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What's so great about Coachella?

I had the great opportunity to start my weekend early and head towards Indio to experience the yearly-anticipated... Coachella. Though the festival's main focus is the music, there were so many other aspects at play that truly created an experience. I've always been fascinated with events that create buzz 365 days a year.

On the surface, Coachella can be viewed as an expensive reason to drink and party carelessly. And that's totally fine to assume; the production and hard work of the Goldenvoice staff to create an environment that promotes this 'state of mind' is impeccable (explore Coachella using this 360 view). There is method to the madness that Goldenvoice sculpts every April to attract thousands of people each year.  I speculate that one of their many objectives (that they don't fail to deliver) is to create a genuine community at Coachella - a community that empowers its patrons to participate in many initiatives, even if some may be apathetic outside of the Coachella experience. Being environmentally responsible in the community was one initiative that was particularly emphasized. 

A few of my favorites:

1.    Recyclosaurus Rex

Photo Credit: Excision Facebook 

This Robot T-Rex is more than just an elaborate Coachella decor. Recyclosaurus Rex is a 20 foot tall dinosaur that eats empty cans and bottles. Rex's digestive system is fully functional too with a trash compactor belly; what goes in, must come out, right? What comes out are cube droppings of compacted trash. There's even a prize for whoever comes up with the best way to reuse these droppings.

2.    10 for 1
There are many feeders to Recyclosaurus Rex. Who are some of the food providers?
That's me, another Consensus-er Jimmy and our friend Edward

We weren't alone. Click to view other Recyclosaurus Rex feeders

How often do you go somewhere and hundreds of people are on the floor picking up water bottles to recycle? For every 10 water bottles you bring to the recycling center, you get 1 cold water bottle. Not a bad deal when you're sweating in the desert.

3.    CarpoolCHELLA
You can imagine dreading the parking situation for an event this huge. Parking may have ran so smoothly by the event staff as there were multiple promotions to encourage carpooling... aka carpoolchella. The instructions were simple: Have 4 or more people in your car, write carpoolchella on your car and await being chosen to win a prize. What's one of the grand prizes? Oh, I don't know... Coachella VIP tickets for life!

4.   H&M Tent
This tent doesn't have much to do with sustainability, but it made you feel like a human being again. By far one of my favorite tents, this air-conditioned, free-water-giving, pamper-yourself tent was just what many coachellans needed after being in overly crowded, sardine-like situations:

 And this isn't even in front of a stage! 

Need sunscreen, dry shampoo or lotion? Plenty more at the H&M tent. You can even get your nails done and make sure you appear to look picture perfect :) Great marketing idea, I've already bought an item or two from the products I felt like 'saved me' from having dirt all over my face and smelling like a true Coachellan. Can you believe that this is inside of a small little tent?

The list can go on and on and I can write about this forever. The level of detail in each tent - complete with hardwood floors, water fountains and even a speakeasy bar truly created a community space and culture completely unique to Coachella. The sustainability efforts were spearheaded by Global Inheritance, a non-profit organization focused on empowering our younger generation to be activists for our communities. 

Getting people to actively DO something for you can be difficult. Despite all the missions we had to trek throughout our residency at Coachella, I find myself missing the experience.

Here's a tweet I just found from someone who didn't even attend:


Friday Fives: Top 5 Videos of the Week


Blue to the Bone - California Dem Convention 2013

It’s that time of year… Dem Convention… the smell of freshly printed posters and the sound of opinionated policy wonks flooded into Sacramento.

I have been going to these conventions for as long as I can remember.  I’m pretty sure I was in the womb and already a registered Democrat.  I can’t tell you how excited I get when it’s convention time.

I spent my weekend with my friend Wesly Hernandez from Councilman Koretz’ office, we tag-teamed the convention like a boss and spent the majority of our time volunteering for Senator Alex Padilla.  He announced last Thursday that he is running for Secretary of State (SOS) in 2014 . 

What does one do at a convention you might ask?  Well, aside from being a delegate and voting on various party positions and endorsements, when you are volunteering, your time is spent educating participants about the candidate.

