Tuesday, November 18, 2008

City Council Backs Out of 2009 Rally

Well folks they’ve done it again. The Hollister City Council has cancelled our rally once more. There are some diehards like myself that would like to believe that there is still hope but after thirteen years of fighting for this rally I’m getting a little weary.

With the help of a couple of rally faithfuls, both that run non-profits that benefit from the rally, we circulated and collected seventy surveys to businesses asking how they felt about the rally. Sixty of the returned surveys were pro-rally with many suggestions about what people would like to see changed. Two were neutral and seven were solid no’s. The no people all said the same thing. If it costs the taxpayers it’s not worth it. They were also clear that it inconvenienced them or did not benefit them.

To all of you no’s out there and our city council I say, “Can’t you see the big picture?” The rally is Hollister heritage. We are the birthplace of the American Biker. Our history speaks for itself. Turning your back on your town's heritage because you can’t seem to figure out how to put on a rally that is financially viable is ludicrous. Every year the city council debates if we should have a rally. If they would have fully embraced it thirteen years ago we would have a rally that rivals Sturgis by now. There are as many people in the city of San Jose as there are in the entire state of South Dakota. Local law enforcement certainly would not like to see 200,000 people descend upon us. I think we already have more than enough officers on hand every year to handle the situation.

Our chief and the council are very worried about a Hells Angel – Mongel altercation. They have been bucking heads all over the place so I agree that we do need to be prepared. It should not however keep us from having a rally. Sturgis has the Outlaws, Sons of Silence and the Angels to deal with but their rally continues. Laughlin had a shoot out between the Angels and the Mongols for pity sake and still did not cancel their rally. We have had twelve rallies and one non-rally without an altercation. I believe it was 2005 when the two rivals had a stare down. To hear Mayor Emerson tell the story, it took every cop in town including the Highway Patrol to keep the clubs apart. I have talked to many people between the ages of 25 and 85 that were there during “the incident” and they tell quite a different story. Yes it was great that law enforcement was there. Their presence kept things under control. The way they have blown what happened out of proportion to scare the public is just wrong. I’m sure things look different through cop’s eyes than bystanders but there is quite a discrepancy in the stories. If I lived in the kind of fear that the chief does about these clubs I would never sleep at night.

I’m thrilled to say that my trust is in a higher place and God has been taking darn good care of us at Johnny’s for thirteen years. A favorite Proverb of mine is 29:25 which says,”The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on trusts in and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.” Yes I know bad things happen to good people and it is a crazy world we live in but living in fear is not an option for me. Putting my personal fears and interests before others is not my way either. If I was truly the only business that benefited from the rally I would certainly not continue to fight for it. I know I am not because of my surveys and the many conversations I had with business owners that didn’t take the time to fill one out. I left reminder cards about the Monday night meeting with every business. How many do you suppose showed up? Very few! The complacency of people who say they care is a real irritation to me. If the Hollister Motorcycle Rally is truly dead it isn’t because I didn’t do everything that I could to keep it going. Let’s all pray for a miracle. It would have to be a miracle that involved some serious cash.

Thank you for your time,