In response to WalletHub’s “Best & Worst Small Cities in America”

I was pretty surprised reading WalletHub’s list of “Best & Worst Small Cities in America.” Research methodology aside, one thing’s for certain — numbers can’t measure the heart and soul of communities.

You have to visit and experience the vibrancy of Southeast L.A. to feel that.

Cities like Bell, Lynwood, Maywood, South Gate and Paramount are working class communities. Many among us are first or second generation immigrants who came to America in search of a better life for ourselves and our families. We work hard — two or three jobs if we must — to make sure our children live out the meaning of the American Dream.

We embrace our rich ethnic diversity. Lynwood’s Plaza México is a shining example of our proud cultural heritage. A multipurpose center that’s a shopping, dining and entertainment destination, Plaza is one of the nation’s leading destinations for the celebration of Latino cultural expression and pride.

Plus it’s a sunny 77 degrees outside my district office in South Gate right now. How many of WalletHub’s “best” cities can match that?

Sure, our communities do face challenges. Our cities have faced governance issues and environmental injustices continue to harm our residents.

The important thing is what we’re doing to address these issues and continue making progress. A new crop of civic leaders have ushered in a renewed commitment to ethical public service. We’re holding polluters accountable and expanding park space and recreational opportunities, particularly along the L.A. River.

Most of all, we continue to be proud. The skeptics can say all they want, but we don’t need rankings to prove the Southeast is a great place to live — we get to live it every single day.

Assemblymember Anthony Rendon is serving in his second term representing the 63rd Assembly District, which includes the cities and communities of Bell, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, North Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount and South Gate.

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