Float volunteers' hard work is unappreciated

For many years, the Glendale Rose Float Assn. has been working hard to make sure a float representing our city is part of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Rose Parade.

This association was founded by interested citizens of Glendale to raise money to assist in paying for it. The city was always agreeable to this, including letting the association select and name the float, select the riders who usually paid for their seats (some were donated or given to various mayors of Glendale, heroes and so on), have receptions to let the donors view the float before the parade, have fundraising events and generally run things.

The city provided police vans for the riders to get to and from the float on parade day and provided police to escort the float back to the city a few days later. The city let the association use its tables and chairs for receptions, plus some city personnel to assist at receptions and on parade day.

Our longtime founding member, Carvel Gay, used to provide the towing of the float back to the Alex Theatre for viewing.

All this was fine with the city. The Glendale Rose Float Assn. board worked hard, donated hours upon hours of personal time and money without any form of repayment — not even free tickets to the Dreaming of Roses fundraiser. After our monthly meetings, we usually go to dinner — on our own dimes. No overtime, no per diem.

Well, then came along a cute little float with a decorated elephant pulling a carriage full of people and all hell breaks loose. Who could possibly foresee any problem with the float design (“City to take over Rose float process,” Nov. 9)?

No one considered it could even remotely be construed as political. That’s totally absurd. And certainly no one could even imagine that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would become involved because of “cruelty to animals.” An elephant pulling a carriage is not cruelty to animals. Elephants are known as beasts of burden.

PETA published a picture of a small elephant “supposedly” being mistreated. However, the picture is undated. There’s no way one can tell when or where it was taken, who took it, or why. The picture is small, black and white, and it would appear to me it was taken with a Kodak Brownie camera a long time ago. For crying out loud, it may have been taken in India in 1941.

Would PETA take horses away from the Amish, oxen away from the Chinese working in rice paddies, guard dogs away from junk yards? Probably — if they could. Elephants are as much a part of a circus as are the clowns.

I loved the cartoon in Saturday’s Glendale News-Press. It was apropos of just what’s going on. We, the Glendale Rose Float Assn. board members, were unceremoniously dumped in the street. That in itself is disgraceful.

Now the city thinks it can take over and do all that we did — select, manage, raise funds, put on fundraising events and do all the work that our board has done. Well, not without a lot of city employees on the payroll. Remember, a lot of the work is done at night, i.e. fundraisers, receptions and so on. We did it all for free.

Lots of luck, Glendale, and you’ll need all you can get because there’s always some dimwit out there who will pick you to pieces or run screaming to something like PETA if they feel politically so inclined.

Remember, you’re dealing with a 99-year-old jewel in Glendale’s crown so don’t blow it. It’s not an easy job to put a float on Colorado Street on New Year’s Day. You’ll see.

Sheila Farrell Murray

Glendale

Editor’s note: Murray is a board member for the Glendale Rose Float Assn.

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