Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Party a huge success!

Our annual Christmas party and white elephant gift exchange was the best one ever with over 50 gifts exchanged. It took quite a while to finish but we had a ball and everyone stayed for Karaoke afterwards.

We kept Hollister Taxi hopping all evening. A big shout out goes to Liz and her crew for taking such good care of all of us. Speaking of which; if you're coming to Johnny's to join us for our New Years Eve bash, dinner or both call our friends at Hollister Taxi and it's only $10.00 round trip from anywhere in Hollister.

And don't forget to come down New Years Day for our Giant's party. We're petitioning the Giant's to add Hollister to their World Series Trophy Tour. Bring an inspirational letter and join us for free chili dogs and pizza and be a part of the video and pictures we're sending to the team.

On Sunday January 2nd we're having our anniversary party celebrating 17 years as owners of Johnny's. Paul Z is doing his magic with his barrel BBQ and good friends are bringing side dishes. We'll see if our 49ers can win one with their interim coach, sadly Singletary just couldn't get the job done.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December musings

It's dinner time and I haven't written a word in my book. Tuesday's are usually dedicated entirely to writing but I got thrown way off track today. After my morning workout I ran errands and when I returned home from the grocery store my urge to play Suzy Homemaker and do a little online Christmas shopping won out. My Christmas cards are ordered, there is a pie in the oven and short ribs in the crock pot. I am honoring my promise to myself to blog every week so here I am. I don't have any exciting news to share except that my new t-shirt design is finally finished and the new shirts are coming off the presses as I write. Fast Eddies Custom Screen Printing is the bomb. Not only is the company fast but it is a local, family owned company. My bartender Kathleen and her husband Eddie own it and their son Shawn drew up the artwork for my shirts. I think everyone will agree after seeing the new design that he is one talented dude.

Our pal Robbie Scattini was sworn in at the Hollister City Council meeting last night. I'm sorry to say that I didn't get to witness the auspicious occasion. We're thrilled to have him back on board. He is the reason we had 2007 & 2008 motorcycle rallies. My husband says I need to give up on the rally and look for something else that will generate business for our sleepy little community. How does the West Coast Punkin Chunkin Contest sound? We watched the Chunk that's held in Delaware on the Discovery Channel and it was great. Like our debunked rally, their event generates lots of money for non-profits, and it brings upwards of 50,000 spectators to a very rural area; it takes place East of Bridgeville Delaware. We may not be the farming community we once were but I think there's some real potential here. Even Hollister law enforcement could get behind this idea, unless of course any event that brings thousands of people to our community and the extra work that goes along with it is frowned on by our understaffed police department. Of course with more revenue maybe the city could afford to hire more officers. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Firing up the debate

The letter to the editor that ran in the Freelance about Hollister Police Chief Miller retiring spurred plenty of activity in the newspapers online comment section. I am always interested in hearing what people have to say but I believe a forum that allows people to post their thoughts anonymously is flawed. I always attach my name to any articles I write or comments I make and I believe that everyone should be required to do the same. Any coward can lash out and say nasty things about people when they are allowed to hide behind online pseudonyms. I try not to respond to any of the slanderous comments but sometimes I can't help myself. However I am not about to get into a battle of words with anyone who doesn't have the courage to attach their name to their comments. I would however love to hear from fellow bloggers that identify themselves and invite you all to share your feelings about what I write whether positive or negetive and I promise to respond to your questions and comments with honesty and integrity.

I would like to clear up a serious misconception regarding the Hollister Motorcycle Rally and Johnny's. It does bring in some much needed extra income for us. When we have a rally, during the month of July we do about one month's extra business. That does not equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars as some people would like to think. We only have so much space and it is limited. Out of the extra money we make we pay a food bill as well as beer and liquor bills that have doubled, twenty five extra employees wages and many other extras. I take the opportunity to give extra money to our church and local charities like the Community Pantry. We purchase new equipment and make necessary repairs to the bar. If there is any left after that we put it in the bank for relief during slower times which usually befall us by the middle of August.

The rally isn't all about money in the first place. It put Hollister on the map and gives people a reason to get off the freeway. Because of the historical significance that Johnny's holds we see people from all over the globe and we love it. People from as far away as Australia, Italy, Japan, France and Germany come to visit us and soak up some history. Johnny's is to Hollister what the Arch is to Saint Louis or the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco. This may not seem like a great analogy to some people but we are the tourist destination of our fair city and proud of it. People are free to stop by and check out our guest book any time. It is truly amazing.

