The news feeds are really quiet this morning. There is a Story on the celebutante Paris Hilton and her new 125 team...I can't believe that - I really can't - Paris Hilton and motorcycles...oh well.

The other story of note is about the passing of the legendary Tony Kirby.
He was the editor of Dirt Bike and the founder of Side Track and a hell of a story writer. The Australian and world wide dirt community is going to miss this mas talented way with a pen.

On the weekend there was a story that got my ire up.

In Olympia Washington it appears that they do not understand dollars and cents nor do they have any more common sense than some of the other jurisdictions out there...
The headline? Toy Run hits bumpy road.

The city wants to change the parade route AND charge the committee for police overtime.
So - I have a question for the BEAN Counters in every city hall around the world and for the chiefs of police or staff sergeants around the world....

Let's say it costs $3-4 thousand dollars in over time and in the bigger cities $10K to police a toy run parade - let's  look at the toys and money flowing in to charitable organizations to help the KIDS of our communities as opposed to the costs.

Let's take a case study of this situation - right here in a small centre like here in Grande Prairie Alberta - it would probably take 2 police motorcycles at $100 per hour for the officer and machine and about another 10 officers at about $75 per hour to stop traffic for the parade to go through and if the city put up barricades another 10 hours of set up and tear down for city staff on over time at lets say another $100 per hour.

You'd be looking at roughly $2,500 for the parade to come out of city coffers. (Why? because the police bill the city for their time) The toy run here generates about $20K and a ton of toys. If the Salvation Army here didn't get that shot in the arm there would be a lot of kids doing with out. Take  $2,500 - $3,000 out of the budget and there is the entire 4-6 year old category that would have to do without toys.

Imagine your own 4 year old and their abject disappointment that they had no toy - no gift at Christmas...what would that look like? How would YOU FEEL as a parent?

Our toy run always had it's own blockers - the police will NOT after 31 years allow us to block traffic ourselves - it's unsafe don't you know.  Yet in other jurisdictions like Vancouver - professional crossing guards are used to block traffic - it is after all a rolling parade and only blocks intersections for what-  even on a big run of 7-15K riders a half hour...
Why can't our people take the professional crossing guard course and be licensed to provide this service to the city for other parades besides the toy run...would that not help with costs - everywhere?  Would that not make sense? I'll tell you why. Because the police sergeants want the over time being billed - it's about budgets and if they can show a lot of over time then they have more leverage when asking for budgets to be upped.
(That appears to be the case here in GP unlike Vancouver where some creative thinking has taken place.)

In Olympia Washington they raise over $200K dollars plus toys - who is going to fill that void? Is the city going to? NO.  What about the average citizen - will they fill that void with out an organized effort? Unlikely...

You smart people in city halls and police detachments everywhere - you make my heart heavy that you can not see beyond the end of your noses...take the blinders off, get your heads out of your a$$es and look at what you are doing to the children of our communities - you who live in big warm houses and probably have never known a night of hunger need to learn some empathy and use some creative thinking - OUR CHILDREN deserve so much better than your narrow minded political agendas.

They deserve a toy at Christmas and a meal that says - celebration - we care - you are important...

What you bean counters,  police officers and bureaucrats are sending for a message is: you kids - you who have so little - you aren't worth spending a few hours of our day away from our families. You aren't worth me giving up $100 or $200 in pay - you aren't worth a few man hours - you don't count.

And when you go home and you hug your children and share a great meal with them after opening a bazillion presents on Christmas day... I doubt any of you even think of those who have nothing.

I have been there. I know first hand what a box of food and a bag of toys means to a family that has nothing but each other.

EMPATHY - the lack of it is what is wrong with this society and most importantly with our police services (and I am referring to those who make the decisions).
If you people can't get out and park that shiny car that I and every tax payer provides you - at an intersection for an hour...if you can't see your way clear to be generous of spirit - why do you feel the need to kill the spirit of generosity in others?

Just remember - the kid that you don't help today - the one who lives in poverty, that lives in fear, with hunger...that child has two potential paths to follow - the one we show them as a way out through kindness, love and empathy or the hard route that takes them straight to jail...these kids are our future and to not reach out a caring hand to give them hope and joy - well it's more than morally wrong.

