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Monterey Park, California

Monterey Park, California
General law city[1]
City of Monterey Park
A busy section of Atlantic Boulevard
A busy section of Atlantic Boulevard
Official seal of Monterey Park, California
Motto: Pride in the Past, Faith in the Future
Location of Monterey Park in Los Angeles County, California
Location of Monterey Park in Los Angeles County, California
Monterey Park, California is located in USA
Monterey Park, California
Monterey Park, California
Location in the United States
Country  United States of America
State  California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated May 29, 1916[2]
 • Type Council-Manager[1]
 • City council[3] Peter Chan
Mitchell Ing
Teresa Real Sebastian
Stephen Lam
Hans Liang
 • Total 7.733 sq mi (20.029 km2)
 • Land 7.672 sq mi (19.870 km2)
 • Water 0.061 sq mi (0.158 km2)  0.79%
Elevation[5] 384 ft (117 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)[6]
 • Total 60,269
 • Estimate (2013)[6] 61,085
 • Density 7,800/sq mi (3,000/km2)
Time zone Pacific Time Zone (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 91754-91756
Area code 323, 626
FIPS code 06-48914
GNIS feature IDs 1652753, 2411146
Monterey Park, California
Traditional Chinese 蒙特利公園市
Simplified Chinese 蒙特利公园市
Alternative Chinese name
Chinese 蒙市

Monterey Park is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, 10 miles (16 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles. The city's motto is "Pride in the past, Faith in the future".[7] Monterey Park is part of a cluster of cities (Alhambra, Arcadia, Temple City, Rosemead, San Marino, and San Gabriel in the west San Gabriel Valley) with a growing Asian American population, making up 66.9% of its resident population at 2010; 47.7% of its residents are of Chinese descent, the largest concentration of Chinese Americans of any municipality in the United States.[8] According to the 2010 Census, the city had a total population of 60,269.[7]


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • 1860s–1960s 1.2
    • 1970s–1990s 1.3
    • 2000s-present 1.4
  • Business 2
    • Top employers 2.1
  • Places of interest 3
  • Transportation 4
  • Geography 5
  • Demographics 6
    • 2010 6.1
    • 2009 6.2
    • 2000 6.3
  • Government 7
    • City 7.1
    • County services 7.2
  • Education 8
    • Colleges and universities 8.1
    • Primary and secondary schools 8.2
      • Public schools 8.2.1
        • Alhambra Unified School District
        • Garvey School District
        • Los Angeles Unified School District
        • Montebello Unified School District
      • Private schools 8.2.2
    • Public library 8.3
  • Notable residents 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13


Early history

For at least seven thousand years[9] the land was populated by the Tongva (Gabrielino) Native Americans. The Tongva lived in dome like structures with thatched exteriors, an open smoke hole for ventilation and light at the top.[10] Both sexes wore long hair styles and tattooed their bodies. During warm weather the men wore little clothes but the women would wear minimal skirts made of animal hides. During the cold weather they would wear animal skin capes and occasionally wore sandals made from hide of yucca fiber.[11] With the arrival of the Spaniards, Old World diseases killed off many of the Tongva, and by 1870 very few Native-Americans had survived. In the early 19th century the area was part of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel mission system and later, the Rancho San Antonio.


Following the Civil War, an Italian, Alessandro Repetto, purchased 5,000 acres (20 km2) of the rancho and built his ranch house on the hill overlooking his land, about a half-mile north of where Garfield Avenue crosses the Pomona Freeway,[12] not far from where the Edison substation is now located on Garfield Avenue.[13]

It was at this time, Richard Garvey, a mail rider for the U.S. Army whose route took him through Monterey Pass, a trail that is now Garvey Avenue, settled down in the King's Hills. Garvey began developing the land by bringing in spring water from near the Hondo River and by constructing a 54-foot-high (16 m) dam to form Garvey Lake located where Garvey Ranch Park is now. To pay for his development and past debts, Garvey began selling portions of his property. In 1906, the first subdivision in the area, Ramona Acres (named after the developer's daughter, who would also later inspire the title of the novel Ramona[14]), was developed north of Garvey and east of Garfield Avenues.[13]

