On Monday I posted a comment on the story about this weekend's Prescott Antique Auto Club show at Watson Lake, asking whether anyone would confirm the rumor that after 37 years this will be the last event in the park because the City is raising the price to an unsustainable level. I got this reply yesterday, from "Car Guy":
It's kind of a kick in the pants really. PAAC is local and has brought a lot of people to this town every August for over 35 years. PAAC's local members raise funds to operate the club for another year. I'll bet many people don't realize how much time and effort the members put into charitable contributions that go back into the community. Parades, visits to the VAMC, Christmas presents for underprivileged kids. And the list goes on.I'd like to suggest to the Courier editors that in the context of the County Fair failure, the scattering of another decades-long tradition that draws statewide participation is what we used to call "news," and it would be a good idea to assign a reporter to talk with some PAAC members about that this weekend along with the standard photo review.
The real kicker is that the City wants to raise the cost of renting Watson Lake Park about 6 times what is contracted at now, to a fee of about $5200. PAAC currently pays for all garbage pickup and other expenses on top of their fee for the weekend. The first kicker is that the City wants to run PAAC out of town with unaffordable fees but will GIVE $20,000 per year to a group to bring in some bicycle racing!! Want a real kick in the pants? How about this? PAAC is currently rebuilding and restoring a City of Prescott fire engine with all volunteer labor and contributions from it's members!! Ask your council members to look into this. It's an absolute outrage.
Update, Monday: And the story appears*. Well, some of the story, anyway. There are important followup questions that remain unasked in the paper. The club alleges it had a contract and the City is unilaterally "amending" it. This sort of escape clause is common in the City contracts I've seen, but that doesn't make it smart or fair. There's also an allegation that someone in City staff was working with the club either without proper authority or without subsequent support from superiors. The main unasked question is why there's this heartburn about the price change -- who is responsible for the communication breakdown, and why, if the price increase is "not a done deal," says the Mayor, the club has even seen this out-of-sight number? Sounds like someone is fumbling badly (hint: news).
*: No, I won't claim credit for it, the editors could have heard about it the same way I did or in the Council meeting.