For the vast majority of the people at the Loganville Fourth of July Parade, it was a great success. The streets were lined with people cheering for veterans. People in the parade expressed their patriotic pride. It was definitely hot, but nobody seemed to care. At the end of the day, a good time was had by all. Sure, there were a couple of hiccups, but aren’t there always? It’s a big event to handle, as only the handlers really know. Isn’t it then sad that it’s usually those who invest the most effort at whom most of the criticism is levied?
After such a great event, it is a little disheartening to attend the next city council meeting and see someone who put in so much effort standing in front of the council completely discouraged by the criticism. Although nobody attending the parade was aware of what went on behind the scenes, the couple assigned to head it up were left feeling as though they were somehow taking advantage of the city; soliciting funding that was possibly not being used as it should and even feeling as though some people were working specifically against them. And then there was the issue of who was going to pay for what. The police, fire, city utility workers, all were being called on for extra duty on a paid holiday – someone had to foot that bill.
But despite all of this, Bobby Boss, commander of the Loganville American Legion, was able to proclaim it a success and the largest parade the city had ever seen.
Now, you might think I’m talking about the 2012 Loganville Fourth of July Parade, and I could very well be - little was different. But I’m not. I’m talking about the 2006 Loganville Fourth of July Parade. Instead of it being Nancy Golden who was addressing the city council, feeling slighted, it was Sharon Fenneran. What amazes me is how quickly people forget – especially when it suits them.
Patrick and Sharon Fenneran had much opposition from some quarters of the community and persevered anyway. I hope the Goldens will do the same. The people in the streets were not aware of the issues behind the scenes in 2006 and nor were they in 2012. Anyone on the inside who has forgotten any of this, just pull the July 2006 minutes of the Loganville City Council for a refresher – you could be surprised. There was very little difference. Then, as in 2012, the council chose not to let taxpayers pick up the whole bill for city services used during the parade. Then, as in 2012, just by the sheer volume of their presence, the people indicated they were prepared to make some financial sacrifice in order to honor their veterans.
However, that being said, those who questioned every penny of taxpayers’ money spent should be respected for their fiscal responsibility. It is the duty of elected officials to make sure that they practice due diligence when spending money that does not belong to them. If the federal government had done a better job of that we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in now. And maybe if the elected officials in San Bernardino, and some of the other California cities, had been more responsible with other people’s money, they wouldn’t be filing for bankruptcy now either.
In 2006, the Fennerans got over the politics and went on to organize another four great Fourth of July parades. I hope the organizers of this year’s one will be able to do the same – the people obviously want one. It is smart of the city to appoint a committee to work through the problems and take a look at where improvements can be made. Hopefully that will make for a much happier, “After the final firework” ceremony next year.
However, just a word of warning to whoever is brave enough to take it on. Next year is an election year - and Loganville's history has proven that in an election year just about anything can happen.