City should give the rally a fair chance

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Even after a relatively short seven-year run, it’s hard to
imagine a Fourth of July weekend without the Hollister Independence
Rally.
Granted, many residents would like to envision a quieter, more
traditional July 4th celebration.
Even after a relatively short seven-year run, it’s hard to imagine a Fourth of July weekend without the Hollister Independence Rally.

Granted, many residents would like to envision a quieter, more traditional July 4th celebration.

But we don’t like the way City Manager Dale Shaddox and City Council members are trying to set up roadblocks for the Hollister Independence Rally Committee.

We also disagree with using city job layoffs as leverage against HIRC.

The main reason the rally costs the city money in the first place is because of lax planning, vision and bookkeeping by past and current city officials.

It’s true that Shaddox, a relative newcomer, shouldn’t take the hit for those shortcomings. But if current and past Council members would have taken the time to plan a break-even or profitable relationship, there wouldn’t be the financial problems that need to be resolved.

Sounds familiar, right?

For example, the city let countless thousands of dollars get away by not enforcing or insisting on accurate sales tax receipts from the many vendors.

Security is being pointed at as the biggest expense, but why does Hollister need the often amateurish state Alcohol Beverage Control cops and even the costly Department of Justice officers?

Most of the visiting 100,000-plus bikers and fans are professionals with money – just look at the long lines of new Harleys on San Benito Street each year.

Tell the state to keep their bumbling bar cops and the unnecessary tab that goes with them.

Paying Hollister police and Sheriff’s deputies overtime is a must, but that’s just a fraction of the overhead.

Let’s also at least look into private and less expensive security.

Our county and city desperately need tourism dollars. Most towns the size of Hollister would love to have a yearly event that is tagged to a historical site or movie such as the rally with “The Wild One.”

Why not look into a major sponsor for the event, perhaps Harley Davidson itself or a major beer company?

Let’s not downplay the huge loss of revenue it would mean to many local businesses if the rally is killed.

And don’t forget the many local charities that get money from the nonprofit event.

Plus, who is going to stop or police the thousands of visitors who show up anyway this Fourth of July weekend?

Shaddox and the City Council should give HIRC Director Bob Beals and the committee a fair chance to keep the rally alive at least for one more year before turning the financial screws.

It’s not too late to develop it for what it has become.

A fun and colorful annual event that puts Hollister and San Benito County on the lucrative tourism and motorcycle followers map.

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