Whose Dreams, and Whose (Lack of) Imagination?
The theme of the parade for 2003 is "Children's Dreams, Wishes, and Imagination." La Cañada Flintridge has chosen "Backyard Heroes" as their float's concept; it will focus on firefighters.
According to a July 12 article in the News-Press, a local newspaper published as an insert to the Los Angeles Times:
The explanation for this design was given by Jack Wheeler, president of the local Tournament of Roses Committee. He told the News-Press reporter, Marshall Allen:
[An artist's rendering of the design is posted on the LCFTORA's website.]
In a letter to WFS, Mr. Wheeler pointed out that the newspaper article neglected to mention that the little girl will also be wearing a fire chief's helmet. He also said he was misquoted and did not make the statement about boys dreaming of being "firemen" and girls dreaming of having children. The News-Press, in response, said they stand by the accuracy of their reporting.
The article also said local firefighters were supporting the idea and will walk alongside the float in the parade. (The town is protected by two stations of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, #19 and #82.) However, in a follow-up article on July 31, a representative of the LA County FD said the float appeared discriminatory. "If they're going to use our department representing the fire service, they need to make the representation proper," Captain Brian Jordan was quoted as saying. He pointed out that not only were the "firefighters" on the float male, but all three children were white.
In response to the criticisms, Mr. Wheeler said, "They (WFS) have no point. They've taken this thing and built it up into a big mess."
The La Cañada Flintridge float is one of only six floats in the parade that are built by the communities themselves (as opposed to being contracted out to professonal builders). There is a great deal of community pride, community participation, and community fundraising for the project.
The website of the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association's board (which provides direct e-mail links to 15 of its 17 members) is www.lcftra.org
The mailing address for the association is:
Read the correspondence between WFS and the president of the LCFTORA.
This information was updated 7/31/02.
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