Always Trying to Learn Something New

I hope you had a happy and restful holiday season.  I managed to take some vacation myself but my job is never far from my mind and when I travel I am still looking around for information on how others do this job to try to learn something new. 

I did spend some time in Pasadena, CA while I was away and had an opportunity to see the Rose Parade for the very first time.  It is an interesting event.  I’m amazed that you can make such large and diverse floats from plant materials.  The event draws a huge crowd that is allowed to camp out on the parade route starting at noon the day before the parade.  Fires are allowed in containers like barrels and fire pits so people brought in big loads of firewood and lounged on mattresses spread out on the sidewalks. I could also see that there were cameras on rooftops although I wasn’t sure whether those were cameras the police would be using to monitor crowd activity or whether they belonged to media outlets covering the parade.  It would make sense to me that the police might have public space cameras at specific locations to monitor crowd activity in their command post to stretch their surveillance capabilities.

There was a second story going on at the same time that involved people from the Occupy movement who had stated their intent to disrupt the parade to call attention to their point of view.  Another group who related themselves to the Tea Party movement also made public statements indicating that they intended to counter demonstrate.  The most significant potential for BIG problems is when you have two directly opposing forces.  I was impressed when I learned that the Pasadena Police had negotiated with the Occupy people to allow them to march with their signs at the end of the parade and had been successful in encouraging the Tea Party group to pick another time and location for their protest.  Masterful.  As a result the parade went off well and the marchers got to conduct their protest.  Regardless of what side of the issues you fall on, the police don’t get to exercise their personal opinions on who gets to protest and who doesn’t.  It is our job to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  The rights of free speech and assembly are sacred to Americans.  

Things seemed to go very smoothly before, during and after the parade.  The only aftermath that seemed negative was the huge amount of trash left on the street by the crowds. But by the next morning even that was cleaned up. 

I was disappointed that the Spartans were not playing the Rose Bowl–I thought they deserved to be there.  But I did get a chance to watch their game later in the day and my faith was rewarded when they beat the Georgia Bulldogs after 3 overtime periods.