Blocked Block Party Redeemed: City Settles in EcoMotion Fiasco
by Nicholas Heller, July 28, 2010
Fort Bragg City Council was going to allow a fundraiser block party in the streets of the city. Then they canceled it and kept a $5,000 deposit EcoMotion laid down for the event. Now, after a lot of bad noise, they’re giving it back.
According to Nicole Kench, EcoMotion event promoter and founder, city manager Linda Ruffing (who has not returned my call) blamed the fiasco on bureaucratic ineptitude, sighting sloppy accounting, lack of documentation proving claims, and faulty procedure.
After the cancellation, Ruffing was initially unwilling to give Kench her deposit money back, which, as Kench understood, would be used to fund police services during the event. Since the block party did not take place, Kench wanted her money back. But Ruffing said the city needed to keep the money for costs incurred—$4,431.41 worth of city police time in planning.
That’s when Kench hired an attorney, Cliff Paulin, and appealed Fort Bragg City Council’s decision. They were supposed to argue their case Monday at the city council meeting. Instead, Kench received a phone call from Ruffing saying the city decided to settle.
Kench believes that now, “the city has been exposed.” She went on to say that “One first must be able to take responsibility for their participation in such circumstances rather than place blame on bureaucratic ineptitude.”
Kench is now searching for friendlier confines, and is “choosing the path of least resistance by moving EcoMotion to Venice Beach.”
The block party fundraiser, which was supposed to take place October 10th, was to include music, sustainable educational booths, craft vendors, and carnival games that taught children how to compost and recycle. The event would have raised money for local schools. Kench estimated up to 10,000 people may have attended.