Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies was established to promote the study, understanding and solution of regional policy issues, with special reference to Southern California. Areas of study include problems of the environment, urban design, housing, community and neighborhood dynamics, transportation and local economic development. The Center was founded in 1988 with a $5 million endowment from Ralph and Goldy Lewis. In addition to income from the Lewis Endowment, the Center is supported by private and corporate foundation gifts and grants, individual donors, and research grants from a variety of governmental agencies. The Center sponsors a lecture/seminar series, as well as workshops and conferences focusing on Southern California, in an effort to build bridges to the local community.

Some working papers are not available electronically but a link is provided to the Lewis Center website for ordering instructions. (

Cover page of Examining Disproportionality in Adult Protective Services Decisions in Southern California

Examining Disproportionality in Adult Protective Services Decisions in Southern California


Adult protective services (APS) are the primary form of state intervention in cases of elder mistreatment in the United States. Accurate and unbiased identification of elder abuse and neglect is crucial to protect elders from mistreatment and also to reduce overpolicing of vulnerable groups. This study uses APS report microdata (N=14,448) from a county APS agency in Southern California to identify racial disproportionality in the rate of confirmed elder abuse. Our analysis finds that APS investigators are significantly less likely to confirm reported cases of elder mistreatment for Latinx victims than for white victims. While we found no significant relationship between APS case confirmation and API identity overall, disaggregation of the API identity group reveals a bimodal effect. East Asian APS victims are significantly more likely to be confirmed for elder abuse than whites, while Southeast Asians are significantly less likely to be confirmed. English proficiency also moderates APS confirmation rate for Southeast Asians, with non-English-speaking Southeast Asians being significantly more likely to be confirmed for elder abuse. Contrary to expectations, Black racialized identity did not have a statistically significant relationship with APS case confirmation as compared to whites. Study findings illustrate the need for improved outreach and reporting practices around elder mistreatment and the importance of examining inter-ethnic differences within the API monolith when designing policy interventions for older adults.

Cover page of Transforming Car Wash Worker Rights: An Analysis of California's Car Wash Worker Law

Transforming Car Wash Worker Rights: An Analysis of California's Car Wash Worker Law


As of today, the car wash industry in the United States has close to 17,000 establishments with 163,178 paid employees. Like in many industries with predominantly immigrant workforces, car wash employers skirt minimum wage laws by paying workers through only tips, by having workers on stand-by without pay, or through per car and daily rates. In 2003, AB 1688 passed in the legislatures, and required car wash owners to register with the Labor Commissioner’s Office (DLSE) and imposed a fine on car wash owners who refused to comply. However, by 2008, only 65% of the estimated 1,600 car washes were registered and in compliance with the law. Our report was compiled to answer the following policy question: How effective have AB 1688 (2003) and AB 1387 (2013) been in addressing wage theft for carwasherxs in California? Our research consists of a combination of quantitative data analysis of wage claim filings and qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with carwasherxs, labor law attorneys, Deputy Labor Commissioners, and industry stakeholders conducted between January and March 2022.Based on our findings we provided four policy alternatives to optimize the existing Car Wash Worker Law and deter wage theft violations in the industry. Each policy option was evaluated based on four selected criteria through a Criteria Alternative Matrix model. Based on the evaluation of our proposed policies, we recommend CLEAN advocate for:(1) A budget change proposal to hire more personnel at the DLSE, (2) Improve data collection and transparency by the DLSE,(3) Require car wash industry specific postings in English and Spanish to inform carwasherxs of their rights, and(4) Inserting more punitive legislative language into the Car Wash Worker Law that penalizes “off-the- clock” wage theft” wage theft.

Cover page of The Movement to Decommodify Housing: Property Sources for Non-Speculative Housing in Los Angeles County

The Movement to Decommodify Housing: Property Sources for Non-Speculative Housing in Los Angeles County


The Los Angeles Housing Movement Lab is a coalition of housing justice organizations co-led by Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) to support the decommodification of 20% of housing units in Los Angeles County by 2050. The Movement Lab broadly defines decommodified as housing that no longer generates profit or acts as a vehicle for investment. This project analyzes the feasibility of four property sources for decommodified housing: congregation-owned land, publicly-owned land, naturally occurring affordable housing, and expiring affordability covenants. For each property source, I calculate a potential unit yield and then use a feasibility matrix to evaluate each property source by cost, scalability, community control, process barriers, and political will. From the unit analysis, I find that publicly-owned land and naturally occurring affordable housing have the largest yields and therefore the most potential to scale. From the feasibility matrix analysis, I find the property sources are generally favorable for cost and scalability but unfavorable for process barriers and political will due to the lack of infrastructure for alternative property ownership models. Finally, I make policy recommendations to remove barriers and scale up decommodification efforts for each property source.

Cover page of Transportation Challenges to Healthcare: Evaluating the Transportation Needs of Patients at Saban Community Clinic

Transportation Challenges to Healthcare: Evaluating the Transportation Needs of Patients at Saban Community Clinic


People without adequate transportation can often have trouble getting to medical appointments and miss or delay their care (Syed et al., 2013). In 2017, 5.8 million people delayed or missed medical appointments due to a lack of transportation options (Wang 2021; Wolfe et al. 2020). This report evaluates the transportation challenges faced by patients seeking care at one of the Saban Community Clinic (SCC) locations. SCC is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that provides healthcare to patients who are underinsured or without insurance to a predominantly Latinx population. This report explored SCC patient transportation needs by examining the spatial patterns of patient residential locations, surveying patient transportation needs, and evaluating an SCC effort to reduce transportation barriers by offering free Lyft rides to patients. Findings reveal that unreliable transportation options in addition to lack of affordability and limited accessibility results in transportation difficulties for patients at SCC. Despite these challenges, many patients continue to seek care at SCC because they value the quality of service. Increasing flexibility around appointments, diversifying transportation funding, expanding care to patients living further away from current SCC sites, and working with local transportation providers are strategies SCC can pursue to address patients’ transportation challenges. The research provides insights into how healthcare and insurance providers and transportation agencies can best improve access to healthcare for patients similar to those served by SCC.

