There has been an argument over the last couple of weeks about whether a biker, or for that matter a Halloween trick-or-treater dressed up as a biker, is lawfully entitled to expect service at a diner. Or, even if a diner should be allowed to attract the business of bikers.
The argument over equal rights for bikers has been decided in Texas. In California, if you want to hold a “biker night,” the first thing you are going to have to do is grease the police.
In Canyon Country, California, just north of Los Angeles a diner named the Route 66 Classic Grill has been running “biker nights” once a week between April and November for the last ten years.
What changed this year was that a self-dramatizing moron, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Captain named Anthony La Berge, decided to launch a public relations war against bikers. And, parenthetically, we do know the legal definition of libel and we are still calling La Berge a self-dramatizing moron because we think it meets the legal defense of being ” a statement which is provably true.”
Two months ago La Berge unleashed the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s COBRA Team (COBRA stands for Career Offenders Burglary Robbery Apprehension), the Community Interaction Team, the Community Oriented Policing Services Unit and numerous patrol and traffic officers on a charitable event sponsored by the Vagos Motorcycle Club at a fairly remote Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Canyon Country.
La Berge “broke up” the “outlaw biker gang event” because, as his toady, Sergeant Darren Harris explained, “Although the gathering itself (was) not unlawful, some of the actions of these individuals and the motorcycles they are riding are illegal. Not to mention the fact that they can be disruptive to the peace and serenity of the community. Our primary goal is to ensure public safety and peace in response to community complaints and concerns about these bikers. We will do whatever it takes to accomplish just that.”
This month La Berge complained about the ongoing “Biker Nights” Route 66 Classic Grill to the local Planning Commission and to every newspaper and television reporter he could find. Although, there has never been any serious crime committed at any of these events in the past, La Berge complained that the biker nights were attended by “known members” of the “outlaws gangs” the “Vagos and the Mongols.”
As a result of La Berge’s fear mongering the events were almost permanently cancelled and the Route 66 Classic Grill, which does as a matter of fact cater to bikers, was almost put out of business. For the time being, the biker nights are on probation until September. In the meantime, the Grill’s owner, George Thomas, will be required to pay $600 on each night to have two of La Berge’s on-duty deputies stand around and watch.
If you think this sounds like an old-fashioned shake-down clap your hands.
God Bless Texas
Meanwhile, yesterday in Texas the State legislature passed Bill 1569 that prohibits any “public accommodation,” like the Route 66 Classic Grill, from denying service to any person because “…the individual: (A) operates a motorcycle; (B) is a member of an organization or association that operates motorcycles; or (C) wears clothing that displays the name of an organization or association.” For example, a Vagos or a Mongols or, for that matter, even a Bandidos patch.
The Texas law passed by a vote of 78 to 63. Most Democrats voted for it and most Republicans opposed it. Republican Representative Dan Gattis complained that the bill would give “motorcycle gangs” the same protections other Americans enjoy.