For reasons that are less than clear Santa Cruz County has decided it has a problem with the Ghost Mountain Riders Motorcycle Club. A week ago the County Sheriff published a press release that said murdered Mongol Eric “Li’l Pee-Ka” Garcia was last seen in a San Jose bar named the Park Lane Lounge at two in the morning “in the company of persons associated with the Ghost Mountain Riders Motorcycle Club.” The release did not say how those persons were associated with the club. Tuesday the County Board of Supervisors told the Ghost Mountain Riders they could not sell alcohol at an upcoming charity event unless the club forked over $2,100.
The event is called the First Daze-O-Summer Run and it benefits a campground for disabled kids called Camp Krem. This will be the 23rd time the club has held the run and only now have local cops and politicians decided the event is problematic. This year the run will be held on April 6. Participants usually meet at the Scotts Valley Moose Lodge in Santa Cruz and ride about 16 miles to Camp Krem in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This year, particpants will have to ride to Camp Krem alone.
This year the club cleared the event with the California Highway Patrol as it has the last 22 times it held the run. But, this year the County Sheriff’s Office demanded the club get its approval as well. The club could have done that if it paid four Deputies $525 each to watch participants drink. The donation for the camp comes from the proceeds of a bar at the event. The club makes less than $2,100 from the bar for the day so this year there will be no bar and the club will have to scrounge to come up with its annual donation.
At the Supervisors’ meeting, Chief Deputy Jim Hart explained, “We’ve told the motorcycle club we would approve the permit if there was hired security to be on scene, and they have told us they aren’t willing to pay for security to be at Camp Krem when the party takes place.” Hart also told the politicians that the event was likely to snarl traffic with a pack of motorcycles “25 miles long.” That was a blatant lie. The Supervisors avoided the issue by simply refusing to vote on whether to grant a permit for the event or not. The club had already paid the county for the permit.
Lyle Fleming, a founder of the club, President of the Lompico Chapter and the lone Ghost Mountain Rider at the meeting, said “between 200 and 300 riders” make the run from Santa Cruz to the Camp. “We fully intend to hold the event,” Fleming told Jason Hoppin of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “Not having an event permit means we can’t ride as a group. There won’t be a pack.” But there will be a good party for a good cause.
The Ghost Mountain Riders have a 30-year-long history of supporting local charitable causes. Entertainment at this year’s First Daze-O-Summer Run will include live music, comedy, and door prizes.
Shakedowns by local police for exorbitant compensation to protect citizens from the biker menace doomed the Hollister Rally in nearby San Benito County in 2009. That rally is scheduled to return this July.