Group seeking to give Christmas Parade faith-neutral name gains support of La Jolla Democrats

By Pat Sherman

The San Diego County Diversity and Inclusiveness Group, formed by former La Jolla Town Council trustee Howard Singer to change the name of the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival to one that does not reference a particular religion, scored a minor victory last month.

On May 18, the La Jolla Democratic Club, of which Singer is a member, voted 22-0 to support the name change.

“I was kind of surprised,” said Club President Derek Cassady. “When it was brought up, I thought there might be wide discussion and even some traditionalists would say that it should be left like it is, but, by golly, there was no appetite for dissent. For people there, it just felt like they understood and felt like this should be the way it is.”

Cassady said Singer first presented his name change proposal to the club several months ago. Singer and his group maintain that the name excludes Jews, Muslims, atheists and other non-Christian groups from feeling welcome at the parade and is particularly egregious given the exclusionary housing polices once practiced in La Jolla, which barred Jews and minorities from buying property or renting here.

Singer was scheduled to present his proposal to the Bird Rock Community Council June 3, and said he hopes to schedule a meeting with the La Jolla Republican Women Federated group next.

Although the City of San Diego’s Human Relations Commission advisory group has acknowledged that the parade name does not violate any city laws or ordinances, it has also expressed its support for the name change and urged parade organizers to enter into mediation with the Diversity and Inclusiveness Group — an offer parade organizers declined.