Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clean San Pedro

I don't normally have newspaper articles appear on my blogs the day of their publication, but this article should be important to all of us and I think getting the word out to as many people as possible, is the correct thing to do.

The following is an article written by Ms. Donna Littlejohn for The Daily Breeze.

No Cash for This Trash
By Donna Littlejohn, Staff Writer

Article Launched: 03/25/2008 10:55:36 PM PDT

It didn't take long for Steve Kleinjan's answering machine to fill up after sending out a notice early this week saying Clean San Pedro would have to suspend operations.

"My e-mail is just about filled, my phone has rung off the hook," Kleinjan said.

Dedicated to combating litter and graffiti, the popular grass-roots effort he established six years ago is simply running too low on funds, Kleinjan said.

"Everyone means well and is very receptive, but it's just a matter of getting the check in the mail," Kleinjan said. "We're an independent group and normally we try to raise our own funds through fundraisers."

Kleinjan said he hopes the suspension of activity will be temporary, noting the outpouring from community members this week since he made the announcement.

Among Clean San Pedro's staunch supporters is Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who singled the group out for citywide recognition in 2006.

"I can't imagine San Pedro without Clean San Pedro," she said. "We've really come to depend on them. They've put the pride back in San Pedro."

Hahn is urging neighborhood councils to pitch in. She said she also is going to try to find resources within her office to help.

More financial support is needed between major fundraisers, Kleinjan said, to cover ongoing
expenses such as insurance and maintenance on vehicles, and buying tools and supplies.

The group also pays two part-time employees, retirees, who work 12 hours a week. They have been laid off, but Kleinjan hopes that's only temporary.

"They obviously have a serious cash flow problem," said Camilla Townsend, CEO of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce. "They need a serious commitment that's going to be ongoing so they can really do what Clean San Pedro is all about.

The last major fundraiser for Clean San Pedro was Hot Pedro Nites, a two-day nostalgic car festival held last August. The event brought in about $20,000, but that fell far short of the group's goal of raising $80,000 to $100,000.

With the next Hot Pedro Nites not happening until July, the group has been struggling to maintain its cash flow from last summer's event.

"We're running out of those funds, so instead of doing another fundraiser in the spring, I was looking to go to neighborhood councils and things like that for funding," Kleinjan said.

Founded in 2002, Clean San Pedro Inc. uses volunteers to cruise the Pacific Avenue and Gaffey Street retail corridors throughout the week, picking up trash, painting out graffiti and making sure discarded furniture and other eyesores are hauled away.

Hometown pride fuels the endeavor.

"Most of the people who volunteer grew up here and have lived here their whole lives," said Kleinjan, a 1970 San Pedro High School graduate. "We have many successful business people who are now retired and donate a lot of time to this effort. It's kind of strange to see a former businessman sitting there, sweeping curbs."

The group's annual budget is about $60,000, he said, but to do the job right, it should be closer to $150,000.

"I just couldn't continue going on as usual," he said. "These are difficult times."

Townsend said her organization is exploring ways to help, including the possibility of taking over Hot Pedro Nites as a way to save Clean San Pedro administrative funds it spends to help plan and stage the event.

Help also might come from the proposed property owners' Business Improvement District, she said.

"This is a real grass-roots operation," Townsend said. "It's the best deal in town. The sad thing is, so often communities take programs like this for granted. They're very happy to have them, but they don't stop to think about where the funding comes from. I look at this as a wake-up call."

What: Clean San Pedro Inc., a six-year-old nonprofit group, is in need of more donations.

Donations: Checks can be made out and mailed to Clean San Pedro Inc., 3616 S. Walker St., San Pedro, CA 90731.

Information:; 310-832-4931.

O.K., let's read your excuses for not helping out this organization.

You could write that you spent the $440.00 you and your wife won at the Thunder Valley Casino on Saturday, but spent it all at another casino. We did and we didn't, so my check is ready for me to slip into the mailbox as I leave for yet another pre-surgery test.

You could write that you are on disability and can't afford the bucks. I am and you probably aren't. Next excuse.

You could write that you spend you contribution dollars on making buttons for causes you believe are important on OUR community. I do, but Clean San Pedro is a worthy cause that just might inspire me to create some new buttons that group can offer for donations.

You could write that you are a Bisno supporter and are saving to buy one of his "affordable" condos. I'm not, but I also don't think that $300,000.00 for 600 square feet in some of the worst climate in OUR community is worth it.

You could write that you have given so much to OUR community that you feel you should be compared to John Olguin. You certainly can't and neither can I, ever. But I have a real belief that John will be walking the few blocks from his house to the Walker Avenue address to drop off a donation.

You could write some excuse that we can all shed a tear at, but please don't. I don't have a reasonable, realistic, responsible, or respectful excuse for not contributing to Clean San Pedro until now, and you surely don't either, I firmly bet.

So let's just get to the mission at hand. Get out those checkbooks, make motions in your organizations to donate, have a rummage sale with proceeds going to this worthy group, and don't do anything that will cause Clean San Pedro to have to pick up after you!

Hey Bob, your blight is a nuisance we have to live with. How about thinking about the community you supposedly believe you know what is best for, and give a chunk of change to Clean San Pedro. They can't clean up your mess, unless you hire them, but they can help keep San Pedro cleaner than you patch of.......whatever.

Hey OUR community, let's make the next Hot Pedro Nites the best ever!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I for one am a supporter of Clean San Pedro, but I have to question the $150,000 needed to keep things alive. He needs vehicle maintenance? Tools? How about just going back to simply picking up trash....all you need is brooms, rakes and trash cans. I thought it was clean SP, not rebuild SP.
Also, the fact that Kleinjan is pandering to Camilla Townsend makes my skin crawl. What WAS a true grass roots effort will become commercial once Camilla takes over Hot Pedro Nites. We can kiss the Pedro pride and fun goodbye once this happens. It WAS fun re-living what cruising in San Pedro was all about.