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Red square See a video of the RMA meeting (1 hour, 6 minutes)

The Rancho Murieta Association board Tuesday night announced changes in the community’s July 4 parade, eliminating collector cars, water balloons and water guns from the annual event on Murieta Parkway.

Director Alex Bauer, chair of the Recreation Committee, said the parade is intended for residents in golf carts or on foot or bicycles. He cited the need for fun and safety, adding, “We’re kind of streamlining the parade.”

“The parade is part of a small-town feel that makes Murieta a special place,” he said of the gathering, which marks its 35th anniversary this year. “Over the years, the parade has grown to be much bigger than what it originally was intended.”

He announced several changes in brief.  Wednesday afternoon, Danise Hetland, the RMA’s assistant general manager, offered written rules for the parade:

  • Candy is the only thing that may be tossed by parade participants to the parade spectators. No water guns, water balloons, etc. will be allowed. No super balls or anything other than candy will be allowed to be tossed to the spectators.
  • Parade participants must be residents. Only individuals and local non-profit groups may participate. No commercial golf carts, walkers or bicyclists.
  • Only golf carts, walkers, bicyclists, children in wagons or children’s cars will be allowed. No vehicles are allowed, except for Little League All Stars, the veterans vehicle, fire and ambulance vehicles, police vehicles and such.

Asked why the change was being made, Hetland responded in an email, “RMA has received complaints from residents who have been hit by water balloons and water guns, resulting in damage to cameras, eyeglasses and people being hit in the face.  We’ve also received complaints about the length of the parade and the many undecorated vehicles. The Recreation Committee has put the rules in place in an effort to ensure a fun, safe, enjoyable day for all RMA residents and their guests.”

The announcement wasn’t listed on Tuesday’s meeting agenda, nor had the changes been discussed at prior public board meetings. Rumors about changes had surfaced on social media.

At the meeting, directors asked how staff planned to notify past participants about these changes.

Hetland said RMA staff has met with local car clubs already, and they’re counting on the media to help get the word out.

General Manager Greg Vorster said the Murieta Corvettes Club said members were concerned about kids on the parade route chasing candy and running in front of the cars. They were already considering pulling out of the parade, he said.

President Bob Lucas asked staff to explain concerns with last year’s parade, when there were many cars and, he suggested, many of them weren’t even residents.

Hetland said 40 percent of last year’s parade was made up of undecorated cars.

Pump track site could be a ball field

The board will continue its deliberations about how to use the former bicycle pump track site at Riverview Park on the South.

Tuesday night, the board discussed using the site for a grassy field for Little League, soccer and general play. Last month the board floated the idea of turning the land into a dog park. (An online poll by RM.com last month found 68 percent in favor of the idea.)

General Manager Greg Vorster said Little League representatives have new field equipment that has to be moved when they lose the use of Anderson Field, on Cantova Way, and that equipment could be relocated to the pump-track site. The field would be dedicated to baseball for small children, he said.

The price difference between the two options is about $4,500, Vorster said, which is the cost of fencing the dog park. Either use would require ongoing irrigation, fertilization and mowing, he said.

Vorster said the pump track site is about 32,000 square feet, or almost three-quarters of an acre. The North dog park, at Stonehouse Park, is about 31,000 square feet, he said.

The Recreation Committee will explore the possibilities in advance of the May meeting.

County comments on Greens Park

The county has offered comments on the proposed Greens Park on the South, General Manager Greg Vorster said, and the contractor is responding to the county. Vorster said he still hopes to get the permit for the work by the end of April.

Neighbor Mark Pecotich, who’s also president of the Community Services District board, asked whether there would be a ceremony to mark the start of work. He pointed out the project has been hanging around for more than a decade.

In other business...

  • Greenfield Communications didn’t have a representative at the meeting, but President Bob Lucas said he was told before the meeting that Greenfield has set a May 12 deadline to finish filling holes dug in lawns for the fiber network installation.
  • Greg Vorster, general manager, said fencing for two pickleball courts has been installed at Stonehouse Park. Maintenance Manager Rod Hart said once the weather warms a bit, RMA will be able to treat the courts' surface and paint and stripe the area.
  • Hart said the RMA is considering replacing the fountain at Guadalupe Lake with a pump that’s more efficient and easier to maintain. The cost would be $5,000 or $6,000, he said. Hart said he wants to meet first with people around the lake, who pay an assessment to cover the cost of electricity.
  • Neighbor Brian Rosebrock asked the board whether it’s proper to allow an Elk Grove police sergeant to drive his service motorcycle through the North Gate. Two directors, Tim Maybee and President Bob Lucas, said it has been an RMA policy to allow police and other first responders to keep their service vehicles close at hand.

