Every year for the past 4 years, the headlines ran “Fireworks over Fireworks!” And it was true. The Sonia Tatulian dominated Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills Community Fund ran the fireworks and the illegal Rotary Club ran the parade. Everybody had money missing and although the finger pointed to one person, nobody wanted to make a stink about it. It didn’t really matter to anyone. People took their money and ran and everybody looked the other way.
BUT THIS YEAR IS DIFFERENT! The S-T Chamber of Commerce fired the community fund and “hijacked” the fireworks. It was a for-real coup and it happened before anyone knew it happened. I’ve got to laugh, but the tears of sorrow get in the way. The McManus clan held the reins and made the fireworks program really great. Live bands were booked, stage lights and sound were the highest caliber, and everyone patted themselves on the back for having survived another 4th of July.
Funny thing though, when the community fund had their awards banquet and rented the Great Caesars Banquet Hall to give themselves awards, they forgot to invite the two most important members of the team, Vince & Dan McManus. Let’s forget for the moment that the community fund spent ALL the profits from the fireworks show, and look at what they did for the community.
Under Tatulian’s direction, money got “misplaced,” food courts were non-existent, and most disturbing of all, community members with children couldn’t afford the high entrance fees. As John Clausen who was there said, “It really hurt to see the disappointment in the eyes of the families, and especially the kids, when they found that they couldn’t afford to enter the publically funded Verdugo Hills High School to see publically funded fireworks.”
So what if the money vanished and the high school didn’t receive any funds. Hell, it was only $80,000 over 4 years. That’s nothing to our community. And of course, the neighborhood council just turned a blind eye to it because their “treasurer” was totally incompetent. So incompetent that the city froze the neighborhood council’s funds for 6 months. We may not be as crooked as Maywood-Bell, but we can sure disappear money and crank out certificates of appreciation to line our bathroom walls with like the “big boys.”
BUT this year is going to be different. The chamber went out and got enough donations and sponsors to pay for the 4th of July fireworks. Even though the neighborhood council stiffed the chamber for their sponsorship, the show will go on. And what a wonderful FREE show it will be. The chamber is finally doing something wonderful for the residents of S-T. It must have been the water!