Will they ever get to the rally?

Will they ever get to the rally?

I can’t say this for certain, but last night’s city council meeting had to be the longest one on record. I left the council chambers for the final time at 11:37 p.m. I filled out my speaker card at 6:25, and knowing that the rally was the next to the last thing on the agenda I ran back to Johnny’s to take care of some business. I arrived back at the council meeting at 7:25 hoping that I wasn’t too late. Too late, ha ha the joke was on me. I’d left my purse and keys at the bar and at 9:00 I went back to get them so I wouldn’t be locked out if my bartender closed up before the meeting was over. It was a darn good thing that I did.

There were a lot of really important subjects covered at last night’s meeting. The Del Webb project at San Juan Oaks was discussed. The improvements at the Hollister Municipal Airport were covered, and many other newsworthy subjects. But I and many others were there to hear about the fate of our motorcycle rally and the council didn’t get around to the subject until 11:00. Concerned citizens toughed it out and six of us stayed to voice our opinions about the rally. We all had positive things to say.

The only person that was negative about our motorcycle rally was councilwoman Mikie Luna. She said that she went door to door and talked to her constituents and most of them disliked the rally. She said the businesses on her side of town were hurt by the rally, not helped by it, and she was an adamant “no” vote for moving forward with a 2016 rally. She thought we should cancel it for a year and regroup. All of us in the biker community know that one more cancelation would be the death of our rally. And thank God our mayor and the three other council members understand that too.

When the rally finally rolled around on the agenda Mayor Velasquez told the yawning audience that despite the $90,000 still owed by Convexx, the city hasn’t lost money on the rally since it was revived in 2013. The rally benefits many, and once the city figures out how to make things work with the right promoter many more will benefit. With a good record of repeated rallies without the need to put them to a vote every year the big sponsors with be pursuing us.

The rally packs downtown.

The rally packs downtown.

A decision was made at 11:34 p.m. to move forward with rally plans by first requesting proposals from another rally promoter. There were concerns by council members and some citizens that Mayor Ignacio Velasquez and Councilman Ray Friend were somehow doing something shady by talking to the promoter that approached them when he heard of Convexx’s exit from the promoter position. Why did the promoter choose to speak to them? Because everyone knows which council members are passionate about the rally. At Johnny’s I’m in a position to hear lots of rally news and information and I can tell you that promoters aren’t exactly knocking down the door for the opportunity to pull off a successful rally with only six months to put it together. Sponsors for events like our rally how they are going to spend their money sometimes a year in advance. One of the reasons that our rally can’t generate the big sponsor dollars is because of it’s on again, off again reputation. If someone besides Roadshows Inc. expresses interest that’s great. But if no one else steps up to the plate I hope the council will do the right thing and move forward post-haste.

The council is unanimous about wanting community involvement. They would like to see a committee of rally-passionate citizens work with the promoter and the city again. It worked well in 2007 when I was on the Hollister Motorcycle Rally Committee with many wonderful and dedicated people. We worked alongside of Seth Doulton and put on a very successful rally. We were encouraged to hand the reins over to the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce for the 2008 rally. We were told that many volunteers would be needed to assist them but somewhere along the line the wheels fell off. I think if the rally had stayed in the hands of the committee things may have gone differently. It is no reflection on the Chamber. I’m coming to believe that organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the Hollister Downtown Association aren’t cut out for the rally. A committee of citizens with folks like Christy Howe who is very passionate about our rally will aid in its continued success.

There were some very passionate folks at the council meeting last night. Why else would they have endured a five hour meeting to speak their piece? I didn’t write down their names but I encourage them to get ahold of the council and let them know of your interest. Better yet express your interest through the Hollister Rally Revival Facebook site. Christy Howe launched it years ago and it continues to be a place that rally faithfuls go to for information. It would be a great place to gather like-minded people to form a committee. A committee of people that have attended other rallies is paramount in my book. From my experience as chairperson of the HMRC I would suggest that the committee consist of eight people and at least one council member. Those key people could recruit others to help them in whichever area their strengths are. A committee of twenty or more people makes for too many opinions and really long meetings. Besides, when it gets right down to it, it is usually a group of eight or so that do most of the work.

Victor Gomez is adamant that no council member be on the committee and I believe that would be a mistake. Robbie Scattini was on our committee in 2007 and we were grateful that someone from the council was involved. I think the biggest breakdown and problem with the city’s relationship with the rally and its promoter has stemmed from the need to stay at arm’s length. The 2013 unanimous vote by the council to sanction the rally for ten years gave the community and motorcycle rally enthusiasts all over the world reason to believe that Hollister would continue to honor its role as The Birthplace of the American Biker. Councilman Klauer told those at the meeting last night that he had no intention of honoring a ten year commitment that a previous council made, but thankfully he voted to move forward. I believe that as a businessman he understands the value of our rally.

The dates of the rally were also discussed and it was decided that the significance of the Independence Weekend was paramount. When the 70th anniversary rolls around in 2017 and July Fourth falls on a Tuesday I think we should have a four day event beginning on the first, but we’ll have to see what happens. Once the fourth moves to Wednesday in 2018 moving the rally to the weekend after the fourth may make sense. When the fourth of July falls on Thursday in 2019 maybe we should start the event on the fourth. The date for the rally itself is a big reason to have a committee with their fingers on the pulse of the biker community involved.

So if you are interested in helping to see that Hollister has a successful rally please let the council know or check in at the Hollister Rally Revival Facebook site. With the community and the council involved we can eventually have the biggest and best motorcycle rally on the West Coast. We can do this. I know we can.

3 Responses to It Had to be the Longest One on Record

  1. Nina says:

    The same person doing this is voting no on the rally. Hollister Councilwoman Mickie Luna used about $1,200 in taxpayer funds on two trips for conferences in 2015, to San Diego and Palm Springs, that were not approved by the full council. Per the article in the Freelance.

  2. Carl Kamin says:

    Do you know if ANY promotors submitted an application to the city to run this year’s rally? It looks like it was only open to applicants for two weeks…

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