Community Voices
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The 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” is a microcosm of how many feel people today; that our society is being manipulated and controlled by news outlets, social media algorithms, and politics. Maple Street is set in a middle-class neighborhood. In the evening, the electricity goes out, and the neighborhood is left in the dark. The situation quickly escalates as only one of the houses has its power restored. The neighbors begin to question the owner as to why their house is the only house with electricity. One by one, the electricity is switched on and off at different houses. Violence and rioting ensue amongst the neighbors. It’s total chaos.

As the scene pulls away, it ends up on a hilltop overlooking Maple Street. Two aliens are there, turning the electricity on and off through a control box. Alien one says, “Understand the procedure now? Just stop a few of their machines and radios and telephones and lawnmowers, throw them into darkness for a few hours, and then sit back and watch the pattern.” Alien two’s response, “And this pattern is always the same?” Alien one says, “With few variations. They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it’s themselves. All we need to do is sit back and watch.” Alien two replies, “Then I take it this place, this Maple Street, is not unique.” Alien one says, “By no means, their world is full of Maple Streets, and we’ll go from one to another and let them destroy themselves.” 

There are times it feels like we are living on Maple Street. From news outlets leaning one way politically or limiting the news that is reported, how social media algorithms feed our interests (watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix), and with the addition of podcasts, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, there is a lot to choose from. But what is believable? I am not a “fake news” person, but I do listen closely to how words are used, and that helps make my decision on what is truth, half-truth, and what is not. As we head into another election season, the lines will be drawn across political parties, and we will be expected to fall in line and vote the way political parties expect us to. But will you?

As we look locally toward the race for mayor of Los Angeles, there will be many choices come Election Day. The candidates must clearly articulate a vision and establish clear, attainable goals and objectives for our great city. We need city council members to work together to solve the most pressing issues and take the politics out of the crisis we are in. For example, homelessness is one of the top issues. Efforts put forward have helped many experiencing homelessness find a way to a better life, but the current success rate will not keep up with the demand. The math doesn’t pencil out. The City needs to change its approach to solve the crisis. 

What will you look for in the next mayor? Personally, I will look for the candidate that I trust. Yes, trust. It will be someone who I believe will best represent what our city needs, stands for the everyday, law-abiding citizen, and supports our police officers of the great city of Los Angeles. A leader who will promote innovation, enable small businesses to thrive, support both union and nonunion jobs, build on green technology without sacrificing jobs, and not be overreaching with mandates that they themselves haven’t adhered to. I will look at their record in the aforementioned areas and look at the performance of elected officials they funded to get elected. This is an indication of what the mayoral candidate truly stands for. I am looking for the individual with the highest ethical standards and integrity.

It’s time to exercise our right to vote once again and not sit on the sidelines by not voting because we feel disenfranchised. Voting is one opportunity to influence our future. Find your truth, stay away from the nonsense on social media, read deeper into the issues, listen to learn, and challenge each other on the real issues at hand. Let’s not become Maple Street. spt

Anthony Pirozzi, Jr.

Anthony Pirozzi, Jr. is a retired San Pedro resident and former Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner. He can be reached at