My prayer is that the new political climate will allow us to once again have a fun motorcycle rally that brings lots of business to our deserted downtown. We have lost many businesses that were icons in this city which saddens me. I thank God every day for a wonderful business with the best customers that anyone could hope to have. My employee's are awesome too and that's why people keep coming back. Feel free to share your thoughts, just be sure to sign your name.

Hollister Police Chief Retires ( Well sort of )

Chief Miller is officially retiring. When asked for my opinion on the subject by the Freelance my first response was, “Thank God, it’s about time.” My comments, when shared from the reporter’s point of view did not reflect the scope of my feelings on the subject and I wanted to personally share my thoughts with readers.
First let me say that I believe that Chief Miller is a good man and a Christian. Because I own Johnny’s Bar & Grill, there are many ways that he could make my life a living hell but despite our disagreements the bar has a good working relationship with the Hollister Police Department. Any criticism I’ve shared about the way the chief handles the rally, I have shared with him personally, either face to face or via email. For that reason, I believe that despite our differences we share a mutual respect.
As to the way his retirement is being handled, I have some questions that I’m sure the voting public would like the answers to. The council has known about the chief’s planned retirement for quite some time. I personally heard the rumor more than six months ago. I can’t help wondering why they were not searching for a new chief long before the official announcement was made. If there are policies in place that kept them from looking until the last minutes please fill me in.
According to our city manager Clint Quilter the new six month contract with the chief saves money because the city would have to pay for outside help as well as lodging and other services if the chief left. What other services is he talking about, and would the outside help be paid more than the chief’s wages plus his retirement? I don’t pretend to understand how the system works so please, explain this to me. Aren’t Hollister resident tax dollars paying for the chief’s retirement and his wages now that he is staying on? Not paying for the chiefs medical benefits can’t possibly save us $40,000 in six months can it? Wouldn’t it have been more prudent and fiscally responsible to have a replacement in line for the chief months ago?
Every politician that I have spoken with on the subject has said that there is a very little chance that the Sheriff’s Department and HPD will be consolidating services any time soon, if at all, so putting off the search for a new chief to see how that played out wouldn’t make sense.
If a replacement is hired from within a positive attitude towards our rally is not likely. I saw how things went with the sheriff’s department when Curtis Hill replaced Sheriff Nyland. The mentality and politics never changed, but I’ll save my thoughts on the sheriff’s department for another time.
Because of Sheriff Hill and Chief Miller’s prejudice towards bikers they used law enforcement cost’s put an end to an event that put Hollister on the map, stimulated the local economy and raised funds for many local non-profits. With a new, unconnected man in the sheriffs’ office I hope to see change there. I fear that if the new chief is chosen from within he’ll share Miller’s view of bikers, and law enforcement costs, the only impediment to a financially viable and successful rally, will still be in place. And if his predecessor doesn’t share the chief’s Christian values I may wind up wishing Miller was still around, Lord help me!
Ray Friend has honored his word to try to bring our rally back in 2011. There are many hurdles to overcome to get it done next year but people should know that there are serious efforts under way and with the change in the political climate I am remaining hopeful. In the meantime email and call your council members with your support for the rally. Our economy desperately needs the boost of 100,000 visitors again and we need to keep the pressure on.
To the Chief I say God Bless you and I wish you all the best in your retirement. My prayer is that in seminary school you will not learn to become more religious but will come to be more like Jesus and see that your preconception of bikers is not only wrong but unchristian. There’s a story in the Bible about when Jesus chose Matthew, a tax collector which in his time was one of the worst types of people (could be a one percent biker of today) and called him to be his disciple. The Pharisee’s were appalled that Jesus would associate with such undesirables. Let me share with you from The New Living Translation Bible what Jesus had to say about it.
Matthew 9/10-13 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” “Healthy people don’t need a doctor - sick people who do!” Then he added, “Now go away and learn the meaning of this Scripture: I want you show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
If Jesus were on earth today he would more than likely plant himself at one of the local bars in the thick of the rally, share His love with unbelievers, and many would come to know him because of an interaction with him.
Both professed Christians Chief Miller and Sheriff Hill missed a wonderful opportunity to show a multitude of people the love of Jesus, and instead chose to be self-righteous Pharisees. Although the chief wisely chose not to be as vocal about his opinion of bikers as Mr. Hill, as a leader his attitude towards them was exemplified by his team during the motorcycle rally. Friendly and welcoming has never been a description I’ve heard used to describe the packs of officers that roam around town during the event. Whatever the future holds for Hollister’s law enforcement, our city council needs our prayers for guidance in handing it. You can be sure they will have mine.