That’s So Pedro

San Pedro is a very unique place with a culture that is extremely specific to our little part of Los Angeles. As San Pedrans, there are certain experiences we’ve all had whether we grew up here or adopted the town as adults: having a sandwich on the coast, our affinity for clothing with “San Pedro” written on it and running into people you know wherever you go. All of these things are SO PEDRO and they should be celebrated.

That’s why my good friend Megan Barnes and I have started a brand new podcast called That’s So Pedro. Not only do we want to celebrate everything Pedro, we also plan to scour the town for news, views and interesting stories to share with you.

Our first episode, released March 1, featured interviews with Doris Theriault, the mastermind of the historical society’s Windows Into The Past project, San Pedro Neighbors for Peace & Justice who recently celebrated their 10th anniversary and Councilman Joe Buscaino days before being re-elected for a second term.

We just recently released our second episode highlighting the annual International Hypnosis Federation annual conference that brings hypnotists from all around the world to our little port town and talk skating with Andy Harris and Bill Sargeant of the San Pedro Skatepark Association.

In addition to the interviews, we infuse the show with headlines, hot topics, sound bytes and a very fun segment called Ask Marija, where the advice is served piping hot by one of San Pedro’s best baristas.

You can listen to the podcast by visiting our website www.thatssopedro.com or directly from our Facebook at facebook.com/thatssopedro. We’re always on the look out for interesting stories, if you have some ideas you can reach us at thatssopedro@gmail.com.

If you have a “So Pedro” to share with us, we have a call-in line where you can leave us a message at (424) 703-4220.

Let Me Show You

Spring is here and the weather in San Pedro is even more perfect than normal. That makes it the perfect time to come out on a walking tour with me. A must see Pedro Primer is the all new San Pedro Conservancy Tour that hits all the gems of downtown. You can check the tour calendar at www.towneetours.com for times.

Those of you who were followers of my first blog, San Pedro: Block by Block, will be glad to know that I have gone back to my roots and started a brand new blog. Show Me, Romee is my way of doubling down on capturing the Pedro experience. One of my most notable segments is the ‘Wheel of Worship’ where I have tasked myself to visit every church and temple in San Pedro that has its own building with a story to tell. I’m also trying to work out the kinks of another ‘spirited’ segment called “Pedro on Tap.” I really love exploring again! You can find my new blog at www.showmeromee.com. spt

Meet Me in San Pedro

When the temperature finally dips below 70 and I am forced to wear close-toed shoes, I know that holiday movie season is just around the corner. My absolute favorite Christmas movie is Meet Me in St. Louis, starring Judy Garland. Early on in the movie, Tootie, the youngest Smith, played by Margaret O’Brien, has a line that pretty much sums up my exact feelings about San Pedro, “Wasn’t I lucky to be born in my favorite city?” She had also just finished correcting the iceman’s pronunciation of St. Louis, sound familiar?

The parallels don’t end there. Although our beloved San Pedro was just an infant city of 15 at the time the movie takes place, the small town old-fashioned hominess of St. Louis in 1903 completely translates to life in San Pedro. So how did some of us get so lucky to be born in our favorite city? Opportunity.

In 1903, construction of the federal breakwater was in full swing and people were being drawn to the brand new port in droves due to all the readily available work. The timber that built the southland came from our lumberyards. Soon came the fishing industry with seiners and canneries, shipbuilding, oceaneering and longshoring. This town was built on the backs of those who came here looking for the opportunity of a better life, the type of people who see the path to prosperity through a hard day’s work. They did it for us and we keep it going for them.

Every San Pedran, whether born here or transplanted, has a moment that sold them on San Pedro. Think about it. You may have come here for a job, or the surf, or an affordable home, or even because you grew up here, but you stayed for the community. You stay because you want to raise your kids in a place where they can be kids. You stay because someone took a chance on you and you want to be here to give someone else a chance. You stay because you can’t imagine yourself living anywhere else.

Yes, there are days when San Pedro makes you want to pack up and leave, but then something happens, a beautiful sunset or random act of kindness, and you just can’t stay mad. And sure, there haven’t been a lot of opportunities lately, but San Pedrans know that the best way through hard times is together. And if you ever do leave, you’ll be welcomed back like family. That is the biggest parallel of all, Meet Me in St. Louis is a movie about a family and San Pedro is a giant family.

Hard work, fairness, helping hands, caring hearts and having fun together are all the themes that weave through Meet Me in St. Louis. They are also the family values that make San Pedro work. This is why we never lost our identity to L.A. This is why every marketing firm, committee and startup has failed to capture the true essence of San Pedro.

San Pedro is not Busy Bee or Sorrento’s pizza, no matter how delicious. San Pedro is not an awesome picture of the bridge. San Pedro is not a meme or a Facebook group. San Pedro is its people. San Pedro is a family. spt

A Tour a Ghost Would Die For

There is nothing more synonymous with the month of October than pumpkins and a good ghost story. If you think about it, ghost stories are just histories that capture the imagination and excite the listener. And a ghost is just a memory that has taken on a life of its own.

I was looking out the window from the historical archives on the sixth floor of the municipal building when it dawned on me that I was looking out at the biggest ghost in all of San Pedro. There is no greater specter in all of the town’s history than that of Old Beacon Street, ‘the most dangerous four blocks in the whole world’ according to Walter Winchell, a street with a reputation and a legend so large that it continues to haunt the land it stood on far beyond its very existence. Any ghost would die for that kind of fame.

I’m very excited to be giving the ghost of Beacon Street its due this month with a proper tour, as well as a tour of some not so famous haunts with ghosts of their own.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge fan of San Pedro history; it’s kind of my thing. Apparently, it’s a lot of people’s thing these days and there are more opportunities than ever for you to get a taste of it.

The historical society has become a powerhouse of programming in the last year. I find myself looking forward to their First Sunday series every month. And have you seen the fabulous window displays that they’ve created downtown as part of their Windows Into the Past project? There is a window at Williams’ Bookstore, the upholstery shop, the Grand Vision Foundation and the USS Iowa Welcome Center.

Beautiful exhibits in an outdoor museum in honor of San Pedro’s 125th anniversary next year. They’re turning the windows out so fast that they’re nearly unveiling one every First Thursday. If you haven’t been down to see them, I highly recommend you make a point of going down there soon.

While walking tours of San Pedro are definitely my business, I don’t hold the patent on them. There have been a couple of really interesting tours and groups that have gone through town lately. Last month, Robert Inman, author of A Guide to the Public Stairways of Los Angeles led a four-hour trek through San Pedro, stating that San Pedro was his favorite neighborhood in Los Angeles. On the same day, the Black Rose Society also led a tour of some of the important sites in labor history located in town.

There are so many different ways to see San Pedro and even more perspectives to see them through. I have dozens of ideas for tours rolling around in my head and I’m going to keep rolling them out as I get them together. I’ve decided to feature a different themed tour in addition to my normal six tours every month. I have also planned a very special food tasting tour of five eateries in downtown on October 6.

It is my mission to give you every opportunity to truly experience all that San Pedro has to offer. For more information on my tours, please visit my website at www.towneetours.com. spt