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City Council Declines to Back Rose Float

Beverly Hills' fiscal priorities trump a 2012 Rose Parade entry.

The City Council reached a consensus Thursday to reject the idea of funding a smaller, less expensive 2012 Rose Parade float compared with last year's award-winning entry.

The city still owes $60,000 as of the 65-foot , which would bring the proposed 2012 float's cost estimate to more than $200,000, according to Julie Steinberg, chairwoman of the float volunteer committee.

Private donors have committed to giving $40,000 so far for a proposed 35-foot float in 2012. Steinberg estimated a possible $80,000 of additional donations if a fundraising drive were to begin.

"Emotionally, I'm having a hard time with Beverly Hills and a smaller float," said Councilman Julian Gold, who was a 2011 float volunteer. "The float is not the best use of the marketing money at this time, especially since we face a new challenge—we must now set aside significant amounts of money to ."

Regarding the $60,000 owed to Fiesta Parade Floats for last year's creation, "Whether one believes that the city does or does not have an obligation to pay last year's debt, as a practical matter I believe we should," Gold said. "It is not worth further time or discussion for this council and certainly not worth the risk of legal action or tremendous unfavorable publicity."

Vice Mayor William Brien was the only council member to vote against funding the 2011 float and favored completely private funding of any subsequent Beverly Hills parade floats.

"I don't believe that city public funds should be used in this economic environment for the Rose Bowl float" he said, noting that fiscal shortfalls have resulted in for city employees. 

Like Gold, Brien pointed to the  council members have pledged to fight the Westside Subway Extension route under Beverly Hills High School as taking priority over funding a float.

"If the community believes and the business community believes that this [float entry] is that great, that it brings so much branding to the community, then I'm sure that the stores and individual groups in the city and individual businesses in the city will support this fundraising effort," Brien said.

Mayor Barry Brucker disagreed.

"I actually think that having public funds going toward a float is not a bad idea, especially if you get marketing bang for your buck," he said.

But the mayor acknowledged that the three city business units—the Conference and Visitors Bureau, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and the Rodeo Drive Committee—each had declined to offer money for the float. 

"Their silence on that was completely deafening as far as I'm concerned," Brucker said.

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Bledsoe July 13, 2011 at 01:47 AM
The City doesn't owe the float people any money. They did not see or sign the contract. It was a non-profit group that took the responsibility and owes the money. The Council has already given them 50,000. Now, they are giving them another 70,000. That's 120,000. The float cost 250,000. This is the Beverly Hills version of TARP - a new government bailout. Only in this case the City is never going to be paid back.
DoughBoy July 14, 2011 at 06:21 PM
This is what happens when you let media publishers like Clif Smith of The Courier intimidate public officials into making poor decisions. His float campaign might not equate with Rupert Murdoch's "News of the World" hackers, but it is the same animal.

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