But each said they are willing to work with organizers
Hollister – Three out of five Hollister City Council members would vote to cancel the Hollister Independence Rally if the matter came to a vote now, however each said they’re willing to work with organizers in an attempt to find a middle ground.
Two reports this week cast a harsh light on the rally. The first came from Hollister Police Chief Jeff Miller, who said he cannot guarantee adequate public safety staffing at future rallies.
The second was an economic impact study released Thursday that estimated nearly $400,000 in revenue to the city of Hollister as a result of the rally. However, several council members quickly dismissed the report, saying it was based solely on estimates and assumptions without any factual data. They now say the rally is more of a hindrance than a help to the city.
“HIRC hasn’t given us something concrete that supports their stake – that all this money comes in. You can’t do it on assumptions and estimates,” said Councilwoman Monica Johnson.
“My thing is risk versus gain,” said Councilman Brad Pike. “If we’re putting the community at risk for no gain, that’s not something I’m interested in.”
But Hollister Independence Rally Committee Acting President John Loyd said too many community groups, nonprofit organizations and businesses profit off the rally.
“Personally speaking, I wouldn’t want to be known as a council member who voted to kill the rally,” Loyd stated via e-mail. “Too many residents enjoy attending the rally, and too much money would be lost with the demise of the rally. Having this rally take place should be a no-brainer, yet it has turned into a huge political and financial debate. One hundred and twenty thousand (people) come into town and don’t spend money? Try to sell that one to the local residents.”
Councilmembers Monica Johnson and Doug Emerson, who would also vote to cancel the rally at this point, echoed Pike’s concerns regarding public safety and generated revenue.
However, Emerson made it clear he’s interested in hearing HIRC members’ side before any decisions are made.
“I’m not saying I’m going to do that (vote to cancel the rally),” Emerson said. “I’m going to be open-minded. I think we should explore other possibilities, also. It’s not always a case of black and white.”