The LA Podcast


Eunisses Hernandez

Co-Executive Director

La Defensa


Eunisses Hernandez is a policy advocate and campaign strategist with over 5 years of experience in working with local and state legislators, system actors, and communities most devastated by criminalization, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration.  As a native of Los Angeles, the daughter of immigrants, and loved one of people with mental health needs and substance use disorders Eunisses knows the detrimental impacts that criminalization has on immigrants and communities of color.

These experiences inform Eunisses analysis and policy development. Eunisses has been a leader in helping develop and implement sentencing reforms and sentence enhancement abolition policies. Her efforts have led to the repeal and reform some of the most devastating tough on crime policies in California. Most recently, she has been a leader in the JusticeLA jail fight that stopped a $3.5 billion dollar jail plan in Los Angeles County. Eunisses has extensive experience in developing and implementing alternatives to incarceration. Most recently, she was appointed as a voting member to the Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group and Co-chair of the Community Based System of Care AD HOC.

Eunisses is an alum of the Women’s Policy Institute Local Government and State Policy fellowship programs. In 2017, she was named one of the 40 Under 40 Emerging Civic Leaders by the Empowerment Congress and the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas. Eunisses holds a BA in Criminal Justice from California State University, Long Beach and currently resides in Los Angeles.



Marqueece Harris-Dawson

City Councilmember

Eighth District of Los Angeles

City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson proudly represents the Eighth District of Los Angeles and chairs the city’s Planning Land Use and Management committee. City Councilmember, Harris-Dawson has introduced policies that combat homelessness, create quality jobs, clean streets, and encourage community policing. Within his first 18 months as a Councilmember, he authored Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond for permanent supportive housing, the largest investment towards ending homelessness in the nation and  has authorized more affordable housing than anywhere in the city in his first two years in office.

The Eighth District is home to over 248,000 people and the Councilmember proudly represents the district with the highest concentration of African Americans in the city. Never afraid to discuss issues of race and equity, Councilmember Harris-Dawson understands how decades of systematic disinvestment have harmed our communities and believes the people of South LA are its greatest resource. As a long-time community organizer in South LA, Harris-Dawson relies on his deep roots and relationships to build public trust and collaborative solutions.




Albert Corado


People's City Council


Albert Corado is an activist and organizer with People’s City Council. People’s City Council (PCC) is an actions-oriented coalition of social and climate justice organizations and organizers from all over Los Angeles. PCC emerged in the absence of definitive City action to protect the most vulnerable — the unhoused and tenants. The LA City Council repeatedly failed to enact protective measures, putting our neighbors at increasing risk during a time when they are worried about the health of their families and communities. We formed to call attention to the failures of Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council. At the same time, we have a mission to uplift the work being done every day, on the ground, by neighbors helping neighbors, organizing, and building community power — a Peoples’ City Council made up of communities fighting for an LA that is racially, economically, and environmentally just. We continue to evolve to meet the needs of our comrades. This dynamism is what makes us who we are.



Spike Friedman




Spike Friedman is the editor and co-founder of Knock LA, and organizer at Ground Game LA and NOlympics LA. NOlympics LA was launched by the Housing & Homelessness committee of the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America in 2017. The coalition has since expanded to include over two dozen partner orgs based in LA and California, as well as a growing transnational movement with dozens of groups around the world.



Anna Scott




Anna Scott is a reporter and producer for KCRW, focused on housing. She reported for KCRW’s podcast There Goes the Neighborhood: Los Angeles. Before that, she produced Madeleine Brand’s news program “Press Play,” and Warren Olney’s “To the Point” and “Which Way, LA?” Anna reports regularly on homelessness for NPR’s national programs. She’s previously written for Bloomberg Businessweek, the Los Angeles Times and various local publications.



Nithya Raman

City Council Candidate

Nithya for the City


Nithya Raman is an urban planner, community advocate, and mother of two. Prior to life in Los Angeles, Nithya started Transparent Chennai in India. The organization worked with residents of slums to create data that strengthened their advocacy for resources like running water and basic sanitation.

In 2014, she worked for the City Administrative Officer of Los Angeles. In her time there, Nithya wrote a report detailing how the city was spending over $100 million on homelessness, the majority of which was spent on jailing our unhoused neighbors, rather than helping them into stable, permanent homes with access to services.

In response to a growing population of people experiencing homelessness in her own community, Nithya and a group of neighbors started SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition in 2017. SELAH has organized regular outreach programs, and brought regular hot meals and showers to a region of the city severely lacking in such resources. The coalition has enabled hundreds of volunteers to get involved and educated about the growing homelessness crisis. Nithya also continues to serve as Co-Chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee, a position she has held since early 2017.

This past year, Nithya served as executive director of Time’s Up Entertainment, the women’s rights movement furthering equity and safety for women in the entertainment industry. Under Nithya’s leadership, the team launched a critics database, a mentorship program for the executive and producer pipeline, Know your Rights resources related to sexual misconduct in the workplace, and created regular opportunities to strengthen community building.

Nithya holds a Masters degree in urban planning from MIT and an undergraduate degree from Harvard. She lives in Silver Lake with her husband and twin preschoolers.



Aaron Mendelson

Data Reporter



I use data to power accountability journalism. That means digging through databases and public records to uncover stories about how your identity and zip code can affect the kind of justice you get in Southern California.

As a data reporter, my work spans different beats. I’ve covered the avalanche of outside money in local politics, spiking firearms sales, Los Angeles’ bicycle infrastructure, and police militarization. I helped build a unique database on police shootings in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties for KPCC’s Officer Involved project.

I attended Macalester College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and got my start in journalism at KFAI Fresh Air Radio in Minneapolis.



Jessica Meaney

Executive Director

Investing in Place

Jessica Meaney is the Founder and Executive Director of Investing in Place, an organization committed to transportation investments that strengthen communities. Jessica moved to Los Angeles over 20 years ago and chose not to own a car. It was a choice she was privileged to make and continues to inspire her professional commitment to improve Greater Los Angeles County to become more safe, reliable, and accessible for all, especially for those with the least options. This passion pushed her to create Investing in Place in January 2015.



Haley Potiker

Senior Communications Specialist



Haley Potiker is a Communications Specialist at LAANE. Prior to joining LAANE in 2017, she worked on 2017’s ‘No on S’ and 2016’s ‘Yes on HHH’, as well as for a variety of other ballot measures, politicians, and nonprofits. Haley especially treasures her time spent with the communications offices of Senator Barbara Boxer’s 2010 re-election campaign and with then-city council president Eric Garcetti. Haley graduated from Occidental College in 2013 with a B.A. in Politics. Born in Long Beach and raised in Orange County, she has called the east side of LA home for the better part of a decade but still cheers for the Anaheim Angels.



Doug Smith

Senior Writer

Los Angeles Times


Senior writer Doug Smith scouts Los Angeles for the ragged edges where public policy meets real people, combining data analysis and gumshoe reporting to tell L.A. stories through his 45 years of experience covering the city. As past database editor from 2004 through 2015, he hunted down and analyzed data for news and investigative projects. Besides “Grading the Teachers,” he contributed to investigations of construction abuse in the community college system and the rising toll of prescription drug overdoses. Smith has been at The Times since 1970, covering local and state government, criminal justice, politics and education. He was the lead writer for Times’ coverage of the infamous North Hollywood shootout, winner of a 1997 Pulitzer Prize. Between 2005 and 2008, Smith made five trips to Iraq on loan to our foreign desk.