So I bet you guys are just itching to read about the Ada Chan showdown last night, and well, even if you’re not, I’m itching to write about it, so check back later this afternoon when I will hopefully get another post up. But just so you have some lunchtime reading, here’s something that’s been bugging me for a while.
A bunch of bikers turned out last night to speak at Open Forum and complain about the City’s new restrictions on motorcycle parties. You can read all about it in the Trib:
Just ask the scores of bikers who filed into City Hall on Tuesday during the council meeting’s public comment period to ask council members to meet with them and reconsider a ban on motorcycle club parties at cabarets.
“We’re not asking for money,” Ronald Muhammad said on behalf of the dozens of black motorcycle groups that filled the council chamber. “We’re just asking the council not to put shackles on us as we try to do our civic duty and exercise our civic rights.”
The controversy arose after several parties this summer at Historic Sweet’s Ballroom and Karibbean City in the downtown area. The gatherings drew crowds of 1,000 or more bikers — largely from black clubs — that were policed by a dozen or more officers.
All were largely peaceful, but the sheer numbers, revving engines, blasting motorcycle stereos and congestion caused by thousands of bikes prompted Oakland police to require a special event permit and extra officers.”
So…I live, like, across the street from a large event space where these motorcycle club parties are sometimes held. This space hosts a wide variety of events, everything from raves to like, Latin dance events, something called Ecstatic Mass, concerts, fashion shows, pretty much everything you can think of. Including motorcycle clubs and hyphy parties.
The motorcycle parties, well, I won’t lie, they’re a little annoying if you happen to be at home while they’re going on. The noise is such that there’s no hope of watching a movie or listening to a record. It’s difficult to hold a conversation over the din.
But I deal with the noise because, well, that’s just part of the package when you move in across the street from a nightclub. And aside from that, I’ve got to say, the bikers make pretty good guests on my street, particularly in comparison to some of the other crowds we get around here. The bikers do not harass or threaten you when you’re walking home past them. They do not leave a big mess of trash and litter all over the place. I have never come downstairs the night after a motorcycle party to find the front door of my building smashed in. I never hear guns being fired into the air while their events are going on. They do not vandalize my neighborhood. They are, on the whole, polite, respectful guests who show up, go inside, do their thing, then go home. And yes, the make a lot of noise in the process.
So you can imagine how much it annoys me when I look out my window on a Saturday night during one of these events and see like, four Oakland police officers just standing there, guarding the party. It annoyed me even more one Friday night when a friend tried to drive me home, and we discovered that the police aren’t just camped out in front of the club, they’re guarding every intersection between me and the freeway. Seriously! He kept trying to get near my building, and no matter how we tried to approach, there was an OPD car blocking like every single opportunity to turn and we got funneled onto 980. After playing this little game three times, we gave up and he dropped me off like two blocks away.
Why on earth should motorcycle parties merit this level of resources when other events don’t? When they have those horrible hyphy events and the kids come out and terrorize everyone on the street and break windows and graffiti everywhere, where are all those police then? I’m with the bikers on this one. The City is totally in the wrong.
Here’s a representative of the East Bay Dragons making their case: