Brian Watt Business and Economics Reporter
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
The Fred Jordan Mission is serving more than 2,000 homeless people today at its 65th annual Thanksgiving meal. Dozens of organizations throughout the Southland are offering meals to victims of the recent wildfires, to cops and to homeless people. KPCC's Brian Watt says the rough economic times are prompting many people who normally wouldn't need help to look for it.
Like their counterparts in many areas of the Southland this holiday week, volunteers from the International Longshore and Warehouse workers union have been distributing Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need. KPCC's Brian Watt reports on Tuesday's event in Wilmington.
On Veterans Day yesterday, a crowd filled a room at the Proud Bird restaurant near L.A. International Airport. They honored the Women Air Force Service Pilots - or WASPs - who served during World War II.
Just over half of California voters approved Proposition 8. A CNN exit poll shows that the amendment to ban same-sex marriage split white, Latino, and Asian-American voters roughly 50/50. But 70 percent of African American voters favored Prop 8. KPCC's Brian Watt has more on some of the reasons.
The city attorneys in L.A. and San Francisco are challenging the validity of Proposition 8. Californians this week narrowly approved amending the state constitution to eliminate marriage rights for same-sex couples. City attorneys Rocky Delgadillo of L.A. and Dennis Herrera of San Francisco filed a request for the state Supreme Court to overturn the ban. KPCC's Brian Watt reports the legal challenges to Proposition 8 began even before all the votes were counted.
More than 14,000 people have signed a petition scheduled for delivery today to the Mormon temple in West Los Angeles. The letter asks the president-prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to stop the church's fundraising and organizing efforts in support of Proposition 8. The proposed statewide ban on same-sex marriage has engaged religious believers on both sides of the debate. KPCC's Brian Watt talked with active members of two faiths, who hold different opinions on the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
Since last December, political scientists at UCLA and Stanford have been surveying the attitudes of 20,000 voters across the country and across the ethnic and political spectrum. Yesterday, KPCC's Brian Watt examined their methods for determining the ways race factors into their choice for president. Today, he says, their project has also focused on African-American voters as the historic Election Day approaches.
In 1982, L.A.'s black mayor, Tom Bradley, lost the election for governor of California, even though exit polls predicted he'd win. There were lots of reasons why Bradley lost, but some pollsters contend voters lied when asked whether his race was a factor in their decision. Their contention has, over the years, morphed into what's called the "Bradley Effect." For the past year, political scientists have been working on a study to see if there really is a Bradley Effect. KPCC's Brian Watt says they recently outlined their work at UCLA.
Firefighters from all over California pitched in against the Marek and Sesnon fires this week. Among them is a strike team from the Alameda County Fire Department. That crew spent yesterday doing mop-up work. It's not as glamorous as fighting a fire, but necessary to make sure the fire doesn't flare up again. One of the firefighters on the Alameda County strike team just graduated from the academy. The Sesnon Fire was the first chance for 26-year-old Francis Blay to work a big job. He took a break to talk to KPCC's Brian Watt.
Opponents of the ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage ratcheted up their campaign yesterday. KPCC's Brian Watt tells us new polls and fundraising numbers have the "No on Prop 8" forces in a panic.
About 200 students have now caught a nasty stomach virus that broke out at the University of Southern California over the weekend. Yesterday, Campus officials told reporters what they know about the virus and how they're working to contain it. KPCC's Brian Watt has the story.
While people in Washington look for a fix to the economic crisis, Southland car dealers are feeling its effects. KPCC's Brian Watt made the rounds in West Los Angeles.
Forecasters at UCLA predict that California's economy will be in the doldrums for at least the next year and a half. The team behind UCLA's Anderson Forecast seems to have moved beyond the word "recession." KPCC's Brian Watt says that people trying to make it in this economy don't care what word describes them.
In an election for the Screen Actors Guild board, a faction dissatisfied with the Guild's Hollywood leaders has won a majority of the seats up for grabs. KPCC's Brian Watt examines the new board's potential effect on the Guild's stalled negotiations with film and television producers.
In the moments after last Friday's collision between a Metrolink run and a freight train, cell phones across the Southland started to whirr. A communication network that helps hundreds of Southlanders ride the rails more efficiently sprang into action. During a visit to the train station in Chatsworth, KPCC's Brian Watt found out that the network worked.