I'm an engineering technician for Caltrans at Manchester Center. But, for five years now, from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day, I'm "Santa Alan" for the Mall.
Three or four years ago, a Bee photographer took my picture for an article about putting Christmas away. Other than that, nobody seems to know or care that I'm here. While we too are independents, we do have enough children to keep us busy. So I'm not too upset when your paper reports on Fashion Fair, Sierra Vista and other Santas, ignoring me.
However, the Jan. 28 article about Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas caught my attention, for the wrong reason. I've been asked how it feels to be "pimped." I explained that The Bee was referring to big organizations and their Santas, but they still saw an inference to Santa as a whore.
Well, I am indeed offended by your use of "pimp." It was totally inappropriate. I've said many times that I'd almost do Santa for free, and quite often do. But there are costs. Being Santa is legal and encouraged, so how is it being "pimped"?
Santa's job deserves a little more dignity and respect than you've shown.
H. Alan Pettebone