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SGV Connect 124: Reclaimers and Rick Cole

Damien interviews El Sereno's Reclaimers, pushing for housing accountability from Caltrans and Los Angeles. Chris interviews Rick Cole, an urbanist leader who recently returned to the Pasadena City Council.

SGV Connect is a finalist for two LA Press Club awards for our coverage of ArroyoFest. If you missed it, you can still listen to "Basking in the Afterglow of Arroyo Fest."

This week’s SGV Connect explores issues at the western end of our coverage area: in the northeast L.A. City neighborhood of El Sereno, and in the nearby city of Pasadena.

First, Damien and Chris traveled to El Sereno to meet with some of the Reclaimers, unhoused residents of El Sereno who moved into Caltrans owned properties during the pandemic. Benito, Sandra and Fanny return to SGV Connect (their first appearance can be found here) to advocate for affordable housing and community spaces, discuss the ongoing eviction battle between Caltrans and the Reclaimers. Personal stories and experiences are shared, emphasizing the need for accountability and justice from those in power: especially including Caltrans, the county’s homeless services provider, and L.A. City Councilmember Kevin de León. A transcript of their discussion can be found here.

The Reclaimers discussion references the Roberti Act, passed in the 1970’s to guide Caltrans on how to manage and eventually sell properties acquired for the now-canceled 710 Freeway extension. A good description of Roberti can be found in this article contrasting competing visions for El Sereno between the Reclaimers and de León.

Shifting to Pasadena, many readers may be familiar with City Councilmember and urbanist leader Rick Cole, for many years a recurring voice at Streetsblog and our sister site Santa Monica Next. After the March election returned him to the Pasadena City Council, we reached back out to him to discuss the need to improve Pasadena's transportation infrastructure and engage the community in a more inclusive and proactive approach to address gentrification. Cole emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety, affordability, and alternatives to car use, and the need for a more inclusive approach to urban planning, involving the public in decision-making processes. A transcript of their discussion can be found here.

SGV Connect is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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