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Joel Epstein
Joel Epstein is a senior advisor to companies, law firms, foundations and public initiatives on communications strategy, government affairs and corporate social responsibility (CSR). His writing focuses on business, politics, public transportation/infrastructure, real estate, hospitality and travel, the environment and other critical urban issues. Named 2016 Finalist in the Individual Blog category by the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards and 2010 Best Online Columnist by L.A. Streetsblog, Joel trained as a lawyer and policy analyst. His experience includes running a foundation, creating a corporate employee giving program and serving as political director for an active Los Angeles donor. To learn more about what Joel can do for you or your business, visit his website or email him.

Entries by Joel Epstein

The Expo Line Is LA Metro's Gateway Drug

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2016 | 6:49 PM

It came to me as I rode the Expo Line home after a business meeting in Santa Monica.

The Expo Line is L.A. Metro's gateway drug.

And, if we know what's good for us we should all keep experimenting to find our favorite rail or bus line. We...

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Except at CicLAvia, L.A.'s Streets Are No Work of Art

(1) Comments | Posted May 17, 2016 | 8:46 PM

It is only Tuesday but it is shaping up to be another great week in L.A. The transformational L.A. happening, CicLAvia Southeast Cities is on the books, having blessed Huntington Park, Walnut Park, Southgate, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood and Watts, with its boundless energy and the joy of ten miles...

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A Streetcar Named Santa Monica

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 12:39 AM

A Streetcar Named Santa Monica?

OK, not exactly. It's actually something better. A light rail line from downtown Los Angeles to within blocks of the sea. And if we do things right, in November the Expo Line could become one of several sorely needed (and accelerated) public...

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A City in Bloom

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 12:41 PM

Anyone who knows me, knows how excited I am about the L.A. Metro Expo Line opening to Santa Monica next month. Still, this week I am feeling lucky to have some time in New York, America's transportation mecca. I am here soaking up the springtime and...

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How the Expo Line Got to Santa Monica

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 8:03 PM

With the Metro Expo Line to Santa Monica scheduled to open in May, this piece revisits an interview I conducted four years ago, shortly before the opening of the first phase of Expo to Culver City. Like the line itself which follows the Pacific Electric's right of way...

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Safe Streets & Transit-Oriented Density is Destiny

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2016 | 12:33 PM

What do Fig Jam, the so-called Neighborhood Integrity Initiative (NII) and Janette Sadik Khan's new book Streetfight have to do with one another? More than you might imagine.

Los Angeles is of course a city of competing ideals. And perhaps we're better for it....

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Arbor Day in South LA

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2016 | 7:18 PM

I don't know whether the County seeded the clouds like they did last week to cause yesterday's downpour but it sure made today's tree planting easier.

This morning I was in a neighborhood I don't get to too often. 77th Street and Hoover in South LA. The occasion was a...

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PortTech Los Angeles and the Future of San Pedro

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2016 | 1:38 PM

What do you get when you bring together inventors, investors, local government and cleantech and environmental advocates?

Answer: PortTech Expo.

I spent yesterday in San Pedro at the 6th Annual PortTech Expo which showcases transformative technologies like emission-free trucks and energy saving lighting....

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(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2016 | 8:52 AM

"If you can remake it here, you can remake it anywhere." So concludes former New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in Streetfight -- Handbook for an Urban Revolution (Viking 2016), co-written with Seth Solomonow. Sadik-Khan should know. As one of the world's leading placemakers, under former New York Mayor...

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Searching for Detroit and Los Angeles

(0) Comments | Posted February 9, 2016 | 2:51 PM

I finally got around to watching Searching for Sugarman, the excellent 2013 documentary about Sixto Rodriguez by Malik Bendjelloul. Seeing the film, my mind circled back as it does sometimes to Detroit.

In the documentary about the immensely talented though largely unknown folk singer, Rodriguez's story...

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Mermaid Avenue

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 1:44 PM

Over the weekend, while waiting for a friend and listening to Spotify, the album Mermaid Avenue by Billy Bragg & Wilco came on.

Seeing the words of the album based on Woody Guthrie's lyrics scrolling across the screen took me back to a summer visit to Coney Island....

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Pivoting and Disruption @ VerdeXChange 2016

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2016 | 1:51 PM

With two kids in college and one on her way soon enough, I can't afford to go back to school. Besides, I never liked taking exams and sharing my room with someone who rarely showers. But that doesn't mean the learning ends. Which is what made attending my first VerdeXchange...

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Meeting David Bowie on a Plane

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 2:15 PM

This morning as I drove my father to LAX, he remembered meeting David Bowie some 30 or more years ago on a plane. Boarding their flight, my father and mother took their seats next to a passenger hiding under a scarf and big hat. Before takeoff, they politely asked the...

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L.A.'s Transit Force Awakens

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 8:56 PM

What a difference a few years makes. It seems like just yesterday that a handful of Beverly Hills NIMBYs were fighting the best location for a subway station in Century City.

Well anyhow...

But we are in a new era. One in which L.A.'s transit loving forces...

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Giving Thanks in Portland and Los Angeles

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2015 | 6:48 PM

Without a doubt, we are the lucky ones. In general, the closest most of us will ever come to domestic and global terrorism is the splash page of the Los Angeles Times website.

Grateful for that and an inveterate traveler with TSA Precheck, last...

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The Subway Toward the Sea

(0) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 7:51 PM

Last month, the Subway Toward the Sea came a bit closer to becoming a reality.

The cause for celebration arrived in the form of an appeals court ruling upholding the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Purple Line Extension.

If you haven't heard,...

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L.A. Can Be the Future of Cities

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2015 | 2:24 PM

I love L.A. and the smiles events like CicLAvia put on the faces of those lucky enough to participate. Like the tens of thousands of others at yesterday's miles-long block party in downtown L.A., Chinatown, Boyle Heights, the Arts District and Westlake, I had a blast. And I...

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Feel the Bern?

(8) Comments | Posted October 15, 2015 | 3:59 PM

Feel the Bern? I'm not sure. Here's my Bernie Sanders story.

In a former life, I was political director for one of those Los Angeles billionaires Bernie Sanders is so fond of slamming from the podium.

As part of my job, I would meet with and vet candidates for federal,...

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Transit Envy and Other Thoughts on Making L.A. the City It Can Be

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2015 | 3:16 PM

This week the world lost a close friend and a man who would have loved what is happening on L.A.'s streets, along the Los Angeles River and in terms of public transportation.

Al Selvin died while out on one of his regular weekend bike...

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Mexico City's Lessons for Los Angeles

(7) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 8:48 PM

With Los Angeles in the midst of a major public transportation expansion and real estate boom, it is constructive to look at what other large cities are doing to meet their mass transit needs. A few years ago in Istanbul I witnessed that city's significant investment in bus rapid transit...

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