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Women's group critical of Rose float meant to honor Firefighter's

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  • Tim Macias
    By Becky Oskin Staff Writer LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE - The 2003 Rose Parade float for La Canada Flintridge, meant to honor firefighters, has sparked controversy
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1, 2002
      By Becky Oskin
      Staff Writer


      LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE - The 2003 Rose Parade float for La Canada Flintridge, meant to honor firefighters, has sparked controversy instead.
      The Wisconsin-based Women in the Fire Service organization says the float, which features two boys dressed as firefighters spraying water on a picnicking girl in a polka-dot dress, reinforces the stereotype that only white men are firefighters.


      Picture of the design for the La Canada Flintridge Rose Parade float.

      "It's frustrating that we're stuck with the traditions of the past," said Terese Floren, Women in the Fire Service (WFS) executive director.

      A female firefighter from the Los Angeles area faxed the group information about the La Canada Flintridge float in mid-July, asking if WFS would take a stand on the issue, Floren said.

      "It's not about being offended, it's about the statement we're making for our children. We're saying this as early as possible so (La Canada Flintridge) has an opportunity to change it," Floren said.

      In response to WFS's concerns, a Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman had said the department would withdraw its pledge to walk alongside the float.

      But Chief Larry Hambleton, who oversees the division that includes La Canada Flintridge, said his firefighters will join the parade.

      "Our presence there on the street will send a message to the public that anyone who has the desire can be a county firefighter, irrespective of age, gender and ethnicity," Hambleton said. "I think this thing got sort of blown out of proportion."

      Jack Wheeler, president of the all-volunteer La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, declined to comment, as did Jim Misamore, vice president for float development.

      Wheeler did respond to a letter Floren sent suggesting changes to the float.

      "The figure of the girl is wearing the white hat of the fire chief. We think the combination of the fire chief's hat and the teddy bears are an appropriate characterization of the theme of this year's parade. The association is sensitive to the issues being raised and we sincerely believe that this float does not violate those issues," Wheeler wrote.

      The 2003 Tournament of Roses theme is "Children's Dreams, Wishes and Imagination."

      Floren suggests having a boy and girl using the fire hose to playfully squirt a boy and girl having a tea party.

      "Simply putting a fire chief's helmet on the head of a little girl who is having a tea party with her teddy bears is not going to make her look like a fire chief," Floren said.

      Should the association choose to redesign the float, they do have time to submit changes to the Tournament of Roses for approval, said Joe Delgatto, Float Entries Committee chair.


      Tim Macias
      Aol Screen name RA 51
      With out a doubt one of Americas Bravest

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    • Michael Burke
      simply sad, pathetic and unfortunate. Michael Burke TM By Becky Oskin TM Staff Writer TM LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE - The 2003 Rose Parade float for La Canada
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 1, 2002
        simply sad, pathetic and unfortunate.

        Michael Burke

        TM> By Becky Oskin
        TM> Staff Writer


        TM> LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE - The 2003 Rose Parade float for La Canada Flintridge, meant to honor firefighters, has sparked controversy instead.
        TM> The Wisconsin-based Women in the Fire Service organization says the float, which features two boys dressed as firefighters spraying water on a picnicking girl in a polka-dot dress, reinforces the
        TM> stereotype that only white men are firefighters.


        TM> Picture of the design for the La Canada Flintridge Rose Parade float. 

        TM> "It's frustrating that we're stuck with the traditions of the past," said Terese Floren, Women in the Fire Service (WFS) executive director.

        TM> A female firefighter from the Los Angeles area faxed the group information about the La Canada Flintridge float in mid-July, asking if WFS would take a stand on the issue, Floren said.

        TM> "It's not about being offended, it's about the statement we're making for our children. We're saying this as early as possible so (La Canada Flintridge) has an opportunity to change it," Floren
        TM> said.

        TM> In response to WFS's concerns, a Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman had said the department would withdraw its pledge to walk alongside the float.

        TM> But Chief Larry Hambleton, who oversees the division that includes La Canada Flintridge, said his firefighters will join the parade.

        TM> "Our presence there on the street will send a message to the public that anyone who has the desire can be a county firefighter, irrespective of age, gender and ethnicity," Hambleton said. "I
        TM> think this thing got sort of blown out of proportion."

        TM> Jack Wheeler, president of the all-volunteer La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, declined to comment, as did Jim Misamore, vice president for float development.

        TM> Wheeler did respond to a letter Floren sent suggesting changes to the float.

        TM> "The figure of the girl is wearing the white hat of the fire chief. We think the combination of the fire chief's hat and the teddy bears are an appropriate characterization of the theme of this
        TM> year's parade. The association is sensitive to the issues being raised and we sincerely believe that this float does not violate those issues," Wheeler wrote.

        TM> The 2003 Tournament of Roses theme is "Children's Dreams, Wishes and Imagination."

        TM> Floren suggests having a boy and girl using the fire hose to playfully squirt a boy and girl having a tea party.

        TM> "Simply putting a fire chief's helmet on the head of a little girl who is having a tea party with her teddy bears is not going to make her look like a fire chief," Floren said.

        TM> Should the association choose to redesign the float, they do have time to submit changes to the Tournament of Roses for approval, said Joe Delgatto, Float Entries Committee chair.


        TM> Tim Macias
        TM> Aol Screen name RA 51
        TM> With out a doubt one of Americas Bravest
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