If we did anything this week, it was to save the City of Sierra Madre from a potential liability lawsuit that would have bankrupted the place.
But we did get a happy ending for a change. Under extraordinary pressure to do so, the 4th of July Parade Committee (with the City Council and City Manager hovering over them with rolling pins in their hands, I suspect), rescinded a decision that would have disgraced Sierra Madre in the eyes of the world. It was big of them to do so, as they were quick to point out to the news media at the Memorial Park spin session that took place later.
Back to business as usual, I guess.
I would be truly remiss if I didn't point out my deep respect for the people at PETA. Between the time I spoke with them Friday up until the capitulation of the 4JPC yesterday, they unleashed the most incredible media (social and otherwise) blitz I have ever witnessed. And I work in a business where such things are attempted on an almost daily basis. Within 24 hours they had presented a case on the behalf of an elephant named Tai that left our self-styled finest citizens with only one possible decision. The right one.
At 6PM yesterday PETA issued the following statement:
PETA is thrilled that City of Sierra Madre officials and the city's Fourth of July Committee reconsidered their decision to include the abused elephant Tai in their Fourth of July parade. City officials made the compassionate choice to leave Tai out of the parade once PETA made them aware of the abuse that trainers at Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) have inflicted on her and other elephants, which Animal Defenders International (ADI) has documented on video. The footage shows HTWT trainers striking elephants with bullhooks -- sharp, metal-tipped implements that resemble fireplace pokers. Footage taken by ADI also shows Tai crying out as HTWT owner Gary Johnson shocks her on the belly and knee with an electric prod in order to force her to perform a headstand. By refusing to support HTWT after learning about this abuse, the City of Sierra Madre has done the right thing and taken an admirable stand against elephant abuse.
Delcianna Winders, Director of Captive Animal Enforcement at PETA, wherever you are this beautiful 4th of July, I hope you are having a wonderful day. There is good in this world, and when that good speaks it roars like a lion.
I have received some complaints about the remarkably inaccurate reporting up on the Sierra Madre Patch right now. I'm not going to say too much about it (for now) except to note that while the firestorm over Tai raged yesterday the lead story on Patch was about how to make a strawberry cake. Apparently when it comes to news coverage, AOL/Patch believes Sierra Madre is a community of dotty fools with an insatiable contempt for the truth.
I recently had the distinct honor of being asked by our Hometown Hero John Shear to ride with him in our 4th of July Parade. So today myself and Michael Shear will be stylin' with Mr. Shear in a yellow vintage convertible Caddy.
There is no other place in the world I would rather be.