Dowell Myers is a demography and urban planning professor at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development. Before participating in a panel on what a native-born Los Angeles will look like, he explained in the Zócalo green room how transplants know they’ve become Angelenos, and what question he’d most like to add to the U.S. Census.
Do you have any superstitions?
Maybe only one: I never get 13 gallons of gas or spend $13 on gas. There’s so much luck involved; I don’t want to have it going against me.
What’s your favorite ice cream sundae topping?
What makes a newcomer into an Angeleno?
It sneaks up on them. When they go home, and they realize, “Holy cow, I’ m not like here anymore. I’m like L.A.”
What do you consider the optimal temperature?
Eighty-five. That’s why I live in Pasadena.
Do you like surprises?
Yeah. It keeps the world interesting.
What do you do to clear your mind?
Play my harmonica.
Describe your singing in one sentence—or one word.
What question would you like to add to the U.S. Census?
How long have you lived in California?
What’s your favorite plant or flower?
I like a lot of plants. My yard’s full of a lot of great stuff. I guess I like my key lime tree.
What are you reading right now?
I have a stack of books—I’m a book collector. I collect them; I don’t actually read them because I get them in fistfuls. What’s open and being read? Nothing right now.