Wildwood, NJ businesses say No to “Biker Gangs”

A Letter to the Editor of Cape May County Herald by John Donio:

Let me preface all of this by saying that I am a private business owner of the Daytona Inn and Suites, in Downtown Wildwood. I am a Wildwood resident and a father of two, raising children part-time, in Wildwood.

I don’t work for the City of Wildwood. As president of the board of directors of the Downtown Wildwood Business Improvement District (an unpaid gig), I like to think that part of my duty as a tourism leader and volunteer is to make Wildwood as family-friendly as it can be.

Some have said that the City of Wildwood is in the wrong for canceling biker weekend, also known as Roar to the Shore. It’s traditionally always been the first weekend, in September, after Labor Day weekend.

I remember when the event first got started over 20 years ago. It was a great event.

It was full of great couples and families who enjoy their bikes and all the fun that goes with it. It was the perfect shoulder season event for our shore town.

Things took a turn for the worse when an organized crime gang took over the event a few years ago. They progressively became a bigger and bigger presence within the city; so big of a presence that it has basically turned into a small national convention for the said organized crime gang.

Some have said, “They are harmless. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.”

Well, I have an uncle in my large Italian family. He’s a very nice man. If you were to ever meet him on the street he would give you a big smile and shake your hand, maybe even hug you, but if you looked at his wife the wrong way, or maybe you backed into his Cadillac by mistake, I don’t think you would think he was such a nice man anymore.

This event has gone from being a wonderful event that I looked forward to every year into an event that has turned into a stain on the City of Wildwood’s reputation, with only a handful of bars and motels that profit from it while most of the business community and residents have decidedly been against hosting this event in its current form. It is not a good look for Wildwood.

Yes, I realize that we have so-called “adult events” in the shoulder season that may not be considered the most family-friendly events, but they certainly do not include high levels of illegal activity, including drug sales and plots to assault and murder other people.

For all of you business people, Facebook warriors, and “brave, anonymous spouters” who want to complain to the city that this is wrong, this is not fair, etc., please, instead of bothering our hard-working city officials and employees about this, feel free to private message me instead.

I am a business owner who is willing to give up thousands of dollars in income on the biker weekend in order for Wildwood to remain a safe place for our guests and residents alike.

I am raising children and running a business around this illegal activity that has been going on for the last few years. I’m done with it, and Wildwood, rightly, should be, too

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Source: Cape May County Herald by John Donio, Wildwood