Community Voices
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Members of San Pedro CPR in 2021. (photo: Facebook)

San Pedro residents have been paying it forward for decades.

Efforts include a San Pedro resident who checks on their elderly neighbor and offers her a cooked meal, a man who cleans up different areas of San Pedro regularly, a local dad who helps solve crimes and has created a sizeable encompassing neighborhood watch that supports law enforcement, a restaurant owner who paints out tagging often with the exact color so it is not noticeable, a woman who picks up trash from her kayak in local waterways, and people who placed gifts anonymously on the porch of a daughter who has lost her father. These are just a few examples of the many action-oriented and generous people who live in San Pedro. 

Members of San Pedro CPR in 2021. (photo: Facebook)

The San Pedro Caring Proactive Residents (CPR Cleanup Crew) is a group that pays it forward by volunteering to beautify San Pedro. There are ongoing group cleanups and people who work individually, picking up trash and pulling weeds. Before the winter rains, a group member volunteered to clean storm drains. The group collaborates with Councilmember Tim McOsker, who has been actively activating city services to address issues around town. 

The group shares pride in their town and has a sense of ownership of San Pedro, even though many were not born here. Being part of a large city often means red tape can create obstacles to solutions, but they persevere and take action working towards solutions. Dealing with the city can sometimes be frustrating, but their attitude is never bitter; they are hopeful. Their work is often unnoticed because they are on to the next thing that needs addressing.

Mona Sutton, owner of the Omelette and Waffle Shop, has been part of San Pedro CPR since their inception, heading up large cleanups regularly. “I am proud of how many are standing up to be part of the solution to make a difference in our little seaside town,” states Mona. “I am so looking forward to a future where we’ve risen above ever having to hear the phrase ‘where the ghetto meets the sea.’”

Joseph Gasperov, a San Pedro resident, recently posted in a local San Pedro Facebook group about when he paid it forward. “I was the manager of the Thrifty Drug Store at 5th and Gaffey,” shares Joseph. “Joe Marino, whom I’d known since I was a little kid, was in the store shopping. He spotted me being walked around the store by two ‘suits.’ He correctly assumed they were company big shots of some type and approached them. Pretending he didn’t personally know me, he proceeded to tell them how much he loved shopping at this location and how the store was always clean, had great staff, and was well-stocked. The two suits (district and division manager[s]) had been nit-picking my store for a couple of hours.”

Joseph later did the same thing for a store manager when he was shopping at Lucky Market on Western Avenue, where Smart & Final is now. The manager was with two “suits” from the corporate office. He stopped them to lavish compliments about the store. As he walked away, the two suits were speechless, and the manager had a big smile.

The good deeds of Mona, Joseph, and many others are an undercurrent in San Pedro that inspires others to do the same and creates a sense of goodwill. There are many opportunities to pay it forward in San Pedro — picking up trash off the beach, driving a senior to an appointment, or taking out the trash cans of a disabled neighbor. Thank you to the San Pedro residents who make positive efforts to make the lives of others better and beautify our community. spt

photo of san pedro today author Jennifer Marquez

Jennifer Marquez

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