Author: waylonwc

These ‘rogue’ deputies were fired. So how did the Jump Out Boys win back their badges?

(LA Times, 2021) This front-page feature unmasked the members of a secret brotherhood of deputies who were fired after top sheriff’s brass described their initiation rites, tattoos and secret black book of shootings as the markings of a criminal street gang. It also revealed that four of those deputies had won back their sheriff’s badges -- and backpay -- over the objections of the department. This story came out of a tip gleaned from a careful analysis of payroll records, then fleshed out using court documents and insider tips.

Data Analysis: Republicans gained ground in Bexar County in 2020 among Hispanic voters

(San Antonio Report, 2022) This was a story that could only be revealed through complex data analysis. Working class Hispanic neighborhoods were shifting toward Trump, bucking a nearly centuries-long political partisan affiliation. But proving so took a lot of work. Dirty data from the local elections board had to be cleaned up and refined using SQL. Then this was combined with census demographic data in R, using a technique called "aerial interpolation." A local university statistician vetted the process.

Tenants of San Antonio’s fastest growing landlord describe dangerous conditions

(San Antonio Report, 2022) A routine business story about a growing market for apartment investment led me to look at the data in a different way -- to spot potential bad actors. I followed up by visiting the apartments in person over several weeks. The apartment owner threatened to charge me with "trespassing" charges for talking to residents. After publication, tenant organizers in the complex credited the story with their success in unionizing residents, and a city councilman said it prompted code inspection reform.

Sheriff favors contractor who pays him personally

(The Daily Times, 2019) In an open bid for what might be the county’s most lucrative private contract, the sheriff’s department has already signaled a winner. City Tele-Coin’s president donated thousands to the sheriff’s re-election campaign, and gave his college-age daughter a high-ranking job she had no previous experience in. This story came from a tip after I had previously reported on connections between the sheriff's campaign finances and contractors.

UDC Committee Meeting Raises Legal Questions

(The Liberty Hill Independent, 2017) Local politics in the small but booming town of Liberty Hill were extremely contentious and divided between factions. I covered it as part of my first newspaper job, for which I was the only reporter at the publication.