In 1916, the new residents of the area initiated action to become a city when the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, and Alhambra proposed to put a large sewage treatment facility in the area. The community voted itself into cityhood on May 29, 1916, by a vote of 455 to 33. The City's new Board of Directors immediately outlawed sewage plants within city boundaries and named the new city Monterey Park. The name was taken from an old government map showing the oak-covered hills of the area as Monterey Hills. In 1920, a large area on the south edge of the city broke away and the separate city of Montebello was established.[15]

By 1920, the white and Spanish-surname settlers were joined by Asian residents who began farming potatoes and flowers and developing nurseries in the Monterey Highlands area. They improved the Monterey Pass Trail with a road to aid in shipping their produce to Los Angeles. The nameless pass, which had been a popular location for western movies, was called Coyote Pass by Pioneer Masami Abe.[13]

In 1926, near the corner of Atlantic and Garvey Avenue, Laura Scudder invented the first sealed bag of potato chips. In an effort to maintain quality and freshness, Laura's team would iron sheets of wax paper together to form a bag. They would fill these bags with potato chips; iron the top closed, and then deliver them to various retailers.[16]

Cascades Waterfall in Cascades Park, located off Atlantic Boulevard

Real estate became a thriving industry during the late 1920s with investors attracted to the many subdivisions under development and increasing commercial opportunities. One such development was the Midwick View Estates by Peter N. Snyder, a proposed garden community that was designed to rival [13]

The end of World War II resulted in a revived growth trend with explosive population gains during the late 1940s and 1950s. Until this time, the population was concentrated in the northern and southern portions of the city, with the Garvey and Monterey Hills forming a natural barrier. With the renewed growth, many new subdivisions were developed, utilizing even the previously undeveloped central area to allow for maximum growth potential. A series of annexations of surrounding land also occurred.[13]


Beginning in the 1970s, well-educated and affluent Asian Americans began settling in the west San Gabriel Valley, primarily to Monterey Park.[17] The city council subsequently tried and failed to pass English-only ordinances.[18] In 1985 the City Council of Monterey Park approved drafting of a proposal that would require all businesses in Monterey Park to display English language identification on business signs.[19]

In the 1980s, Monterey Park was also referred to as "Little Taipei" or affectionately, "The Chinese Beverly Hills" by a local Chinese-language newspaper, "Asian Week".[20][21][22] Many businesses from the Chinatown in downtown LA began to open up stores in Monterey Park. In the 1970s and 1980s, many affluent waisheng ren Taiwanese immigrants moved abroad from Taiwan and began settling into Monterey Park. Mandarin Chinese dialect was predominant in the city during that time.[23] In 1983, Lily Lee Chen became the first Chinese American women to be elected mayor of a U.S. city.[24] By the late 1980s, immigrants from Mainland China and Vietnam began moving into Monterey Park. By the 1990 census, Monterey Park became the first city with an Asian descent majority population in the continental United States.[22] Timothy P. Fong, a professor and director of Asian American studies at California State University, Sacramento, describes Monterey Park as the "First Suburban Chinatown".[23]

In the 1980s, the second generation Chinese Americans generally moved out of the old Chinatown and into the San Gabriel Valley suburbs, joining the new immigrants from Taiwan and Mainland China.[25] From that time, with a combined influx of Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong immigrant students at the time, Mark Keppel High School, constructed during the New Deal era and located in Alhambra, but also serving most of Monterey Park and portions of Rosemead, felt the impact of this new immigration as the student population increased dramatically, leading to overcrowding.[26] Today, many students are second- or third-generation Asian Americans.[27] In the Japanese community called: Nisei, (second-generation), Sansei, (third-generation).[28]

In 1988, the City of Monterey Park passed an ordinance declaring a moratorium on new building, in an attempt to regulate the rapid growth the city experienced as a result of the influx of Asian immigrants.[21] [29] This moratorium was challenged and defeated in 1989[30] This controversial move caused many Asian residents and businesses to shift focus, establishing themselves in the neighboring city of Alhambra. When the potential loss of business revenue was recognized,[31] "Monterey Park went through a lot of upheaval that a lot of people regret."[32] and relocation back to Monterey Park was highly encouraged in the Asian American community.[33]

