Unclassified Info: Imagine all the money . . .

I’m not a big traditionalist. Nor am I prone to let sentimentality get in the way of progress. So it will come as no real surprise that I am in favor of Glendale not funding a Rose Parade float and severing its 98-year tie to the annual event.

I think the City Council has it right in wanting to allocate the $130,000 subsidy for other things. And frankly, I don’t really care what the money is used for, so long as it isn’t a gas-powered, saccharin floral interpretation of the 2012 parade theme, which is “Just Imagine…”

I can admit the float provides a teeny bit of civic pride. But wouldn’t something like a renovated playground, which thousands of kids could use to have fun and exercise for years to come, do that more effectively? Wouldn’t we feel smarter knowing our money went for something that lasted beyond high noon on Jan. 1?

Personally, I have no idea how a bunch of flowers and chicken wire lumbering down Colorado Boulevard can be deemed an economic development tool. Last year’s float was so utterly forgettable that I don’t even remember what it looked like. And I wrote about it!

Sorry. But I’m not buying into the notion that a six-figure float is good for our local economy. When was the last time you heard anyone say, “I packed up the car and came to Glendale because I saw the city’s float in the Rose Parade.” Heck, we could probably spin our decision not to participate into an even more compelling public relations story.

Think about it. If you heard another city was using $130,000 to enrich children’s lives instead of building a floral arrangement that lasted two days, would you think that was a smart city? Or would you criticize their lack of civic pride?

The float is a pet project for a select few with a price tag that is simply too high for a city like ours with much to do and not enough money to go around. Best to leave the floats to Corporate America sponsorships. The hard truth is the parade will go on, and our presence will not be missed.

Speaking of things that shouldn’t be on the road …

Since Angeles Crest Highway officially reopened earlier this month, I have made three trips into the mountains. Two times I’ve ridden my motorcycle, and one time I took the family in my Volvo wagon. Can you guess which trip was more frightening?

Let me give you a hint. With my seat belt fastened, I was surrounded by a large group of BMWs hell bent on racing as fast as they could up the highway. I was tailgated several times and passed illegally by not less than seven of the would-be street racers, who recklessly crossed double yellow lines on blind sections of the highway in their quest for speed.

Two cars actually had cameras mounted on their windshields so they could document their driving prowess — or their vehicular stupidity. I’m not exactly sure which moment they were looking to capture.

I should point out that I was driving at or slightly above the speed limit at all times, so there was no real need for me to believe that I was impeding traffic. Truth be told, I could have pulled over on a couple of occasions, and I normally would do so out of respect for my fellow driver, but there’s something about having the front end of a BMW less than 12 inches away from my rear bumper that makes me less than cordial, especially when my kids and girlfriend are in the car and feel like our safety is being compromised.

So why point out a bunch of goons driving around Angeles Crest Highway? Because there have already been two fatalities up there since June 3. If these car clubs continue to drive like they own the road, no doubt that number will rise. And that would be a shame. Not necessarily for them, but for innocent people they may hurt.

And lest you think as an avid biker I’m singling out automobiles for their carelessness, the real shocker was seeing a motorcycle attempt to pass a car on a blind corner. Since I was the oncoming traffic that swerved out of the way, I’m taking credit for him being alive today. And apologizing on behalf of all responsible motorcyclists.

If the California Highway Patrol decided to add a few more officers to monitor the road up there, they could reap huge revenues from the massive amount of tickets they could issue. Who knows? Maybe they could use the money to subsidize their own float in the Rose Parade. “Just Imagine…” that!

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at gh@garyhuerta.com.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World