Aaron Mendelson

Data 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

Not every vote counts — some primary ballots in LA and OC rejected

In June's primary election, mail-in ballots without signatures or those submitted by people not registered to vote were among those tossed.

Police robots: Departments lack rules on whether they can kill

Nearly 200 law enforcement robots and related parts have been transferred to California agencies from the military, including to many smaller police forces.

Highland Park's bar boom not sitting well with some

Almost 20 businesses got licenses to sell alcohol in Highland Park in the past 3 years. Some residents worry that's too many.

Animation: Smoke from the Sand Fire

The Sand Fire ignited on the afternoon of July 22 and smoke from the fire quickly spread across the Los Angeles Basin and into Orange County. Since then, winds have shifted.

Dallas attacks represent 'schism' in America, LAPD chief says

Police officers across Southern California are wearing black bands across their badges to mourn the deaths of five of their colleagues in Dallas.

LA sheriff stops sharing data on shooting evaluations, after union objections

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department will no longer report to the public whether individual shootings are judged in or out of policy, following union objections.

With all votes counted, LA County turnout tops 40 percent

Turnout estimates climbed in the weeks since June 7, as vote by mail ballots and provisional ballots were added. Early counts showed turnout just below 30 percent in L.A.

Half of Orange County's registered voters went to the polls

After three weeks registrar Neal Kelley says his office has finished counting votes. The official turnout was 49.6 percent of registered voters.

Air quality reaches unhealthy levels after fires blanket SoCal

The warning level on AQMD's air quality index is red. That means it's unhealthy for everyone — not just people with respiratory problems.

Animation: Smoke from the San Gabriel Complex Fire

When two fires broke out in the hills above Duarte and Azusa, they quickly forced evacuations and road closures. Smoke from the fires is visible around the region. This animation shows where smoke could travel, according to United States Forest Service projections

Charter group money flooded local election, but many donors live far away

More than $1.4 million in political spending from backers of charter school reform resulted in a stalemate. Considerably more spending is possible before November's general election.

SoCal's top water provider says its supplies can weather more drought

Running calculations under a state-mandated "stress test," the Metropolitan Water District says it's got available supplies to withstand three more years of drought.

Turnout improves in LA County, with half a million ballots left to process

Semi-final official returns show an L.A. County turnout of 29.9 percent, up from the presidential primary four years ago, but far below the 55.2 percent of eligible voters who turned out in 2008.

Harris leads in Senate race as Clinton claims victory and Sanders vows to push on

Beyond the presidential contests, there are important races that Southern California voters had to consider. We're tracking the Senate, House, statehouse races and more here.

Voter turnout for presidential primaries is usually low. Could 2016 be different?

If past elections are any guide, turnout for the next week's presidential primary election may be underwhelming in Los Angeles County, even with a heated Democratic campaign.