Sharon McNary

Infrastructure Correspondent

Contact Sharon McNary

Sharon McNary is a correspondent for Southern California Public Radio covering infrastructure. 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

Year of squatter complaints led to raid on Hollywood Blvd. building

High rents in Los Angeles force some to seek out unconventional living arrangements, but dozens of people who found inexpensive space in a Hollywood office building are on the streets following a raid by city officials.

LAX simulates power outage to test backup power systems

If a regional blackout hit LAX, only two of the airport’s terminals have the backup power systems sufficient to keep planes and passengers moving. Early Wednesday, airport operators cut off power to Terminal 2 to test how well it could function on backup power.

Supes move closer to putting measure on ballot to give Sheriff's watchdog subpoena power

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors moved a step closer to putting a measure before voters that would give the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission subpoena power.

Southern California Edison wants to bill ratepayers $600 million for fire prevention changes

Power lines operated by big utilities have sparked some of California's largest fires. Southern California Edison has announced its plan to raise nearly $600 million from ratepayers to make those fires less likely.

DWP bulldozing of wetlands gets it a $5 million penalty

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power got cited by the EPA a couple of years ago for bulldozing eight acres of wetlands the utility owns in Granada Hills. This week, DWP agreed to pay penalties of more than $5 million.

Law could bar insurers from cancelling policies on surviving homes in fire disaster areas

Even if your home made it intact through a big wildfire, your insurance company could still cancel your coverage. The state legislature has now passed Senate Bill 824, by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park) that could ease the insurance hunt for those whose homes survived.

Need attic insulation? LADWP is giving $100 million in rebates.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is offering $100 million in rebates to owners who add or augment attic insulation.  Insulation helps reduce the loss of winter heat and summer cooling through the roof, and it helps save on electricity and gas use.

Sherman Oaks residents brace for possible new Burbank flight noise

Twenty-one Southern California airports now use more precise satellite-guided flight paths under a new FAA program that was completed this year.  But newly proposed updates to two routes out of Burbank are raising concerns in Sherman Oaks.

Everything you never wanted to know about pee in the public pool

We aren't trying to gross you out, but...

A Caltech professor has created an algorithm for drones to herd birds away from airports

In just the last four years, birds have hit aircraft at LAX more than 500 times. One bird caused $1.5 million dollars in damage when it hit a 747 two years ago.

The truth about peeing in public pools

The time may have passed when certain bodily functions were off limits in polite conversation. After all, social media's "poop" emoji got a prominent role in a recent kids' film. 

Were seven giant LA developments worth giving $1 billion in tax breaks?

The Los Angeles City Council has voted to provide nearly one billion dollars in tax breaks to large developments since 2005. Downtown hotels that got millions of dollars of tax breaks each have become our modern-day landmarks.

California, LA county and city settle Aliso leak lawsuits

Southern California Gas Co. will pay nearly $120 million under the agreement with state and local government settling suits from the Aliso Canyon methane leak.

SoCal Gas to pay $119M to LA city and county for Aliso Canyon gas leak. Tally so far: $1B

The settlement includes $45.4 million for "local environmental benefit projects," which would include a long-term health study.

California lawmakers look at changing who pays for power line-caused fire damage

As California's monster fires continue to blow away records, the state Legislature is examining ways to reduce the risk from the power lines that caused some of the fires.