Sandra Fluke joins the LA Forwards & Backwards Podcast

Season 2 of the LA Forwards & Backwards podcast is here—thanks to the generosity of listeners like you! To kick things off, we welcome Sandra Fluke, California Director of Voices for Progress who gives us the inside scoop on how politics works in our state. From gerrymandering and term limits to corporate capture of certain Democratic legislators, we get real talk about who wields power in Sacramento and how they do it. Then we discuss the fight for a strong "net neutrality" law and the abolition of "money bail," plus how you can get involved.

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Damn it. Let's do something about it.

Every day when I read the news, I get angry and upset. The last few weeks have been especially heartbreaking and infuriating.

What keeps me going is taking action. I'm motivated that people are using LA Forward to get involved for the first time beyond marching and donating money. (Both of which are super important!)

Join in as we gather on Sunday, July 22 to learn about the housing crisis and kickstart our campaign to Get Out The Vote for the November elections!

LA Forward Take Action Meeting — Housing & the November Elections  

Sunday, July 22, 3:00 - 5:00 PM

Looking to get involved with LA's most pressing issues? Want to fight like hell to win some elections in November?

Join us for a meeting we'll focus on housing issues, with a deep dive into how the housing system works (and doesn't) and discuss one of this November's most important ballot initiatives — Prop 10 which would repeal the "Costa-Hawkins" restrictions that limit cities' abilities to enact strong rent control.

Then we'll further develop plans for voter registration, education, and mobilization and start phone-banking and meme-making to make it happen.



We're re-starting our monthly meetings with a new format. To keep it easy to remember and put on your calendar in advance, they will always be every Second Sunday of the month from 3:00 to 5:00 PM.

August 12, September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9, etc. You get the idea.


The Busy Person's Guide to Making a Difference in the November Elections
Saturday, August 4, 10:00 AM  12:00 PM

Super busy with young kids or even just a demanding job BUT know you need to get involved with the elections? We'll cover the basics of phone-banking and canvassing, plus tips for making time to do it all from experienced campaigners and trainers.

Panel Discussion: The Criminalization of Immigrants + What We Can Do to Fight Back
Wednesday, August 15, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Hosted with the Silverlake Independent JCC. More details soon.

The Other Blue Wave — An Abbot Kinney Political Pop Up Event

Saturday, August 18, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Hang out with us at on Abbot Kinney and learn about California's water issues and solutions from some of your favorite young experts and elected officials.

STAND-LA's Fight Against Urban Oil Drilling

The 11th episode of the LA Forwards & Backwards podcast has arrived! Martha Dina Argüello talks with us about the STAND-LA coalition’s work to phase out the silent but deadly oil drilling that still exists near homes, schools, and hospitals across Los Angeles. Martha shares her story and highlights the need to push for a just transition where disadvantaged communities and workers all benefit from the move from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Listen to this episode:

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | GooglePlay


Our Live Podcast with Homeboy Recycling is Now Available!

Get ready -- we're offering a bunch of new  episodes this month!

Kabira Stokes of Homeboy Electronics Recycling joins the podcast for our first live show which took place at the beautiful, historic Pico Union Project building. Kabira shares the fascinating story of she came to establish and lead a social enterprise that employs formerly incarcerated folks, boosting the local economy, and fighting both toxic pollution and climate change in the process. 

Apple Podcasts / iTunes:



Google Play:

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SPRING INTO ACTION! A Live Podcast Event on April 12

JOIN US for a free community event as LA Forward's founding director and podcast host, David Levitus, gets on the mic for a special interview with leading social entrepreneur, Kabira Stokes.

As Founder and CEO of Homeboy Recycling, Stokes will discuss Homeboy's work to discover great value in things that have been discarded by society, and share her inspiring, action driven approach to creating positive, lasting change in Los Angeles.

And she'll tell the story of how an aspiring costumer designer from the suburbs of Philly ended up working for the LA City Council Council and getting a master's in public policy from USC, before going on to launch a successful business.

Hosted in partnership with The Pico Union Project, this event will take place inside their majestic sanctuary. Don't miss this chance to SPRING INTO ACTION and connect with your community inside an historic space and hub for progressive Angelenos!

DTLA bakeries will be on-site with tasty treats, along with LIVE MUSIC & a special GIVEAWAY.

ALL guests will be eligible to win an original work of art by L.A. based artist Mike Stilkey. A master of recovering value, Stilkey's "Book Sculptures" feature whimsical paintings on the covers of discarded books and printed material. With Stilkey's work exhibited throughout the United States as well as internationally, this is a rare opportunity to collect a painting donated by the artist himself. 


Talking Youth Justice with Liberty Hill's Julio Marcial

It's raining podcasts -- check out the 3rd LA Forwards & Backwards episode of the month!

