L.A. Coliseum Commissioner Rick Caruso Likely To Ask For Ban On Raves

Rick Caruso, developer of the Grove mall and a member of the public commission that oversees the L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena, told the Weekly Wednesday that he'll likely ask his fellow officials to ban raves at the venues in coming months.

Caruso has been the biggest critic of raves on the commission, which in November and December voted to allow massive events at the public venues to continue despite more than 300 medical emergencies related to the parties in 2010.

One of the commission's major new rules is that everyone attending is 18 and that all IDs are checked with a scanner. As we reported Wednedsay, that didn't happen at a New Year's Eve rave at the Sports Arena.

Caruso said he's awaiting official reports from the Los Angeles police and fire departments on the last two raves, but that he "probably will" press the commission to reconsider its decision to allow the events to happen at the public venues.

Friday's Together As One rave at the Sports Arena drew 45,600 people, police said.

While LAPD Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon told the Weekly there were no major problems at the event, he said he was concerned that after the commission implemented "harm reduction" measures such as the 18-and-up policy, more security, more medical personnel and drug-education information, the number of hospitalizations (17) was virtually the same as last year's event (18).

The crowd at Together As One.
The crowd at Together As One.

Last year's TAO saw one death, however. And last summer's 160,000-strong Electric Daisy Carnival sparked the commission's review of raves after the death of a 15-year-old ecstasy-overdose victim, gatecrashing, unruly behavior and more than 200 medical emergencies sparked outrage among critics.

Medical professionals from nearby emergency rooms told the Weekly that the raves produced a predictable number of drug overdoses and they recommended to the commission and the county that the events be banned.

Fiona Ma, a San Francisco assemblywoman, has an active bill working through the legislative process that would ban raves at public venues.

Caruso told us this:

"I've got a huge concern about these raves and I don't believe there's a way to keep them safe. I'm going to continue to fight for a ban on the raves and I frankly think they should be made illegal in the city and the county.

"When you have an event that is focused around the culture of drugs the event should be illegal. It's different than going to a concert."

Meanwhile Gannon told the Weekly that at one point the Sports Arena on Friday seemed overwhelmed with folks who seemed to show up all at once. Then the electronic ID scanners broke. So, he said, people who appeared to be much older than 18 were let inside without having their IDs checked to alleviate the lines and prevent possible gatecrashing.

The commission in November and again in December mandated that all IDs of ravers be checked as one of the conditions for allowing the parties to continue. Commissioners stated that the parties were on thin ice and any more problems could lead to a ban.

The commission was scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon, but raves were not on the agenda.

Caruso said he was out of town on business and couldn't attend today's event but that he would likely bring up the issue at a future meeting.

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