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The Innercity Freeway Conspiracy

 May 3, 2022 at 10:00 PM PDT

S1: You're making me a gatekeeper.
S2: Getting two or 3000 interest out of the loop for me , not see to squat in financial results.
S4: Hey , good morning. Welcome to season two of the Parker Edison Project. This time around , we're showing you how culture really manifests in our day to day life. I usually record these intros in the studio , but right now I'm in my living room recording a column on the lecture. Once real conversation , I'm actually having a monitor line with a real black celebrity. It's my homegirl , Lexi. I'll explain more in a bit. Just listen close. Try to keep up a my bad.
S5: Historically speaking , they built freeways to separate the cities from each other. Ten Freeway in L.A. separates south central from Beverly Hills.
S4: That's bonkers. Yeah.
S5: Yeah. Think about it. If you eliminate all the freeways you couldn't get to southeast or east San Diego , the slack , then you can only go east or west , not north or south.
S4: I never thought about that. You mentioned it , but that's kind of any way to describe classism in the city. We can move laterally , right , left , but we can move up or out of where they got us.
S5: Yeah , whatever blocks try to move or prosper , it gets taken away from us. What's really happening is they got a head start. We're trying to catch up.
S4: It's sort of like if integration was a type of colonisation , maybe the first legs of it were just take overs. And now we just kind of figured out like a less violent version that we have to be victim to before integration.
S5: They burn all of our cities down all over the country , not just here. San Diego , have you ever heard of Iceberg ? It was down in the 1800s for black people every time that they owned property.
S4: I remember you were talking about that the last time we were chopping it up , how there were like five or six big towns that we started by black people , post-slavery , and they were all taken or burned down after after they got successful. Correct.
S5: Correct. Victorville is the only one that's last in color.
S4: You say that , too. And this is crazy because black people still move from center San Diego to Victorville to to live now.
S5: Right ? Exactly. Still to this day , Julian was another part of San Diego that was owned by black people. It was actually owned by a free slave.
S4: I know the Hotel Robinson started up there and then it got wild successful and it was bought out , renamed by the Jacobs family to become the Julian Hotel.
S5: Do you know why they populated that area ? Because.
S4: Because of the like the the open space and the water.
S5: I mean , yeah , that too. But for the most part , the reservations. The Native Americans have always worked with black people.
S4: That's true , because I know the Buffalo Soldiers are an example of that. Also , that kind of goes back to the road separating the races and the classes. It's like the rose is separate us from the native reservations. Yo and there's the integration again because they exiled the Native Americans to put the casinos there and collect the tax money off of them , like as just a cold game. Exactly.
S5: Exactly. They've done the same thing to our neighborhoods here in San Diego. They did it. The FBI came to our neighborhoods , destroyed the Black Panthers. Oh , wait , hold on. Hold on 1/2 , please. Some other line.
S4: Some people might not be up on the movements of the Black Panther Party. So let me get you up to speed real quick while I'm on hold. That's what's up , y'all , says J. Smith , a.k.a. 1019. And in 1966 , the San Diego School District was more segregated than Little Rock , Arkansas. It ranked lowest in the nation in terms of hiring staff for people with color. The San Diego Black Panthers chapter helped to improve conditions for people of color by establishing whip programs and free breakfast programs for families. So much so the CIA had J. Edgar Hoover pledge that in 1969 that would be the last year of the Black Panther Party. He then created the COINTELPRO organization to discredit , disrupt , raid and infiltrate the Black Panther Party to bring it down. Facts.
S5: Facts. You still there ? Yeah.
S4: Yeah. You were talking about the Panther movement being attacked by the FBI.
S5: Oh , yeah , yeah. The 1969 , they came down to Ocean View Boulevard. They blew up and bulldozed most of the houses in the area. There's still a church out there that has a Black Panther chapter number on it. You know , they knew we were getting together on Sundays initially , so that was the day they decided to come and attack. The operation was called a Sunday in the Park. You can still look it up on YouTube and see other videos of the riots.
S4: Yeah , I found that clip online was super nutty. Is that that happened July 30th , 1969. I was doing the math. On July 14th , the San Diego Tribune read a story about 12 police officers raiding a Black Panthers headquarters. That place was on 2952 Imperial.
S5: Same way they destroyed either black cities like Tulsa.
