February is upon us, the holidays are over, and we all said goodbye to 2018 and HELLO to 2019! Most of us are anxiously waiting for Spring to arrive so we can get back out and Ride. However, it doesn’t seem sometimes like we live in Colorado anymore. Whether you believe in global warming or not, and as a 10-year resident of Colorado, it does appear that our winters are getting warmer and riding is more frequent in the winter months. [Read more…] about Spring Comes Early
For several years now, I have been working with Susan Dane of CORD
and with Colorado Senator Lois Court to end distracted driving in Colorado. We’ve had some successes: it is now illegal to text while driving in Colorado and we were able to increase the fines last year to levels that should change behaviors. [Read more…] about Distracted Driving in Colorado: I’m Still Fighting the Good Fight
I love this expression, “Couples that ride together, stay together.” When you are a motorcycle enthusiast, having your partner enjoy motorcycle riding is important and sometimes a deal breaker. I strongly feel it’s important to be [Read more…] about Riding ￼TOGETHER
By: Randy Savely
For over 10 years the Randy Run for Fallen Bikers has strived to help injured riders and their families thru the toughest times in their lives.
As President and one of the founders of the Randy Run it takes a tremendous amount of work and volunteers time to make it run smoothly.
When I had my accident, my friends of Abate D-10 did a fundraiser to help me after my accident, and we all realized at the time that there wasn’t any type of organization that helped injured riders. We continued to help injured motorcycle riders thru the Randy Run Grant program and were funded independently because of our annual ride in July.
In the past few years, the demands required of board members has grown and finding new board members to fill positions has been challenging. There is so much more to running a non-profit than just our Annual Run. The work load of current Board members has become overwhelming and many are doing multiple jobs that are necessary for it to be successful. It is my hope that Mark and Lisa will continue the July Randy Run and use that run as an opportunity to help charities within this community.
As President of the Randy Run for Fallen Bikers, and with my retirement and pending move to Missouri, I asked the current Board to come up with a Plan to take over The Randy Run. This is a daunting task and the amount of personal commitment one would have to commit to lead this non-profit forward has been difficult to find. Therefore, in the best interest of all, we feel it is time to close the Randy Run for Fallen Bikers effective immediately.
As per our Articles of Incorporation, the Board must distribute the remaining funds in our account to other non-profits in Colorado that are helping injured motorcycle riders. This community is very blessed to have some great people and non-profits that are helping injured motorcycle riders, and we hope that this donation to them will help continue the work of Helping Biker’s Better.
On a special note, I would like to thank Lisa and Mark Gill for standing by my side for over 12 years. Their commitment to this organization and community they serve has gone above and beyond.
It has been my honor to serve this community. The memories and friendships that I have made along the way will stay with me always. I am moving, but I will be back to attend events and support this community as I always have.
This is probably one of the most difficult articles I will ever write in Colorado Rider News. My Mentor and best friend, Randy Savely is retiring. I asked Randy for permission to write this article. He isn’t one for computers or to make a fuss, but this community owes Randy Savely a debt a gratitude for over 10 years of service to the biker community but also the injured riders he has touched over the years personally and through the Randy Run for Fallen Bikers. [Read more…] about Biker Community Thanks Randy Savely, Here’s To Your Retirement!
BikerDown Foundation is always looking for new ways to raise funds to help injured riders, and the Colorado Mammoth Lacrosse team has recognized all the charitable work BikerDown has accomplished. BikerDown down has partnered with the Mammoth for their annual Military Appreciation Night on Saturday, March 23rd at the Pepsi Center. [Read more…] about Military Appreciation Night with the Colorado Mammoth
Often charities are started because of the life-changing experiences that people endure in this lifetime. No parent expects to lose or have to bury their child. Accidents happen and many times we are powerless to keep our children safe from the things they will be exposed to. However, this charity is bringing awareness to a children’s game that all parents, grandparents and family friends need to know about: The Choking Game. [Read more…] about The Ride for Hope
By: Mark “Munky Mark” Berman
I have been riding a motorcycle for 53 years, and driving a tow truck for 45 years. In those years, I have seen bikes dragged on flatbeds, dangled off the backs of wreckers and other situations that you wouldn’t believe.[Read more…] about Motorcycle Transport Specialist, LLC.
Mark Miklos and Rob Tompkins have been buddies and bikers for over a decade. For many years, they talked about “one day” opening a biker bar together, so when a local bar in Golden, CO went under in fall 2017 and the property went on the market, Mark and Rob needed very little convincing to jump in with both feet.[Read more…] about Dirty Dogs Roadhouse: A Biker Bar for the Whole Family
Sitting in a somber federal courthouse in Santa Ana, California, a jury box is full of curious and pensitive faces. US Attorney Steve Welk speaks to them forcefully. Welk is going well beyond any legal argument. He is attacking the very soul of motorcycle culture and using every scare tactic that he could possibly think of. Welk is on a mission… a mission to ban symbolic speech… at least the symbolic speech that he finds objectionable… for now.
US Attorney Welk could have put on a clean case. He could have presented fair evidence, applied it clearly to the law from the government’s perspective, and used logic and reason to make his case. Then, a dispassionate jury could weigh that evidence and come to a well-reasoned decision. US Attorney Welk could have acted honorably. US Attorney Welk didn’t. Instead, Welk tried to enflame the jury with the testimony of secret confidential informants, given through undercover officers, and shamefully attack anyone or anything that doesn’t bow down to the all-powerful government. Going back to 1969, Welk spun his tale of deceit.
