GOOD

GOOD LA's Guided Bike Tour in South LA

This month the GOOD Los Angeles team and 40 of our closest friends took to the streets of Watts to explore the landscapes of a neighborhood in transition. Led by the Watts-based bicycle groups the East Side Riders and Los Riderz, participants got a lesson on the rules of the road for urban cycling, took a tour of the neighborhood, and learned about its history and the issues it faces.


For several of the riders, this was their first group bike ride—a unique urban cycling experience in which we were led by guides, who themselves were organized into leaders, “corkers” (who stopped traffic at intersections to ensure that all riders got through), and riders at the back who made sure that no rider was left behind.

Some of the discussions that came up during the day involved ways the neighborhood could benefit from citywide support:

What to Do About Vacant Lots: The dozens of unused and underused spaces in Watts end up being a dumping ground for trash, mattresses, old tires, and more. Some are owned by the city, while others are not. Tafarai Bayne, one of the ride organizers and Community Affairs Manager at TRUST South LA, pointed out that the Mexican restaurant we rode by had vacant lots on both sides and we talked about the dangers of food vendors preparing and selling food next to vacant lots full of trash. Additionally, though community and backyard gardens provide healthy alternatives for local residents, they ultimately share the same soil with these vacant lots, where chemicals from abandoned automotive parts seep into the ground. The tangible and visible link between the food and the garbage seemed to help participants understand the dangers of vacant lots. Solutions that were discussed were reclaiming unused and underused space to benefit the community in meaningful ways, whether that was green spaces for recreation, community gardens, or affordable housing for residents. Insight into this subject: "How To Transform a Vacant Lot Into a Community Garden."

The Need to Improve Incomplete Streets: Many of the roads in South Los Angeles prioritize cars over cyclists, pedestrians, children, and the elderly. It can be difficult to get to a bus stop, unsafe for bicycles to share the lane with cars, and nearly impossible for those who require wheelchairs to get around. This ride allowed non-Watts residents to experience this reality first-hand, and many noted the difference compared to the streets of Venice, West Los Angeles, Downtown—some of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Compared to Downtown's bright green bike lanes, the highly visible shared lanes of Santa Monica, or the well-maintained roads of West Hollywood, Watt's roads are marred by potholes, lack of signage, and few marked bike lanes. Insight into this subject: "How to Provide a Network of Green Bikeways in Your City."

How to Provide Healthy Food and Recreational Spaces: Despite its high population density and recognition as an epicenter of history and culture in Southern California, Watts is sorely lacking in quality supermarkets with fresh produce and healthy foods. This leaves families and parents—many of whom live in housing projects, at or below the poverty line—with few options but packaged, high-calorie foods. It’s also one of most park-poor communities in LA, with limited green and safe spaces for families and youth to exercise or play sports. Insight into this subject: "Swapping Hot Cheetos for Whole Wheat Bread: A Corner Store Redesign."

Finishing our ride at the Watts Towers was the perfect way to end this ride. We learned about the history of the towers and their composition: found tiles, glass, and shells that come together to form them.

Articles
via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading
Culture

The Free the Nipple movement is trying to remove the stigma on women's breasts by making it culturally acceptable and legal for women to go topless in public. But it turns out, Free the Nipple might be fighting on the wrong front and should be focusing on freeing the nipple in a place you'd never expect. Your own home.

A woman in Utah is facing criminal charges for not wearing a shirt in her house, with prosecutors arguing that women's chests are culturally considered lewd.

Keep Reading

In August, the Recording Academy hired their first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. Ten days before the Grammys, Dugan was placed on administrative leave for misconduct allegations after a female employee said Dugan was "abusive" and created a "toxic and intolerable" work environment. However, Dugan says she was actually removed from her position for complaining to human resources about sexual harassment, pay disparities, and conflicts of interest in the award show's nomination process.

Just five days before the Grammys, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and her claims are many. Dugan says she was paid less than former CEO Neil Portnow. In 2018, Portnow received criticism for saying women need to "step up" when only two female acts won Grammys. Portnow decided to not renew his contract shortly after. Dugan says she was also asked to hire Portnow as a consultant for $750,000 a year, which she refused to do.

Keep Reading