I have been writing this column for San Pedro Today for just over 10 years and have covered many different topics. Some of these topics have shared elements of my life, personal perspective, or covering a particular local issue. My first column was titled, “What will you do to change San Pedro?” It was a call to action to all of San Pedro to take on the personal responsibility of getting involved to transforming our beloved town toward a positive future.
I focused on the words, “What will you do,” because I am a firm believer that sitting back and complaining is just that, complaining. I wouldn’t have put this call to action out so bluntly if I were not going to roll up my sleeves with the rest of you. I have to say, many of you have been involved in some capacity while others, well, are still complaining. In the end, the majority of the change agents in town are beginning to see the future that we have been working so hard towards begin to unfold right in front of our eyes.
Today, taking a simple cruise across town, you will see the most recent changes that are taking place if you truly look for them. From the development of the San Pedro Public Market on the waterfront, to the High Park development finally taking shape on Western Avenue, to new luxury apartments going up on Sixth and Palos Verdes, to new town homes being built on Eighth and Centre, to new restaurants and a new brewery beginning to open up downtown, to plans for a boutique hotel next to the Warner Grand Theatre – San Pedro is truly on the rise.
I know it’s easy, and sometimes tempting, to get caught up in the negativity that makes its way into the conversation these days, but time is better spent determining where you can make a difference and dive in and do the work. I know from personal experience that this is not an easy task and it takes personal sacrifice to get involved to get it done. My personal motto is that it’s not about time, but rather want. If you want to do something, you will find the time.
As an example, a friend who volunteers countless hours at a local little league was in a conversation with a guy who said, “We should have tournaments every weekend at the field as fundraisers.” My friend thought it was a great idea and asked, “When can you start organizing the tournaments?” The person was taken back and said he was too busy with other things and didn’t have the time. I guess the term “we” did not mean him. Again, not about time, but want. If he truly wanted to do this, he would have found the time.
Much of what is being developed today in San Pedro was built on the sacrifice (want) and commitment (time) of many who decided to get involved to make a difference. Change did not happen overnight then, and it will not happen overnight today. It will happen with a steady focus and commitment of those wanting to make a difference. Just as I did some 10 years ago, I will end this column with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, known as “The Man in the Arena”:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.