A Modest Proposal

Published in the Hollister Free Lance, July 17, 1996
Dear Editor:

I can't believe Mark Paxton's editorial in the July 12th Free Lance against the 1997 biker rally. Hasn't he read his own paper? I mean, three recent editorials, including two by people who write for the Free Lance and one who used to, have convinced me that we should have huge events here.

First was Steve Gordon's piece in the July 8th Free Lance. He seems like such a reasonable guy that I'll take his word for it that the four bikers he cites are nice people. I'll ignore the fact that he himself called inductive reasoning a questionable technique -- if four local bikers are good people, they ALL must be. We could even rename Hollister "Hellister" for the weekend in honor of one of the motorcycle clubs we would attract.

Second was Adam Breen's July 10th column on using a biker rally to bring money into the town. He's right; there should be no limits on the things we will do to bring money into this county. I'll ignore the fact that the Free Lance reported that most businesses that were open for the July 4th weekend didn't make money. Let's just jam 100,000 people downtown and that should solve that problem. They'll be lucky to ever get out of our stores.

Now the one valid concern Mark had was what could happen if we grew too dependent on the biker rally for money and they stopped drawing large crowds. So we need to diversify and bring more groups in. That way, if one group stops drawing tourists, maybe another will pick up the slack. We can have more than one huge event, you know. I'll ignore the fact that Hollister isn't located near a freeway (like Gilroy is) and you have to take one of three major (if you can call them that) roads to get here. I'm sure that right after Caltrans finishes the 25/156 bypass overpass that they'll make 25 or 156 into a freeway. So how can we diversify?

As a start, we have only to look at Cindy Brown's July 8th column about bringing events to Hollister. However, she didn't really come up with any good ones. Let's see, what other groups would be interested in a nice place? I've got it! How about the Freemen? They left Montana, and are just a nice group of patriots trying to defend the American Way. Who would object to their coming here for an annual stand-off? And how about the Branch Davidians? They seem like nice religious people just trying to protect their freedom of religion. If we can celebrate a riot, we could probably host a nice bonfire for them. Also, the tourism would multiply because we would probably draw many FBI and ATF agents.

If we could bring those two groups here, think of all the gun sales we could generate. Why, we might get some gun dealers to open shops on San Benito, or, if we're lucky, maybe even draw a major firearms manufacturer to Hollister. And our kids who join gangs would have a convenient place to buy the latest in firepower. That's called synergy.

Now that we have three nice groups coming, we'll need some entertainment. After all, we don't want them whining that they're bored because there's nothing to do like the bikers did this year. We want to keep them coming back, year after year. What can we do? Hmmmmm....

Hey, weren't there a couple of cockfighting rings busted this year? That seems like it might be fun. And don't tell me that people who watch cockfights aren't nice people. They just have different hobbies than you and I; get out and meet them before you bash them. Besides, after the cockfights, we'd have lots of chickens to barbecue to feed to our tourists, which we could sell at outrageous prices.

OK, now we have entertainment and food, but we need more things to sell, things with a local flavor. Apricots are nice, but kind of boring. Let's see.... As I recall, the cockfighting rings were discovered during raids to find marijuana. And didn't we have one or two methamphetamine labs discovered in the county, too? How about selling pot and crank to our tourists? This would have the added benefit that we KNOW they would have a good time, even if they didn't go for the cockfights. And it would give new business to our local drugstores. The synergy is truly amazing.

We now have people, entertainment, food, and local products to sell, but we really need a kicker, something that will make people never forget Hollister. Fireworks are nice, but, let's face it, they're common and we could probably never hope to outdo Washington D.C., New York, or Detroit. How about something BIG? Airborne nuclear tests. No other community wants a nuclear testing site near them, so the government should jump at the chance if we offer them one. Where could we put it? Well, aren't there two ranchers looking to rezone their property? How about if we rezone it as a nuclear testing site, with the proviso that the government agrees to conduct airblasts whenever Hollister has a major event? THAT will put Hollister on the map!

Summers in Hollister will never be the same. I can just see sitting on my front porch, the rumbling of Harleys and the crackling of gunfire in the air, watching a lovely mushroom cloud expand overhead. Hometown America -- ain't life grand?

Want to comment on this? E-mail me at [steve@svpocketpc.com].