Jim Anderson, made it brief, getting straight to the point as he spoke during public comment at a recent South Pasadena City Council meeting.
As the vice chair of the city’s Fourth of July Festival of Balloons Committee he was on a mission seeking financial support from the council, hoping to obtain funding for new American flags to line Mission Street and, perhaps, Fair Oaks Avenue in anticipation to Independence Day.
“I’m looking for some flags for Mission Street and maybe, Fair Oaks, if we can afford it,” Anderson told the 5-member panel. “Many years ago we used to have flags on all the light posts. They stayed up for several years until they got weathered and tattered. We ended up having to take them down.”
In the past, Anderson explained the Festival of Balloons Committee, partnering with the local Chamber of Commerce, had come up with the funding for the flags along Mission Street. Those dollars no longer exist.
Facing a tight budget, Anderson said, “We’re looking for some solution for funds, possibly councilmembers discretionary funds, whatever is possible to try to purchase some new flags so we can put them on the street before the patriotic flag-waving season rolls around in May.”
In addition to the request for flag, Joe Payne, the parade chair for the committee, told the council the cost of the fireworks show at South Pasadena High School on July 4th has gone up approximately 15 percent, somewhere between $1,000 to $1,200.
“We’re trying to hold the ticket price down for the cost of the fireworks show and we desperately need money,” he said. “We are really looking for support. We’re hoping you might be able to come up with a little bit of discretionary funds to help us out.”
Each council member is allowed to use discretionary dollars from the city’s budget to support worthy projects in town. Councilmember Michael Cacciotti who serves as the liaison to the council on the Festival of Balloons Committee, was granted his desire to put on the next council agenda a request to set aside $1,000 from his discretionary funds to help pay for some of the needed flags. The council will vote on Cacciotti’s request at a future council meeting.
Prior to going to the council for help, both Anderson and Payne stressed the need for volunteers to serve on the Fourth of July committee, which meets at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall the fourth Wednesday of the month.
“We’re just looking for new people to lend us a hand,” said Anderson. “They’re welcome to join us at our meetings and become part of the parade and fireworks show. We could really use their help.”
Payne also stressed the importance of the community getting on board to help with the logistics for this year’s parade, which has been given the theme: “To the Moon and Beyond, 50 Years of Exploring America’s Freedom.”
“We came up with that theme based on this year being the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the Moon Landing,” he explained. “Since we have been to the moon, we have continued to explore space, sending more probes to the moon and other planets. The desire to explore space is closely tied to the freedom the United States enjoys. So, we think we have a great theme this year.”
Like Anderson, Payne stressed that a small committee that meets on a monthly basis could use some support down the stretch leading up to the Fourth of July. “Many of the same people have been doing this for a longtime and we could really use some new faces,” he said. “We hope people will come out an join us.”
Donations from the public are also welcome, noted Payne and Anderson, to help pay for flags and the fireworks show at the high school.