Glendale Rose Float Assn. has had enough

This is a letter to explain why the Glendale Rose Float Assn. has elected to disband.

We were formed in 1978, after Proposition 13, with the intention of voluntarily raising funds to help offset the cost to the city of Glendale’s float in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. In those 33 years, our charge was to select a float design and present it to the Parks and Recreation Commission for approval and then to the City Council for its final approval.

We held events to raise funds to help offset the cost of the float, including auctioning off the float rides. The money raised was given to the city — money, I might add, from one of the few organizations in town to raise it. It was never our intention, nor is it in our by-laws, to say that we will burden ourselves with half the cost of the float, as the city is demanding of us now.

From the beginning, as now, the members of our board are well connected citizens of this community who work diligently with no profit or gain. Their only reward was to see our float with pride on New Year’s Day.

In April, as always, we selected the float from about 30 concepts. In the past, we have held design contests for members of the community; while some good designs have come in, they did not fit our budget or were not feasible to build.

In June, the city sent a letter to our association, stating that as of July 1, because of budget constraints, they would not provide us with any staff support, such as negotiating for and signing the float contract and getting the riders to the float.

Then they threw in that we would also be expected to come up with half the cost of the float. Again, that was not in our by-laws, and we did not want to take up the burden of contract negotiations for the city’s float. So we politely told them that at this time, based on their demands and conditions, we could not support the float for 2012.

They came back and said that they couldn’t expect us to handle the float negotiations, and that some city staff should be involved. But they upheld the demand for half the cost of the float.

Again, we told them that we couldn’t meet that condition. During this time, the board was ridiculed as incompetent and incapable of fundraising. Somewhere in all this fray, people got involved saying that they did not like the elephant on our float; on the website for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals there was a notice to tell the City Council to stop the circus elephant design.

We have worked hard all these years, with the satisfaction that we did our best to see Glendale’s float in the parade. This year we were treated as outsiders, with no respect for our past efforts. The City Council has said that they will now control the selection of the float, its name and who rides on it.

This City Council has taken away from us any desire for future involvement. For this reason, we as a board have unanimously elected to disband.

The theme of the parade this year was “Just Imagine.” I believe this float fit the theme very well. We titled the float “Stepping Out in Style,” but city leaders changed the name to pacify PETA — “Just Imagine the Fun, Music and Freedom.”

If officials and some members of the public want to have a float that represents Glendale, then I suggest we have a float with two wrecked cars — “Just Imagine,” a city where the traffic accident rates are consistently among the worst in the country.

Instead, I think next year’s float design should be a presentation of our City Hall with a scapegoat and a few lame ducks sitting on it. Maybe PETA will get behind that.

Garry E. Ackerman


Editor’s note: Ackerman was president of the Glendale Rose Float Assn.

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