Art Hop : Taxpayer money well spent ?

2011 Art Hop : Taxpayer money well spent ?


5/21/11 – When the government gets into the car business, you get GM. When the government gets into the coffee business, you get the Haven Coffee House. Finally, when the government gets in the entertainment business, you get the Art Hop. The event is supposed to “revitalize” downtown Banning. Let’s take a look what the taxpayers got for their money :


Great artists - but where is the crowd of admirers ?

The taxpayer funded Art Hop is the holy cow of the Banning City Council : no matter how few visitors show up , this synthetic event is always heralded as a huge success.

The following images were taken between 3:30 and 3:45 PM on May 7, 2011, the day the Art Hop took place. Please click on the images to enlarge

Prime time - but where are the customers ?

Prime Time on "Main Street" - 3:38 PM

3:38 PM : so empty, you can ride bicycles through the Art Hop

Where is the line of kids wanting to jump ? In the background no traffic jam and plenty of parking !

"Car show"

Anybody home ?

All kinds of parking on Ramsey Street nearby




The infamous Banning Cultural Alliance produces the Art Hop for 10’s of thousands in taxpayer dollars each year. There is a reason for the fact that in 2010 the Riverside County Grand Jury called for the City of Banning to “cease and desist” doing any more business with the Banning Cultural Alliance (view report).  The Grand Jury saw clearly that the Cultural Alliance is part of the City Council’s “good old boys network” . They realized that the Cultural Alliance has done very little – if anything –  for the over 1 million dollars they have received from the taxpayer so far.

But Mayor Barbara Hanna, Bob Botts, and Don Robinson couldn’t care less : they snubbed their noses at the Grand Jury and immediately funded the Cultural Alliance with yet another $ 111,500 . Many people have asked : “How can they do that ?”

Legally the findings of the Grand Jury are not enforceable. Politically the council is walking a fine line as a vast majority of the Banning public has now realized that funding the Cultural Alliance is – at a minimum – completely useless. Most of the Alliance funding ends up in the pockets of unnamed “contractors” and “consultants”, according to the Cultural Alliance.

Is this the real reason why Mayor Barbara Hanna operates her consulting firm “Hanna & Associates” ? ( view story).  Who in the right mind would consult with Barbara Hanna ? Virtually everything she touches gets screwed up : Oddfellows/Haven Coffee (story), Banning Business Center (story), Dodge dealership (story), Hendon building …….. with the 2011 Art Hop now being the latest debacle.



Mayor Barbara Hanna

Don "taxdodger" Robinson

Bob Botts