Since early 1990s, the Taiwanese are no longer the majority in the city,[22] and Mandarin, the national language of China, is now rapidly displacing Cantonese as the most widely spoken dialect in many Chinese businesses of Monterey Park. Cantonese, a dialect from southern China has dominated the Chinatowns of North America for decades, but Mandarin is the most common language of the latest Chinese immigrants.[34][35] The construction boom of shopping centers had declined, but plans for redevelopment sought to change that. High property values and overcrowding in Monterey Park[36] have contributed to a secondary movement away from Monterey Park. Furthermore, a great many established, wealthy Taiwanese immigrants have since relocated out of Monterey Park and northward to wealthier cities of San Marino, Arcadia, Temple City, South Pasadena, and eastward to Diamond Bar, Hacienda Heights, Walnut and Rowland Heights, sometimes called the "New Little Taipei"[37] Many Chinese-speaking businesses were established in these suburbs to accommodate this shift in demographics. This path follows the White Flight of the late 1970s.[30]


Redevelopment produced several projects included the massive Atlantic Times Square development that opened in 2010 with ground-floor shops and restaurants.[38] The Atlantic Times Square,[39] which has 215,000 square feet (20,000 m2), is anchored by AMC Theatres and 24 Hour Fitness, in addition to eating establishments and other stores. The development includes 210 condos on the third through sixth floors.[40]

Monterey Park Village is a 40,000 sq. ft. shopping center on South Atlantic Boulevard commercial corridor. Tenants include: Staples, Walgreens and Togo’s eatery.[40] The CVS Center on South Garfield Avenue is a redevelopment of infill site into a 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) neighborhood convenience center. Anchor tenant CVS Pharmacy brings a full-service drug store back to the downtown project,[40] and the center includes a Subway sandwich shop.[40] The 507,000-square-foot (47,100 m2) Cascades Market Place will be the largest shopping center in the city. Located along the Pomona (60) Freeway west of Paramount Boulevard, this center proposes to be a major regional shopping center for the San Gabriel Valley. This 45 plus acre project has great grade level visibility from the freeway.[41]


Downtown Monterey Park, California

The Chinese-dominated business district, near the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Garvey Avenue, is called "Downtown Monterey Park".[42] In the mid-1980s, Lincoln Plaza Hotel was built to predominately service tourists from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Monterey Park has many choices of Hong Kong fusion cafes, there are several Cantonese seafood restaurants, as well as restaurants offering Mainland Chinese fare. A variety of cuisine can be found throughout the city.

Top employers

According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[43] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 East Los Angeles College 1,969
2 Garfield Medical Center 970
3 Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department 791
4 Superior Court of Los Angeles County - Edmund D. Edelman Children's Court 736
5 City of Monterey Park 440
6 Monterey Park Hospital 362
7 Care1st Health Plan 315
8 Southern California Gas Company 279
9 AT&T 228
10 SynerMed 217
11 Ralphs 158
12 First Data 133
13 California Highway Patrol 131
14 World Journal 128
15 Southern California Edison 125
16 Camino Real Chevrolet 121
17 CVS/pharmacy 117

Places of interest

Monterey Park is home to the Garvey Ranch Observatory, located in Garvey Ranch Park, which is operated by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society (LAAS). It adjoins a historical museum, a classroom, and a workshop. The observatory houses an 8-inch (200 mm) refractor, a telescope making workshop, and a library containing over 1000 books. The grounds are open to the public for free astronomical observation on Wednesday evenings from 7:30PM – 10:00PM, hosted by LAAS members.[44]

East Los Angeles College is located along the southern boundary of the City. The college has undergone a large-scale renovation.

Built in 1929, Jardin El Encanto, otherwise known as "El Encanto", is a Spanish-style building located at 700 El Mercado. El Encanto is home to beautiful tile and hand painted woodwork. The building, originally the sales office for Midwick Estates, was once a USO center and speakeasy.

The City invested in the renovation of this beautiful structure which has significant historic value to the community.


Monterey Park is served by the Long Beach Freeway, (I-710), the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10), and the Pomona Freeway, SR 60.

Public transportation is provided by the city government, Spirit bus service and Metrolink feeder bus, the City of Montebello and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.


Monterey Park is located at .[45] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.7 square miles (20 km2), of which, 7.6 square miles (20 km2) is land, and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.39%) is water.

The city boundaries include Los Angeles to the west, unincorporated East Los Angeles to the south and west, Alhambra to the north, Rosemead to the northeast, Montebello to the south, and unincorporated South San Gabriel to the southeast.