Cover page of Saved by the... Bus? Analyzing Safety Outcomes on Streets with Bus Lanes

Saved by the... Bus? Analyzing Safety Outcomes on Streets with Bus Lanes


Over the past 10 years, mixed-use bus lanes in Los Angeles have expanded from 4 miles (Agrawal, 2012) to more than 27 miles of county streets (Halls, 2020). Mixed-use bus lanes, from here on referred to as bus lanes, are lanes designated exclusively for buses that operate on general traffic streets. Understanding if bus lanes make streets safer for all users is imperative, especially in a city where traffic fatalities are rampant. Los Angeles ranked second in the nation for pedestrians killed by motor vehicles in 2015 (Garcetti, 2015). While the mileage of planned and installed bus lanes increases, it is still unclear how they affect street safety. My research report attempts to provide clarity to this unknown by examining the impact that all-day bus lanes and peak-hour bus lanes have on street safety. I focus on four Los Angeles bus lanes – three are peak hour lanes and one is an all-day lane. I also look at two streets that currently have no bus lanes, but that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) have identified as candidates for new installed bus lanes (Linton, 2021).

Cover page of Increasing Access to Groceries at the Century Villages at Cabrillo

Increasing Access to Groceries at the Century Villages at Cabrillo


The purpose of my research was to understand the transportation needs for residents living at the Century Villages of Cabrillo (CVC) in terms of increasing transportation access to groceries, and recommend interventions that would improve grocery access for residents. CVC is a 27-acre residential community located in the western part of Long Beach that caters to formerly-unhoused folks and veterans. The surrounding land uses and existing transportation conditions make it potentially challenging for community members without access to a car to get groceries. My research question therefore was ‘what are the transportation needs of community members of the Century Villages at Cabrillo to ensure they have access to groceries’. To answer this question, I used a quantitative approach where I surveyed 69 residents throughout the community about how they got to the grocery store, transportation challenges that they faced, and solutions they wanted to see CVC implement.The results revealed several key findings: the majority of CVC respondents traveled greater than two miles to get to the grocery store, and most respondents visited the same grocery stores.. Most respondents primarily took the bus or drove on their last trip to the grocery store regardless of race or ethnicity, with people aged 55 and over, white people and men overwhelmingly taking the bus. On the other hand, people aged 35-54, Black people and women had similar rates of taking the bus and driving. Common transportation challenges when traveling to the grocery store could be broken down into three categories: personal mobility issues, public transit issues, and car-ownership/lack of car-ownership issues. Another finding was that most survey respondents never or rarely experienced food insecurity within the month that they took the survey. Finally, in terms of solutions residents desired, when controlling for the most vulnerable CVC residents with the greatest need for increased grocery access (people who do not own a vehicle and people who face food insecurity), more of these people wanted a free grocery shuttle or grocery delivery service.

Cover page of A Tale of Two City Streets: Evaluating the Safety, Congestion, and Cut-Through Effects of Road Diets

A Tale of Two City Streets: Evaluating the Safety, Congestion, and Cut-Through Effects of Road Diets


Every year, more than 200 people are killed in Los Angeles while walking, bicycling, or driving. In 2015, Mayor Eric Garcetti launched a citywide Vision Zero initiative, which set a goal to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025. One key tool the city can use to improve traffic safety on dangerous roads is the road diet, a reconfiguration of lanes that removes vehicle travel lanes. Road diets often face opposition, though. This opposition typically stems from fear of increased traffic congestion and neighborhood cut-through traffic as well as doubt that road diets actually improve traffic safety. My project analyzes crash data, traffic count data, and bluetooth travel data on two similar streets in Northeast Los Angeles to gauge whether road diets have these effects. One of the streets underwent a road diet in 2016 while the other didn’t, making them an effective test case. My analysis of shows no evidence that the road diet caused unacceptable traffic conditions or additional neighborhood cut-through traffic. I also find some evidence that the road diet improved traffic safety outcomes. My review of the literature bolsters my findings that road diets are an effective safety countermeasure and that in most scenarios they do not cause unacceptable increases in traffic congestion. The literature on neighborhood cut-through traffic is much less developed. Based on these findings, I recommend that Los Angeles identify additional opportunities to both research and implement road diets.

Cover page of COVID-19 Impacts on Los Angeles Based Community Development Corporations

COVID-19 Impacts on Los Angeles Based Community Development Corporations


The purpose of this research was to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on Los Angeles Based Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and highlight specific strategies for organizational resilience during unprecedented times. This research aimed to study the experience of Los Angeles CDCs when facing an unprecedented crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of the changing landscape, the study’s findings suggest that the overall goals of CDCs in Los Angeles have not changed; rather, the methods to implement their mission have shifted. To ensure stability and maintain vitality during the COVID-19 pandemic, strategic methods included: collaborating with other organizations, utilizing new funding sources, expanding/reorganizing the roles of different employees, creating new programs, and strengthening interpersonal employee talent and relationships. Overall, the survey and interview findings from Los Angeles-based CDCs suggest that neighborhood-based organizations can reorient their work to fit the specific needs of their constituents and maintain viability.