Open Letter to the Community from Tom Dimmick

You may have heard Tom Dimmick on the KMUD news today. Here’s the release that showed up via e-mail reiterating much of what he told Estelle.

April 4, 2007

An update on the status of negotiations between Mateel Community Center and People Productions/Dimmick Ranch:

With a critical planning commission hearing set for later this week and a court date early next, I continue to pursue and remain open to settlement options. However, if the dispute is not resolved, we will go into Thursday’s hearing with two shows, two producers and one permit.

Over the past several months, PP and Dimmick Ranch have made a number of generous offers to the MCC, aimed at providing the MCC with the income stream it seeks while retaining the community benefits and financial viability of the event. Most recently, the Dimmick Ranch offered $10 per head on the total capacity granted by the county for each of the remaining nine years on the permit and $300,000 over nine years for the equipment and infrastructure on the site. The capacity range should be 12,900 to 16,900, pending the annual ruling of the planning commission. I believe this offer is eminently fair and could provide upwards of $200,000 in annual income to the MCC. It effectively replaces (or improves) the income stream the MCC enjoyed in the past, while reducing the business risk the MCC had been bearing.

I originally got involved because ROTR was in dire need of a new home back in 2005 or else the MCC stood to lose the event’s financial benefit. I leased my family ranch to the MCC for the festival with the assurance that PP would be the event producer for the term of the lease. As I have expressed, I am very attached to this land and would not entrust it to just anyone. But I am also a member of the community, and I very much wanted to retain the tradition of this festival.

For the past two years, event profits and the MCC’s revenue have suffered due to the site move, which was a massive undertaking. However, I originally got involved to help secure the MCC’s financial base, and I have been negotiating to license the event with the same goal for the MCC. All while ensuring that the event to be held on my property is staffed by the same capable, local professionals and community volunteers who have put it on safely and with the community’s support for decades.

The latest offer, outlined above, was made to the MCC nearly two weeks ago, and the Board has been unable to come up with an official counter-offer. Time is running out.
Waiting for litigation is not the answer. Apparently the MCC Board was unable to assemble a quorum last Thursday evening to create an authorized counter-offer to my settlement proposal. I continue to hear the argument that the ROTR trademark is priceless community property; however, unless MCC negotiates to preserve it, it will have no value to anyone. I am offering to provide MCC with more than fair value for the asset. The settlement offer on the table ensures that the lion’s share of the event profits go directly to the MCC.

The unofficial counter-offers I have heard kicked around, but not officially presented, are so much more expensive that, based on the event history and capacity, the only way to make this feasible is to commercialize the event – thereby negating the community benefit. Accepting a “commercial” license at closer to $19 per head would mean no non-profit food booths, far fewer volunteers and less community involvement. The Dimmick Ranch simply doesn’t want to go down that road with the MCC because we recognize that the magic of this reggae festival is that it is by and for the community. The answer lies with us – the community.

Sincerely,

Tom Dimmick

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