Aaron Mendelson

Investigative Reporter

Contact Aaron Mendelson

I use data to power accountability journalism. That means digging through databases and public records to uncover stories about how your identity and zip code can affect the kind of justice you get in Southern California.

As a data reporter, my work spans different beats. I’ve covered the avalanche of outside money in local politics, spiking firearms sales, Los Angeles’ bicycle infrastructure, and police militarization. I helped build a unique database on police shootings in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties for KPCC’s Officer Involved project.

I attended Macalester College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and got my start in journalism at KFAI Fresh Air Radio in Minneapolis.

Have a question you want me to answer? Ask me below.

Stories by Aaron Mendelson

3 signs Eric Garcetti might be aiming for the White House

The L.A. mayor has helped launch groups to improve cities and a Democratic fundraising PAC — signs he's trying to build a national profile.

You can smoke weed in California — but it's still hard to buy it

Want to purchase a joint at your local pot store Jan. 1? Good luck. Most California cities and counties have banned cannabis businesses.

San Francisco eyes stricter reporting of politician-linked donations

San Francisco is moving to shed more light on behested payments, the practice used by politicians to request money from wealthy donors for their favored causes.

Trump effect keeps CA gun sales lower after Vegas shooting

Gun sales in California ticked up but didn't skyrocket in the weeks following the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas. They've been trending down all year.

LA Sheriff’s deputy who opened fire during a car chase may have broken the rules

A car chase Tuesday morning led to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy firing at a moving vehicle, a practice the department has recently moved to restrict.

Water use rises as everyone forgets the drought

Now that the pressure's off, can we keep saving water? The answer depends on where you ask the question.

SF looks to restrict payments to politicians' pet causes

The San Francisco Ethics Commission is exploring limits on "behested payments," the fundraising practice used by politicians to raise money for pet causes.

Southern California victims of the Las Vegas shooting

The local victims include a Simi Valley school office manager, a Manhattan Beach special education teacher and a Manhattan Beach civilian police employee.

Cops in LA, San Bernardino counties top list of police shootings

New data from the California Department of Justice, show big differences in the rates of police shootings across the state. Ventura County reported the lowest rate.

1 in 4 people in Imperial County live in poverty

It's California's third-poorest county. Unemployment is nearly 25 percent. Homelessness tripled since the previous year. And children are even worse off, with one in three living in poverty.

Water use ticks up again across California

Californians are using more water now than in 2015 and 2016, when mandatory measures were in place to conserve water during a five-year drought.

How affordable housing keeps LA economically segregated

The vast majority of housing for low-income renters in Los Angeles has been built in the county's very poorest neighborhoods. The research says that's a problem.

LA responds to mayor's record-breaking fundraising

Some LA residents reacted with anger on learning of the nearly $32 million in contributions raised by Mayor Eric Garcetti for favored causes, some from companies that do business with the city.

Chart: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's behested payments

While Los Angeles has tight controls on the amount of money citizens can donate to campaigns, there's no limit on the amounts of cash people, foundations, nonprofits and corporations can donate to government and charity at a politician's behest.

'A tricky area of philanthropy': LA mayor solicits millions for his favored causes

Mayor Eric Garcetti has used a little-known mechanism to raise $31.9 million in four years. Public records show some of the contributors do business with the city.