Gilroy Officials Defensive as Garlic Festival Cancellation Stirs Longtime Fans

When the Garlic Groyroy Festival Association recently announced that it would not be hosting its traditional event, longtime fans of the city’s iconic event took to social media to vent their frustration, pointing many fingers at the city of Gillroy.

Shortly after the Gilroy Dispatch has published an opinion piece by Ken ChristopherCriticizing the way the municipality negotiated with the association, Mayor Marie Blankley issued a statement on April 28, calling it “heartbreaking to see sadness and pain expressed in accusations and mudslinging against the city of Gilroy which is all of us.”

“We are the city of Gilroy, and we are better than that,” she said.

The Garlic Festival Association announced on April 21 that it will not be hosting its traditional event at “The Future for the Foreseeable.” While quoting financial issues and “prohibitive insurance requirements of the Gilroy Municipality”.

Christopher, the acting vice president of Christopher Ranch, who has been a key supporter of the festival over its four decades, responded in a column on April 28, saying Gilroy’s local officials fear lawsuits and liability.

“It seems to me that the city of Gilroy has simply given up on the Gilroy Garlic Festival,” Christopher wrote. “The festival has had a decades-long partnership with the municipality, but now it seems the municipality no longer wants to be a partner. Demanding outrageous insurance coverage for the event, our local officials put an end to something that means so much to so much.”

In her statement, Blankley said the festival’s demise was not the result of a mass shooting at the festival in 2019 that left three participants dead and 17 injured, but because of “the pre-existing financial crisis and spending of reserves.” Otherwise he would not have doubted. “

“The importance of security and insurance is not determined by fear, as some have suggested,” she said. “It was determined by reality, a reality that hit us in our house at our beloved festival and changed us all forever.”

City Manager Jimmy Forbis, in a column submitted to Dispatch (refer to page 6), wrote that most events in the city’s properties are required to cover a general liability of at least $ 1 million. The Garlic Festival, due to its size, has provided $ 6 million in the last decade, according to Forbes.

But that number was forced to rise because of the 2019 shooting, he wrote.

“Given the tragedy of 2019 and the 20 pending lawsuits in which the city of Gilroy is called and required to defend them, the municipality’s insurance risk pool and legal advisers have announced the need to increase insurance coverage to $ 10 million in general liability coverage. Go ahead,” Forbis wrote. “This high level of insurance provides protection for the city of Gilroy (the taxpayers) associated with this private event taking place at a city owned property.”

It is estimated that $ 10 million in insurance cost the association between $ 150,000 and $ 200,000, according to Forbis.

“The existing financial challenges faced by the Garlic Festival Association and the ever-changing insurance industry have proven to be too much for the Garlic Festival to overcome,” he wrote. “The municipality did not create any situation. We wanted the garlic festival to continue as well, and thus we are also disappointed.”

Christopher said on April 29 that it was “embarrassing” that the city had chosen to “ignore” the history of the festival that put Gilroy on the map.

“The mayor seems to be deviating from the fact that they require extremely high levels of insurance, levels required only by the Garlic Groyroy Festival Association, and without any other association,” he said. “The festival would have been financially successful this year if they had been given access to the Christmas Park with the previous / standard insurance requirements.”

During the Gilroy City Council meeting on May 2, council member Carol Marks proposed to hold a public meeting between the municipality and the board of directors of the Garlic Festival.

“There are so many things in public that I do not think there is transparency, because we do not get the full story,” she said. “I think we should allow the public the right to hear a full discussion with everyone present about what is actually happening and why people made the decision they did.”

The council unanimously supported the idea, and Forbis said he would invite the Garlic Festival Association to a public meeting at the end of the summer.

Gilroy Officials Defensive as Garlic Festival Cancellation Stirs Longtime Fans Source link Gilroy Officials Defensive as Garlic Festival Cancellation Stirs Longtime Fans

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