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No Christmas parade for East L.A.; group can't afford to put on event

The annual East Los Angeles Christmas parade has been canceled because of a lack of funds, organizers said Wednesday.

The event was scheduled for Sunday. The Whittier Boulevard Merchants Assn. couldn’t afford to pay for the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies needed to patrol the event, said Tony DeMarco, the group’s vice president.

The Merchants Assn. has organized the parade since 1974; it has been canceled only once before.

“The bottom line is, we don’t have the funds,” DeMarco said. “That’s kind of the atmosphere in East LA. No one has any money.”

East Los Angeles Station Capt. Henry Romero said that, before recent budget cuts, the Sheriff’s Department was able to adjust its personnel to accommodate the parade, which runs down a two-mile stretch of Whittier Boulevard and typically draws about 50,000 people.

“Right now, I just can’t do it that way,” Romero said. “I don’t have the manpower or the funding to make those kinds of adjustments.”

Romero said that it would have cost the Merchants Assn. about $25,000 to have deputies work the parade on overtime. The group already has an outstanding bill to the Sheriff’s Department for roughly the same amount for a Summerfest event it held in August, Romero said.

DeMarco said the unpaid bill was not directly related to the cancellation of the Christmas parade and that the Merchants Assn. planned to pay that bill. The decision to cancel the parade came in September, he said, and a letter was sent out last week to local businesses.

“It’s a showcase for East L.A.; it’s a showcase for our merchants and our community,” he said. “We don’t like to cancel it. … Our hope is that next year we can come on strong.”

-- Sam Allen

Comments () | Archives (9)

This is so sad. Why won't someone step up and make this possible?!

This is unfortunate for a community that can see the day of light through a wonderful parade put on by the association. I had the opportunity to participate in the parade as a Jr Grand Marshall and to hear about this really sucks.

However the Sheriffs department can make a good thing out of a bad situation by having some members volunteer some of their time to make this event happen. I hope someone can step up as a Sherriff who by oath are for the people and community and will volunteer.

Oh please, it is not sad at all! How about collecting $1.00 from each of the 50,000 people who watch the parade? Then you can hold your Christmas parade before Thanksgiving and pay your past due bill.

People will survive without this parade; trust me. I live in East L.A. and have attended this parade many times before. We all understand that with hard economic times some things are just not possible. Out of all the problems facing my community: health care, education, crime - this is not one of my top concerns.

Instead of asking people to step up and make this possible, i would find it better fitting for them to donate to a food bank that serves the area, any of the free clinics, or even local schools who's music program are almost non-existent.

These people want to have their city own city. The ones that want East LA to have their own city should pay the outstanding bill, and pay this as well.

I am happy that now we all can see the problems we have, all in this country has a price, the time to get free its over, if someone want to have an event, you must pay for it.

That is too bad!

I can't believe people feel the need to respond to this kinda of news. It would be beneath me to respond to this.


Lets think this rationally. The Merchants along the route are the ones that would benefit the most from the parade. They cannot come up with the $25,000 for this event and to pay off the other $25,000 for the event in August. So lets all pitch in and buy from the merchants up and down Whittier blvd. As for 2010, it's too late. But for 2011 we have a full year to come up with the money.

As far as volunteer, the Sheriffs have done that already, back in August. And I'm sure no one has said Thank You.


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