This article previously appeared on Crossfader
It’s safe to say that the majority of Americans struggle to stay up-to-date with the minutiae of local politics. If you live in a city as sprawling and densely populated as Los Angeles, navigating the finer points of what goes on at a municipal level can be extremely difficult, even for people who generally try to keep up with the news. When so much of our major media outlets are consumed with the daily scandals of the Trump administration, news consumers aren’t entirely to blame for not being able to tune out the noise and focus on the issues directly confronting them in their neighborhoods. Fortunately, there are burgeoning independent podcasts like GROUND GAME LA, which fill in the gaps where major news outlets may leave much to be desired.
GROUND GAME LA is a progressive, grassroots civic engagement group based out of Hollywood. As an organization, they engage in a number of political activities, from educational events, to protests, to city council elections and beyond, so their insights on current events in LA are invaluable. The podcast itself holds up the voices of candidates for local and state elections, public defenders, and activists in the city and state. The host of the podcast, who goes by Bushido Squirrel, does an excellent job engaging his guests on the history and context of the struggles which lead to the current issues at hand. Whether the show is dealing with the housing crisis or getting a public defender elected to the LA County judiciary, there really isn’t a better source for keeping up to speed with the things going on in this region.
The early promises of the internet have mostly fallen by the wayside. Our supposedly free and open information superhighway has become a siloed collection of surveillance platforms for mass data collection that’s overrun by a staggering amount of racists. Any media that truly tries to be independent and non-profit struggles to survive, even in the relatively open-ended world of podcasts. Podcasts should be the last bastion of anyone with a voice and access to a microphone, and yet the writing on the walls already indicates that the medium will sure enough soon be oversaturated with horseshit like the Goldman Sachs podcast. The entire reason why it stays interesting to write about podcasts, to me, is for the moments when you find people trying to earnestly put good information out into the world in the way GROUND GAME LA does.
Not everyone is cut out for remaining engaged in the weekly conflicts of local politics; if you’re working two jobs and driving for Postmates I’m not here to scold you for not getting out to every rally and protest that happens in this city. However, if you feel a pang of guilt because you’re not up to speed on the candidates running for state assembly in your district, things like GROUND GAME LA can be an incredible supplement. If you want even more information, GROUND GAME LA also runs an exceptional blog called Knock-LA, which covers issues like housing on a level that’s frankly astounding. The resources are out there, stay informed, stay engaged, don’t sleep on podcasts like this one.