Brian Watt Business and Economics Reporter

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Brian Watt is a Business and Economics Reporter for KPCC. He joined the KPCC news team in 2007. Prior to that, he worked as a producer at "Marketplace," where he filed a number of his own stories and even filled in some mornings as host.

Brian holds degrees in Theater from Yale University and the Sorbonne, and has worked as an actor in France, Italy, Brazil, Hungary and Hollywood. He appeared in a few television shows, including "The West Wing," "Judging Amy," and "The District."

Stories by Brian Watt

Arts hold promise as jobs engine in California economy

California lost thousands of manufacturing jobs when the economy soured in the early 1990s. The recession has drained away thousands of construction jobs. What the state could use is a new source of well-paying jobs — and it might have found it in the arts. The Joint Legislative Committee on the Arts held a hearing last week in Culver City to find ways to help the arts heal the ailing economy.

Executive director of Napa State Hospital arrested on charges of sexual molestation

Police arrested the executive director of the Napa State Hospital Wednesday on charges of sexual molestation. Prosecutors allege that 62-year-old Claude Foulk sexually molested a foster child who lived with him in Long Beach.

'Captain EO' returns to Disneyland Tuesday

A fantasia from the 1980s, "Captain EO," is returning to Disneyland as an homage to its late star. Michael Jackson’s special effects-laden starring role hits the Magic Kingdom’s screen again on Tuesday.

Negrohead Mountain now Ballard Mountain in honor of African-American pioneer

For decades, a peak in the Santa Monica Mountains was known as “Negrohead Mountain.” At a private ceremony on Saturday, federal and Los Angeles County officials will formally dedicate a new name for the peak: Ballard Mountain.

Schwarzenegger highlights benefits of 1-year-old federal stimulus package

California received more money from the federal stimulus package than any other state. On its first anniversary today, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger emphasized the benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Yorba Linda family's drag racing dynasty gears up for 50th Winternationals

The National Hot Rod Association kicks off the drag racing year Thursday with the 50th Winternationals in Pomona. In the Funny Car division, there’s a family dynasty. John Force Racing has won 16 championships in the last 20 seasons.

Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray is charged in pop star's death

Michael Jackson's personal physician was charged with involuntary manslaughter today in connection with the pop superstar's death from an overdose of a powerful prescription sedative. Dr. Conrad Murray, 56, pleaded not guilty to the felony charge at a brief arraignment hearing this afternoon at the Airport Branch Courthouse.

Toyota dealer and Prius owner navigate automaker's bumpy road

Wednesday was another rough day for Toyota, what with the U.S. transportation secretary’s strong words and complaints about the brakes in its hot-selling hybrid Prius. A major Southern California Toyota dealer and a Prius driver kept the faith.

First Regional Bank branches re-open under First Citizens ownership

First Regional Bank is no more. The Southland bank became the first in California to fail this year. Regulators shut it down on Friday. Its branches reopened Monday morning under the name of the bank that agreed to take it over: First Citizens Bank and Trust.

Health care workers at Kaiser Permanente's SoCal facilities drop SEIU, join upstart union

Health care workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities in Southern California have voted to give their union the boot. The massive Service Employees International Union is out, and the small upstart National Union of Healthcare Workers is in.

Calif. woman gets 3 years for huge mortgage fraud

A federal judge has sentenced a former real estate appraiser to three years in prison for her role in a wide-ranging mortgage fraud scheme.

Toyota dealers scramble to respond to customers after company suspends vehicle sales

A potentially faulty gas pedal has prompted Toyota to stop the sale of eight popular models. That's left Southland Toyota dealers with a lot of cars they can’t sell, and a lot of concerned customers.

Reactions to resignation of Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn vary

City of Inglewood officials are figuring out what to do now that Mayor Roosevelt Dorn has resigned. Dorn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charge on the same day jury selection in his trial was to begin.

Alleged kidnapper and murderer of Lily Burk to stand trial

A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge has ordered Charlie Samuel to stand trial. Samuel is charged in the abduction and murder of 17-year-old Lily Burk last summer. More on the story from KPCC's Brian Watt.

Auditions for Oscar show dancers draws fleet-footed crowd

The producers of the 82nd Academy Awards show hosted an open audition for dancers Friday. The cold rain didn't deter a few hundred professional dancers from lining up for their chance.