Stories from my dad: Politics and passing the torch

Anyone can change the world. Some people know how to keep the world
changed.

My dad had a vision for the street of R. Hidalgo. He saw that it could
be a photographer’s haven if the vendors who choked the street could
be moved elsewhere. So he organized the shop owners, brought in City
Hall, cleared the street, and promoted it to photographers.

At the last meeting, my dad said, “My job is done. I want to move on
and focus on other things.” He wanted to make sure that the street
retains its character through any changes of administration. A new
tradition such as a street photo gallery would ensure the continuity
of the project and attract more people to R. Hidalgo. New
administrations would have to respect it.

What would the first photo exhibit be? A photographer named Leo
Pomanes suggested an exhibit about the Black Nazarene, a religious
devotion about to celebrate its 400th anniversary. My dad turned to
him and said, “Okay, take charge, and head the project.”

Yesterday, Leo called to organize a meeting. My dad was disappointed
that many people who should have been there weren’t coming, but my dad
said, “Don’t worry, I’ll come. I told other people to help you out,
but if they’re lukewarm about the idea, I will support you.”

The meeting was small. There were a few people from the church and
from City Hall. My dad said, “We need to move fast. If you’re talking
about the end of January, that’s in one, two weeks.” If they could put
together a draft this weekend, present it to the church, and finalize
their plans by the next week, then they could take advantage of the
opportunity.

“That fast?” Leo asked. “How about the committee?”

My dad told Leo that they didn’t need a large committee, and proceeded
to put one together. “Leo. Ogie. Brother Vic. Three of you would be
more than enough.” He knew that if the group could get the church
involved, then the current mayor would support the project, and then
the successful project could be used to get the support of the next
mayor.

This is politics, and my dad knows how to play the game.