Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Walking to save the earth from car emissions

Now, here's a novel idea.

Students at La Mirada High School (California) walked, biked, skated and scootered to school this morning to save the earth from car emissions. Many did come in walking but many also got dropped off in the usual larger-than-life SUVs.
Here's a comp of some of the photos.

Some kids even fell off their scooters and had the very fresh raw flesh to show for.

They did this as part of Earth Day activities.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another crash on the freeway

Well, in between my full schedule, I was sent to Pomona from West Covina for an accident where people were ejected and others were in extreme critical condition. Having this happen in our sister paper the Daily Bulletin's very own backyard didn't seem to matter I suppose, and I was shipped to the carnage. Battling traffic which was horrendous I snapped my first picture just about one hour (11:45) after the accident happened, of all things, of people who had crawled through a hole in a fence and climbed up a steep bank to get a closer look at the bloodbath.

Well, instead of battling more traffic to get to the scene, I parked at the Home Depot on Towne Ave. just south of the 60 freeway in Pomona and crawled through the fence and up the steep bank. I then had to have a CHP officer stop traffic so I could go across three lanes to get to where a totally demolished Camry was facing the other way on the eastbound car pool lane. I could see one body covered next to the car so I snapped. As I maneuvered to the center divider, I noticed another body covered on the other side of the freeway. Yes, on the westbound lanes. I later found it this person was ejected some 100 plus feet from the vehicle.

According to reports, the vehicle lost control, went up the center divider, struck a pole for the signs that go across the freeway telling motorists the exits coming up. Well, if this accident had happened before or after this pole, I bet you maybe, not just one but more of the five in the car would have survived. This is just what I feel but maybe not. Two died in or on their way to hospital.

But, after working the images to give the best of why the traffic was so bad, TWO DEAD BODIES ON THE ROAD, ONE ON EACH SIDE, someone at the paper decided no to use ANY showing remotely that there was a body covered by something. If this accident had not had fatalities, it would have been cleared up pretty quickly and traffic would have continued on. But, the reason for the lanes closures was in fact the bodies on the ground, so I feel this was very significant in why there was so much traffic. I was told by one person that I needed to give a photo WITH NO BODY in it. I felt as if I was being railroaded and systematically, selectively being discriminated against. Just a few days before, a full front page photo of a body on a gurney was published on the hardcopy paper and front page of the website of the Star News. I was still given the same non-answer that people give you when they have no argument or explanation (other than they do it because they can), so I asked who I needed to talk to to bring up my concern. I was told to go to a higher up, so I did.. and low and behold, that person agreed with me. The higher up said we have even ran uncovered bodies when the Iraq war first began. My online gallery still has not pics of the bodies, but here they are for you to judge.

Lastly, it was also reported that this car was speeding to catch up to two or three other cars from the same group that had gone ahead. Furthermore, only one of the occupants was said to be wearing a seat belt.

If anything, I believe the photos shows what can happen when speeding and not wearing seat-belts. Just yesterday there was "show & tell" at a Pasadena school where already-crashed cars were set out on the street and student actors went out there and played victims. The idea was to shock students into not drinking and driving, speeding, etc.

Now, those photos from the fake event, also ran in the paper and could be shocking when first looked at. I do not subscribe to the "grassy knoll" type of theories, but I am begin to feel that for some reason, I feel that those who have power just use it without real rhyme or reason. I was out at the location and I witnessed first hand the carnage and I tried to show in a non-sensationalistic manner what happened, but people who may have only seen the crash on television, think they have a better understanding of how to bring the news to the people. I will disagree on this one 100%.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

In an Absolut World

Here's the ad that ran in Mexico. The Swedish company said it meant no harm and I believe them. They are just trying to sell their product. What do you think?

This reminded me of a photo I took March 27, 2006, In Montebello, at Montebello High School. These kids were not from that school but came from Whittier High School and El Rancho High School (Pico Rivera) and I think a couple of other schools, including some middle schools.

The Mexican flag was raised above an over-turned USA flag.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Out of the blue

So I'm hanging out at the Arboretum in Arcadia, minding my own business and I see these people taking wedding photos. I stood away with the long lens, in the shade, just cooling my heels for a minute or two. Then I saw the photographer (green shirt) talking to the groom and making a move to grab him. I pointed the camera in their direction and snap snap snap. The photographer was explaining to the groom how to hold the bride in a position for a photo. This all happened in a matter of seconds and the bride, in the background, burst out laughing. Here are two pics the initial candid one and the expected one.

