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.