A new National Park Service article highlighted the findings of a national park visitor survey co-conducted by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation in collaboration with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area staff and volunteers. The survey analyzed equity and access by comparing demographics and geographic characteristics of visitors; travel distance, time and cost to visit; modes of park access; activity engagement; and amenities used or desired. By comparing the results of the 2002 and the 2018 surveys, researchers found that the park has grown not only in popularity but also in the diversity of its visitors. Survey respondents stressed their desire to see improvements in trailhead facilities, including bathrooms, drinking fountains, trash cans, and maps of trailheads and trails. The findings will also be used to better allocate resources throughout the national park.
Martin Wachs, professor emeritus of urban planning, spoke to the Orange County Register about the prospect of converting carpool lanes to toll lanes on Orange County freeways. Seventy-seven percent of Orange County carpool lanes don’t meet the federal law’s requirement to move at a speed of 45 mph or faster. Turning carpool lanes into toll lanes would help unclog the flow of traffic because drivers willing to pay for access would move out of the general-purpose lanes, Wachs explained. “In every case, the facility is carrying more people than it would have had the lane either been not tolled at all, or remained a high-occupancy-vehicle lane alone.”
Founding director of Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI) Sonja Diaz was recently featured on KPCC’s “Air Talk” to discuss the ongoing results of the 2018 midterm elections. As provisional, conditional and vote-by-mail ballots were being counted, Diaz analyzed the increase in the Latino vote compared to 2014 midterm elections. Diaz’s research through the UCLA Luskin-affiliated LPPI found that, while Los Angeles County experienced a 52% increase in ballots cast overall, precincts where Latinos constituted 75% or more of registered voters yielded a “77% increase in the number of ballots cast.” Diaz also acknowledged the impact of Latino voters on the success of Spanish surname candidates like Kevin De Leon running for statewide election. Diaz also cited results from Texas’ Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke, noting that “exit polls do not capture minority voters as accurately as more traditional or white voters.”
ABC News spoke to Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, for its report on Orange County Republican Dana Rohrabacher’s bid for reelection to the House of Representatives. Rohrabacher, the article noted, is a staunch Reaganite who took an unexpected ideological turn in advocating closer ties with Russia. In the November 2018 midterm elections, he is one of several California Republicans scrambling to defend his seat. Observers noted that Rohrabacher’s longevity and conservative record give him a strong change of reelection. “He’s been around for almost 30 years in Congress,” said Yaroslavsky, who has known Rohrabacher for decades. “Don’t underestimate him because he will fight.”
Sonja Diaz, founding director of the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative, commented on Latino voting trends after the California primary election during a KNX radio broadcast. Latino voters appeared to have “bucked the trend and turned in ballots in big numbers” — becoming supermajorities in some precincts — especially in Orange County, according to the report. “In Orange County we see surges in the number of ballots cast in the most heavily Latino precincts and these surges range from 10 percent to upwards of 245 percent over the ballots cast in June 2014,” Diaz said.