2020 Vision: Looking To New Decade & Back At Old One

WE are standing on the precipice of falling off the 20-teens and springing over to the 2020s.

That is a perfect time to look back on what we have achieved during the past 10 years, and make plans for the future.

People I talked to in South Pasadena during the past week were thinking of people lost, jobs found; babies born; and moves made during the past 10 years.

Those looking forward were just hoping for some civility; or for a new president; or perhaps a little help with student debt or child care.

Mayor Bob Joe was grateful for more young people arriving in South Pasadena, “which is great,’’ and was looking forward to tackling the growth cost of “maintaining a full-service city.’’ (See story, Page 5.)

Colleen Thornton, 36, has seen lots of changes in her life since the last decade began. She has gotten married, moved from Boston to Minneapolis to L.A. The son sitting next to her as she reminisced was born in 2015.

“Life has been a lot of changes,’’ she said, “wonderful changes.’’

“We love it here,’’ Colleen said of South Pas. “We like that this is very community-oriented. It has the feel of a small town.’’

What Colleen, a physician’s assistant, and her husband, Owen Aftreth, who is training to become a urologist, don’t like is the problems that they and other young families face going into the 2020s.

“I would love to see a big focus on families and family issues,’’ she said. “My siblings especially have had to struggle with student debt. I’d like to see policies that support young families, such as child care. Both of us are working full time and it costs a lot for child care. Because of that, we’re not able to go to Baby No. 2 yet.’’

Chandler Parker of South Pasadena graduated law school in 2011 and is now with a law firm.

“I was much focused on education and preparing for a new career during the past 10 years,’’ he said.

Looking forward, he’d like to see “more civility in our discourse, both in society and in politics. I’d like to see what we can do to better respect our fellow people.’’

Lourdes Larkins is from Highland Park but was at Bank of America in South Pasadena when I talked with her. The past decade was a sad one for her because of the death of her husband in 2018 at the age of 64. He had a heart condition.

“He was a good family man,’’ she said. “He made me love this country because we traveled all over.’’

Larkins, who is originally from Brazil, said she rejoiced both in 2008 and again in 2012 when Barack Obama was elected, and then re-elected, president. She now hopes for someone different “to make things right for this country. … The U.S. is the glory of democracy.’’

Now 73, she laughed when thinking about how the quality of life has improved over the last decade. “Seventy-three is really young now,’’ she said. “Who knows, maybe I will live to be 100.’’

Annika Easterly doesn’t need to think young. She’s a 14-year-old freshman at South Pasadena High with ideas about how she wants the world to be in the future.

“I’ve learned how to try and become active in the community,’’ she said. “I share stuff by going online. I’ve become aware of people helping in global warming and equality. I’ve started to become active in those areas and know how important they are.

“Everyone is more aware of what’s been happening, and that’s because of technology. It has enabled people to spread what you believe and to explore possible careers.’’

Mary Baldauf has had a busy decade. One daughter moved back home from Bakersfield; her older daughter got married; and Mary has just become a grandmother.

The 33-year-old daughter, Noelle, who moved back from Bakersfield, knows what she wants from the 2020s.

“I want a place of my own,’’ she said.

My email is ALippman@gavilanmedia.com. Please write if you have any story ideas about people, places or things of interest to South Pasadena residents.

Small Town, Big Dreams – South Pas Barber Looking to Make Next 10 Years A Cut Above

New Mayor Talks Of City’s Accomplishments, And Goals That Lie Ahead, As Calendar Turns