The 2010 United States Census[48] reported that Monterey Park had a population of 60,269. The population density was 7,793.7 people per square mile (3,009.2/km²). The racial makeup of Monterey Park was 11,680 (19.4%) White (5.0% Non-Hispanic White),[49] 252 (0.4%) African American, 242 (0.4%) Native American, 40,301 (66.9%) Asian (47.7% Chinese, 5.8% Japanese, 4.4% Vietnamese, 1.9% Filipino, 1.3% Korean, 0.9% Thai, 0.8% Cambodian, 0.4% Burmese, 0.4% Indonesian, 0.3% Indian), 28 (0.05%) Pacific Islander, 6,022 (10.0%) from other races, and 1,744 (2.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16,218 persons (26.9%).

The Census reported that 60,039 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 41 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 189 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 19,963 households, out of which 6,315 (31.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 10,538 (52.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,243 (16.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,460 (7.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 651 (3.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 85 (0.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,641 households (18.2%) were made up of individuals and 2,025 (10.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01. There were 15,241 families (76.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.37.

The population was spread out with 10,932 people (18.1%) under the age of 18, 5,180 people (8.6%) aged 18 to 24, 15,597 people (25.9%) aged 25 to 44, 16,904 people (28.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 11,656 people (19.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.1 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.

There were 20,850 housing units at an average density of 2,696.2 per square mile (1,041.0/km²), of which 11,058 (55.4%) were owner-occupied, and 8,905 (44.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.1%. 33,073 people (54.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 26,966 people (44.7%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Monterey Park had a median household income of $56,014, with 15.2% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[49]


According to the 2009 American Community Survey, Monterey Park is 43.7% Chinese American, and is the city in the United States with the largest concentration of people of Chinese descent.[50] The Chinese American population in Monterey Park and San Gabriel Valley is relatively diverse in socio-economics and region of origin. The city has attracted immigrants from Taiwan, as well as Mainland Chinese and the overseas Chinese from Southeast Asia. There are also significant Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Filipino communities living within Monterey Park.

While the multi-generational American-born Latino population was generally declining in Monterey Park, there has been a small new influx of Mexican immigrants (about one percent increase in the population).[51][52]


There were 19,564 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.4% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.06 and the average family size was 3.43.[53]

In the city the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,724, and the median income for a family was $43,507. Males had a median income of $32,463 versus $29,057 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,661. About 12.4% of families and 15.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.6% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.

These were the ten neighborhoods in Los Angeles County with the largest percentage of Asian residents, according to the 2000 census:[54]

  1. Chinatown, 70.6%
  2. Monterey Park, 61.1%
  3. Cerritos, 58.3%
  4. Walnut, 56.2%
  5. Rowland Heights, 51.7%
  6. San Gabriel, 48.9%
  7. Rosemead, 48.6%
  8. Alhambra, 47.2%
  9. San Marino, 46.8%
  10. Arcadia, 45.4%


The Monterey Park Civic Center

In the state legislature Monterey Park is located in the 24th Senate District, represented by Democrat Ed Hernandez, and in the 49th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Ed Chau.

In the United States House of Representatives, Monterey Park is in California's 27th congressional district, represented by Democrat Judy Chu.[55] Chu previously served as mayor and city council member of Monterey Park.


The city of Monterey Park has its own police and fire departments serving the city.

Monterey Park City Municipal Elections are held every two years in odd numbered years, on the first Tuesday in March. Five Council Members serve four year terms with overlapping terms in bi-annual elections: the three seats elected in one election and two seats in the next election, at which time the City Clerk and City Treasurer are also elected.[56]

The current elected officials are:

  • Hans Liang, Mayor[3]
  • Peter Chan, Mayor Pro Tem[3]
  • Mitchell Ing, Council Member[3]
  • Teresa Real Sebastian, Council Member[3]
  • Stephen Lam, Council Member[3]
  • Vincent D. Chang, City Clerk
  • Joseph Leon, City Treasurer

County services

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has its central headquarters in Monterey Park. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department[57] The Edmund D. Edelman Children's Court, Sybil Brand Institute, Central Juvenile District, (Dependency) is located in Monterey Park.[58] The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Monrovia Health Center in Monrovia, serving Monterey Park.[59]


Colleges and universities

East Los Angeles College is a community college that is located in Monterey Park in an area that was once part of East Los Angeles (unincorporated). In addition California State University, Los Angeles is in proximity.[60]

Primary and secondary schools

Four school districts all serve different areas of Monterey Park. They include Alhambra Unified School District, Garvey School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, and Montebello Unified School District.[60][61]

Public schools

Alhambra Unified School District
Monterey Highlands School

K-8 schools serving AUSD in Monterey Park include:

Mark Keppel High School, [3], located in Alhambra, also serves Monterey Park.

