Duke Russell is in a familiar place. He's sitting at the back of a meeting room in his dark blue glen plaid suit. His gray hair is slicked back. His talking points are typed out. He's ready to make his case.
When his turn comes, he voices the appeal he's made for years to local college leaders, politicians and others. "We have to save the field," he says.
On this night, he's at a meeting of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council on the campus of Los Angeles City College. The field — or rather, the land he hopes to preserve for a sports field — is just outside.
It's a giant crater on the campus' southeast corner that college officials say is destined to become a student union. Rebar for the building's foundation is starting to be placed, but Russell has not given up. To him, that space could be a gateway to education, a splash of green that could entice young athletes from the neighborhood to attend college.