35 episodes

Jose Huizar grew up in Boyle Heights – a working-class Latinx neighborhood in L.A. Eventually, he became their councilperson. And, for the most part, people trusted Huizar... until the day the FBI raided his home and offices, looking for evidence of corruption. The Feds would go on to say that Huizar led a criminal enterprise based in city hall. He stands accused of taking bribes from luxury developers as his constituents were displaced from their homes. This season of Smoke Screen is a collaboration with grassroots media organization L.A. TACO. In this 9-part investigative series, journalist and host Mariah Castañeda investigates how Huizar got the power to do what he did, and how the community that raised him paid the price.

Smoke Screen: The Sellout Neon Hum Media

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.0 • 1.2K Ratings

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Jose Huizar grew up in Boyle Heights – a working-class Latinx neighborhood in L.A. Eventually, he became their councilperson. And, for the most part, people trusted Huizar... until the day the FBI raided his home and offices, looking for evidence of corruption. The Feds would go on to say that Huizar led a criminal enterprise based in city hall. He stands accused of taking bribes from luxury developers as his constituents were displaced from their homes. This season of Smoke Screen is a collaboration with grassroots media organization L.A. TACO. In this 9-part investigative series, journalist and host Mariah Castañeda investigates how Huizar got the power to do what he did, and how the community that raised him paid the price.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Episode 8: The Downfall

    Episode 8: The Downfall

    Huizar’s carelessness starts to catch up with him. After more than a dozen all-expenses paid trips to Vegas with plenty of perks, Huizar gets played by one of his own. A businessman turned FBI informant gives Huizar an envelope with $15,000 in cash, and then tells the Feds all about it.
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    • 37 min
    Episode 7: The Coverup

    Episode 7: The Coverup

    Huizar’s downfall started with a sexual harassment lawsuit. He didn’t have the hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle the suit on his own... so the Feds say he relied on a new friend. A developer who had plans to build a 77-story hotel in downtown LA.
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    • 31 min
    Episode 6: The Heyday

    Episode 6: The Heyday

    Gentrification comes in waves. Over years, a piece of downtown LA transformed from Skid Row, to a bastion for young artists, to a hipster neighborhood with some of the highest rents in the city. By 2018, Huizar was allegedly collecting bribes from developers planning a luxury high rise just a couple blocks from where some of his constituents were getting evicted.
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    • 37 min
    Javier Cabral, editor of LATACO, on Growing Up in Boyle Heights

    Javier Cabral, editor of LATACO, on Growing Up in Boyle Heights

    Neon Hum executive editor Catherine Saint Louis interviews Cabral, who went to punk rock backyard shows in Boyle Heights, how he got into journalism (pssst it's through his stomach), and what it takes to run a grassroots investigative media company.

    Episode 5: How Downtown Was Won

    Episode 5: How Downtown Was Won

    No man is an island. Huizar couldn’t have pulled off the alleged corruption scheme without help. Host Mariah Castañeda tells the story of how Huizar allegedly built the criminal enterprise the FBI would eventually arrest him for. It all started when downtown was reassigned to his district.
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    • 37 min
    Episode 4: Progress Over People

    Episode 4: Progress Over People

    When fancy new developments like The Gold Line expansion get proposed, residents of Boyle Heights wonder if it’s actually for them, or if these new new things are meant to attract future residents... a.k.a. gentrifiers. A mechanic is harassed by the city of Los Angeles after he refuses to sell his land to make way for construction. And Huizar's re-election campaign against Rudy Martinez gets petty.
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    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
1.2K Ratings

1.2K Ratings

listener#13 ,

Good show.

All 3 seasons are good. Don’t listen to the obviously triggered Gentrifiers and the fake “POC” reviews, hard to hear the truth?

Sarah Felice ,

Not a fan of the season 3 host

Interesting story but not a fan of how the season 3 host narrates

romannero ,

Unprofessional and poorly produced

Season 3 explores an interesting and important story but I found the host’s voiceover unprofessional, often making the podcast cringeworthy. The story needs attention but just wish it had been put together better.

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