It was the lack of funding that first brought the city’s annual float entry for the Tournament of Roses Parade under the spotlight, but it’s been the float’s design, which incorporates an image of an elephant, that has attracted the greatest amount of scrutiny.
The brouhaha over what the design means, what it says about Glendale’s position on animal rights, and whether we’re promoting pachyderm enslavement, has created a public discourse rivaling that of any three-ringed circus.
In this case, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has latched onto what admittedly is a head-scratching design for political gain and headlines. And now City Hall has been whipped into a show of political correctness as officials strive to come up with some way to save our city from a public relations flogging on Jan. 1.
Certainly, we as a city won’t dare send a happy, cartoonish elephant down Colorado Boulevard pulling a fake carriage. “Just imagine” — as this year’s float theme invites us to do — the torch throwing that will surely come from the stands. Our reputation as a bastion of mammalian rights will be forever tarnished.
Perhaps it’s time to accept that we are now the Elephant City and look ahead to next year. Officials involved in the next float design process will, no doubt, look for more help out fear of stepping in the next PR mess. That means the City Council, which asserted its control over the float program this year, will have to be much more hands on, much earlier in the process.
We can hardly wait for the next show.