LCHP in Action

Read below for updates about the Luskin Center’s activities in informing present-day policy, educating the public, and advocating for historically-informed problem-solving.

Homelessness Report Authors Pen Op-Ed in LA Times

Marques Vestal and Andrew Klein, two members of the research team that produced the Luskin Center for History and Policy’s Making a Crisis: A History of Homelessness in Los Angeles, wrote an op-ed published in the LA Times urging historical examination of the city’s housing crisis to best mold its solutions. Vestal and Klein acknowledge Mayor Garcetti’s pledge to end homelessness by 2028 but critique the campaign as falling into an all-too-common trap of omitting homeless individuals’ self-determination. A backdrop of mass evictions after the Great Depression through Los Angeles’ “urban renewal” and “containment” plans in the 1960s and 70s represents nearly a century of failed efforts toward substantive change. The City must instead recognize that the homeless “make decisions on their own behalf that city policy cannot fully control” before taking “steps to support their self-determination,” they write. Vestal and Klein signal a dark future for the crisis if meaningful, historically-informed action is not swiftly taken.

LCHP Hosts Event on the History of Voting Rights in California

In preparation for last November’s election, LCHP released Reckoning With Our Rights: The Evolution of Voter Access in California, a report taking a historical view to understand why, in 2020, the electorate in California specifically remains so demographically and socioeconomically skewed.

This report was spearheaded by Alisa Belinkoff Katz, LCHP fellow and associate director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. The research team also included Zev Yaroslavsky, a senior fellow at the center, UCLA PhD candidate Izul de la Vega, undergraduate Saman Haddad, and recent graduate Jeanne Ramin.

Now U.S. Senator from California Alex Padilla joined, among others, Carla Pestana, Chair of the UCLA History Department, and Acting Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA Lorrie Frasure to discuss the report and its implications for the future of voting in California in an episode of Why History Matters. The event with Senator Padilla can be found here, the full report here, and the UCLA Newsroom announcement here

Governor Michael Dukakis Speaks on “How the U.S Killed Iranian Democracy – and Dealing with the Consequences”

Governor Michael Dukakis Speaks on “How the U.S Killed Iranian Democracy – and Dealing with the Consequences”

On February 4th, the Luskin Center for History and Policy hosted a talk titled “How the US Killed Iranian Democracy: Dealing with the Consequences” presented by former Governor of Massachusetts and Democratic Nominee for US President, Michael Dukakis. Governor Dukakis began his lecture by pointing out the failures of the current U.S. administration in engaging Iran diplomatically – specifically highlighted by the failure of the Trump administration to comply with the nuclear agreement, JCPOA, reached under the Obama administration. Governor Dukakis argued that the deal represented “exactly how international diplomacy ought to work.”

Dukakis then began to delve into the meat of the discussion and the inspiration for the title, the CIA’s 1953 coup, or overthrow, of the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh. At the time, Mosaddegh wanted to nationalize Iran’s oil industry which would restrict Britain’s access to a significant amount of economic profit they were reaping from the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Winston Churchill’s government applied pressure on the Eisenhower administration and warned of Communist threats coming out of Iran, and a potential alliance with the Soviet Union, at a time of heightened tensions internationally. Resultantly, through the leadership of then-CIA director Allen Dulles, the United States overthrew the Mosaddegh government.

The concluding question Dukakis posed to the audience was: What impact did this moment in history have on our relations with the Middle East to come? Is our interventionist role in the world really working? He argued again for a revisiting of successful diplomatic frameworks, ones that resemble the JCPOA, urging leaders to coordinate and collaborate with international institutions like the UN and include state actors like Russia and China in the conversation.

Event Information

LCHP research presented to City of LA Affordable Housing and Rent Adjustment Commissions

LCHP research presented to City of LA Affordable Housing and Rent Adjustment Commissions

LCHP researcher and UCLA Department of History Ph.D. candidate Marques Vestal presented LCHP research on the history of rent control to a joint meeting of the City of LA Affordable Housing and Rent Adjustment Commissions. The research explores policy responses to housing crises in Los Angeles from World War II through today, revising common and often incorrect perceptions of how rent control was used in Los Angeles and its effects on the housing market. The research was undertaken in response to the widespread affordable housing crisis that Los Angeles currently faces. To view the research report, click here.