Sharon McNary Politics Reporter

Sharon McNary
Contact Sharon McNary

Sharon McNary is a Politics Reporter for Southern California Public Radio. She uses public records, public engagement sourcing and other methods (like good old fashioned shoe leather) to help draw stories from the experience, expertise and concerns of our communities as well as from political agendas. These days, she is covering the built environment around Southern California -- sidewalks, water and sewer systems -- to find out what's working, what's broken, and who's fixing it.

In her first three years at KPCC, Sharon launched KPCC’s Public Insight Network, a group of several thousand people who — by sharing their experiences and expertise — help the newsroom cover Southern California. People who respond to Public Insight Network questions have been included in many KPCC award-winning news reports, including investigative coverage of prison conditions, long-form narratives, and talk show segments.

A military veteran, McNary was a computer programmer before she was a journalist, so she has always sought out tech-savvy and creative ways to cover news.

McNary has worked in TV news and documentaries, radio, wire service and newspapers in the Southern California news market, developing award-winning investigative and computer-assisted reporting projects.

Following a mid-career public service break with the Peace Corps in Bolivia, McNary returned to print and multimedia reporting. She has covered disasters, government corruption, growth and immigration, often using databases, mapping and other technology tools to break news.

McNary is an avid cook, seamstress and knitter while her outdoor pursuits are competing in marathons and triathlons


Stories by Sharon McNary

Boosting Torrance's clout over the refinery

Newly strengthened provisions of California's toxic spill law allow cities to require refineries to evaluate their technology and identify safer alternatives.

Torrance city defends deadly refinery chemical that others want banned

A City Council workshop Tuesday will include a city fire official making the case that MHF, as used at the Torrance Refinery, is safe.

Rift divides top air quality regulators

The chair of the AQMD's governing board complains they hire and pay members of a hearing board that enforces air rules but has no power to remove those members.

Authorities respond to small explosion at Torrance refinery

There were no evacuations or injuries as a result of this explosion, which came exactly two years after the explosion at the refinery that was so massive it registered as a magnitude-1.7 tremor.

Torrance Refinery agrees to up its power to reduce flares

The refinery has had to flare off gases during power outages that were outside its control, caused by reasons from Mylar balloons to fog. A new power line could prevent that.

New setback in plan to dredge Devil’s Gate Dam

Environmentalists sued Los Angeles County over plans to clear the basin behind Devil's Gate Dam north of the Rose Bowl. A judge found flaws in the plan

Safety at the refinery: A new look at the near-disaster in Torrance

Local air quality regulators consider a ban on a potentially dangerous chemical after refinery and Torrance officials failed to disclose changes to the chemical.

Bill would delay reopening Aliso Canyon gas field

California state officials and SoCal Gas are close to returning the gas storage field to use. For at least one state senator, a crucial step is missing.

Porter Ranch residents' protest shuts down gas field meeting

Protesters complain about continuing illnesses they suspect are caused by chemicals from the Aliso Canyon natural gas field, noting that an investigation into the cause of the nation's worst-ever uncontrolled natural gas release has not been completed.

SoCal Gas faces last hurdle to reopening Aliso gas field

The company has overhauled at its stricken storage field to meet new safety standards. Now it wants state permission to reopen. Public meetings on the request are set.

SoCal Gas lifts advisory after cold spell

The utility lifted its advisory on Thursday for both residential and business customers after asking them to reduce their use of gas appliances, including heaters.

California's freeze on Aliso gas field use shatters in the cold

SoCal Gas pulled gas from the underground storage field near Porter Ranch for the first time in a year. The field's been closed since a massive well blowout.

Citizen digging triggers proposed ban at Torrance refinery

After an explosion rocked the Torrance Refinery in early 2015, residents used scientific research and public records to raise questions about a dangerous chemical.

How much storm water is LA catching?

In this rainy year, enough water to serve more than a half-million people has already been saved to groundwater storage. But more could be saved

SoCal Gas to remain under AQMD nuisance abatement order

The air quality regulatory board and SoCal Gas agreed the company would provide the "reasonable" costs of a health study, but the company has not funded the inquiry.