Would a parade by another name still be as contentious?
Probably not. But for a second month in a row, the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation (T&T) Board in July postponed final action on an application to close streets in La Jolla Village to hold a second year-end parade in December. The applicant, La Jollan Howard Singer, has been lobbying for years to have Christmas removed from the annual parade’s name, insisting it should be changed to something faith-neutral. Singer was not present at the July 23 T&T meeting. Instead, his representatives, attorney Andrea Carter and Linda Wenger, made a pitch on behalf of the San Diego County Diversity and Inclusiveness Group to the T&T Board. T&T is composed of members from other La Jolla civic organizations. It makes recommendations on transportation- and infrastructure-related issues such as street closures for special events.
Applicants are asking for community approval for proposed street closures to accommodate a new year-end parade to be known as the La Jolla Community Parade. The application asks to close Girard Avenue from Kline to Prospect streets, and Kline Street from Girard to Fay avenues. Kline Street from Girard Avenue to Herschel Avenue and Wall Street from Girard to Ivanhoe avenues are also proposed to be closed to vehicles from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13. The new parade would be one week after the annual La Jolla Christmas and Holiday Parade on Dec. 6.
For years, Singer has been critical of the existing parade, saying the name should be faith-neutral to welcome people of all persuasions. Thus far, Singer, who’s argued that most year-end parade names in the county are now faith-neutral, has been rebuffed in every attempt to have the La Jolla parade name changed. Previously, the retired postal worker and former La Jolla Town Council member, when questioned, said publicly he wouldn’t accept adding Hanukah to the existing parade name. He has also said he would not favor putting the issue of whether the parade name should be changed up to a public vote.
In June, T&T delayed a final decision on the Diversity and Inclusiveness group’s request, asking the applicant to return with a survey of local businesses along the parade route stating whether they were in favor of the new La Jolla Community Parade. T&T board member Nancy Warwick, representing the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA), reiterated her view that publicity being put out by proponents of the new parade has been both misleading and misrepresentative. She added many merchants asked to sign a survey answering whether they favored the parade or not weren’t in possession of all the facts about it. “People thought the parade had been renamed. It was confusing,” Warwick said. From the audience, a representative from Meanley & Son Hardware said he was confused by the survey, thinking it was the same annual parade that had been renamed.
At the July T&T meeting, the board once again derided the street closure application as deficient, asking applicants to fill in the blanks and return once again with more details about the parade, especially whether — and if so how many — animals/floats will be involved, before the group renders its final decision.
In the meantime, the name La Jolla Christmas & Holiday Parade remains intact.