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Here We GO Again: UCI Bike Race in Richmond. My Answer is still the SAME: NO unless it is PRIVATE FUNDS USED!

I actually predicted something like this would happen right here at VA Right!

But they tend to offer these sporting events again to the areas that hosted it before.

So it’s no surprise (well maybe a bit of one) to read this headline (here’s the full article) in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Group explores holding (another) major cycling event in Richmond

And it is a major event although not a world championship:

Tim Miller, chief operating officer of Richmond 2015, said he has been in conversations with a group that’s considering hosting a UCI stage race in Richmond, though no such event has been confirmed and many of the details have not been worked out.

Richmond 2015 is the group that brought the UCI bike race last September to the River City.  And the taxpayers are dead set in the organizer’s sites again:

“It would be run by experienced event professionals in cooperation with whatever municipalities might be involved,” he said.

The “cooperation” with municipalities is exactly what I fear:  Taxpayers get screwed again.  See here for details.  And here for my post on the (debunked) report that had all sorts of financial/attendance figures for the bike race.  Although I am disappointed at the R T-D using Hillary numbers for the attendance:

Less than a year after Richmond hosted the UCI Road World Championships — drawing an estimated 645,000 spectators — there’s talk of another major cycling event being held in Richmond as early as 2017.

The 645,000 number was thoroughly debunked in this R T-D discussed in this blog post HERE at Virginia Right!  Here it is (largely – the text in italics is from the R T-D) FROM the article itself:

OOPS!  There’s even more – because the official estimate was that 72,000 people came and stayed in town.  Watch carefully…

“That means every single hotel room in the entire greater Richmond area should have been full with a racing fan if these numbers are to believed,” Matheson said, noting Richmond Region Tourism lists about 18,000 hotel rooms in the area.

Instead, throughout the event, rooms across the region showed up as available on booking websites. And, for all of September, the city saw hotel bookings drop. In the region as a whole, hotel occupancy was at 63 percent for the month.

Mike Watkins, president of the Richmond Region Hospitality Association, said the bike race had a minimal impact on hotel occupancy until the final weekend of the race.

So what’s a blogger to do?  The WPost would give this four Pinocchios for sure!

What to do, Sandy?  Go to your local tea party/friends of taxpayers/GOP committee meeting and ask them to take a firm stand:  NO PUBLIC MONIES for this bike race.  In fact even the security/overtime/incidentals a municipality might have to pay ought to be picked up by bike race sponsors and or UCI.  There is no reason why public money ought to be spent on a private event like this.  Then go to the board/council.  Take friends that vote in that county/city.  Study my prior posts; know Sandy’s Third Law (The promised numbers will be inflated) and his First Law:  The Taxpayer Gets Screwed.  We are not against civic pride but not on our dime!  Remind the board $100,000 or $300,000 could go a long way to help teachers or bus drivers or police/fire.  And we know about indirect “regional” contributions (from this R T-D article (I bolded) from 2012 found by yours truly!).

The county would make up the difference with indirect donations through its share of regional contributions, as well as in-kind support services such as traffic control and security for cycling time trials held in Henrico and, if requested, helping neighboring Richmond.

Earmark that NO regional money goes to the bike race!

Remind the board/council that this was disruptive to the area, the returns were not received and that this new bike race “stage” could be more than one day!

It has not been determined how many days the cycling events might be held in Richmond.

I am considering speaking at my tea party group and then going to the Hanover BOCS in September.  If you vote in Hanover, stay tuned.

Let me make the point before someone accuses me of having no community spirit:  I am all for big events in the Richmond area.  And yes, factoring into the event ought to be what will it cost for policing, security and other needs like that.  BUT the costs of the event ought to have been paid by the private sector not the public one.  Raise the money.  It would be better to raise enough to pay back (imagine that idea!) for the infrastructure and security etc.  And if we had to pay extra for necessary infrastructure, maybe we should have declined the event.  Politicians were sold a bill of good but they were willing to be sold.  Some skepticism ought to be in order.  Especially when you have the severe disruption this race caused the area.  I recommend a vinyl button with:  HECK NO on it.

Where are those HECK NO! buttons when you need them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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