SAN BERNARDINO - Reacting to an opinion that the city's three-night Ho Ho Parade was not an essential expense in a city fighting to stay in bankruptcy court, stakeholders have raised more than $1,000 to cover the cost of gas and "wear and tear" for city-owned vehicles used in the parade.

Participants from the San Bernardino Police Department, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and city Code Enforcement, Parking Enforcement and Animal Control, as well as American Medical Response, all volunteered their time, and other expenses associated with the parade had already been privately funded.

The parade - an annual tradition going back 30 years - wound through the city Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night.

Monetary donations came from Sharon Gaitan-Blechinger of the Mexico Cafe, Steven Oquendo of Mitla's Cafe, Supervisor James Ramos, School Board Trustee Judi Penman, City Attorney James F. Penman, City Council members Robert Jenkins and Wendy McCammack, and San Bernardino Professional Firefighters.

"The good will, holiday spirit and pride the residents feel for these small acts of kindness, time and money make every minute of this endeavor worth every smile we saw on the kids' faces," McCammack said. "Many families are having a rough go of it during these financially lean times. A chance to see Santa at no cost to them made it worth every penny spent."


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