Leaping Into the Future: Tony Scott’s last leap, Akin’s fall from disgrace and the conspiracy of lemmings

  • 08/23/2012
  • Terelle Jerricks


The Tony Scott suicide is probably the best bad news attributed to San Pedro in a very long time. We’ve finally become a final destination point!

It’s not everyday that a Hollywood celebrity leaps to his death off our celebrated Vincent Thomas Bridge. In fact, unlike the Golden Gate Bridge, where jumpers seemingly line up for the opportunity (over 1,200 since 1937), leapers at our bridge spanning the Port of Los Angeles are relatively rare.
What is more commonplace about this curious Hollywood suicide, with all the speculations about the motive, has to do with how it was reported. San Pedro was instantly catapulted to world recognition by the Los Angeles media who follow this one dictum—when something good happens in the Harbor Area they call it the Port of Los Angeles but when something bad happens it’s called San Pedro or Wilmington! For local business boosters, after decades of trying to establish San Pedro as a tourist or other “destination,” this incident exposes a serious weakness in the local marketing think-tank initiatives that have been talked about for more than a while as some people in San Pedro attempt to remake its image. Everyone wants to talk about branding and marketing the San Pedro Downtown Waterfront Art District and there have been various and multiple starts and failed attempts.

AtkinThis past year, at my urging, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution to create a coordinated marketing plan. Recently, the Property-based Business Improvement District (PBID), after several misguided attempts to brand its district alone, finally came to the conclusion to hire an expert. And the Chamber, ever so cautious, is moving in baby-steps to round up a group of qualified players to do the same. The San Pedro Arts Culture and Entertainment district (ACE), whose funding from the CRA/LA will end in 2013, is the only entity to give money directly to those like the Golden State Pops Orchestra and Little Fish Theater that have shown expertise in marketing themselves and have collaborated on occasion to promote the district as a whole. But the ACE District has, so far, failed to meet the greater marketing objective.

Meanwhile, the Port of Los Angeles huddles together with the USS Iowa and the Crafted folks in casual closed door meetings on the marketing subject, but leaves many of the key players wondering why they weren’t invited.
The PBID has, after years of cajoling, finally agreed to pay for certain ACE district marketing that clearly benefits them. Yet there is no consensus on forming a working coordinating marketing council that gets the message right. Left to our own devices, we become known as the town where the world-famous producer jumped off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro. Well, at least they didn’t make the Robert DeNiro mistake of calling it the Saint Vincent Thomas Bridge. Vince was a great San Pedro politician, but not a Catholic saint—at least not yet.

Does any of this amount to anything other than a footnote in another of Hollywood’s infamous and tragic deaths? Not to the rest of world. But locally, this kind of event exhibits the disconnect that we have with the rest of the great metropolis. We see things looking north to the city and the rest of Los Angeles looks at us as south of the 405 freeway, or worse. Perception is everything in the media. Even when it’s a misconception.

But hey, we live in a world of misconceptions disguised as truth or facts. Just look at that right-wing bonehead from Missouri who talked at length about “legitimate rape” and some 17th century theory on the female reproductive response to rape. Does Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) believe that there’s a form of illegitimate rape or should we just send him some leeches to treat Tony Scott’s illusive brain cancer? This just goes to show what happens when you put idiots into office who aren’t qualified and expect them to represent the common folks. What’s truly distressing is that I really believe that this man is earnest in his anti-abortion beliefs. That’s what
makes him and those like him so dangerous. They believe they are right.

Which brings me to another sore point I have about people believing they’re right–posting dis-information on Facebook. I had to tell one of my Facebook followers today that he had every right to his own opinions, but not to his own facts when he dissed Obama’s record on job creation. Now I believe it’s everyone right to criticize the President. It’s part of the job description that you’ve got to take the heat. But what is happening is that people find the most “out-there-stuff” on the Internet, created by some hired political operatives and post it like they just found the golden tablets of Mormon.

Facebook, no matter how many “friends” you have on this rather questionable social networking platform, dominated by a relative few in every circle holding a not very private conversation with themselves. Outside of the fact that despite all of the marketing hoopla and buzz this biz got to launch its IPO, the Mark Zuckerberg “genius” hasn’t figured out how to make a simple profit on a business that’s valued in the billions by Wall Street Banksters. What we are dealing with here is a lot like jumping off a bridge, except that we’re all doing it together like lemmings.

So perception is reality and the truth be damned. Are we all entitled to our own reality at this point or should we allow people like Akin, Romney and his new best friend Paul Ryan to misappropriate that once famous line from Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “Facts? We don’t need no stinking facts!”

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