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 26772
Post rating: 1312

Reacting to July 4 changes

The early posters on RanchoMurieta.com's Facebook page are not happy about this:

  • Christopher Sumner Boooo!
  • Randy Stringer I predict the death of the parade.
  • David Gransee I see a lawyer somewhere in this...
  • Brooke Warren Lame. The parade has been a FUN event and if ya don't want to get wet....sit back a row or two. And too long? Ridiculous. We are all running around for days during the festivities from dawn-dark anyways. It's the perfect length to go home and take a little nap before you start to BBQ!
  • Jena McDonald Trying to make sure attendance goes down? Come on!
  • Rob Martin Says who? This is 100% horrible decision for sure! Sad.
  • Chris Beckstaiger Wrong direction on all fronts. Too bad a few dictate to the many!
  • Alicia Correia Wow! We put hours into preparing our classic car for the parade. So many people know us as the family with the Bel Air in the parade. Sad :(
  • Craig Carbrey Are you kidding me. Not on the agenda even. RMA has lost their path. We have a lot more to deal with then this. It's a parade.
  • Brenda Kelley Reese This makes me terribly sad....the water and cars were two of my favorite things!!! Why change something that was loved by so many!!!
  • Wyatt Gaylor At least ask for public input.
  • Rod Metzler I think a simple "no fun" rule could cover it all
Janet Nicholson's picture
Joined: 10/28/2007
Posts: 226
Post rating: 359

I couldn't agree more with the comments from Facebook

The comments on Facebook are right on.  This was a disheartening announcement.  The parade has been a community fixture we've looked forward to each year since our first one in 2006.  Love it all, including the classic cars and the Corvettes.  I don't even like Corvettes, but I love seeing them in the parade.  I particularly agree with the comments suggesting that if you don't like the water blasters, move back a few rows - or don't attend the parade.  It's not necessary to ruin the experience for the rest of the community.  The changes being put forth - without full community opinion - reflect a sad commentary about the way our society reacts to issues these days.  You get a couple of people who complain about any subject, and instead of mediating with the few people who complain, the decided upon solution is a knee-jerk one that satisfies the few complainers by taking away something the majority does not have a problem with.  Can't we rethink this idea?


Betsy Guzzetta's picture
Joined: 10/09/2007
Posts: 106
Post rating: 100

July 4 changes and volunteering

From another perspective, my husband helped direct traffic for several years during the parade (totally a volunteer effort). He quit two years ago after the umpteenth time that folks ignored directions, cussed him out, endangered pedestrians (including himself!)...... sometimes as events get bigger, they don't get better. the parade is a wonderful tradition, but it needs to be "safe and sane."  Just a suggestion that maybe if more folks stepped up to volunteer, things could be handled better.  From what I know RMA is always stretched thin getting volunteers even though most of their staff generously work that day to afford us a RMA July 4.

Betsy Guzzetta

Phillip Sexton's picture
Joined: 04/01/2008
Posts: 23
Post rating: 24

July 4th Parade

When I moved to Rancho Murieta I wanted to be close to my son and his family. The high point for me was decorating my golf cart with my granddaugther from Texas and my granddaugther from Rancho Murieta and being part of the 4th of July parade.  It was one of "Pop's" greatest moments.  I hope these decisions are based on actual documented past concerns and not on the "what if" advice from an attorney.  My challege to the RMA Board is to do their "homework" because  there has to be a better solution than to eliminate the vintage cars, Corvetts (my favorite) and water guns. I will concede the elimination of water ballons. In the ten years I have lived here this is the first time I have ever heard of any of these concerns as a issue.

Phillip Sexton

Jason Zenker's picture
Joined: 06/13/2008
Posts: 36
Post rating: 7

Someone complained?

Someone complained?

So you cancel the cars and decades of tradition, give me a break, its a slow speed parade, Its a 100 degrees outside and your worried about getting a little wet on the 4th.  The classic cars at the end is great tradition that many of us look forward to.  Talk about wag the dog.  If you don't like these components of the parade then don't attend, pretty simple.

Jason Zenker



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