CSULB Alum in Political Science and Sociology featured in Los Angeles Times

February 11, 2020

This 26-year-old became a small-town California mayor. Then a jet dumped fuel on her snakebit city



Cudahy Mayor Elizabeth Alcantar presides over a City Council meeting on Feb. 4. Alcantar, who a week into her term had to deal with a Delta jet dumping fuel on her city, represents hope for residents after years of corruption scandals. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Elizabeth Alcantar was at work when she began receiving a swarm of Twitter and Google alerts about a jet dumping fuel on her city.

She immediately texted her boss and said she had to go. Her day job was as a coordinator for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. But a week earlier, the 26-year-old had been appointed mayor of the small city of Cudahy.

Alcantar rushed to City Hall, navigating around fire engines and police cars. Then she began trying to figure out just what had happened to her town — a snakebit place that has struggled in the past with political corruption and environmental pollution. Several nearby cities — Whittier, Pico Rivera, Downey and South Gate — were doused with fuel by a Delta airplane overhead.

But it was in Cudahy where almost two dozen students at Park Avenue Elementary School got splashed by the fuel. Soon, TV trucks and reporters descended on the city. Anger rose from the confusion.

Article continued on Los Angeles Times website.