Starting a new month, (September 2012) Pete on the Street simply wanted to know what was the biggest concern or worry troubling our respondents. We got an earful:
For Terri Keller, crooked politicians were giving her the most grief. Labor Day traditionally kicks off the political season in the United States of America, and Terri like many Americans had been watching the Republican national convention in Tampa, Fla.
“I saw Condoleezza Rice, she was awesome,” Terri added. “I wish she could run for president. Paul Ryan, I thought he gave a good speech. The problem is, everybody gets up there and says stuff — what they’re going to do and all that — and they get in there and they don’t do any of it.”
Down the street from Terri, Bobby Diebold, Sr., grandfather of Bonita quarterback Tanner Diebold, said he had no worries. “If I wake up, it’s going to be a great day. I’m worry-free.”
Back in the car, I trundled across town and met up with Gina Benavides. “Right now, I’ve been thinking about earthquakes a lot,” she said, giggling nervously. “There was one just the other day. I was having lunch with a friend. We were at a restaurant and it shook a little bit and then it shook again. It was like, okay, is there a bigger one coming? I was waiting for it to come.”
Naturally, I had to ask, had all the recent tremors made her more prepared?
“No,” she said, “but it’s in the back of my mind. I have a list. I’m just thinking I need to get bottled water and canned food and stuff like that – batteries, flashlight types of things. So, that’s kind of what’s been on my mind lately — natural disasters.”
Gina’s neighbor was more preoccupied with man-made disasters. “To answer your question,” said Michelle Sauer, “I would say jobs. Mainly, it would be my husband’s job. He drives a truck at a refinery. It’s just really slowed down. This week, he worked only two or three days, if that.”
Fortunately, the Big One didn’t strike while I made my way to the new Von’s. None of the people I interviewed were buying batteries or bottled water, or if they had water in their shopping cart, it was simply because it was going to be another hot day in La Verne.
Work-related challenges, not unemployment was on the mind of one Von’s shopper. “I have to solve problems at work,” said Cory Wilson, an engineer whose domain is electronics and physics. “That keeps me using 100 percent of my brain. Unfortunately, that’s the truth of the matter.”
For teacher Gary Hart, the economy has been on his mind. “The cost of living going up, salary not going up. I’m a teacher and I haven’t gotten a raise in pay in over seven years. So everything is going up. Insurance, the cost of living, all that’s going up, and I haven’t made a dime more in seven years.”
Maria Esh had a grocery list (pun intended) of concerns over the Labor Day weekend. “First thing, every morning I wake up hoping we don’t have an earthquake,” she said. “Second thing is making the payments on my house because of the economy we have. I’m not working right now. My husband is working. The economy has affected everyone.”
What did this week’s random sampling tell us? It revealed that there is both good news and bad news weighing on people’s minds. The good news, there was no earthquake. The bad news, there are no jobs or there are too few of them or there are just not enough good ones to go around.
Then there’s that one odd figure, Bobby Diebold, Sr., who is just glad to be alive!