City to take over Rose float process

The City Council on Tuesday moved to take creative control of the city’s annual float entry for the Tournament of Roses Parade, but steered clear of assuming the hard part — paying for it.

After a bruising gestation process for the 2012 float — an elephant-themed design that drew the ire of animal rights activists and relied on major last-minute donations from the public due to city budget cuts —City Council members on Tuesday said they wanted to form a new committee composed of city officials and a representative from the Glendale Chamber of Commerce to select future design concepts.

That would remove creative control from the Glendale Rose Float Assn., which historically has had its design selection rubber-stamped at City Hall before taking the lead in fundraising and construction, with the help of an annual grant from the city.

“The float selection, that's the fun stuff, that’s creative and that’s wonderful; and after all that is decided, then every year they're going to have to go out and raise tens of thousands of dollars in a very difficult economy,” said Councilman Frank Quintero. “That’s the hard part.”

Finding a nonprofit to take the lead in soliciting donations for a Rose Parade float when many groups already are crippled by the protracted recession could be difficult.

Community Services & Parks Director Jess Duran told the council that two nonprofits that work closely with the city had turned down requests to take on the Rose float.

“With the state of the economy, our sense is that it’s a difficult time to expect more out of non-profit organizations,” he said.

Some members of the Glendale Rose Float Assn. openly displayed their disdain for the revamped process — the political blowback earlier this year, including protests from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, clearly leaving a bad taste in their mouths.

Some float association members shook their heads no when officials asked if they’d be open to working with the city under its new design selection plan, which may cut off all but one member of the group from the creative side.

“What has happened this year is totally unacceptable,” said Joe Ayvazi, a longtime association member. “I have no doubt all the people who have been involved throughout the years donating thousands of hours, they are totally disgusted.”

City Hall had to solicit donations for the 2012 Rose Parade float, which was slated to fall under the citywide budget-cutting knife. In the end, business leaders saved the day with several large donations, which combined with money from the public, brought in $97,646 — more than enough to cover the cost of the float.

“The checks are not going to come in on their own,” Mayor Laura Friedman said.

City officials had suggested hiring a fundraising company for the 2013 float, but council members rejected the idea.

Council members suggested researching whether a group of community volunteers could build the float instead of hiring a professional company to save money.


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