Shape Up Or Ship Out

Fighting neighborhood crime is just the tip of the iceberg for Capitol Hill's Unsinkables.

"I am very pro-business. I'm in no mood to run some businessperson out of business," Thomas testified. "But I'm very pro-neighborhood as well. The neighbors did not agree to these stipulations. These stipulations were in place last time, but they were not adhered to then, which is why we're here again."

Being open from 9 a.m. until midnight "is not appropriate. A lot of the street trouble involves liquor stores, and a lot of it starts after 10 p.m.," he continued. "Ten a.m. to 10 p.m., six days a week, is reasonable, and if that's not stipulated, the only thing is revocation."

Although Tomsick had allowed the public testimony, she later determined that it was improper. In her recommendation to excise-and-licenses director Helen Gonzales, she let the stipulation between Lee and the city attorney stand, but instead of agreeing to suspend Bonanza's license for sixty days in the event of future violations, Tomsick recommended revoking the store's license if Lee breaks any of the terms during the next year.

The Unsinkables before their first crime-fighting walk of the year.
Anthony Camera
The Unsinkables before their first crime-fighting walk of the year.

The city attorney's office and Bonanza each filed objections to this recommendation, which Gonzales rejected. A new hearing is scheduled for June 20.

On May 25, Bonanza was cited yet again for selling alcohol to an intoxicated person, and the Unsinkables are hoping this latest infraction will finally convince the city to shut the door on the store. If its liquor license is eventually revoked, it could be the Unsinkables' biggest victory yet.

8:45 p.m.,
13th Avenue and Pearl Street

After they fail to bust Charles, the group heads down 13th Avenue. When they reach Bonanza Liquors, they find Mike slumped against the wall in an unnatural-looking position. His eyes are open and he appears to be conscious, but he can't seem to move.

"He's probably had a seizure," Calcamuggio tells the group. "He may have hit his head."

She bends down and rolls him over into what she explains is a recovery position. His bleeding elbow confirms her suspicion that he fell during the seizure.

Calcamuggio soothes Mike until an ambulance arrives. "You're a good boy," she says, in the tone usually reserved for the very young, the very old and pets. "Mike's a good boy."

9:30 p.m.,
13th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street

The Unsinkables are leaving Penn Street Perk, where they've taken a brief coffee break. A few of them choose to call it a night, while the remaining members decide to check out the scene on Colfax. Along the way, they see a familiar face: Carol, who is Kenneth Marion's girlfriend. She's been arrested numerous times in the past for possessing drugs, and now she's sitting on the steps between two apartment buildings with a man named Victor. One of the buildings is on the trespass list, and Goss knows Carol and her friend have no good reason for being there.

"You're not smoking crack, are you?" Goss asks her.

"No," Carol says, and adds, to no one in particular, "Oh, she knows me; she knows I smoke crack."

"When's the last time you smoked crack?" Goss asks.

"Earlier," says Carol, whose voice is startling in its sweetness.

"Earlier today?" Goss presses.

"Yeah," Carol says. "You know I drink and smoke crack. I been drinking all day."

The breathy smell of liquor can be detected from several feet away. Goss pats Carol down and tells her to empty her pockets. Out comes a piece of copper Brillo, which is used as a filter in crack pipes. But there's no rock on her and no pipe. Goss asks to see both Carol's and Victor's IDs, and she calls dispatch. While Goss waits to learn whether either of them are wanted for anything, she, Calcamuggio and Anthony take turns asking Carol about Marion. Carol tells them she doesn't want to talk about her "husband."

"Do you know when he'll get out?" Goss asks.

"You should know," Carol says, her cotton-candy voice betraying the nastiness she means to convey. "You put him there."

"No, he put himself there," Calcamuggio corrects.

"I asked you politely not to talk about him. Please. I told you, it makes me upset," Carol says.

Finally, word comes back from dispatch: There are no warrants out for either Carol or Victor.

Goss tells them to go, but Carol says she's waiting for her friend -- who she insists is sleeping in one of the apartments -- to wake up and let her in. Goss has heard the story before: Somehow all of the crack addicts in Capitol Hill find themselves waiting outside their friends' or relatives' apartment buildings.

"I don't want to keep walking around. What do you do? I'm between a rock and a hard place," Carol says. "What are you gonna do?"

"What you do is get off crack," Goss replies.

"Like crack has anything to do with me not getting inside -- c'mon," Carol says.

Goss has had enough bullshit. "Crack doesn't have anything to do with the fact that you have nowhere to go?" she asks. "You're in denial."

Realizing that she's losing this game, Carol leaves, taking Victor with her. But Goss stays put; she has to fill out a "citizen contact datasheet."

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help