And remember - these kids - the ones YOU are hurting - they are our future teachers, doctors and lawyers or the cons and drug dealers you are going to deal with in the system - and that weight needs to be put on YOUR shoulders. You have the opportunity to change a life and a life path...question is - which path are going to show them?

I would love to hear your opinion on this topic....join the conversation in our forum, here in my blog or on Face Book...

Have a wonderful, love filled day - I know mine will be...
Please if you are attending Christmas Parties, plan your way home in advance!

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

Post a Comment

  1. Truly, they have to look at these events as fundraisers, not biker parties. Sure, they're fun to participate in, that's the whole idea, having a good time doing good things.
    I'd suggest asking the police department or whomever else is blocking the event to come up with ideas for replacing the lost donations.

  2. Wow... thats a powerful message Betty.. and so well put. It makes me want to go out and do something good today. I believe there are lots of policemen/women who would gladly give of their time but as you say, the decision makers never give them that option. I think if it was put to them in these words you'd have more volunteers than you need. Hopefully your message gets read far and wide and reaches the right people so in the future this is not a problem.

    I was raised to 'count my blessings' .. 'theres always someone in a worse place than me' .. and I live by that. Giving to those that are less fortunate is a gift to yourself.. a 'feel good moment' .. everyone wins, especially the one giving of their time and/or money. Do yourself a favor today people...reach out and help someone ... you won't be sorry !

    Its been my experience as a fellow biker that the biking community as a whole is very giving .. not just at Christmas but all year long.. and I'm so proud to be a small part of that.

  3. I appreciate your comments folks - I am going to do something about this situation for our community and every other one.

    I am going to work towards seeing a professional blocking course offered that riders can take that will allow them to donate their time - keep everyone safe and reduce the burden on budgets for cities across the nation and who knows, maybe around the world.

    A free course in return for their donation of time for toy runs and community parades...

    I never want to see a child go with out.

  4. Anonymous8:50 AM

    I think if you called it a professional traffic control/flagger course you might get more cooperation and find it easier to get instructors.

  5. Thank you - that is a fantastic suggestion and I am sure as the idea settles down in my brain things that more things need to be done to see this become a reality - thank you for the suggestion!

  6. A bunch of us block for major runs here in Central Alberta. Is it dangerous? I suppose it could be, I've never stopped to think about it.
    I put on my HiViz vest along with 20 or so others, and use my bike to block as well as myself. No different than the cops do. We use 4way flashers and hand signals to drivers that there is a parade coming. I have yet to encounter a grump driver who could not wait. Or, they would turn & find another way.
    Around here, there are not enough cops to do the overtime, so they know we are not expendable.
    In GP, as well as Olympia, there has been a systematic repression of anything to do with two wheels. (I don't want to get into that one again)
    Sooner or later, these anal orifices are going to figure out that we are tax payers, and pay their salaries to SERVE US, not the other way around.

  7. Anonymous10:52 AM

    There is a general attack on motorcyclists in the states. I don't know why either, most of the people I know have been hard working, law abiding citizens their whole lives. The bikes they buy and ride are not cheap. Many waited for their kids to grow and move out on their own and finally have more time and money to support their avocation.
    In my state of Illinois we as bikers donate more money and time to charitable organizations than any other group of people, year after year. We just had a big Toys for Tots motorcycle parade in Chicago and have for 33 years. The cops do their job and it runs from the Southwest side 17 miles to the Marine Armory on the Northwest side on a major street, with little or no problems.
    Yet here in my small town 70 miles S/W of Chicago the local coppers nixed a ride through the town of a group bikers in the summer, to the Middle East Conflicts War Memorial in Marseilles, Il.
    These same people pump tens of thousands of dollars into the economy and are not trouble makers.
    There still is a stigma about large bikes and the people that ride them, even though they are our neighbors and friends. The only way to change that is to join politically active Motorcycle Rider Organizations like A.B.A.T.E. and get politically active.
    Nothing influences politicians like an educated electorate.
    Together we are a force to be reckoned with, individually we are a target.

  8. I generally don't publish anonymous comments unless they are at least signed or I get a private email - but this one - I have to publish - very thoughtful and important I think. Thank you