S4: A big this close this a little nutty. But I'm working on this podcast episode about how certain neighborhoods of color get taken out. Did a similar thing happen in Logan Heights ? I know some of this stuff was going to parallel , so I started recording this convo so I could listen to it. You know ? Do you mind if I like.
S5: Hold on.
S4: It's just. I'm just in the studio real fast. Hello ? Hello.
S5: Stay tuned for more of the peppy.
S3: I want you to check out my show. Chris sees the Internet live Sundays at 7 p.m. on the platform collection page at YouTube. We talk about culture , art , tech and do in-depth interviews with our favorite forward thinkers. Chris sees the Internet hosted by myself and O.G. Hip Hop every Sunday 7 p.m. on YouTube. Platform Collection. Hello.
S5: Hello. This is Maya from Maya's Cookie , San Diego. We are America's number one black gourmet vegan cookie company. You can check us out on our social media. Maya's cookies. San Diego.
S4: And now back to the Pepe. Pepe. Dang. I'll try again in a minute. The topic of this episode is what I want to call the inner city freeway conspiracy. Lexi talked about the way freeways box certain races in. As I was doing research , I learned some examples of how those same freeways sometimes box this out. For instance , in 1944 , LA's Federal Aid Highway Act destroyed the lively , prospering Mexican neighborhood of Boyle Heights. This was no accident. It was done intentionally to disrupt the community and stifle race from mingling with one another. The exact same thing happened here at one time. San Diego's Logan Heights was officially the second largest Chicano community on the West Coast , with a population of close to 20,000 people. In the 1960s , the I-5 freeway planners intruded on the area. Their industrial rezoning split the robust neighborhood , leaving Logan Heights on one side and what is now known as Barrio Logan on the other , with the luxurious highway to Coronado right down the middle. But Barrio Logan residents were quite aware of the long term ramifications of this construction and fought to maintain a small piece of their legacy.
S4: I'm talking to a lot of different people and I'm figuring out there's sort of this conspiracy that happens with highways and roads. And one of the things that struck me really interesting is how that manifested with the Coronado Bridge.
S2: Yeah , we had the wall. They wanted to make the parking lot for the highway patrol were Knowledge Park , and it was there during the takeover , which was in April of 1970. I was a student at the time , so I got a chance to that part of the community's reaction to saying , you know , we don't want more police visibility in our neighborhood. They usually like to build the police stations in jails next to poor communities.
S4: There's a specific day where people really began to the way of construction , getting on to the construction equipment and literally stopping the work.
S2: Human chains , mostly kids and mothers around the bulldozers , stop the construction completely. Later on , when we got them off the property , we acquired some of the bulldozers and used the bulldozers to clear chunks of concrete from the sidewalks that were busted up and start planting trees and cactus to kind of make it look like a park. The community came out with shovels and something , cleaning it up , making it look like a park.
S4: Why was it so important to have a park space in that neighborhood.
S2: Being did all the mammals which play everything else ? They built Interstate five. Right in the middle between the residential and the commercial area. Boogie Nights in a tactic that they've been doing in black neighborhoods and Mexican immigrants throughout history. It seems like in one , well , we call Logan , which 16th Street , 30th , it's in that one section. There's 5000 families taken out just for Interstate five. You know , the residential was strangled because the freeway just sliced straight there and B decided to do the bridge under the Coronado side. This is a 54 acre golf course and over here it has 20 pillars that go over the Mexican part to do joined up the freeway. And of course , the reason is that they didn't want the people that went to Coronado to go to a mexican neighborhood. Cool.
S5: Cool. Reality.
S2: Reality.
S2: Like you can see the mural , I just did this this past year. So this story , high school itself , it has over 100 murals and it now we do events before the pandemic. We we reached 47,000 people during our anniversary and all kinds of events throughout the year.
S4: Das Das while deep , my line just beeped. I really appreciate you talking to me. I got to get back with you. Sure.
S5: Hello , Mr. Recording.
S4: I am , but I'll stop if you want me to.
S5: No , no , no , no. You're good. You're good. But this is the stuff they want to hide and cut out of the books. That's how they control the narrative. But everything I'm talking about is still going on. Look at them. They try to steal skyline. Jimmy we think our neighborhoods are getting nicer , but they're buying it from under us , and they're gentrifying it.
