EPISODE 71 – ALEX CONTRERAS FIGHTS FREEWAYS IN DOWNEY

In our 71st episode, we chat with Alexandria Contreras (@alexfordowney) (they/them pronouns), a queer, non-binary Latinx freeway-fighter in Downey. Alex and I have a magnetic conversation on the white and exclusionary origins of single-family housing in cities like Downey, and how local laws there continue preventing the construction of affordable housing for a new generation of residents. We also discuss how Alex took their experience growing up in the suburban community to launch a campaign for Downey’s City Council. Alex also describes forming the Happy City Coalition, a coalition of gateway cities in Southeast Los Angeles formed to stop Metro from displacing communities in the interest of more freeways. To keep up with their work, follow Alex on Twitter at @alexfordowney.

J.T.

EPISODE 70 – PLANNING FOR A ‘LIVED ENVIRONMENT’ WITH RICHARD AVILES

In our 70th episode, we chat with Jose Richard Aviles (@soylamasnalgona), a queer, Latinx planner and multimedia artist with the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley. Originally an L.A. native from South-Central Los Angeles, Richard describes growing up as an activist in L.A., current efforts in advocacy for “the lived environment over the built environment,” a new course at UCLA in Spring 2022, and how dance is “movement-building,” especially for marginalized bodies. A rich conversation for urban planners, artists, and L.A. aficionados everywhere. You can also find Richard’s free “Monday de Movimiento” sessions on Instagram at @soynalgona.

J.T.

EPISODE 54 – WENDY GOMEZ, PRINCETON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

In our 54th episode, we welcome Wendy Gomez, originally of the Silver Lake and East Hollywood area, to the pod! Wendy completed her undergrad studies at Dickinson College through the Posse Foundation, and is now studying domestic policy at none other than Princeton university. We talk about Wendy’s coming up through Los Angeles via schools in the Pacific Palisades, her work in Washington D.C. during the Obama years, her thoughts on the recent violent evictions of unhoused residents in Echo Park, and more. A can’t miss session, especially for those born and raised in the Los.

J.T.