Who is Alex Padilla?  What does he want to do?  Where is he from?  Why would he be a good SOS?

To pass the time my fiend Gemma and I created a game: sign up as an A-Pad supporter or sign one of his resolutions… put a sticker on my face.

Simple right?

Well it really caught on; the whole 3rd floor was abuzz about my face, so much so, that the Sacramento Bee included a picture on their site!!

The rest of our time was spent…. Networking… :) a lot of networking goes on at these conventions.  We also got to see DJ Quik perform at the popular FunkFest!

Other than convention business Wesly and I were lucky enough to spend some time in the Capitol (my former stomping grounds).  I arranged a tour of the dome for us.  It was crazy!  Below see a picture of us on the top of the outer dome!  It was slightly windy but super special!  Can't wait until next year when the convention is in LA :)


Let Us Tell You a Storify about LAX SPAS

Consensus Inc. has been working on the LAX Specific Plan Amendment Study (SPAS) since 1996, and we are coming to the end of a very long process!  Tomorrow the SPAS will be heard by the City's Planning & Land Use Management Committee and the Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee.  We will be live-tweeting at the meeting tomorrow; follow us @ConsensusLive.  To learn more about the Study please check out the Storify page:


Friday Fives: Top 5 Los Angeles Game Changers

The City of Los Angeles and Consensus, Inc. shared similar starts to the month of April, and neither were being bamboozled by April Fools jokes. The City of LA is preparing for an upcoming mayoral election and Consensus Inc. prepares for the changing landscape of Los Angeles.

For this week’s Friday Five I am happy to present my 5 events that I believe changed the moods and landscape of Los Angeles, the game changers.

1)    Eric Garcetti receives some major endorsements-
The start of April led to endorsements from the LA Times, past mayoral candidates Jan Perry and Kevin James, and most recently Mr. LA himself, Tom LaBonge recently endorsed Eric. These endorsements continue to show an upswing for my favorite for the next Mayor of Los Angeles.


(Los Angeles Times / Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images / April 4, 2013)

2)    Continuing on the movements of Mr. LA, Councilmember Tom LaBonge was invited to the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) latest event. VICA After Dark was a wonderful event at D’Cache where Councilmember Tom LaBonge interacted with local Valley leaders. Consensus was thrilled to embrace the opportunity to speak to Councilmember LaBonge about the il Villaggio Toscano project and the benefits this transit oriented development would bring to the Valley. Consensus wasn’t the only ones happy to embrace this opportunity. We saw numerous local business owners express support for a project that embodies the “Made in the Valley” pride that will continue to change the landscape of the City of Los Angeles.

VICA After Dark, Facebook Page

3)    Another major event for the City of LA was the Scoping Meeting hosted by the Planning Department for the Martin Expo Town Center. This project exemplifies a changing culture for Los Angeles and displays the new found interest and excitement of utilizing transit infrastructure. Transit will be new to the Westside, and it is thrilling and intimidating. Imagine being able to live, work and enjoy your neighborhood with the ability to take the Metro to Staples Center or to the beach. Years ago this was a radical idea that now is coming to reality, and like the neighborhood, these projects want to change the habits of Angelenos while maintaining what makes our neighborhoods so great.

4)    Now to sports. No one thought Shaquille O’neal and Kobe Bryant would share the court ever again, at least as Lakers. Just like no one thought there would be transit options in Los Angeles. Well, on Tuesday we saw that very event happen. Kobe, Shaq and the Lakers were all united and we were reminded of how amazing Los Angeles was, can be, and still is.


5)    Finally, nothing screams rebirth and change like Spring. Luckily with Spring comes Opening Day! The Dodgers celebrated opening day with a changed stadium, a strong ownership, high hopes, and a win over… that other team… what’s their name? Oh, the Giants. The interesting parallel we can draw here is the same that can be said with both of our mayoral candidates and what we hope they can accomplish. Like the Dodgers, it is time for a champion to step up. It is still early in the season, but we know they will succeed. We saw Sandy Koufax bring us back in time to better days and Clayton Kershaw show us what this season holds. For it's 1, 2, 3 strikes you're out!  At the old ball game.