Business / Economy

Council questions rally promoter search with money still owed

Previous promoter still owes the city $90,000 as the city council considers its next move

Hollister City Council members expressed concern about the future of the downtown motorcycle rally during an non-agendized discussion about the status of the search for yet another promoter for the July event.

Councilman Raymond Friend brought up the topic during the committee report section of the meeting, sparking a council conversation about the rally promoter search despite the matter not being part of the council's posted agenda. 

"A third promoter wants to be in the mix for negotiations on a biker contract," Friend said, noting that the council committed three years ago to support the rally for at least five years. "We do need to talk to these people to see what kind of contract we can get out of them."

The promoter of last summer's rally, ConvExx, in November announced that it would not return to coordinate the 2016 event. City officials say the promoter still owes half of the $180,000 that it was contracted to pay the city, which continues to be a source of consternation for local officials.

"I have concerns moving forward," said Councilman Victor Gomez. "It seems like whenever we bring another manager they always seem to be shady characters. I'm not sure I'm really looking forward to working with another shady character. I'm not willing to have a discussion about another promoter until we get paid for the last rally. I have no interest in allowing staff to communicate with a new promoter."

Councilwoman Mickie Luna added that she, too, has a "major concern, especially when we haven't been paid for the rally last year … and yet we are sitting here thinking we're going to continue discussion on another contract. I'm not sure where this is going to go, but we still have unfinished business to deal with from the last rally."

Friend responded, "I hear what you're saying and I agree with you. Hopefully we've learned some things over the last couple of contracts and we'll have a better deal."

Because the topic was not agendized, the council took no votes or action on the matter.

Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.