District 10 candidate Grace Yoo eyes an upset

Photo provided by Grace Yoo

Photo provided by Grace Yoo

The residents of District 10, a portion of which spans South Los Angeles, will vote for a new councilmember on March 3. Intersections interviewed the candidates ahead of the elections. 

It’s been a long day for Los Angeles City Council candidate Grace Yoo. Just hours after The Los Angeles Times endorsed Herb Wesson, the incumbent in Council District 10, Yoo walks into her campaign office frustrated about a neighborhood council meeting gone awry. It’s 8 p.m. and she still has hours left on her schedule; her campaign staff works to the soothing hum of laptops inside a small, narrow storefront near Western Avenue and Sixth Street.

But as quickly as the frustration mounts, it is easily dismissed. Yoo takes a seat and flashes a smile as she peels a clementine. Everything about her campaign, from Yoo’s fuchsia jacket to the hand-drawn pictures adorning the office walls is cheerful. She’s still hung up on the fact that the L.A. Times referred to her as ‘plucky,’ which she regards as a backhanded compliment (“Of all the words to choose?”), but even that fades quickly during conversation.

The former executive director of the Korean American Coalition is driven by a combination of faith and facts, her guiding compass to a seat on the City Council. Yoo, 43, a Los Angeles Unified School District alum, has been a strong advocate for both juveniles and the Koreatown community for many years. If she wins, she would be the second Asian American to ever win a seat on the City Council. [Read more…]

Worker delivers tearful plea to USC president to increase wages

Activists captured an awkward confrontation with millionaire University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias and a campus worker on video—right outside one of the school’s most expensive cafeterias.

After someone off-camera asked the college president if he would listen to workers seeking a living wage, Nikias enthusiastically told the heckler, “You have nothing to worry about it.”

But hospitality worker Abigail Lopez gave the university administrator a piece of her mind and relayed how campus workers earning poverty-level wages have plenty to worry about—like paying bills and buying food. What ensued was the longest elevator wait of Max Nikias’ entire life. Lopez couldn’t make it more than a few sentences before tearing up, much to the discomfort of Nikias. [Read more…]

L.A. Finally Legitimizes Rebel Green Thumb

Originally published on Neon Tommy.

Ron Finley has emerged as a powerful community leader in South Los Angeles. | Flickr/Anna Hanks

Ron Finley has emerged as a powerful community leader in South Los Angeles. | Flickr/Anna Hanks

Just a few weeks ago, Ron Finley was best known for his highly visible, and nutritious, acts of civil disobedience. To combat the growing problem of malnutrition facing many throughout South Los Angeles, the Crenshaw-based fashion designer planted gardens full of strawberries, dill, thyme and other edibles in unused parkways.

For his admirable efforts, which were against the Los Angeles’ “residential parkway landscaping guidelines” at the time, the city of Los Angeles issued a Finley a citation. The community joined Finley in appealing the citation. The matter was only dropped after the dispute generated enough media attention.

Finley took his story to TED talks in Long Beach, California earlier this year. The video of Finley’s presentation propelled the guerilla gardener to Internet stardom and generated over 1.5 million views. The talk also compelled the media into examining a bureaucratic system that viewed Finley’s agricultural endeavors as illegal. [Read more…]