GOOD

Why We Love L.A.’s New Train to Santa Monica

GOOD’s marketing manager shares what it’s been like to spread the word about Los Angeles’s historic new train line.

If you’re at all familiar with Los Angeles geography, you’re probably aware that getting from east to west (or vice versa) usually requires a harrowing drive on one of the most congested freeways in the world—“the 10.” But last Friday, Los Angeles County Metro’s Expo line expanded its reach to Santa Monica, offering the first train to the popular Westside coastal city since 1953.


Completely connecting downtown Los Angeles with downtown Santa Monica through public transit represents a shift to a more sustainable, predictable alternative to a car-dependent lifestyle. That’s a pretty big deal in a city notorious for its smog, traffic, and long commutes—which might be why you’ve read about it on CityLab, Bloomberg, Forbes, or Fast Company.

New decals for small businesses in Santa Monica point out the walkable minutes to train stations or bike shares.

I know it’s been a big deal for me. I grew up taking trains around Chicago and moved here from Seattle about two years ago, and I’ve really missed what it was like to live somewhere with a fully realized public transit system. Yet already the expanded Expo line has made this vast, complicated city feel like home, giving me the chance to spontaneously explore distant leafy side streets and hidden vibrant neighborhoods.

At GOOD, we’ve been pushing for this kind of quality-of-life upgrade for everyone since we were founded in 2006, especially alongside our friends at LA2050, an initiative from our co-founder Ben Goldhirsh. And for the last several months, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with the City of Santa Monica on a new mobility campaign called GoSaMo to get citizens excited, equipped, and adopting the City’s extended mobility network, from its Big Blue Bus to Expo Light Rail, Breeze Bike Share, reimagined pedestrian walkways, and more.

Street banners in Santa Monica.

Throughout the summer, we’re working to help citizens learn the transit basics with a new info hub, bus ads, and light pole banners with phrases like “join the pool party” and “rush hour can be happy hour” that we hope make people smile. We’ve also had a great time partnering to create digital campaigns and curated tours with trendsetters like 5 Every Day and WeWork, window decals that give local businesses a chance to brag about how close they are to an Expo station, and the launch of Santa Monica’s first-ever open streets event, Coast.

Santa Monica councilmember Kevin McKeown

The Metro estimates that around 100,000 people boarded the Expo during this past opening weekend. Venturing out to revel in the energy of its opening weekend, I definitely got swept up in the enthusiasm. And I wasn’t alone: Stepping towards the 26th Street/Bergamot station, I was surrounded by crowds of people thrilled to have a chance to head to the beach by rail. There was a beautiful melody of urban sounds—the crossing gates coming down, the train whisking by, the occasional toddler shrieking with excitement.

This is something new for Angelenos. Something that, like most good things in life, will take a little patience and practice to figure out. I think you’ll love it as much as I do (and if you do, be sure to post something with the hashtag #gosamo), but you don’t have take my word for it. See what L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has to say.

Articles
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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Culture
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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