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SGV Connect

SGV Connect is Streetsblog Los Angeles' podcast that explores the people, places, projects and events that make up the changing face of transportation in the San Gabriel Valley. SGV Connect is hosted by Damien Newton and Kris Fortin. This feed also hosts SGV Connect's predecessor podcast, #DamienTalks.
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SGV Connect
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Now displaying: 2022
Nov 18, 2022

This week’s SGV Connect features an over forty minute interview by Chris Greenspon with author and history professor James Zarsadiaz about his recent book, Resisting Change in Suburbia: Asian Immigrants and Frontier Nostalgia in L.A. (Buy it from University of California Press, here.)

Zarsadiaz’s book focuses on six communities, five in the San Gabriel Valley (Walnut, Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights, and Heights, and a community within the city of Pomona known as Phillips Ranch) and Chino Hills in San Bernardino. The six communities have a similar development pattern and history where a large incoming community of immigrants from Asia changed neighborhoods and created discomfort for their existing, mostly white, new neighbors.

And so I talked a great length about the ways in which there was peacemaking. But of course, there was still a bit of hurt feelings from both sides. And a lot of the criticism was generated around concerns and of immigrants and nativism; but some of it also was based on just kind of discomfort with change,” Zarsadiaz says in the interview. 

“Broadly speaking, I think for a lot of white residents, who were critical believed that it wasn’t necessarily always rooted in nativism or xenophobia. For them, it was just kind of seeing their world  changed before their eyes and trying to grapple with that change.”

To read the rest of the interview, click here or listen in at SGV Connect, below.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays, and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Oct 27, 2022

With the next election day less than two months away, SGV Connect sits down with Topher Mathers who reviewed dozens of ballot measures throughout the San Gabriel Valley before Active SGV made endorsements for local measures throughout SGV cities.

This is our second podcast focusing on the 2022 election. SGV Connect #100 featured an interview with Ricardo Martinez, a progressive challenger to the incumbent La Puente Mayor and Katrina Kaiser with Streets for All who moderated a City Council debate in Monterey Park.

For a full list of their endorsements, and details for why they endorsed each measure, listen on or visit the Active SGV Elections page. You can also read a full transcript of the talk between Damien and Topher on Streetsblog. If you haven't received your ballot, or don't know where you can cast an in-person ballot, visit the L.A. County Elections page.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays, and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Oct 11, 2022

This week's SGV Connect is a bit of a departure from our usual format. Instead of two interviews, we start with a discussion between Damien and Chris about a lawsuit filed by the City of San Dimas against the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. The lawsuit calls for a halt to constuction while the issue of where the parking lot for the station is built.

The discussion builds on years of reporting, some by Streetsblog and some by other local news. For more background please read, "San Dimas Lawsuit Over Light Rail Parking Project May Mean the Train Skips the Station" from the Daily News earlier this month, "San Dimas Has a List of Issues It Wants the Gold Line Authority to Address" from the Daily Bulletin in 2018, and "Reduced Parking Being Studied for Planned Foothill Gold Line Extension" from Streetsblog in 2020.

After that, Chris interviews Julian Lucas. Lucas is a photographer, publisher, bookseller and Pomona native. He shares his thoughts on the local art scene and he has  an exhibit of street photography up
at the Bunnygunner Gallery in Claremont through the end of the month. For more details and hours of operation for Bunnygunner, click here.

Would you rather read than listen? Click here for the discussion on the San Dimas parking controversy, and here for the interview with Julian Lucas.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays, and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Sep 15, 2022

This week's SGV Connect features an interview with the director of the Pasadena Department of Transportation and Vincent LaRocca of the new group ride bicycling group SGV Cycling.

As Damien notes in our first interview with Pasadena's Laura Cornejo, SGV Connect was long overdue for a story on the Rose City. In the couple of days since we recorded the podcast, Chris Greenspon covered the 19 projects that the city is planning to build with repurposed funds from the defunct 710 expansion project, but before that it had been awhile.

In just the past couple of months, Pasadena has embraced a Safe Systems approach to transportation planning. Cornejo explains what that is and promotes the city's focus on pilot and demonstration programs to show Pasadenans what could be possible on their streets. For a full transcript of the interview, click here.

In our second interview, Chris interviews Vincent La Rocca, one of the members of SGV Cycling. LaRocca describes some of their recent rides and tells listeners how they can get in on the fun. For a full transcript of their discussion, click 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays, and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Aug 26, 2022

This week's SGV Connect features two interviews by Chris Greenspon on two different, but important issues.

First, Chris interviews James Drevno, a Senior Regional Planner with L.A. County Planning. James is working on the East San Gabriel Valley Area Plan which focuses on the unincorporated “islands” that are scattered throughout San Gabriel Valley. Within these areas, the Mobility Action Plan focuses on where there is the most need for bicycle and transit infrastructure improvements. To read a transcript of the interview between Chris and James, click here.

