• From "La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival" Facebook page

For the past ten years, La Jolla resident Howard Singer has been trying to bring a change to the town’s annual “Christmas Parade.” He doesn’t like the name.

Singer spoke out again on August 14, at a meeting of the La Jolla Town Council. But he was there to speak to one person, Ann Kerr Bache, the longtime parade chairperson and a director on the council.

Singer is a board member of the San Diego County Diversity and Inclusiveness Group, and he says they want the name of the parade changed to be “faith neutral.”

He pointed out that every holiday celebration in San Diego County — from Balboa Park’s formerly named “Christmas on the Prado,” to Chula Vista, Encinitas, Ocean Beach, and Pacific Beach’s Christmas parades — has had its name changed to be faith neutral. He claims that sponsorships and attendance go up when they do change.

“If you were a Buddhist, a Jew, or a Muslim, you would not feel welcomed,” he said.

He said at the town-council meeting that Kerr Bache and her parade committee “continues to embrace La Jolla's dark and murky past” by being unwilling to discuss the matter.

The “past” Singer alluded to is from about 1887 until around 1959, when UCSD was established: African Americans, foreign nationals, and Jews were prevented from owning property (as was the case in several of SoCal’s affluent communities in the early to mid 20th Century.)

Singer has the backing for a name change from the La Jolla Light newspaper, La Jolla Village Merchants Association, and the San Diego Human Relations Commission, among others.

However, Kerr Bache and her parade organization may be on the right path. On August 17, I spoke with ten La Jollans at the Coffee Cup restaurant on Wall Street and at the Girard Avenue farmers’ market. Each of the ten had strong opinions that were the opposite of Singer’s.

Scott was dining with his family and supported keeping the “Christmas” in the parade’s name. He said, “Who cares? I’m Jewish and I could care less. Stay away [from the parade] if you want.”

“There are so many other things to fight about. Why this?” Betsy questioned. Scott added, “Some people just get too bothered over it. Maybe they need a hobby.”

Dee, at the farmers’ market, said, “It’s okay to celebrate Christmas. If people are offended, they shouldn’t come.”

Another woman chased me down at the farmers' market when she found out what I was asking everyone about. She grabbed my arm and with a thick Eastern European accent, declared, “It is absolutely Christmas. Nothing else. Only Christmas!”

As Singer and others in the community advised me, Kerr Bache does not respond to any queries about the parade-name issue. I tried to reach her for several days. “She refuses to meet with anyone on the issue, then pretends to represent the community,” said Singer.

Plans are already underway for the 57th annual “La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival,” scheduled for Sunday, December 7.

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Comments

monaghan Aug. 19, 2014 @ 9:49 p.m.

Teddy Rodosovich above has a good point.

The reporter says, "Kerr-Bache and her parade organization may be on the right path...." Really? He claims he talked to "ten La Jollans" of whom only three are mentioned, and then only by their first names "Scott, Betsy and Dee," all of whom favor keeping "Christmas" in the name of the La Jolla Christmas Parade.

When everybody and their brother has changed the name of their holiday extravaganzas to something friendlier and, as in the case of Balboa Park's "December Nights," to a far more evocative and poetic moniker, La Jolla has moved from public to private sponsorship to preserve the name of its Christmas Parade. It seems a pity not to be able to embrace the true spirit of the season and get current with the times.

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SoCalMediaSurfer Aug. 24, 2014 @ 2:12 p.m.

A FEW people wanted the December Nights moniker, the REST of us HATE IT! Everyone I know, including people who have lived here for all of their lives STILL refer to the event as Christmas on the Prado, When I talk about it, That is what I call it. When the Holiday changes, then all of the people complaining will have a point, until then, the MAJORITY of people in this country want them to be QUIET!

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dwbat Aug. 25, 2014 @ 10:08 a.m.

So you're now the spokesperson for the majority of people in the US? Wow, I must have missed that election. When was it held?

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Burwell Aug. 19, 2014 @ 10:47 p.m.

Many Jews celebrate Christmas as a secular Holiday and decorate trees in their homes and buy presents for their children. Jews also own businesses that profit from Christmas. It is hypocritical for Jews to demand a name change when many Jews profit from and celebrate Christmas. That's why I don't think many Jewish La Jollans want to change the name of the parade.

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Blaneous Noches Aug. 20, 2014 @ 1:14 p.m.

