Ina Jaffe

Ina Jaffe is a National desk correspondent based at NPR West, NPR's production center in Culver City, Calif.

Covering California and the West, Jaffe has reported on nearly all of the major news events, elections, and natural disasters in the region. Currently, she covers issues related to aging. She also reports on regional and national politics, contributing election coverage in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

In addition to captivating and informing listeners, Jaffe's reports have garnered critical acclaim. Her 2012 investigation into how the West Los Angeles VA made millions from renting property while ignoring plans to house homeless veterans won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media. A few months after the story aired, the West Los Angeles VA broke ground on supportive housing for homeless vets.

Jaffe's 2011 series on rising violence in California State Psychiatric Hospitals was also honored with a Gracie Award as well as awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the American Bar Association. Her three-part series on California's Three Strikes sentencing law won the ABA's Silver Gavel Award in 2010, as well as the Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Jaffe was the first editor of Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon which made its debut in 1985.

Born in Chicago, Jaffe attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and DePaul University receiving Bachelor's and Master's degrees in philosophy, respectively.

Most Los Angeles residents only know the Veterans Affairs medical center in West Los Angeles as something they glimpse from their cars when they're on traffic-choked Wilshire Boulevard. From the road it looks like a park, but within the grounds is the largest medical facility in the VA's health care system.

The Los Angeles riots began 20 years ago Sunday, when a jury acquitted four police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King in 1992.

While the ashes were still smoldering, then-Mayor Tom Bradley announced a new organization that would repair the shattered city, Rebuild L.A. Its mission was to spend five years harnessing the power of the private sector to replace and improve on what was lost. While it created a lot of hope, it created even more disappointment.

Part of an ongoing series

Mental health and law enforcement officials in California are trying to find ways to hold violent psychiatric patients accountable without punishing people for being sick. It's a response to escalating violence in the state's mental hospitals, where thousands of assaults occur annually. Only a tiny fraction of them, however, result in criminal charges.

Once upon a time, the Republican presidential contenders seemed to be mostly on the same page. They agreed on who the real enemies were — as Newt Gingrich explained at a debate in September.

No one seems to be talking about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan this week — including Herman Cain. Instead, he's had to deal with allegations that he committed sexual harassment when he was head of the National Restaurant Association.

On Wednesday night, he accused Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign of planting the story. Perry's campaign flatly denied it, and Cain has backed off.

Regardless, some political consultants have seen the invisible hand of opposition research during this campaign season — what's known as the "dark art of politics."

If you watched the Emmy Awards recently, you may have seen an ad inviting viewers to "fight" for President Obama's jobs plan.

"The next election is 14 months away," Obama says in the ad. "And the people who sent us here, they don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months."

Although the election is more than a year away, it's not keeping political commercials off of our TV screens. Yet, according to a new survey, the audience for those ads is shrinking.

Young People Aren't Watching Live TV

The presidential campaign has been a roller coaster for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

From a back-of-the-pack start, the Tea Party favorite won an upset victory in the Iowa straw poll. Then, Texas Gov. Rick Perry got in the race and eclipsed her as a media headliner, and Bachmann's star fell. After a feisty debate appearance last week that put her back on an upswing, Bachmann headed to southern California to try and get her groove back.


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, Im David Greene.


And Im Steve Inskeep.

Just a few months ago, many Republicans seemed to assume that their candidate for president would be a long shot in 2012.

GREENE: But now President Obama is looking more vulnerable, so Republican candidates attended a debate last night, knowing that one of them could have a real chance to win.

INSKEEP: First, of course, they battle each other. Former front-runner Mitt Romney faced with the current front runner, Rick Perry.

As politicians go, California Rep. Xavier Becerra has a relatively low profile considering that he's been in Congress for 18 years. He's the vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, the former head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the first Latino to serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

When the Democrats had the House majority, Nancy Pelosi appointed him to the new post of assistant to the speaker. And earlier this month, she chose him to join the supercommittee tasked with finding a way to cut $1 trillion from the federal deficit.

When Standard & Poor's downgraded the United State's credit rating, it said that the "effectiveness, stability and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened." In other words, S&P was down on Washington's dysfunction, distrust and gridlock. The reactions to S&P's move — at least the reactions seen on TV — suggest that the ratings agency may have had a point.