Julio Marcial of the Liberty Hill Foundation talks with us about LHF's work to transform the youth justice system so it focuses on investing in young people, intervening with community-based solutions, and shutting down youth prisons. We discuss how youth of color are overpoliced and overincarcerated and survey the incredible work of grassroots organizations across LA County that have already cut youth incarceration in half.

Apple Podcasts / iTunes:

Android Podcasts / Google:


Fighting Sexual Harassment and Violence

New podcast episode!

Maya Paley of NCJW-LA joins the show to discuss the fight against sexual harassment and violence beyond the headlines. After she shares the story of her own involvement in this work, we dive into the data on the widespread nature of the problem, discuss this year's top policy priorities, and learn about NCJW-LA's "Talk" project to engage teens in peer-to-peer trainings.

Apple Podcasts / iTunes:

Android Podcasts / Google Play:


Tackling Climate Change Locally

What Can We Do To Fight Climate Change In LA?

Our latest LA Forwards & Backwards podcast explores the answer.

Bryn Lindblad of Climate Resolves joins us to discuss the unique challenges faced by our region as a result of climate change and what we can and should be doing in response. We discuss how critical it is to stop the construction of "High Desert Freeway," which will generate massive carbon emissions and destroy Joshua Tree-filled wilderness. We also chat about the importance of more trees and shade structures to make our streets walkable, as well as initiatives to combat the "urban heat island" effect through "cool roofs" and "cool streets." 




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Planning for Metropolitan Equity - a podcast episodes + a long read

NEW Podcast Episode!

Laura Raymond of ACT-LA joins us to discuss recent successes of the "Transit-Oriented Communities program," why the market can't solve all problems, and the importance of regional planing that integrates a racial equity approach from the start. We talk about work to expand equitable transit-oriented development across LA County and the need to build upon, not undermine, such work at the state level.

Apple Podcasts / iTunes

Android Podcasts / Google Play


To go deeper and learn more, check out this essay on how history should shape the way we think about solution's to today's housing crisis: YIMBYism and the Cruel Irony of Metropolitan History

"The tradition stretching from the “housers” to the regional planners to today’s equitable development movement offers a third way to ensuring adequate supply of housing affordable to all levels of the community. It’s a tradition which has never been able to fully realize its promise, but it is finally gaining steam, with notable victories like Measure JJJ and the enactment of the People’s Plan in South LA..." 



How the heck does government actually work?

Exciting News — we are repeating the Civics 101 course we did this fall at the Silverlake Independent JCC.


Because even if you paid attention in high school social studies, our daily political news is probably confusing the hell out of you. How the government is “supposed” to work is very different from how it works in reality. And if you’re confused about all the executive orders, lawsuits, and investigations flying around the Trump administration, you’re probably even less clear on how our local governments are supposed to be dealing with challenges like our housing crisis. With a population of 10 million people and a budget of $30.1 billion, LA County, on its own, would be the 9th largest state in the country.

  • Mar 5: Federal Government 101
  • Mar 12: California Government 101
  • Mar 19: LA County & LA City 101
  • Mar 26: LA City (continued) & other local governments 101

Learn more:

Get your tickets:|civilized|19166 



What is Affordable Housing?

The FIFTH episode of the LA Forwards & Backwards podcast is now live! 

KeAndra Dodds of Enterprise Community Partners joins the show for a conversation about what "affordable housing" means, how the different types of affordable housing get built, and how local ballot initiatives like Measures H, HHH, and JJJ and recent state housing bills are part of this evolving landscape. If you've been affordable housing-confused or just affordable housing-curious, this is the episode for you.

Check it out:

On Apple Podcasts / iTunes.

Google Play / Android.

On the web at Player FM.

Love the podcast and want to keep it going strong?  

You can your chip in here with a tax-deductible donation to our 501(c)3 nonprofit!


 Broadcasting straight out of Vista Hermosa Park, on a chilly late December day.

Broadcasting straight out of Vista Hermosa Park, on a chilly late December day.

Talking Transportation with Jessica Meaney of Investing In Place

The fourth episode of the LA Forwards & Backwards podcast is live on iTunes and Google!

We had a ton of fun talking to Jessica Meaney, founder and ED of Investing In Place

Jessica talked with us about how she came to found a transportation-advocacy organization, the often-ugly history of transportation in LA, and reasons for hope in the present moment. We discuss Measure M, the massive funding measure passed by LA County voters in November 2016, some of the good things it'll do and where we need to keep pressing the Metro Board and the 88 city councils across the County.

Our New Website

We're excited to share the launch of our new website with all of you. The look is similar to our previous site but this new site will allow us to include a lot of new content, like an updates/blog page, photo galleries, a calendar, and all of our podcast episodes in one place. Feel free to offer feedback through our contact form too. We want to hear from you.