Back in 1983, my San Pedro Today columnist colleague, Steve Marconi, published “A Real San Pedran” in the former San Pedro News-Pilot. “A Real San Pedran” is a list of 91 characteristics of what he believed a “real” San Pedran was back then. I pulled out a few that seem to be relevant today: A real San Pedran keeps wondering what happened to San Pedro; A real San Pedran would never cross a picket line; A real San Pedro never says San “Paydro” and gets mad when others do; A real San Pedran is either a longshoreman or a fisherman, or related to one or both; A real San Pedran remembers the days when, if he answered “San Pedro” to the question, “Where do you live?” it was followed by, “Where?” A real San Pedran votes Democrat, but thinks Republican. I have always been intrigued by the last one.
As we head into a new decade, we also head into a big political year as we vote for president of the United States, congressional candidates, state and local officials, and propositions. It will be a year of political debate that has already begun to ramp up. So how will you vote? What stance or position will you take? Will you listen to someone’s political opinion or ideas even if they are of a different political party than yours? Will you only vote for the letter next to a candidate’s name rather that the character of the candidate? Will you shout-down someone from a different political party with stereotype names for that party? Will you vote for a proposition because of some sound bites fed to you by your political party affiliation or will you actually read the proposition?
As a kid, my mom always made it a point to say, “Make your own decisions and make up your own mind.” She would give us this sound advice at times when she believed we were being influenced by someone, especially when we would say things or express ourselves in a way that didn’t sound like things we would normally say. She was basically telling us to stand tall and stand up for what we believe in. When it comes to politics these days, we have to begin to wake up to what is happening around us regardless of our political affiliation. We also need to stop regurgitating political talking points we read or hear on television to make a political point. We need to listen and learn from each other, work together to align our focus, and work together to make the changes we need to realize regardless of political affiliation.
As an example at the local level, I have heard from family, friends and community members with different political affiliations who are frustrated with what is going on in San Pedro with the homeless epidemic and the slow pace to address it. Most people don’t want to criminalize homelessness, but rather take the criminal element out of the homeless community so those who truly need help can receive it. Also, at the state level we have elected a super-majority party running California. Many now feel that the people are being forgotten by the very people we have elected to represent us and that an agenda is being adopted that continues to raise costs across the state, making it difficult for families to make ends meet. Finally, many are beginning to raise their concerns with the upcoming proposition to change key elements of Proposition 13.
Like you, I love San Pedro, Los Angeles, and California, and I would not live anywhere else, but I feel we are being taken advantage of as a community of people. For those of you who are being criticized for having a different opinion or being labeled because of your political affiliation and feel it is better to remain quiet rather than express your opinion, I encourage you not to be silent. It is time for all of us to put our political affiliation aside, work together, listen to each other, rally for our community, our city, and our state, and take the great advice my mom gave me: make your own decisions and make up your own mind. Most importantly, stand tall. spt