The truth is that Ruben “Doc” Cavazos was a former President of the Mongols Motorcycle Club that used his position dishonorably. Doc secretly engaged in illegal activities that will ever tarnish any legacy that he might have earned. While carefully hiding his crimes from the vast majority of his club, Doc enriched himself and set himself up for a massive payday by way of a book deals and movie rights. All the while, his Mongol brothers were left in the dark, and only a select few took part- all hiding their activities from the Mongol membership as a whole. However, the government doesn’t care. The government simply ignores the fact that Doc and his goons were put out bad in August of 2008, four months before any Mongol knew that there were undercover officers in the club conducting Operation Black Rain. Four Months before the raids. Four months before the government went on TV to gloat about the infiltration. The Mongols acted swiftly to cut out the cancer that is Doc Cavazos as soon as they learned of his sins, without having the slightest clue what was going to happen. Still, the government will do anything, ethical or not, to steal the holy grail of the Mongols identity- the Mongols Patch.
During the trial, undercover officer after undercover officer sat on the witness stand to tell a twisted story. You see, if you are a fault finder, and look for the bad in anything, everything will look bad. Without honor, these officers painted a very dark picture of property patches and anything that they thought would offend the citizens in the jury box. You might ask yourself what a property patch has to do with the trial…and the answer is: nothing. Women that freely choose to wear a property patch have nothing to do with racketeering laws, nor any of the alleged acts of racketeering. This testimony was meant to corrupt the minds of the jury and portray the Mongols as bad people, tipping the scales of justice in the government’s favor. In his closing arguments, Welk called the Mongols “infantile”. Instead of arguing the law, US Attorney Welk called the Mongols names, mocked them, mocked motorcycle culture, called anyone who doesn’t trust police “criminals”, and even tried to paint the Mongols as “vicious animals”. Welk knew exactly what he was doing. He was inflaming the jury, and it worked.
The most offensive of Welk’s tactics from a legal perspective came from secretive confidential informant testimony. Undercover officers testified at trial, over and over again, of things that the undercover officers claimed that confidential informants told them. Confidential informants that the government never disclosed the identity of. So, because the government did not disclose the identities of the confidential informants, the Mongols could not call them as witnesses to refute the undercover officers’ testimony. The Mongols were left without a reasonable way to challenge that testimony. US Attorney Welk danced around the hearsay rules of evidence, exploited loopholes, and the testimony was heard by the jury. Damning testimony that the Mongols were helpless to watch unfold. Damning testimony of things the undercover officers say that someone else told them over a decade ago. Would police lie? The jury didn’t think so. The jury took the undercovers’ testimony of what these undisclosed confidential informants allegedly told them as gospel truth. As a result, the government has been successful thus far in this endeavor.
In order to take the Mongols Patch, the government has to win three separate phases. If the government loses even one, they lose the entire case, and the Mongols Patch cannot be taken. Phase One is the guilt phase, Phase Two is the forfeiture phase, and Phase Three is the 1st Amendment Phase.
In Phase One, on December 10, 2018, the jury returned a verdict of guilty for both substantive RICO and Conspiracy to Commit RICO. For the first time in American history, without even one individual person included in the indictment, the US Government found an organization guilty of a crime. However, all of the underlying RICO allegations that were deemed “proven” by the jury were crimes done by Doc Cavazos and his crew during Doc’s leadership. Likewise, the Mongols were acquitted of all alleged underlying RICO acts that were outside of Doc’s presidency, showing that there is a large difference between Doc’s perverted and dishonorable term and the club as a whole. Still, the government won Phase One of the three phase process, and we moved on to Phase Two, where the government would try to hold all Mongols responsible for the bad acts of a few, just like a school teacher denying all kids recess because one kid didn’t turn in his homework.
In Phase Two, on January 11, 2019, after a one-day hearing and 3 days of deliberations, the jury’s verdict declared the collective membership trademarks “Mongols” and the Mongols’ center patch image subject to forfeit. However, it was done in the most peculiar way, as the jury specifically decided that the marks were not subject to forfeit on the most serious conviction (substantive RICO), but the marks were subject to forfeiture on the much less serious conviction (Conspiracy to Commit RICO). While what occurred in the jury’s deliberations will likely remain a secret forever, this strange outcome points to the conclusion that the jury reached a compromise verdict- striking a deal so that they could all go home. Still, this does not automatically forfeit the collective membership marks. It simply declares them subject to forfeit. Federal Court Judge Carter will make the ultimate decision on whether the government can seize the Mongols’ symbols and ban their use, which brings us to Phase Three.
For Phase Three, on February 28, 2019, a hearing is set for the Honorable Federal Judge Carter to decide a number of legal issues, the principal being whether the government’s seizing and banning the Mongols’ symbols (their collective membership marks) violates the 1st Amendment. In the meantime, scholars all over the country have been invited to submit amicus (friend of the court) briefs, as this is a case of first impression. No matter the outcome, an appeal will certainly happen on either side. This case will be decided by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and will likely go up to the United States Supreme Court. For the Mongols? They will continue to fight so that Americans can’t be banned by the government from wearing symbols. They will continue to stand toe-to-toe with the government, defend the 1st Amendment, and never back down. After all, if the government is successful here, whose symbol is next?