By Dave Schwab
The contentious issue of omitting Christmas from the name of the annual La Jolla Town Council’s holiday parade to make the event more multicultural resurfaced on Nov. 2 at Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC).
Following a call for volunteers to build a community float to enter in the Christmas parade at the group’s monthly meeting, Deborah Hertz and Martin Bunzl objected to participating.
“I celebrate Hanukkah; I don’t celebrate Christmas,” said Hertz. “I don’t know why we’re participating in a church-state obfuscation. I find this very offensive.”
“We urge, on behalf of our community, that this be designated a holiday parade, not a Christmas parade,” said Bunzl, noting La Jolla had past exclusionary policies toward non-Christians.
Felicia Parker, who is on the town council’s parade committee, defended the event.
“We have had participants that represent Korea and all across the board in this parade for the last 15 years,” she said. “We have the Christmas label, but there is representation from all walks, all nations.”
“Well, let’s change it to the holiday parade then,” replied Hertz.
BRCC president Joe Parker said discussion of the parade’s name was not within the council’s purview as it is a town council-sponsored function.
“My take, whatever your religion, is that this is an event for children and residents to come together and celebrate the holiday,” he said. “It’s important to have Bird Rock represented in the parade, and the group will pass your message along and you can take that up with the appropriate group.”
Following the Nov. 2 BRCC meeting, Hertz said, “As an enthusiastic resident of La Jolla, I would hope that in the future the community would find a way to create an inclusive, rather than an exclusive, holiday celebration.”
Bunzl added following the meeting that it would be difficult to challenge the town council’s position regarding the parade name. But he added he was disturbed when it was suggested to him that part of the reason why Christmas is retained in the parade name is because of monetary donations from sponsors.
“I was told, if you’re willing to pay for it, we’ll change it (name),” he said. “This is not an issue that should be decided by who pays for it.”
A motion to remove Christmas from the year-end parade name was defeated by a single vote by La Jolla Town Council’s board in 2005.
In other BRCC action:
• Immediate past BRCC president Joe LaCava reported the San Diego City Council is moving slowly to enact a uniform policy governing marijuana dispensaries citywide, including a couple existing in or near the Bird Rock area, but is not likely to enact a new policy before next year.
“The regulations the council is currently considering would not allow any dispensaries in La Jolla at all, and any existing dispensaries would not be grandfathered in, so all existing dispensaries would have to shut down and then conform to the new rules,” he said.
• Bird Rock cookbooks with recipes from local residents will arrive Thanksgiving week. Those who’ve pre-ordered will be notified by e-mail how to arrange for pickup, and a limited number are still available for purchase for $20. For more information, e-mail