Parade Takes a Rocky Road to Starting Line : Tournament of Roses: In the latest problem, attorney Gloria Allred says she was dumped from a panel discussion because she’s a feminist. But rain may spare the floats.
Call it the Rose Parade entering the Age of Ire.
So far this year, there have been outraged ethnic groups, miffed sheriff’s deputies, indignant City Council members and peeved feminists in the buildup for Wednesday’s 103rd Rose Parade. Who else can get into the act?
How about Mother Nature? Another rainstorm is brewing out in the Pacific, and it’s scheduled to arrive in Southern California on Wednesday, forecasters say.
As of late Monday, the best estimates were that the storm will arrive sometime in the afternoon, according to meteorologist Stephanie Hunter of WeatherData, which provides forecasts for The Times.
“It’s comparable to the last one (on Saturday and Sunday), with a decent amount of moisture,” said Hunter, who predicts that the first raindrops will arrive long after the parade.
But considering all of the unpredictable arguments and grinding brouhahas that have preceded the parade, maybe parade watchers should bring umbrellas anyway.
The parade, featuring 60 floats, 22 bands and 29 equestrian groups, as well as co-grand marshals Cristobal Colon and Rep. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, is scheduled to start at 8:10 a.m. Wednesday.
Float decorators will put the final touches on their lavish creations this afternoon and this evening, including the actual “flowering” process, with volunteers attaching millions of fresh flowers to figures that evoke the theme of “Voyages of Discovery.” Then, late tonight and early Wednesday, the floats will be moved into position on Orange Grove Boulevard.
But vitriol was still being dispensed Monday, with attorney Gloria Allred denouncing Eastman Kodak and the Tournament of Roses for allegedly “disinviting” her to moderate a panel of former rose queens discussing women’s issues.
Allred charged at a news conference that she had been scheduled to moderate the panel at a Kodak-sponsored brunch on Monday at Caltech.
“I was told that certain officials of the tournament . . . complained to Kodak that I was a liberal and a ‘rabble-rouser’ and I should not be the moderator,” she said. “Late Thursday, the invitation to me was withdrawn.”
Allred attacked the all-male committee which chose this year’s queen, Tannis Ann Turrentine, as “cowardly men who are determined to continue their futile, pathetic, sexist efforts to stop the progress of women’s rights.”
The panel, at which five former rose queens discussed the changing role of women, was moderated by Sue Bohle, head of a Century City public relations firm. Kodak spokesman Michael Donnelly said Allred had been one of three or four women considered for the job.
Parade officials denied that they had ever asked Allred to participate. “Our main thrust was to honor the rose queens,” Donnelly said. “It was decided not to have any type of well-known female to serve as moderator.”
Former rose queens at the brunch defended the queen-selection process, saying that committee members were chosen on the basis of long, meritorious service to the tournament.
“Besides,” said 1985 Rose Queen Kristina Smith, “I don’t think the choices have been half bad.”
The contentiousness surrounding the parade began less than two months ago, when tournament President Robert Cheney named Spanish aristocrat Colon, a direct descendant of Christopher Columbus, as grand marshal.
Cheney says the theme was meant to celebrate all human discoveries, not just Columbus’ voyage to America 500 years ago. But American Indian groups and others, many of whom say they are observing 1992 as a “year of mourning,” quickly attacked the choice of Colon because of the decimation of New World natives brought by the Spanish conquerors.
Cheney and the tournament eventually agreed to a compromise, inviting Campbell, the only American Indian in Congress, to share the grand marshal duties with Colon.
But some ethnic groups were not mollified. The Alliance of Native Americans, a statewide group, and others are organizing a peaceful demonstration during the parade to express their displeasure, said Helen Anderson, chairwoman of the alliance.
“We’re asking people to show up and turn their backs on Colon and the parade’s theme of discovery,” Anderson said.
A beefed-up contingent of more than 1,000 law enforcement officers will be there to keep things peaceful, said Lt. Frank Wills of the Pasadena Police Department.
He said two-officer teams will patrol on foot on each block along the parade route, and three 32-person tactical squads will be on call for “volatile incidents.”
But police will not interfere with peaceful demonstrations, Wills said. “We have no problem with that,” he said. “We even envision the potential of being called in to protect people’s right to demonstrate.”
Those who disrupt the parade, however, will be arrested and charged with obstructing public access, a misdemeanor.
Wills said that police, including 800 Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, 65 California Highway Patrol officers and 200 Pasadena police, have been instructed to maintain the “family atmosphere” of the event.
“A lot of people come out, thinking it’s a big fraternity house party or a giant cocktail party,” Wills said. “That’s exactly the atmosphere we won’t allow. People who are disorderly will quickly be arrested.”
The sheriff’s deputies are still not appeased after a rancorous dispute with members of the Pasadena City Council, said Shaun Mathers, president of the 6,500-member Assn. of Los Angeles Deputies.
The council agreed to hire deputies only if measures were taken to bar “neo-Nazis” and “white supremacists,” who allegedly belong to a Lynwood sheriff’s station social group, the Vikings. Sheriff Sherman Block reacted angrily, demanding an apology before he would allow his deputies to work in Pasadena.
Mayor Jess Hughston eventually offered a personal apology, but other council members offered only regrets that their concerns had been misunderstood.
Miffed deputies have consoled themselves by considering the benefits the parade brings to those who watch it, Mathers said. “The deputies understand they’re not really working for the City Council,” Mathers said.
At the tournament headquarters on Orange Grove Boulevard on Monday, the two grand marshals sat amicably, talking to members of the press.
“It’s not just this parade, but anything to which the media gives international coverage,” said Campbell, a Colorado Democrat who will ride a horse in the parade while wearing full Indian regalia. “There will always be groups that believe they can use the event to push their own agenda.”
Colon, who had strongly supported the idea of choosing an American Indian co-grand marshal, spoke of the possible protests. “This is their parade, too,” he said of the protesters. “They should be represented. The American Indians are a very important part of American history.”
That friendly communication may indicate a change of fortunes for the embattled parade planners, they hope.
Cheney, who is jokingly referred to by his colleagues as Chief Black Cloud, was vehement on Monday that there would be no rain. “It will be just like this,” he said, pointing to sunny skies.
There has been no rain on a Rose Parade since 1955, and the parade has never been canceled because of bad weather.
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