There will be a Long Beach Veterans Day Parade this Nov. 9 in North Long Beach.
But it appears the Long Beach Veterans Day Committee will not be a part of planning or putting on the event — for the first time in 23 years.
A letter circulated last week on Veterans Day Committee stationary says the it has been forced to cancel the parade because:
"This committee has made several attempts, as early as May 2019, to coordinate parade logistics with the City of Long Beach Bureau of Special Events and Filming, to no avail… With no successful scheduling of a meeting with the Special Events Bureau, Council Members, and this committee, the committee had no choice but to not sponsor this year’s parade."
The letter is signed by Gus Orozco as chair of the committee. Former Ninth District Councilman Val Lerch helped form the committee and has been involved since, serving as chair for several years, and is now listed as treasurer. He said the committee has raised money and paid the bills all along.
But Tasha Day, Special Events Bureau manager, said the parade would go on as planned, and that the city would handle logistics as it has in the past.
"The city has always produced the parade," Day said. "The committee did entries and promotions. And the committee did provide a list of entrees so far, and I told them we appreciated that."
A new policy governing how city money is used to put events on is part of the issue. The policy is outlined in a memo dated Feb. 26 this year to City Council members from the city attorney, city auditor and city manager. In essence, it says that special events using city money have to be operated through the Special Events Bureau. Vendors can be used, but must be hired through the special events office.
The Veterans Day Committee letter says it is assumed the same rules apply to nonprofits using city resources, and that efforts had been made to have a meeting with city staff to explain how that would work. When no meeting could be scheduled, the committee pulled out.
The 23rd Annual Long Beach Veterans Day Parade was scheduled for November 9th, 2019, less than 2 months away. As such, this committee has missed crucial logistical deadlines, and can no longer execute the best parade possible. This committee has extended an offer to the Special Events Bureau, for any volunteer assistance in hosting a Veterans Day Parade or any Veterans Day Celebration."
Day said the committee has not had a parade or event permit since 2016, and that the city was responsible for the parade. A related street fair or festival at Houghton Park has functioned as a separate event, Day added.
Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson, whose district hosts most of the parade and the festival, declined to comment on the issue. He did note that the city has formed a still-new Veterans Affairs Commission, though.
Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.