You knew the notion that the Mateel was the victor at the Planning Commission Meeting could not go unaddressed. Here’s the official reply:
Response to the Planning Commission Meeting from The Dimmick Ranch
May 5, 2007
We entered the May 3 Planning Commission meeting hopeful that we would present a united front and that we were close to a one-year truce agreement with the MCC that would preserve the annual reggae event for this community and the reggae community at large. We left frustrated with the Commission’s ruling and the sense that we ALL lost this round due to the reduced attendance level – unfortunately, the loss now extends to the other local non-profits, as well as the parties directly involved in the dispute.
With festival attendance set at 12,400, the event will experience an immediate 30% income decrease. This revenue cut also makes it financially impossible for the Dimmick Ranch to continue to offer a monetary settlement or truce proposal anywhere close to what the MCC needs to keep its doors open on their current operating budget.
Prior to the Commission meeting, the Dimmick Ranch had put yet another truce agreement on the table, and the MCC was, again, unwilling to discuss it promptly. Further, Mateel attorney Bill Bragg has admitted that the MCC has no show, yet it insists on continuing to fight the fight. This is consistent with what, we are hearing from the agents of artists listed on the ROTR site: that many of the artist are being advertised without contracts or deposits and several are now asking to sign with Reggae Rising. Among the confirmed ROTR NO SHOWS are Shaggy, Ky-mani Marley and Luciano. Meanwhile, Culture, Dubconscious, Dr Israel, the Itals, Eek-A-Mouse and Marlon Asher have all asked to come onto the Reggae Rising lineup.
Yet, the MCC continues to promote a show on property it does not have a right to occupy, with a line up that is not confirmed, and an operational plan for the conditional use permit (CUP) that has limited staffing. In addition, the MCC threatened the county with litigation if the CUP that runs with the Dimmick Ranch property is handled like any other conditional use permit: it remains with the property. Because no new testimony from the applicants was permitted at the hearing, we were unable to provide the Commission with evidence of this.
While we are disappointed in the lower attendance level, we recognize it as a by-product of this dispute and the MCC’s absurd threat of litigation against the county. It is apparent to us that Taunya Stapp and a majority of the MCC Board of Directors support only one non-profit in this community: the Mateel.
Taunya Stapp once stated that the Mateel didn’t need ROTR to survive, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that she may well have to make good on those words. Sadly, it has always been our intention to have the Reggae festival support the MCC while being produced on the Dimmick Ranch by the experienced professionals of People Productions. We will continue to work towards this goal, although the county’s decision has made the financial viability of the event even riskier.
We at the Dimmick Ranch have done our best to keep our dealings professional. While we will, of course, protect our property interests, we have had and continue to have the community’s resources, non-profits, event volunteers and citizens, as well as reggae lovers throughout the state and beyond, in the forefront of our minds throughout this situation. Reggae Rising was launched so the planning and ticket sales for this annual festival could move forward in spite of the ongoing dispute.
Reggae Rising has an outstanding CONFIRMED musical line up; an experienced production team; committed and hard-working volunteers; the support of many non-profit vendors; and the limited number of tickets are selling fast. Our legal position is solid, and the Dimmick Ranch will persevere in producing Reggae Rising to support ALL of the non-profits in our community and for the love and enjoyment of reggae generally. Southern Humboldt, we need your common sense, support and voices to be heard.
[postscript: an anonymous commenter offers, “an excerpt from the [report by a] Eureka Reporter who was in attendance at the planning meeting this past Thursday:
Commissioner Smith addressed the possibility of revoking the permit if the court didn’t identify who had the right to the festival, but, he said, July 23 was too late.
Commissioner Richard Hansis said he wanted the attendance levels reduced.
“I haven’t seen enough evidence that either party has fully grasped or presented a plan or information that they can handle all the requirements of that attendance level,” he said.
Commissioner Sef R. Murgia said it was unclear who the party was.
“I can’t support a motion that (grants) a permit to an applicant as yet unnamed,” he said.
Smith reminded that the county already has the permit. This is about adding conditions to it.