By Ted Ayala
The Glendale City Council removed control of the creative process for the city’s 2012 Rose Float from the beleaguered Rose Float Assn. during Tuesday’s council meeting.
The Council’s move followed months of blistering criticism from animal rights activists concerning this year’s entry – a circus elephant – which, they claim, tacitly condones animal abuse. In addition to the design controversy, the float came perilously close to being axed altogether due to the city’s continued budget shortfall.
A new committee comprising of civic leaders and a member of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce would now designate and oversee future float designs. A member from the Rose Float Assn. would also participate in order to ensure continuity, according to city officials.
“Overall we’re headed in the right direction here,” said Councilman Frank Quintero. “Let’s see if we can get some fresh blood interested in the floats.”
Speaking on behalf of the Rose Float Assn., Joe Ayvazi spoke of his disappointment in the fiasco this year’s float was entangled in.
“It was completely unacceptable,” he said. “I have no doubt that the people who have been involved throughout the years … were disgusted – and are probably no longer going to participate.”
But the city council refused to assume the responsibility of raising funds for future floats.
“The issue was the funding of the float,” said Councilman Ara Najarian. “I’m sure we can strive toward a more sustainable model [of funding]. I’m not sure, despite the general support for the Rose Float in the community, whether [private individuals that donated for the 2012 float] can step up again. I think we understand that we’re in some tough times and I’m not sure what we can do about that.”
Mayor Laura Friedman concurred with her colleagues regarding the funding issue.
“Even if the city can accept the donations as a non-profit, you still need people to receive them,” she said. “The checks aren’t going to be coming in on their own. The [float] will continue to be a financial challenge, at least for the foreseeable future.”
City council suggested that city staff explore further methods of fundraising, and the possibility of having community volunteers build future floats instead of a professional company.