A Rant about Income Inequality, Small Businesses, and the Need for Radical Solutions

  Lately, I’ve been on a mission to find resources to replenish LURN’s Semi’a Fund, a low interest loan fund that caters to street vendors and other low-income entrepreneurs who do not qualify for capital from nonprofit lenders or banks. It’s been a bit challenging and I’ve learned a lot about how capital flows (or … Continued


Our Position on Measure S

  On March 7th, voters will decide whether or not we should build more housing in Los Angeles. As we’re sure many of you know, Measure S (formerly the “Neighborhood Integrity Initiative”) is a proposed measure that would impose a TWO YEAR moratorium on any new developments, which are not 100% affordable housing and require … Continued


EastSide Sol

EAST SIDE SOL 2016 from Youth Speak Media Solutions on Vimeo. By: Luis Gutierrez, Senior Associate, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) and Jorge Madrid, CA Campaign Director, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) It’s a warm, sunny day in August at the iconic Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, California. More than 400 local residents have come … Continued


The Irony of Taco Trucks on Every Corner

  Over the past few days, the country has been in an uproar after Trump surrogate Marco Gutierrez’s warned that a Democratic president in 2017 will result in us having “taco trucks on every corner.” The “dominant” Latino culture will take over all our roadways and turn America into Mexico (again). The ridiculousness of it … Continued


36 Cents

  I had dinner with my mom a couple of weeks ago. Once in awhile, she’ll bring important documents she’s received so I can review and translate them for her. This time, she brought something she’s never received before: a notice that she earned a raise at her second job. She was beaming! My mom … Continued


On Defending Boyle Heights

I’m writing to share my work and perspective on gentrification in Boyle Heights, especially in light of the recent public actions by Defend Boyle Heights, a collective of activists who are concerned about gentrification. This post is simply my perspective on gentrification and displacement; an issue that I’m deeply concerned about. After Defend Boyle Heights’ … Continued


“When Did Echo Park Become So Hip and Happening?”

A short glimpse of the trailer makes clear that, quite expectedly, this film completely masks over the (more often than not) devastating ways gentrification negatively affects longtime residents of neighborhoods like Highland Park, Boyle Heights and Echo Park. In fact, we can say with confidence that this film erases these residents almost entirely, with its swift ownership of the deeply rooted Echo Park community, all while simultaneously illustrating an otherwise “empty,” “new,” “hip, and happening” version of Echo Park.


Investing in Change: How Can Nonprofits Attract Huge Investors?

I’ve thought about money since I was a kid. Back then I wondered why other kids had things that I didn’t and now I wonder why community organizations who are doing amazing work are struggling to make ends meet.


Los Angeles and San Francisco: Reflections on the “New” Economy

Last month, I attended the book launch of Michael Storper’s The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Professor Storper presented his extensive research and findings to a small crowd of students, faculty and other urbanist nerds. Paired with an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times a few … Continued


“Rent-Seeking” Los Angeles

Does Los Angeles have a “rent seeking” problem? No, I’m not referring to the many, critical housing issues of Los Angeles. In this case, “rent,” refers to “economic rent,” which is income gained through fabricated conditions of exclusivity. For example, if a gardener is willing to work for $12 per hour, but makes $15 per … Continued