As both a participant and observer of the Centennial Parade, I want to express my deep appreciation to former Mayor Jan Dennis for her leadership and her corps of volunteers for their excellence in the orchestration of an event worthy of the City of Manhattan Beach.
Mayor Dennis overcame a lack of support, derision, and even obstructionism from several Centennial Committee members with the complicity of committee Co-Chairmen Councilmembers Nick Tell and Richard Montgomery.
At Centennial Committee meetings she was humiliated for obtaining results while the committee both waned in generating sponsor support and succeeded in generating divisiveness in the community by its unsuccessful fund-raising measures (paid reserved seating and parking at the Concerts in the Park and for sponsors at our Holiday Fireworks), staging an event limited to 350 of our 35,000 member community (Taste of Manhattan), and the failed attempt by Tell and Montgomery to allow alcohol at a beach gala in violation of our long-standing laws.
The Centennial Parade, in contrast, was a symphony in motion, bringing residents together as a community of equals: no closed and roped-off VIP tents surrounded with security guards; no displays of sponsorship in reciprocity for their support; no demeaning of residents as “serfs” set off from the privileged few provided a catered dinner with a hosted bar.
Rather, the Centennial Parade epitomized the harmony of diversity by bringing together young and old, newcomers and old-timers, our volunteer and philanthropic groups, organizations dedicated to the education and physical development of our youth, the well-being of our elderly, and to our religious spirituality - as well as participation and recognition of our city employees that provide for our health, safety, and quality of life.
We were together in recognition of oneness – our sense of purpose, our commitment to a common vision and adherence to unifying values that promote caring for each other. What was clearly heard was the outpouring of laughter, joy, friendship, glee, and pride in being a member of the Manhattan Beach community.
Jan Dennis, from all our hearts, “Thank You!”
Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.