Montebello’s movie theater chairs may creak with age, but some city leaders are urging youth to stay in them anyway in the name of civic duty and hometown pride.
“It all comes down to… this is your city, and we have to do the best we can,” says David Delgado, chair of the city’s youth commission.
The 15-year old high school student says it will not be easy to convince his peers to rally for Montebello, but he is hoping greater awareness will convince them otherwise. “I don’t think students or teenagers know at all that financial actions affect them,” he said.
But city leaders are hoping that by enlisting Delgado and many more youth like him to galvanize a “buy Montebello” effort, they will see the connection between city services and the local business economy. The places young people have depended on, including the parks, YMCA, and other public places could be impacted, if not shut down, Delgado says.
Their plan is to attract as many as 500 youth to a march along Montebello Blvd on July 28 they will visit several Montebello when establishments, including the AMC theater, Costco, Sears, the site of a proposed Cook Hill condo development and nature preserve, and the Chevron station.
The recent recession has not been kind to cities like Montebello where partially empty strip malls line commercial corridors and overlook major intersections.
Meanwhile, a $3 million budget deficit in the upcoming year threatens even more city services including police and fire, as well as parks and recreation in the coming year.
As the city hashes out ways to close the budget deficit, a campaign to get residents to shop locally, “the impact it can have, it’s immediate,” says City Councilwoman Christina Cortez, who appointed Delgado to the youth commission. While the effort alone may not save the city from its projected deficit, it can certainly help to reduce it, she says.
Cortez intends to present the plan to her fellow city council members during her council orals at the next meeting.