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Coliseum commissioners vote unanimously to lift moratorium on raves

December 1, 2010 |  4:34 pm

Los Angeles Coliseum Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to lift a moratorium on raves that was put in place after the drug overdose death of a 15-year-old girl who attended a massive festival at the stadium in June.

“There’s a way to do it right, where we protect the public and allow this opportunity to take place,” said L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, who serves on the commission and noted that it's better to regulate raves at a public venue than to see them “driven to the back alleys.”

Instead of reinstating the ban, commissioners voted to require that all future raves come before the commission for approval 60 days in advance, and promised to consider additional safeguards to protect participants and the surrounding community.

“We’re going to limit whatever abuses take place and improve conditions for the neighbors,”  said Commissioner David Israel.

“By lifting the moratorium we have not abandoned jurisdiction over what occurs at these events,” said Barry Sanders, who chairs the commission. “We’ve got recommendations from the county on how to go forward and do them safely.”

The joint city, county and state commission had voted to ban raves June 30 after Sasha Rodriguez, a high school student and drill team member from Atwater Village, passed out at the Electric Daisy Carnival and died days later.

Six of the commission’s nine members voted to lift the moratorium Nov. 3. The vote outraged Commissioners Rick Caruso, a shopping center magnate, and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who were absent and complained that there was no advance notice that the ban might be reconsidered.

The added safety protections come from a Department of Public Health report on improving safety at raves, which was submitted to the Board of Supervisors two days after the commission dropped the rave moratorium.

Yaroslavsky and Knabe have proposed that the board adopt all of the report’s recommendations and instruct the Department of Public Health to monitor their implementation through the end of August  and report back in September. Supervisors are expected to consider the proposal Tuesday.

The safety protections come in addition to measures commissioners put in place for two raves scheduled before the ban took effect, which included hiring doctors and nurses to work on-site, enforcing an age limit of 18 and ending the events at 2 a.m.

Coliseum managers said they were satisfied that no major problems were reported at the raves on Aug. 21 and Oct. 23. But both raves were one-day events that attracted 6,000 and 22,000 people, respectively, compared with the two-day Electric Daisy Carnival that attracted 185,000 participants.

But Caruso questioned whether such safety measures will be enough to prevent future injuries and deaths at raves, and whether commissioners were unwilling to reinstate the ban because they have become dependent on electronic music events as money-makers.

“Even with these additional measures that were out in place for these last two events, there were still people who needed treatment for alcohol or drugs,” he said. “We have a health problem here.”

Raves are a significant source of revenue for the Coliseum, which is publicly owned but not supported with tax dollars.

The next rave at the stadium is scheduled for New Year’s eve.


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-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Rave earlier this year. Credit: Los Angeles Times