Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Note About Pride

The following is a message from Jeff Robinson, lead coordinator for the Fresno Pride parade and festival.


FRESNO RAINBOW PRIDE ISSUES WITH NEW CITY PERMITTING PROCESS


To start off the city has changed the time frame in which the Special Events Application may be submitted. Up until this year the application could be turned in 90 days prior to the event. We usually turned in the permit at the first of March. This year they returned the application and told us to not return until April 19th at the earliest. Which we did. Unfortunately this cuts our ability in half to work out any problems the city may have with our proposal. To just 45 days.


It is typical for the city processing of the permit to take quite some time. Since 2003 we usually get the approved permit one to two days before the event. It is crazy that this is the way the city does business. But it is the current reality.


We have to move ahead with our plans. Committing money to printing, advertising, insurance, and contracts that are not cancellable or easily cancelled. We have always been asked to take it blind faith that the permit will be approved and to move forward with all the work that must be done months in advance.


Due to a compliant from the owners from Sequoia Brewing about last year’s parade that they log supposedly with the Fresno City Council, there have been new requirements put into place. 


New hoops we have to jump though. For the first time in the 22 year history of the Pride event we had to go to any business and resident who might possibly be inconvenienced and get their written permission. 


Should one business or resident have objected then the permit would have been denied. I am happy to say we obtained all the permission signatures that we needed to close the streets for the festival. 


We were not required to do the same for the parade because the Fresno City Police do not close the streets for the parade, but do what is called a "rolling" blockage. 


The FPD informed me Thursday afternoon that they will no longer be able to work with us next year and that we will need to contract with a private company to provide barricades and that this will create the situation where permission will be needed from every business and all the residences affected by the parade. 


This will be hundreds of signatures we will need and just one bigoted person will keep our community from having a pride parade and festival. 


To further complicate the process The Fresno Fire Department required a detailed site plan with the estimate possible square footage of all canopies that may be brought for shade by individual venders. 


The FFD has informed us that they will be sending a fire inspector to inspect the festival the day of the event at 9am at a cost of $350. Let us all hope that they are happy with everything or that the issues they may have can be addressed in a two-hour window period. We have never had this requirement placed on us and have never had the FFD inspect us on the day of the event.


And yet are two more requirements. One is that the compliant from Sequoia Brewery is now requiring us to hire someone to clean up the entire parade route.


And two, that we must restore the area to it pre event condition, meaning that we may be required to collect all the a frame street barricades and to disassemble the festival fence. I will have no clarification until Tuesday or Wednesday what this will entail and how we will accomplish this. We will need lots of help at 3pm. If you can help that would be great.


Next year looks worse, there is a new Special Events Czar we will have top deal with, who I have been told is “pretty churchie” and the Fresno City Solid Waste Department is going to be joining the chorus of city departments that will be involved in the permitting process.


Here is what the lists of Fresno City Departments we will have deal with:
Business Tax and Licensing 
Risk Management
Parks and Recreations (new Special events Czar)
Sewage and Sanitation
Solid Waste
Traffic Department
Fresno police Department (FPD)
Fresno Fire Department (FFD)


Add to these the California State Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and the Fresno County Health Department for food safety inspection and permit for the event.


This is just the ever increasing process and costs to put on the Pride Parade and Festival. It seems as if those that oppose us can always find a way to impede us for what may pass for legitimate reason of safety and litter and lord only knows what. But the truth is there still many who what to infringe on our civil rights.


I think it is time we come together and have a “State of the Community” address and roundtable. We must come together and create an action plan to address those who oppose us. How does a meeting in July sound to all of you. We need a LARGE space and hopefully a donated space. I was think Wesley Methodist Church. Let me know what you think and if you will join us to safe guard Pride 2013.





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