Posted on 21 June 2012.
‘You’ll see a uniformed police presence in the city like we’ve never seen before,’ chief says
By Jack Johnson, Boulder City Review
Approximately 100 people packed the City Hall chambers Tuesday for a workshop regarding the Mongols Motorcycle Club national meeting taking place at the Boulder Inn and Suites this weekend.
Local resident Denise Goode, in red, and Chamber of Commerce President Christy Springgate-Hill talk with members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club following a town hall meeting Tuesday. The club promised to leave the town cleaner than they found it. Photo by Steve Andrascik.
The gathering was hosted by the city police department and chamber of commerce for concerned business owners and residents. Five members of the Mongols club, along with their attorney, Stephen Stubbs, were also in attendance.
Police Chief Thomas Finn assured the crowd that there will be a significant police presence in town this weekend, made up of local, state and federal law enforcement.
Though he wouldn’t disclose exactly how many additional law enforcement officers would be in town, he told attendees, “Rest assured, you’ll see a uniformed police presence in the city like we’ve never seen before.”
He added that law enforcement has a “very complex, challenging plan” preparing for any scenario, including trouble caused by a rival motorcycle club.
“I’m completely confident everything has been done to provide a safe environment for everyone,” he said.
Finn said he had heard concerns about the cost of the enforcement, but assured everyone the additional costs to Boulder City would be minimal, and that the city did not have to pay for law enforcement from other jurisdictions.
Members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club applaud along with residents at a comment made during a town hall meeting Tuesday. The meeting was held to discuss security plans by the police during the Mongols' national meeting Friday through Sunday. Photo by Steve Andrascik.
Stubbs, who helped facilitate the event, told the group the Mongols’ event will be peaceful.
“I love this town. This isn’t something where I would put this town at risk,” said Stubbs, adding he is a fourth-generation Boulder City resident. When asked if he is a member of the Mongols, he said “no,” but he considered many of them his friends whose kids play together.
Stubbs invited a Mongols’ member, who was identified as “Blanco,” to speak to the group about the motorcycle club’s respect for Boulder City.
Blanco said he first visited Boulder City over 14 years ago, and that the town has “spirit” and “soul,” and reminded him of the small town where he grew up.
“Boulder City is classic to me,” he said. “Just like the ’54 panhead (motorcycle).”
He then read an official statement from the Mongols previously published in the Boulder City Review, stating, “We will respect your town and leave it cleaner than we found it.”
Stubbs then fielded questions from people about the attendance, housing for the attendees, traffic and other issues.
He told the crowd that the private event is expected to draw 300 to 400 people, including friends and family who are not members of the Mongols, and that many people will be staying in the 113 rooms rented from the Boulder Inn.
The group will be in town Friday through Sunday, but traffic should be minimal because Boulder City is pedestrian friendly, Stubbs said.
The Mongols will be parking their bikes and there won’t be “hundreds of bikes all over the place,” Stubbs assured the audience.
According to Finn, the Mongols rented a city-owned lot behind the Boulder Inn for parking during the weekend at a cost of $1,100. He pointed out that the event could provide a much-needed economic boost along the Nevada Way construction zone where club members will be staying.
Cindy Ford, owner of Southwest Diner, 761 Nevada Way, invited the Mongols to visit her restaurant this weekend, stating she is “right across the street” from the Boulder Inn.
Beth Walker, owner of Grandma Daisy’s, 530 Nevada Way, agreed the event could have a positive economic impact.
“I’m quite happy to welcome 400 visitors to our city,” Walker said.
In her experience, bikers have always been “kind, courteous, respectful, good spenders and good tippers,” she said.
One man at the meeting asked Stubbs if the Mongols’ annual gathering would become a regular event in Boulder City. He answered that it likely would not.
Another woman, with concerns about a band at the party, asked Finn how the noise ordinance will be enforced.
“If it bothers anyone, we will respond and make a judgment call,” he said. “It’s no different than responding to a house.”
Someone asked if club members will be allowed to carry guns. Finn responded that based on Nevada law they have the right to carry concealed weapons or carry it openly just like anyone else, as long as they have a permit.
Finn was also asked if the city could prevent the Mongols from coming. He responded that the city could not because of the Mongols have constitutional rights like everyone else.
While many of the attendees had concerns for the safety of Boulder City, others supported the Mongols’ visit.
Boulder City resident Denise Goode said she spent 10 years working in casinos in Reno, and during and after the meeting had nothing but nice things to say about her interactions with bikers. “We need to let them relax and have a good time, and take advantage of the fact they’re going to be here with wallets,” she said.