Here are a couple of individuals professing that these public celebrations are not inclusive because they have in their description a reference to something faith based. I personally have never attended a religious or cultural celebration that did not openly welcome people of other faiths and cultures that desired to attend. That includes “All the Christmas Parades & Celebrations of other faiths and cultures that I have ever attended”. It’s great fun to experience the customs and celebrations of others different from our own. This is a small part of what makes America Great! Radical Muslims excluded for obvious reasons that they currently strictly profess not being inclusive… I see the real issue is Howard & Teddy attempting to impose their will and discriminate against others that wish to celebrate something unique to their beliefs. It does not exist in this world a single belief that is shared by all. Thus they would impose that we not celebrate any belief or culture independent of all others as they are not representative of the beliefs or heritage of all that inhabit this planet. Actually the vast majority of faiths and cultures are welcoming of others, so they are inclusive. It simply is that others choose not to share in those beliefs not that they are barred or prohibited. Howard & Teddy are free to organize and celebrate whatever they like especially if all are welcome and it is not offensive.
I am left to wonder if these two and those that share their ideology are actually prejudice at a minimum they are attempting to control others by limiting their freedoms. Does this stem from their own hatred and lack of tolerance for others beliefs? This is America and regardless of the fact that America was founded on the principles of Christianity, America is as are most Americans inclusive of others. It would be so nice for Howard & Teddy to stop trying to impose their hatred and intolerance for others and let other Americans continue to celebrate their free will and beliefs as we have since we were founded. Give us all and especially the kid’s a break. Freedom is great, like Howard & Teddy you two are free to move as far away from here as you desire, please.

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dwbat Aug. 24, 2014 @ 2:28 p.m.

Some of the founding fathers were Christian, while others were Deists (look it up!). Some were orthodox Christians, while some were Unitarian (who reject the Trinity concept). They represented a complex mix in their beliefs. So to say we were "founded on the principles of Christianity" is not quite correct. It's not a black-and-white, either/or explanation of our founding.

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StitchPfaff Aug. 20, 2014 @ 4:23 p.m.

Let's follow Howard Singer's logic. In doing so, the LGBT Parade must now change its name, as well as the St. Patrick's Day Parade. So that the Straight folk and the non-Celts do not feel the deep, dark taint of discrimination. Of course the Pet Parade name must change as well, for it is my understanding that non-Pets (Humans) attend. Unless your name actually is Mother Goose, it appears that the Mother Goose Parade must also change its name. And if there are those in the crowd that don't self-identify as Big Balloons, best to change that Parade name too. From now on we can all just be "People in a Street at the Same Time on a Particular Day For Some Reason".

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dwbat Aug. 24, 2014 @ 2:30 p.m.

No, it's a poor response, and NOT true. Singer is right in what he says, and La Jolla should listen and respond accordingly.

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SoCalMediaSurfer Aug. 24, 2014 @ 2:07 p.m.

The Holiday is called CHRISTMAS! WHEN that changes (Never), he can complain, until then , he needs to stop the complaining nonsense. Christmas is a Holiday for EVERYONE, so please stop being so Scrooge-like!

1

dwbat Aug. 24, 2014 @ 2:17 p.m.

Uh, no. Christmas is NOT a "Holiday for EVERYONE." It is a day off from work, but it doesn't mean we all celebrate it. If it were for everyone, it could be renamed "Santa Claus Day" or "Inside Tree Day" or "Hang up Colored Lights Day."

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Wabbitsd Aug. 24, 2014 @ 5:24 p.m.

Should "Mardi Gras" change its name? When there is a festival at the Greek Church, should they omit the "Greek" moniker because someone might not feel included?

Let the people put on whatever festival they want. If you are not of that faith, but choose to come, enjoy it as if you were in a foreign country and visiting a local festival.

Quit with the fake outrage and admit that you just want attention for your own selfish reasons.

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dwbat Aug. 24, 2014 @ 8:22 p.m.

The modern Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday") is just a large and noisy, somewhat silly carnival/circus type of event. It's not a religious ceremony (as it once was). The point many are missing is that we have freedom of religion in the US, but we also have freedom FROM religion. Not everyone wants--or needs-- organized religion in order to be a good person and live a good life.

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danfogel Aug. 24, 2014 @ 9:48 p.m.

And in increasingly more cases we are finding some of those who have organized religion are far from good people living a good life.

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StitchPfaff Sept. 5, 2014 @ 5:54 p.m.

There are many sides to this topic. The San Diego County Diversity and Inclusiveness Group has a website and a Meetup now so as to answer questions. Currently they show have two listed Members so they are obviously trying to change that. http://www.meetup.com/humanistfellowship/members/95367172/ As they advertise in the La Jolla Light newspaper each week, they state they are looking for community feedback from all sides. They are running community advertising that they want residents to meet with them at 8:15 each Sunday morning at Starbucks on Torrey Pines Road La Jolla, to receive commentary. To RSVP: Howard Singer 858-454-4586.

For Media Inquiries, their Public contact information is:

San Diego County Diversity and Inclusiveness Group 5915 La Jolla Hermosa Avenue La Jolla CA 92037 858-454-4586 rima1@sbcglobal.net

It will be interesting to hear what they have to say!

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