Alto is the New Rideshare Company in Town

My latest article for L.A. Taco is now available! It’s an interview with Will Coleman, co-founder of Alto, a new rideshare company that is operating differently than its competition (y’know, like Uber and Lyft).

An excerpt:

A critical aspect of Alto’s brand is that it hires drivers as employees as opposed to its competitors, who work with drivers as independent contractors. In addition, the company provides them with a uniform, including PPE, hours of training in defensive driving, and training in the “culture of the service model,” as Coleman describes it.

Employment also provides peace of mind to drivers who continue to contend with the efforts of many rideshare and gig economy companies to limit their pay and benefits. The fallout from the passage of Prop. 22 last year in California hasn’t been pretty, as noted in The Guardian (“‘A slap in the face’: California Uber and Lyft drivers criticize pay cuts under Prop 22”), Protocol (“California gig workers say Prop. 22 isn’t delivering promised benefits”), VICE (“Uber Shuts Down App That Told Drivers If Uber Underpaid Them”), and Business Insider (“Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other gig companies said California’s Prop 22 would create opportunity for workers of color. A new study says it ‘legalized racial subordination.’”).

Read my full story at L.A. Taco: https://www.lataco.com/alto-rideshare-new-app-will-coleman/

‘The System Failed Him:’ For The Last Remaining Sibling Of The Zaragoza Family, Measure R Is A Matter Of Life And Death

Annette Zaragoza-Bilow didn’t have a role in crafting Measure R, but her support for the measure is deeply personal. If it passes, the measure will not only give the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission stronger oversight power, but will also restructure the infrastructure in how Los Angeles county incarcerates people and, more importantly, treats people with mental health issues. 

She hopes that the ordinance will help people like her brother, Gerry Dean Zaragoza, before it’s too late.

“My brother tried to get help for many years before the incident,” she recalls in an interview with LA Taco.

Read more at LA Taco: https://www.lataco.com/zaragoza-measure-r/

RIP LA Weekly

I wanted to write something about what happened last week at LA Weekly.

Much of the details can be found in this article by Jack Denton for Pacific Standard. The short version of the story is that a gaggle of libertarians bought the company and fired most everyone last Wednesday. The new EIC Brian Calle doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing or what he wants to do and neither do the owners as the site has yet to be updated with any new content other than a post introducing the new investors and since-deleted tweet offering unpaid work.

That’s not to mention the jaw-dropping ignorant statements that Calle and his investors have vomited out in recent days.

I contributed to the LAW for seven years with these past three years the best out of those seven thanks to everyone I worked with especially former music editor Andy Hermann who also wrote me a wonderful letter of recommendation as part of my application to San Diego State University.

The past three years were definitely something special. The four years before then felt like dangerous, shifting waters that threatened to sink LA Weekly with a revolving door of cuts and editorial staff. Then, somehow, the ship and waters stabilized and all went well again.

Until November 29th.

Some of my peers from LAW are fighting Calle and his ilk to prevent them from being able to do anything under LAW’s name. I’m not sure what will come of it but the new owners are off to a terrible start and many important names, retailers, and organizations in the city have joined a boycott against them.

I do believe it’s possible to save LA Weekly. I hope we can soon.

Schools Not Prisons: Buyepongo and Ceci Bastida Rally Against Mass Incarceration

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Singer-songwriter Ceci Bastida has long championed political and social causes such as immigrant rights, the Zapatista movement and various issues concerning her native country of Mexico. Her most recent foray into activism, however, is undoubtedly her most personal.

This Saturday in Oxnard, she will be one of a handful of artists to perform a free, all-ages show in support of the Schools Not Prisons Arts & Music Festival tour, which promotes safe communities via voting, political activism and non-violence among community youth, with a focus on funding schools and educational programs while fighting against “zero-tolerance” policing of students that ultimately funnels many of them into the United States’ massive prison system.

Read the rest of my story at LA Weekly.

My first story for ATTN

I joined the writing crew of ATTN as a freelancer a few weeks ago. My first story for them has just been published. Click the link below.

The 2 Biggest Lies About Immigrants In The U.S.

More about ATTN: ATTN is a company with a simple mission: inform and empower the next generation to make a social impact. Content is chief in pursuing this, and everyday on new media platforms, we share commentary, news articles, and videos that cover important societal topics (economic mobility, civil rights, education, criminal justice, the environment, etc) as well as incorporate meaningful calls-to-action.