bar.  Temporarily unavailable


Local TV news and the cutting edge of cheapness


I go behind the scenes at San Francisco's KRON-TV to report on how the once-proud station became a template for the "one-man band" model of newsroom cost-cutting. Read it


What could be worse for Guatemalans languishing in Mexican refugee camps?


Going home and being killed by former President Efrain Rios Montt's military goon squads. So insisted residents of Maya-Tecum, a forelorn jungle encampment in the Mexican state of Campeche upon my 1987 visit there. Read it                                                                      


Anatomy of California's great electricity price-fixing scam


How former Governor Pete Wilson and his allies made it possible for a cabal of out-of-state energy hucksters to bring down California's power grid under phony pretenses, triggering a crises that sent his successor, Gray Davis, packing, and opening the door to Arnold Schwarzenegger's political rise. Read it


The Indian who wasn't


Actor Iron Eyes Cody parlayed roles in countless westerns and an iconic anti-littering public service spot on TV in the 1950s (as the crying Indian) into a career as perhaps the most recognized Native American spokesman of his generation. Problem was, he was only pretending to be an Indian. And, amazingly, no one ever called him on it. Temporarily unavailable


Toxic Island


Forget buying swampland in Florida. Here's another bill of goods to think twice about: the Navy said it was going to clean up the environmental mess it left behind on San Francisco's Treasure Island. Read it


The future of death


What happens when the rebellious son of a midwestern funeral home family buys Hollywood's most iconic cemetery and reshapes it for the digital age. Temporarily unavailable


Fly Girl


The last and only still-declared missing female military pilot from World War II and why her plane's disappearance after takeoff from what is now Los Angeles International Airport still has people hoping to find it. Temporarily unavailable


San Quentin's monumental wall murals and the long-lost ex-con who painted them


After 50 years, aging artist Alfredo Santos -- living in obscurity in San Diego -- returns to California's most famous prison to be honored for epic art work few on the outside have ever seen. Read it


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