4 Simple Words
At the core of what became a hornets’ nest were 4 simple words included in an unauthorized flyer distributed on Port Jefferson Business Improvement District letterhead: Unsightly Presence of Motorcyclists
With social media and motorcycle forums abuzz with the initial news of the flyer, the wheels began to turn and town officials began to take note and speak out.
Unofficial and Unauthorized
On Tuesday April 6, 2010 both Mayor Margot Garant and Port Jefferson Business Improvement District President Bruce Passarelli published statements denouncing the original “Food For Thought” anti-motorcycle points. It seems that there was a rogue member of the BID trying to further their own personal agenda.
BID Meeting – April 6, 2010 7pm
On Tuesday evening, the BID held its monthly meeting at the Port Jefferson Village Center. The floor was opened to discuss the offending flyer, the Village, and BID’s stance on motorcyclists in town. The Mayor again reiterated that any disparaging remarks made were not the feelings of the Village or the BID as a whole. She was very open and forthright and seemed to welcome further constructive communications with concerned motorcyclists.
The meeting was attended by about 100 motorcyclists, a small handful of business owners, law and code enforcement officers and the Mayor herself. As you might imagine there were moments when the audience was very passionate about having their voices heard, but overall those that wished to address the panel were able to do so.
Will the Mystery Author Please Stand Up
At the center of much of the ire was George Wallis, a local business and property owner who supports a “Motorcycles Prohibited” sign in his privately owned parking lot. The anti-motorcyclist remarks on the flyer are widely attributed to Mr. Wallis.
During the meeting he made no effort to soften his anti-motorcycle stance as speaker after speaker questioned his rationale. As stakeholders spoke of taking their business elsewhere, he rebuffed them noting that he had “plenty of money,” and welcomed them to do just that.
When asked about his motorcycles prohibited parking sign, he stated that motorcycles parking in his lot bring the property value down. So, the man with plenty of money is worried about his bottom line after all.
I think that it is important for all motorcyclists to avoid spending money in George Wallis’ establishments. Mr. Wallis doesn’t “need” it, but there are plenty of other motorcyclist-friendly places in town that do.
Motorcycle Un-Friendly Businesses:
- The Steamroom
- The Frigate – Candy and Ice cream
- Fish & Co.
- The Martha Jefferson
The Village of Port Jefferson – Official Website and Social Media
The Village of Port Jefferson has been open and timely in responding to questions about their stance and policies. You can follow the village on Twitter and become a Fan on their official Facebook page.
A Personal Thanks
I’d like to personally thank Brad of the New York Motorcycle and Scooter Task Force for educating me on process, laws and for communicating with town and law officials regarding this issue. Please check out the NYMSTF on the web and Facebook.
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