"When she was a kid, it was her proving ground -- the spot where she played baseball against her brothers, where she learned to ride a bike as construction of the 105 began.
When she was a teenager, her parents sent her to private school in Torrance. She discovered the "other" South Bay -- Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills -- and began to ask hard questions: "Why don't they have a liquor store on every block? Why is it so green?"
When she became an adult, she earned a master's degree in urban planning at UCLA specifically to clean up the lot and replace its hardscrabble dirt with a blanket of grass.
She's 30 now, a ferocious community advocate with four tattoos and a nose piercing. Nothing has changed.
Franco's zeal and idealism have run headlong into reality -- into local politics, dizzying bureaucracy, a weak economy. The lot, the way she tells it, has become a singular, hidden monument to land-use inequity -- to the discrepancy in green space available to the wealthy and the poor."