David Israel, L.A. Coliseum Commission's Top Official, Says No to Electric Daisy Carnival Rave

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 6:09 AM

click to enlarge Coliseum commissioners Barry Sanders and Don Knabe. - DENNIS ROMERO
  • Dennis Romero
  • Coliseum commissioners Barry Sanders and Don Knabe.
After the L.A. Coliseum Commission voted late Tuesday to accept the resignation of its CEO, Patrick Lynch, the body's top leader said he would vote against allowing the controversial Electric Daisy Carnival rave that sparked turmoil for the venue and its chief.

"I am one vote," said commission president David Israel, "I will vote no."

EDC, as it's known, ultimately claimed the job of 17-year coliseum veteran Lynch after it was revealed his events manager, Todd DeStefano, was moonlighting for EDC's organizers, Insomniac Events.

Not only can that kind of double dipping be illegal, but it certainly tested the bounds of ethics as Insomniac had to come before the publicly appointed commission -- DeStefano's boss, essentially -- in the last few months to plead the case for another two-day rave at the Coliseum this June.

DeStefano reportedly resigned last month. Lynch said he had known about the arrangement.

Last June's 160,000-attendee EDC saw the death of a 15-year-old ecstasy overdose victim, 60 arrests and more than 200 medical emergencies.

Some L.A. leaders, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, wondered aloud why the parties were permitted at public places such as the Coliseum and its sister venue the Sports Arena.

click to enlarge The scene at an L.A. Sports Arena rave. - CAESAR SEBASTIAN
  • Caesar Sebastian
  • The scene at an L.A. Sports Arena rave.

The commission put a halfhearted moratorium on raves, but essentially allowed them to happen by greenlighting ones that already had contracts with the venues.

Then, earlier this month a dog-and-pony show was put on before the commission in support of EDC. But soon after the Los Angeles Times revealed that DeStefano had been working for Insomniac.

Not only that, but the paper stated he oversaw security at EDC, which was rife with problems, including people like overdose Sasha Rodriguez, who got in despite a 16-and-older limit.

Even after the commission imposed a strict 18-and-up rule ID scanners broke down and not all identities weren't verified at New Year's Eve's Together As One, which was co-promoted by Insomniac, with DeStefano in the wings.

Israel said, "I believe we can put on electronic dance festivals safely" but "I don't think this is an appropriate time to do one."

Commissioner Rick Caruso has already expressed his opposition to the parties as a whole.

And after Tuesday's vote, commission member and county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said he's not satisfied that young people would be safe at the Coliseum and Sports Arena raves.

The events' most ardent supporter on the commission, city Councilman Bernard Parks, was a no-show.

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