Updated: City puts off last call on bars during rally

Veroy Alston, from Marina, far left, gets the crowd moving as people walk down San Benito Street, as music plays off his iPod out of his invisible custom stereo on his motorcycle during the Motorcycle Rally July 5.

Hollister council members Monday night were scheduled to consider a proposal in closed session to mandate closure of bars at midnight during the motorcycle rally, an idea that has one establishment’s owner “praying” officials reject it.
Council members put off a decision so they could bring it back for discussion later. Council members reconvened in closed session before 8:30 p.m. to talk about the bar issue again.
The Hollister Freedom Rally, the city’s signature event drawing tens of thousands of visitors and spurring a lively nightlife scene, is set for July 4-6 in downtown. Bars are normally allowed open until 2 a.m.
Charisse Tyson, owner of Johnny’s Bar & Grill on the San Benito Street main drag of downtown, said the early closure would “hurt me in a huge way.”
“I’m praying they don’t go along with it,” Tyson told the Free Lance on Monday.
City officials recently broached the possibility with local bar owners. Tyson said she responded by writing all council members expressing her opposition to the idea.
The idea came from the police department and Chief David Westrick, who said Monday morning he couldn’t comment on closed-session items.
It is being proposed about a month after May shooting deaths in Waco, Texas involving rival biker gangs. Hollister also is hosting its first rally since last year’s non-fatal shooting at a Chevron gas station in Hollister, outside the event area, on the final morning of the 2014 biker gathering.

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