As you can see, this second one is not as graceful, or as entertaining as the first.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sheriff deputies talk at deli confirmed

Re: March 20 entry.

After hearing the deputies speak about graphic details of a murder, I called my office and passed what I heard on to a reporter. She in turn, passed it on to the reporter on the story, and after some prodding with inside sources, the information the two deputies were talking about in plain sight of many having their lunch, was confirmed.

Yes, the woman killed in West Covina was shot at least five times, like the deputies had said. She was shot twice and then chased under a desk and shot three more times.

Who knew these guys could not keep quiet while a photojournalist sat literally five feet next to them in a public restaurant.

PPAGLA's New World of Media Photojournalism Seminar

From left to right, Annie Wells, David H. Kennerly and Nick Ut

Hello everyone,

Headed out the PPAGLA Seminars at CSU Fullerton today and caught a few very helpful seminars. The real treat though was the Pulitzer Prize roundtable "Story behind the Pictures" with Pultizer Prize winners David Hume Kennerly, Nick Ut, Annie Wells.

Just as the title of the roundtable suggests, they spoke about how they came to make their winning photos.

Nick Ut said he had four cameras around his neck as Nepalm was dropped on a nearby road where people were evacuating. Two other photographers were there but had run out of film as the now-famous young girl came out of the fire and smoke with all her clothing burnt off and most of her upper body badly burned. He was the onl one to snap photos although there was a film crew that also rolled film.

Annie Wells said how lucky she was to be in a situation that allowed her to capture the life-and-death situation a young girl was facing. And, the dramatic rescue in a swollen river by trained fire dept. personnel.

Hillary Clinton, second from right, during Nixon's impeachment.

David H. Kennerly spoke about his times as White House photographer and how he had the run of the place during Ford's days. He said that when Ford called him for the job, the only thing he asked for was to answer only to the president and to have the run of the place. He got that and he got photos that could not have been possible if a chief of staff had been his boss.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Inside information?

So I 'm imaging my assignments at a deli in Covina this afternoon, minding my own business. A sheriff deputy and one with two stripes (Sgt?) sit literally next to me and have their lunch. Just before they get up to leave, one said something like this:

The way they killed her was brutal, they shot her twice, then chased her under the desk and shot her three more times. And the other one says something like:

man and her husband showed no remorse. He's going to be in jail for a long time. They also mentioned that "a van" must be in Mexico by now.

Now, these are not direct quotes but just what I recall overhearing.

The funny thing is, there was a murder in West Covina yesterday. A woman was killed in her mansion in mid-day. She was on the phone to 911 when she was shot and killed. I have not heard of any specific details from that murder, but if these guys re talking about the same woman, I just had a big news leak from the eating deputies.

How's that for a story?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCain Not A Natural-born Citizen???

Check this out...

McCain was born in the US Controlled Panama Canal area. He is a citizen, but NOT a natural-born citizen, so he cannot be president. US Constitution says so.

Read more here:

Friday, March 14, 2008

News and news

Began my day with news, and ended it with news. An empty tree-trimming truck overturned on the 605 fwy. Imagine these chunks of concrete flying at you onthe other side of the freeway as the truck smashes into the center divider.

Two people arguing in a truck were pulled over and detailed for a while until cops did some digging and found it was only a "family dispute." After both had the handcuffs removed, they walked back to the truck and took off. Some people.

And finally, today I visited the now-closed women's jail in L.A. called Cybil Brand Institute. After 11 years of being closed, the automatic doors still closed... and more importantly, they still opened. I got in one to take this shot.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yesterday, we had an eclipse

Hello everyone,

Well, yesterday evening, we experienced a moon eclipse. It had rained most of the day and it was cloudy, but by the evening, the clouds cleared just long enough to allow me to take these pics. It began before the moon rose and ended a few hours later. When I first saw the moon coming over near a hill I live by, it was crossing the earth's shadow already about 1/2 way. Between 18:30 and 19:00, the moon completed its course of entering the earth's shadow. As it became "dark" clouds came over my home and BAM, it was gone. Later on, I looked out the window and the moon was coming out of the shadow, but it was barely visible through the cloud cover. The photo is a compilation of five pics taken over the course of 1/2 an hour.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Media Rights Violations


It's been a busy winter, but I am back. This is something I feel needs to be talked about.

