The LA Podcast

Show Notes: “Fire Straits” (Ep. 106)

by Scott Frazier
February 24, 2020
Tags: show notes

It’s Monday, and we’re back with another episode. Hayes is out of commission (feel better, Hayes!) but Alissa and Scott are holding it down in his absence.

First, we talk about how hard it is to find a Metro electric bike in the central city’s bike share network. It turns out only 40 out of 1000 bikes are electric. This is a bummer for people who are not that into being sweaty when they show up at their destination!

We’ve also been noticing that Uber’s dockless Jump bikes have been making a comeback, after they all but disappeared from city streets following a fight between the ride-hailing giant and the city of Los Angeles over user privacy last fall. Scott and Alissa discuss why Uber is the only company who seems to have a problem with LA’s data requests and whether or not it actually poses a risk for user privacy. At CityLab, Laura Bliss has an article that breaks down the stances of the major tech companies and what Los Angeles intends to use its Mobility Data Specification for.

(We also note that tech tantrums are nothing new in California, one only has to observe the ongoing meltdown the gig economy is experiencing with respect to the new worker misclassification law, AB 5, to see that.)

Next, we discuss kitchen appliances, where bigger is not always better. Alissa has a new article out for Curbed where she discusses how American refrigerators keep getting larger and are wiping out the energy-efficiency gains that have been made in recent years. Not only do fridges emit “super greenhouse gases,” they also encourage you to buy and refrigerate more food than you can possibly consume. Bad all around!

Unfortunately, the conversation then turns to Donald Trump, who was in town last week to pledge the support of the federal government for the 2028 Olympics. During a press conference with Olympic bid chair Casey Wasserman, following a concerning description of the federal law enforcement resources that would be deployed for the event, Wasserman lauded President Trump and said that the event would not be taking place without Trump’s support, which, gross.

Trump also took the opportunity to continue shitting on LA mayor Eric Garcetti for the city’s homelessness crisis, while noting that Garcetti is the only municipal leader who is eager to work with him. Garcetti, for his part, agrees. Cool!

For the first time maybe ever, homelessness is the state’s number one issue. How do we know? Because Governor Gavin Newsom could not stop talking about it during last Wednesday’s State of the State address.

We also discuss a huge new piece of reporting that came out in the LA Times this past week, Ben Oreskes’ chronicle of a day in the life of Skid Row firefighters. There’s so much concentrated misery in our city that if you want to improve the human condition, as an Angeleno, you should start here. That’s kind of why we do this show!

Next, voting season is upon us and with the new eleven-day voting period for Los Angeles County, it almost is a season! Voting has changed from the old system of assigned polling places and manual ballot marking to a new system where voters can vote at any of about 1000 voting centers. Ballots are now marked using a digital interface. Scott tried it and thought it went pretty well for such a huge change. We’ll wait until after Election Day before we make like… idk, Ron Browz(?), and pop champagne. There’s also a fun LA Times video you can watch to explain the changes.

Lastly, we talk LACMA’s expansion plans. Carolina Miranda has a new article in the LA Times that tackles the issue of the museum’s enormous and growing debt load. Can we afford the new Peter Zumthor building? Does anyone in county government care? Why are we doing this anyway?! Find out with us!