Radio Interview With BMOrg’s Jim Graham on ChocoTacoGate [Update]


KPNR has an interview with Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham about the latest controversy in the Burnerverse.


The Twitter-verse was abuzz over the weekend in Nevada over Burning Man.

You all know Burning Man as the Labor Day week no-holds-barred celebration in the Black Rock Desert in the far reaches of northern Nevada.

The buzz was over the perks that the Bureau of Land Management is seeking from Burning Man organizers. The federal agency oversees the week-long event.

The agency’s list of desires reads like something a celebrity might request backstage, including soft-serve ice cream 24 hours a day, seven days a week; steaks, hamburgers, the ice cream treat choco-tacos, and a list of condiments and items that number well more than 100.

Not only that, but the Bureau wants VIP quarters, flush toilets and more.

We requested an interview with Bureau of Land Management officials but received no answer.

[Source: KPNR]

Jim revealed some hard numbers for 2014 costs.

BLM Fees were:

$2.75m cost recovery

$700,000 commercial use fees – BMOrg see this as a tax on top of the ticket price. If this is 3% of the gate then ticket sales were $23.3 million.

$600,000 infrastructure

Total $4.05 million

2011 BLM fees $1.4 million, population 54,000

2015 BLM fees $4.9 million , population 70,000

Jim said that this is a substantial increase in fees, for only 16,000 more population

Of course, the 16,000 extra population is worth $6,544,000 in bonus ticket revenue to BMOrg (at $409 a ticket).

Expected population this year is now officially 70,000 – so there could be an extra 2,000 tickets floating around, to be added to STEP or OMG. This weekend I heard a rumor of 25 tickets being available for $1500 each, but you had to buy the whole 25. Not quite sure how something like that comes about…

Jim said that the $1 million cost figure being bandied around is not just for the Blue Pit Compound. The million dollars is the sum total of all of the requests for infrastructure this year: radios, catering, flush toilets. He said their catering requests were not that unusual…“We feed more than 50,000 meals during the week – our staff and volunteers.” So it looks like the BLM are asking for an increase in the infrastructure budget from $600k to $1 million.

Burning Man are not sure who the VIPs are for the 8 designated containers in the Blue Pit.

Jim said “We house all the BLM agents in the town of Gerlach, we rent out the hotels. Vast majority of them stay there, 14 mile drive from the town out to the site – we feel that’s pretty reasonable…We don’t begrudge anybody how they’re going to live when they’re out there. ”

[Update 6/30/15 1:45pm PST]

Did I say 2,000 extra tickets? How about 12,000?

At The Hill, the Deputy Director of the BLM seems to be giving a green light to 80,000 people this year. An extra 10,000 tickets to sell will certainly pay for a lot of chocotacos.

On Monday, BLM Deputy Director Steve Ellis said the agency should “take a fresh look” at the requests. 

“I am concerned about the reported costs associated with supporting the Burning Man festival. I have directed that BLM staff take a fresh look at the initial proposals for food and facilities at the event,” Ellis said in a statement.

“Our priority is to provide for participant and employee health and safety, sanitation, and environmental compliance at this unique event that is attended by up to 80,000 people in a remote part of the Nevada Desert. I have full confidence in BLM staff and their ability to develop a plan that is cost efficient and ensures public health and safety.”

That sure would be a win/win/win compromise for everybody. Burners would win 12,000 more tickets. BMOrg would win another $5 million revenues. BLM could get a nice VIP compound and increase the infrastructure budget $400k. Looks like a pretty good deal all around, let’s hope it works out that way.

6 comments on “Radio Interview With BMOrg’s Jim Graham on ChocoTacoGate [Update]

  1. Pingback: New Permit Allows For More Tickets To Be Released | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Pingback: BLM to Review Chocotacos, if BM Lifts Their Safety Game | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  3. The BLM desires $4.9 million, including of a VIP camp, with separate trailers for showers, flushing toilets, and washers and dryers, taking much water, and power, in the desert, in despite of these items, and a 2,000 square foot bunkhouse, within their new $3.5 million BLM Black Rock Station, solely 15 minutes from the playa, near to Gerlach.

    In addendum, the BLM desires, within their big headquarters near to the service entrance of Burning Man, a cafeteria with steak, and Choco Tacos, while the awesome DPW arses, most of whom are volunteers, whom are to construct the big BLM headquarters, are not permitted to eat within the Burning Man cafeteria during the festival. A picture of the BLM plans of their big headquarters near to the service entrance of Burning Man, showing of their cafeteria, new within 2014, in due of their desire to not eat, and converse, with unwashed Burners, within the Burning Man cafeteria.

    The BLM is of the belief of they are most deserving of the $4.9 million of each year, near to one half of a million dollars of each day of the festival, for solely providing near to 80 police, and being a rubbish bureaucracy. A most proper number might be near to $1 million, in addendum of their 3% levy of near to $700,000 of cash paid to the BLM, and purposed for their bureaucracy. My belief is, might Ms Kane do a Freedom of Information request upon the $2.75 million of BLM costs, it might be most awesome.

    The BLM, and their police, are much in need of adult supervision.

  4. When the BORG says they can build things “more cost effective than outside vendors”, unpaid DPW comes to mind. Yeah, sweatshops/slave labor is unfortunately a widespread cost-cutter.

    • I might imagine in regards of the new DPW volunteers within their first day on the playa. They might have a choice, construct the luxury First Camp for Larry and his mates, construct the luxury BLM VIP camp, or construct the big BLM headquarters for the police, whom have treated DPW labourers in a most horrible manner. Might the new DPW volunteers not desire these labours, or, might they desire to be paid in due of these labours, they are told of there are 50 other volunteers whom desire to utilize their ticket.

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