Saturday, June 19, 2010

When Big Biz Stands on the Neck of a Local Community

The multi-billionaire owner of New Hampshire Motor Speedway said Thursday he will consider moving next year's summer race if Loudon's police chief doesn't cut the cost for providing safety details! NHMS owner Bruton Smith (who owns many of Nascar's sanctioned tracks) said that if he can't reach a compromise with the town on security costs, he may move next June's race from New Hampshire. "The dates are scheduled year to year with contracts with NASCAR," said Jerry Gappens, NHMS vice president. "There is the option of doing that. Let's hope it doesn't come to that option." Gappens said Loudon charges too much to organize security, and Loudon's police chief makes too much doing it. He said Chief Robert Fiske makes $50 per hour (yup, that's a lot), amounting to almost $59,000 for covering the races over five years. NHMS is asking Loudon to reduce its price tag for June's upcoming race from $170,000 to $65,000. "No, we're not prepared to do that," said Loudon Selectman Roger Maxfield. "The answer is no, we won't." Maxfield said he thinks $170,000 to cover an influx of 100,000 people is reasonable, as is Fiske's hourly rate. "He's also in control of 80 full-time officers, so that's a large detail," Maxfield said. NHMS has suggested cutting 38 police officers from its camp grounds and replacing them with private security guards supported by a few officers. Fiske said that plan isn't in the best interest of public safety. "The crime is consistent with a city of that size," he said. "We have alleged rapes and assaults, let alone the DWIs." (wmur) (6-18-2010)

I'm rooting for the Town of Loudon, the police chief and all his personel. Race fans pay upwards of $150 for some of these seats. The 43rd (last) place car earns what some blue collar workers make per year...seriously. The $170,000 price tag is a drop in the bucket for Bruton Smith. He probably spends that on any given day for personal items. How screwed up are our priorities when Smith is telling the Chief to hire $8 per hour security guards? With over 100,000 people in a very small space, they want to minimize security? Seriously? I've been to races...I want trained professionals monitoring the angry drunken wild fans who often times need to be handcuffed and arrested. While I've never stayed on the infield or campground at any track, the people I know who have often feared for their safety. Someone making $8 per hour isn't going to "protect" you in an altercation...they're just not. This is just one more case of a filty rich prick who is watching his wallet grow fatter and has no regard for the safety of the fans. To the best of my knowledge, the summer race at Loudon has never failed to sell out. Personally, I think he's using this as an excuse to move the date to another of his tracks - Las Vegas, giving them two race dates.

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