Gonzales City Manager René Mendez

I Don’t Like to Read Anything That’s Good for Me

René Mendez is the city manager of the city of Gonzales, in Central California’s Monterey county. Previously the Inyo county administrator, he helped establish the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, Monterey Bay Community Power Agency, and Salinas Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency. Before joining a Zócalo/California Wellness Foundation event, “What Makes a Good Small Town?,” he chatted in the green room about his love of sci-fi, being the oldest of five brothers, and the hands-down best taco filling.

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Former West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Former West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon

Oboe Is Not Really the Best Solo

Christopher Cabaldon served as the mayor of West Sacramento for 11 terms, beginning in 1998; in November 2020, he lost his bid for reelection to a 12th term. Before joining …

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Diana Marcum | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Diana Marcum

I’m Reading Some P. G. Wodehouse Because He Never Fails

Diana Marcum is a narrative writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the Central Valley and the Sierra, and author of …

Advocate for the Unhoused Shawn Pleasants | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Advocate for the Unhoused Shawn Pleasants

I’m an Avid Zoomer

Shawn Pleasants is an advocate for unhoused people in Los Angeles. A former banker and entrepreneur with an economics degree from Yale, he himself lived here unhoused for 10 years. …

United Way Director of Homeless Initiatives Carter Hewgley | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

United Way Director of Homeless Initiatives Carter Hewgley

My Dream Dinner Guests Are James Baldwin, Madonna, and My Grandma

Carter Hewgley is director of homeless initiatives at United Way of Greater Los Angeles; he’s spent his career—including time at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—using data to problem solve. …

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission Member Sarah Dusseault | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Chair on LAHSA Governance Reform Sarah Dusseault

I Have a High Tolerance for Needing to Be Adaptable

Sarah Dusseault is chair of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission Ad Hoc Committee on Governance Reform. Before participating in “What Will It Take to End Homelessness in L.A.?,” …