Feb. 16, 2008

Recently, there have been two incidents between myself and the L.A. County Sheriff Dept. field officers. I think these need to be talked about so that blatant violations do not continue. The following is my opinion of what I think were violations. If there are any legal eagles out there who can comment on this, it would be greatly appreciated.

I feel my civil rights have been violated by three L.A. County Sheriff Dept. employees on two different occasions: Friday, Feb. 15, 2008, by Sgt. Scott Craig & Pioneer High School SRO at Pioneer High School in Whittier; and a female deputy in Valinda on Jan. 24, 2008:

(Incident #2 shows photos of what L.A. County Sheriff personnel cannot, should not and must not do against the media.)


Here is what happened Feb. 15, 2008, at Pioneer High School and what I think were rights violations by the sheriff department.

Background: A suspicious device was found at Pioneer High School, Whittier, during school hours. Sheriff officers gathered in a parking lot at the school to investigate the situation. Some of the streets were blocked by police cars but others were not. The main entrance to the school was not blocked off at all and no yellow tape was anywhere. Students milled around within the gates of the school as they went from class to class or where ever they were going. When arriving at the scene, I spoke to two deputies at a corner near the school and they informed me a device had been found and that evacuations of neighbors was being attempted. They also said evacuations at the school would occur and that students would be taken to a parking lot. Since students were walking around inside, I decided to approach the security guard at the gate to ask if I could speak with the school's principal, who has a good rapport with the newspaper I work for. I needed to know if evacuations were going to happen. But then...

A - I was kept from approaching the school's front gate's security guard to ask to speak with the principal by Sgt. Craig. When I asked the Sgt. "Isn't this a public place?" Sgt. Craig stated that under Sheriff Lee Baca's name, he could take my press pass if I continued to seek access to the school. He said the school was closed and that there were minors inside. There was no yellow tape or anyone or anything that stated or implied the school was a closed campus. I had just spoken to two other deputies who did not mention anything about the school being closed.

After I spoke with Sgt. Craig, the school's SRO told me I could not speak to the principal or anyone else at the school, and that I needed to talk to her only. She could not have known that I wanted to speak to the principal unless Sgt. Craig spoke to her and told her. This, I feel, created the conspiracy to stop me from speaking to the principal.

I feel Sgt. Craig violated California Penal Code 409.5 (d). and Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242 Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law for not allowing me to approach the school's front gate and security guard and also Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241, Conspiracy Against Rights for speaking with the SRO about my intentions to speak to the principal.

B - I feel that Pioneer High School SRO, identified as SRO-Deputy Claudia Iwasczyszyn in the school's official website's directory, conspired with Sgt. Craig of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department to prevent me from speaking with anyone at school.

After I spoke with Sgt. Craig about my intentions to see if the school principal had any information about evacuations, the school's SRO came to me and told me I had five seconds to speak to her and that I could not speak to the principal of the school or anyone else there. Since I was on the telephone at the time leaving a message for the principal, I told her I did not need to speak to her. She began to walk away and I asked her for her name and title. She refused to give me her name and stated that the only thing I needed to know was that she was the school's SRO.

I feel the SRO violated my civil rights by conspiring with Sgt. Craig to keep me from speaking to the principal and anyone else at the school and by refusing to give me her name when requested.

Additionally, I feel these two officers of the law violated Canons of Ethics and Ethical Standards that the L.A. County Sheriff and California Peace Officers Association Law Enforcement Code of Ethics set forth, as well as the L.A. County Sheriff's Department mission and core values and media guide.

Below are two items of note directly out of the website:

Media Access at an Incident/Crime Scene:
Whenever the media is denied access to an incident/crime scene, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department personnel shall:

- Provide a "Media Area" with maximum access possible under the circumstances 
- Assign a P.I.O. to provide timely and updated information to the media 
- Consider "Pool" access, (1 TV camera, 1TV reporter, 1 print reporter, 1 still photographer, 1 radio reporter) into the scene, who will share the information with their counterparts outside the scene

All three points above were not provided to me.

I was told by Sgt. Craig a media area would be provided but it never was; the school SRO never identified herself as PIO, spoke to me in a demeaning manner and was very belligerent in her attitude and composure; no pool access was even mentioned to me.

