"Chinatown" revisited. Electronically.

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In March, when the Guardian reported that the Society of Professional Journalists had honored MAPlight.org with a James Madison Award for Electronic Access, folks at the Berkeley-based non-profit told me that they were about to launch MAPLight.org Los Angeles to reveal campaign contributions to L.A. politicians.

And, as you’ll see if you click the MAPLight.org Los Angeles link, this new public, web-accessible database, which provides citizens with key campaign finance data including industry, interest group, company and individual campaign contributions, is up and running, as of today. Check it out—and dream how much easier it will be to follow the money, if and when the group launches MAPLight.orgSanFrancisco—something, they tell me, is entirely doable.
And imagine how much easier it would have been for Chinatown's private investigator JJ "Jake" Gittes to unravel the web of money and deceit wrapped round Los Angeles' water supply, if he'd had access to MAPlight's online tools.