Next, Chris sits down with Josh Sanchez, a former SAC student who is  transferring to Cal Poly Pomona. This eye opening conversation focuses on Josh's experience local and student journalism. What happens to areas when this type of journalism goes away in a tightening media market and what happens to journalists who can't afford to pursue their career anymore? For a full transcript of the discussion between Chris and Josh, click 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays, and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Aug 4, 2022

This week's SGV Connect focuses on a pair of local city council races in the cities of La Puente and Monterey Park.

The first interview features Ricardo Martinez, a progressive challenger to the incumbent City Councilmember and Mayor Charlie Klinakis. The interview touches on Martinez's personal history, platform, and plans to revitalize the city by encouraging investment in La Puente's downtown.

In the second interview, Damien talks with Katrina Kaiser with Streets for All. They helped program and moderated a debate in Monterey Park working with locals with Safe Streets for SGV last week with four candidates for City Council. Kaiser explains how the debate shows differences between candidates and inform Streets for All's endorsement process. If you'd like to watch the entire debate, you can do so, 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays, and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Jul 21, 2022

This week on SGV Connect, we’re bringing you a special interview with Adolfo Guzman-Lopez and then our quarterly update with Melanie Curry of Streetsblog California.

Adolfo is a household name in the public radio world, covering higher education at KPCC. He spent the last year on a special assignment, investigating the death of a 90’s Chicano civil rights activist from Baldwin Park, Oscar Gomez for a podcast from KPCC’s LAist Studios.

Imperfect Paradise: The Forgotten Revolutionary follows Gomez’s young adult life from star athlete and scholar at Baldwin Park High School to student activist at UC Davis and his mysterious end below the cliffs of the coast off UC Santa Barbara. Chris’ interview with Adolfo looks at Oscar’s roots and legacy in the San Gabriel Valley, the pressures he was under as a student and activist, and Adolfo’s own coming out as a Chicano rights activist at the same time as Oscar… a part of his identity he’s long shielded from his journalism career.

Damien and Melanie touch base on what the new state budget means for cities' sidewalks, bike lanes and bus stops as well as talk about the legisltation that is, and isn't, moving. For a more detailed look at the legislation, check out her most recent legislative update

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays, and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Jul 7, 2022

This week's SGV Connect features an interview with Carlos Morales of the Eastside Bike Club and Stan's Bike Shop. The interview, conducted by Chris Greenspon, discusses Carlos' history as a carfree journalist and how bicycling saved his life.

Longtime readers may remember that when Morales wasn't publishing his by-line with Voice Community News, you could occasionally find his work at Streetsblog L.A.

THIS is a long-form interview you won't hear anywhere else.

So please, as you listen to this interview with a local LEGEND, think about giving a few bucks to Streetsblog’s fundraising drive.

For a full transcript of the interview, click 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Jun 30, 2022

This week's SGV Connect Podcasdt features an interview by Chris Greenspon with two members of the Memories of El Monte collective, Aron Montenegro and Alma Zarate. Chris visited the collective's new home on 626 Day when Memories of El Monte celebrated their new space and the local holiday.

Memories of El Monte is planning to open a soup kitchen in January and possibly expand with a cafe and even bar in the coming years. The interview covers their plans, the collective's goals, and what makes Memories' preferred coffee so special.

For a full transcript of our interview, click here. You can also check out our podcast with Memories of El Monte conducted last year, by clicking 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Jun 17, 2022

This week sees a special #SGV Connect podcast with Damien Newton interviewing Habib Balian, the executive director of the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. As we publish this podcast, the Authority is holding a press conference to celebrate the 50% completion point of the current Gold Line extension out to Pomona.

For a full transcript of our interview, click here. Read the press release for today’s event, 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Jun 6, 2022

Tonight, Megan Lynch will present "Acesible and Complete Streets" at tonight's meeting of the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition. To get the zoom link, click here and send a note to UC Access. Today, we feature her at SGV Connect for those that can't make tonight's meeting to hear her message.

When she's not pushing for transportation planning that includes infrastructure that is accesible to all potential users, Lynch is a graduate student at UC Davis. There, she founded UC Access Now, an advocacy group for the disabled. In the interview, she discusses how one can support their advocacy by writing to the Governor and legislature to support their efforts on UC campuses. Click here for their Link Tree page and here to take action. And if you still haven't gotten enough Megan, you can watch her in a panel at Calbike.

In our second interview, Chris interviews Supervisor Hilda Solis about the future Puente Hills Park. After literally decades of advocacy, Solis and L.A. County have secured over $100 million to convert over 140 acres of what was once the Puente Hills Landfill into one of the region's largest parks.