Media Access at a Disaster Scene:
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department may close an area under the authority of:
0. 409.5(a) P.C. ". ..a menace to the public health or safety is created by a calamity such as a flood, storm, fire, earthquake, explosion, accident, or other disaster. . ."
0. However, 409.5(d) P.C. states "Nothing in this section shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service from entering the area closed . . . "
Disaster Scene Command Post Areas may be closed to the media.
A safety hazard to the media does not justify restriction; however, it is Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department policy to warn the media of potential danger before allowing access.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department personnel shall honor current media passes, from other law enforcement agencies.

Sgt. Craig did not honor my current media pass, did not warm me of any dangers and instead threatened to take it away in the name of Sheriff Lee Baca.

This information was taken directly from website (link below):

In the end, after the female SRO talked to me, she went and put tape all around the streets. I remained on the sidewalk in front of the school's entrance, the principal got my message and came out to talk to me and a reporter who had walked in after a code 4 was called and the tape taken down. The device was just some sort of tube capped at both ends.


On January 24, 2008, while at a kidnapping scene at the 17400 block of Boulay Ave. in Valinda, I feel a female L.A. County Sheriff deputy violated media rights as follows.

Background: Arriving at the scene of a kidnapping, there was yellow tape about 100 yards to each side of the home on a very long block. When a reporter and myself arrived at the scene, we were immediately confronted by a female deputy and told to move back. Another sheriff officer came to her and told her to move the tape back all the way to the end of the street, or another 50 yards or so.

This female deputy made me move my vehicle and moved us father back from the home where two people had been kidnapped. As shown in photos below (original files are 1-24-08-22 KIDNAP3 and 1-24-08-22 KIDNAP4), neighbors mill around in the street within the yellow tape as the media, SGVN and KTLA, are kept away behind the tape. I drove to the other side of the street, where channel 5 had set up, again, behind yellow tape, almost at the other corner of a very long street. The incident was approximately right in the middle of the block.

If there were neighbors within the yellow tape, why was it necessary for the deputy to move the media back away from the scene at all?

Photo #3 shows SGVN reporter Brian Day speaking with sheriff personnel in background, behind the yellow tape, and people holding babies, and just walking in the street holding a coffee mug and hands in their pockets WITHIN the yellow tape. Photo #4 shows the female deputy, who is readily identifiable, putting up the tape, with one of the persons in photo #3 in the background as well.

The media guide page on the web states:

Incident/Crime Scene "Don'ts" for LASD Personnel

0. Do not establish artificial barriers for the media. For example, do not cordon off the media a block from the incident/crime while allowing the general public to wan d e just beyond the incident / crime scene tape.
0. Do not arbitrarily isolate the media outside the incident / crime scene, unless their presence inhibits the investigation or response by law enforcement or other emergency personnel.
0. Do not prevent the media from photographing, filming or interviewing people in public areas. The media may interview, film or take photographs of whomever they wish in public 
0. Do not limit media access based on safety concerns. It is the responsibility of each individual member of the media whether to assume the risks involved.

Incident/Crime Scene Reminders for LASD Personnel

0. While some incident / crime scenes may require a ban on any media vehicles, this restriction may not necessarily apply to media access on foot.
0. A safety hazard to the media does not justify restriction; however, warning of potential danger before allowing access is LASD policy.
If the general public has access to an area, the media can also be there.
0. LASD personnel shall honor current media passes from other law enforcement agencies.
0. NOTE: In the event of a dispute over access, contact the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.

The first bullet point under "DON'TS" above specifically describes what the female deputy did wrong, who with a stern and demeaning voice and aggressive, intimidating body posturing violated their own department's rules.

See photos below:

Reporter Brian Day, in white shirt, is shown behind yellow tape in background speaking with Sheriff dept. personnel. Neighbors mill around within the yellow tape in violation of media guide rules. Photo is taken from other side of street, behind yellow tape, next to Channel 5 camera, with a 400 mm lens and a 1.4 ext. (Photo by Raul Roa/SGVN)

This female sheriff officer made media move farther back away from scene while neighbors milled around within the yellow tape on the other side of the street. media guide states she is not allowed to do this and is violating media rights.
(Photo by Raul Roa/SGVN)

In the end, an ambulance took someone away from the home and police activity died down in front of the home. Even though the tape remained up, I left.

Link to the LASD media guide:

The person in charge of the L.A. Co. Sheriff Pico Rivera Station and Industry Station is Thomas P. Angel, Field Operations Region III Chief.

Raul Roa
SGVN Staff Photographer