Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, Jun 19 2006

Hollister Independence Rally needs a rally of its own

Every year around the 4th of July we see a lot more motorcyles in the area than we do the rest of the year. Most of them are going to, or coming from, the big annual rally in Hollister, California. But last year state law enforcement apparently got tired of footing the bill for security and, from what I understand, handed the city of Hollister a bill for more than a quarter of a million dollars.

What's amusing to me is the tiff between Curtis Hill, who is the sheriff in San Benito County, and Robert Scattini, who is Hollister's mayor. Sheriff Hill loathes the rally while Mayor Scattini, a biker of sorts himself, supports the rally.

Bikers are as diverse a crowd as any other special-interest group. Aside from having a certain criminal faction that is also present among white collar executives, bikers include the likes of doctors, accountants, teachers, civil engineers, clergy and off-duty law enforcement officers. They gather to ride for a variety of reasons, including raising awareness (and funds) for environmental and medical research. They often rally in support of American troops. Many of them have themselves served in our country's military ranks. They are moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers.

Maybe no one in San Benito County ever sat down and planned to draw motorcyle enthusiasts in an annual rally, but it happened anyway. It may be that the city and county will have to call in state law enforcement this year to boost security when the bikers come to town this year. If they don't sanction the event, perhaps they won't get a bill from the state. If the state sends in help, my tax dollars go toward their costs too. And I'd rather see the money spent there than on some bureaucrat's photo opportunity with the Cause of the Month in order to boost their chances in the next election. Of course, all this could be somewhat of a publicity stunt, because next year would be the 50th anniversary of the big rally. And sheriffs and mayors are after all, politicians too. Killing the whole gathering one year before the 50th anniversary seems not only mean-spirited, but right in the vein of one of the Old West's most-widely quoted phrases, "Them's fightin' words."

I have a suggestion. Why not have some fun with the disagreement between Sheriff Hill and Mayor Scattini? Create a sort of skills contest that pits one man against the other and let bikers (and other spectators) pay to see the fun. Both men would donate their time to the cause, gain a lot of good will for themselves and their respective departments, and the tensions would be eased with a lot of good old-fashioned laughter and taking sides to cheer. The rivalry between the two politicians would put them both in the spotlight for a day too.

People who might not venture near town to see a bunch of bikers would certainly fall all over themselves to make the trip to see Sheriff Hill and Mayor Scattini duke it out, figuratively speaking, in a contest of wit and skill. This mock battle might even take on implications of a future annual event in itself. Hollister could put itself on the map in a whole new way.

posted at: 08:39 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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