In the interview, Solis recounts her memories growing up near the future park and the impact that growing up near a dump had on her and her family. Getting rid of the dump is a major victory for the entire community, and replacing it with a park is a legacy project that Solis is clearly already very proud of.

For a transcript of the podcast, click 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

May 16, 2022
May is Bike Month, and we're kicking off the "Chris and Damien" era at #SGVConnect with two interviews that tie-in to bicycling in the San Gabriel Valley.

First, Chris visits La Cañada Flintridge to interview Senator Anthony Portantino. Portantino famously became an avid cyclist during the Coronavirus Stay-at-Home orders and has developed his own bicycling exercise routine. He has taken his new bicycling passion with him to Sacramento where he authored legislation that would force more communities to plan for and move on bicycle and pedestrian planning.

In our second interview, Damien talks with Wes Reutimann and Danielle Zamora with Active SGV. The conversation starts with a wrap-up of the recent 626 Golden Streets a couple of weeks ago and continues with a discussion of Active Transportation planning throughout San Gabriel Valley cities.

At the end of the podcast, Damien mentions this action alert put out by Active SGV in South Pasadena. The City Council is going to vote on a new project list for Metro funding and sadly their draft list is missing many walking, bicycling and transit projects in the city's transportation plan.

And if you want to hear more podcasts featuring Chris, make sure to check out SGV Weekly. His most recent episode featured Christine Tran and a discussion of food insecurity and battling Asian American stereotypes.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Apr 28, 2022

This week, the Streetsblog team is happy to introduce you to Chris Greenspon, our new writer and podcast co-host in the San Gabriel Valley.

Many of you already know Chris from his other podcasting work as host of SGV Weekly, now in its second season. You can download or listen to past episodes at the SGV Weekly website.

As has become our tradition, we like to introduce readers and listeners to our new team members by featuring them in a podcast episode. Listen in as Damien and Chris talk about their backgrounds and their ties to the San Gabriel Valley. At one point they discuss Chris' favorite episode of SGV Weekly, "Pomona’s fading graffiti reborn as exalted poetry."

If you enjoy our discussion, or want to learn more about Chris, it just so happens his most recent podcast episode is autobiographical. Listen to it 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Mar 29, 2022
Today’s SGV Connect podcast is the last one for the duo of Damien and Kris. As we previously announced, Kris is moving on to a full-time position with Santa Ana Active Streets. We certainly weren’t going to let him go without one goodbye podcast.

Kris has written for Streetsblog on and off for over a decade first covering Boyle Heights then after a break moving to Orange County and finally covering the San Gabriel Valley where he lived and grew up.

No last podcast would be complete without a look back at some of our favorite stories’ of Kris’ throughout the years. Here are some of mine:

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Friday.

Feb 24, 2022
This week's SGV Connect podcast focuses on the Garvey Avenue road project in Monterey Park covered for Streetsblog L.A. last week by Jennifer Tang. Tang and fellow advocate Edwin Sun give an update on the project and discuss some of the challenges advocating for a better project on Garvey.

At Tang noted in a different piece for Streetsblog last year, Monterey Park is planning to increase car capacity on Garvey Avenue using funds that were allocated from Metro. These funds were originally intended for expansion of the I-710 and were to be used to 'increase mobility' and 'reduce congestion.' Like many cities along the corridor, Monterey Park was worried that if it moved forward a more progressive plan, that Metro wouldn't allocate the funds towards their city.

There is some good news. At a February 16 meeting, the City Council voted to upgrade a proposed bike lane for Garvey Avenue to a 'Class 4' (i.e. protected) bike lane and the plan to eliminate parking to increase lane capacity at rush hour was put aside. A plan to build multi-story parking garages moved forward.

In the podcast, we discuss an upcoming motion by Supervisor Hilda Solis to insure that cities such as Monterey Park can use their 710 funds for multi-modal projects. Since we recorded the podcast Tuesday night, Streetsblog went into greater depth on the Solis motion. You can read more on it 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

Feb 15, 2022

Welcome to this week's episode of the SGV Connect podcast.

Kris talked this week with Kome Ajise, executive director of Southern California Association of Governments, and Ryan Johnson, associate planner at Alta Planning + Design, about the Interstate 710 North Mobility Hubs Plan. The project is trying to find potential locations around the I-710 N stub to install mobility hubs, a designated area that has two or more travel options, which can include transit, walking, bike share and micro mobility. These options would help make it easier to get around with a personal car.

The study area includes portions of South Pasadena, Alhambra, but is made up of mostly Los Angeles eastside neighborhoods.  Feedback collection for the map and survey are currently closed during this iteration of the plan, Johnson said, but an updated version of both will be posted in the coming months. Anyone that wants project updates can sign up on the website

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