S4: That's deep. Yeah.
S5: Yeah. The hunger. Nice. But they're not worth $1,000,000. Look around. That's not the city we grew up in. 54th Street. Team of Barney , James , Wrigley , Bama are all gone. It's like islands where you don't even notice that.
S4: They fully gentrified that block. That's what I wanted this whole episode to really be about.
S5: You got this on tape , right ? Yeah.
S4: Yeah , I'm taping right now.
S5: Without my permission to use my part. Go and let them know.
S4: Could do that. A I'm a get out you. I'm going to put this all together. I appreciate you. Put me up on game. Well , I got you. You tell people your name just one time. Yeah.
S5: Yeah. My name's Lexie.
S4: Valentino Parker. And I appreciate you. Hello. Hello. It has the real right there. You just been let in on some heavy info. Go hit the books. Dig deeper into everything you just heard. And ask some hard questions. Like what if the same tools used to decimate Boyle Heights and isolate almost buried the culture of Barrio Logan in San Diego ? What if the same group that dismantled the Black Panthers on Ocean View gentrified Julian and now are quietly at work on Southeast Skyline Neighborhood now wrapping this up with some nice , neat solution that rarely exists in the black experience. This is real life. Whatever you decide to do with this information could very well become the next chapter of this story , hopefully for the better. Let me close this episode with a funk anthem from a nine piece instrumental soul band. They're from right here in San Diego , and they never fail to impress me.
S4: I've been following your work for a while now. You're in a very big band.
S1: We've got Jessie Adella , Cheryl Felton , my wife , Kiko Cornejo , Junior , Jake Nature , Travis Klein , Omar Lopez , Lito Magana , myself , Willie Fleming. So those are the nine that that usually is the performing group. And then we've got Bill Caballero , who's appeared on a lot of the recordings , and also Andy Garcia , both trumpet players.
S4: That's a lineup right there , man.
S1: It's a lot of people to have a a business slash creative relationship with.
S1: He's is the longest member who still currently in Sure Fire. And then Jesse Badillo on on sax came a little bit later , but I had been working on some demos. I think it was like 2010. I was playing more in like four piece funk groups and I started hearing the bigger bands. I really dug it. So I just said , Let's do it. Let's put together like it started at seven and then it was eight and then it was nine.
S1: There's a live album that's coming out on this new label that I'm doing called All Town Sound , and that just went to the pressing plant. It'll be out sometime like in a year.
S4: We're closing this episode with your track Step Down. I first heard it on one of the local college stations out here , and it just floored me , man.
S1: I mean , the whole the whole Trump experience was was pretty special in itself. So there was a lot of momentum from from that from even before COVID. And then just with the kind of like half of the country not believing what was happening was actually happening. And that translating into like people in Congress , particularly on the right side of the aisle who just didn't want to believe it was happening. And so they were really slow with getting out any kind of help. You know , we need these people to step down because they're not doing their jobs. Wow.
S4: It's politically minded.
S1: That is.
S4: I had no idea. One of the reasons I'm so glad I got to ask the source. I appreciate you taking the time just to talk with us really quick. Just to kind of top it off , would you mind introducing the track for the listeners ? Sure.
S1: This is this is the song Step Down by the Surefire Soul Ensemble. So.
S4: So. Thanks for stopping in. The Parker Edison Project is produced and hosted by yours truly , Parker Edison and the Good People at Platform Collection. Be sure to subscribe and catch the next episode on Apple , Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have any comments or questions , visit the Parker Edison Project dot com or hit us on Instagram at the P.E. Project. My guide , Kurt CONAN , is audio production manager. Lisa Jay Morrissette is operations manager and John Decker is Associate General Manager for content. This programming is made possible in part by the KPBS Xplore Content Fund. Hello. Saying that because it reminds me of Sesame Street. Just a safe out there.

Artist and activist Victor Ochoa Sr. at work on a mural in this undated photo.
Victor Ochoa Sr.
Artist and activist Victor Ochoa Sr. at work on a mural in this undated photo.
Was the Coronado Bridge built to disrupt Sherman Heights? Muralist Victor Ochoa gives us some insights and block celebrity Lexi Valentino schools me on the secret role freeways play in race.

Music: Sure Fire Soul Ensemble - Step Down

• Lexi Valentino
• Victor Ochoa Sr.
• J. Smith
• Tim Felton

Credits: Parker Edison (Host), Kurt Kohnen (Co-creator), Chris Reyes (Head Editor) and Gene Flo (Score Producer)


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