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Joel Epstein
Joel Epstein is a philanthropic and CSR advisor, Chief Talent Officer at Bliss Lawyers, and a strategic communications and public affairs consultant specializing in messaging and communications strategy for public and private clients. His writing focuses on business, politics, public transportation, education and other critical urban issues. Named 2010 Best Online Columnist by L.A. Streetsblog, Joel trained as a lawyer and policy analyst. A published author and stringer for The New York Times and other publications, he spends his free time exploring Los Angeles and the rest of the best coast. To learn more about what Joel can do for you or your business, please visit his soon to be updated webpage: or contact him at

Entries by Joel Epstein

The Beverly Hills School Board Is Wasting Your Money Fighting the Subway

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 1:41 PM

Some days are better than others in the campaign to expand public transportation in Los Angeles. Which is why I was delighted to open an email yesterday from a woman I have never met. Mary Weiss, a Beverly Hills resident, must have read of my ongoing effort to...

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Koreatown: El Basurero

(2) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 11:04 PM

You might say this is a throwaway piece. Just a little moral indignation about something I'm pretty obsessed about. It's been a little over a year since I moved to Koreatown from the Westside. Sure, there's garbage on the Westside. Just look at any bus stop and you can see...

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In Beverly Hills, Money for the Subway Doesn't Grow on Trees

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 1:18 PM

There it was on my screen. And oh, how I wish I'd written the headline: "Beverly Hills Unified's Legal Fight Against Purple Line Subway Route Paid for With School Construction Bonds."

Of course the Beverly Hills School Board was misappropriating money meant for its students to pay for...

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It's Carbon and Monoxide the Ol' Detroit Perfume

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 10:12 PM

It had been over 30 years since my last visit to Detroit. It was time. Ruin porn. That was the term I'd heard used to describe why tourists were now descending on buildings like the long-abandoned Michigan Central Station in Corktown. How could a city let...

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Just TAP and Spin Through the Unlocked Expo Line Turnstile

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 10:47 AM

Who doesn't love a good story? After all, this is Los Angeles. Take this article in a recent issue of LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's blog entitled, "Record numbers riding easy on Expo."

"The first phase of the Expo Line is getting up to speed -- six years...

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Will It Take an Earthquake to Bring the Subway to the Sea?

(4) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 3:13 PM

Where are all the catastrophic earthquakes when you need one? Nineteen years ago last week, Los Angeles and much of the L.A. region were paralyzed when the Northridge earthquake decimated critical public infrastructure including sections of the Santa Monica Freeway.

Of course I am not wishing for an...

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Shanghai Is For Bikers

(3) Comments | Posted November 28, 2012 | 7:00 AM

It had been four years since I was last in China; right after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Back then, in July and August, it was hazy, hot, and humid. Now, while the temperature was considerably cooler, the poor air quality seemed to be about the same.

Between 2008 and...

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Sunset Blvd: The Bus Not Taken

(3) Comments | Posted July 17, 2012 | 8:02 PM

This week, Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne continued his excellent series on L.A.'s boulevards with a piece on iconic Sunset Blvd. I love the piece and the way Hawthorne travels east from PCH rather than west to capture the energy and creativity of Sunset Blvd in...

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The Orange Line Extension -- Another Reason to Leave Your Car at Home

(4) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 3:21 PM

A lot has been written about the Orange Line extension to Chatsworth, and this great new transit project deserves the praise. So for those who haven't ridden it yet, I'm adding my voice to the mix in the hope that it reaches some Angelenos and tourists who may...

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A Take Out Order of the Westside Subway Extension

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 1:57 PM

It's been a difficult time for me lately. With the Rampture upon us and street services repaving the street I live on, even though my stretch seems just fine, I have been challenged of late to see the L.A. transportation glass as mostly full. Of course there are...

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Hey Los Angeles, There's a Train Arrivin'

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 12:47 PM

Expo Line -- On your mark... Photo by Joel Epstein

Last night I took my 17-year-old son to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. What a rite of passage. It seems like...

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Super Bowl Sunday and the Elixir of Fat

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2012 | 6:50 PM

This Super Bowl Sunday both on and off the field viewers watched the Giants and the Patriots. Between plays and at halftime, the off-the-field giants were Big Soda, with their ads for their elixir of obesity and diabetes. And you can bet the ads for Coke and Pepsi contained a...

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RENEWing LA Through CicLAvia

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2011 | 7:20 PM

A lot has already been written about CicLAvia but we are just getting started. It is only the beginning because this transformational health-promoting event is demonstrating to Angelenos and the rest of the world how this bloated, increasingly overweight and sprawling city isn't just for cars and doesn't...

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Bad Lawsuits Against Public Transit

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2011 | 2:36 AM

Here's an important story that may not have made it onto The Daily Show yet. While it is only a matter of time before Streetsblog Los Angeles has the readership of the program where most Americans get their news, until then I'm using this soapbox to...

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California's High-Speed Rail Mistake

(27) Comments | Posted September 13, 2011 | 1:44 PM

This is the piece in which I out myself about California's high-speed rail mistake. Let's face it, now is not the time to be spending a decent size country's GDP on a fast train between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Instead we should be spending that fortune completing much needed...

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Hurricane Irene Is a Chance to Put Things Right in New Jersey and Washington

(2) Comments | Posted September 6, 2011 | 7:07 PM

With parts of New Jersey and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast still literally underwater from Hurricane Irene, it is time to examine the double standard that is New Jersey governor and likely presidential candidate Chris Christie's modus operandi. Sure, during the extended Tea Time we are living through...

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Lessons From Brooklyn for the LADOT

(1) Comments | Posted August 25, 2011 | 1:00 PM

Like a victory lap coming off its big win in the Prospect Park West Bike Lane Battle of the Bulge case, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is continuing its public space transforming work with its makeover of accident-prone and pedestrian menace Grand Army...

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A Century City Station at Constellation? You Betcha!

(1) Comments | Posted July 18, 2011 | 5:24 PM

Last week, just after a large deer decided to make itself a hood ornament on our car, I got to thinking about what a great country this is. In spite of our political and social divisions and the still phlegmatic economic recovery, this special land is full of beauty and...

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Carmageddon, Out East, And America Fast Forward

(0) Comments | Posted July 8, 2011 | 5:24 PM

With Carmageddon upon us I took Metro's sage advice and got about as far away from LA as I could without a passport. And my mode of transportation? You guessed it. The car. The now-famous 405 freeway closing aligning perfectly with my kids being off at camp, it...

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Rejecting Century City Subway Station Adjacent

(1) Comments | Posted June 28, 2011 | 9:56 PM

Dear Beverly Hills:

What were you thinking when you let your mayor write Metro basically threatening to pull the city's support for America Fast Forward if the public transit agency decides to build a Century City subway station at Constellation Blvd and Avenue of the Stars?

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