February 21, 2013
“Really, enough is enough!” wrote reader Steve Bartley.
“When is or can the city condemn the gangster Club House on West Vermijo St.? I used to patronize the businesses nearby, like Airgas and others; but no more. I can’t afford a bulletproof vest and a truck fabricated with Kevlar to stop their errant bullets. How do we put a stop to this nonsense on the West Side?”
Before answering this one, some background is called for. Bartley refers to a warehouse at 628 W. Vermijo St. — home to the Sin City Disciples motorcycle club. It’s been the scene of a few shootings and is home to a group of guys involved in an impressive spectrum of criminal cases.
The Gazette reported the latest chapter Thursday after club “enforcer” and former Fort Carson soldier Christopher Mountjoy was found guilty of manslaughter in the March 3 shooting death of Virgil Means.
There was another shooting Jan. 1, when a man was taken to Memorial Hospital. Last week 27-year-old Cory Olin Speer was arrested in connection with another shooting on Sunday.
So if you think Bartley’s description of the situation is over the top, think again.
What to do?
City Hall must be careful about shuttering properties willy nilly. It’s important to demonstrate to a judge there has been no rush to judgment.
When Bartley’s exasperation was relayed to City Hall, here was the reply from City Attorney Chris Melcher’s office: “The location inquired about is the subject of ongoing investigation and further developments could occur in regard to this matter. No decision will be made regarding actions that may be taken against the property until appropriate investigation is completed.”
Here I will proffer a translation.
Often when talking about zoning cases, or liquor licensees, or other kinds of property owners, city officials are loathe to say anything in advance.
Thus the city attorney’s statement tilts heavily toward due process. Yet the acknowledgement that the building “is the subject of ongoing investigation” could be the city’s way of telling us, “We’re on it, we’re as outraged as you and we’re going to do something about it.”
Got a question? Contact Barry Noreen at 636-0363 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Hear him on KRDO 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at â€¨6:35 a.m. Fridays.