Becoming the Mama of MacArthur Park

It Took Time, Persistence, and Tamales To Revitalize a Neighborhood

In the summer of 1998, my friend Joe Colletti convinced me to come and work with him in MacArthur Park. The job was to put together a new street vending district that would organize street vendors to sell their goods legally. It was daunting. We shook our heads as crimes—drug deals, drug use, gang members demanding rent from vendors—took place right in front of us. Where are the cops, we wondered? And how could we possibly operate a vending district in these conditions?

Joe, who had been my colleague at the …

Mother Nature

Is There an App for That?

I traipsed through the buoyant Denali tundra, the wet slush hitting my rain-pants. A highly knowledgeable guide from Camp Denali explained the various mosses and lichens. I walked by a …