This whole Bok Kai parade fees thing is deserving of a couple big “oops.”
It was revealed a few days ago that the city had calculated the cost of hosting the parade, festival and bomb day, figuring in work and overtime expenses for public works employees and police and other incidentals. We’re not sure how the price came up to nearly $17,000, but we’ll worry about that later. The rather impolitic act was springing the idea that there could be such a large fee to the folks – whom never number as many as there should be and who are already entering the “frazzled” stages of coordinating the huge community event – just a few weeks before the 139th rendition of the venerable celebration.
There is no way in heaven that the Chinese Community and various other organizations engaged in presenting the Bok Kai celebration are going to have $17,000 for fees and there’s no way there would be time to raise it.
So it was a shock. Yet, it doesn’t appear there was any intention on the City Council’s part to do anything but waive the fees. So:
– On the city’s part, “Oops ... it wasn’t cool to propose a $17,000 fee for conducting the Bok Kai parade just a few weeks before the parade, after well over a century of city cooperation. Sorry to have upset you, Bok Kai folks.”
Bok Kai is not your typical third party event that would be contracted with the city for closed streets and security and such. Bok Kai ... is us. It’s a Chinese thing, for sure. But it’s very much a Marysville thing. It’s a Yuba-Sutter thing. If you’re old and live away from here and on those occasions that you think back on Yuba-Sutter with nostalgia, you’re thinking of the wonderful dragon and team of lion dancers and deafening fireworks.
– Still, there’s logic to what the city was doing (before the part where they sprang the price on the volunteers). On our part, “Oops ... it might not have been strictly logical to have gone all these years not knowing what to have budgeted for to accommodate the Bok Kai ... and the plethora of other festivals, parades and celebrations that make up the Yuba-Sutter cultural front.”
Not that the cost isn’t worth it; but our local government should always fully consider the costs of everything it’s engaged in.
One of the Bok Kai coordinators said that we’ve always considered the city of Marysville a part of the group that puts on the Bok Kai parade and festival – the city, in essence, has been its chief sponsor for many years now.
That’s the way it should be. But just because it’s a government entity is no reason for it to not know exactly what that role is costing it.
Maybe we’re better off fully realizing the total costs of all our celebrations on both sides of the river ... the cattle drive, the summer and Christmas strolls, the Christmas parade, the fantastic Veteran’s parade, the Peach Festival ... all of the events. Maybe knowing the costs would mean wiser management of the festivals and maybe there could be a well-coordinated effort to gain grants and sponsorships for preservation and expansion of our cultural observations on both sides of the river.
In the meantime, we don’t have it written in blood ... but we’re pretty darned sure the Marysville City Council will once again waive the fees for the Bok Kai celebration. It would make no sense not to.
(And in the future? The city shouldn’t make the Bok Kai organizers scramble year after year to come up with enough to pay the fees ... it will only dampen the festival and lead to its ruination. The city should continue being a leading partner and chief sponsor ... but it should know exactly what to budget for the important cultural event. We think that’s what’s already in the minds of our elected leaders).
Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.