Community Voices
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Pam Costa (center) with former Honorary Mayors of San Pedro, her husband Domenic Costa (left) and John Bagakis (photo: John Mattera Photography)
Honorary Mayors of San Pedro Domenic Costa, Pam Costa, and John Bagakis

The San Pedro Honorary Mayor campaign is back, and the list of candidates is as diverse as they are passionate about their charities. For those who don’t know, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce runs an honorary mayor campaign every two years, and the winner is determined by how much money they raise for their favorite charities. In 2019, the unstoppable Pam Costa, who owns Charcuteries by Pam, raised over $50,000 in support of Maria’s Closet, POLA High School, and Pedro Pet Pals. She has gone on to be the longest-running honorary mayor of all time, having served almost four years due to the COVID pandemic delaying a search for her replacement.

Yolanda Regalado, owner of Sirens Java & Tea, “Where coffee and tea meet the sea,” is a long-standing pillar of our community. Sirens is the unofficial town center of San Pedro, where residents can run into public officials and local leaders and have meaningful discussions about how to improve our town.

Yolanda, a former deputy sheriff, has a lifelong commitment to serving our community not only the best coffees and teas, but also by lifting up the underserved with an emphasis on women and minority business owners. She is running in support of three organizations: Women are Heroes Too is an organization helping women who have served in our armed forces as they transition to civilian jobs or start new businesses; Maria’s Closet is a local nonprofit that provides underprivileged youth with prom dresses, makeup, confidence, and one-on-one support to help their senior prom night be the best it can be; Pedro Pet Pals supports pet adoptions and health with low- or no-cost vaccinations and spaying and neutering of dogs and cats.

Manny Jimenez, owner of Black Knight Patrol, served in the Marines and has built a company that gives veterans a place to go when they leave military service. The speed at which he has grown Black Knight has been inspirational and has benefitted our community greatly. 

Manny is running to support community policing through the LAPD Boosters for the benefit of Harbor Division. This will provide the tools and comforts not afforded by the LAPD budget.

Manny is also supporting Harbor Connects, the nonprofit that grew out of the Harbor Neighborhood Relief Fund. It now focuses on fighting poverty and homelessness and creating connections between the various service providers to better leverage each other in their work.

Rock Ashfield, Realtor/development manager of the “coolest vibe in South Bay real estate” at Palm Realty Boutique located on 6th Street in Downtown San Pedro, has been a powerful force in celebrating all that is good in San Pedro. Rock can be seen on social media with his “Real Estate Minute,” bringing the folks together and working hard to make San Pedro an even better place to live, work, and play. 

His charities are the Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI), where disadvantaged youth can experience life on one of the two tall ships built here in San Pedro. These experiences give youth a respite from urban life, provide them with confidence and self-reliance, and help them focus without the distractions of technology. His second charity is Bridge Cities Alliance, a favorite San Pedro nonprofit that works to support LGBTQ+ members of our community to create a more inclusive San Pedro.

The effervescent Gabriela Medina, community advocate and public servant, is a San Pedro resident who has worked hard to address poverty and improve the responsiveness of city services. She has been a feet-on-the-street advocate for getting people experiencing homelessness into shelters, treatment, and supportive services. Gaby started her public service career 17 years ago working at the YWCA on 9th Street, where she was exposed to the diversity of the town — from the people, the culture, the food, and the immigrant stories of those who built San Pedro and made it into the gem it is today. 

Her hands-on approach to her work has led her to support Sharefest, a local organization that empowers underserved youth to transform their future and become leaders of collaborative community change. By working with Sharefest, these young people get direct mentorship and a chance to learn how to work together to beautify our community with projects that give them a sense of accomplishment. This leads to better grades, relationships, and outcomes as these students graduate into meaningful and productive lives.

I’m proud to call all of these candidates friends, and their work significantly impacts San Pedro in various ways for the betterment of our town, community, and people. spt

Lee Williams

Lee Williams leads The Lee Williams Real Estate Group at REAL Broker and is a Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner. He also serves on the board of directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of the LA Harbor, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, Harbor Connects, and the San Pedro Education Foundation. He can be reached at