Another Independence Day gone without a motorcycle rally – perhaps it’s a good decision, but we don’t really know. Let’s at least try to bring back Hollister’s Independence Day Motorcycle Rally the right way. It will not solve the city’s serious financial problems, but if done correctly the rally can be a tiny part of the financial solution and a big part of a new outlook.
We should plan for July 4, 2014 because the current council would have to start flat-footed from a no-rally year to do it in 2013 and I doubt there is enough time. A new mayor will take office in January; if we do it badly and fail no one will want to try again for many years. The Fourth falls on Friday in 2014, and that’s the best chance for a critical initial success.
I propose a three-step process; 1) investigate/plan, 2) decision, and – if approved – 3) execute. Step 1 should be no cost or very low cost. It will tell us if it can be done and how, and put options on the table; we may need two business models, one for weekends and one for weekdays or perhaps to move it to the nearest weekend. We may even need a big and a small version or other changes.  
Put the bikes back on San Benito Street because that’s what people come to see, reduce the expenses, implement a system to make sure the licenses and sales taxes are paid and city costs are covered, and work in conjunction with Bolado Park and other county assets. I would also investigate expanding or changing the event to include the off-road community that uses Hollister Hills; they are a big, mostly untapped, potential market.
It all starts with good and realistic business plans and hard-nosed, fact-based, decisions – I want the rally to succeed and will work at it, but if it does not pencil out I won’t support it. At least we will know exactly why we made the decision. Hopefully, it will work if done right.
Marty Richman, Hollister

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