Unclassified Info: Linking shoppers and protesters

It’s time to apply a little Gary logic to a few issues around town.

I see a couple of former Pacific BMW employees got busted for allegedly taking a sports car off the lot for a joyride around Glendale.

If I were judge and jury on that case, I’d sentence the two wannabe NASCAR drivers to three years of driving Glendale’s float in the Tournament of Roses Parade. I can’t imagine anything more painful for these two than to be strapped into an elephant with a lawnmower engine and forced to drive 2 mph at the crack of dawn on New Year’s Day.

Of course, since they are Glendale drivers, and statistically among the worst in the country, parade officials might be concerned that they could crash the float into a curb or hit a tuba player.

While I’m on the periphery of New Year’s Day, I see the Rose Parade is once again being moved to Jan. 2 in order to keep with its longstanding tradition of never having the event on Sunday.

Yes, I know the origin of the rule was to keep the parade from interfering with church services, but with the world’s information superhighway moving at lightning speed, it seems like a New Year’s parade held a day later is going to feel more like yesterday’s news than it ever did.

Think about it. By the time the event starts 24 hours later, people will be so bored by all their social-networking Tweets and postings, the parade will seem like a complete afterthought. It might be time to recognize that the world is moving a little too fast to hold up the parade out of respect for some antiquated tradition.

And this gets me to wondering — why is it acceptable to sleep on the side of the road for a parade, to see a movie about anxiety-filled vampires, or be the first to own a new toaster oven, but not in parks as a way of protesting the way Congress votes?

Hundreds of people sleeping on the sidewalk outside Best Buy and Walmart were allowed to set up their encampments and loiter without permits days before Black Friday. Why didn’t the mall cops around the country beat those “Savings Socialists” into submission?

To me, it looked like they were squatting in a demonstrative protest against full retail prices. And they were apparently willing to fight each other tooth and nail to save 50% (while supplies last)!

As a nation where all men are created equal, we must adopt a zero-tolerance policy against anyone who sets up a tent on a sidewalk. It shouldn’t matter whether you are protesting the bailout of Wall Street or supporting the price slashing of personal electronics, one common law should prevail!

Without such parameters, law enforcement can run amok. Will Pasadena police ask people to state their reason for “occupying” Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Eve?

“Excuse me, sir? Is your family here to see the parade or protest something peacefully? We need to know so we can decide whether to allow you to enjoy your hot cocoa or give your kids a dose of pepper spray.”

Now I know what you are thinking: How can I use this gray area of the law to my advantage?

My girlfriend came up with a great idea for those who want to travel but don’t want to pay those pesky hotel costs. Simply wait until the next big concert, sale or movie is in the town you want to visit. Bring a tent and sleeping bag with you and set it up outside of the venue’s box office.

When asked what you are doing, simply reply, “I’m waiting in line to buy tickets.”

Then proceed to use the sidewalk campground as a hotel room. Just don’t protest anything while you’re doing it.

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.

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