Looks like the taxpayers might have been snookered on this one: The Los Angeles Coliseum Commission unexpectedly voted Wednesday to allow raves to be held at its venues -- the Coliseum and the Sports Arena included -- after it had put a temporary halt to the parties following the ecstasy-related death of a 15-year-old girl who attended just such an event.
The Los Angeles Times got the scoop on this one, noting that commission member Rick Caruso, the Grove shopping center developer often mentioned as a mayoral hopeful, felt misled by other members who said they wouldn't take up the topic in his absence.
(He said he had to attend a family function).
"I strongly disagree with the action of the commission," he told the Times. "I think it's underhanded. It's not a legal issue; it's morally wrong."
It might have been illegal, too. The California open meeting law known as the Brown Act (PDF) mandates 72-hour notice when public bodies hold meetings. It also states that votes must be made in public. It would appear by our reading of the act that the commission would be covered by the law.
The Times noted that no notice was seen on the public body's website, although it could have given notice in other ways (somebody raise your hand if you've seen any advance announcements on the planet about Coliseum Commission meetings).
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After politicians including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and some police expressed concern about drug-use and debauchery at raves following the June "Electric Daisy Carnival" at the Coliseum at which 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez had partied before dying, the commission decided to put a stop to future raves until it could review the situation.
That, however, didn't mean much: Parties that already had contracts were allowed to move forward, meaning not one event was canceled. (A Halloween event by Electric Daisy Carnival's promoter that was planned for the city-run Convention Center was canceled, inspiring a lawsuit).
The commission's move this week seems more than a little sneaky, and there is a major consideration on the table: Money. The parties bring much needed cash to the public venues.
The commission includes David Israel, Caruso, Fabian R. Wesson, county Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Don Knabe; Barry A. Sanders, city Councilman Bernard C. Parks, and W. Jerome Stanley.