Word has reached us here at The Tattler that strained feelings now exist between the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association and that paragon of local journalistic integrity, The Mountain Views (Observer). It would appear there were a couple of things in a front page Dean Lee penned article (12/12 edition) that did not sit quite right with some at the SMRFA.
In the article "Tournament of Roses Officials Test SMFRA Entry - Volunteers Desperately Needed To Make Deadlines," Mr. Lee apparently attempted to stir up controversy where none was required. To start off with, the claim that the SMRFA is "desperately" in need of volunteers is just not true. In a community noted for its dedication to community and volunteerism, the SMRFA is one of the most beloved and well-supported organizations in town. And while help is always needed in the creation of something as complex and detailed as a Pasadena Tournament of Roses entry, to suggest that this organization is "desperately" in need of volunteers just isn't true, and could create an unfortunate impression that there is serious trouble within what is in fact a highly professional enterprise.
But where things truly soared beyond what is popularly regarded as reality is found in the body of the article itself.
"There was good and bad news last Sunday morning as the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association was told by Tournament officials they would have to have a second technical inspection before the float, 'Bollywood Dreams,' would be allowed to grace Colorado Boulevard New Year's morning ... 'We had some safety concerns regarding the communication between the observer and the driver, your water slosh factor, and so many out walkers,' TOR officials said. 'We are going (to?) request an extra T2 test and we want the animation engine fixed and the water flowing because every time you hit the brakes there was water flowing all over the street.' The second inspection should be in about two weeks, but could be as late as Dec. 27, 'we want you to be fully ready,' he said."
Wow. If you didn't know much about the SMRFA and their incredible track record of creating award winning floats for this premier national event, this article could leave you with the impression that this is a group of folks that have no expertise whatsoever, and are spiraling towards disaster.
But here's the skinny. The Tournament of Roses is an organization that maintains some very high standards. And if you have watched this parade over the years you know that this is a remarkably trouble-free event. I mean, have you ever seen a float fall apart? Tip over? Belch smoke from its exhaust pipes? Of course not. This is due to stringent quality controls backed up by repeated inspections from some very thorough TOR officials. What Dean Lee quoted above as somehow being an indication of trouble is actually standard inspection language from the Tournament, with all the other cities and organizations fielding floats this year going through the exact same rigorous process.
In my opinion what the MV(O) printed is little more than gratuitous sensationalism designed to create news where none existed. And could there be a less deserving target for this kind of fast and loose "journalism" than the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association? Not at all.