Guest View: Perplexed by doubts on the rally

The mural outside Johnny's Bar & Grill attracts visitors for a photo.

I have a confession to make. I don’t read the Free Lance newspaper very often. As a writer and a business owner in town that may seem shameful, but it may also be the reason that I pass on it.

Stupid criminals as well as block-headed decisions by those in power disgust me. I often wind up outraged by much of the news. That is why I didn’t see the Aug. 17 article about our motorcycle rally. I wasn’t concerned about the 2017 70th anniversary rally because everything went so well this year. Councilman Ray Friend stopped in at Johnny’s on July 4 to ask me how I thought things went. I told him how impressed I was with the Roadshows Promotion team. Along with working well with me, I judged their performance by the comments I heard from lots of visitors to our rally, other business owners, and my crew. I had nothing bad to say. What I did tell Ray was that the city council should not drag their feet in giving Randy (Burke) and Roadshows the go-ahead for next year. Ray assured me that it wouldn’t happen, but here we go again.

I’m going to say what I’ve said hundreds of times before: The rally is not living up to its potential because of its on-again, off-again reputation. When the city council voted unanimously to sanction the motorcycle rally for 10 years in 2013, I thought the rally battle was over. I’d like to remind Councilman Victor Gomez, who had one of those unanimous votes, that he has continued to waffle on the rally issue since he became councilman in 2008. Friend, who was also elected that year, has never failed to see the benefits of the rally. He and Mayor Ignacio Velazquez seem to be the only council members who sincerely understand the rally’s value to Hollister. It’s not rocket science. The nonsensical delays for moving the rally forward every year are absolutely maddening.

I’m going to say again what four promoters have failed to make waffling council members understand. All the big players, the large companies with the big bucks, allocate their sponsorship money for the following year by September or October. With no entrance fee to our rally, the main source of income for the promoter is through sponsorship funds. Roadshows did a fabulous job with the rally this year with less than six months to prepare. Just imagine how awesome it will be if he has 10 months to work on it. With the window to big sponsorship money still open, he won’t have to work nearly as hard. He already has a tough job because sponsors want to get behind a rally with a good track record like Sturgis, Daytona, and Reno Street Vibrations.

This year the issue keeping three council members from moving forward is business licensing fees. That, and for some reason the city doesn’t have a concrete answer to rally costs. Fifteen rallies, and the City of Hollister has never had that answer for its citizens or the council members until January. January is too late, people. I don’t know what kind of mathematicians are working in the finance department, but there is clearly a problem when it comes to the rally. If the people working under the council don’t have those answers it falls on the council who is responsible for city business. Mickie Luna said when she worked in the finance department they had no problem figuring out what the costs for the rally were. So why don’t you march into the finance department, Mickie, and show them how it’s done?

Next year is the 70th anniversary rally, and just as with the rally in 1997 people are coming. Roadshows Promotions and Chief Westrick’s job will be much easier with more time to prepare. Both of them did an awesome job this year. There is no question about their capabilities with this venue. So get behind the rally now. Add an addendum that states that you will address vendor fees and let’s get moving forward. It’s the same BS every year. Excuse me but I don’t know what else to call it. I’d like to remind Victor Gomez once again that you voted to give the rally the green light for ten years three years ago. You have yet to back that decision up with action. A typical politician, you say one thing and do another. As for Karson Klauer and Mickie Luna, you may be relatively new to your positions but you are doing the same thing that countless city council members have done before you. A rally is not deemed successful in your eyes until you can see exact tax revenue figures. And those figures never come.

If you feel the way that I do and are sick of certain council members’ approach to the rally be sure to let them know. Call or email Mayor Velasquez and Councilman Friend and thank them for their steadfast and sensible support of our motorcycle rally. Tell council members Luna, Klauer and Gomez that they should get behind the rally now. If you benefited from the rally in any way let your voice be heard. Write the council and the Freelance and share your success stories. Let’s move forward the 70th anniversary Hollister Independence Rally now. Not four months from now. We are bombarded daily with political rhetoric on the national level. We don’t need it on the local level too.

Charisse Tyson is owner of Johnny’s Bar & Grill in Hollister.

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