The City of Palm Springs cancelled an annual biker rally called American Heat yesterday. The weekend event, which was scheduled to begin October 23, was cancelled because of fears that the desert resort might be asking to host the next Waco.
A group called Palm Springs Resorts, which is very influential in the city’s tourist industry, issued a statement that read, “After carefully listening to the Chief of Police about the potential growing threat of violence between rival gangs, it was necessary for PS Resorts to debate the historical merits of this event against the potential of people being injured due to violence that might potentially follow this event.”
The city agreed. City Manager Davis Ready said, “With the police department and other jurisdictions help that weekend, there is a cost to that, and it could be up to a $100,000 additional cost either to the city or to Palm Springs Resorts or to the promoter to have the kinds of additional security. Given that the promoter couldn’t come up with the additional funds we decided to take this year off.”
The event’s promoter is a Reno company named Roadshows, Inc.
American Heat was the largest but hardly the only tourist event scheduled for Palm Springs in October. The city still hopes to rake in tourist dollars with events like the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival and Palm Springs Leather Pride.
Safety is also a concern in Hollister, California where the Hollister Freedom Rally, it is a new name, starts tomorrow.
Hollister Police Chief David Westrick (photo above) answered a series of questions on his blog that included:
“Chief, what about Waco, Texas and the shooting last year at the rally?”
“I fully brief the elected officials on many different public safety disciplines as it relates to our event each year before our event. I have done so this year as well. Ultimately they weigh the information we provide and also the concerns of their constituents. It is their decision completely. They also provide budget, vote on contracts/memoranda of understanding and a few attend our planning meetings. I can say they always make informed decisions.”
“Chief are you going to do anything different this year for public safety?”
“No, not really different. We are adding a few things behind the scenes to enhance officer / patron safety and will probably have better communications features. Public safety is the #1 priority with our event.”
“Can I have my pocket knife with me at the rally?”
“All weapons, tools, blunt instruments, mace / pepper spray or anything resembling a weapon are not allowed in the event area by ordinance. Best advice – leave them home or in your saddle bags.” You can read more of Chief Westrick’s blog here.
The Hollister Rally’s current name is the invention of new promoter ConvExx. The event is “free “ but $100 will get you: Tickets to a concert by the Fabulous Thunderbirds tomorrow night; a concert by The Guess Who Saturday night; a tee shirt; a pin; a lunch; access to Hollister’s new photo tower; two poker walks; an “Exclusive VIP Kickstand Plate;” a raffle ticket; and front of the line access for a chance to meet Tommy “Chibs” Flanagan and Mark “Bobby” Boone Junior of the television show Sons of Anarchy.
Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez is stoked and ready. He told Katie Helland of the Hollister Free Lance, “I just want to see people out there having a good time and talking positively about their experiences here, which I’m sure is what’s going to happen. I’m looking forward to a good rally.”