Garvey School District

Two elementary schools, Hillcrest and Monterey Vista (both are in Monterey Park), serve this part of the city. Monterey Vista is a Blue Ribbon School.

Garvey Intermediate School (Rosemead) also serves this portion.

Once students graduate from eighth grade, they attend Alhambra's Mark Keppel High School [4].

Los Angeles Unified School District

Robert Hill Lane Elementary School (Monterey Park), Griffith Middle School (Unincorporated Los Angeles County), and Garfield High School (Unincorporated Los Angeles County) serve the LAUSD part of the city.

Montebello Unified School District

Bella Vista Elementary School, Monterey Park, Potrero Heights Elementary School, South San Gabriel, Macy Intermediate School, Monterey Park, and Schurr High School, Montebello, serve the Montebello MUSD portion.

Private schools

Saint Stephen Martyr School: opened in 1926 to provide the families of Monterey Park with an opportunity for their children to receive a Catholic School education. K–Grade 8 [62]

Meher Montessori School: preschool, lower and upper elementary classes[63]

St Thomas Aquinas School: A Catholic parish school, serving economically and ethnically diverse students in grades Kindergarten through eighth. Founded in 1963, the Church is in the center of our school both physically and spiritually. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Western Catholic Educational Association.[64]

New Avenue School PreKindergarten—Kindergarten through 8th grade. New Avenue school was founded in 1961. [65]

Alpha-Shen Preschool and Kindergarten

Esther's Nest Children's School Pre-Kindergarten—Kindergarten

Graceland Christian Day Care Center Pre-Kindergarten—Kindergarten

Monterey Park Christian School Pre-Kindergarten—Kindergarten

Public library

The Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library serves Monterey Park.[66]

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c d e
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Horton, John. The Politics of Diversity: Immigration, Resistance, and Change in Monterey Park, California . Temple University Press, 195. p. 80.Chapter 4
  18. ^
  19. ^ Arax, Mark. "Stronger Rules on English in Signs Pushed by Council." Los Angeles Times. December 5, 1985. 1. Retrieved on March 29, 2010.
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^ a b c
  23. ^ a b
  24. ^ Shyong, Frank (February 24, 2015) "Monterey Park nears a demographic milestone, yet race rarely discussed" Los Angeles Times
  25. ^ San Gabriel Valley Tribune Archived March 14, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b
  31. ^
  32. ^ Quan, Douglas. "Some in Chino Hills nervous about ethnic shift." The Press-Enterprise. Tuesday February 6, 2007. Retrieved on January 21, 2010.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ Hawthorne, Christopher (May 13, 2012) "Atlantic on the move" Los Angeles Times
  39. ^ Atlantic Times Square
  40. ^ a b c d
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ City of Monterey Park CAFR
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^ a b
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^|04000US06|16000US0648914&_street=&_county=monterey+park&_cityTown=monterey+park&_state=04000US06&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=160&_submenuId=factsheet_1&ds_name=DEC_2000_SAFF&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null®=&_keyword=&_industry=
  53. ^
  54. ^ "Asian", Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^ "Education-Based Discipline." Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. April 29, 2009. Retrieved on March 12, 2010.
  58. ^
  59. ^ "Monrovia Health Center." Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Retrieved on March 27, 2010.
  60. ^ a b "School districts serving Monterey Park." City of Monterey Park. Retrieved on July 3, 2010.
  61. ^,1,4455622.story
  62. ^ St. Stephen Martyr School
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^ New Avenue School
  66. ^ "[5]" Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library. Retrieved on June 13, 2013.
  67. ^ Sanabria, Santo. "Local roots". The Union City Reporter. July 24, 2011. pages 1 and 12

Further reading

  • Saito, Leland T. Race and Politics: Asian Americans, Latinos, and Whites in a Los Angeles Suburb. University of Illinois Press, 1980. ISBN 0-252-06720-7, ISBN 978-0-252-06720-4.

External links

  • Official website
  • Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library
  • Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce
  • The First Suburban Chinatown
  • Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ.
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