Community Voices
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(photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels)

In November, voters will elect a new L.A. City Councilmember for our district. Now is the time for voters to ask these candidates how they will serve our community. 

As our newly elected councilmember, you serve a critical role to the community, our local environment, and everybody who lives here. We rely on you to ensure our city is safe and clean, among other things.

San Pedro has become a co-op-type town. Basic city services are not always provided. Tax-paying residents have been picking up the slack by volunteering their time to pick up trash and assist the police. The generous gift of time and money residents spend doing cleanups and other city services are appreciated. However, this is a red flag that the city and port are not keeping pace with their obligations. Please find the gaps in services and fix them. For example, the marina has been tagged with graffiti and has had overgrown weeds for months. It is not the responsibility of citizens to contact the Harbor Department to ask them to do their job or plan a cleanup day and subsidize the port’s labor.

Assign a staff or an intern to drive around your district’s areas daily and report problems to appropriate departments, like broken stop lights, graffiti, potholes, etc. Follow up and make sure issues are addressed. The 311 system should serve as a backup system for residents to use to report concerns. Ensure that the city and police move away from reactionary-style management and be proactive. In addition, council staff and Recreation and Parks employees should be required to report any issues they see, such as tagging, especially on city property like parks and beaches.

While it is admirable to visit schools and nonprofit agencies, please define your role with them. In most circumstances, the council office has no authority over schools or nonprofits, and many do not receive city funding. Photo ops are not a high priority in a community with so many unresolved issues. 

“I would like you to be accessible and don’t lose touch with the community,” requests San Pedro resident Mary Ellen Barnes. “Not everything needs to be an official appearance with you surrounded by staff and security. Report on legislation in the city and how these things will affect us.”

Residents have requested you hold monthly meetings for all constituents to attend (Zoom with an in-person option) for transparency and accountability. In these meetings, residents can ask you and your staff for updates and timelines on issues and concerns in a public forum. The community needs your help addressing numerous issues like problem properties that negatively affect so many. 

“Don’t remove yourself from us once you are elected,” continues Barnes. “I would like you to be present and mindful of what you are doing, rather than constantly eyeing your next career move up the political ladder and the constant fundraising that goes with it. In short, now that we have elected you, please be here for us.” 

 “I want the councilperson to promise to meet with the concerned citizens of San Pedro to hear our complaints,” says Louis Michael Galasso. “You need to put in writing what will immediately be done, especially with our beaches and parks. We need a plan to address the littering and gang graffiti.”

Other residents have requested that our new councilmember find solutions for encampments and areas like Sunken City, which is a constant source of crime, tagging, and lack of safety. San Pedro is a town with pride and a willingness to volunteer; with your help and leadership, we can achieve so much together. 


Residents of San Pedro 

If you have your own requests, voice your concerns directly to the two candidates. spt

photo of san pedro today author Jennifer Marquez

Jennifer Marquez

Jennifer Marquez can be reached at  and @jenntmqz on Twitter and Instagram.